Peace Corps/Cambodia Staff Prepares for Historic 2007 Opening

WASHINGTON, D.C. August 1, 2006 In preparation for the 2007 opening of the Peace Corps newest post in the Kingdom of Cambodia, three staff members are now in the Southeast Asian country to prepare for the arrival of the first group of Peace Corps volunteers.

Since the announcement in March, Peace Corps staff have been working diligently with Cambodian officials to get the agencys newest program up and running. From Washington to the communities of Cambodia, people are very excited to begin this historic and much anticipated new program, said Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez.

The staff in Cambodia consists of Van Nelson, country director; Michael Kiess, administrative officer; and Cheryl Turner, programming and training officer. The first group of 30 Peace Corps trainees is scheduled to arrive in country in early February. For the first three months of cultural training and immersion, the trainees will live with host families. Upon completion of training, they will move into communities across Cambodia.

Once at their posts, the volunteers will teach English and work in health education. As the program is established, the Peace Corps will work with the host government to explore opportunities in additional sectors and areas of the country.

Volunteers who serve in Cambodia will enter a country that has experienced record growth throughout the decade in their economy and in tourism. Under His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cambodia has welcomed new partnerships with the U.S. government and other U.S. organizations.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 45-year legacy of service at home and abroad, and a 30-year high for volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 182,000 volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 138 countries where volunteers have served. 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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