FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, December 15, 2003
The People of Chad Welcome Back Peace Corps
20 New Peace Corps Volunteers Sworn-In to Aid Country’s TEFL Programs
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 15, 2003 –Twenty new Peace Corps volunteers were sworn-in by United States Ambassador Christopher Goldthwaite in the African Sahel nation of Chad last Friday. The ceremony marked the long-awaited return of the Peace Corps to Chad after a six-year absence.
The Minister of Education thanked the Peace Corps and the U.S. government for assisting with Chad’s development efforts, and acknowledged the Peace Corps’ significant contributions to Chad over the years. He closed by saying, “long live the cooperation between the United States and Chad.”
At the ceremony, volunteers gave speeches in Arabic and French to Chad government officials and representatives of U.N. agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. As requested by the government of Chad, these 20 volunteers have been assigned to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in high schools in the Kanem, Batha, Guera, Chari-Baguirmi, Mayo-Kebbi, and Tandjile regions.
The new volunteers completed nearly three months of rigorous instruction in language, cross-culture, personal health, and safety and security. In addition, they participated in a four-week long teaching practicum in N’Djamena that provided the volunteers with basic classroom management and instructional techniques appropriate to Chadian students.
Volunteers will be teaching classes of up to 80 students with minimal resources, in addition to negotiating a very different educational system than is found in the U.S. Chadians are anxious to learn English in order to expand their educational and business opportunities beyond what is available in French and Arabic. Volunteers will incorporate development issues such as HIV/AIDS education, Environmental awareness, and Girls’ Education programs into their curriculum.
The Peace Corps first arrived in Chad in 1966 after the country gained independence from France. Over the years, volunteers have provided support in education, health, water supplies, and forestry. They created a strong bond with the Chadian people. In the near future, the Peace Corps will expand volunteer program efforts beyond TEFL into the areas of health and HIV/AIDS.
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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