Sanibonani and a very good morning. Thank you all for coming. I am delighted to welcome you to the Embassy this morning to celebrate the return of Peace Corps Volunteers to Eswatini and the swearing in of 11 Volunteers. This is truly an historic event as it is the first group of new Volunteers to be sworn-in here since the COVID pandemic began!
The Peace Corps’ mission in Eswatini is the same as its mission across the globe and throughout its history: to promote world peace and friendship through community-led development and to deepen the understanding between nations and peoples. This mission remains as relevant today as it was in 1962 when then President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps.
Today, we celebrate the partnership between the Peace Corps and Eswatini, and we celebrate the 1859 Volunteers and countless EmaSwati men and women who have worked shoulder to shoulder across the decades.
With their host communities, who are equal partners in this dynamic relationship, Volunteers in Eswatini do a remarkable job on the ground. Whether it’s working closely with health care providers to improve health outcomes for adolescent girls and young women, teaching life skills to youth, or on conservation efforts, Peace Corps Volunteers work with dedication and commitment. And, throughout, they forge friendships that endure long after the Volunteers have completed their service.
Today, we also celebrate these 11 dedicated individuals sitting before you. A few weeks ago, these Americans from across the United States left their homes to enter training to become Peace Corps Volunteers. Today’s ceremony marks the conclusion of their hard work in learning SiSwati, cultural norms and practices, and a great deal of technical knowledge related to HIV/AIDs care and prevention. It is the beginning of their responsibilities as Peace Corps Volunteers in Eswatini.
This group has already shown remarkable dedication, many of them having applied for service prior to the pandemic waiting months for the opportunity to join us here today.
In a few moments, I will administer the oath of service and they will be sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers. This ceremony marks their journey to join a 61-year tradition of dedication, service, and excellence. Tomorrow, these Volunteers will move to their new homes in communities across the country where they will each serve. Their endeavors and involvement in the communities of Eswatini will demonstrate the ongoing spirit of cooperation between the EmaSwati and American peoples.
I’d like to thank each of you in the room for your dedication to the Volunteers, the goals of Peace and Friendship espoused by the Peace Corps and the expertise and guidance you have provided to bring Peace Corps back to Eswatini. Siyabonga
I’d also like to express a few words specifically to the men and women who will serve in the Peace Corps here in Eswatini. Today you join the ranks of the over 240,000 Volunteers who have served across the globe. You will contribute to sustainable development efforts, and you will continue Peace Corps’ proud traditions.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank Peace Corps’ staff who played an essential role in preparing you for your assignments. I also thank in advance all the officials here today, whose organizations and offices will help host you and support your work.
Peace Corps embodies the best of America: Service to others in the pursuit of peace and development. You will do important work in your communities, as Volunteers before you have done. I have had the good fortune to meet many EmaSwati who have worked with Volunteers in the past, who tell me about remarkable Peace Corps Volunteers who touched their lives.
I have also had the pleasure of meeting many former Volunteers who served in Eswatini and dozens of other countries around the globe. Without exception, they have been passionate about their experience and committed to continuing to promote the Peace Corps’ three goals. I’d like to ask the former Peace Corps Volunteers here today to please stand and be recognized. Thank you for your service.
The Peace Corps program in Eswatini has a long and proud history. It represents a true partnership between the families, communities and governments of Eswatini and the United States. This year, you become part of this proud tradition. As you prepare to begin your assignments, I congratulate you on your successful completion of training and wish you well, as you integrate into your communities. In many ways, you will be our ambassadors in those communities. On behalf of the United States government, I thank you for your commitment, and I wish you all the best for your service to come.