First Group of Peace Corps Volunteers Bound for East Timor
June 18, 2002Washington, DC, June 18, 2002—The first group of Peace Corps volunteers to serve in the newly-independent nation of East Timor, formerly part of the island nation of Indonesia, will depart June 19 from Washington D.C. The nineteen volunteers, who have all recently finished a two-year Peace Corps assignment in another country, will spend the next year helping to establish a Peace Corps presence in East Timor and set up foundations for sustainable development projects.
“These Peace Corps volunteers in East Timor are pioneers,” said Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. “They will initiate important relationships with ministry officials and community members and pave the way for future Peace Corps volunteers in the world’s newest democracy. This new partnership with the people of East Timor represents the beginning of expansion to new countries for the agency.”
East Timor is the 136th country in the world to invite the United States government to send American Peace Corps volunteers to live and work in their country.
The volunteers will spend the first four weeks in Dili, East Timor’s capital, participating in language, cross cultural, safety and security, medical and job-related training. They will be learning Tetun, one of the two official languages in East Timor and the language most used by the majority of Timorese people.
The volunteers will work in one of two project areas: local governance promotion or community health services planning. They will work closely with local governing bodies to develop project plans for their assignments.
Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez and the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers to serve in East Timor meet with Senator Edward Kennedy before the group's departure. Senator Kennedy was instrumental in introducing legislation last year to help facilitate East Timor's transition to independence.