Working together for the future of Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Working together for the future of Sri Lanka

Sheila Crowley
Sheila Crowley

On February 26, 2018 the Peace Corps re-established its program in Sri Lanka after a twenty-year hiatus, marking a highlight in the U.S.-Sri Lanka partnership. Returning with a full two-year program, Peace Corps volunteers will focus on teaching English to young Sri Lankans, helping them build a strong foundation in their careers and contributing to the growth and vitality of their communities.

The return of Peace Corps Volunteers signifies the importance of our shared interests and desire for a brighter and more prosperous future for Sri Lanka.

The U.S. Government and the Government of Sri Lanka are celebrating 70 years of friendship and cooperation in 2018, and Peace Corps is grateful to the Government of Sri Lanka for the invitation to return.

Thanks to the hard work and collaboration of Peace Corps, the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka, the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we have signed a bilateral agreement re-establishing the Peace Corps program.

President John F. Kennedy created the Peace Corps to embody and promote the ideals of equality, shared prosperity, and a common interest in a peaceful, stable world.

When signing the Executive Order that created the Peace Corps, President Kennedy said, “Our Peace Corps is not designed as an instrument of diplomacy or propaganda or ideological conflict.

It is designed to permit our people to exercise more fully their responsibilities in the great common cause of world development.”

Since its founding in 1961, more than 230,000 Americans have served in the Peace Corps, living and working for two years alongside the people they serve.

Their commitment, ingenuity, and creativity help earn them the trust they need to be successful in their communities.

In cooperation with the Sri Lanka Ministry of Education, Peace Corps is planning to establish an English Language training program. Our Peace Corps Volunteers will partner with Sri Lankan educators in and outside the classroom.

They will live in Sri Lankan communities and learn the rich traditions, culture, and history of this magnificent country.

Volunteers served in Sri Lanka in the 1960s, 1980s, and 1990s. More recently, they contributed to relief efforts in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami. The exchange of ideas, the relationships built, and the trust established is mutually beneficial to both, Americans and Sri Lankans and contributes to a more peaceful and prosperous world.

We are excited to embark on the next chapter of our long partnership, and extremely delighted that Peace Corps Volunteers will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Sri Lanka’s vibrant culture and scenic beauty.

Let me be the first to say to their future hosts, thank you for opening your hearts and homes to our Volunteers. Together, we can accomplish extraordinary things.

- The writer is the Acting Director of Peace Corps