Mekele, Tigray Region, Dec 20, 2013 – Peace Corps, a U.S. Government people-to-people Volunteer program, officially opened its Tigray Regional Volunteer Support Office in Mekele on Friday, December 20, 2013. Based on an agreement signed on January 10, 2013, between the Peace Corps and the Tigray Regional Administration, the Regional Volunteer Support Office will enhance Peace Corps’ cooperation with the Tigray Region and enable Peace Corps to better support the work of the 28 Peace Corps Volunteers currently serving there. The office was established with funds from USAID’s Feed the Future initiative.
The opening ceremony was attended by the Regional President, Ato Abay Woldu, other members of the Regional Administration, UN officials, development partners, Peace Corps Volunteers and other honored guests. In his congratulatory remarks, President Abay highlighted the valuable contribution that Peace Corps Volunteers have made over many years in Tigray and thanks the current Volunteers for their service.
Following remarks by the Regional Manager of the Regional Volunteers Support Office, Ato Desalegn Weldu, the Peace Corps Country Director, Gregory W. Engle, expressed his appreciation for the exceptional support Peace Corps and its Volunteers have received in Tigray, from the highest ranks of the Regional Administration down to the communities in which the Volunteers serve. He highlighted the very strong affinity Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Tigray have for the Region.
Peace Corps Volunteer Scott McAllister, speaking in Tigrigna, described the benefits the Volunteers will enjoy as a result of the new office, enhancing relations with the Regional bureaus and affording the Volunteers easier access to trainings and Peace Corps support services.
Ethiopia was one of the first countries to invite the Peace Corps to establish its program in 1962, just one year after President John F. Kennedy created the Peace Corps. The primary focus of that first program was education, with the goal of training skilled workers and promoting economic development. In addition, Peace Corps Volunteers in Ethiopia have worked in agriculture, tourism, health, and economic development. Since the first group arrived in 1962, more than 3,500 Volunteers have served in Ethiopia.
Since 1961, more than 200,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries in which they have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.