Peace Corps Officially Reopens in Ethiopia

December 13, 2007

Director Tschetter travels to Ethiopian capital to swear-in 42 Volunteers

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, Dec. 13, 2007 - Director Ron Tschetter swore-in 42 Peace Corps Volunteers today, marking the return of the Peace Corps to Ethiopia. All 42 Volunteers will focus on the prevention, care, and treatment of HIV/AIDS during their service in the East African country.

"I've been looking forward to this day, the day we come back to Ethiopia. All 42 new Peace Corps Volunteers have a life-changing experience ahead of them. I cherish our relationship with the people of Ethiopia and hope to grow this program year by year. I congratulate the Peace Corps staff that has been working hard to re-start our program. Today I have the honor to swear-in 42 people who will serve as un-official American ambassadors who represent the best of our country," said Director Tschetter.

The 42 newest Peace Corps Volunteers were sworn-in by Director Tschetter at an outdoor ceremony hosted by U.S. Ambassador Donald Y. Yamamoto. The ceremony was attended by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who once served in Ethiopia, local dignitaries, and government counterparts. Ambassador Yamamoto said at the event, "This partnership between our two countries, our two peoples, unites us in a shared endeavor to create a more peaceful and prosperous place for future generations." The newest group of 42 Volunteers includes six experienced Volunteers who have served in five other African countries: Burkina Faso, Lesotho, Guinea, Swaziland and Tanzania. The group also includes two 50-plus Volunteers, two married couples and an Ethiopian-American.

The East African nation of Ethiopia was one of the first countries to invite Peace Corps to establish its program in 1962, just one year after the Peace Corps was founded. The primary focus of the program was on education, with the goal of training skilled workers and promoting economic development. In addition, Volunteers worked in agriculture, basic education, tourism, health, economic development and teaching English as a foreign language.

The Peace Corps remained in Ethiopia until 1977 and returned again in 1995, but the program was suspended again in 2000 due to security concerns during the border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Since 1962, a total of 2,934 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Ethiopia.

With the re-entry into Ethiopia, Peace Corps will work in partnership with the Government of Ethiopia, specifically with the Ministry of Health. The new program is in cooperation with the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The Volunteers will be developing HIV/AIDS education and prevention activities, including: care and treatment; orphan and vulnerable children services; and home-based care (palliative care) services.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 V8,000 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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