Peace Corps Opens New Program in Azerbaijan

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 1, 2003 – The arrival of 30 new Peace Corps volunteers in Azerbaijan last weekend signals the beginning of a new partnership between the Peace Corps and the citizens of that country.

This new group of volunteers will be working primarily as secondary school instructors and teacher trainers, once they complete three months of language and cultural training. Azerbaijan officials requested Peace Corps volunteers to assist in community schools, especially in communities outside of the capital city of Baku. For the majority of Azerbaijani language instructors outside the capital, this will be their first opportunity to work with native English speakers.

“Azerbaijan, one of Peace Corps’ newest commitments, affirms the agency’s goal in expanding the Corps’ efforts in the 21st century,” stated Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez. “Peace Corps is extremely excited about this opportunity, and we look forward to building our program in Azerbaijan in the coming years.”

The entry of volunteers into Azerbaijan marks the first time Peace Corps has had a program in that country. Azerbaijan, a country of 8.1 million people, is located on the Caspian Sea. The capital is Baku, and the official language is Azerbaijani (Azeri). Many of the citizens also speak Russian.

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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