Peace Corps Director Visits Azerbaijan

Director Tschetter meets the President of Azerbaijan and visits Volunteers

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN Nov. 6, 2007 Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter departed Azerbaijan today after a successful three day visit with Volunteers, staff and country officials, including the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

Peace Corps Volunteers began serving in Azerbaijan in 2003, and 181 have served since that time. There are currently 85 Peace Corps Volunteers in Azerbaijan today teaching English, and working in youth development and community economic development.

"Azerbaijan is a relatively new post for the Peace Corps, but our Volunteers are already having a significant impact," said Director Tschetter. "Volunteers are helping this country emerge from the post-Soviet economy, and I look forward to having more of them in Azerbaijan so they can return home and tell Americans more about this interesting land."

During his meeting with Director Tschetter, President Aliyev said he would welcome more Volunteers in Azerbaijan. The president thanked Tschetter for the contributions of the Peace Corps Volunteers in Azerbaijan, particularly those working in the youth development sector since he has declared 2007 as the "Year of the Youth."

Director Tschetter also visited Volunteers serving in Azerbaijan during his visit, including: Rustin Johnson from Atlanta, Ga., Adam German from Ramona, Calif., and Jody Grant from Lake Oswego, Ore.

Grant is teaching English in the 5th, 6th, and 9th grades at the school in her town. She is involved in creative writing workshops and the organization of the "Writing Olympics," that is stimulating creative essay writing in the Caucasus region among school children.

Johnson and German are working on community economic development projects and have started an English conversation club in their town. This club has now become a place where young Azerbaijanis, and even some older Azerbaijanis, can congregate to learn valuable life skills, in addition to English. The clubs popularity has caused these Volunteers to begin to collect even more resources for the club, including English language books and movies.

To learn more about Peace Corps/Azerbaijan, visit the Where Do Volunteers Go? web page.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are over 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 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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