August 20, 2004: Headlines: COS - Fiji: Swearing In: Government of Fiji: Swearing-In of Peace Corps Fijiís Re-entry Group 2 Volunteers

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Fiji: Peace Corps Fiji : The Peace Corps in Fiji: August 20, 2004: Headlines: COS - Fiji: Swearing In: Government of Fiji: Swearing-In of Peace Corps Fijiís Re-entry Group 2 Volunteers

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Swearing-In of Peace Corps Fijiís Re-entry Group 2 Volunteers

Swearing-In of Peace Corps Fijiís Re-entry Group 2 Volunteers

Swearing-In of Peace Corps Fijiís Re-entry Group 2 Volunteers

Hon. Qarase - Swearing-In of Peace Corps Fijiís Re-entry Group 2 Volunteers
Aug 20, 2004, 09:00 Email this page
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Hon. Laisenia Qarase
Prime Minister and Minister for Fijian Affairs,
Culture & Heritage, Minister for National Reconciliation & Unity;
and Minister for ALTA & Sugar Industry Reform

Your Excellency Ambassador Lyon,
Peace Corps Country Director, Mr Mark Lewis, Staff of Peace Corps Fiji, including Language & Training facilitators and co-ordinators,
Serving, and new volunteers,
Ladies and gentlemen:

Ni sa bula vinaka, namaste and greetings!

When I welcomed the volunteers leading the US Peace Corpsí re-entry to Fiji last year, I remember saying how grateful Fiji was for their return. I, personally, was looking forward to the assistance those generous men and women were going to give us, particularly in rural communities and settlements, as we pressed forward with rebuilding our nation, and our future.

I knew the volunteers - like their predecessors in the late 60s to 1998 - were going to do good and valuable work.
But I never anticipated the speed at which they would settle in and begin making things happen.

In just under nine months, their achievements have exceeded all expectations, including, I believe, those of the Peace Corps office here!

Their accomplishments in areas such as health promotion, and training and outreach in IT, environmental, and health education, as well as participatory planning, and disaster management and awareness training for youth, have been remarkable.

Theyíve initiated other community projects too which are helping to reshape local attitudes towards waste disposal and recycling, use of natural resources, and keeping fit and healthy.

My wife, Leba, and I are firm believers in an active and healthy lifestyle. Sheís done aerobics for a number of years now so I know sheíll want to drop in one day on the aerobics and fitness class the volunteers have helped organise in Sigatoka.

I was particularly intrigued to learn about the competitive swimming team thatís been formed in Labasa. With the Olympic Games in Athens in full flight, that got me thinking Ė or should I say daydreaming a little Ė about the promise and possibilities of this project.

Anyway, enough to say that Fiji will know who to thank, and the US will know who to blame, in the unlikely event that the Friendly North produces a champion to rival Michael Phelps in the pool at the next Olympics!

The first volunteers have set themselves a cracking pace. Iím not sure whether theyíre trying to send a message to all of you who are about to be sworn in this morning!

But my concern is that you should know that the Government and people of Fiji are pleased to have you with us. While you are here you must consider yourselves among friends. It is true we look forward to the contributions you are going to make, but we also want you to get to know us better and, when you finally leave us, take home happy memories of Fiji.

In our troubled world, never has the need for friendly, helping, healing hands of organizations like the Peace Corps, been more urgent.

Unfortunately, not everyone understands and appreciates America and things American. Indeed, there are many people and countries actively opposed to the US and what it stands for. I am not telling you anything you donít already know. And so for you, the challenge is even greater to do what you can to spread a better understanding of those enduring values that underpin your great nation.

Those same values have helped make you what you are today Ė men and women ready and willing to leave the comfort and plenty of home and to learn from others; to share your knowledge and expertise with people who need them in countries less fortunate than yours.

Itís an important mission; itís a great mission and, I would think, an adventure of a lifetime.

I am sure you will all be a credit to yourselves, your families, the Peace Corps movement, and to your country.

Vinaka vakalevu and may God bless you all!

When this story was prepared, here was the front page of PCOL magazine:

This Month's Issue: August 2004 This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?

Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."

In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: Government of Fiji

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Fiji; Swearing In



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