Peace Corps Director to Visit Volunteers and Staff in Guatemala

Washington, D.C., February 22, 1999—Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan departed today for a three-day trip to Guatemala, where he will meet with Peace Corps volunteers and attend a conference of country directors Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific. While in Guatemala, Gearan will meet with all 30 Peace Corps country directors in those regions, to discuss issues and opportunities facing Peace Corps programs. "Nearly one-third of all Peace Corps volunteers are serving in Central and South American, the Caribbean and the Pacific, and the need for more volunteers to serve there remains strong," Gearan said. "With our new budget increase, and the new millennium just around the corner, we are exploring expanding our programs in those regions." The Peace Corps will be recruiting more volunteers this year than in the past 25 years, due to an 8 percent budget increase that brought the agency\'s annual budget to $241 million. Nearly 4,000 volunteers will be recruited this year, which will bring the total number of volunteers to more than 7,400 by the end of the fiscal year, the highest total since the end of 1974. Currently, nearly 6,700 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in 80 countries, working to help fight hunger, bring clean water to communities, teach children, help start new small businesses, and stop the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.

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