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New Peace Corps volunteers begin service in Ethiopia
U.S. Embassy Press ReleaseAddis Ababa, December 18, 2009 –
United States Chargé d’Affaires in Ethiopia Dr. Tulinabo Mushingi today swore-in 41 new Peace Corps Volunteers. The forty-one Americans will spend the next two years as Community Health Volunteers in four regions in the country where they will focus on prevention of HIV/AIDS infection, care and support for those affected by the disease, and services in support of orphans and vulnerable children.
“What has sustained the long and vibrant relationship between the United States and Ethiopia is the partnership and mutual respect between our peoples. Few other programs can rival the Peace Corps in its fostering of lasting and close human connections across cultures,” Dr. Mushingi told the crowd of over 200 government officials, local dignitaries, and former Peace Corps Volunteers during a ceremony at the American Embassy.
This latest cohort of individuals brings the total number of American Peace Corps Volunteers having served in Ethiopia since the program’s founding in 1962 to 3,012. The forty-one volunteers not only represent the American spirit of service and volunteerism, but also reflect the broad diversity of the American people.
The latest group includes volunteers of many ethnicities including African-, Asian-, Caucasian-, and Hispanic-Americans. They range in age from 22 to 68 years old. The 23 women and 18 men hail from twenty states throughout the United States. The volunteers will work in partnership with local community health centers throughout the Amhara, Oromia, the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s, and Tigray regions of Ethiopia.
In 1962, Ethiopia became one of the very first countries to invite Peace Corps to establish a program, just one year after the Peace Corps was founded. The primary focus of the program initially was on education, with the goal of training skilled workers and promoting economic development. In addition, volunteers worked in agriculture, basic education, tourism, health, and economic development and taught English as a foreign language.
The Peace Corps remained in Ethiopia until 1977 and returned in 1995. The program was suspended again in 2000 because of security concerns during the border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The Peace Corps program in Ethiopia re-opened in 2007. Peace Corps/Ethiopia is currently focused on HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support, and assistance to orphans and vulnerable children, as a partner in the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The Peace Corps is celebrating a 49-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Since 1961, more than 195,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 135 countries where Volunteers have served. 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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