Peace Corps Director Travels to Philippines

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 4, 2006 Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez recently returned from the Philippines where he met with volunteers, dignitaries, and country directors from the Europe, Mediterranean and Asia region during their annual conference.

In Manila, Director Vasquez discussed the Peace Corps\' projects with Filipino President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who praised the agency as a model for overseas outreach.

"The Peace Corps is very much a part of Filipino life," said President Arroyo. The President went on to say that Filipino officials "have been trying to create our own version of Peace Corps using the Peace Corps model."

Said Director Vasquez: "It is an honor that the Filipino government holds the Peace Corps in such high esteem that they see the agency as a model for cultural exchange."

United States Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie A. Kenney also stressed her support of the Peace Corps, remarking, "We are fans of the Peace Corps, and we look forward to working together." The newly appointed ambassador also commented on the diversity of volunteers, saying, "I am very impressed with the range of age, from those who heard John F. Kennedy speak to those who just graduated."

Director Vasquez also had the opportunity to meet several volunteers and learn about the various projects on which they focus. Over 110 volunteers currently serve in the Philippines, working to address the country\'s development priorities. Projects include livelihood development, business development and training, and education.

Hosting the second oldest Peace Corps program, the Republic of the Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands and has 82 million citizens. In addition to the aforementioned projects, volunteers promote improved environmental governance and protection, and volunteer with Filipino youth, providing mentoring and life-skills training. To learn more about the Philippines, please visit the Where Do Volunteers Go? section.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 45-year legacy of service at home and abroad, and a 30-year high for volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 182,000 volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 138 countries where volunteers have served. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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