Peace Corps Director Visits the Philippines
Manila, Philippines, September 3, 2008 - Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter concluded a five-day tour of the Philippines this past week on a trip that was highlighted by visits with Filipino President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, other Filipino government officials, and Peace Corps Volunteers.
"Peace Corps Volunteers began serving in the Philippines in 1961, making the Philippines one of the Peace Corps oldest programs," said Director Tschetter. "More than 8,233 Volunteers have served in the Philippines. In fact, more Peace Corps Volunteers have served in the Philippines than any other country. Volunteers are doing remarkable work in the areas of education, community development, and environment."
Accompanied by the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, Kristie A. Kenney, Director Tschetter spoke with President Arroyo, expressing his deep commitment to the relationship between the Peace Corps and the Filipino people. President Arroyo, remarking on the importance of the Peace Corps to the Philippines, said "Everywhere you go in the Philippines, you find someone who knows Peace Corps Volunteers." Director Tschetter also offered his deepest appreciation to President Arroyo for the support of the Filipino government following the death of Volunteer Julia Campbell in 2007.
Director Tschetter spent several days traveling in the rural regions of the Philippines visiting Volunteers, including dozens of new Peace Corps Volunteers undergoing training. One Volunteer Tschetter met with was Craig Bosman of Everett, Wash. Bozeman is working with local community members on coastal resource management issues such as the preservation of local marine life and the local coastlines, as well as the promotion of ecotourism to enhance the local economy.
Tschetter also met with Volunteer Rekha Shah, a 50+ Volunteer from Arlington, Va. who emigrated to the U.S. from India. Wanting to give back, Shah is now using her years of experience as an educator to support a school for orphaned, abandoned, and neglected children. One of Rekha's young students at the school told Tschetter, "I give thanks to Peace Corps for bringing Rekha to help us."
The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served, including the Philippines. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.
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