Photographic Validation: Korea RPCVs Bring Exhibit to Capitol Hill
By Jonathan Pearson on Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
The more than 1,800 Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) who served in Korea between 1966 and 1981 can rightfully lay claim to a goal for which many aspire but few achieve.
By the early 1980′s, Korea PCVs had worked themselves out of their job.
But it wasn’t only that. Ten years after the last Volunteers left the country, the Republic of Korea formed KOICA (the Korea International Cooperative Agency), an organization modeled after the Peace Corps that is now the world’s third largest international volunteer organization, sending 3,000 volunteers to more than 40 countries around the world.
At a Monday evening reception on Capitol Hill, Friends of Korea President Nancy Kelly noted there “can’t be a better validation of the Peace Corps model” in describing the marriage of the two eras – the years of Peace Corps service, coupled with the more recent activities of KOICA.
Those two eras are chronicled in a photo exhibit that is currently on display in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building. The exhibit runs through Friday, and is open to any visitors between 8 AM and 6 PM.
The National Peace Corps Association’s new President, Glenn Blumhorst, praised the “extraordinary effort” of American Peace Corps Volunteers and Korean volunteers in fostering ongoing friendship and promoting the goals of international understanding.
Lee Kwang-cheol, Director of the Washington, D.C. Office of the Korea Foundation and a former KOICA volunteer, spoke to the shared experience of volunteers from both countries. ”Volunteerism,” he said, “is not only for those on the receiving end. For those who volunteer also benefit from the experience.”
A lot of volunteering took place to bring this exhibit to Capitol Hill. Korea RPCVs Richard MacIntyre and David Lassiter coordinated with the office of Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), who is sponsoring the exhibit. Lynn Barclay, Janet Callis, Jisoo Geiter and Gerry Krzic served on a planning committee to prepare the exhibit and opening reception. These individuals and other Friends of Korea members, including Carol Abserom, Steve Wickman, Morrison Cain, Sylvia Fubini and Margaret Pollack, are slated to staff the exhibit throughout the entire week, to answer questions and raise awareness about the positive aspects of the Peace Corps and international volunteerism.
Congratulations to the Friends of Korea for such an inspiring example of bringing the world home – and to the halls of the United States Congress.