Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez Visits Volunteers in Caribbean Region

Visits Mark 40th Anniversary of Agency Programs in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic

Washington, DC, August 28, 2002—Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez returned today from a visit to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic where he met with Peace Corps volunteers and staff currently serving abroad, and with host country officials at all levels. The visit coincides with the 40th anniversary of Peace Corps programs in Jamaica. Both nations began hosting volunteers in 1962 and have done so without interruption ever since.

Director Vasquez arrived in Kingston on Thursday, August 22nd and during his three-day visit discussed the future of the Peace Corps in Jamaica with that nation’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. K.D. Knight, as well as with Jamaica’s Deputy Governor General, The Right Honorable Canon Weavel Gordon. The Director also met with volunteers and staff currently working on traditional education, health and agriculture programs, as well as on new initiatives involving at-risk youths and community environmental health/awareness. Highlighting the trip was a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the Peace Corps in Jamaica, which included high ranking Jamaican officials and a swearing-in ceremony of new volunteers by U.S. Ambassador Sue Cobb.

On August 24th, Director Vasquez arrived in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. His agenda included meetings with Dominican President Hipólito Mejia and Dominican Vice-President and Education Secretary Milagros Ortiz Bosch. The Director discussed ongoing Peace Corps programs and the importance of the agency’s collaboration with the Dominican government and society. Director Vasquez also visited several program sites and was briefed by volunteers and staff involved in HIV/AIDS prevention programs and educational technology initiatives.

“I am pleased and proud to visit two of America’s closest neighbors who also happen to be among the longest hosts and friends of the Peace Corps. During the past 40 years, the people of Jamaica and the Dominican Republic have worked side by side with Peace Corps volunteers on crucial socio-economic issues affecting the human condition. Not even the devastation of hurricanes has impeded our mutual commitment,” said Vasquez. “I am confident that new generations of Peace Corps volunteers, Jamaicans and Dominicans will continue the tradition of peace, prosperity and hope begun in 1962.”

In the past four decades 3,701 volunteers have worked in the Dominican Republic while 3,421 have served in Jamaica. Worldwide, more than 165,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as agriculture, small business and community development, education, environmental conservation, health and information technology.

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