Eastern Mennonite University announces a new partnership with the Peace Corps Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program. The program offers financial assistance and internships to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who intend to continue their dedication to community service while pursuing a master’s degree in conflict transformation or restorative justice at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.
“The Coverdell Fellows Program and CJP were animated by similar commitments to service in the interests of building peace,” said Jayne Docherty, CJP’s executive director. “The Coverdell Program supports former Peace Corps Volunteers who want to continue lives of service. CJP was created by Mennonite Central Committee peace and justice leaders to support and educate others who wanted to dedicate their lives to promoting peace grounded in justice. We are delighted to welcome Coverdell Fellows into our global network of peacebuilders.”
The partnership requires that Coverdell Fellows complete substantive internships related to their program of study in underserved communities in the United States. This application-based learning encourages them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as volunteers.
Mentored internships are a unique feature of CJP’s practice-based curricula and placing RPCVs into the regional community in these settings brings a host of reciprocal benefits, said Amy Knorr, CJP’s peacebuilding practice director.
“This particular group of students will bring the skills and competencies gained during their Peace Corps experience to their work with local organizations,” Knorr said. “These skills in adapting to new cultures, developing and managing projects, dealing with language barriers, and leveraging limited resources are very much needed in our own community. We are delighted to welcome these returned Volunteers as they will continue the legacy of CJP involvement and commitment to our local community.”
Fellows will work with organizations such as Our Community Place, Church World Service Refugee Resettlement, and others, Knorr said.
The Peace Corps created the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program in 1985. The first Fellows program was at Teachers College, Columbia University and the Peace Corps now partners with more than 213 institutions of higher education across the country.
“Thirty-five years and more than 5,000 participants later, Coverdell Fellows programs at schools across the United States continue to provide returned Volunteers affordable access to graduate education, while also creating amazing opportunities to apply the knowledge and skills they’ve garnered during service toward improving local communities,” said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “These are incredibly meaningful avenues for returned Volunteers to continue serving in the spirit of the Peace Corps.”