The May 4 Expo, a joint venture sponsored by Peace Corps, the National Peace Corps Association, and SEAPAX, drew a crowd of over 400 to Seattle Pacific University, despite the rare warm sunny day. Attendees were about evenly divided between RPCVs and those interested in learning about joining Peace Corps, and represented a good 50-year age span. Many of those interested in PC service were from the boomer generation. RPCVs included those who had served in every continent of the world, from some who had been in the very first programs, to those returned only a few months or weeks ago.
A keynote address was given by Lawrence Kent (Mauritania 1985-87) who is now Senior Program Officer for Agricultural Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with shorter presentations by NPCS President Kevin Quigley (Thailand 1976-79), SEAPAX President Jennifer Samnick (Togo 2002-04), and Cameron Quinn, Peace Corps Director, Office of Domestic Programs (for PC Response, formerly Crisis Corps).
The program included the following interactive breakout sessions:
- The Peace Corps – Challenge Yourself at Any Age
- The Peace Corps Experience – Shaping Lives and Careers
- Fulfilling the Peace Corps “Third Goal” on a National Stage
The Open House portion of the program offered attendees opportunities to speak one-on-one with members of the sponsoring groups and with representatives of more than as a dozen community organizations that hosted information tables. Exhibitors were from a broad range of NGOs, both large and small, local and international, involved in education, healthcare, environmental, community development and other vital work.
Many attendees commented that they valued this unique opportunity to share experiences with other RPCVs, help some newly returned folks deal with reverse culture shock, as well as to learn more about the PC community and SEAPAX. We heard numerous comments that some had never before known that there were RPCV organizations.
Special thanks are due to Anne Baker of the NPCA, to Jennifer Samnick and Joana Ramos of SEAPAX, who devoted countless hours over several months to organize the May 3-4 Expo weekend, and to the entire SEAPAX team of volunteers who made this event a success.
Photos from the Expo may be viewed on the NPCA website.