We are saddened to say farewell to BJ (Roberta) Warren. She passed away on March 28, 2014. Memorial service was held at All Souls Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. on May 10, 2014, at 1 pm.
B.J joined the Peace Corps staff in the Dominican Republic in its earliest days. By late 1964 when she arrived to Santo Domingo, B.J. already was a stand out, known as the first woman former PCV (Peru IV) to be hired onto the PC/Latin America staff as an Associate Peace Corps Director for the Health and Education and Community Development programs. Just a few months later the Revolution of 1965 began, and B.J. became an icon in her blue jeep, supporting volunteers throughout Santo Domingo and fighting to keep Peace Corps in the country although other U.S. agencies had already left.
For the following almost 50 years, B.J. has nurtured her ties to the D.R., becoming one of the founders of Fondo Quisqueya in 1984 and serving as its president for several years as well as an ongoing member of its board. She had also been an active member of Friends of the Dominican Republic, famous for keeping a Rolodex that connected former volunteers & families, PC staff, and Dominicans with development projects within the country.
In 2012, during the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, then Peace Corps Director, and former DR PCV, Aaron Williams honored B.J with letters of tribute from two of the earliest directors of Peace Corps/Latin America (Frank Mankiewicz and Jack Vaughn), a plaque, and a fine piece of Taino art (photo above). Senator Christopher Dodd, also a former DR PCV, added his own words of commendation. It was also announced that Fondo Quisqueya named their endowment after B.J. This endowment supports scholarships for short-term, skill-training programs for low-income Dominicans aimed at helping them find jobs.
B.J continued her international development work by joining MSI Worldwide full-time in 1989 and had been actively involved with projects in Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and El Salvador, to name a few.
Watch a video of B.J
Warren retelling her experiences with the Peace Corps as the first female Peace Corps volunteer to work on the overseas staff in the Dominican Republic. During the revolution of the mid 1960s, she was a prominent figure in keeping the program and volunteers in country, while maintaining their safety.