Peace Corps Plans September 2002 Departure from Latvia after 10 Years of Successful Cooperation

Washington, D.C., December 13, 2001—Peace Corps Acting Deputy Director Lloyd Pierson announced today the closure of programs in Latvia will take place in September 2002. After 10 years of success and cooperation, Latvia has developed the necessary manpower to sustain Volunteer assistance currently provided by the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps was one of the earliest sources of American support for the post-Soviet Baltic states.

During 10 years of service, Peace Corps Volunteers served as mid-level professionals to assist countries where local manpower was not sufficient to meet certain needs. In Latvia, this manpower gap has been centered in teaching English as a Foreign Language and in assisting small businesses and non-governmental organizations to improve management techniques.

When Peace Corps departs this summer, 198 Volunteers will have served in Latvia since 1992, each serving for two years or more. Over the period of 1992–2002, these 198 Volunteers will have taught English to almost 22,000 students and assisted almost 5,500 business people and non-governmental organization (NGO) officers to develop their financial and organizational management skills. This greatly exceeds the original goal, established in 1992, of teaching 15,000 students and providing assistance to 3,400 businesses and NGOs. Collectively, the Volunteers served in 67 towns and villages throughout the country, 67 percent of which had fewer than 10,000 residents.

Today more than 7,000 Peace Corps Volunteers serve in 70 countries. Since former President John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 163,000 people have served in 135 countries, working to teach children, helping to improve health and nutrition of families, bringing clean water to communities and preventing the spread of AIDS and assisting small businesses and non-governmental organizations improve management techniques.

Fact Sheet: Peace Corps Latvia

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