Peace Corps Returns to Sierra Leone
Date: November 2, 2009
Contact: PAO Danna Van Brandt
Tel: 022-515-000 or 076-515-000
November 2, 2009 – United States and Sierra Leone government officials signed an agreement to reestablish a Peace Corps program in Sierra Leone after a 16 year absence. Glenn Fedzer, the Chargé d’Affaires for the U.S. Embassy in Freetown, and Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura, signed an agreement to officially re-establish Peace Corps/Sierra Leone at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Freetown. Mr. Fedzer was accompanied by Lynn Foden, Peace Corps’ acting regional director for Africa.
“We are delighted that the government of Sierra Leone has invited Peace Corps volunteers to return and work shoulder to shoulder with the people of Sierra Leone,” said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams. “The partnership between Peace Corps and Sierra Leone was established in the era of President Kennedy, and it is an honor and a privilege for us to have the opportunity to work with the communities of Sierra Leone once again.”
The first group of approximately 40 Peace Corps volunteers is scheduled to arrive in Sierra Leone in June, with additional Peace Corps Response Volunteers also arriving in 2010. The volunteers will focus on secondary education in public schools and work together with communities on grassroots initiatives and community development throughout the country.
“On behalf of Ambassador June Carter Perry, I am honored to participate in the signing of this agreement welcoming the Peace Corps back to Sierra Leone,” said Chargé d’Affaires Glenn Fedzer. “This ceremony is the culmination of the dedication of dozens of Americans and Sierra Leoneans, including President Ernest Bai Koroma, U.S. State Department and Peace Corps officials, and many former Peace Corps volunteers who continue to serve the people of Sierra Leone long after their return to the United States.”
Ambassador Perry has been involved with Peace Corps for 40 years and handled the celebration of Peace Corps’ 20th anniversary for national and international media as Public Affairs Director in Washington. She stated, “We congratulate both the Government of Sierra Leone and the Peace Corps leadership for this enormous step in our bilateral relationship and in the education of Sierra Leone’s youth.'” Her predecessor in Freetown, Ambassador Thomas Hull, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone, also worked closely to ensure that the United States Government would realize this day.
Peace Corps/Sierra Leone was first established in 1962 when 37 Americans volunteered to serve as secondary school teachers. Since 1962, more than 3,400 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers in Sierra Leone.
As Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world with 7,671 volunteers serving in 75 host countries. Historically, nearly 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. To learn more about the Peace Corps, please visit our website: http://www.peacecorps.gov.