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Peace Corps Volunteer Numbers Reach Record High

Largest Number of Americans Serving in 28 Years

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 18, 2003 – Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez is honored to announce that 7,533 Americans are currently serving in the Peace Corps – the largest number of volunteers to serve overseas since 1974. The Peace Corps just verified the numbers after it completed its annual official count on September 30th.

From May to October, nearly 3,000 new Peace Corps trainees arrived at posts worldwide. In September alone, approximately 1,240 trainees arrived in 32 countries ranging in locations from Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.

Specifically, volunteers have arrived in Fiji, Swaziland, Albania, Chad, and Azerbaijan, which are all beginning new Peace Corps programs this year. The Peace Corps also plans on returning volunteers to China and Jordan in 2004.

“The significant number of new trainees in the field and new applicants are enormous indicators that Americans are more willing than ever to dedicate two years of their life to serve others around the globe,” stated Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez. “With Peace Corps’ new recruiting campaign in full swing this fall, we anticipate that new volunteer interest will continue to climb.”

This September, approximately 1,030 Americans applied to the Peace Corps - a 27 percent increase from 2002. From May to September of this year, the Peace Corps also experienced a 16 percent increase in the number of applications received over the same months last year. With increasing requests for applications, a record number of Americans are heeding President Bush’s call to service.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Peace Corps and how to apply, please call 1.800.424.8580 to speak to a recruiter or visit the Peace Corps Web site at www.peacecorps.gov

Since 1961, more than 170,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health and HIV/AIDS awareness and education, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.

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