Peace Corps Director Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of the Peace Corps in Cameroon

June 21, 2007

Tschetter Unveils Bust of Former President John F. Kennedy at U.S. Embassy Event

YAOUND, CAMEROON - June 21, 2007 - Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter today unveiled a bust of former President John F. Kennedy at a U.S. Embassy ceremony held to commemorate the 45th Anniversary of the Peace Corps in Cameroon. Since 1962, over 3,100 Peace Corps Volunteers have served here promoting peace, friendship and a better understanding of America.

The outdoor ceremony, hosted by U.S. Ambassador Niels Marquardt, was attended by over 100 people ranging from currently serving Peace Corps Volunteers to high ranking Cameroonian government officials, many of whom were taught by Peace Corps Volunteers.

In his remarks, Tschetter quoted former President Kennedy's famous speech, "My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Tschetter continued, "As I have traveled around Cameroon, I have seen countless examples of our Volunteers and the people of Cameroon working together, and thats what the Peace Corps is all about. Whether it is in education, agro-forestry, small enterprise development, or community health, our work can not be effective without a 'working together' relationship. And these bonds of trust, understanding and caring will absolutely contribute to the freedom of man President Kennedy talked about at his inauguration 46 years ago."

U.S. Ambassador Marquardt, who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rwanda in the late 1970's, said in his opening remarks, "With Director Tschetter's visit and today's ceremony, we also commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Peace Corps' uninterrupted presence in Cameroon. This record of continuous, unbroken presence since the very first Volunteers arrived in Cameroon, in September 1962, is matched in only two other countries on earth." He further stated that the Peace Corps, "has done more than any other American initiative to promote peace, mutual understanding, mutual respect, and social development around the world, and perhaps most especially in Africa."

Today's ceremony marks the end of Director Tschetter's five day visit to Cameroon; he is the first Peace Corps Director to visit Cameroon in 26 years. While here he met with the 39 new Peace Corps Volunteer-trainees in Bangangte, where he also stayed one evening with a local Cameroonian family. Additionally, he visited many of the 99 currently serving Volunteers throughout the country, traveling as far as the West Province of Bafoussam and the North Province of Garoua. He also met with Peace Corps staff, various high ranking Cameroonian government officials and local leaders to thank them for their long standing support of the Peace Corps.

Since 1961, more than 187,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. During its 45 year history, over 3,150 Volunteers have served in Cameroon. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.
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