In the Press
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Contact: Clare Hertel
“Our gravest enemies are often not nations or doctrines, but hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. To create more friends and fewer enemies we can’t just win wars. We must find common ground and common purpose with other peoples and nations so that together we can overcome hatred, violence, lawlessness and despair.” – Hillary Clinton
Promoting peace and friendship around the world and bringing it back home.
That’s the guiding philosophy of the Peace Corps, and nowhere is it more evident than in Santa Fe each July at the International Folk Art Market. It is the largest event of its kind in the world bringing together over 150 master folk artists from 49 countries, and it takes place thanks to the efforts of a battalion of more than 1600 volunteers—many of them Returning Peace Corps Volunteers.
The Peace Corps turns 50 this year, and it’s fitting that one of the biggest birthday commemorations will take place in Santa Fe in-conjunction with the International Folk Art Market. Santa Fe is ranked 10th in the country as the city with the highest per capita Peace Corps recruits. The state is also home to over 2000 Returning Peace Corps Volunteers. Over 100 of them will be volunteering at the Market and many more will take part in a 50th Anniversary World Expo showcasing the work of Peace Corps volunteers worldwide.
Both a birthday party for the Peace Corps and kick-off party for the 2011 Market, the festivities start Thursday, July 7 at 4:30 pm at Santa Fe’s Railyard Park with the opening of the Peace Corps Anniversary World Expo. There will be international food carts, global music and dance performances from participating countries, including a spectacular folk group of dancers and musicians from Oman. At the center of the festivities will be the Annual Market Artists Procession beginning at 6:40 pm. The 150 Market artists, all in colorful national dress, will be welcomed by the New Mexico community.
In addition, hundreds of Returning Peace Corps Volunteers, carrying the flags of the countries in which they served, will participate in the celebration. The National Peace Corps Association president, Kevin Quigley, will give a keynote address and world-renowned, West African Highlife Band, will play into the evening. The event is free and open to the public. Albuquerque residents can also take the Rail Runner directly to Railyard Park for the festivities.
“Nowhere else will the spirit of volunteerism be more alive than in this city on this weekend,” says Judith Espinar, co-founder of the Market and herself a Peace Corps alum. Espinar’s years in Peru during the early days of the Peace Corps nurtured a love for traditional cultural arts that give voice to deeply embedded human and spiritual values. Values that are disappearing with globalization. Espinar returned to New York motivated to learn more about marketing with the hope that someday she might be able to help folk artists share the beauty of their art and their values with the world while earning a dignified living for their families.
And so she has. Co-founding the Market with a group of people, including four other Returning Peace Corps Volunteers. Proceeds artists earn at the Market help build schools and clinics, fund AIDS-awareness programs, and empower women struggling to support their families. Since 2004, the Market has brought in some $10 million dollars, 90% of which has gone home with the artists.
In true Peace Corps fashion, the Market is also about friendship and community. As they do each year, Market volunteers will serve as hosts and helpers to the visiting artisans and, in honor of the 50th anniversary, Peace Corps workers from New Mexico will work side by side with artists from the countries where they served.
When John F. Kennedy first invited Americans to join the Peace Corps in 1961, a thousand of them signed on. Almost twice that number of Santa Feans will be volunteering at the Market this year. Now that’s the spirit of the Peace Corps in action.
For more information and if you are a Returning Peace Corps Volunteer and would like to volunteer for the Market, please visit http://www.folkartmarket.org.
50th Anniversary Peace Corps Commemoration and IFAM Kick-off Party
Thursday, July 7, 2011
4:30 – 9 pm MT
Santa Fe Railyard Park: Free to the Public
4:30 pm: Opening of the Peace Corps Anniversary World Expo
6:10 pm: Keynote from National Peace Corps Association president, Kevin Quigley
6:40 pm: Procession with 150 Market Artists cheered on by hundreds of Returning Peace Corps Volunteers
7:30 – 9 pm: Free Concert – Enjoy the music, meet Market artists and learn more about the history and future of the Peace Corps in the Peace Corps World Tents.