Peace Corps Director Visits Rwanda

November 5, 2008

Peace Corps Volunteers will Return to Rwanda in January 2009

Kigali, Rwanda, Nov. 5, 2008 - Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter finished a three-day visit to the African country of Rwanda this week. Director Tschetter toured the new Peace Corps office in Kigali and met with the new Peace Corps staff as the agency prepares for the historic return of Volunteers to Rwanda in late January 2009.

U.S. Ambassador W. Stuart Symington, an avid supporter of the Peace Corps program, accompanied Director Tschetter on his meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Said President Kagame, "The relationship between the U.S. and Rwanda is decades old and has never been as good. Peace Corps' presence will enhance that relationship. We have been working on the return of the Peace Corps for a number of years and I'm happy to see it happen."

Director Tschetter said, "This is a momentous occasion, and it's an honor for the Peace Corps to be invited to return to Rwanda. We have a long history of collaboration, and many strong ties of friendship still exist between Peace Corps Volunteers and Rwandans dating back to 1975 when our Volunteers first came to the country. We are thrilled to return, and to be able to contribute to Rwandas current development efforts through our Volunteers work in health and community development."

Ambassador Symington added, "There has never been a better time for Peace Corps to return to Rwanda. Volunteers serve as the face of America and will have great impact on the bright future of Rwanda."

Over 114 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Rwanda since the program was established in 1975. Although the program was closed in 1993, Peace Corps staff returned in 2008, and 35 Volunteers are expected to arrive in Rwanda in January 2009. Volunteers in this Eastern African nation will work in the areas of health and community development, and will collaborate with other United States government partners to support the Government of Rwandas strategy to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Many of the Volunteers who will work on HIV/AIDS prevention and care will receive support from the U.S. Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program.

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, including Rwanda. 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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