SAIS has recently joined a consortium of graduate schools participating in the Shriver Center's Peaceworker Program designed for returning Peace Corps volunteers. The two-year program offers qualifying applicants tuition assistance for graduate-level study and the opportunity to apply their international experience to the challenges that face inner cities in the United States.
In return for two full years of community service in the D.C. area, fellowship applicants are eligible to receive from the Peaceworker Program a $13,300 yearly stipend, $5,300 in tuition assistance and health-care benefits. The volunteers must have previously served at least two years in the Peace Corps.
Since 1989, the School of Nursing has offered a similar program, in which returning Peace Corps volunteers are able to pursue a master's degree in nursing and continue their experiences in community health care.
Peaceworker fellows attending SAIS will be enrolled in the school's Social Change and Development Program, designed to help students explore international and domestic poverty issues and analyze successful cases of poverty alleviation that could be replicated in the United States or abroad.
The Peaceworker Program, founded by Sargent Shriver and his wife, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, annually supports up to 10 returning Peace Corps volunteers and is designed to enable its fellows to apply their international experience, and their commitment to the common good, to domestic challenges and problems.
Margaret Frondorf, assistant director of the Social Change and Development Program, said she views the collaboration between the Shriver Center and her department as a natural development.
"We share a similar philosophy. Both programs prioritize the improvement of low-income communities," Frondorf said. "And in the case of this Shriver partnership, clearly U.S. communities will benefit."
Peaceworker fellows at SAIS can choose from among Washington-based grassroots community organizations, such as job agencies and health clinics, to fulfill their 20 hour per week service commitment. Fellows also must participate in a weekly seminar on ethical reflection, which is held at the Shriver Center, located on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
In addition to the tuition assistance that they will receive from the Peaceworker Program, SAIS will make every effort to help these fellows meet their additional financial needs.
"The partnership with the Peaceworker Program is great news," said Owen J. Lynch, acting director of the Social Change and Development Program. "We are committed to helping our students find the financial resources needed for public interest work."
Fellows are required to complete both SAIS and Social Change and Development Program requirements in order to graduate. Peaceworker Program recipients are not guaranteed admission to SAIS, and, similarly, SAIS students who are former Peace Corps volunteers are not guaranteed admission to the Peaceworker Program.
Other participating schools are Goucher College; Loyola College of Maryland; Morgan State University; Notre Dame College of Maryland; Towson University; University of Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and Villa Julie College.
More information about the Shriver Peaceworker Program and an application can be found at www.shrivercenter.org, or by contacting the Peaceworker Program at 410-455-2493.