Twelve New Country Directors Sworn In to Serve

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 4, 2005 – Twelve new country directors took office today, after completing their month-long training at Peace Corps headquarters. Many of the newly sworn in country directors are new, some are returning to the Peace Corps, and four are being promoted from within the agency. The new country directors will be going to countries throughout the Peace Corps’ three regions: the Africa Region, the Europe, Mediterranean, and Asia Region (EMA), and the Inter-America and Pacific Region (IAP).

Peace Corps country directors are responsible for management and direction of all aspects of the Peace Corps program in their country of assignment. The country directors support volunteers in the field. They lend their skills and energy to meet development needs and to promote a better understanding between the host country people and Americans.

The new country director assignments are as follows:

Africa Region
Guinea – Steve Peterson
Steve Peterson’s previous experience with the Peace Corps includes his two recently completed tours as the Assistant Peace Corps Director in Niger. He began work with the Peace Corps as a volunteer in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1989-1991, serving as an Aquaculture Extension Agent, working with farmers to raise and market fish. Peterson returned to Africa in May 1994, and has worked in Gabon, Guinea, Zambia and Malawi as a personal services contractor in administrative positions for Chemonics, ACDI/VOCA and the Peace Corps. Peterson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado, where he studied Zoology. He is married to Jennifer, who he met while serving as a volunteer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Swaziland – Patricia Austin
Patricia (Pattie) Austin is returning to Peace Corps service and Sub-Saharan Africa after a seven year absence. Austin was a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi from 1995 to 1997, where she worked with the Ministry of Health to improve the nursing and administrative services at Lilongwe Central Hospital. Following her tour in the Peace Corps, Austin did project work in photojournalism in Washington, D.C. Her professional life began as a registered nurse with a BSN from Cornell University. After completing her master’s degree from Columbia University, she became the Assistant of Nursing at Bridgeport Hospital in Connecticut, and later Director of Nursing at the Wilmer Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Following her nursing career, Austin completed pilot training in Dallas, Texas, and became an airline pilot. She piloted for Air Midwest out of St. Louis International and for United Airlines based at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia Region
Armenia – Patrick Hart
Patrick Hart brings a world of knowledge to the Peace Corps, having traveled to over 60 countries and having lived all over the United States. Currently residing in Santa Fe, N.M., Hart spent the past 14 years living and working in Asia. There, he built a petrochemical plant, set up a regional office in Hong Kong for an electronics company, and consulted for an electric power company in Singapore. Most recently, he established the South Asia Regional Office in Calcutta, creating an organization, negotiating contracts, and building three power plants in Tamil, Nadu, and Bangladesh. Hart received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from New Mexico State University.

Azerbaijan – Zoltan Szigethy
Before becoming country director for Azerbaijan, Zoltan Szigethy enjoyed a career that spanned the areas of public service, private enterprise, and philanthropy. Szigethy worked mainly in the Northwestern United States, helping to preserve historic buildings in Seattthy worked mainly in the Northwestern United States, helping to preserve historic buildings in Seattle, working in real estate and commercial banking, and helping to diversify the economy of an urban county in Washington state. He also worked with public administration education and local government reform throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Szigethy served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia (1963-1965), was an English as a Foreign Language Trainer for volunteers at the University of Hawaii, and was Associate Peace Corps Director in Malaysia (1965-1967). He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Princeton University and completed two years of graduate work at the University of Washington.

Kyrgyz Republic – Alex Boston
Alex Boston joins the Peace Corps after a career in foreign service and local government. Boston served as a Foreign Service Officer in Peshawar, Pakistan and San Salvador, El Salvador. In Pakistan, Boston was responsible for the administration and security of the American consulate, as well as for reporting on Pakistani issues. In El Salvador, he served as a Consular Officer. Boston also served as Executive Director of the South Africa BookSmart Foundation, where he created programs to enable American students to donate books to South African schools. Most recently, Boston was a Fellow with the Andrus Family Fund where he researched and designed materials that eased the transition into adulthood for foster care youth, and he worked as the Director of the Office of Homeless Services for the City of Baltimore. Boston received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University, his master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University, and his law degree from Harvard Law School.

Moldova – Jeff Kelley-Clarke
Jeff Kelley-Clarke served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bahrain from 1976 to 1978. Since then he has been serving Snohomish County in Washington in several positions. For the past 12 years, he as served as Solid Waste Director, as well as Chair of the Washington Solid Waste Advisory Committee. He was in charge of a system of transfer stations, landfills and recycling programs for a population of 600,000. His division has been influential in developing a national electronic waste recycling program. Kelley-Clarke received his bachelor’s degree in urban studies and planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mongolia – Ken Goodson
Ken Goodson begins as country director after serving many positions within the Peace Corps. Goodson first served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia, then served as technical trainer in Bolivia, and Associate Director in Belize. Goodson worked as a part of the start-up team to re-establish the Peace Corps Program in Peru, where he developed and initiated all of Peace Corps Peru’s current programs. Before his time with the Peace Corps, Goodson served as a field manager for an environmental group in Alaska. He also competitively raced bicycles in North Carolina. Goodson received his bachelor’s degree in public policy from Duke University.

Inter-America and Pacific Region
Guyana – Kumar Lakhavani
Before coming to the Peace Corps, Kumar Lakhavani was president of the Greensboro Junior Chamber of Commerce. During his tenure, the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Junior Chamber International recognized him as the 1998 Outstanding President. Lakhavani managed PricewaterhouseCoopers’ international training center in Tampa, Fla., managed the European ERP practice at Deloitte Consulting, and then moved on to work with USAID. With USAID, Lakhavani was a Special Assistant leading projects in human resources, procurement, financial management, and security and administrative services.cts in human resources, procurement, financial management, and security and administrative services. Lakhavani received his bachelor’s degree from Guilford College and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina. He is married to Julia Mary Luce, and they reside in Greensboro, N.C.

Peru – Michael Hirsh
First having served as a volunteer in Bolivia from 1970 to 1971, Michael Hirsch rejoins the Peace Corps as country director for Peru. Hirsh also served as the Program and Training Officer for Ecuador and as Country Director for the Dominican Republic. He also served USAID in Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Peru, designing and managing development projects. Hirsh and his family live in San Diego, where he has worked with a local non-profit and has operated his own financial planning practice. Hirsh received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Cornell University and his master’s degree in business administration from Dartmouth. Hirsh has two children, Mariana and Maurice.

Kiribati – Trudy Jaycox
Trudy Jaycox has spent most of her career with the Peace Corps beginning with her work as a health education volunteer from 1979 to 1981 in the Dominican Republic. Jaycox has served as a Recruiter, Evaluation Specialist, and Director of the Los Angeles Regional Recruitment Office from 1983 to 1990. Jaycox directed 11 pre-service training programs throughout Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific, as well as managed health and economic development projects in Honduras. In 2001, she moved to El Salvador to serve as Country Director for the Red Cross. She returned to the Peace Corps in June 2002 as a Programming and Training Officer in China. She later worked in Dhaka, Bangladesh and then in Paraguay to serve as the Deputy Director/Programming and Training Officer. In late 2004, Jaycox served as Acting Country Director in Guyana. Jaycox received her bachelor’s degree in Hispanic civilization from the University of California Santa Barbara.

Micronesia – David Reside
Previously the Country Director of Moldova, David Reside now will serve as Country Director of Micronesia. Reside’s service with the Peace Corps is extensive and began with his volunteer service in Zaire from 1981-1983, as a Fish Culture Extension Agent. From there, Reside worked on fishing boats off the Alaska coast. He received a master’s in aquaculture from Auburn University. His career took an international focus when he spent time in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Bangladesh working on several long-term projects. Reside returned to work with the Peace Corps by leading the Stateside Fisheries Training program at the University of Mississippi and later at the University of South Carolina. Reside worked with refugees in Sierra Leone and Liberia before he returned to the Peace Corps as an Associate Peace Corps Director with the Russia Far East Program and as the Programming and Training Officer in Moldova. Reside received his bachelor’s degree of science in aquatic ecology from the University of Illinois and his master’s degree in business administration from Thunderbird, the Garvin School of International Management. David and his wife, Alison, have two daughters, Sarah and Anya.

Samoa – Kimberly Ann Frola-Devkota
Kimberly Ann Frola-Devkota takes her post as Country Director in Samoa after serving as Associate Peace Corps Director at the Peace Corps in Samoa. Before these positions, Frola-Devkota worked at the Peace Corps headquarters with the South America Country Desk and with the Master’s International Program. From 1998 to 2000, Frola-Devkota served as a youth development volunteer in Nepal. She also served as an AmeriCorps Leader in Kansas City, Mo.a youth development volunteer in Nepal. She also served as an AmeriCorps Leader in Kansas City, Mo., and as Project Coordinator for the Youth Volunteer Corps of Pittsburgh. From 1995 to 1996, she taught English and cross-cultural courses to professionals in Caracas, Venezuela. Frola-Devkota studied public administration in the Master’s International Program at Rutgers University and received her undergraduate degree in French and business at Pennsylvania State University.

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