Peace Corps Selects Country Director for Its Newest Program in Mexico

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 13, 2004 – Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez is proud to announce that Byron Battle has been selected to be the first Peace Corps Country Director in Mexico. Battle has served as the Peace Corps Country Director in Mali, West Africa, since November 2002.

As Country Director, Byron will act as the senior Peace Corps official in Mexico. As such, he will be responsible for the overall management and direction of all aspects of Peace Corps’ programs in Mexico.

Byron Battle has extensive private sector experience working in the field of international development and has served as Undersecretary of International Trade and Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Byron was also a Senior Research Fellow at MIT and Director of External Relations in the Office of the Secretary General at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development with USAID in Paris. He holds a master’s degree in economics from George Washington University, a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University, a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, and he also studied at the London School of Economics and Free University in Berlin. Battle is fluent in French, Portuguese, Spanish, and German.

In November 2003, the National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT) of Mexico and the Peace Corps signed a new partnership agreement that allows for the planning and preparation of the first ever Peace Corps program in Mexico. Peace Corps volunteers assigned to Mexico will work in partnership with CONACYT of Mexico in the areas of information technology, small business development, and science and technology.

A Peace Corps assessment team has worked closely with CONACYT to select sites and determine the best way to utilize the volunteers. The Peace Corps will send its first group of approximately 15 to 20 Volunteers to Mexico in 2004. The Peace Corps first began exploring the possibility of entering Mexico after U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox announced the "Partnership for Prosperity" initiative during their summit in September 2001.

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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