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Last group of Romania-assigned Peace Corps volunteers takes oath of service

The last group of 36 American Peace Corps volunteers who will spend one year in Romanian communities on Thursday took the oath of service in a ceremony organized at the seat of U.S. Ambassador in Bucharest, Mark Gitenstein; this program of the Washington Department of State which has been running in Romania since 1991 will wrap up in 2012.

I deeply regret that this program is coming to end in Romania, but the decision did not depend on me, and had it been so, I wouldn't have taken it. And this is not because I would consider that Romania is unprepared to move forward without the Peace Corps, but because no other group of volunteers like you will come here to get acquainted with the wonderful country Romania is, said Ambassador Gitenstein.

He added that over 1,100 American volunteers have come to Romania under this program in the past 20 years to work together with organizations, schools, communities and citizens in this country on projects aimed at improving the quality of life, as well as for teaching English and ensuring a better mutual understanding between the two countries and cultures.

In his turn, Secretary of State with the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) Doru Costea addressed the volunteers his formal and friendly thanks.

'To Romania, especially in the '90s, the Peace Corps mission was a dream come true, the dream of having a connection with America, they proved to us that the Americans are our friends. And we, Romanians, will always be your friends,' the Foreign Ministry official said.

In 1991, two Peace Corps representatives arrived in Bucharest and a cooperation agreement between the two countries was signed on January 24, 1992. In the past 20 years, over 1,100 volunteers worked in Romania two-year stints each in English teaching programs, community economic development, building institutional capacity and environmental education. Over this two-decade period, the U.S. Government financed the presence and work of these volunteers in Romania in with over 38.5 million dollars.

The organization was created in 1961 by U.S. President at that time, John Kennedy, to the aim of promoting peace and friendship, by assigning America's most valuable resource - its people - to contributing to the social, economic and human development of the host countries. Over 200,000 Americans have since served in the Peace Corps in 139 countries, under development or intercultural exchange programs. Currently, the Peace Corps Agency is present in 77 countries, Agerpres informs..