April 8, 2013

New Peace Corps Agreements Signed

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Cornell, which has supplied more Peace Corps recruits than any Ivy League school for the past two years and helped Ithaca become the third-largest per capita contributor in the entire world, renewed and expanded its long-standing partnership with the agency Friday morning.

Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet met with University President David Skorton Friday morning to sign two agreements. The first served to renew the University’s existing Master’s International Program, which allows students to count Peace Corps assignment work toward their masters degrees, and the second expanded the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, which grants scholarships to returned Peace Corps volunteers, from the College of Architecture, Art and Planning to include the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The signing, which took place in the Day Hall boardroom, was attended by University and Peace Corps representatives who were “instrumental” in the materialization of the agreements, according to Hessler-Radelet.

President Skorton expressed approval of the “brisk pace of recruitment,” a sentiment echoed by Hessler-Radelet.

“[Cornell] is a very special place,” she said.

The University has had “a strong history of partnership” with the Peace Corps since the organization was founded in 1961, Skorton said. The agreements are the product of an initiative to further develop this relationship between the Peace Corps and the University, according to Skorton.

The University recognized the suitability of the CALS curriculum, which prepares students by equipping them with the skills the host countries need, to the Peace Corps’ mission, according to Skorton.

“Students in CALS learn specific ways to analyze and approach complex agricultural problems in difficult contexts,” said Marshall McCormick grad, the Peace Corps’ Cornell recruiter and returned volunteer from Madagascar and Zambia.

The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program stipulates that, upon return, volunteers continue utilizing the skills they used abroad to contribute to domestic cities in need, according to its website.

“Internships in underserved communities will be an integral part of each recipient’s degree, allowing returned Peace Corps volunteers to bring the skills they acquired during service back home to make an impact in the United States,” Skorton said in a press release.

The program will allow the returning Cornell students to use their skills in their respective fields  to serve the greater Ithaca area, while providing financial assistance for their studies, Skorton said.

Original Author: Talia Jubas