On behalf of the Peace Corps and the more than 7,800 currently serving Volunteers, I wish to extend our deepest sympathies to you and your family on the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. I know that words cannot ease the profound sense of loss you must feel at this time, nor will they ever replace Eunice's presence in your life. But I hope you will take great pride in the enormous, positive influence she had on the lives of millions of people in the United States and around the world.
Eunice was an extraordinary woman who truly embodied the best of America. Because of her strength of will, her wise and caring leadership, and her generosity of spirit, the world is and will be a better place. While we now mourn Eunice's passing, we also celebrate her lifelong commitment to public service and her message of hope and opportunity for people with intellectual disabilities.
The many people whose lives Eunice touched and bettered will always remember her, and for those of us in the Peace Corps family, we will remain forever honored to have assisted in Eunice's noble endeavor--the Special Olympics.
Through Special Olympics, Eunice opened doors to a fuller and richer life for millions of people with intellectual disabilities and also opened the minds of millions of others to a broader and deeper understanding of the contributions that people with intellectual disabilities can provide to society. We applaud her and the Shriver family's exemplary efforts on behalf of the intellectually disabled.
I hope and pray that during this very difficult time, you will find some measure of peace and comfort in the knowledge that so many of Eunice's friends in the Peace Corps family share you loss.
Jody K. Olsen
Acting Director of the Peace Corps
Jody K. Olsen is the Acting Director of the Peace Corps. Olsen previously served as the Peace Corps' deputy director since 2002. Her career with the agency began when she volunteered in Tunisia from 1966 to 1968. There, she taught English and developed community health programs.
From 1979 to 1980, she was Peace Corps country director in Togo, West Africa, where she oversaw a program that focused on education, health and agriculture. She went on to serve as regional director for the Peace Corps from 1981 to 1984, managing operations in 17 countries. She returned to the agency in 1989 to serve as chief of staff, during which time the agency expanded into 25 new countries.
Olsen has traveled to more than 80 countries. She is an advocate for the Peace Corps' mission and its volunteers, speaking at dozens of domestic and international events each year. She is a former president of the University of Maryland Alumni Association and remains active in alumni affairs. Learn more about the Peace Corps