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DSI and Peace Corps Announce Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Partnership

MFA Design for Social Innovation Department will provide scholarships to returned Peace Corps volunteers

New York, N.Y., April 17, 2014 – The Peace Corps today announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program in partnership with the MFA Design for Social Innovation Department at the School of Visual Arts, New York (SVA). The program will provide graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps volunteers who complete a degree-related internship in an underserved American community while they pursue their studies.

“The Peace Corps is excited to extend this opportunity to returned volunteers in partnership with the School of Visual Arts to support continued public service and education,” Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “The Coverdell Fellows Program gives returned volunteers the chance to build on their classroom experience by sharing their unique knowledge and skills with local organizations in need.”

SVA will be offering selected Fellows a Master in Fine Arts in Design for Social Innovation degree. This is the inaugural partnership between the Peace Corps and the School of Visual Arts. The MFA in Design for Social Innovation at SVA is the first such Master of Fine Arts program in the country and has quickly demonstrated a notable ability to attract social innovators from around the world and train them to use the skills and process of design to become creative problem solvers in business and society.

“For over fifty years the Peace Corps has put into practice values that are vital to us at MFA Design for Social Innovation. We are honored to offer this scholarship to Peace Corps volunteers, to help them turn those values into a career using design to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world,” said Cheryl Heller, Founding Chair of MFA Design for Social Innovation at SVA.”

The School of Visual Arts has a long tradition of combining advanced design education with fostering social responsibility, so I couldn’t be happier to welcome Coverdell Fellows to the SVA community,” said Jeffrey Nesin, Provost, SVA NYC.

A Fellow, who will be selected yearly for the program, will receive a $20,000 scholarship toward two years of graduate study.

Internships in underserved communities are an integral part of each fellow’s degree. By sharing their Peace Corps experience and global perspective with the communities they serve here in the United States, returned volunteers are supporting the Peace Corps’ Third Goal commitment to strengthen Americans’ understanding of the world and its people. Professional placements at non-profits and government organizations also help students further develop their skills.

The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program began in 1985 at Teachers College, Columbia University and now includes more than 80 university partners in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The program is specifically reserved for students who have already completed their Peace Corps service abroad. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov/fellows.

To learn more about the Coverdell Fellows Program at the School of Visual Arts, contact dsiinfo@sva.edu.

About the Peace Corps: As the preeminent international service organization of the United States, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps volunteers work at the grassroots level with local governments, schools, communities, small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. When they return home, volunteers bring their knowledge and experiences – and a global outlook – back to the United States that enriches the lives of those around them. President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 to foster a better understanding among Americans and people of other countries. Since then, more than 215,000 Americans of all ages have served in 139 countries worldwide. Visit www.peacecorps.gov to learn more. 

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