RE: [ujeni] Yahoo! News Story - Peace Corps Aims to Expand in Arab World
- This is a great idea! It's just as good an idea as the RPCV's Op-Ed in the
New York Times a couple of years ago--proposing that Peace Corps go to Iraq
to help rebuild. Just think of the difference they would have made, and PC
is needed now more than ever since CARE and MSF have pulled out.
Privatizing Social Security is a great idea too. Especially for someone like
me who will contribute the maximum amount, and wisely save and invest it;
I'm sure all other Americans will too.
Health Care savings accounts are a great idea for the same reasons. For
Americans like me who maximize my pre-tax retirement savings, this will be
another great vehicle to avoid taxes and accrue wealth for a rainy medical
Not that I need to avoid taxes... I don't pay them. Bush stood up for me on
that issue a couple of years ago when the Senate tried to revoke the
Overseas exemption. Tax dollars are even indirectly paying me now with all
the Bush AIDS money.
Bush policies seem to benefit me now that I've started to finally accumulate
savings and wealth. This is great.
Thanks Red states!
From: Yahoo! News [mailto:mcnurty@...]
Sent: Friday, November 05, 2004 6:23 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: [ujeni] Yahoo! News Story - Peace Corps Aims to Expand in Arab
Middle East - AP
Peace Corps Aims to Expand in Arab World
Thu Nov 4, 7:04 PM ET Middle East - AP
By APARNA H. KUMAR, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - When Jennifer Peterson joined the Peace Corps in 2000, she
wanted to go to the Middle East. That left her with just one option -
Jordan, where she spent two years teaching English to girls.
At a time when the United States is striving to fight growing
anti-Americanism around the world, the Peace Corps is trying to expand its
reach into other Muslim countries. Right now, Jordan remains its only
outpost in the Middle East.
The reasons: Many countries in the region are wealthy and don't need
assistance. Most Middle Eastern countries have not asked for volunteers,
whether through pride or for political reasons. And then there are security
"If there ever was a time that we needed to advance the ideal of peace and
friendship (and promote) an understanding of Americans, that time is now,"
Peace Corps director Gaddi Vasquez said recently.
By tradition, the Peace Corps will only go where it is invited. So for now,
its presence in the Muslim world is limited to North and West African
countries and to Central Asian nations that were once part of the Soviet
Union. In South Asia, Peace Corps volunteers serve in Bangladesh. In Eastern
Europe they serve in Albania.
All told, some 20 percent of Peace Corps volunteers are serving in 18
predominantly Muslim countries, which the organization defines as having a
population that is at least 40 percent Muslim. Currently, 39 volunteers are
serving in Jordan
The Peace Corps has grown to its largest size in 28 years, with 7,533
volunteers working in 71 countries. Volunteers are given intensive language
training and work in areas such as health, education, HIV (news - web
sites)/AIDS (news - web sites) prevention, information technology, the
environment, agriculture and youth development.
Still, demand for Peace Corps volunteers is at an all-time high, according
to Vasquez. Twelve other predominantly Muslim countries - though none in the
Mideast - are on a waiting list to become Peace Corps hosts: Afghanistan
(news - web sites), Pakistan, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Djibouti,
Nigeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Tajikistan, Comoros and Sierra Leone.
Indonesia has also recently expressed an interest to host volunteers.
"These countries, I believe, want to better understand America, and
volunteers want to better understand their host countries," Vasquez said.
Mohammed Naser, a Jordanian who trained Peace Corps volunteers between 2001
and 2003, said the program helped Jordanians and Americans overcome not just
cultural barriers, but political ones.
He wonders why the Peace Corps hasn't gone knocking on more doors in the
region, especially in areas where international non-governmental
organizations and the U.S. Agency for International Development are already
"As long as there is a service to be provided to the host country and the
Peace Corps is providing it, I don't see why the average Syrian would say
no," Naser said.
Some of the reluctance may come from the American side. Despite its
eagerness to expand, the Peace Corps' overriding concern must be the safety
of its volunteers. Many of the countries where fundamentalism and
anti-Americanism are most rampant are considered too dangerous.
"The Peace Corps has done more than any single element of American foreign
policy in changing the way the world looks at the United States," said
Robert Pastor, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia and the current
vice president of international relations at American University in
But he cautioned that while expanding the Peace Corps "would help the United
States tremendously, there are also dangers where terrorism confronts us."
The Peace Corps has been forced to constantly evaluate security conditions
in its host countries, and at times, pull back its volunteers.
Volunteers returned to Morocco last May after the organization suspended its
program there in April 2003 to wait out reverberations from the Iraq (news -
web sites) war - avoiding the country's worst-ever terrorist attack a month
Peterson, 26, could have hardly picked a more interesting time to serve in
"It's an important program," Peterson, 26, said. "Jordan's not the poorest
country in the world, but the opportunity to build relationships and
overcome some people's misperceptions of Americans is greater than in other
On the Net:
Peace Corps: http://www.peacecorps.gov