Peace Corps Volunteers in Georgia Safely Relocated to Armenia

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 11, 2008 - Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter announced today that all Volunteers and trainees serving in the Republic of Georgia are safe, and they have been temporarily relocated to neighboring Armenia.

The decision to relocate the Volunteers is due to the ongoing conflict taking place in the South Ossetia region of Georgia and bordering areas. All 36 Peace Corps Volunteers and 49 Peace Corps Volunteer-trainees serving in Georgia are safe. Personnel from Peace Corps/Georgia, as well as Peace Corps/Armenia, are now supporting the Volunteers.

The Peace Corps/Georgia office is still open in Tbilisi, and is constantly and carefully monitoring this situation along with Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington. Peace Corps Volunteers do not serve in South Ossetia, the separatist region located in the north of Georgia along its border with Russia.

The Peace Corps program in Georgia was established in 2001. Since that time more than 275 Volunteers have served there. The 85 Volunteers and Volunteer-trainees currently serving in Georgia are working in English language education, business and social entrepreneurship programs.

The safety and security of Volunteers and Volunteer-trainees is the number one priority of the Peace Corps. Each Peace Corps program has an Emergency Action Plan specific to that country and developed in cooperation with Peace Corps Washington and the local U.S. Embassy. The plans are evaluated and tested frequently and information is updated constantly. Volunteers are thoroughly trained in their roles and responsibilities, and posts are prepared for all emergencies.

Families may contact the Peace Corps/Georgia Desk with any questions or concerns that may have at 202-692-2423 during business hours, and the Office of Special Services after hours. The Office of Special Services maintains a 24-hour a day, 7 days a week duty system. The telephone number during standard office hours is 1-800-424-8580, Extension 1470; the after hours number is 202-638-2574. The Office of Special Services can also be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served, including the Republic of Georgia. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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