From the news service of the ruling TPLF/EPRDF party

Peace Corps celebrates 50th anniversary
Friday, 03 December 2010

Addis Ababa
, December 3 (WIC) – U.S Ambassador to Ethiopia, Donald E. Booth today swore in 31 Peace Corps Volunteers who will work on conservation and natural resource management
issues in Ethiopia.

President Girma Woldegiorgis was the guest of honor at the swearing in ceremony, which took place on the U.S Embassy Compound.

According to a press release the U.S Embassy sent to WIC, the U.S Peace Corps, which first came to Ethiopia in 1962, is celebrating its 50th anniversary year from 2010 to 2011.

Under the auspices of the Ethiopian Wildlife and Conservation Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture, the 31 Environment Volunteers will help develop alternative livelihoods for communities leaving in the buffer zone of ecologically important areas, provide environmental education and awareness for communities with a special focus on the youth and help improve national park operations as well as strengthen the ecotourism industry.

The group of Volunteers will carry out Peace Corps activities initially in Amhara, Oromia and the SNNP states.

Ambassador Booth told the new Volunteers, “In becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer, you are joining a noble and idealistic group of Americans who for 50 years have promoted world peace and friendship around the world through public service at the grass roots level.”

The Peace Corps re-started its Ethiopia program in 2007. As a partner in the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Peace Corps has worked primarily in HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support over the last four years.

However, the Volunteers sworn-in today are the first to work in environmental fields, an expansion of Peace Corps operations in this country beyond the health sector.

In 1962, just one year after the Peace Corps was founded; Ethiopia was one of the very first countries to invite the Peace Corps to establish a program. At that time, the primary focus was education, with the goal of training skilled workers and promoting economic development. A total of 3,500 volunteers have served in Ethiopia over the years.

The 31 new Volunteers are a diverse group ranging in age from 21 to over 60 years old. Among them are 11 women and 20 men: 12 Masters degree and 19 Bachelor degree holders; and representatives of 18 American States.