Statement from Director Aaron S. Williams on Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 2, 2010 I am pleased to designate May as Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month at Peace Corps. This years theme is Diverse Leadership for a Diverse Workplace.

During the observance of Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month, we celebrate the cultural traditions, ancestry, native languages, and unique experiences represented among the more than 30 ethnic groups from Asia and the Pacific found in the United States. Asian and Pacific Americans have contributed in significant ways to all aspects of society including business, science, literature, and music.

Last year, hundreds of Asian and Pacific Americans served as Peace Corps volunteers in all sectors and global regions. These volunteers fulfilled Peace Corps mission and goals by sharing their knowledge and skills abroad and helping to reflect the extraordinary diversity of America.

Let this month be a time to reflect on our shared history as a nation and an agency. I encourage all employees to gain a greater awareness of, and appreciation for, Asian Americans, Pacific Americans, and all cultures.

As part of Peace Corps celebration of Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month, the agency is hosting Congressman Mike Honda for an event with Peace Corps staff on May 6th. Congressman Honda served as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador from 1965-1967.

As Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world with 7,671 volunteers serving in 76 host countries. Historically, nearly 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. 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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