Peace Corps Commemorates International Volunteer Day

December 5, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 5, 2005 In recognition of International Volunteer Day, Director Gaddi H. Vasquez and Peace Corps staff around the world acknowledged the dedication of all volunteers working to create a better world. Director Vasquez thanked and honored the 7,810 currently serving Peace Corps volunteers and also recognized the more than 182,000 Americans that have served around the globe throughout the Peace Corps' 44-year history of service.

"Volunteers immerse themselves in a new culture—with no expectation for material compensation—because they have a passion for serving others and making our world a better place to live. International Volunteer Day gives us the opportunity to recognize the work that Peace Corps volunteers do everyday around the world," said Director Vasquez.

To commemorate the day, volunteer organizations in many countries hosted exhibits and presentations to honor the work of volunteers. As an example, in Ukraine, Peace Corps volunteers and staff members participated in an organization fair and press conference arranged by the United Nations Volunteer program. As part of the press conference, Peace Corps volunteers and staff responded to questions from the media and the public. Currently, Peace Corps volunteers in Ukraine are focusing on business development, teaching English as a second language in secondary schools, and working to promote interest in environmental learning and activism in schools, extracurricular educational institutions and community clubs.

In Jamaica, volunteers and staff joined with other local volunteer organizations in celebrating the day. In conjunction with the YMCA, Peace Corps volunteers and staff participated in a "work day" to help clean and paint. At a hotel in Kingston, a ceremony was held to recognize individuals for making outstanding contributions to volunteerism in several areas including the development of young people, the advancement of women, social development at the community and national levels, HIV/AIDS support, and services in disaster assistance. Moreover, similar activities will be taking place across Jamaica. This year's theme is "Volunteer and Secure Jamaica's Future."

International Volunteer Day was created by the United Nations in 1985 to add visibility to volunteers' efforts and social development at local, national and international levels. This year, the United Nations recognized over 146 events across the globe that honored volunteers from various organizations, including the Peace Corps. For more information on International Volunteer Day and related events, visit: http://www.worldvolunteerweb.org. To learn more about Peace Corps volunteers, please visit please visit the What's It Like to Volunteer? section.

Since 1961, more than 182,000 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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