Peace Corps Celebrates Forty Years in Malawi

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 4, 2003 – Peace Corps volunteers and staff joined the President of Malawi, Dr. Bakili Muluzi, on March 15th at the Sanjika Palace to celebrate Peace Corps’ 40 years of service in Malawi. During the celebration, President Muluzi spoke to the volunteers and reflected upon the many achievements that have been made over the past several decades.

“I invited you here today for me and the entire Malawians society to experience the joy in solidarity with you that forty years have passed since the first group of Peace Corps volunteers came to Malawi. Today, I want to congratulate you all and express the gratitude of the government of Malawi and my own, for entering into relations of friendship with us for the good of our two countries,” stated President Muluzi.

President Muluzi further exclaimed, “Yes indeed, Peace Corps volunteers also taught some of the Malawians who are holding high positions today,” exemplifying the tremendous impact volunteers can have on a society.

In 1963, the first group of twenty Peace Corps volunteers arrived in Malawi. Since then, more than 2,100 volunteers have served the African nation. Peace Corps volunteers have made tremendous strides throughout the past four decades. Working at the grassroots level, the volunteers have dedicated themselves to improving education, health, and environmental concerns. Most recently, Crisis Corps volunteers arrived to aid in a cholera prevention initiative.

The Peace Corps’ commitment has been strong in Malawi with aspirations of growing in the future. Annamaria Watrin, Country Director for Malawi, stated at the celebration, “We will maintain the idealism, energy, and respect that have been the hallmark of Peace Corps Malawi’s work.” Many new initiatives have been implemented, especially in combating HIV/AIDS and improving education.

Since 1961, more than 168,000 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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