Peace Corps Volunteer Honored by President of Kyrgyz Republic

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 21, 2002—Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev recently honored Todd Drummond, a returned Peace Corps volunteer and current Kyrgyz country director with the American Councils for International Education Outstanding Contribution. Mr. Drummond was recognized with an award for his “Outstanding Contribution to Educational Reform in the Kyrgyz Republic” and is the first foreigner to be honored with such an award in the field of education.

The award highlighted the success of the newly implemented National Scholarship Test (NST), a standardized test for Kyrgyz students seeking full government scholarships to begin higher education. The exam is similar to the SAT; it measures mathematic and verbal abilities, plus writing skills through an essay. The goals of this USAID funded project are to create a transparent scholarship distribution system that rewards the most deserving students and to introduce the students to modern assessment techniques that measure reasoning skills and the ability to use retained knowledge. Over 13,000 students sat for the NST this June, and 5,103 of them were awarded scholarships to Kyrgyz universities.
photo of President Akaev and RPCV Todd Drummond
President Akaev presents award to RPCV Todd Drummond.

From 1994 to 1997, Mr. Drummond taught English to Kyrgyz high school students in the city of Kant. His commitment to the people he served prompted him to extend his Peace Corps service by a year. He remained in the Kyrgyz Republic as a Peace Corps Volunteer Coordinator and Contract Trainer and in 1998, began his career with American Councils for International Education.

“My Peace Corps experience was crucial in preparing me to be successful in this challenging project and in our work in the education sector. The Peace Corps provides volunteers a unique learning opportunity - a chance to gain a very deep level of understanding of a country\'s norms, culture, and institutions," said Drummond.

The Peace Corps opened its program in the Kyrgyz Republic in 1993; two years after the Central Asian Republic gained its independence from the Soviet Union. To date, 245 Peace Corps volunteers have served in education and sustainable economic development in the Kyrgyz Republic.

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.

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