Peace Corps Director Visits Kingdom of Lesotho

October 30, 2008

Director Tschetter Meets with Volunteers, Officials, and Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 30, 2008 - Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter completed a three-day visit to the African country of Lesotho this week. During his visit the Director met with the entire Peace Corps staff as well as currently-serving Volunteers throughout the country. Over 2,000 Volunteers have served in Lesotho since the opening of the program in 1967.

U.S. Ambassador Robert B. Nolan, an avid supporter of the Peace Corps program in Lesotho, accompanied Director Tschetter on visits to the Ministry of Education and Foreign Affairs, as well as to visit His Majesty King Letsie III. During the meeting with Director Tschetter, His Majesty remarked, "There is not a district in Lesotho that hasn't been touched by a Peace Corps Volunteer." Describing Peace Corps' third goal, His Majesty said, "Volunteers are the face of America, but when they return to the U.S.A, they act as Ambassadors for Lesotho."

Director Tschetter traveled throughout the southern African country to learn more about the work of the Volunteers, who work in the sectors of education, youth and community development, environmental and agricultural conservation, health and HIV/AIDS awareness, and business development. Many Volunteers also work through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program to address HIV/AIDS issues. Currently, 86 Volunteers are serving in Lesotho.

Director Tschetter said after visiting with the Volunteers, "We have a long history in Lesotho, and that partnership is stronger than ever. Thanks to the great support from our country counterparts, Volunteers are having a tremendous impact in Lesotho across a variety of sectors."

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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