Dear Friends of Colombia,
This fall FOC was presented with the opportunity to participate in the opening celebration of the magnificent new addition to the Kennedy Center named The Reach. Peace Corps was highlighted on the last day of the multi-day celebration. Our day featured the premiere of the documentary “A Towering Task”, a video history of the Peace Corps directed by RPCV Alana DeJoseph. A large exhibition space was dedicated to displays of Peace Corps activities in various countries, including Colombia. FOC board member Pat Wand had the monumental task of coordinating all of the exhibits. The Colombia exhibit featured a children’s hands-on activity based featuring the biodiversity of Colombia.
In addition, FOC made a one- hour presentation in the Justice Forum auditorium entitled “Once a Volunteer…..Always a Volunteer”. RPCV speakers related the history of Peace Corps in Colombia, tracing our first 20 years of work and our return to the country 30 years later. We discussed how the Cartagena Conference in 20008, organized by Friends of Colombia (FOC), was instrumental in making that return possible. Finally, we presented an update of Peace Corps in Colombia today, featuring the various projects FOC members have initiated and FOC has supported. I wish to thank Jeremy Booth and Carmen Galvis for designing and producing the children’s activity, and Darrel Young, Michael Band, Maureen Orth and Helene Dudley for presenting at the Justice Forum. This newsletter features excerpts from their presentations as well as profiles of our exhibit and the video. In addition, I would like to thank the many volunteers who assisted with the programming.
Finally, the annual Peace Corps Connect conference was held in Austin, Texas in August. Thank you to Terry Adcock and Cutter Ullhorn for organizing a gathering of Colombia RPCVs and a nostalgic dinner at Casa Colombia.
Matthew Carlson, Country Director for Colombia, is eager to work with FOC to establish a connection to current PCVs in the field. We expect to be able to enhance our Colombia II membership and their participation in FOC as they return to the States. You can help reach out to RPCVs who might not be members at this time and suggest they go to our website, friendsofcolombia.org and join. In addition, anyone with an interest in Colombia and especially Colombian nationals are encouraged to join. Through our projects we are able to continue to assist in areas of need and maintain our connection to the people of Colombia.
Watch for a letter from FOC which will recap our projects and present a future direction for Friends of Colombia.
Wishing all of you warmth and joy as we move into the holiday season.
Arleen Stewart Cheston
President, Friends of Colombia