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RE: [ujeni] Yahoo! News Story - Peace Corps Aims to Expand in Arab World

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  • Scott Geibel
    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
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 5, 2004
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      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
      day.

      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!


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Yahoo! News [mailto:mcnurty@...]
      Sent: Friday, November 05, 2004 6:23 PM
      To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com; chidyamakanda@onelist.com
      Subject: [ujeni] Yahoo! News Story - Peace Corps Aims to Expand in Arab
      World

      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
      concerns.
      "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
      active.
      "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
      Washington.
      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
      later.

      Peterson, 26, could have hardly picked a more interesting time to serve in
      Jordan.
      "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
      countries."
      _
      On the Net:
      Peace Corps: http://www.peacecorps.gov
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