Peace Corps Director Travels to Liberia and Morocco with the First Lady to Support Let Girls Learn

July 5, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 5, 2016 – Last week Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet participated in a three-day visit to Liberia and Morocco with First Lady Michelle Obama in support of the U.S. government’s Let Girls Learn initiative. Throughout her travel, Director Hessler-Radelet met with girls from across both countries, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco, the U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, Peace Corps volunteers and staff, and officials from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). In conjunction with the visit, the White House announced the expansion of Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn program in Liberia and the launch of a new Let Girls Learn program in Morocco in the coming months.
 
“Since our founding, the Peace Corps has played a critical role in empowering women and girls in communities throughout the world,” Director Hessler-Radelet said. “Through Let Girls Learn, we are amplifying those efforts and thrilled to expand this vital work to more countries, including Morocco, next year.”
 
Director Hessler-Radelet—joined by the First Lady, Malia and Sasha Obama and the First Lady’s mother Mrs. Marian Robinson—visited a Peace Corps Training Facility in Liberia, where Peace Corps volunteers and trainees were leading a GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camp for 31 Liberian girls to address specific barriers they face in receiving a quality education and to help them build leadership, self-confidence and life skills. After the GLOW Camp, Director Hessler-Radelet attended a roundtable discussion between the First Lady, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Liberian school girls who have faced serious obstacles in attaining an education. The discussion, hosted by USAID, shed light on the U.S. Government’s continued efforts to assist girls in overcoming such obstacles as the country moves beyond the Ebola epidemic.
 
Following the roundtable discussion, Director Hessler-Radelet traveled to Morocco with the First Lady for a conversation highlighting the expansion of Let Girls Learn and why educating girls is essential to healthy and thriving communities. The First Lady heard inspiring first-hand accounts from Moroccan girls who have overcome barriers to go to and stay in school and discussed the critical role education has played in her own life and career. U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Dwight L. Bush, Sr., USAID/Morocco Mission Director Dana Mansuri and MCC Vice President Kyeh Kim attended the conversation with Director Hessler-Radelet.
 
A number of the girls participating in both discussions with the First Lady were able to do so because a Peace Corps volunteer in their community had nominated them to share their dedication to receiving an education and demonstrating leadership skills.

Director Hessler-Radelet then accompanied the First Lady and her daughters and mother, along with additional distinguished guests, to a traditional iftar dinner hosted by Princess Lalla Salma, wife of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI. The Peace Corps has enjoyed 53 years of support and friendship from the Government of Morocco, including an ongoing commitment made by King Mohammed VI to President Obama in fall 2013 to financially support volunteer-led projects. These funds have enabled volunteers to complete over 30 sustainable, community-based projects across the country.
 
Since the launch of Let Girls Learn, with the help of corporate partners and individual donors from all over the U.S., the Peace Corps has funded more than 200 Let Girls Learn projects in 35countries throughout Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Central America. In addition, more than 1400Peace Corps volunteers have already received training to become catalysts for community-led change to improve girls’ access to education and empowerment.To support Peace Corps volunteers’ Let Girls Learn projects, visit the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund. One hundred percent of donations to the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund directly support volunteer projects and complement the resources that local communities contribute towards these projects.
 


About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, 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, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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