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Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Meet in Ethiopia for Anniversary Celebration

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 11, 2012 – Nearly 100 returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) from across the United States traveled to Ethiopia recently for a two-week celebration marking the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps in Ethiopia. All of the RPCVs in attendance served in either Ethiopia or Eritrea, and more than 20 attendees were part of the first Peace Corps group to serve in Ethiopia in 1962.

“The RPCV Ethiopia/Eritrea group is very strong,” said Leo Cecchini, who served in Ethiopia from 1962 to 1964. “We met last year in the D.C. area to plan for this trip, but it was originally assumed that only about 20 people would be interested and able to return. Everyone was shocked and excited that so many friends and family members were in attendance! Former site mates and people who served in the same training group were able to reconnect. It was really neat to see.” 

The RPCV Ethiopia/Eritrea group lands in Addis Ababa.

The RPCVs landed in Addis Ababa but spent much of their time traveling throughout Ethiopia to their former Peace Corps communities. The group was also able to meet with distinguished guests during their stay, including President Girma Wolde-Giorgis of Ethiopia, The U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald E. Booth, Peace Corps Regional Director for Africa Dick Day, Peace Corps/Ethiopia Country Director Greg Engle and nearly 30 currently serving Peace Corps/Ethiopia volunteers.

Members of the RPCV Ethiopia/Eritrea group in Ethiopia.

“The visit captured the attention of the Ethiopian public with coverage by Ethiopian TV as well as the printed media. No question, the visit was a big hit with our travelers and the Ethiopian public,” said Cecchini.

The group participated in various events and activities, including site visits, a teaching conference, a traditional Ethiopian festival, a film screening, receptions, dinners and a closing ceremony hosted by the Ethiopian Foreign ministry on the final night of their stay.  

“One of the things I observed during our trip was the strong, renewed bonds formed between our RPCVs and the people of Ethiopia,” continued Cecchini. “We connected in a big way. This renewed enthusiasm for the country and people in turn seemed to express itself in a desire to remain closely connected with the country and its people.”

About Peace Corps/Ethiopia: More than 3,150 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Ethiopia since the program was established in 1962. Currently, 133 volunteers serve in Ethiopia. Volunteers work in the areas of education, health, agriculture and environment. Volunteers are trained and work in the following languages: Amharic, Oromifa and Tigrinya.

About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 210,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.

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