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

Virtual Happy Hours with Peace Corps Colombia Cohorts

This March, all Peace Corps Colombia volunteers were evacuated and forced to return to the United States. FOC helped welcome the 96 evacuated Colombia Peace Corps volunteers by hosting a virtual happy hour. In total, 45 people joined the Zoom call. Attendees ranged from Peace Corps volunteers that served in the 1960s-1970s, 2010s, recently evacuated PCVs, and NPCA staff.  In addition to reminiscing about parties on patios in plastic chairs and exchanging stories about working and living in Colombia, we were able to hold a productive conversation concerning the immediate needs of evacuated volunteers and how FOC could help assist [...]

FOC Mentorship Testimonials from 2020

In an effort to provide support to the 96 Peace Corps Colombia evacuees and other recently returned volunteers, Friends of Colombia started a Mentorship Program. FOC mentors offered their mentees job search assistance along with emotional and transitional support.     In the program’s inaugural year, FOC paired 32 mentees with 45 mentors. All Mentorship Program participants benefited from the strength of a broader network, the experiences of others, and the power of connection.     Testimonials: Hearing firsthand from FOC’s Mentors and Mentees    Mentor: Constance Ray, PC Colombia 2012-2014  “I very much enjoyed my experience as a mentor; however, it [...]

Meet FOC’s Communications Intern Laura Leiva Vargas

Laura, can you tell us a bit about yourself?  My name is Laura Leiva Vargas. I am from Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. I studied communications at Universidad de Cartagena, and I graduated in June, 2020. During college, I had the opportunity to do a one year exchange at Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, a Spanish university. There, I worked in radio, media and journalism. Right now I'm working with the department of communications in the environmental office of the city (Establecimiento público ambiental - EPA), and I am an intern for Friends of Colombia. What is your connection to Peace Corps [...]

Read our 2020 Annual Report

Please enjoy reading  Friends of Colombia's 2020 Annual Report and reflect on what your support has allowed FOC to accomplish this year! For those still thinking about making an end of year donation it's not too late to help us reach our fundraising goal of $13,000. Your tax deductible contribution will allow us to continue our work in 2021.    

Career Panel Speaker Series

Thanks to all of our speakers and attendees that participated in our Career Panel Speaker Series! We kicked off our first panel on April 9, which focused on Careers in the Federal Government. Regina Ernst (2013-2015) gave a great overview of how human resources, NCE, and USAJobs works. Mike Deloge (2011-2014) spoke about his role at the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. And Andrea Doyle (2012-2014) was able to speak about her job at Peace Corps and new role at the General Services Administration.   Our second panel on April 25 focused on a diverse array of careers available in the [...]

Support FOC by Purchasing a Book!

Earl Kessler, Former Peace Corps Volunteer (1965-1968) and current FOC member, wrote an informative and engaging book about the development of Puerto Badel, a rural town outside of Cartagena, when he was a Peace Corps volunteer. The book "Letters from Alfonso: Learning to Listen" tells the story of construction, development projects, and slum improvement when residents of a Colombian town, wiped out by flood, took the future into their own hands. Earl's life intersected with that of community leader, Alfonso Perez Correa. Working with Alfonso, Earl learned lessons in local participation and empowerment that have helped bring success in meeting [...]

Ensuring the Future of the Peace Corps Op-Ed

by Jerry Norris   In a March 15 open letter to Volunteers worldwide, Peace Corps Director Jody Olson wrote: we are acting to safeguard your well-being and prevent a situation where Volunteers are unable to leave their host countries.    Unfortunately, several U.S. media outlets interpreted that the intent of her letter was to also fire the Volunteers. Returning Volunteers suddenly found themselves without paid leave, with health insurance for only two months, and ineligible for unemployment benefits. For some of those returning from countries with no  coronavirus cases to U.S. hot spots in New York and California, their sudden [...]

PC Colombia Volunteers evacuated due to COVID-19 pandemic

The return of all Peace Corps Volunteers to the United States is heartbreaking to witness, however Friends of Colombia is particularly devastated to know that the countless positive relationships the PCVs formed in Colombia have been unceremoniously interrupted. In this challenging moment, FOC wanted to reassure the 96 volunteers who had to leave Colombia early know that they will always be welcome back. We expressed this idea directly to Colombian Ambassador to the United States Francisco Santos, and, in the true Colombian nature, Ambassador Santos recorded a message of gratitude and open arms. “What you give back Colombia, we appreciate [...]

Long-Time FOC Member Pat Wand Wins 2019 Peace Corps Champion Award!

By Michael Band (CII-3 2011-2014) and Pat Wand (C-8 1963-1965)  Each year the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. (RPCV/W) organization honors someone whose work has made a great impact on the Peace Corps and its community by presenting them with the Peace Corps Champion Award. The 2019 Peace Corps Champion was none other than long-time FOC member, Pat Wand! Upon accepting the award, Pat shared some of her thoughts about Peace Corps past and future, "When PC started nearly 60 years ago, many people said it couldn’t succeed; it was a risky, dangerous undertaking for the U.S. to [...]

Help Send the Marina Orth Foundation’s Rural Robotics Champs to Estonia

Please help the Marina Orth Foundation’s rural robotics champs, from El Carmen de Viboral outside Medellin, Colombia, travel to Tallinn, Estonia, to participate in the 2019 International Robotex Competition from November 26 to December 3. In only their first year in our robotics program, these great rural public school kids won second place against 19 private schools to qualify at Robotex Latam. This was their first competition! To learn more about the team and donate to this wonderful program please visit: 

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