Peace Corps Director Meets with King Mswati III of Swaziland

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2003 –Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez met with His Majesty King Mswati III at the Lozitha Royal Palace in Swaziland on Wednesday to discuss the goals, priorities, and prospects of Peace Corps’ renewed program in the southern African nation. This month, 35 new volunteers will arrive in Swaziland to work in the area of HIV/AIDS education and awareness.

“It is a very high honor to be here in Swaziland – a country with a rich history and tradition of Peace Corps service. From 1968 to 1996, over 1,100 volunteers served this great nation. I am delighted to have this opportunity to visit in advance of the group of volunteers who will be here to usher in a new era of Peace Corps service in Swaziland," commented Director Vasquez.

His Majesty King Mswati III praised Peace Corps for their previous 20 years of service and is pleased that Peace Corps volunteers will be returning to Swaziland to focus on HIV/AIDS education awareness and prevention.

During his travels in Swaziland, Director Vasquez also met with U.S. Ambassador James McGee, Ministry officials, and Peace Corps staff. From 1968-1996, 1,185 total volunteers served in Swaziland, chiefly working in the areas of education, community development, and agriculture. Peace Corps arrived in Swaziland within a year of its independence from Great Britain, and the program’s objectives were to respond to Swaziland’s need for educated and trained human resources by raising general education and technical skill levels.

Since 1961, more than 170,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and awareness, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.

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