Peace Corps Director Visits Guyana

October 3, 2008

Ronald A. Tschetter becomes the first Director to visit Volunteers in Guyana

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 3, 2008 On Thursday, October 2, 2008, Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter concluded a three-day visit to Guyana, the first trip by a Peace Corps Director to the South American country. Currently, there are 55 Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Guyana, and 470 Volunteers have served since 1961.

Director Tschetter met with Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, who expressed his appreciation and gratitude for the work of the Peace Corps Volunteers. Additionally, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, Minister of Health, expressed his ardent support of the Peace Corps in a meeting that also included Ambassador Elizabeth Harper, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana.

The Director met with Volunteers serving in-country, including three Peace Corps Response Volunteers (PCRVs). During his travels, Director Tschetter met with several 50+ Volunteers, including Michael Roberts of New York, who plans to serve a fourth year in Guyana. He is the first Volunteer to serve in the country for four years. He is responsible for information and communication technology as the Department of Education in the Lethem Region. Earlier in his life, Roberts served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon (1975-77).

Tschetter also visited the site of JoAnn Matray, a 50+ PCV from Farmingdale, N.Y. Matray has been instrumental to the success of her information technology students, all of whom passed the Caribbean Examination Council IT testing requirements a first at her school. Matray also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tonga (2004-06).

Peace Corps Guyana is the only program in the Inter-America and Pacific (IAP) Region with a focus on the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. All of the Peace Corps Response Volunteers work to strengthen the capacity of local organizations addressing HIV/AIDS, and all Volunteers in Guyana incorporate HIV prevention into their primary projects. Peace Corps/Guyana works in close relationship with the Government of Guyana National HIV/AIDS Programme, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) office in Guyana to coordinate and support national initiatives related to HIV/AIDS.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are 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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