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Jody Olsen

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    The Eastern Caribbean will be the first to welcome back Volunteers. see more

    The Eastern Caribbean will be the first to welcome back Volunteers.

    By WorldView Staff

     

    The big news out of Peace Corps HQ on October 14: Volunteers will begin returning to service in January 2021. The Eastern Caribbean will be the first to welcome back Volunteers. “Our decision to return to the field follows months of extensive preparations and review, and I am extremely grateful to the many staff and host country partners who contributed to this effort,” said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “I also salute the evacuated volunteers who are joining us as we take these first steps to resume operations and begin the celebration of our 60th anniversary.”

     

    “Our decision to return to the field follows months of extensive preparations and review, and I am extremely grateful to the many staff and host country partners who contributed to this effort.”

    —Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen

     

    This news comes after more than eight months of uncertainty, with Americans who have been invited to serve as new Volunteers still on hold. What about other programs and regions? 

    One answer, on the Peace Corps website as of mid-October: “Due to the complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallouts in every post, we cannot address timing yet.” Though more news may be coming throughout the fall. Right now, plans for return include COVID testing and 14 days of quarantine when Volunteers arrive in the country where they are serving — with a caveat that quarantine periods may vary from country to country.

    Peace Corps has posted general estimates for when Volunteers might return to service globally: either mid-2021 or late 2021, depending on region and sector. A crowdsourced list on a Facebook group for evacuated Volunteers (featured in our summer edition) has listed returns to service country by country, specifying which month — from January to November.

    Other ways Peace Corps expects service to change: Initial cohorts will be small, sites near a medical unit, travel restricted. (See Jody Olsen’s remarks from the Peace Corps Connect to the Future Global Ideas Summit for more.) Another factor in the answer: Many of the 61 countries in which Volunteers were serving have not experienced the severity of pandemic that has hit the United States. Some Pacific island nations where Peace Corps Volunteers were serving have reported zero cases of COVID-19.

    Universities in the United States offer some lessons in the complexity of opening up programs again. Some have managed to keep the virus in check; others have not, and have had to shut down in-person teaching.

     


    This story was first published in WorldView magazine’s Fall 2020 issue. Read the entire magazine for free now in the WorldView app. Here’s how:

    STEP 1 - Create an account: Click here and create a login name and password. Use the code DIGITAL2020 to get it free.

    STEP 2 - Get the app: For viewing the magazine on a phone or tablet, go to the App Store/Google Play and search for “WorldView magazine” and download the app. Or view the magazine on a laptop/desktop here.

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    The first cohort of Volunteers is set to arrive in Viet Nam in mid-2022. see more

    An historic partnership years in the making

    By Steven Boyd Saum

     

    The news broke July 10: inking of an agreement between Viet Nam’s Ministry of Education and Training and Peace Corps to formally establish a Peace Corps program in English education. The occasion also marked 25 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. 

    “We are thrilled to be entering into this historic partnership,” said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “I am honored and deeply grateful to the people and Government of Viet Nam for their willingness to open their hearts, schools and homes to Peace Corps volunteers. This program, with its emphasis on cross-cultural exchange and capacity building, will benefit the people of both countries for generations.” 

    The first cohort of Volunteers is set to arrive in Viet Nam in mid-2022. They will focus on English education. Serving as country director will be Kate Becker, who previously directed the Peace Corps programs in Albania and Montenegro. 

    The agreement has been years in the making. In May 2016, on the eve of President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Viet Nam, Peace Corps and the government of Viet Nam announced plans to establish a partnership that would bring Volunteers to work in education. “This new partnership will further strengthen and deepen our two countries’ people to people engagements,” said then-director Carrie Hessler-Radelet, “and the volunteers will learn the rich traditions, culture and history of this great nation.”

    What’s the reaction been in the Peace Corps community? “This makes me want to join again. Congrats!” “This makes my heart sing!” “We have come a long way.” “Glad to finally see an update! I’ve been waiting since they made the first announcement years ago. I currently live in Hanoi.” One post on Facebook included 18 exclamation points over two sentences. And one Volunteer who served in Niger and Madagascar observed wryly: “Looks like Mrs. Olsen watched ‘Da 5 Bloods.’” (Could be. Spike Lee’s film was released in June.) 

    Here at WorldView, we devoted a special edition to Viet Nam and Southeast Asia in Fall 2016. Read all those stories by signing up for the WorldView app, with instructiions below.

     


    This story was first published in WorldView magazine’s Fall 2020 issue. Read the entire magazine for free now in the WorldView app. Here’s how:

    STEP 1 - Create an account: Click here and create a login name and password. Use the code DIGITAL2020 to get it free.

    STEP 2 - Get the app: For viewing the magazine on a phone or tablet, go to the App Store/Google Play and search for “WorldView magazine” and download the app. Or view the magazine on a laptop/desktop here.

  • Meisha Robinson posted an article
    Dr. Josephine (Jody) K. Olsen was sworn in as the 20th Director of the Peace Corps on March 30. see more

    On March 30, 2018, Dr. Josephine (Jody) Olsen took the oath of office to become the 20th Director of the Peace Corps. The oath was administered by Acting Director of Human Resource Management Tina Williams. Jody was accompanied by her daughter Kirsten Andersen.  Olsen has previously served the agency in various capacities, including as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia from 1966-1968.

     

    “It is an absolute honor to begin my service as Director of the Peace Corps,” said Dr. Olsen. “I’m grateful to President Trump for his trust and confidence.” 

     

    Olsen is committed to leading a Peace Corps that remains the world’s preeminent volunteer agency, offering all Americans the opportunity to serve their country. She envisions recruiting skilled and resilient volunteers who stand poised to achieve the greatest impact. In the months ahead, she will focus on ensuring that Peace Corps sends volunteers to countries where they are needed most.

     

    Under her leadership, volunteers’ health, safety, and security will remain the agency’s top priorities.

     

    “I look forward to working closely with our remarkable volunteers, dedicated staff serving across the world and throughout the United States, our global partners, and bipartisan supporters in Congress to ensure that together we are advancing the agency’s mission and goals," said Olsen.

     

    President Trump nominated Olsen to lead the agency on January 3, 2018, and the U.S. Senate took bipartisan action to confirm her on March 22, 2018.