New Volunteers Arrive in Albania

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 26, 2003 – Thirty-two new Peace Corps volunteers arrived in Albania this week to reopen the program and focus their efforts on business development.

The new group of volunteers will be working as development advisors in partnership with municipal governments and community organizations. Having approved a new constitution in 1998, Albania has been transitioning into an open market economy, with Albanian officials and leaders taking measures to reenergize economic activity and trade. Once the volunteers complete their training in Albanian culture and language, they will be working within the communities to develop and refine local businesses and entrepreneurial endeavors.

“I am pleased that Peace Corps has been able to reopen the Albanian program and has formed a strong partnership with the country,” said Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez. “I believe the new volunteers have the determination and skills to make a real impact during this time of historic change in Albania.”

From 1992 through 1997, 156 volunteers served in Albania, working in the areas of secondary English teaching, small business development, and agro-forestry development. Peace Corps’ reentry into the country includes an emphasis on helping to improve municipal and community development projects. Additional volunteers will arrive in 2004 to work in the areas of education and health, as well as HIV/AIDS programs.

Albania, a European country located on the Balkan peninsula, is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland. Albania has a population of 3.5 million and its capital is Tirana. The official language is Albanian.

Since 1961, more than 170,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and awareness, 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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