Peace Corps Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Ministry of Health Recognizes Contributions

Tirana, March 1, 2011 NOA - Ambassador Alexander A. Arvizu and Peace Corps Country Director Hill Denham joined Albania’s Minister of Health, Petrit Vasili, for a ceremony today at the Ministry of Health, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps.

On March 1, 1961 President John F. Kennedy signed the Executive Order establishing the Peace Corps. In the 50 years since that time, over 200,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers in 139 host countries. Although times have changed, the Peace Corps remains true to its mission of promoting world peace and friendship through three goals:

Helping the people of interested countries meet their needs for trained men and women

Promoting a better understanding of Americans on the part of people served

Promoting a better understanding of other people on the part of Americans

The Ministry of Heath is one of Peace Corps Albania’s primary partners. In 2004 the Peace Corps in Albania signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health to establish a Health Education program. Over the past 7 years, 67 Health Education Volunteers have worked in Albania in this program, organizing health education and prevention activities. Health Education Volunteers work with their local counterparts to promote awareness of health-related issues such as substance abuse, maternal and child health, sexually transmitted infections, sanitation, hygiene, cancer and other health issues.

At the ceremony today, the Minister of Health recognized Peace Corp’s 50th anniversary. He also pledged the Ministry’s support for an inter-institutional taskforce, with the aim of developing the Health Education program further.

About Peace Corps Albania

The Peace Corps program in Albania currently has over 76 Volunteers placed throughout the country working in 3 projects: Health Education, English Teaching, and Community and Organizational Development. The Peace Corps opened its program here in 1991, but suspended it in 1997. In 2003 Peace Corps reopened its office. Nearly 300 volunteers have served in Albania.