Chairwoman Kay Granger Raking Member Nita Lowey
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Subcommittee on State, Foreign
Operations and Related Programs Operations and Related Programs
Room HT 2, The Capitol 1016 Longworth
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member Lowey:
We respectfully request that you appropriate the President's request of $439,600,000 in funding for the Peace Crops in Fiscal Year 2012.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps and, since its inception, the Peace Corps has deployed nearly a quarter million Americans to serve impoverished communities in the name of peace. For just 0.8% of our foreign affairs budget, the Peace Corps is one of our most cost-effective agents of diplomacy and development.
The Peace Corps is unparalleled in scope and impact. Since 1961, Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 139 developing countries around the world, including key priority areas for the United States. More than 40 peace Corps sites help administer the President's Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief (PEPFAR) and nearly 25% of Volunteers serve in a third of all countries considered Muslin. In 2010 alone, the Peace Corps opened programs in Colombia, Sierra Leone, and Indonesia. Currently, 8,655 Volunteers from all 50 states are serving in 77 developing countries.
Yet demand for the Peace Crops far exceeds supply. Over 20 countries have requested Peace Corps Volunteers and still other countries have requested an increase in the number of Volunteers. This past year, 13,500 Americans applied for the Peace Corps, but the agency could only afford to place about 4,500. We believe that $439,600,000 is essential to ensure that the Peace Corps can continue to strengthen all aspects of their operations to meet ever-rising demand in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond.
This March, President Obama honored the Peace Corps' 50th Anniversary with a Presidential Proclamation. In it, he stated that the agency's mission is "more relevant today than ever." We could not agree more. Through war and conflict, Peace Corps Volunteers have shown the world a hopeful side of America that reflects our fundamental ideals of peace and progress. Now more than ever, as the United States confronts harsh scrutiny from the international community, we must support this low-cost, high-return investment in peace.
We appreciate the strong support the Committee has shown the Peace Corps, and we ask that in this milestone year for the agency, you fund the Peace Corps at $439,600,000.