Peace Corps Director Visits Namibia

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 10, 2003 – Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez met with Namibian Prime Minister Mr. Theo-Ben Gurrirab, Namibian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Hidipo Hamutenya, and U.S. Ambassador Kevin J. McGuire this week to discuss the progress of Peace Corps programs in Namibia.

Director Vasquez was honored by Prime Minister Gurrirab during a reception held at Ambassador McGuire’s residence. The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for President Bush’s continued commitment to and expansion of the Peace Corps, as Namibians have been benefactors of the great work Peace Corps volunteers are doing in the areas of education and HIV/AIDS awareness.

While in Namibia, Director Vasquez also met with Namibian Regional education directors and several Peace Corps education volunteers at their sites. Currently, 85 volunteers are serving in Namibia, and 65 new trainees are scheduled to arrive in October.

The Peace Corps entered Namibia, formerly known as West South Africa, in 1990, soon after independence was gained. While serving in the western African nation, volunteers primarily concentrate upon education, health care, and HIV/AIDS prevention. Since 1990, 707 volunteers have served in Namibia.

Since 1961, more than 170,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health and 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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