Peace Corps Director Visits the Republic of Georgia

November 2, 2007

Director Tschetter visits Georgia to recognize service of Volunteers and expand programs for the future

TBILISI, GEORGIA, Nov. 2, 2007 - Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter visited the Republic of Georgia to discuss new and innovative ways for Peace Corps Volunteers to assist Georgian citizens into the future.

"The people of Georgia have welcomed Peace Corps Volunteers with open arms for over six years," said Director Tschetter. "The warmth and generosity of the Georgian people are evident everywhere I've gone, and our Volunteers are helping improve the quality of life of Georgians through economic development and education. We hope to continue and expand our partnership with Georgia as time goes on."

As a part of his trip, Director Tschetter met with Deputy Minister of Education and Science Bela Tsipuria to seek out more ways Peace Corps Volunteers could assist Georgia's schools in areas such as vocational education. The Deputy Minister thanked the Director for the support schools have received throughout Georgia from Peace Corps Volunteers.

Director Tschetter also had the opportunity to meet with many of the Peace Corps Volunteers currently serving in Georgia, including Chris Haitz from Batavia, N.Y., and Laife Janovyak from Fort Wayne, Ind.

Haitz is currently serving as a business advisor, assisting his community in marketing local products such as honey. He has successfully brought together honey producers and beekeepers by developing the first ever Honey Festival in his region. International organizations and potential buyers attended this festival, where Chris also facilitated a roundtable discussion among the vendors about challenges they face and future opportunities for selling and exporting their honey.

Janovyak serves as a non-governmental organization advisor and is helping to change attitudes about children with disabilities in her community. As a part of her project she is teaching English to children and working with a local group to bring school children and children with disabilities together through drama productions and puppet shows.

The first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in the country of Georgia, a former Soviet republic located between Russia and Turkey and bordering the Black Sea in May, 2001. Since then, 255 Volunteers have served in rural communities and towns throughout the country, where they work in English Language Education and Business and Social Entrepreneurship. Currently 82 Volunteers are serving in Georgia.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are over 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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