In late 2010 and early 2011, Civilian Response Corps members from four U.S. agencies went to the Kyrgyz Republic to further efforts to reduce potential conflict and to support a democratic transition to a new government. After ethnic violence in June 2010 left hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, Corps members supported development of a six-month stabilization strategy, and established a temporary U.S. office in the South to assist in the coordination of humanitarian and disaster response and improve reporting from the region. Jon's primary function there was to give added reach to the political and economic sections of the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek by adding to their depth of understanding of what was going on in the South.
Describing his experience, Jon said, "...I am a Civilian Response Corps Standby member. I deployed to the Kyrgyz Republic this year, 2011, from late March until July first. I was there in the capacity of a reporting officer in the southern part of the country. My main function was to give added reach to the political and economic sections which are based up in Bishkek in the north. The southern part of the country is the area that suffered from four days of interethnic violence in June 2010. It's an area that needed and continues to need attention.
"I mostly worked with local officials and NGOs. I met with all of those people on a regular basis and added to the depth of the Embassy's understanding of what was going on in the South. I also helped coordinate some of the efforts that U.S. assistance was bringing to the South.
"One of my most interesting activities down there was being an election observer for the local elections. These were local elections taking place in about thirty places around Kyrgyzstan, and they were very important in the South. Because they were just local elections, they did not have a lot of international attention or international observers. With the Civilian Response Corps in the South, and a group of other observers, we were able to observe thirteen polling stations, developing important experience in the run-up to the presidential elections they are going to have in Kyrgyzstan [on October 30]."
You can read the complete transcript of Jon's remarks here.