Peace Corps Deputy Director Visits Bangkok to Commemorate 45th Anniversary of Peace Corps Thailand

Jody K. Olsen travels to celebrate 45th Anniversary and meets with Thailand Volunteers

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 23, 2007 Peace Corps Deputy Director Jody K. Olsen traveled to Bangkok, Thailand from March 19-24 to meet with Volunteers and attend the 45th Anniversary of Peace Corps in Thailand. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn joined Olsen on Friday, March 23 for the official ceremony marking the partnership with the Royal Thai Government.
Peace Corps Deputy Director Jody K. Olsen offers a present to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand
Olsen said, The Peace Corps takes great pride in commemorating the 45-year anniversary of our program in Thailand. I look forward to our continued friendship with the Thai people and thank them for being strong supporters of our Volunteers. The success weve had reflects the dedication of all current and former Volunteers working closely with our country counterparts.

The 45th anniversary events brought together past and present Peace Corps Thailand Volunteers in Bangkok. Volunteers from every decade of Peace Corps service, from 1962 until today, attended. Additionally, high-level representatives from Thailands host communities and U.S. and Thai Government officials participated in the events.

Peace Corps oldest currently-serving Volunteer, Margaret Pratley, 81, of Calif., attended the anniversary events. Pratley, a teacher trainer, will complete her Peace Corps service on March 27 in Thailand. Olsen met Pratley and Peace Corps Volunteers over the age of 50what Peace Corps is referring to as 50-pluscurrently serving in Thailand during the visit.

Olsen said while visiting a Volunteer project site, "Thailand is a country with rich traditions and history. I was thrilled to visit Dottie Kay, a 50-plus Volunteer near Ayutthaya, and see the bonds shes developed within her community. I especially loved seeing local schools and meeting Thai counterparts. Both our Peace Corps Volunteers and the Thai people continue to benefit from exchanging skills and experiences over the past 45 years, and we are confident that this will continue into the future. Olsen also attended sessions with Volunteers and counterparts that focused on HIV/AIDS work.

Currently, there are 107 Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Thailand. Since 1962, more than 4,300 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Thailand and have focused on English education, health, water and sanitation, agriculture, the environment, and rural community outreach and development. Other projects include silk-weaving projects, community forest projects, HIV/AIDS education, teacher training, womens training, and local income-generating projects.

From lft to rt: Thailand Peace Corps Country Director John Williams, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and Peace Corps Deputy Director Jody K. Olsen

Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Since 1961, more than 187,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 139 countries. At the invitation of host governments, the Peace Corps sends American volunteers for 27-month assignments to help countless individuals worldwide who want to build a better life for themselves, their children, and their communities. Today, more than 7,749 Volunteers are serving in 73 countries, including Thailand.

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