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Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Enhancement Act

August 20, 2022

Congressional Leadership and Bipartisanship: Remembering Senator Johnny Isakson

Bipartisanship is “a state of being,” said Johnny Isakson By Catherine Gardner Photo courtesy office of Johnny Isakson   “The dedicated men and women of the U.S. Peace Corps work hard to help communities and foster goodwill around the world,” U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson said in 2018. The occasion was important but not exactly celebratory: Isakson was co-sponsoring introduction of the Nick Castle Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act — bipartisan legislation named in honor of a Volunteer from Brentwood, California, who lost his life at age 23 due to inadequate health care while serving in China in 2013. Isakson, a...

December 22, 2021

Peace Corps Safety and Security: Looking at a Decade of Legislation for Change

Progress, failures, and what’s on the horizon: a conversation convened for Peace Corps Connect 2021   Illustration by Anna + Elena = Balbusso     On September 26, 2011, as the Peace Corps community marked 50 years of Volunteers serving in communities around the world, the U.S. Senate passed the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act, which was signed into law later that year. Three years ago, Congress completed work on the Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act. These two pieces of legislation were designed to bring about improvements and reforms pertaining to the health, safety, and security of Volunteers. What...

September 30, 2021

House Foreign Affairs Committee Advances the Most Sweeping Peace Corps Legislation in Years

The Peace Corps Reauthorization Act now moves forward. It would bring critical reforms to better protect Volunteers and put Peace Corps on the path toward a budget to bolster the number of Volunteers around the world. Though when it comes to health insurance and the Volunteer readjustment allowance, today’s changes provide a little less support. By Jonathan Pearson   The Peace Corps Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1456), bipartisan legislation introduced by Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) and fellow Representative Garret Graves (R-LA), cleared its first significant hurdle on September 30th, when the House Foreign Affairs Committee moved the bill out of committee...

April 22, 2021

Peace Corps Must Do Better in Addressing Sexual Assault

An in-depth work of investigative journalism has shone light on a horrific problem. There are steps we can take now. A statement from the Chair of the Board of Directors of National Peace Corps Association. By Maricarmen Smith-Martinez     Today USA Today published an in-depth investigative piece chronicling the experiences of multiple women who have been victims of sexual assault while serving as Peace Corps Volunteers. Their stories are devastating. And the statistics cited in the article about the prevalence of sexual assault are profoundly disturbing. We owe it to these women to read their stories — and to truly hear what they are saying....

October 6, 2020

The Tragic Loss of Bernice Heiderman

A letter to the Peace Corps community By Glenn Blumhorst We were heartbroken to learn the details of the tragic and avoidable death of Bernice Heiderman in January 2018, when she was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Comoros. A New York Times article published in recent days reveals that she died from undiagnosed malaria — and that had she received timely treatment, she could have made a full recovery. On behalf of all of us in the Peace Corps community, we send deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to Bernice’s family. We grieve for her loss, all the more painful because...

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