Peace Corps Director Visits Romania

June 11, 2008

Tschetter Tours Romania, Meets with Volunteers and Romania's Prime Minister

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA, June 11, 2008 - U.S. Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter concluded a five-day tour of Romania yesterday. Director Tschetter's tour was highlighted by a meeting with Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu. He also had the opportunity to visit over a dozen Volunteer sites, and meet with over 100 Volunteers in the field.

"I have met so many outstanding Volunteers during this trip, and have seen the meaningful contributions they are making in Romania," said Director Tschetter. "On behalf of the Volunteers, I would like to thank Prime Minister Popescu-Tariceanu for his warm reception, and the people of Romania for the friendships and partnerships they have established with our Volunteers."

Director Tschetter, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Romania Nicholas F. Taubman, met with Prime Minister Popescu-Tariceanu on Monday, June 9 at Victoria Palace in Bucharest, where he thanked the Prime Minister for his support of the Peace Corps, and commented on the deep bonds of friendship and cooperation he witnessed between Peace Corps Volunteers and Romanians. The Prime Minister stated, "I have a deep appreciation for the important contributions of Peace Corps Volunteers in Romania in the areas of education, development, and the environment," and reaffirmed the government's official support for the continuation of the program.

Director Tschetter also spent several days touring Peace Corps projects and meeting with Volunteers in northern Romania. He visited the site of Volunteer Scott Morris, a retired bank executive from Omaha, Nebraska, who is lending his immense professional skills to a local NGO, the Association for Community Relations. Morris works as a consultant to Romanian businesses on building community foundations and corporate social and community responsibility issues. Morris's Romanian counterpart stated that, "Scott's extensive professional experience has made a priceless contribution to strengthening and enhancing the work of our organization."

Traveling far into the Romanian countryside, the Director also met with Volunteer Alex Kuch, of Grand Blanc, Michigan. Kuch is teaching English at multiple grade levels in the local school. The Director of the school said, "We need English to have the opportunity for a better future. Alex provides the children of this village with the right to learn English." As a testament to the impact of Kuch's work on the community, one local villager said, "Alex is no longer just an American, he is a Romanian!"

There are 170 Peace Corps Volunteers currently serving in Romania in the areas of English education, Environment, and Economic Development. Since 1991, over 970 Volunteers have served in Romania.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad, and 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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