Peace Corps Directors Travels to Highlight

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 30, 2003 – Over the next two weeks, Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez will travel to El Salvador, Romania, and Ukraine to meet with country staff and Peace Corps volunteers. In addition, his visits to El Salvador and Romania will include sessions at the annual meetings of Country Directors from the Inter-America and Pacific Region, as well as the Europe, Mediterranean, and Asia Region of the Peace Corps. Director Vasquez will also meet with foreign officials. The Director’s main objective while traveling is to visit volunteers at their project sites and to see first-hand the work they are doing.

“Through these country visits, we can check the progress and recognize the important work being done by volunteers in their host communities,” Director Vasquez stated. “I look forward to visiting with volunteers and learning how they are making a difference in so many lives.”

Director Vasquez will visit the work site of volunteers in San Pedro Nonualco, El Salvador, where Peace Corps volunteers work on projects relating to municipal development, agro forestry, water sanitation, and environmental preservation. The Peace Corps program in El Salvador was one of the agency’s earliest ventures, and since its inception in 1962, more than 1,500 volunteers have served in the country.

In Romania, Director Vasquez will meet with a group of Peace Corps trainees at their training site in Ploiesti, Romania. More than 689 volunteers have served in Romania and have worked in the areas of small business and micro-enterprise development, secondary education, social work, non-governmental organization development, and environmental management and education.

Director Vasquez’ itinerary includes visiting volunteers at several projects in Ukraine. Specifically, he will learn about a program at Ukraine University that works to provide professional training and set up community type colleges to assist disadvantaged Ukrainians, including handicapped people who normally would not have educational opportunities. Across the country, more than 300 Peace Corps volunteers currently work in the areas of business development, English language education, and environmental protection and management.

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