Jenna Smith is very excited to be joining the RPCV/W board as the Special Events Director because it combines two of her greatest passions: event planning and being an active member of the international community. She has been lucky to find many opportunities to exercise these passions through the Peace Corps Community: first as a Health Volunteer in Madagascar from 2015-2017, then as a member of the Northern California Peace Corps Association Board in 2018, and finally, as the Event Manager for National Peace Corps Association's annual conference, Peace Corps Connect 2019 in Austin, Texas. In the past 6-7 years, she has traveled extensively, lived in Paris, France, and New Zealand, and attended, volunteered at, and planned events around the world. Last summer, she drove across the United States from her home near San Francisco, California and started her dream job-- managing the events and a massive academic conference for the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, here in Washington DC. When she isn't planning events, she can be found wandering the streets or hiking trails, writing ridiculous songs, or driving however far it takes to get to the closest oceanic coast because she didn't realize how landlocked DC is. But it's okay, DC is a great city and everything else makes up for it-- especially the RPCVs that are every 10 feet in any direction.
Maggie Liu served as a Youth and Community Development Peace Corps Volunteer on the island of Nevis of St. Kitts & Nevis 2009 – 2011. She serves as the 2020 Knowledge Management Director, a brand new role she’s excited to grow! Born in Taiwan and raised in southern California, Maggie came to D.C. for her dream job, at the UN Foundation, empowering girls around the world to be advocates for themselves and others. This California girl has also studied/worked in Illinois, Missouri, New York, China, and Tanzania. She is passionate about giving back to her community and exploring new places (includes eating and drinking). In addition to kicking butt on the 2020 Board, her goals also include fixing and riding a beaten, hand-me-down bike, getting her motorcycle license, and possibly throwing down for a motorcycle!! Don't be shy, say "HI!"
Hey there! I'm RPCV/W's 2020 President, Charlotte Stein. I’m so excited to lead our wonderful organization this year and to make it more responsive, inclusive and helpful than ever before. I hail from Madison, Wisconsin, so naturally, I have very strong opinions about cheese and beer. I had the pleasure of spending my Peace Corps service working with youth in Southeastern Morocco, from 2012-2014. My favorite activity during my Peace Corps service was writing and piloting a comprehensive Model UN curriculum that’s now used nationally!
Do you want to apply your talents to the growth of a membership organization? Do you want to be part of a community that embodies the spirit of Peace Corps? Do you want to be challenged, learn a ton of stuff, have a lot of fun, and make a significant impact? Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. (RPCV/W), a nonprofit organization, is looking for stellar leaders to take on volunteer roles on committees and its board of directors. This is a great opportunity for someone who wants not just a volunteer activity, but a long-term opportunity to empower the RPCV community, support returning volunteers, and build a network with volunteers from the last six decades.
This June, the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC (RPCV/W) hosted its third career panel of the year, featuring many accomplished women in leadership roles. The event was well-attended and provided many critical insights for RPCVs seeking leadership positions. RPCV/W invites you to our next career panel, focusing on the nonprofit sector, on Tuesday, August 20. Not sure what to expect from the event? Read on!
Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) Peace Corps Connect Conference in Austin, Texas. This year’s theme was “Innovation for Good.” I definitely got a sense of this as I seized this wonderful opportunity to meet Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) from across the country. The two-day agenda was packed with impressive speakers and panels, shared dinners and interesting volunteer opportunities.
It was not until I started settling in Porto-Novo, Benin, in my host family’s home, that I felt I may be living in the homeland of my direct ancestors. Before I arrived in Benin, I told no one that my father was Nigerian; he was in fact from the Yoruba tribe that also resided in Porto-Novo. My host family (who were also Yoruba) were very kind to me, it was clear to me they had hosted other African American volunteers. But it wasn’t until I began to tell them my middle name, my sister's and brother’s names, that I made a solid connection. We all had Nigerian middle names. These were the only things of substance our father left us after his death during our early childhood.
This May, RPCV/W’s professional development committee partnered with RPCVs of the State Department to host a panel focused on international development careers. Five returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) from USAID and the State Department, with a wide range of career trajectory and length, times in service, and backgrounds participated on the panel. The panelists came with diverse perspectives on the work that civil servants do in their respective agencies and shared the varied paths that led to their current roles. They were also quite open about the challenges they faced in such a competitive workforce. Below are insights shared by each of the panelists. Please join us for the next RPCV/W Career Panel, on June 11, focused on female leaders!
Dear RPCV/W Community, Below is a statement that our board, as representatives of our DC-based RPCV community, issued in response to an incident that occurred at a venue near Peace Corps HQ. This venue often hosts RPCVs and RPCV/W events. The incident (which is described in the letter below) was brought to our attention by RPCVs and Peace Corps employees who were at the bar for "karaoke night." The full letter is available here. Date: April 30, 2019 To: Mohammad Haji, Owner and General Manager, Recessions Bar and Grill Dear Mohammad Haji, Recessions Bar and Grill has served as an important space for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) from our community to gather for many years. This history laid groundwork for formalizing a relationship and partnership this year between your business and our organization, the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC (RPCV/W).
We celebrated Earth Day last week and will continue to care for our planet throughout the year. Check out what Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC (RPCV/W) member Sam Gullion has shared about our responsibilities to care for Earth and how you can help out through RPCV/W! As you may know, this is the only planet that human beings will inhabit during our lifetime (barring some intense technological advancements just short of a miracle). You can understand why it is important for us to care for our planet and have a holiday dedicated to remembering how important the planet is. As Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), it is probably also easy to see how the poor choices of the past directly impact the lives of people around the world today. Enter, climate change—the effects of which many of us saw in our host communities.