Vienna resident Morgan Billingsley is among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s unprecedented global evacuation in March 2020. The Peace Corps suspended global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My primary goal for the next two years in Panama is to learn. We have been invited to live alongside members of vibrant communities that have graciously agreed to share their wisdom, culture, and history with us,” said Billingsley. “I hope to spend the majority of my time building community, listening, and working together on initiatives that will have the greatest impact.”
Billingsley is a graduate of James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in justice studies. She will serve as an agriculture volunteer in Panama.
The volunteer cohorts are made up of both first-time volunteers and volunteers who were evacuated in early 2020. Upon finishing a three-month training, volunteers will collaborate with their host communities on locally prioritized projects in one of Peace Corps’ six sectors – agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health or youth in development – and all will engage in COVID-19 response and recovery work.Currently, the agency is recruiting volunteers to serve in 56 countries around the world at the request of host country governments, to connect through the Peace Corps’ grassroots approach across communities and cultures. Volunteers have already returned to a total of 47 countries around the world. The Peace Corps continues to monitor COVID-19 trends in all of its host countries and will send volunteers to serve as conditions permit. Americans interested in transformative service and lifelong connections should apply to Peace Corps service at www.peacecorps.gov/apply. Apply before April 1 to make a global connection by fall 2023.