Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Peace Corps Gets New Director and Honors Volunteers

Lots of really exciting things have been happening in the world lately, and we thought it would be a good time to talk about the fabulous folks at the Peace Corps.
As Congress works to figure out a new budget, including funding for the Peace Corps, President Obama was faced with the task of appointing a new Peace Corps Director. TheNational Peace Corps Association, an independent body made up of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, wanted these qualities in a new director:
  • The Director needs to be a forward thinking innovator, prepared to adapt the Peace Corps to better meet the needs of the 21st century.
  • The Director needs to be a passionate advocate for the independence and integrity of the Peace Corps.
  • The Director must emphasize the success of volunteers.
  • The Director should embrace the greater Peace Corps community as a collaborative partner with common interests and goals.
  • Finally, the next Director needs to be prepared to inspire service.
So, who did the President pick? A man by the name of Aaron Williams. Williams is the Vice President for International Business Development with RTI International and has over 25 years of experience in the design and implementation of worldwide assistance programs. Before working with RTI International, Williams worked for USAID and the International Youth Foundation. He is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer: he served from 1967 to 1970 in the Dominican Republic. Williams was awarded the USAID Distinguished Career Service Award and the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service twice.
Seems like Mr. Obama did a pretty good job, no?
Aaron Williams:

In other Peace Corps news, the
National Peace Corps Association announced the winner of the 2009 Sargent Shriver Award. The award, which is given out by the NPCA and is named in honor of the first Peace Corps Director, honors Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who continue to make a sustained and distinguished contribution to humanitarian causes at home or abroad, or are innovative social entrepreneurs whose actions will bring about significant long-term change.

The award for 2009 went to John Hatch, founder of the microfinance organization
FINCA International. FINCA operates in more than 20 countries across the world to provide financial service to low-income entrepreneurs. He invented a type of microfinance called Village Banking, which brings together a group to ten to thirty people who guarantee small business loans for each other – strengthening the community and giving people access to jobs and a steady income. He served in the Peace Corps starting in 1962, as a community development volunteer in Colombia and later as a regional Peace Corps director in Peru.

Read the
press release about Aaron Williams’ appointment and check out the National Peace Corps Association or find out more about FINCA International and John Hatch.

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