Peace Corps Returns to Bangladesh
September 19, 2002WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002-Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez announced the return of the Peace Corps to the country of Bangladesh. In early October, Peace Corps will swear-in its first group of volunteers to work in Bangladesh after a year-long absence from the country.
The Peace Corps entered Bangladesh in November 1998. At that time, 35 trainees were sent to work in English teacher training and primary education. During the summer of 2001 and leading up to national elections in October, Bangladesh experienced a period of election-related civil violence. This violence, particularly in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the United States, presented potential safety and security risks for volunteers in Bangladesh. Peace Corps decided to temporarily suspend the program in October 2001. The program re-opened in August 2002 with two volunteers returning to complete their service and 11 new trainees. These new trainees will be sworn-in as Peace Corps volunteers in early October upon completion of training.
The Peace Corps is planning to send a second contingent of trainees to Bangladesh in February of 2003. The volunteers will work in the Youth and Community Development program and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) program. A total of 79 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Bangladesh since 1998.
Since 1961, more than 165,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health and HIV/AIDS, 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.