Colombo (LNW): On November 30, Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Mahinda Samarasinghe addressed the inaugural cohort of Peace Corps Volunteers set to depart for Sri Lanka on December 1, 2023, the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington DC said in a statement.
The ceremonial event, held at Hotel Washington in Washington D.C., marked the 25-year partnership between the Peace Corps and Sri Lanka, emphasising U.S. support for the Sri Lankan Government’s priorities in English education development.
Rebecca Gong Sharp, Regional Director for the Europe, Mediterranean, and Asia region of the Peace Corps, acknowledged the support from the Government of Sri Lanka and local communities. She introduced Ambassador Samarasinghe as a dedicated and highly experienced diplomat and former senior politician.
Ambassador Samarasinghe, in his remarks, delved into the history of the Peace Corps in Sri Lanka, highlighting the opportunities it created and its impact on vulnerable rural communities, enhancing their English proficiency and employability.
Ambassador Samarasinghe also addressed the regional disparities within provinces and districts, emphasising the U.S. Peace Corps’ focus on collaborating with rural communities where English knowledge dissemination is essential. He underscored the significance of 2023, marking 75 years of bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the United States, expressing appreciation for the Peace Corps’ initiative to strengthen the friendship between the two countries through people-to-people contact.
Carol Spahn, Director of the Peace Corps, conveyed her gratitude to the Peace Corps Volunteers, praising the hospitality of Sri Lanka and its people. She extended her well wishes to the volunteers, expressing confidence in their transformative experience in Sri Lanka.
It was noted that upon arrival, the twenty-three Peace Corps Volunteers will undergo an extensive three-month training in Sinhala and Tamil languages, local culture, and customs before commencing their two-year English Language Training as teachers alongside Sri Lankan teachers in the rural communities of Uva and Central Provinces.
Established in May 1960 by former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps engages skilled volunteers in service opportunities across more than 60 countries. The Peace Corps envisions being a dynamic, forward-leaning champion for international service, defined by its energy, innovation, and development impact. The Peace Corps is headquartered in Washington, D.C.