Peace Corps Director Tschetter Visits Volunteers and Attends the International Volunteer Co-operating Organizations (IVCO) Conference in Cambodia

November 25, 2008

Director visits one of the newer Peace Corps countries and delivers remarks on volunteerism

Siem Reap, Cambodia, November 25, 2008 - Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter visited Cambodia for the first time since the swearing-in of the initial Peace Corps/Cambodia Volunteers in April 2007.

Director Tschetter traveled with Peace Corps/Cambodia Director Jon Darrah to visit with Peace Corps Volunteers, staff, and local counterparts. A strong supporter of the Peace Corps, U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Carol Rodley joined the group to tour a High School where Volunteers teach English.

Director Tschetter said in Cambodia, "Our program here is thriving. Cambodia is a fascinating country with such a rich culture, and both the people and the government are great partners. During my site visits I saw our Volunteers at work within your communities. Peace Corps Volunteers who serve in this country are unique in that they teach in a Cambodian school and live with a Cambodian family. They learn the language and culture firsthand. When they return to America, they become Cambodia's ambassadors to the American people."

Currently, there are 57 Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Cambodia. The program promotes the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and is geared toward classroom teaching of English at the upper secondary school level and at regional teacher training centers.

Volunteers also support local English teachers and trainers through co-teaching to improve their English language and teaching skills. Many Volunteers collaborate with their communities through developing sustainable community activities such as building biogas digesters, raising silk worms, and carrying out sports activities.

Also during this visit, Director Tschetter attended the annual International Volunteer Co-operating Organizations (IVCO) conference entitled, "Local Perspectives Informing Good Practice." The group represents heads of agencies from a number of organizations around the world that send volunteers abroad. Director Tschetter discussed a new initiative at the Peace Corps to promote volunteerism.

In his remarks Director Tschetter said, "I know our organizations share common goals. We desire for people around the world to be empowered to live better lives and transform their own communities. Together we can have great impact through supporting service and service learning around the globe."

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. 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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