Peace Corps Names Earl Yates to Head New Program in South Africa Peace Corps to Send Volunteers to South Africa For First Time Ever

WASHINGTON, D.C. Aug. 7 — Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan has appointed Earl Yates to be the agency's new country director in South Africa, where for first time ever, the Peace Corps will send 30 volunteers in January.<br />"Earl Yates is the perfect choice for this vital position," said Gearan. "His development and international experience, particularly in South Africa, will be invaluable as he leads the Peace Corps in its efforts to help South Africa make its historic transition to democracy."

Yates, 52, of Washington, D.C., has 18 years of program development and management experience. Since 1987, he served as senior vice president for the Academy for Educational Development, where among other duties, he managed 20 technical assistance and training projects with total budgets of close to $250 million. The projects were all over the developing world, including southern Africa.

Yates, who recently began his duties in Pretoria, will oversee the entry of Peace Corps volunteers who will help schools in rural areas with training and income-generating efforts. The exact projects are being developed in cooperation with the South African Ministry of Education as well as local non-governmental organizations. Volunteers will begin work in the Northern Province and Mpumalanga.

About 30 volunteers are expected to arrive in January, with another 30 in October.

"I am looking forward to being part of this historic partnership," said Yates. "By living and working at the grass-roots level, Peace Corps volunteers can further strengthen the personal ties between Americans and South Africans."

Franklin Sonn, the South African Ambassador to the U.S., said his country was looking forward to the arrival of Peace Corps volunteers.

"The Peace Corps vision and the long-term loyalty and interest it inspires in its volunteers are impressive," Ambassador Sonn said. "The various services and skills that they will bring to bear in helping South Africa's poorest communities are much needed and much appreciated. The volunteers will be welcomed with open arms. We all wish them well. Hamba kahle! (Go well!)" 

South Africa represents the 132nd country that Peace Corps has entered in its 35-year history. Currently, nearly 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers serve in 93 countries all over the world, including more than 2,400 volunteers in 31 African countries. More than 145,000 Americans have returned from Peace Corps service, providing assistance in education, health and nutrition, agriculture, environment and small business development.

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