First Peace Corps Volunteer to Meet with President of Ghana at White House State Dinner Wednesday Night

February 23, 1999

Washington, D.C., February 23, 1999—Thomas Livingston, the very first Peace Corps volunteer who began his service in Ghana in September 1961, will attend a state dinner at the White House tomorrow night to honor the President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings. Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan will attend the dinner, as will Georgianna McGuire, who also served in the first group of Peace Corps volunteers in Ghana. Livingston, 62, and McGuire, 60, were among the 51 adventurous volunteers who were sent off to Ghana from the Rose Garden by President Kennedy in August 1961. At the request of his new school, Livingston left training early and began teaching English at the Ghanata secondary school in Dodowa, Ghana, on Sept. 12, 1961, thus becoming the first Peace Corps volunteer on duty. Livingston, who now lives in Oakland, Calif., and McGuire, of Washington, D.C., and other members of the "Ghana One" group returned to the White House in June 1996 for a celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Peace Corps. They met with President Clinton and a new class of Peace Corps volunteers who were about to go to the West African nation.
Breakfast at State Department Thursday Morning
On Thursday morning, Livington, McGuire and another former Peace Corps volunteer, Stephanie Arnold of Galesburg, Ill., will attend a breakfast for President Rawlings sponsored by Vice President Gore at the State Department. Arnold was invited because of her work on a health and water sanitation project commissioned by President Rawlings in 1996 to construct latrines in each of the 120 homes in the village of Kpando-Abanu, Ghana. Since 1961, nearly 3,700 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Ghana. Today, more than 150 volunteers continue to make significant contributions in Ghana serving as teachers, and working on projects in health, small business development and the environment. They are among the nearly 6,700 Peace Corps volunteers active in 80 countries in education, the environment, health and nutrition, business advising, and community development. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps—Thomas Livingston was the first.

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