Secretary of State Albright Swears in Peace Corps Volunteers in Zimbabwe
December 15, 1997Washington, D.C., December 15, 1997—In a spirited ceremony today in Harare, Zimbabwe, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright swore in 32 new Peace Corps volunteers. Zimbabwe is the last stop of a week-long, seven-nation tour of Africa for Albright, who has spoken on the trip of the need to reach out directly to the people of Africa, particularly young people and women, who will take Africa into the next century. Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan said it is fitting, then, that Albright swore in the Peace Corps volunteers, all of whom work to improve the education system in Zimbabwe. "The work of our Volunteers is driven by the needs of the communities where they are serving, so they can make a real difference in the lives of people around the world," Gearan said. "In Zimbabwe, the Volunteers sworn in to service today will work with teachers to expand access to education for children and adults." Peace Corps volunteers have been working in Zimbabwe since 1991. Today, there are about 60 volunteers, most of whom train teachers or teach math, science, English and library skills to students in rural Zimbabwe. Some volunteers also provide basic business training to entrepreneurs and techniques on how to access technical assistance and credit. Zimbabwe is one of 132 countries in which the Peace Corps has been active during its 36-year history. Currently, about 6,500 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 87 countries to help fight hunger, bring clean water to communities, teach children, protect the environment, start new small businesses, and prevent the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.