Five Country Directors Take New Posts

August 13, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 13, 2004 – Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez is pleased to announce the transfer of five country directors to new posts. Each of the country directors will officially begin his or her new assignment this month.

Peace Corps country directors are responsible for management and direction of all aspects of the Peace Corps program in their country of assignment. The country directors support volunteers in the field. They lend their skills and energy to meet development needs and promote a better understanding between the host country people and Americans.

The new country director assignments are as follows:

Africa Region

Mali - Kateri Clement
Country director for Mauritania since July 2000, Kateri Clement has been reassigned as director of the Mali program. Clement served as a volunteer in Niger, first as an English language school teacher in Bouza, next as a trainer of Nigerian English teachers, and later as co-manager of the English for the Sahel Textbook Project in the capital, Niamey. Before coming to the Peace Corps, Clement directed Care International's program association with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' (UNHCR), which funded the emergency food distribution program for 300,000 refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia. Clement’s additional development experience in Africa includes supervising the Care Mobile Health and Vaccination Program in northern Niger and managing women's credit programs for Catholic Relief Services in Burkina Faso.

Clement is from Harrington Park, N.J. She holds a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and history of mathematics from St. John's College in Annapolis, Md.

Namibia - Howard Williams
Prior to his new post in Namibia, Howard Williams served as the country director in Ghana beginning in April 2002. Williams came to the Peace Corps with 20 years of international educational development experience, including design and capacity building for institutional and system-wide monitoring and evaluation systems in Bangladesh, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Lesotho, Nepal, and Nigeria.

Williams holds a doctorate in international development education from Florida State University. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines from 1979-1982. Williams lived most of his adult life in Tallahassee, Fla., before he and his wife, Dr. Pamela Allen, departed for Ghana.


Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia Region

Georgia - Van Nelson
Van Nelson comes to Peace Corps with over 30 years experience in international development. Following his service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand from 1969 to 1972, Nelson was an associate Peace Corps director for education in Iran, and later the associate director for training in Thailand. Nelson has also been a pre-service training director for numerous Peace Corps posts. He was the associate director for programming and training for the Peace Corps in western Russia, and most recently, he was country director of the Peace Corps program in Moldova.

Nelson was born and raised in Faribault, Minn., and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota. Following his volunteer service in Thailand, he received a master’s degree from the School of International Training in Brattleboro, Vt. Nelson's permanent stateside residence is Scottsdale, Ariz., where he owned and operated a retail business for 20 years.

Inter-America and Pacific Region

Ecuador - Ron “Cisco” Ruybal
Ron “Cisco” Ruybal has assumed country director duties in Ecuador. Previously, he served as country director in Honduras beginning in February 2002. Ruybalin Ecuador. Previously, he served as country director in Honduras beginning in February 2002. Ruybal served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire, Central Africa, from 1977-1979, where he taught animal husbandry and fish culture. Prior to his experience with the Peace Corps, Ruybal worked for 21 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development in several countries in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. There he worked at designing and supervising environmental programs to safeguard biological diversity of global importance such as the Galapagos Islands, Amazonian and African rainforests, Caribbean coral reefs, and African savannahs.

Ruybal is a native of Colorado. He holds a master’s degree in natural resources administration, a certificate of tropical agriculture from the University of Florida, and a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Northern Colorado.

Honduras - Rubén O. Hernandez
Prior to assuming his post in Honduras, Rubén Hernandez served as country director in Ecuador, beginning in 2002. From 2000-2002, he led the Hernandez Group, a regional development and business management-consulting firm. For the previous 28 years, he worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority as a vice president.

Hernandez holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee.

Since 1961, more than 171,000 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 be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.

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