First off I would like to say that this website is in no way affiliated with the United States Peace Corps.

As a returned Peace Corps volunteer who recently watched the ABC News 20/20 special on the United States Peace Corps, It is my personal opinion that the negative characterization of the Peace Corps is extremely biased and misleading. It is reprehensible and disgusting journalism. ABC News 20/20 should be ashamed for airing such a misinformed segment under the guise of investigative journalism.

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I spent over 2 years serving as a volunteer in the Peace Corps.

As with most any organization I have been involved with I believe there are things that could be improved, but there are no oversights as great as the ABC News 20/20 segment indicates. In my experience and in the experience of every volunteer I have met the safety and security of the volunteers is the greatest priority of the Peace Corps. It must be understood, however, that in the Peace Corps, just as in life, one cannot have constant supervision and that one needs to exercise their own sound judgment. It is not fair to blame the Peace Corps for the actions of a few psychologically disturbed local residents, and it’s very upsetting that ABC News thinks that it is. The Peace Corps has always been and always will be a voluntary organization, any volunteer is free to leave or ask for a re-assignment at any time, and for any reason. I have personally known several volunteers that changed their assigned sites within country or left the Peace Corps all together. Only in one case have I known a volunteer that requested for a reassignment for personal reasons, and that request was immediately granted. Out of all the challenges that Peace Corps volunteers face during there service safety and security are definitely not common concerns.

In following ABC News logic, I expect a full 20/20 segment exposing the inadequacies of ABC safety and security protocols the next time an ABC News employee is mugged at 2am in an IHOP parking lot. If they don’t report on this, it is most certainly a cover up.

I am very disappointed at ABC News 20/20 for soiling the name of what I believe to be the best and most altruistic government program for cheap ratings.

It is by no means my intention to say that the Peace Corps is beyond reproach, but the segment ABC News 20/20 aired is overwhelmingly  biased and sensational. In my eyes they have soiled the reputation of their network more then they could ever hurt the Institution of the Peace Corps.

I loved serving in the Peace Corps, as did every Volunteer I know. It was rewarding for me and for the community I served in more ways than I could ever express. Just like everything worthwhile it is not without its challenges and it is not for everyone, and I encourage everyone to consider taking the road less travelled, it is the road that leads.

The ability to make decisions for ourselves is the greatest power we can ever have, and I truly hope that those considering joining the Peace Corps will use that power unhindered by the ramblings of silly men.

mike (mike@peacecorps.us)

RPCV KAZ 12

p.s. ABC News 20/20 you should donate the proceeds from that program (as well as any residuals), to the many great projects that volunteers are running around the world. Here's a link for your convenience: http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate. And you need to apologize.

I invite you to review other peoples opinions on this issue. The forums listed below (in no particular order) are gathering places for returned and active Peace Corps volunteers.

http://www.asianpolyglot.com/2011/01/reaction-to-abc-2020-peace-corps-report/

http://scatteringthemorningdew.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/food-for-thought-abc%E2%80%99s-2020-and-the-peace-corps%E2%80%A6-looking-at-all-sides-of-the-picture/

http://firstresponseaction.blogspot.com/2011/01/peace-corps-response-to-abc-news-2020.html

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=593210

http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/babbles/2011/01/07/abc-news-2020-focus-is-on-sexual-assault-rape-and-kate-puzey-all-about-life-in-the-peace-corps/

http://kyrgycarl.com/2011/01/15/re-2020-safety-and-security-peace-corps-kyrgyzstan/

Official Peace Corps response http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/media/2020_response.pdf

Please note everything expressed above is my own opinion and in no way represents the opinion of the United States Peace Corps or any other organization.