Congressional Delegation Visits Peace Corps Volunteers in Dominican Republic
March 22, 2011WASHINGTON, D.C., March 22, 2011 A congressional delegation to the Dominican Republic visited the work site of a Peace Corps youth development volunteer in a rural, sugar cane community in eastern Dominican Republic. During the one day visit, the delegation also met with 15 Peace Corps volunteers, Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez, members of the Dominican Republic government, community members and returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs).
The delegation was led by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committees Subcommittee on Department of State and Foreign Operations, which handles the Senates annual budget bills for foreign operations, including the Peace Corps. The delegation included Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).
Peace Corps volunteers represent the diversity of America and come from every corner of the country, said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams. Peace Corps volunteers in the Dominican Republic work alongside their communities to help people build better lives for themselves.
Director Williams served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic from 1967 to 1970. He served as an education volunteer and led a training program for rural school teachers in the town of Monte Plata. The third year of his service, Director Williams worked as a professor of teaching in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Today, in the Dominican Republic to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps, we saw why the American people can be proud of its Peace Corps volunteers," said Sen. Leahy. "President Kennedys vision for the Peace Corps is as important today as it was a half century ago, building lasting relationships between Americans and the people of other countries."
The Peace Corps volunteer that the delegation visited works with partner community organizations to implement youth development, gender empowerment and HIV/AIDS prevention programs. During the visit to the volunteers site, the delegation participated in the Sports for Life program with local students. The program emphasizes HIV/AIDS prevention and educational measures through athletic activities.
Following the site visit, the delegation traveled to the U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republics residence in Santa Domingo for a reception with Peace Corps volunteers, host-country counterparts and RPCVs who live and work in the Dominican Republic.
About Peace Corps/Dominican Republic: Over 4,140 Peace Corps volunteers have served in the Dominican Republic (DR) since the program was established in 1962. Volunteers in this Caribbean nation work in the areas of youth, family, and community development, community environmental development, healthy communities, education, community economic development, and appropriate technology. Many volunteers in the DR, regardless of sector, are trained to promote HIV/AIDS prevention and many other secondary projects. Volunteers are trained and work in Spanish and basic Haitian Kreyol. Currently, 214 volunteers are serving in the DR.
About the Peace Corps: President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. Throughout 2011, Peace Corps is commemorating 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world. Historically, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Today, 8,655 volunteers are working with local communities in 77 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. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.