Position title: Former Director, Peace Corps
Dr. Josephine (Jody) Olsen, PhD, served as the 20th Director of the Peace Corps between March, 2018 – January, 2021. With the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Olsen made the unprecedented decision to evacuate all 7,000 Peace Corps Volunteers and bring them safely back to the United States. Dr. Olsen then led the development of a comprehensive re-entry plan for Volunteers to return to service and expanded what it means to serve, launching the Virtual Service Pilot Program. She also championed global women’s economic empowerment, opened a new country, Viet Nam, and re-opened three countries in which Peace Corps had previously served.
Dr. Olsen began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer, serving in Tunisia from 196601968. She has also served the agency as Acting Director (2009), Deputy Director (2002-2009), Chief of Staff (1989-1992), Regional Director (1981-1984), and Country Director (1979-1981).
Prior to returning to the Peace Corps in 2018, Dr. Olsen was Visiting Professor at the University of Maryland-Baltimore School of Social Work and Director of the University’s Center for Global Education. In this capacity she developed and directed inter-professional global health projects for health graduate students, oversaw health research projects in Malawi, and taught international social work, global social policy, and global health.
Dr. Olsen received a BS from the University of Utah, and a Master’s in Social Work and a PhD in Human Development from the University of Maryland.
Throughout her career, Dr. Olsen has championed the expansion of service, learning and international opportunities for Americans of all backgrounds.