250 New Peace Corps Volunteers Sworn Into Service
December 30, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 30, 2014 – During the last two months of 2014, 250 new two-year Peace Corps volunteers were sworn into service and have begun their work in communities across Armenia, Cameroon, Lesotho, Macedonia, Mozambique and Rwanda.
The new volunteers completed three months of intensive cultural, language and technical training in their countries of service before swearing in. Throughout the remainder of their Peace Corps service, they will live and work alongside local community members fostering relationships and helping to address the communities’ most pressing needs.
Across 64 partner countries, Peace Corps volunteers of all ages and backgrounds work at the grassroots level toward sustainable change in six program areas: education, health, community economic development, environment, youth in development, and agriculture. Volunteers integrate into their host community – working collaboratively with their local counterparts – to promote the country’s development goals and inspire cross-cultural understanding.
Below find highlights from some of the last swearing-in ceremonies of 2014:
On Nov. 12, 36 new Peace Corps volunteers were sworn in by U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern at an event in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital city. Hundreds of people attended, including regional governors, ministry officials, and area members of international and local organizations. During the ceremony, the new volunteers showcased their knowledge and appreciation of Armenian language and culture by performing Armenian songs, sharing their observations and experiences in the local language, and performing a series of Armenian dances.
”Our job here at the embassy is to build partnerships and relationships with the people of Armenia and no one helps us with that job more than Peace Corps volunteers, their host families and local partners,” Ambassador Heffern said during the ceremony.
Over the next two years, the volunteers will work in education, community economic development, and youth in development. More than 900 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Armenia since the program was established in 1992.
On Nov. 19, U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon Michael Hoza swore in 49 new volunteers at a ceremony attended by Cameroon’s South Region Governor and delegates from sites where the new volunteers will live and work.
During their pre-service training, volunteers learned local languages like Pidgin English, Fulfulde and French, and as volunteers, they will work on agriculture and health projects throughout seven regions of the country. More than 3,560 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Cameroon since the program was established in 1962.
On Dec. 17, 32 new volunteers were sworn into service by U.S. Ambassador to Lesotho Matthew Harrington. The swearing-in ceremony included remarks from Lesotho’s Minister of Education and Training and a speech by a new volunteer delivered in Sesotho, a local language volunteers learned during their training.
As education volunteers, the group will teach English and math throughout the country and work to improve the quality and availability of education for the people of Lesotho. More than 2,330 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Lesotho since the program was established in 1967.
On Nov. 28, 44 new volunteers were sworn in by U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Paul Wohlers at a ceremony held in the eastern part of the country. President of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov praised the new Peace Corps volunteers for continuing the legacy of friendship between Macedonia and the United States.
The volunteers will work in education and community development, collaborating closely with counterparts at local schools, government and partner organizations to improve the quality of life for people in their communities. More than 585 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Macedonia since the program was established in 1996.
On Dec. 2, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Mark Cassayre swore in 53 new volunteers at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in the capital city of Maputo. The new volunteers will work in education and teach math, biology, chemistry and English at local schools throughout the country. In addition to teaching, volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in secondary projects such as organizing theater competitions and school science fairs.
“You left the comfort of your home in America to travel away from your families and devote your time, energy and contribution to helping those in need,” Deputy Chief of Mission Cassayre said during the ceremony. “I know you will be good ambassadors of our country, creating the most important human connections in communities and towns that will welcome you, and will continue the legacy of sharing America with your communities.”
More than 975 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Mozambique since the program was established in 1998.
On Dec. 5, 36 new volunteers were sworn in by U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Donald Koran in the city of Kigali. Volunteers will teach students and train local teachers throughout the country, as well as work with community members to develop training materials for Rwandan classrooms and libraries. More than 520 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Rwanda since the program was established in 1975.
“So far, my Peace Corps service has been a beautifully humbling experience,” said recently sworn-in volunteer Whitney Banyai-Becker, who has been living in Rwanda since September. “I'm excited to be in a place where the differences between my host community members and me are so starkly obvious, but still to be embraced by that same community because I'm recognized for my sameness.”
About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.