Peace Corps

Council Member: Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Acting Director of the Peace Corps

Council Designee: Sonia Stines Derenoncourt, Director, Office of Programming and Training Support, Peace Corps

Nearly 20 years after serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (1989–1991), Sonia Stines Derenoncourt returned to the Peace Corps as country director of the Philippines. Her service as a water and sanitation Volunteer inspired her interest to pursue a career in international public health. Derenoncourt completed her Master’s of Public Health degree at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1996. She spent seven years in Haiti and the remaining years she worked in seven different African countries, including Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon, Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia. She worked with John Snow, Inc., to expand services and provide technical assistance in family planning in West Africa. She also worked with CARE International to ensure quality reproductive health services in Haiti; and with Catholic Relief Services she coordinated and managed programs in food security, maternal health, and HIV.

Prior to joining the Peace Corps again, she was chief of party of a PEPFAR-funded AIDS program in Zambia. She is fluent in French and Haitian Kreyol and understands some Fulani and Ki-Swahili.

Council Designee: Joanie Cohen-Mitchell, Acting Programming Chief, Office of Programming and Training Support, Peace Corps

Joanie Cohen-Mitchell is the acting Programming Chief at Peace Corps. As Programming Chief, her office works with and directly supports the Peace Corps three regional offices:  Africa (AF); Europe, Mediterranean and Asia (EMA); and Inter-America and the Pacific (IAP)  to support the 67 overseas posts with their programming, training and evaluation needs. In her capacity as chief she supervisors all sector specialists in Education, Agriculture, Environment, Community Economic Development, Youth and Gender, whose job it is to develop materials and provide technical support to build the capacity of  Peace Corps field staff who in turn support Volunteers in their work assignments.

Prior to her work with Peace Corps, Dr. Cohen-Mitchell worked for the Bernard Van Leer Foundation developing early literacy and family literacy programs in five Eastern Caribbean countries;  and has worked throughout the world with various non-governmental agencies designing, implementing and evaluating education and community-based  initiatives in Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti, Peru and Namibia. Additionally she worked with Peace Corps in the 1990’s as a technical trainer in Haiti and Costa Rica.

A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Haiti and Paraguay, Dr. Cohen-Mitchell received her B.S. from the University of Vermont, an M.Ed. in non-formal education and a doctoral degree in Educational Programming, Research, and Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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