U.S. Peace Corps returning to Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT – The United States Peace Corps, where American volunteers serve overseas to promote education and health, is returning to Sri Lanka after 20 years with the focus this time on teaching the English language.

“Once in Sri Lanka, volunteers will undergo three months of comprehensive cultural, language and technical training before they are given their assignments to serve for two years,” a US embassy statement said.

The first Peace Corps Volunteers are scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka in September 2019 under an agreement signed Monday between Sheila Crowley, Acting Director of the U.S. Peace Corps, and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana.

From 1962 to 1998, more than 370 Peace Corps volunteers served in Sri Lanka, working in education, health and youth development, but the program was closed in 1998 due to political instability. 

Peace Corps’ Crisis Corps, now Peace Corps Response, returned to Sri Lanka to support relief efforts in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.  In 2016, the Government of Sri Lanka invited Peace Corps to return to work and assist in furthering the country’s development goals. 

“Our volunteers embody and promote the ideals of equality, shared prosperity, and a common interest in a peaceful, stable world,” said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Atul Keshap. 

When signing the Executive Order that created the Peace Corps, President John F. Kennedy said, “Our Peace Corps is not designed as an instrument of diplomacy or propaganda or ideological conflict.  It is designed to permit our people to exercise more fully their responsibilities in the great common cause of world development.”
(COLOMBO, February 27, 2018)

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