The official swearing ceremony of eight additional Peace Corps Response Volunteers took place on Thursday, January 31, 2013 at the United States Embassy near Monrovia. The event was attended by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai and Education Minister Etimoniah David-Tarpeh.
The new Peace Corps Response Volunteers will take up assignment at high schools in River Cess, River Gee, Grand Kru, Maryland and Sinoe Counties. These are the first volunteers back in those counties since the program was suspended in 1990.
Making remarks at the program,U.S. Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Madam Deborah R. Malac, said: "The arrival of this incoming group of Peace Corps Response Volunteers represents a significant milestone for us. These volunteers will be leading the way for Peace Corps' return to the Southeast counties where we have been absent since 1990."
According to Amb. Malac, the volunteers will be leading the way for Peace Corps return to the Southeast counties-River Gee, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Maryland, Sinoe and River Cess since 1990. Hear Amb. Malac: "Your arrival in River Cess, SinoeGrand Kru, Maryland and River Gee counties is the culmination of a determined and dedicated effort to reestablish the Peace Corps here in Liberia. I am a great fan of the Peace Corps and am delighted that they are a part of the U.S. presence in Liberia."
Speaking further, the US envoy described the Peace Corps as one of the best and most effective ways to demonstrate the United States' values, and shared commitment to peace, friendship and progress in Liberia.
"I am especially proud of Peace Corps Liberia's role in the education sector, providing critical math and science education to the next generation of Liberians. I also want to thank Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and her government for their very strong support of Peace Corps since its return to Liberia," the seasoned American diplomat stated.
Amb. Malac continued: "To our new group of Volunteers: you arrived in Liberia less than one week ago, so I suspect you are still becoming accustomed to a very new environment. I want you to know that you are in a country that has a very complicated history and is emerging from one of its darkest chapters. However, you are coming to Liberia during its 10th year of continued peace and progress."
She told the volunteers that they will work alongside Liberians who have shown amazing resilience and a remarkable commitment to their country's reconstruction, stressing that: "You will take pride as you join them in that effort."
" For many Liberians in small towns and villages, the return of Peace Corps Volunteers is a real symbol of the return of peace. I know that all of you have served successfully as Peace Corps Volunteers in other countries, so many aspects of your service will not be new. However, I suspect that your living conditions here in Liberia will be more austere than what you experienced before. I hope you see this as a challenge to overcome; rest assured your sacrifice will not go unnoticed or unappreciated by your neighbors and community members, nor by me or my colleagues here in the Embassy," Amb. Malac stated.
Amb. Malac pointed out that Peace Corps' dedication to living modestly at the level of the people they work with is a shining legacy of the program. "As you take up your assignments in the coming days, please know that you have my full support and the support of the entire U.S. Mission as you begin your assignments. A very rewarding adventure awaits you," she added.
For his part, the Country Director of Peace Corps, Mr. Vince Groh, said each of the eight Peace Corps Response Volunteers has previously served a two-year assignment in another Peace Corps country and will serve here through July of this year. He said they (eight Peace Corps Response Volunteers) have generously returned to Peace Corps to take on a very significant assignment for the program.
Meanwhile, Mr. Groh said the eight Peace Corps Response Volunteers will teach English, Science and Math in various public schools across the five counties.