Kigali – U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Erica Barks-Ruggles swore in 26 new Peace Corps Volunteers today at her residence in Kacyiru. These Volunteers will work in Rwanda’s health sector, becoming part of the Rwandan Government’sFirst 1000 Days Initiative. Following today’s ceremony, the Volunteers will travel outside of Kigali to the villages and health centers in which they will work for the next two years while living with their Rwandan communities.
U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Erica Barks-Ruggles was joined at the ceremony by Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi, Minister of State with the Rwandan Ministry of Health as the guest of the honor and representative of the Rwandan Government.
Addressing the audience, the U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda said, “The Peace Corps adds a very special element to relations between the American and Rwandan people. By living in rural communities, dedicating themselves to helping Rwanda, and becoming proficient in Kinyarwanda, Peace Corps Volunteers strengthen trust and mutual understanding between our two societies. As I have traveled around Rwanda, I have had the opportunity to meet volunteers and experience firsthand their knowledge of this beautiful country, and witness the mutual respect shared between the volunteers and members of the community where they serve.”
Peace Corps Country Director Ron Campbell commented, “It is a great honor for the Peace Corps to be working in Rwanda, contributing to Vision 2020, learning about the people and their culture. Thank you for this opportunity.”
Since 2008, almost 500 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Rwanda. Peace Corps was invited to return to Rwanda for the first time since the 1994 genocide by President Paul Kagame, and the agreement between the governments of the United States and the Republic of Rwanda was signed on July 18, 2008. The first group of volunteers arrived in Rwanda on January 27, 2009.
The Peace Corps is a U.S. government program that sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people and partners around the world. Peace Corps Volunteers work at the grassroots level toward sustainable change that lives on long after their service – at the same time becoming global citizens and serving their country. In Rwanda, Peace Corps Volunteers work in the health and education fields, serving closely with Rwandans at the ground level to ensure the goals of Rwanda’s health and education ministries are achieved while promoting mutual understanding between the United States and Rwanda.