Dominican President Visits Peace Corps

September 26, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 26, 2002-Hipólito Mejía Domínguez, President of the Dominican Republic, visited Peace Corps headquarters today. The visit was part of a tour of the U.S.

In a recent visit to the Dominican Republic by Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez, President Mejia expressed his appreciation for the Peace Corps and stated his interest in visiting the Peace Corps Headquarters. In fulfillment of his pledge, President Mejia visited Peace Corps headquarters today. President Mejia discussed the importance of his country’s relationship with Peace Corps and his plans to ensure the partnership continues and prospers. President Mejia is a great supporter of the Peace Corps as he learned English from Peace Corps volunteers when he was a child.

photo of Dominican President Hipólito Mejía Domínguez speaking at a podium
Dominican President Hipólito Mejía Domínguez speaks at Peace Corps headquarters.
“I understand first hand the work of Peace Corps volunteers, and I tell everyone I can, especially other politicians that Peace Corps is very important. The work that Peace Corps volunteers do in my country is wonderful,” said President Mejía.

The Peace Corps has a long history working with the people of the Dominican Republic. In July 1962, 22 Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in the Dominican Republic to work in community development projects throughout the country. Since then, some 4,000 volunteers have served in agriculture, urban and rural development, environment, small business development, health and education. Currently, there are about 150 volunteers serving in the country.

Moreover, Peace Corps volunteers have always been well received by the Dominican people. Even during times of political tension, strong personal bonds have been maintained. It is notable that the Peace Corps remained in the Dominican Republic during the suspension of diplomatic relations in 1963 and the civil war of 1965. In 1979, volunteers were commended by the Dominican people for assisting in relief efforts in the wake of Hurricanes David and Frederick. The Peace Corps was recognized with the country's highest medal in 1986 during the agency's 25th anniversary celebration. In 1992, representatives from government, non-governmental organizations, and communities turned out to celebrate Peace Corps' 30th anniversary in the Dominican Republic.

Since 1961, more than 165,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health and HIV/AIDS, 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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