Peace Corps

President is Trying to Cut Peace Corps Budget

President Trump’s budget proposes cutting Peace Corps. Congress has the power to appropriate and largely disregarded the Trump budget last year, but it takes energy and calls to Congress to remind them to support Peace Corps.

This from NPCA:

The President’s budget for fiscal year 2019 was released today and it proposes a budget of $396 million for the Peace Corps. After already requesting a $12 million cut in fiscal 2018—the deepest from a White House in over 40 years—the 2019 request further reduces Peace Corps’ budget by another $2 million.

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Here Comes the Summer

Apologies for the radio silence from Friends of Ecuador. Ben Bellows has moved from Kenya to Zambia where he works with Population International. I’ve been finishing up the end of the semester here in Austin at the University of Texas. Send us any interesting content if you have news about Ecuador, Peace Corps, or a combination thereof.

I recently caught up with RPCV Nate Brown from my group Omnibus 77. We served from 1997-1999 (in some cases like Nate’s a little longer). He reminded me that we’re now around 18 years since we served in Ecuador which is just crazy to think about. My cohort is now firmly middle-aged on the whole, most of us now in our 40s, settled down with families, kids, mortgages. I hope there is still some adventure out there and a sense of purpose.

I’m hearing some chatter on Facebook about our group trying to get a reunion together. Are any other Omnibus groups reuniting? Anyone making trips to Ecuador?

What do you miss most about your Peace Corps experience?

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Inspector General report on China PCV who Died

In August, we reported on the China PCV Nick Castle (pictured above) who died from an undiagnosed intestinal disorder in 2013. In November, the Peace Corps inspector general released their report on what went wrong.

Here are some of their conclusions from a New York Times story:

The inspector general’s report, which has not been made public, cites numerous medical lapses strongly suggesting that Mr. Castle’s death could in fact have been prevented, although it does not explicitly blame the Peace Corps.

More broadly, the report calls on the Peace Corps to make changes to its health care system, including giving its doctors more thorough training in gastrointestinal illnesses, the most common health complaint from volunteers. It also suggests the agency improve record-keeping.

Let’s hope the Peace Corps has heard these concerns and made sure nothing like this happens again.

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Peace Corps Announces Changes to the Application Process

In an effort to address a year-long application process and declines in applications, the Peace Corps is revising its application process, making it shorter, cutting time to placement, and giving applicants choice over country of service.

From the Washington Post:

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Peace Corps suspends program in Kenya amidst on-going violence

Kenya has had a spike in bombings and violence, especially on the coast. Most of the violence is thought to be associated with Al Shabaab militants from Somalia, but there is a wider political crisis brewing between rival ethnic political groups that last fought in 2007-2008 associated with national elections.

In response to the surge in violence, Peace Corps is temporarily moving 50 volunteers out of the country. This happened just a short time before Peace Corps also announced the move to evacuate more than 300 volunteers from West Africa in light of the Ebola virus outbreak. …

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New York Times report on a volunteer who died in China

It’s been a tough couple of weeks of news for Peace Corps volunteers. While the death of a volunteer in China is more than a year old, last week The New York Times ran a story on the problematic medical service that a volunteer in China received before his death from gastrointestinal illness: …

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Peace Corps evacuating volunteers from West Africa because of Ebola outbreak

With the Ebola outbreak Africa as yet uncontained, the Peace Corps is temporarily moving more than 300 volunteers out of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Two volunteers had come in contact with someone infected with the virus and were isolated to ensure that they are not sick. …

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Updates from the Peace Corps

Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 2.21.17 PMIn the past week, Peace Corps announced significant changes to its recruitment, application, and selection processes (see links on the FOE Facebook page). As part of that process, Peace Corps re-vamped the RPCV pages on the PC website in order to better serve and recognize the RPCV community. Visit the new pages today to:

  • Bring the World Home – Explore everything from video libraries to storytelling tips to help you share your Peace Corps story with others. When you get involved and tell the Peace Corps about your activity, they will send you a free kit of promotional materials. Also, check out the new Third Goal Highlights for stories of great Third Goal work and best practices. If you have a practice or activity you’d like to share as a Highlight, submit it to the Peace Corps at
  • Access resources in the RPCV Virtual Career Center – Let Peace Corps help you find your next job with resources like the RPCV Career Link jobs board, online and in-person RPCV Career Events, one-on-one resume reviews, and career self-assessment software. Also, post your organization’s job opportunities on Career Link for free to recruit other talented RPCVs.

Check out the pages today, share them with your friends, and let the PC know what you think. They’d love your feedback!

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Carrie Hessler-Radelet Sworn in as Peace Corps Director

Carrie Hessler-Radelet was sworn in as Peace Corps director. Read on more about her background. This from NPCA:

After months of delay, the United States Senate acted Thursday to confirm Carrie Hessler-Radelet to become the 19th Director of the Peace Corps.

Hessler-Radelet was confirmed by a unanimous voice vote that took about ten seconds to complete.

Nominated by President Obama last July, Hessler-Radelet served as Acting Director of the agency since September, 2012.  She was confirmed as Peace Corps’ Deputy Director in June, 2010.

She is the fifth woman to serve as Director, and is also the fifth Returned Peace Corps Volunteer to lead the agency. She and her husband Steve served in Samoa from 1981-83.

Holding a final Senate confirmation vote was one of the topics raised by National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) advocates when they met with 67 Senate offices during NPCA’s National Day of Action on February 27th.  NPCA advocates also weighed in over the past month – more than six months since her confirmation hearing.

“Today is a very good day for the Peace Corps,” said NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst (Guatemala 1988-91).  “The Senate vote to confirm Carrie Hessler-Radelet now allows her to advance a forward-moving agenda for the 7,000 volunteers currently serving and the many who will follow.  We believe Carrie will bring her unique set of skills, sensibility and sensitivity to her new position, just as she has demonstrated in her long career as a public servant and leader in the field of international development.”

One of Hessler-Radelet’s first public appearances as Peace Corps Director will come in two weeks, when she appears at Peace Corps Connect – Nashville on Saturday, June 21st.

Follow this link to read Hessler-Radelet’s remarks earlier this year before the National Press Club.

Follow this link to read NPCA’s coverage of her confirmation hearing last November before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Follow this link to learn more about Carrie Hessler-Radelet.

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