October 3, 2004: Headlines: COS - Mexico: Expansion: Fort Worth Star-Telegram: First group of Volunteers head to Mexico

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Mexico: Peace Corps Mexico : The Peace Corps in Mexico: October 3, 2004: Headlines: COS - Mexico: Expansion: Fort Worth Star-Telegram: First group of Volunteers head to Mexico

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-9-111.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 12:29 am: Edit Post

First group of Volunteers head to Mexico

First group of Volunteers head to Mexico

First group of Volunteers head to Mexico

Peace Corps to help in Mexico

By Patrick Mcgee

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

A Fort Worth native will lead 11 Americans, most of them engineers, to start the first Peace Corps program in Mexico.

The dozen were scheduled to fly to Mexico on Saturday and begin training to assist the country in small-business development, information technology, water management and treatment, and applied science in manufacturing.

Byron Battle, who grew up in Fort Worth and went to high school in Dallas, will serve as Peace Corps director in Mexico. The volunteers will serve in the central Mexican cities of Querétaro, San Luis Potosi and León.

"We want to be very successful so the Mexican government invites us to expand to different centers," Battle said.

The start of a program in Mexico means that the Peace Corps will have served in every Latin American nation except French Guiana. The Mexico program is part of the Partnership for Prosperity initiative launched by President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox. The Peace Corps committed to sending volunteers by signing an agreement with Mexico's National Council for Science and Technology of Mexico, known by its Spanish acronym, CONACYT.

"CONACYT found an excellent opportunity through Peace Corps to broaden our bilateral relationship regarding scientific and technological cooperation," said Jorge Gallardo, CONACYT's representative in the United States. "CONACYT expects this program to contribute to the expansion of the research and development capabilities of Mexico, as well as to strengthen the ties and interest of the Mexican and American scientific community."

Founded in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps has sent more than 171,000 volunteers around the world for two years of service in developing or impoverished nations.

The Peace Corps began work in fields such as education and health. It took up HIV/AIDS education and prevention in 1987. Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez said the organization now hears more countries asking for volunteers with technical and business experience.

The Mexico group is a good example. One member is a former executive for high-tech companies. Another worked for an engineering company for 31 years, and another worked for Dow Chemical Co. for 21 years.

Four members of the group are naturalized citizens.

Ranganath Shastri, 53, said he remembers encountering Peace Corps volunteers when he was growing up in India. He was struck by their height and pale complexions, "but they were all friendly."

Now an American citizen, Shastri is part of the group going to Mexico. He said he decided to join after he was laid off in December.

"That really gave me the opportunity to think about what do I want to do next. Do I want to get back into the rat race, or do I want to do something I want to do?" Shastri said.

Kyle Turk, 25, of Alice graduated from Texas A&M University with a computer science degree in 2002.

"This is my opportunity to do something positive, unselfish and give back," Turk said. "I hope to fall in love with the people and the country and really make an impact."

When this story was posted in October 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Director Gaddi Vasquez:  The PCOL Interview Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview
PCOL sits down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Plus the debate continues over Safety and Security.
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Governor Schwarzenegger praised the Peace Corps at the Republican National Convention: "We're the America that sends out Peace Corps volunteers to teach village children." Schwarzenegger has previously acknowledged his debt to his father-in-law, Peace Corps Founding Director Sargent Shriver, for teaching him "the joy of public service" and Arnold is encouraging volunteerism by creating California Service Corps and tapping his wife, Maria Shriver, to lead it. Leave your comments and who can come up with the best Current Events Funny?
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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 can you come up with a Political Funny?

Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Mexico; Expansion



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