June 25, 2003 - Peace Corps Press Release: President Touré of Mali Speaks at Peace Corps Headquarters

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: June 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: June 25, 2003 - Peace Corps Press Release: President Touré of Mali Speaks at Peace Corps Headquarters

By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, June 26, 2003 - 5:45 pm: Edit Post

President Touré of Mali Speaks at Peace Corps Headquarters





Caption: Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez welcomes President Amadou Toumani Touré of Mali to Peace Corps headquarters as the first official stop on the Presidentís U.S. visit.

Read and comment on this Peace Corps Press Release on the visit of President Amadou Toumani Touré of Mali to Peace Corps headquarters as the first official stop on the Presidentís U.S. visit. President Touré expressed his country's profound gratitude and respect for the work Peace Corps has done in Mali. Read the story and enjoy this photo essay of the President's visit and speech to volunteers at:

President Touré of Mali Speaks at Peace Corps Headquarters*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.



President Touré of Mali Speaks at Peace Corps Headquarters

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 25, 2003 ĖYesterday, Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez welcomed President Amadou Toumani Touré of Mali to Peace Corps headquarters as the first official stop on the Presidentís U.S. visit.



President Touré is visiting the United States to participate in the 37th Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which will highlight Mali as one of three featured cultures.

On behalf of the Malian people, President Touré expressed his country's profound gratitude and respect for the work Peace Corps has done in Mali and for the volunteers who, he noted, live in the same villages as the Malian people, sleep on the same mats, eat the same food, and get bitten by the same mosquitoes.




The President's visit is sponsored in part by the Friends of Mali, a returned Peace Corps volunteer group dedicated to the promotion of the Peace Corps mission in Mali."

In the early 1990s, President Touré worked with Peace Corps volunteers in the areas of water, health, and guinea worm eradication in the Mopti Region of Mali while presiding over a group dedicated to improving the Malian environment. President Touré has also been recognized for his contributions in African Peacekeeping efforts and has collaborated with many distinguished international humanitarians.




The President said that Peace Corps Volunteers "live in the same villages as the Malian people, sleep on the same mats, eat the same food, and get bitten by the same mosquitoes."

"Over 2,500 Americans have spent two years of their lives working and living with Malians across this culturally rich and infinitely fascinating country. These former volunteers, Mr. President, who have such a strong affinity for Mali as a result of their experience, are indeed Maliís lifetime ambassadors throughout the United States, " stated Director Vasquez during the ceremony.

President Touré is visiting the United States to participate in the 37th Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which will highlight Mali as one of three featured cultures. His visit marks the third head of state to speak at Peace Corps headquarters within the last year. He is the second President of Mali to visit Peace Corps headquarters; President Konare visited in 1998.




Former volunteers...are indeed Maliís lifetime ambassadors throughout the United States," stated Director Vasquez during the ceremony.

Sponsored in part by the Friends of Mali, a returned Peace Corps volunteer group dedicated to the promotion of the Peace Corps mission in Mali, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival Features "Mali: From Timbuktu to Washington, D.C." In addition to emphasizing the close relationship between Mali and the United States, the exhibit celebrates the deeply rooted history of the country and highlights the talents of Mali craftsmen and artists.

Currently, 180 Peace Corps volunteers are working within Mali to confront imminent food shortages due to a rapidly growing population and frequent droughts. Volunteers strive to improve domestic food production, as well as find solutions to difficulties in water availability, environmental conservation, and micro-enterprise development. Volunteers are also providing education on preventative health care and HIV/AIDS awareness. Click here to learn more about Peace Corps' work in Mali.

Since 1961, more than 168,000 Volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health and HIV/AIDS education, 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.

Thanks to Barbara Daly of the Peace Corps Press Office for providing Peace Corps Online with these photos of President Touré's visit.


Read details of the visit of Malian President Amadou Toumani Touré to Peace Corps headquarters





Read and comment on this US Department of State Press Release that Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was greeted at Peace Corps headquarters with a standing ovation from Peace Corps volunteers June 24 as Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez pledged to further expand current Peace Corps operations in Mali. President Toure, whose remarks in French were translated into English, praised Peace Corps for its a wonderful work in Mali, noting that many Peace Corps volunteers now know Mali better than most Malians. On behalf of the Malian people, the president expressed his country's profound gratitude and respect for the work Peace Corps has done in Mali and for the volunteers who, he noted, sleep on the same mats as the Malian people, eat the same food and get bitten by the same mosquitoes. Read the story at:

Peace Corps Director Pledges Expanded Operations in Mali*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.



Peace Corps Director Pledges Expanded Operations in Mali

(Malian President Toure visits Peace Corps HQ in Washington) (770) By Charles Corey Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was greeted at Peace Corps headquarters with a standing ovation from Peace Corps volunteers June 24 as Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez pledged to further expand current Peace Corps operations in Mali.

Speaking to a packed audience of Peace Corps staffers, volunteers and former volunteers, Vasquez reminded everyone that Mali is being featured in this year's Folk Life Festival, which opens on the Washington Mall June 25. The event, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, is symbolic of "the beginning of a new phase in our partnership," he said.

Through the Folk Life Festival, Vasquez said, "the richness of Mali's culture and its people will become known to millions of Americans.... For its part, Peace Corps wishes to build on its momentum by expanding our operations in Mali and strengthening our partnership with you."

Vasquez said he has asked the Peace Corps regional director in Mali to "push ahead to examine new areas of cooperation in sectors such as youth development, export and tourism promotion, information technology applications and municipal development."

Turning to the president, Vasquez said "I am personally committed to work with you on this effort," and went on to announce that he would also soon travel to Mali.

With the U.S. Ambassador to Mali, formerly a Peace Corps volunteer to Peru, Vicki Huddleston looking on, Vasquez reminded everyone that Peace Corps began its partnership in Mali 32 years ago to help the country deal with a terrible drought which gripped the country.

"Since that time," he said, "Peace Corps has become involved in many other sectors of Mali's economic development, including health education, HIV/AIDS prevention' agriculture, natural resource management, water and urban sanitation and small enterprise development."

More than 2,500 Americans, he told his audience, have spent two years of their lives working and living with Malians as Peace Corp volunteers.

Mali is currently Peace Corps' largest program in Africa, Vasquez noted, with 180 volunteers now serving there.

"Peace Corps is about working with partnerships: partnerships with government and local organizations; partnerships with regions and villages; and partnerships between Malians and Americans. Mali has always been one of Peace Corps's best partners," he said, and credited President Toure with fostering an "extremely receptive" environment for Peace Corp volunteers.

"Under your leadership, Mr. President, our Peace Corps volunteers are able to live and work in one of Africa's strongest democracies," and this factor, he said, is indeed "critical" to the success of the Peace Corp mission in Mali.

In closing, Vasquez told the President "Peace Corps is eager to work with you...and we are eager to work with your regional institutions to develop new areas of cooperation."

President Toure, whose remarks in French were translated into English, praised Peace Corps for its a wonderful work in Mali, noting that many Peace Corps volunteers now know Mali better than most Malians. On behalf of the Malian people, the president expressed his country's profound gratitude and respect for the work Peace Corps has done in Mali and for the volunteers who, he noted, sleep on the same mats as the Malian people, eat the same food and get bitten by the same mosquitoes.

"We are proud of the achievements in the areas of education and health" that Peace Corps has brought to Mali, he said.

The president expressed his hope of even closer ties between Mali and the United States and took issue with what he called an incorrect stereotype that Mali is a poor country. "I don't agree," that Mali is poor, he said. While Mali has many assets, he admitted it has many constraints as well.

While Mali is known for its production of cotton and gold, Toure said, Mali's first asset is its people. Although Mali is Africa's second largest cotton producer behind Egypt, the raw cotton is exported to Asia, used to make tee shirts, which are then re-imported back into Mali, he said, thus depriving Mali any value-added income from that product. He also lamented that the country exports few finished goods like jewelry or clothing.

At the conclusion of the program, Peace Corps Director Vasquez presented the president with a Peace Corps flag to mark the beginning of an era of expansion and growth in the Peace Corps' relationship with Mali. President Toure presented Vasquez with a door from Dogon country in Mali, symbolizing the open door that has long existed between the Peace Corps and Mali.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)




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