Ceremony to Mark Peace Corps’ Closing of Program in Slovakia

June 12, 2002

Washington, D.C., June 12, 2002— Friday, June 14, will mark the official closing ceremony for the Peace Corps in Slovakia. Since 1990, 345 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Slovakia as teachers of English or as consultants and advisors in the environmental, small business and non-governmental organization development fields. Over the past twelve years volunteers have lived and worked in more than one hundred cities, towns and villages all across the country. They have taught English to 40,000 Slovak youth, worked in fourteen national park and landscape protected areas, provided assistance to 36 local governments and 96 business organizations and non-governmental organizations. During their service volunteers implemented many hundreds of projects with their Slovak colleagues.

The U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Ronald Weiser will host the official closing ceremony on Friday, June 14, 2002 at 2 p.m. at the Primacialny Palace in Bratislava. More than 200 guests are expected to attend, including Eduard Kukan, the Slovak Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Judy Van Rest, the Peace Corps Regional Director for Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia.

Established in 1961, the Peace Corps began to establish programs in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 to participate in the transition to a new socio-economic order. A Peace Corps program was initiated in then Czechoslovakia in 1990 at the request of President Vaclav Havel. In 1994 an independent office was established in Slovakia following the split of the Czech and Slovak Republics.

The last group of Volunteers to serve in Slovakia arrived in June 2000 and will finish their service this July. The Peace Corps is ending its presence in Slovakia in recognition of the significant progress that has been made over the past twelve years.

While Peace Corps is departing from Central Europe, it is adding to its existing programs in other regions. Most recently, new Peace Corps posts have been established in East Timor and Peru. During the past 41 years, 165,000 Americans have served in the Peace Corps.

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