Orrin Luc posted an articleHere Are Three Outstanding Leaders in the Peace Corps Community Honored with 2021 Awards by the Women of Peace Corps LegacyNancy Kelly, Amy Maglio, and Estee Katcoff honored for global service and leadership see more
Nancy Kelly of Health Volunteers Overseas and Amy Maglio of the Women’s Global Education Project are recognized with the Deborah Harding Women of Achievement Award. Estee Katcoff, founder of the Superkids Foundation, is recognized with the Kate Raftery Emerging Leaders Award.
By NPCA Staff
As part of the global virtual conference Peace Corps Connect 2021, Women of Peace Corps Legacy presented awards to three outstanding leaders in the Peace Corps community. Nancy Kelly and Amy Maglio were each honored with the Deborah Harding Women of Achievement Award. And Estee Katcoff was presented with the Kate Raftery Emerging Leader Award.
The awards were presented by Kathleen Corey, president of Women of Peace Corps Legacy, on September 23 at the Peace Corps Connect conference. WPCL is an affiliate group of National Peace Corps Association and is part of a vibrant community that includes more than 180 affiliate groups focused on regions in the U.S., on countries where Volunteers have served, and around causes that matter to the Peace Corps community.
Deborah Harding Women of Achievement Award
The Deborah Harding Award honors Peace Corps women whose contributions have made a significant difference in the lives of women and girls in the world.
Nancy Kelly has worked tirelessly for over four decades to help women and girls all over the world. She began her journey in 1979 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Korea, working in maternal and child health, and went on to develop a career in global health. As the executive director of Health Volunteers Overseas since its creation in 1986, she has been the driver behind a program which has enabled thousands of women, children and humans to receive improved, dignified, and compassionate health care — and has allowed thousands of health professionals to receive training and mentorship which otherwise would have been near impossible.
Under her leadership, Health Volunteers Overseas has facilitated over 11,900 volunteer assignments globally. The last five have resulted in, on average, 3,200 health professionals receiving training and mentorship each year — benefiting innumerate women and children both directly and indirectly. In so doing, she is helping to build a global cadre of talented, confident, and inspired women who are committed to advancing global health.
Amy Maglio is the founder and executive director of the Women’s Global Education Project (WGEP) which works with grassroots community partners to educate, empower, and promote equality for women and girls in rural Senegal and Kenya. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, Amy saw firsthand the multiplier effect of girls' education in rural Senegal and how access to education — which was extremely limited for girls, not only increased their own opportunities — but also enabled them to provide for their families and catalyzed wider community change.
Inspired by Khady, her host sister who she assisted in getting an education as well as other girls in her village, Amy started WGEP in 2004, at her dining room table, determined to help girls and women succeed in school and reach their full potential. As director of this Chicago-area NGO, she helped ensure the increase of education opportunities for marginalized girls in rural Kenya and Senegal through innovative programs with grassroots community partners.
This NGO has proved to be tremendously successful and has held a 99% retention rate, reaching over 20,000 girls and young women to date. In 2010, she was invited to present WGEP’s model as a best practice approach to girls’ education at the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative Conference in Dakar, Senegal, and was a drafter of the UN Declaration on Gender Equality.
Kate Raftery Emerging Leader Award
The Kate Raftery Emerging Leader Award is presented annually to a woman with an affiliation to Peace Corps under the age of 35 who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and ongoing commitment to serve women and girls.
Estee Katcoff became aware of gender-based violence as a Peace Corps Volunteer and used this knowledge to lead initiatives preventing it in Paraguay during and after her service. She founded a girls' empowerment club and extended for a third year to continue her work, which included working with the Children's Rights Council of Gender-Based Violence Prevention.
Since then, Estee has piloted a successful youth program, originally called Zero Violencia, which continues now as the Superkids Foundation, working in Paraguay to mobilize children as agents of change in their communities. Seventy percent of the Kid Teachers who have risen to action through Superkids identify as girls and learn the knowledge and skills needed to not only end GBV but work towards equity in their communities, particularly in education.
Estee’s focus has always been on building the capacity of her Peace Corps community to use best practices to effect change, while championing women and girls and always including men and boys in the effort.
Story updated December 28, 2021 to correct spelling
Steven Saum posted an articleThe Women’s Global Education Project receives some important recognition from Twitter CEO see more
Inspired by Peace Corps experience, the Women’s Global Education Project gets a boost from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
By NPCA Staff
Photo: Women’s Global Education Project scholars. Photo courtesy WGEP
Following her Peace Corps service (Senegal 1996–99), Amy Maglio founded the Women’s Global Education Project, a nonprofit organization with a goal of helping young girls across the world. The project launched in 2004. In March 2021, it received a $750,000 grant from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey through his #StartSmall initiative.
“This all really came from my experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal,” Maglio told the Chicago Tribune. “I helped my host sister go to school for the first time. I saw firsthand the impact school can have on a girl’s confidence and her future.”
Founder and scholars: Women’s Global Education Project participants with Amy Maglio, third from right. Photo courtesy WGEP
Learn more about the Women’s Global Education Project here.
Communications Intern posted an articleMeet Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, Janelle Jones, and Jalina Porter see more
First Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the State Department. Chief Economist for U.S. Department of Labor. And Principal Deputy Spokesperson for the State Department.
Photo: Janelle Jones
“We are at a particular time in America, and the world is watching us,” Gina Abercrombie- Winstanley said after being appointed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to her new role. That would be the first-ever chief diversity and inclusion officer for the State Department.
In January at State, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Jalina Porter also set precedent — when she became the first Black woman appointed as principal deputy spokesperson. Returned Volunteer Janelle Jones is breaking ground, too: She's the first Black woman to serve as chief economist for the Department of Labor.
Here's an introduction to all three.
First Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the State Department
Oman | 1980–82
A new post and a new leader for a decades-old problem: Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley was appointed in April as the first-ever chief diversity and inclusion officer for the State Department. She is tasked with leading efforts to ensure that we nurture a diplomatic corps that truly represents this country — and looks like this country — and sheds once and for all the cliche of “pale, male, and Yale.”
This is not the first time that Abercrombie-Winstanley has led the way — and been tested. After serving with the Peace Corps in Oman, she went on to become the first woman to lead a diplomatic mission in Saudi Arabia; she was serving as consul general in Jeddah in 2004 when a suicide bomber detonated a bomb near the consulate, killing nine.
She advised U.S. Cyber Command on diplomatic priorities, and she served as U.S. ambassador to Malta. In December 2020 she gave the keynote address for Peace Corps’ Franklin Williams Awards ceremony. “We are the messengers of what Peace Corps is and can be,” she said, recounting both the opportunities she helped create and the resistance she faced as a Black woman serving in the Peace Corps and in the U.S. Foreign Service. Read more: bit.ly/we-are-peace-corps
Photo of Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley by Mandel Ngan/AP
Chief Economist for U.S. Department of Labor
Peru | 2009–11
Appointed in January, Jones is the first Black woman to serve as chief economist for the Labor Department. Her top goals: create jobs, address inequality — like the fact that the unemployment rate for Black individuals is often double that of whites — and pursue economic recovery that truly benefits everyone. One way to do that is, she says, to pursue economic policies fueled by the sensibility of “Black Women Best” — that is, those that focus on pulling Black women out of recession and into prosperity, because that will mean we’re building an economy that benefits everyone.
Previously, Jones served as an economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. Her research has been cited in The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Economist, Harper’s, and The Review of Black Political Economy. She holds degrees from Spelman College and Illinois State University.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer she worked on small business development; she also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in Sacramento with a grassroots nonprofit focused on community health.
Janelle Jones photo courtesy Economic Policy Institute
Principal Deputy Spokesperson for the State Department
Cambodia | 2009–11
Appointed in January 2021 to serve as deputy spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, Porter is the first Black woman in history to serve in that role. She was formerly communications director for Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA), who was appointed a senior advisor to the Biden administration.
Porter is also a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a 2020 recipient of Peace Corps’ Franklin Williams Award. In her work as a strategic communications advisor, she has focused on peace and security, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Throughout her career, she has advised and trained over 3,000 public and foreign policy professionals, veterans, artists, athletes, politicians, and leading corporate executives. She was named a 2018 top 35 Black American National Security and Foreign Policy Next Generation Leader by New America and a 2019 Foreign Policy Influencer by the Women’s Foreign Policy Group.
She is a member of the inaugural cohort of NPCA's “40 under 40” and previously served on the board of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. as development director. Immediatly prior to her new post, she also served on the advisory council for the community-driven report “Peace Corps Connect to the Future.” She is a proud graduate of Howard University, where she received her bachelor’s degree, and Georgetown University, where she earned her master’s. A former professional dancer, Porter is passionate about the arts, living with intention, and unique storytelling through movement and writing.
Jalina Porter photo courtesy Department of State
Steven Saum posted an articleShe was committed to justice and equality. A film helped the world see her in a new way. see more
She was committed to justice and equality. And a Peace Corps Volunteer helped the world see her in a new way.
By Steven Boyd Saum
Photo of Ruth Ginsburg by Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States
“Ruth obviously changed the country, but she did it by convincing people to agree with her, instead of destroying the people who disagreed with her.”
Those words were spoken two years ago by Daniel Stiepleman — nephew of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court who died yesterday at age 87.
Stiepleman helped the world understand Ginsburg in a deeply personal way: He is author of the screenplay for “On the Basis of Sex,” the biographical film released in 2018 that chronicled both her commitment to justice and gender equality and her marriage to attorney Martin Ginsburg, who died in 2010.
“Ruth obviously changed the country, but she did it by convincing people to agree with her, instead of destroying the people who disagreed with her.”
It was at Martin Ginsburg’s funeral, hearing tributes to his uncle, that Stiepleman understood Marty and Ruth’s life together in a new way. It was also at the funeral that he learned about the one case the couple argued together: Moritz v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, a tax case in an appeals court in 1972.
As the Washington Post summarized the case: “The petitioner, Charles E. Moritz, had been denied a deduction for expenses incurred in caring for his invalid mother — a denial based on the assumption that women, not men, would be their parents’ caregivers in old age.” Marty argued the tax side of things; Ruth argued the gender discrimination side. It was, as a character in the film put it, an “opening salvo in a new civil rights war.”
Stiepleman served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kiribati; it was there that he met fellow Volunteer Jessica Hawley, who worked in public health. And Stiepleman has spoken about how the couple looked to Marty and Ruth as a model for their marriage. Indeed, the associate justice officiated at their wedding in her robes and trademark lace collar. He taught school before embarking on his screenwriting career; she studied medicine and this summer became an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a relative that Stiepleman mostly knew in his youth through family holidays together — Thanksgiving and Passover. “People would be, like, ‘She changed the world!’ and I always found that really confusing,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I’d be, like, ‘Her? Are you sure? She’s so quiet!’”
A story often told is that a year after Marty’s funeral, Stiepleman proposed to Ruth the idea of writing a film about her. Her response? “If that’s how you want to spend your time.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Martin Ginsburg, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
As for Ruth Bader Ginsburg convincing and not destroying: “I love the idea that we could reclaim that sentiment — that we could both try to persuade others and be open to persuasion ourselves,” Stieplemen has said. “As opposed to thinking we know all the answers and we have to destroy anyone who disagrees with us. That ideal is what Ruth reveres about the court and the Constitution.”
And as for discrimination, in a year in which we mark the centennial of the 19th amendment coming into law, it bears quoting from one of Ginsburg’s opinions for the Supreme Court. Let’s take a 1996 decision that required the Virginia Military Institute to admit women: “Through a century plus three decades and more … women did not count among voters composing ‘We the People’; not until 1920 did women gain a constitutional right to the franchise. And for a half century thereafter, it remained the prevailing doctrine that government, both federal and state, could withhold from women opportunities accorded men so long as any ‘basis in reason’ could be conceived for the discrimination.”
We honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s commitment to justice and equality. And we in the Peace Corps community share our deepest condolences for her family in this time of sorrow.
Steven Boyd Saum is the editor of WorldView magazine and director of strategic communications for National Peace Corps Association.
Ana Victoria Cruz posted an articleRecognize International Women's Day by getting involved with a women-led organization. see more
Since its formation in 1961, the Peace Corps has advanced the empowerment of women as a pillar of development, recognizing that expanding opportunities for women can transform their futures and the futures of their families. As part of this initiative, Peace Corps has committed to raising $1 million per year through 2025 from private donors supporting Community Economic Development, Agriculture, and Education projects.
NPCA's affiliate group Women of Peace Corps Legacy invites you to recognize International Women's Day by getting involved with a women-led organization. Here are their recommendations:
- Windows of Peace: This non-profit uses communications and media to asses conflict and is a channel for youth to become involved in peace communications. Specifically, the organization focuses on gathering people together to discuss the Israeli-Palestine conflict from both sides. They have many internship opportunities and other ways to get involved. To learn more about their mission or to talk to a representative, contact Women of Peace.
- Community Family Life Services: This organization specializes in providing families the tools and resources they need to move out of poverty and homelessness. They also support women who are transitioning out of the prison system to help them establish permanent self-sufficiency. Visit the Community Family Life Services website to learn more and get involved.
- Khwendo Kor: Khwendo Kor, which means “sister’s home,” is a non-partisan organization that helps women take steps to better themselves and their families. They focus on addressing civil rights issues in regard to women. To learn more, please visit their website.
- Taxpayers for Public Safety: This organization supports women in their transition from incarceration. They are based in San Francisco, CA. To learn more about the organization and how to become involved, please contact Roma Guy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about International Women's Day, you can visit the United Nations website.
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