Peace Corps Launches `Pacific Initiative' to Expand Environmental Programs in the Pacific

SAN FRANCISCO, July 20, 1999—Twelve Peace Corps Volunteers, under the auspices of the Peace Corps\' "Pacific Initiative," will depart this week from San Francisco to work on environmental projects in Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Niue, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau.

Last week, Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan and Tamari\'I Tutangata, the Director of the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme signed an agreement stipulating the two agencies will expand their environmental programs in the Pacific. The Peace Corps volunteers will serve as environmental educators, community organizers, and trainers.

"The Pacific Initiative reflects the Peace Corps\' commitment to the Pacific islands region, where about 350 Peace Corps volunteers are currently serving," Gearan said. "We look forward to expanding the relationship between the Peace Corps, the Pacific island nations, and regional organizations such as SPREP."

On Thursday evening in San Francisco, there will be a Pacific Initiative reception/send-off for the Peace Corps Volunteers, featuring former San Francisco 49er Jesse Sapolu, The Nature Company founder & CEO Priscilla Wrubel, and traditional Samoan song and dance by a San Francisco group called The New Prophets.

The event will be held on Thursday, July 22, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Delancey Street Foundation, 600 Embarcadero, San Francisco.

Currently, nearly 6,700 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 77 countries around the world to bring clean water to communities, teach children, protect the environment, help start new small businesses, and prevent the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.

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