Prime Minister of Fiji Welcomes Back Peace Corps Volunteers

25 Volunteers Sworn-in to Service at Ceremony

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2003 –On Friday, November 28th, the Peace Corps celebrated its return to the Pacific Island of Fiji with the swearing-in of 25 new Peace Corps volunteers. These volunteers signify the re-establishment of a Peace Corps partnership and friendship with the people of Fiji.
photo of Prime Minister Qarasegave shaking hands with a Peace Corps volunteer
Prime Minister Qarasegave congratulates new Peace Corps volunteers after their swearing-in.

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Mr. Laisenia Qarasegave, gave the keynote address at the swearing-in ceremony, stating, "The government and citizens of Fiji are grateful and proud to have you with us. We admire and welcome your generosity of spirit and sense of mission, purpose, and service so typical of your nation.”

The 25 volunteers completed three months of training in Fiji and will now begin work in the areas of Environmental Education and Youth and Community Development. In collaboration with members of the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas (FLMMA) project, Peace Corps volunteers will provide educational and technical support on environmental preservation for Inter-Coastal Management efforts, Marine Protected Areas, terrestrial management as well as effective eco-tourism practices. Volunteers will work cooperatively with Ministries, Provincial and District Offices, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community members to build capacity and act as facilitators and catalyst for communities’ involvement in preserving and protecting Fiji’s natural environment.

In coordination with Ministries, NGOs and local government, volunteers will assist in developing youth programs. A key aspect of their work will be to improve the quality of social outreach programs aimed at preparing youth for their future roles within the family, the world of work, and society. Volunteers will work with local partners to create programs and activities that develop positive life skills with community youth. In addition, volunteers will also work closely with both women and youth on income generation, information technology, environmental conservation, and on a healthy lifestyle.

The Peace Corps first arrived to Fiji in 1967, and sent 57 volunteers in 1968. Until the program closed in 1998, more than 2,000 volunteers served in the areas of education, health care, rural and community development, agriculture, environment, small entrepreneur development, fisheries, youth development, and finance and planning. Fiji comprises a group of 322 volcanic islands in the South Pacific

Since 1961, more than 170,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and awareness, 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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