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16. March 11

To promote volunteerism and to mark the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Peace Corps, the United States Embassy, together with the American University in BiH, hosted an event on Wednesday, March 16.

The Peace Corps was officially established by President John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961. President Kennedy called on students to join this new agency as volunteers – they would live and work in developing countries around the world. Since then, some 200,000 Americans have offered two years of their lives to help people in one of 139 different countries. These volunteers are engaged in a variety of tasks: Some share specialized training with farmers, others help build medical and sanitation facilities, some volunteers teach English. They all share a common goal of making the world a better place. These volunteers are also answering a request made by President Kennedy 50 years ago during his inauguration speech: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

U.S. Ambassador Patrick S. Moon marked the accomplishments of the Peace Corps and promoted the values of volunteerism worldwide by hosting a forum on Wednesday, March 16 at 14:00. Ambassador Moon was joined by six American Peace Corps volunteers, who served in places including Bulgaria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Paraguay, Niger and the Philippines. The former Peace Corps volunteers talked about their experiences and motivation to spend two or more years as volunteers. They took questions from AUBiH students from Sarajevo, Tuzla and Banja Luka.

In addition to ambassador Moon, students heard from:

Allan Reed, served in Ethiopia 1966-1969, teacher

John Bernlohr, served in Philippines 1980-1982, health worker

Ruth Rosenberg, served in Kenya 1986-1988, science teacher

Sandy Jelso, served in Niger, 1988-1990, English (ESL) teacher

Laura Cholak, served in Paraguay, 2002-2004, small business development

Matt Kelly, served in Bulgaria, 2005-2007, English (ESL) teacher