Partnering for Peace - Friends of Peace Corps and Rotary posted an articleStrengthening The Connection Between Peace Corps Volunteers And Rotary Members see more
I felt right at home when my wife Ligia and I arrived at the impressive University of Denver campus to participate in the Partnering for Peace workshop, hosted by District 5450 as a precursor to Peace Corps’ annual alumni conference. The forces that shaped my life would be at this conclave, whose theme was Partnering for Peace: Taking Collaborations to New Heights. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), alumni of the Peace Corps international service program, and Rotarians are my kind of people.
Over 85 Rotarian Returned Peace Corps Volunteers gathered at our workshop to discuss how to better support the communities we serve through local and international service projects. Several project leaders presented on their joint initiatives made possible through collaborations between clubs and nearby Peace Corps Volunteers: establishing a computer lab in Honduras and Senegal, transporting medical equipment to Kenya, equipping a community with access to clean water in Burkina Faso, and a joint effort to identify school needs and help fill gaps with literacy resources in Costa Rica.
Attendees broke up into small groups for the final session to discuss strategies for:
- Rotary clubs and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to find one another and work together to enhance community and international service projects.
- Identifying and promoting projects to help others learn from successful partnerships.
- Sharing inspirational stories of joint projects to encourage members of both organizations to explore local collaboration opportunities.
- Identifying the many different ways clubs and current and returned Peace Corps volunteers work together.
To conclude the workshop, District 5450’s Governor Abbas Rajabi shared his story of being taught by a Peace Corps volunteer in his home country of Iran, which inspired him to continue servicing others.
The District 5450 Peace Corps Alliance Committee, focused on connecting local Rotarian RPCVs, formed Partnering for Peace to engage Rotarian RPCVs all around the globe. Partnering for Peace is a group of Rotarians and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers working to build partnerships to create sustainable projects locally and around the world in order to promote peace.
The workshop was our first big step in connecting Rotarian RPCVs and inspiring action. We’ll continue facilitating introductions and promoting resources to help clubs and Peace Corps volunteers and alumni work together more closely in the communities most in need of our support. We are also eager to guide clubs and RPCVs on how to plan and implement joint service activities either locally or internationally.
It’s exciting to see the Rotary-Peace Corps partnership continue to grow with the involvement of more RPCVs and we concluded the workshop energized and excited to continue working together with members of both organizations. I describe my own journey with Rotary and the Peace Corps in my new book, Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond, but the formation of Partnering for Peace will take that trek for me and many other Rotarians and RPCVs to an entirely new level.
~Mark D. Walker, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Guatemala (1971-1973)
Partnering for Peace - Friends of Peace Corps and Rotary posted an articleRotary And Peace Corps Expand Partnership see more
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 4, 2015 – Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Saturday at the Rotary District 5450 Conference in Keystone, Colorado, to expand the organizations’ partnership to Peace Corps posts worldwide. The global MOU comes a year after the two organizations agreed to explore initial collaboration in the Philippines, Thailand and Togo. “The Peace Corps is thrilled to build on our work with Rotary, which has already yielded tremendous success in our first year of formal collaboration,” Hessler-Radelet said. “This MOU reaffirms our joint dedication to inspiring volunteerism across the country and around the world.” Under the agreement, Rotary and Peace Corps can explore opportunities to collaboratively boost the impact of development programs across the globe. Rotary clubs will be able to support community-initiated Peace Corps volunteer projects through the Peace Corps Partnership Program. The MOU also encourages Peace Corps volunteers and Rotary clubs to expand connections already in place. Since the organizations’ initial collaboration last year, the Peace Corps and Rotary have garnered thousands of dollars to support volunteer projects across the three pilot countries, including a clean water initiative in Togo, a book distribution project in Thailand and the construction of latrines and a learning center for students with disabilities in the Philippines. Peace Corps and Rotary programs overlap in more than 60 countries, and many returned Peace Corps volunteers join Rotary clubs. Both organizations have rich histories of promoting peace and friendship between cultures and undertaking sustainable development activities to help communities in need throughout the world.