Peace Corps Tree on Display at the White House

Washington, D.C., December 7, 1998—At the invitation of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Christmas tree decorated with more than 400 ornaments from Peace Corps countries is on display in the East Colonnade of the White House.
"This is the first time in the history of the Peace Corps that the public can view a Christmas tree at the White House decorated with beautiful handicrafts from around the world," Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan said. "The ornaments truly reflect the diversity of the countries where our volunteers serve."
With the help of current and former Peace Corps volunteers and Peace Corps staff, more than 65 countries donated ornaments for the Peace Corps tree. They include countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific Islands.
Many of the ornaments were made from locally-available material, such as banana tree leaves, shells, gourds, beads, straw, cloth, glass, bamboo, clay, wood, and dried flowers. Deaf students, village chiefs, village women, and members of handicraft cooperatives created musical instruments, masks, wood carvings, dolls, baskets, jewelry, hats, and traditional head gear.
One Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan sent in hard-to-find, traditional tapestries in miniature. The volunteer works with a coop of artisans who wove the tapestries.
Members of the public can view the Peace Corps tree at the White House from December 8 through December 24, and December 29-30.
Currently, more than 6,500 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 80 countries in education, business, agriculture, the environment, health, and community development. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.

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