February 24, 2003 - PymesDominicanas.: U.S. Peace Corps in D.R. for 40 years

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Dominican Republic: Peace Corps Dominican Republic : The Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic: February 24, 2003 - PymesDominicanas.: U.S. Peace Corps in D.R. for 40 years

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U.S. Peace Corps in D.R. for 40 years

U.S. Peace Corps in D.R. for 40 years

U.S. Peace Corps in D.R. for 40 years

By John Collins

The U.S. Peace Corps recently celebrated its 40th anniversary of working in partnership with various groups in the Dominican Republic (D.R.).

“Perhaps more than any other form of foreign assistance, the Peace Corps has contributed to building bridges of collaboration between our countries, as well as facilitating the development of community leaders,” said President Mejia on the occasion.

“I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to be surrounded by more than 100 Ambassadors of Goodwill between the U.S. and the D.R.,” said Puerto Rico-born Hans Hertell, the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to the D.R. representing President George W. Bush. “While I never had an opportunity to be a Peace Corps volunteer, I have always admired their dedication and commitment to promoting friendship and development between the U.S. and more than 70 countries worldwide.”

President Mejia and Amb. Hertell were joined on the occasion by Vice President Milagros Ortiz Bosch and baseball star Sammy Sosa.

“We’re proud to be celebrating 40 years of service in this country,” said Peace Corps Country Director Anita Friedman. “The Peace Corps fulfills a unique role among international development organizations. Our methodology is to provide technical assistance to the neediest populations by living with them at the community level. Peace Corps volunteers share their daily lives with the Dominican people with whom they work, and through this form deep and lasting bonds of friendship.”

The Peace Corps was started in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy to promote peace and friendship between the U.S. and other countries by providing technical assistance to community development from Peace Corps volunteers.

A Senator and a Governor served in the D.R.

Since 1962 more than 3,500 Peace Corps volunteers have served in the D.R. providing technical support to local partners around health, education, agriculture, the environment and small business. Most of them have been ordinary Americans seeking an opportunity to serve their country. As elsewhere the volunteers in the D.R. have included individuals who went on to outstanding public service. They include U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Gov. James McGreevey (D-NJ). More than 120 Peace Corps Volunteers who formerly served in the D.R. did make it back for the occasion.

Both Dodd and McGreevey were expected to join the festivities in Santo Domingo but Dodd was detained in Washington because of pressing matters in Congress and McGreevey had an accident. But Sen. Dodd sent a message read on the occasion by Amb. Hertell. “My experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in the D.R. helped form my understanding of U.S.-Latin American relations which I have worked hard to promote in the U.S. Congress for the past 25 years,” he wrote.

There are many examples of outstanding service by the volunteers in the D.R. Volunteer Susan Nixon helped educate rural farmers in how to increase their production of coffee while also decreasing their use of harmful pesticides by 50%. Volunteer David Smith helped his community bridge the digital divide by forming a youth group to teach computer repair and usage. Volunteer Ann Gaspers developed a training-of-trainers manual at Colegio Simon Bolivar to prepare Dominican teachers to teach MS Word computer skills.

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Story Source: PymesDominicanas.

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Dominican Republic; History of the Peace Corps



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