Peace Corps Volunteers Return to Macedonia

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2003 – The first group of volunteers to serve in Macedonia since the suspension of the program in 2001 were sworn into service on Saturday, February 1, 2003. The eighteen new volunteers completed eleven weeks of intensive preparation training in Negotino to become the seventh group of Peace Corps volunteers to serve in Macedonia.

While training, the volunteers lived with host families to acclimate themselves to the culture and language of Macedonia. Volunteers underwent extensive language preparation, orientation to government and non-government programs and training in the educational system and economic and business environment of Macedonia.

The new volunteers will serve in sixteen communities throughout the country. Nine volunteers will work with English language education and six will help in the structural organization of municipalities. Three volunteers will work on environmental education and management programs with local nongovernmental organizations.

Peace Corps Country Director Kim Green commented, “The Mayor Jankov and the people of Negotino, Gradsko, Romsoman, Pepelishte, and Demir Kapija have been wonderfully warm and welcoming to the Peace Corps Volunteers.”

The Peace Corps first entered Macedonia in 1996. The program was suspended briefly between April and August of 1999 because of concerns for volunteer safety due to regional instability, and then suspended again in 2001. A total of 76 volunteers have served in Macedonia since 1996. The next group of volunteers is expected to arrive in September 2003 and will begin serving in additional communities throughout Macedonia in December.

Since 1961, more than 168,000 Volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as agriculture, small business and community development, education, HIV/AIDS awareness and education environmental conservation, healthcare and information technology. 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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