President Bush Commends Peace Corps Program in Mongolia

November 25, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 25, 2005 During his historic visit to Mongolia this week the first for a serving U.S. president George W. Bush met with Peace Corps representatives and learned about various volunteer projects benefiting the nation.

The president, accompanied by First Lady Laura Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, encouraged volunteers to "keep up the good work." Ambassador Christopher Hill, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, also met the delegation.

"When people ask me what has been my best overseas assignment, I always think of Peace Corps," Ambassador Hill said.

While on his way back to Air Force One, President Bush paused for an extended discussion with the Peace Corps/Mongolia country director to learn more about the Mongolia program. The president was told that the Peace Corps is at an all time high for volunteers in Mongolia and that Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar has embraced the idea of Peace Corps volunteers working to assist the people of his country.

During the president's visit, eight volunteers and three returned volunteers attended an event at the Government House. The volunteers in attendance included: Tessa Cooper from Alexandria, Va.; Amy Crawford from Anchorage, Alaska; Arnis Daiga from Carmel, Ind.; John Edgar from Wolfcreek, W. Va.; Nicora Gardner from Portland, Ore.; Suzanne Smith from Edwards, Colo.; Carrie Wallinger from Mount Jackson, Va.; and Jay Wilkes from Centennial, Colo.

In addition, eight volunteers assisted the media as they covered the Presidents visit. Those volunteers included:, Bridget Baumer from Rochester, N.Y.; Brett Burkhart from Camarillo, Calif.; Gerald Lakatos from Deerfield Beach, Fla.; John Macom from Morrill, Maine; Sunaree Marshall from Sacramento, Calif.; Julie Pekowski from Kalamazoo, Mich.; Jess Trudeau from Waverly, N.Y.; and Elizabeth Wylonis from Shelbyville, Ind.

Before leaving Mongolia, President Bush and President Enkhbayar issued a joint statement that reaffirmed the two governments' commitment to the Peace Corps program: "The two presidents affirmed the value of educational and cultural exchanges to enhance understanding between the citizens of the two countries and agreed to promote people-to-people exchanges and educational cooperation. The presidents noted the successful and positive contribution of the Peace Corps program in Mongolia."

This is one of several visits with Peace Corps volunteers that the president and Mrs. Bush have made in the past year.

As Mongolia committed itself to democratization and a free market economy in the late 1980's, Peace Corps volunteers have been working to aid host country organizations in meeting their needs in the areas of education, environmental preservation, business development, and health. Since the Peace Corps/Mongolia program began in 1991, more than 500 volunteers have served in Mongolia. Today, there are 94 volunteers working throughout the country. To learn more about Mongolia, please visit the Where Do Volunteers Go? section.

Since 1961, more than 182,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, 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 27-month commitment.

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