Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen visits China to celebrate 25th anniversary

August 23, 2018

China
Director Olsen with Peace Corps volunteers in China.

WASHINGTON – Today, Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen joined U.S. Consul General Jim Mullinax in Chengdu at the swearing in ceremony of China’s 24th cohort of volunteers. The event marks the 25th anniversary of the Peace Corps program in China, where over 1,235 volunteers have served since 1993. The program is formally known as the United States-China Friendship Volunteer program.

“At its heart, this program brings together people to share knowledge, world views, cultural riches and the values and shared aspirations of the American and Chinese peoples,” said Olsen. “We could not be prouder of our shared legacy, or more grateful for the friendship and collaboration of our Chinese partners.”

The new group of 79 volunteers were sworn into service by Olsen after successfully completing 10 weeks of training. Their training included Mandarin language instruction and sessions on Chinese culture to better integrate with their host communities. The new volunteers will teach at universities, colleges, and vocational schools in Sichuan, Guizhou, and Gansu provinces and Chongqing municipality.

Director Olsen, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia from 1966 to 1968, delivered the keynote remarks at the ceremony. She reflected on her own service and thanked the Chinese people for their friendship and collaboration in making the partnership a success. Over 200 guests attended the event, including members of the Chinese government, U.S. Consulate, and partner schools. The festivities also included a ceremonial cake-cutting. 

Over the past 25 years, Peace Corps volunteers have helped enhance the skills of 350,000 Chinese students and teachers in 140 participating universities and colleges. Volunteers have worked with even more Chinese through secondary activities such as English clubs, women’s empowerment workshops, and summer teacher training programs. 

The 25th anniversary celebration took place during Director Olsen’s first trip to China as head of the agency. During the visit, she also visited volunteers in their communities and met with Chinese government officials.

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 230,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide.

For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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