Peace Corps Director Visits Central America

May 6, 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 6, 2003 – Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez met with Honduran President Ricardo Maduro as part of his travels to Honduras and Costa Rica, where he is visiting with Peace Corps volunteers, staff and officials in both countries.

President Maduro welcomed Director Vasquez and US Ambassador to Honduras Larry Palmer, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, to the Presidential Palace. The President expressed his appreciation for the great work Peace Corps volunteers have accomplished in his country and his desire to increase the number of volunteers serving in Honduras in the future.

Director Vasquez thanked the President for his continued support of the Peace Corps program in Honduras and articulated his sincere appreciation to the people of Honduras for welcoming the more than 4,500 Peace Corps volunteers who have served the communities of Honduras since 1963. Peace Corps Honduras will swear-in 61 new volunteers on Friday, May 9.

Later this week, Director Vasquez will travel to Costa Rica to meet with Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco and to participate in the 40th Anniversary of the country’s Peace Corps program. The Director will speak to 21 new volunteers at their swearing-in ceremony about the growth of the Peace Corps in Costa Rica, as well as the world. The Director will also address his enthusiasm for Peace Corps Costa Rica’s newest project, Rural Community Development. All of the 21 new volunteers have been assigned to this project.

Currently, there are 240 Peace Corps volunteers serving in Honduras in the following assignment areas: agriculture, health, water, environment, business development, and municipal development sectors.

During the 40-year history of Peace Corps Costa Rica, over 2,000 volunteers have served in the areas of health, education, environment, agriculture, small business development, and youth development. Since its inception, the Peace Corps Costa Rica program has been administered through the Peace Corps post in Nicaragua. Last year, Director Vasquez made Costa Rica a dedicated post, no longer administered from Nicaragua.

Currently all 34 volunteers in Costa Rica are working in the Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk project. This project aims to increase educational and training opportunities for youth, youth organizations, and community volunteers by strengthening the institutional capacity and community outreach of the Government of Costa Rica's Ministry of Child Welfare, PANI (Patronato Nacional de la Infancia).

Since 1961, more than 168,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and awareness, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.

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