Paraguayan President Visits Peace Corps

October 27, 2008

His Excellency Fernando Lugo addresses Friends of Paraguay Group at Peace Corps Headquarters

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 27, 2008 - Peace Corps today hosted a welcome event for Paraguayan President Fernando Armindo Lugo Mndez at Peace Corps headquarters during his two-day visit to the U.S.

The event was organized and attended by the "Friends of Paraguay," a non-profit organization and network of returned Peace Corps Volunteers and others who are interested in improving communication and information exchange in support of social, cultural, and economic development in Paraguay.

"It is very moving to be today with those who have worked during their youth as Volunteers dedicated to my country, our beloved Paraguay." said President Lugo, expressing his thanks to the Peace Corps Volunteers who have served in Paraguay over the years. "The initiative your Volunteers have is very inspiring, to come from your country, with its customs and higher standard of living, and to offer time out of your lives to serve in some of the poorest places on the planet."

The meeting took place immediately following President Lugo's visit with President Bush this morning at the White house. President Lugo requested a typical American lunch and discussion with returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Friends of Paraguay provided a buffet-style Thanksgiving meal for President Lugo, during which he listened to the stories of a number of former Peace Corps/Paraguay Volunteers.

In attendance as part of the Paraguayan delegation were Dr. Alejandro Hamed Franco, Minister of Foreign Relations, Auda Royg, Minister and Chief of Protocol, as well as James Spalding, Paraguayan Ambassador in the U.S., and Jose Luis Gonzalez, Advisor to Ambassador Spalding. Also in attendance were Liliana Ayalde, U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay, as well as the board and members of the Friends of Paraguay.

Over 3,266 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Paraguay since the program was established in 1967. Volunteers in this South American nation work in the areas of youth and community development, environmental education, health, water sanitation and hygiene promotion, and business development. Currently, 203 Volunteers are serving in Paraguay.

As the Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world. Historically, over 195,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries in which they have served. Applications to serve in the Peace Corps have increased 16 percent this past year, the largest boost in the last five years. Currently, 7,876 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in 76 countries. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. To learn more about the Peace Corps, please visit our website: www.peacecorps.gov.

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