Peace Corps Director Salutes Current and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers on International Volunteer Day
December 3, 1999Washington, D.C., December 3, 1999—In the spirit of International Volunteer Day on Sunday, Acting Peace Corps Director Charles Baquet III today saluted the thousands of current and returned Peace Corps volunteers for their contributions to communities around the world and here in the United States.
In 1985, the United Nations General Assembly declared December 5 as "International Volunteer Day" to honor the accomplishments of volunteers and volunteer organizations.
"This day serves to remind us of the importance of encouraging and participating in volunteer activities in our communities," said Baquet. "As a leading international volunteer agency, the Peace Corps has contributed a great deal to developing nations around the world."
Baquet also emphasized the contributions made by returned Peace Corps volunteers, who provide a "domestic dividend" by using their overseas experience to make a difference in the lives of people in the United States.
"Whether it's providing community health care, teaching kids to read, organizing youth activities, serving in local parent-teacher organizations or spending time with the elderly in nursing homes, returned Peace Corps volunteers understand the value of service and make a tangible difference in the lives of thousands of Americans," Baquet said.
Peace Corps volunteers and staff members will participate in special activities with local and international volunteer organizations in their countries to mark this significant day.
For instance, in Senegal, there will be an exposition in which various volunteer organizations, including the Peace Corps, will set up display booths to highlight the activities of their volunteers. In Niger, volunteers and staff will participate in a radio program on Sunday about the work of volunteer organizations in that country. And in Vanuatu, the Peace Corps and other organizations will celebrate International Volunteer Day with a series of events, including cultural bands, deejay music, competitive sports, and talent competitions.
In Washington, Peace Corps staff from headquarters will volunteer this weekend at Food and Friends to help deliver meals and groceries to families of people living with HIV/AIDS, and at So Others Might Eat, a shelter that provides meals for the homeless.
Today, more than 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers serve in 78 countries around the world, working to fight hunger, prevent the spread of AIDS, protect the environment, teach children, promote health and nutrition, and start small businesses. Since 1961, more than 155,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.