“It gives me great pleasure ... to celebrate the return of the Peace Corps to Nepal,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake said recently in Washington DC. “The Peace Corps’ reluctant departure from Nepal in 2004 due to security concerns was a sad point for all of us, and marked a difficult period for Nepal. ... Just as the Peace Corps’ departure was emblematic of a dark period in Nepal’s history, its return is equally symbolic of the positive trends that now prevail.”
“Real progress has been achieved last year toward completion of the peace process launched in 2006,” Assistant Secretary Blake said. “There is a renewed sense of optimism in Nepal that, at last, its citizens can move beyond the conflict and its aftermath to seize the opportunity to address many serious challenges and conclude the peace process.”
When the new Peace Corps Volunteers arrive this summer, they will focus on agriculture and nutrition. These Volunteers will be well-placed to join the United States’ essential, ongoing efforts to assist Nepal to address the issue of food insecurity.
“The Peace Corps has played such a special role in creating lifelong bridges of understanding and affection between the United States and Nepal,” Assistant Secretary Blake said. “Peace Corps volunteers will have a broader, indelible impact in Nepal, just as Nepal will have a lasting impact on all of them.”
Peace Corps volunteers around the world retain fond memories of their experiences: the positive impact of volunteers on the pupils they have taught, the cities and villages where they have lived, to the life-changing inspiration that hosts and neighbors gave to their American volunteers. “The legacy of Peace Corps is immeasurable,” Assistant Secretary Blake said in conclusion. “So it is with great joy that I join you ... to commemorate the beginning of a new Peace Corps era in Nepal.”