Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter announced at Tuesday night's President's Forum that his agency has reached a 37-year high in the number of Peace Corps Volunteers serving overseas.
“It is with great pleasure that I am able to visit Hobart and William Smith Colleges on the same day that I announced a record number of Americans are serving as Peace Corps Volunteers around the world,” said Tschetter. The official count for 2007 includes more than 8,000 volunteers serving in 74 countries throughout the world. “We are very proud of our Peace Corps Volunteers’ commitment to helping others in need. The number of volunteers we have in the field today is a reflection of that great American spirit of volunteerism, and of serving one's country through service to others.”
In his introduction, former Peace Corps Director and Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark D. Gearan noted that Tschetter is one of only three directors to have served as a volunteer. Those experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer were, Tschetter later explained, were transformational.
In his speech, Tschetter discussed Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ strong tradition and commitment to the Peace Corps. Currently there are eight alums serving as Peace Corps Volunteers across the world, bringing HWS’ total to 163 graduates who have joined the Peace Corps since the agency was founded in 1961.
In particular, Tschetter mentioned Christina Mancini '03, an HIV-AIDS worker in Thailand; and Jessica Teicher '04, who is among more than 400 volunteers serving in the Ukraine, the country with the largest group of Peace Corps workers in the field.
Tschetter recalled the revolutionary concept of the Peace Corps, and the promise by Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy, campaigning for the presidency in 1960. He went on to stress new recruiting efforts to expand the number of volunteers over the age of 50 as well as plans to send Crisis Corps volunteers to Liberia in 2008.
After the talk, Katharine Collins '09, one of the event's organizers, said she is considering applying to the Peace Corps. “I don't think many people get the opportunity to meet the Director of the Peace Corps. It was an honor to speak with Director Tschetter.”
Tschetter is the second Peace Corps director to speak as part of the President's Forum: Gaddi Vasquez spoke in February 2004.
A Peace Corps recruiter is coming to campus from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8 in Stern 303.