Eight New Country Directors Assume Duties

July 12, 2005

In Addition, Six Country Directors Change Posts

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 2005 Eight new Peace Corps country directors have departed for their posts, where they will take responsibility for the volunteers in their country and work to ensure volunteers can most effectively carry out their projects.

Peace Corps country directors manage all functions of the Peace Corps program in their country of assignment. Their main goal is to support volunteers in the field in order to promote a better understanding between the host country nationals and Americans.

The new country director assignments are as follows:

Africa Region
Botswana Kenneth Puvak
Kenneth Puvak comes to the Botswana country director position with extensive experience within the Peace Corps. His service with the Peace Corps started as an English education volunteer in Zaire from 1980 to 1982, and continued in the capacity of administrative officer, programming and training officer, expert consultant, and country director for Zambia. He has also held titles at the World Food Programme, Mercy Corps, the American Council of Engineering Companies, and Development Alternatives, Inc. Puvak holds a masters degree in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and a bachelors degree from Penn State University. He speaks fluent French and Kikongo.

Lesotho Hillard Denham
Prior to returning to the Peace Corps as Lesotho country director, Hillard Denham served as senior financial analyst with Coors Brewing Company. He has also acted in similar positions for Robert Half Finance & Accounting, LaserWave Technologies, Fernstrum Cattle Company, and Bank Western. Denham is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Mauritania from 1988 to 1990 and has since served the Peace Corps as associate Peace Corps director in Ethiopia, Mali, and Chad. He holds a masters degree in international management from Thunderbird in Glendale, Ariz., and a bachelors from Purdue University in Indiana.

Mozambique David Bellama
This appointment to country director for Mozambique marks David Bellamas fourth post as country director with the Peace Corps, having served in the same position in Guinea-Bissau/Cape Verde, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe. Additionally, he has served as a Peace Corps expert consultant and language training coordinator. Prior to returning to the Peace Corps, Bellama was the associate director of the Corporation for National and Community Service and previously held positions with the Department of Regulation and Licensing. He holds a masters degree in history from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a bachelors degree from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.

Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia Region
Albania Henry Weiss
Henry Weiss returns to the Peace Corps as Albania country director after two years as El Salvador corporate, environmental health safety and training director with AES Global. Weiss started with the Peace Corps as a Latin American School Sponsorship Program Intern in 1975 and has since served various functions with Duke Energy International, National Rural Electric Co-operative Association, Medical Services Corporation International, and The Ohio State University Agricultural and Engineering Center. He holds masters degrees in engineering from the University of Miami in Florida and a bachelors degree from American University in Washington, D.C. He speaks fluent Spanish.

East Timor Gene Ward
Gene Ward, newly appointed country director to East Timor, was most recently employed as senior democracy specialist with the U.S. Agency for International Development. He has also held positions with the United Nations, as an adjunct professor with Cham Development. He has also held positions with the United Nations, as an adjunct professor with Chaminade University, translator-interpreter with the U.S. Army, and language coordinator with the Peace Corps. From 1965 to 1967 he served as a Peace Corps community development volunteer in Malaysia. Ward holds a Ph.D. in the sociology of business from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he also received his masters degree and bachelors degree. He speaks fluent Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia and Tieng Vietnam.

Inter-American and Pacific Region
Dominican Republic Romeo Massey
Romeo Massey re-joins the Peace Corps as country director in the Dominican Republic after 13 years of service to Florida State University, most recently as director of the Center for Information, Training and Evaluation Services. In addition, Massey has held various contracts with the U.S. Agency for International Development and C.A.R.E. in Uganda Belize, and Honduras. In the 1970s, he was employed by the Peace Corps program in Brazil as Peace Corps associate director. A former Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia from 1962 to 1965, Massey holds a Ph.D. in Adult Education and Instructional Design and Development from Florida State University, where he also received his masters degree and bachelors degree. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese fluently.

Fiji Oghale Oddo
Before becoming Fiji country director, Oghale Oddo served as associate Peace Corps director and acting country director for the Peace Corps in Swaziland. A volunteer in Jamaica from 1994 to 1996, he has also served as a Peace Corps community development trainer in the same country and has held positions at Prudential Securities, Inc.; Allied Bank Nigeria; Origbo Estate Managers Ltd; and owned his own import/export company. Oddo has a masters degree in public finance and comparative international development from Indiana University in Bloomington and a bachelors degree from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in Nigeria. He is fluent in Jamaican Patois, West African Pidgin English, and Nigerian Urhobo.

Panama Peter Redmond
Since 2002 Peter Redmond has been a Peace Corps program and training officer in Panama. He takes on the Panama country director position with years of managerial experience, having previously served in various posts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and Liberty Mutual. He was the co-founder and guide for Northern Pathfinders Limited and also served as Environmental Education Program Director for the Adirondack Outdoor Education Center. From 1990 to 1992, Redmond traveled to Honduras as an environmental and natural resources management volunteer with the Peace Corps. He holds a masters degree from Harvard University and a bachelors degree from the University of Rochester in New York. He speaks fluent Spanish.

In addition to the new country directors detailed below, six currently serving country directors are transferring to new posts, including: Terry Armstrong is moving from Albania to the Eastern Caribbean, Christine Djondo from Gabon to Tanzania, Javier Garza from the Dominican Republic to Bolivia, Marily Knieriemen from Tanzania to Burkina Faso, McGrath Jean Thomas from Lesotho to Uganda, and Jeff Millington from Uzbekistan to Namibia.

Since 1961, more than 178,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must bes service is a 27-month commitment.

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