http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.media.press.view&news_id=1356

Director Tschetter Honors the 45th Anniversary of Peace Corps/Panama
& Swears-in New Volunteers

Panama City, Panama, June 26, 2008 – Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter marked the 45th anniversary of the Peace Corps program in Panama and swore-in the newest group of Volunteers today. The 46 new Volunteers took their official oath at a ceremony attended by Director Tschetter, U.S. Ambassador to Panama William A. Eaton, Panama’s Minister of Agriculture Guillermo Salazar and Peace Corps/Panama Country Director Peter Redmond, at the Ambassador’s residence. Following the swearing-in ceremony, Director Tschetter delivered remarks during the 45th anniversary celebration.

The Peace Corps and the people of Panama have shared a strong friendship ever since the first Volunteers arrived in 1963. The 46 new Volunteers will be stationed throughout the country, assisting in the fields of agriculture, environmental conservation, tourism and English education.

In his remarks to the Volunteers, Director Tschetter said, “You are about to make a profound commitment of service – to the communities you will serve, to Panama, to the United States and to yourselves. For the agriculture Volunteers, you are on the front lines of addressing food security. The current global food crisis can be eased in Panama by supporting the producers and helping them to help themselves to increase production and learn sustainable techniques.”

During his visit, the Director met with the First Vice-President/Foreign Minister of Panama Samuel Lewis Navarro and participated in a reunion meeting with former Peace Corps Volunteers. He also visited the local Peace Corps office and met with the Volunteer Advisory Council. Tomorrow, Director Tschetter will visit a Peace Corps Response site on the Chagres River in Panama. For information about Peace Corps Response visit www.peacecorps.gov/response.

The Peace Corps has sent more 1,700 Volunteers to Panama since 1963. There was a program hiatus between 1971 and 1989. Since their return in 1990, Volunteers have been working in the poorest rural and indigenous areas to identify, develop and promote sustainable development projects. Currently, 174 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in Panama. Volunteers mainly work in the areas of sustainable agriculture systems, community economic development, environmental health, community environment conservation and health and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

Funny how the program I serve in is in the country I was born. What if I would have been sent to Panama; would I be there helping my uncles dig up a field or teaching English? If Panama keeps ‘developing’ they’re going to get kicked out of the PC rotation though.

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