Peace Corps Expands Program in Indonesia
June 21, 2011Washington, D.C., June 21, 2011 Twenty-eight Peace Corps volunteers officially began service in Indonesia on June 15, taking up English teaching assignments at schools and madrasahs throughout the province of East Java for the coming two years. There are now 45 Peace Corps volunteers at work in the 17,000 island archipelago nation. This is the second group of volunteers sworn in for service since the Peace Corps program reopened in Indonesia in 2010.
U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Scot Marciel congratulated the new volunteers who had successfully completed an intensive ten-week training program in Malang. Ambassador Marciel noted that Peace Corps is the preeminent program of the United States Government at bridging cultures and building a greater understanding at the community level. Peace Corps volunteers live and work within communities for two years. They learn the language. They develop an understanding and appreciation of the culture.
The ceremony also included the signing of implementing arrangements (project agreements) between Peace Corps and the Ministries of National Education and Religious Affairs which jointly oversee the vast national school system. The arrangements formalize the partnership between the host Ministries and Peace Corps/Indonesia.
Ambassador Marciel was joined by Ibu Rd. Siliwanti, director of the directorate for political affairs and communications at the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS). Along with other Republic of Indonesia Ministries, BAPPENAS has worked closely with Peace Corps throughout the early stages of its program development. All Peace Corps volunteers are serving in East Java although the plan is to expand the program to another province in 2012.
Since their arrival in April, the volunteers have focused on learning the national language of Bahasa Indonesia and experiencing Indonesian culture through living with host families in villages around Malang. Peace Corps partnered with the University of Muhammadiyah Malang and Wisma Bahasa, a language institute based in Yogyakarta, in order to draw upon local training resources and expertise. Peace Corps volunteer Tim Curtin, of Boca Raton, Fl., spoke in Indonesian to a gathering of 28 host families at the ceremony, The wonderful generous, patient families that took us into their homes are our family. The connection we have now is unique and unbreakable. It is with the support of all these different families that we have been able to succeed."
Peace Corps re-established its program in Indonesia in 2010 following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2009.
About the Peace Corps: President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. Throughout 2011, Peace Corps is commemorating 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world. Historically, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Today, 8,655 volunteers are working with local communities in 77 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.