U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Michael Arietti and the Secretary General of Rwanda's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Amandin Rugira signed an agreement, in July, officially re-establishing the U.S. Peace Corps program in Rwanda.
"Throughout its history, the Peace Corps has met the challenges of an ever-changing world," said Peace Corps Director, Ronald Tschetter. "After a fifteen-year absence, I'm confident our Peace Corps Volunteers will have a tremendous positive impact in Rwanda. I'm grateful to the Rwandan people for welcoming the Peace Corps back and look forward to continued friendship," he said.
President George W. Bush announced the reopening of the Peace Corps program in Rwanda during his February 2008 visit. The Peace Corps originally began its program in Rwanda in 1974. It worked for twenty years in sectors such as education, health, and the environment before closing its offices in 1994. A total of one-hundred-fourteen people served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Rwanda. With its reopening, Peace Corps Volunteers will work across the country in the sectors of health, education, information technology, and community development.
The Peace Corps is celebrating a forty-seven-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than eight-thousand Volunteers abroad, a thirty-seven year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than one-hundred-ninety-thousand Volunteers, including Volunteers U.S. Ambassador Arietti and Peace Corps/Rwanda Director John Reddy, have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the one-hundred-thirty-nine countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least eighteen years of age, and commit to twenty-seven months of service.
"Peace Corps Volunteers bring needed skills to rural communities, and embody the best that America has to offer," said U.S. Ambassador Arietti. "That this program is returning to Rwanda will not just aid Rwanda's development," he said, "it will also serve to strengthen the relationship between our two countries."