Importance of Peace Corps Volunteers is Underscored by President

January 30, 2002

President Bush Recognizes Americans’ Willingness to Serve in State of the Union

WASHINGTON, January 30, 2002—President Bush is to be commended for his strong emphasis on volunteerism in his State of the Union speech last night and, in particular, his support of Peace Corps volunteers. For more than 40 years, Peace Corps volunteers have worked overseas at the grassroots level with the goal of promoting world peace and friendship by helping to train individuals in their host countries, educating them about Americans, and upon return to the United States, helping to educate Americans about the countries in which they served.

As the President relayed in his message and consistent with the safety and security of each volunteer, Peace Corps will expand its presence worldwide. There is a demand for Peace Corps volunteers throughout the world and an enormous interest on the part of Americans to serve overseas. We are in agreement with the President to double the number of Peace Corps volunteers over the next five years.

Peace Corps believes that America's commitment to help others is a fundamental component of our democracy. We also recognize, as the President so clearly articulated, a yearning on the part of Americans to travel to distant countries, to share all that we know and discover the similarities among mankind.

Peace Corps is also prepared to increase our presence in the Muslim world and other countries. We share the President’s urgency for the need to increase the world presence of Peace Corps volunteers, extending American peace and friendship, and bringing back to Americans a better understanding of other peoples.

Peace Corps has selected a highly skilled assessment team and is prepared to depart with short notice for Afghanistan. Depending on the safety and security situation, Peace Corps is eager to assist in the reconstruction of Afghanistan with the help of Crisis Corps volunteers. These volunteers will likely assist in efforts to address the basic human needs and make life better for Afghanis with programs in health, education and construction.

We are excited about the possibility of a Peace Corps program in East Timor which, as the President stated, is the first new country in the 21st century.

Peace Corps has conducted an assessment in Peru and formed an internal Peru re-entry plan and is formally accepting the invitation from the President of Peru to send volunteers to that country.

For more information, contact the Peace Corps' toll free recruitment line at 1-800-424-8580, or visit www.peacecorps.gov.

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