FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, June 9, 2023
PEACE CORPS DIRECTOR CAROL SPAHN CONCLUDES TRIP TO INDONESIA AND SRI LANKA
(Washington, D.C. | Friday, June 9, 2023) — This week, Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn concluded a trip to Indonesia and Sri Lanka, where she engaged with members of the Peace Corps network and attended high-level meetings aimed at strengthening ties with partners and expanding collaboration in support of host country and community priorities.
After visiting Peace Corps volunteers, host families, community and local government partners in East Java and East Nusa Tenggara provinces, Director Spahn met with the Peace Corps Government of Indonesia Working Group in Jakarta. Chaired by the Director of America Affairs, Iwan Freddy Hari Susanto, the Working Group highlighted how Peace Corps strengthens U.S.-Indonesia relations through people-to-people support and furthers the Government of Indonesia’s education priorities, particularly around English, digital literacy, and diversity.
Government partners emphasized the importance of English language learning as a gateway to opportunity for Indonesian youth and congratulated Peace Corps Indonesia on the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology award they received for their innovative support to the Emancipated Learning Initiative. In addition, Ministry of Religious Affairs representatives reported positive results from the digital learning workshops Peace Corps volunteers and staff continue to facilitate for more than 350 madrasah schools across the country. Partners shared their enthusiasm that Peace Corps volunteers are now back working alongside teachers, youth, and other community members in Indonesia and that more volunteers will arrive in September 2023.
Director Spahn also met with U.S. Government partners during the trip, including U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, Sung Y. Kim; Deputy Chief of Mission, Michael F. Kleine; United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Indonesia Mission Director, Jeffery P. Cohen; and Consul General of U.S. Consulate Surabaya, Jonathan Alan. All representatives highlighted the leadership of Indonesia as the current Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and discussed the role of the Peace Corps in locally-led development, youth engagement, and grassroots diplomacy.
To conclude Director Spahn’s engagements in Indonesia, Deputy Chief of Mission Kleine organized a “Colleagues with Purpose” luncheon for Director Spahn to interact with Indonesian alumni of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI). Over traditional Indonesian fare, YSEALI and Peace Corps representatives discussed their work and shared goals around intercultural understanding, social inclusion, sustainable development, and harnessing the transformative power of volunteerism. The luncheon highlighted the tremendous impact of YSEALI alums and potential areas for collaboration with Peace Corps volunteers and staff.
In Sri Lanka, Director Spahn met with Minister of Education Dr. Don Susil Premajayantha and expressed the agency’s gratitude for the renewed partnership between the Peace Corps and Sri Lanka and the Ministry’s efforts to prepare for volunteers’ arrival in December 2023. Minister Premajayantha, who has been a vocal advocate for English education for more than two decades, shared that there is great demand for Peace Corps volunteers’ support toward advancing students’ English proficiency as a means of accessing economic, educational and cross-cultural opportunities that will benefit youth, families, and communities across the country and region.
Director Spahn was also briefed by Peace Corps Sri Lanka staff on their preparations for the return of volunteers and she met with regional leadership who were attending the Peace Corps' Europe, Mediterranean, and Asia Country Director Conference in Sri Lanka.
The Director's visit to both Indonesia and Sri Lanka underscores Peace Corps' commitment to strong partnerships, youth engagement, and climate work across the region. The interactions highlighted the organization's enduring dedication to cultural exchange and grassroots engagement.
The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work alongside communities to create lasting change. Volunteers develop relationships and sustainable solutions to support government and community priorities in the areas of education, health, community economic development, agriculture, environment, and youth in development. Through Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a lifelong commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy.
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About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps is an international service network of volunteers, community members, host country partners and staff who are driven by the agency’s mission of world peace and friendship. At the invitation of governments around the world, Peace Corps volunteers work alongside community members on locally-prioritized projects in the areas of education, health, environment, agriculture, community economic development and youth in development. Through service, members of the Peace Corps network develop transferable skills and hone intercultural competencies that position them to be the next generation of global leaders. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans have served in 143 countries worldwide. For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Peace Corps Communications