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50TH Anniversary Gathering Spotlights Critical Peace Corps Needs

University of Cincinnati College of Law alumni and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) Julie Galbraith from San Diego County, California and Sue Tatten from Strafford County, New Hampshire are back home following the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Peace Corps in Washington, DC. Ms. Galbraith, who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in Lesotho, and Ms. Tatten who served as a PCV, Trainer, and Associate Peace Corps Director in Botswana, participated in a Day of Advocacy on Capitol Hill on September 22, fifty years after the final congressional passage and signing of the Peace Corps Act of 1961. Since 1961, more than 200,000 citizens have served as Peace Corps volunteers in nearly 140 different countries.

The two UC College of Law grads went to the Nation’s Capital with a message: Support legislation to honor and strengthen the Peace Corps’ mission of promoting peace and friendship around the world. Ms. Galbraith met with Senator Barbara Boxer and the staff of Senator Diane Feinstein, and Representatives Brian Bilbray, Janice Hahn, Duncan Hunter, Karen Bass, and Bob Filner. Ms. Tatten met with Senator Kelly Ayotte, and the staff of Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Congressman Charles Bass, and Congressman Frank Guinta.

Ms. Tatten and Ms. Galbraith urged continued strong support for funding of the Peace Corps, noting the positive role Peace Corps Volunteers play in U.S. outreach to the world and emphasizing the significant dividends and many domestic benefits RPCVs provide to communities here at home. They advocated for bi-partisan support and cooperation to ensure passage of the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act, designed to strengthen the agency’s training and response to volunteers serving overseas who are subjected to physical or sexual assault. Since this issue received much attention earlier this year, Congress, the Peace Corps and victims advocacy groups have taken significant steps forward to address the concern.

No strangers to women’s rights issues, both Ms. Tatten and Ms. Galbraith were active in the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights while studying at the College of Law, and both served as interns with Women Helping Women, a Cincinnati-based sexual and gender-based violence advocacy and support organization, during law school. In addition to their continued involvement with the Peace Corps, Ms. Tatten has obtained her LLM in International Law/Human Rights and has served as a Senior Rule of Law Advisor for the United Nations in Sudan and Liberia. Ms. Galbraith is a former staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the nonprofit organization Friends of Lesotho, Inc., and in November will be working with the Jimmy Carter Work Project to build 100 houses at the earthquake epicenter in Haiti. Both Ms. Tatten and Ms. Galbraith remain in close contact with Professor Bert Lockwood, Director of the Urban Morgan Institute as well as the Institute’s Program Manager Nancy Ent, and remain committed to helping the Institute promote and ensure human rights worldwide.