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Mentor Profile

Bio

mentor picture Gaddi Holguin Vasquez
 
Gaddi Holguin Vasquez
Former Ambassador/ Representative
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy
Ambassador Gaddi Holguin Vasquez (born January 22, 1955) is a native of Carrizo Springs, Texas, he is a Mexican American and the son of migrant workers. He was the first person of Hispanic ancestry to head the U.S. Peace... Ambassador Gaddi Holguin Vasquez (born January 22, 1955) is a native of Carrizo Springs, Texas, he is a Mexican American and the son of migrant workers. He was the first person of Hispanic ancestry to head the U.S. Peace Corps.

Vasquez worked in the public sector for 22 years before his Peace Corps nomination, starting as a police officer for the city of Orange, California. He later worked as deputy appointments secretary for Governor George Deukmejian, followed by service as Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors for Orange County, California. Vasquez resigned this position in 1994 after the county's bankruptcy. The Orange County bankruptcy changed the course of his political ambitions, eventually leading Vasquez to reach out to his Republican colleagues for help in re-creating his career.

Vasquez's major initiatives and accomplishments as Peace Corps Director include: an agreement with Mexico in 2003 to host volunteers, emphasis on recruitment of minorities and of community college graduates, upgrading Peace Corps' infrastructure, especially IT upgrades in the online application tracking process, the Volunteer Delivery System, an emphasis on safety and security of volunteers (including the creation of a Situation Room at Peace Corps Headquarters), modifying Peace Corps' "Five Year Rule" for employment, and the expansion of the Peace Corps to one of its highest levels in 30 years. Portions of the sometimes controversial expansion were successfully challenged by the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer community when former volunteers and the National Peace Corps Association raised objections to the continued inclusion of Peace Corps in the National Call to Service program, which had been used to allow military servicemembers with at least three years and three months of military service completed, to finish their service obligation in the Peace Corps. Vasquez argued unsuccessfully for continued inclusion of the Peace Corps in that program, and the Peace Corps was removed from the National Call to Service program on December 22, 2005, when the United States Senate completed congressional action on the Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006.

Vasquez completed his term as Peace Corps Director September 7, 2006, just over two months after he was confirmed as the new US Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy.

Responses

  1. Gaddi Vasquez described an experience he had in Morocco when a man told him he didn’t look like an American because of “…the color of your skin. You don't look like an American.” Vasquez said that encounter “gave me the opportunity to talk about how my grandparents had come to the United States from Mexico, and how we had become part of the great fabric that makes our nation strong.” Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity to showcase the great diversity that makes up the United States.
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