Peace Corps Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month; Hispanic Volunteers are Making Valuable Contributions Abroad

September 17, 1999

Washington, D.C., September 17, 1999—The Peace Corps celebrates the achievements of Hispanic-American volunteers during National Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place from September 15 through October 15. More than 200 Hispanic Americans are currently spreading the tradition of service world-wide as a Peace Corps volunteers.
Hispanic Americans have long contributed to the Peace Corps' efforts around the world, making a difference in some of the world's poorest countries by restoring the environment, teaching children, providing pre-natal health care, and helping others build their own businesses.
"The Peace Corps is proud of its strong commitment to the diverse ranks of volunteers who have made contributions to development in the world," said Peace Corps Acting Director Charles Baquet. "As we approach the new millennium, it's more important than ever that our volunteers reflect the face of America. This month, in particular, we honor those Peace Corps volunteers of Hispanic origin who are strengthening communities abroad, and who will return to the United States to enrich American culture with their renewed sense of hope for improving the quality of life here at home. "
Over the last 15 years, more than 1,500 Hispanic Americans have joined the Peace Corps. Thirty-five percent of Hispanic-American volunteers are working in education, 22 percent are in health, 15 percent are in business, and 10 percent are working in environmental awareness.
The theme of this year's heritage month is "A Vision for the 21st Century." The Peace Corps is also celebrating the new millennium this fall with more than 7,000 volunteers working in 77 countries around the world.
The Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. will hold a series of events to commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month, including a panel discussion, guest speakers, a book reading, salsa dancing lessons, cooking classes, and film screenings.
Since the agency was founded by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, more than 155,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 134 nations.

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