Olsens speech is entitled "The Importance of Service." After her address, she plans to hold a discussion in the Sun Room of Buntrock Commons from 12:00 to 1:15 p.m. Students, faculty, and the public are encouraged to bring their lunches and any questions that they might have. Olsens visit to St. Olaf is largely due to the fact that 22 St. Olaf alumni currently serve in the Peace Corps.
A public forum called "Peace Corps: The Minnesota Tradition of Service Continues" will precede Olsens visit to Northfield. Sponsored by Minnesota Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, the program on May 6 will include her as the keynote speaker. Congresswoman Betty McCollum, who wishes to increase the Peace Corps budget, will give a second address.
On the evening of May 7, Olsen is engaged for another speech. This time, it will be directed toward new volunteers from the Twin Cities area. She will highlight the reception for some of 161 Minnesota students and alumni who are scheduled to leave for their chosen countries. This number does not include the additional volunteers from the community who will also be present.
Olsen is a graduate of the University of Utah and earned a Masters degree and Ph.D. at the University of Maryland. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia from 1966 to 1968. After working in a variety of Peace Corps positions, she became the Chief of Staff for Directors Paul Coverdell and Elaine Chao in 1989. Olsen also worked as Executive Director of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, which manages the Fulbright program. President George W. Bush nominated her for Deputy Director of the Peace Corps, and she was sworn in on Feb. 15, 2002.
The Peace Corps, a government organization, began serving countries in 1961. Since then, over 165,000 people have volunteered in 135 nations. Volunteers work to improve education, health, business, agriculture, and other necessities in developing areas. Approximately 7,000 Peace Corps members are currently active abroad.