Press Release: National Peace Corps Association Applauds Alumni’s Role in Return to Colombia
Washington, DC — May 24th, 2010 — Former volunteers who served in South American country played key role in program’s return
The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), the nation’s leading nonprofit organization supporting Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) and the Peace Corps community, applauds the role of RPCVs in the Peace Corps’ return to Colombia after nearly three decades. The Peace Corps and the Colombian government recently signed an agreement to re-establish a program in the South American country by this fall.
“The relationships that Peace Corps Volunteers forge during their time overseas can last a lifetime,” said Kevin Quigley, president of the National Peace Corps Association. “That deep knowledge of the country and sense of trust helped make it possible for Colombia to support the return of the Peace Corps all these years later.”
Quigley noted that one former Volunteer who played a particularly important role was California Congressman Sam Farr, who served outside Medellin from 1962 to 1964. Farr participated in a three-day conference in 2008, organized by the Embassy of Colombia and the Friends of Colombia, a member group of NPCA. The conference included a meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who pledged to support the program’s return.
“During the past 29 years while Peace Corps was not in Colombia, RPCVs maintained a
connection to Colombia and its people through personal friendships and development projects,” said Arleen Cheston who is president of Friends of Colombia. “The Peace Corps’ goals continued in Colombia even though [Peace Corps] was not officially present.”
Because of the friendships they forged while in the country, former Volunteers were able to maintain informal ties with everyday Colombians during the Peace Corps’ long absence. Both Quigley and Cheston said that the return of the program to Colombia was a sign of how powerful those connections can be; especially when Volunteers go on to serve in Congress or in other official roles.
“Representative Farr has always been a strong advocate for the Peace Corps in general,” Quigley said. “But in this case, he went above and beyond to help the program get re-established in his former host country.”
About the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA)
Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is the nation’s leading 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization connecting and championing Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community. It provides service and education opportunities that build on the Peace Corps experience, and is also the longest-standing advocate for an independent and robust Peace Corps. To learn more, visit: www.peacecorpsconnect.org
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