Peace Corps Director Visits China and Swears In New Volunteers
September 9, 2008Director Tschetter meets Volunteers and their university partners
Beijing, PRC, Tuesday, September 09, 2008 - Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter traveled to the Peoples Republic of China last week to swear in 36 new Peace Corps Volunteers, the 13th group of Volunteers to be sworn in since the programs inception in 1993. Director Tschetter was joined by American Consul General Jim Boughner, and Madam Yang Meng of the China Education Association for International Exchange.
Of the 36 new Volunteers, 13 have previously served in the Peace Corps in Bulgaria, Georgia, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Benin, Cameroon, Ghana and Kazakhstan, and have now come to provide additional service to the people of China.
Speaking of this dynamic group and how they will contribute to America's continued warm friendship with China, Director Tschetter stated: "We are pleased to be able to swear in this outstanding group of Volunteers, and know that their service will serve to strengthen the strong ties we have with the country and the people of China."
Each of the 36 Volunteers will be using their backgrounds in education to teach English at a collegiate level to university students in the central provinces of China. Director Tschetter had the opportunity to travel to the city of Leshan, where he visited universities hosting Volunteers. The Director spoke with currently-serving Volunteers about their experiences, and was warmly welcomed by university administrators.
One administrator described the impact Volunteers have on the students: "Many of our students come from rural areas and are not wealthy. The opportunity for them to learn English from a native speaking English teacher is very special and gives them a unique opportunity. The Volunteers are like a prize that every university wants."
Currently, there are 115 Volunteers serving in the People's Republic of China, with 516 Volunteers having served since the program's inception. The first group of Volunteers arrived in China in 1993 as part of a pilot education project in Sichuan province. Volunteers currently teach English at over 60 universities, including five medical colleges and three vocational colleges.
The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad, and a 30-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, including the Peoples Republic of China. 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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