I attended the consecutive AGM and GLF meetings held on October 4, 2008. After introductions of the 40-odd attendees, and the dozen or so folks participating by phone from around the country–a good mix of Country of Service and local RPCV groups–the minutes from last year’s AGM were distributed and then approved as written. Kevin Quigley, the NPCA President, shared highlights of the reports that had been given to the Board on October 3. It was interesting to learn that the NPCA’s finances have been stable for the past year, primarily due to grant funding, as memberships have not increased. Additional grants are being sought for 2009, including from the Chrysler Corporation and from the Gates Foundation, for a specific communications project in Africa.
Each of the other NPCA staff members then gave an update about their respective activities and projects, including a short slide show on the plans for the NPCA “virtual community”, meant to be a web portal for all things RPCV. Its launch is planned before the end of 2008. Also discussed was the topic of planning for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps, to take place in 2011. Discussion is ongoing about national events and/or permanent commemoration in DC. It was for this purpose that the NPCA commissioned the consulting firm Changing Our World to conduct the recent feasibility study and seek ideas from RPCVs on this topic.
The afternoon session was devoted to the Group Leaders Forum led by Ben Bellows, the new GLF Coordinator. In lieu of the planned break-out sessions, an all-group discussion was held, covering briefly a number of topics identified by group leaders from around the country. Many groups shared common concerns about interactions with Peace Corps and/or local PC recruiting offices, as well as dwindling membership and how to engage the new generation of RPCVs in groups. Civic engagement is on the decline in all sectors, and RPCVs too are among those who may no longer feel the need to get involved in groups. Many participants also expressed the need for timely and substantive communications from the NPCA, in support of our collective volunteer positions in our groups.
Minutes from the GLF meeting can be found here.
Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to learn more about the discussions during the AGM and GLF, and how this relates to SEAPAX. And I’d also like to put out to all of you that we should start talking about how we’d like to mark the 50th birthday of Peace Corps here in Seattle.Report by Joana Ramos, SEAPAX Rep to NPCA Annual General Meeting and Group Leaders Forum