President John Evans Atta Mills has lauded the US Peace Corps volunteers in the country for their spirit of volunteerism and selfless devotion to duty.
He expressed delight at the spontaneity and enthusiasm that the Peace Corps volunteers had demonstrated in their work in Ghana over the past 50 years, saying, “Ghana will continue to benefit from your love, experience and expertise.”
The President made the commendation when a new batch 69 US Peace Corps volunteers paid a courtesy call on him at the Castle, Osu, in Accra Thursday.
Peace Corps Ghana traces its roots and mission to 1961, when President John F. Kennedy sent the very first 52 Peace Corps volunteers to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in Ghana.
Those volunteers were received warmly by Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, on August 30, 1961. Fifty years later, Peace Corps relationship with Ghana is as strong as ever. From 1961 to date, nearly 5,000 Peace Corps volunteers have served in all 10 regions of Ghana, tackling issues ranging from AIDS education to water and sanitation and environmental preservation.
President Mills said his admiration for the Peace Corps stemmed from the fact that those volunteers always found themselves where the local professionals themselves dreaded to venture.
“I always admire the Peace Corps volunteers. They are always at every hamlet giving their service where our own people would not want to work,” he said.
He said it was the love for the people and experience of the volunteers that had brought them closer to him and stressed that “at the end of your tenure you will go back richer and more experienced”.
The President said Ghana would forever remain indebted to the US government, saying, “We could never say thank you. We could never reward you. You have done so with pure hearts. God bless you and Ghana-US relationship.”
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Donald Teitelbaum, said he looked forward to strengthening of relations between Ghana and the United States of America.
He said although the volunteers came from different religious and ethnic backgrounds, they worked with the spirit of purpose and volunteerism to achieve their aims.
He lauded the uninterrupted friendship and co-operation with their host and thanked President Mills for accepting the volunteers in the country.