Peace Corps Director Tschetter Visits the Kingdom of Thailand

Visit highlights long partnership between Royal Thai Government and Peace Corps

Bangkok, Thailand, November 24, 2008 - Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter visited Thailand for the first time as Director, emphasizing the 47-year partnership between the Royal Thai Government and United States Peace Corps.

Upon arrival Director Tschetter met with U.S. Ambassador Eric G. John and Deputy Chief of Mission James F. Entwistle, along with the Deputy Director General of the Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency.

Director Tschetter (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, India 1966-68) and Country Director John Williams (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Thailand 1965-67) traveled to Kanchanaburi and Chiangmai provinces to meet current Peace Corps/Thailand Volunteers and their Thai Counterparts, and attended the monthly luncheon hosted by a large group of former Peace Corps/Thailand Volunteers.

During his meeting with Mr. Apinan Phatarathiyanon, Deputy Director General of the Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency, Director Tschetter said, "Thailand is one of only three countries in the entire world where Peace Corps has had continual service since its founding in 1961. We cherish our relationship with the government and people of Thailand, a true 47-year partnership in every way."

In return, General Phatarathiyanon said, "We have a long and honored history with Peace Corps. I tell your Volunteers, you are American Ambassadors while here and once you return, you become Thai Ambassadors. Volunteers convey your unique culture and at the same time we learn so much from each other."

Currently, there are 96 Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Thailand. The first group of Volunteers arrived to Thailand in January 1962. Nearly 4,900 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Thailand in sectors such as English education, health, water and sanitation, malaria eradication, agriculture, fisheries, the environment, and rural community development. Other projects include silk-weaving projects, community forest projects, HIV/AIDS education, teacher training, womens training, and local income-generating projects.

As the Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world. Historically, over 195,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries in which they have served. Applications to serve in the Peace Corps have increased 16 percent this past year, the largest boost in the last five years. Currently, 7,876 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in 76 countries, including Liberia. 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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