News & Events

News & Events2021-04-10T06:16:50+00:00

2023 President’s Letter

Dear Friends of Colombia Members and Supporters, As we approach the end of another remarkable year, we find ourselves reflecting on the incredible journey we've shared as part of Friends of Colombia. Your steadfast support has been the driving force behind our ability to make a positive impact in the lives of individuals and communities in Colombia. In 2023, Friends of Colombia continued its commitment to fostering development, empowering local communities, and promoting youth education. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to provide funding to five inspiring organizations across Colombia through our small grants competition. These organizations are at

FOC awards five small grants in 2023!

FOC is pleased to announce that we awarded five grants, totaling $9,615 USD to inspiring Colombian community-based groups. Congratulations to our grant competition winners! Learn more about each winner and their projects below. 2023 FOC Small Grant Project Winners Repurpose-IT.ORG Valle de Cuaca  $2,000 USD This grant involved training teachers in technology in rural Wounaan (indigenous group) communities. PROEDUPAZ Suán, Atlántico $1,880 USD PROEDUPAZ used FOC grant funds to teach disadvantaged rural farmers new sustainable agricultural practices. Guardabosques de la Sierra Santa Marta, Magdalena $2,410 USD With FOC grant funds, the association of small cacao farmers in the Sierra Nevada

FOC Mourns Loss of Board Member Pat Wand

It was with great sadness that we announced the passing of Patricia A. Wand, RPCV Colombia (1962-1965, Group 8, Buesaco, Nariño) and Friends of Colombia Board Member in 2023.   Pat's passing is a tragic loss to Friends of Colombia and the wider community. She was a beloved individual who touched the lives of so many with her kindness, generosity, and unwavering commitment to the Peace Corps mission. In addition to serving as a board member for Friends of Colombia, Pat was also NPCA board director from 2005 to 2013 and a founding member and President of the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience. Pat Wand was

FOC awards five small grants in 2022!

FOC is pleased to announce that we awarded five grants, totaling $7,500 USD to inspiring Colombian community-based groups. Congratulations to our grant competition winners! Learn more about each winner and their projects below. Additional photos along with further detailed descriptions of each project will be in FOC’s 2022 Annual Report, which will be published in December. 2022 FOC Small Grant Project Winners Fun Tayrona Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Magdalena $1,500 USD Train indigenous Wiwa women in the ancestral practice of harvesting color dye for use in mochila textiles. The Stories of Love Movement Maria La Baja, Bolívar $1,500 USD

Celebrating 200 years of US-Colombia relations at the Kennedy Center

In June 2022, Colombia and the US celebrated the 200 year anniversary of both countries working together. The Colombian Embassy in DC hosted an event at the John F. Kennedy Center and Alexandra Tracy, Colombia RPCV (2016-2018) and dual US-Colombian citizen, was invited to dance at the event. Below is her account of the night: "As an empath and an energy worker, I have not shared enough about my experiences with energy while entertaining/dancing, but I have to this time. It’s fascinating to me to dissect the term 'star struck,' the excited feelings that surge after meeting a celebrity but

Peace Corps Volunteers Return to Colombia

Volunteers have arrived in Colombia for the first time in over two years! While volunteers will continue to serve in the Education and Community Economic Development sectors, there will also be a focus on working alongside our partner communities as they address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In July 2022, the seventeen volunteers completed pre-service training and were sworn in. They will continue to serve in the Caribbean region as well as new sites in the Department of Boyacá. Stay tuned to follow their journey with us! (from the Peace Corps Colombia Facebook page)  

Maureen Orth Receives Colombian Citizenship

Maureen Orth received Colombian citizenship from President Duque in recognition of the work of the Marina Orth Foundation, a longtime FOC partner. Maureen says the celebration at the Ambassador's Residence was "the most beautiful and overwhelming night. It was my great honor to accept Colombian citizenship in the name of all Colombia Peace Corps Volunteers. The Peace Corps in Colombia is an important piece of our two hundred years of bilateral relations.” From the Colombian Embassy: As part of the celebration of the 200-year of history of the relationship between Colombia and the United States, high-level audiences in Washington have

2021 President’s Letter & Annual Report

Dear Friends of Colombia,  I never could have imagined a global pandemic dramatically changing our daily lives and impacting our partners and friends in nuestra querida Colombia when I became FOC President in 2020. COVID-19 reached the most remote corners of Colombia, disproportionately impacting those living in poverty. Over 125,000 people lost their lives from COVID in Colombia, and at least 1.45 million Colombians have fallen into poverty during the pandemic.   Despite the immense challenges—fueled as always by our mission to support community-based projects and organizations committed to the peace and prosperity of Colombia—we pushed forward and increased our impact

2021 Social Events: 60th Anniversary, Embassy Visits & More!

Celebrating 60 Years of Peace Corps Colombia Group 1 June 25, 2021 marked the 60th anniversary of the first Peace Corps group to begin pre-service training, our very own Colombia I cohort. To celebrate this anniversary, FOC provided a free online screening of A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps and hosted a panel discussion with:  Tom Mullins, Peace Corps Colombia I group member Alana DeJoseph, Film Director, A Towering Task Matthew Carlson, Country Director, Peace Corps Colombia Daniel Avila-Camacho, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Colombia in the U.S. A recording of the event is available here.

Cooking with Care Returns – Increasing Community Consciousness of Environmental Care

Over the past several decades, human activity has led to progressive environmental deterioration in the Sinú River Basin. Overfishing, the drying of swamps, and hydroelectric projects are just a few of the activities disrupting the river’s natural flow. On top of this, there is little environmental consciousness in the area that could lead to community mitigation efforts. While large-scale climate change trends are more difficult to overcome, localized mitigation actions can be executed through increased awareness of caring for natural resources. Specifically environmental education among children, starting in the early years, equips local populations with the awareness, knowledge, interest and

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