The National Peace Corps Association, (US) leading nonprofit organization supporting Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community, announced today it has received $750,000 from former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar to fund a new initiative featuring global leaders who will discuss Peace Corps’s impact. This is the largest individual gift in the association’s 33-year history.
“The Peace Corps has always been about bringing people from different backgrounds together to work on some of the most difficult global problems,” said Kevin Quigley, president of the National Peace Corps Association. “Thanks to this generous gift, we’ll be able to take that concept a step further and bring in the expertise of some key leaders who’ve been influenced by the Peace Corps to talk at depth about these issues.”
The donation will endow the Global Leaders Program, a regular series of discussions initiated by the National Peace Corps Association featuring notable figures, influenced by the Peace Corps from the worlds of politics, business and society. Through this new program, the association will put a spotlight on host-country nationals who embody the values of the Peace Corps, which Quigley said is an important shift away from only telling about the impact on Peace Corps Volunteers, a story told for the last 50 years.
The first Global Leaders Program, held prior to the association’s 2011 gala, featured former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, former Afghan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abubakar on a panel moderated by noted journalist Bill Moyers.
A successful businessman and vice president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, Abubakar has a long history of philanthropy, having given more than $300 million to support educational and health-related organizations in Nigeria, including founding the American University of Nigeria in 2005 through a partnership with American University in Washington, D.C.
“As a young, poor student from the northeast of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar was inspired by Peace Corps teachers to pursue education and public service. After a successful career, he founded the American University of Nigeria, the best private university in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Dr. Robert Pastor, who as vice president at American University in Washington, D.C., worked with Abubakar. “No African leader has been more dedicated or generous in furthering education on the continent than Abubakar. The Global Leaders program is only the latest example of his commitment to giving back to the Peace Corps for all that it has done for him and his country.”
Abubakar is also a longtime fan of the Peace Corps, often speaking eloquently about four volunteers who affected his life and his appreciation of the program. In 2011, he received the first Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award, named for the former U.S. Senator and special assistant to U.S. President John F. Kennedy who was instrumental in the formation of the Peace Corps.
“With his generosity in the fields of health and education, Atiku Abubakar has shown the way for Africans looking to tackle the most pressing problems of our time in ways that derive from his Peace Corps experience,” said Wofford. “Abubakar’s latest gift will help the National Peace Corps Association share this relatively untold story about how the Peace Corps has influenced Global Leaders and advanced its mission of promoting a more peaceful and prosperous world.”