Peace Corps Director Travels to Morocco, Meets with Volunteers

Washington, D.C., June 10, 2002—Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez recently met with Peace Corps volunteers and officials in Morocco on his latest trip abroad.

In Rabat, Morocco, this weekend, Director Vasquez met with Peace Corps volunteers and staff and with U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Margaret Tutwiler. Saturday, the Director attended a Volunteer Advisory Council (VAC) meeting. The VAC is comprised of Peace Corps volunteers elected to represent other volunteers in their districts in Morocco. With them, the Director discussed issues facing the volunteers, such as programming and safety and security.

Afterward, Ambassador Tutwiler joined Director Vasquez to attend a craft fair set up by Peace Corps volunteers. This fair is the third of its type in the past 18 months involving volunteers, and reflects the Peace Corps’ interest in assisting women entrepreneurs. Approximately 25 women artisans and the Peace Corps volunteers who work with them displayed and sold their crafts at the fair.

Director Vasquez also had the opportunity to meet with the Moroccan Minister of Health, Mr. Thami El Khyari and the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Moulay Ismail Alaoui.

Sunday, the Director traveled to Azib and visited environmental volunteer Kristin Cannon’s site and the women’s center where she works. Ms. Cannon is from Colorado. In Amezmiz, Director Vasquez met with Stephen Menicucci, a youth development volunteer from California, and toured the youth center with which he works.

Peace Corps has had educational, business developmental, health and environmental programs in Morocco since 1962 which have employed over 3,600 volunteers. Educational efforts since 2000 have been focused on the community and youth-based efforts rather than at the university level. Working together with their Moroccan colleagues, the volunteers design English curricula targeting technical needs such as environmental awareness, health and fitness, arts and crafts, and computer education. In the business development programs, volunteers work with artisan groups to generate income and improve marketing. Health volunteers address the high infant mortality rate and address poor water quality and sanitation.

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