Vice President Challenges International Volunteer Organizations to Expand Access to Technology and Protect the Environment

April 30, 1996

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 30, 1996 — Vice President Al Gore today challenged leaders of more than 40 international volunteer-sending organizations to expand access to appropriate technology in the developing world, and to make certain that their core mission includes the protection of the environment. 

Kicking off a two-day symposium in Washington on international volunteerism, hosted by the Peace Corps, Vice President Gore said: "I urge you to find new ways to make it possible for our volunteers to bring new appropriate technologies to the schools, businesses, and communities where you serve. Access to information is crucial not only to promoting economic progress and the development of markets, it can also help expand the circle of freedom and democracy."

The Vice President also urged the voluntary organizations to help protect and restore the environment.

"These environmental problems transcend our international boundaries and cultures, and they will not be easy to solve," he said. "That is why we must address them together, united by a sense of urgency and concern for the future of our children and grandchildren. I know that many of your volunteers have made important contributions to protecting and restoring the environment. I hope you will join me in finding ways to keep the environment at the center of the development agenda."

The remarks by Vice President Gore opened the two-day conference at Georgetown University, which is called "International Volunteerism: Innovative Thinking for the 21st Century."

Joining the Peace Corps are the heads of 40 volunteer organizations from 35 countries, which collectively have more than 18,000 volunteers serving in the developing world. At the symposium, the first of its kind, participants will focus on how volunteer organizations can respond to natural and man-made disasters, improve collaboration and better empower developing countries to address their own basic needs. The symposium ends tomorrow afternoon.

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