Newst PCVs in Cameroon Sworn In

December 21st, 2011 by bobebill

Remarks of Ambassador Robert P. Jackson

Mr. Minister, Mr. Prefect,

Ladies and gentlemen the representatives of ministries and other diplomatic missions,

Dear Cameroonian friends and colleagues,

Dear Volunteers,

Ladies and Gentlemen…Bonjour, Good Morning,

It is a great pleasure to speak to you on this very special day. We are here, of course, to continue a proud Peace Corps tradition in Cameroon: the swearing in of our newest volunteers. This ceremony is symbolic of the strong relationship between the Republic of Cameroon and the United States. The Peace Corps celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year, and Peace Corps’ relationship with Cameroon is almost that old. Formal collaboration began on September 13, 1962, when 39 Volunteers arrived here to teach English. Since then, more than 3,050 Volunteers have served in Cameroon in various sectors, including education, computer technology, small enterprise development, agroforestry and community health. In fact, agriculture, education, entrepreneurship and health constitute some of the core sectors in the strong partnership between Cameroon and the United States.

I am truly honored to participate in this milestone event. Peace Corps Volunteers are unique. They reflect the diversity of the American people. A volunteer can be a recent college graduate, a retired professional, a farmer – or any number of other things. This diversity is a great strength, as each volunteer draws upon his or her unique talents to accomplish the important Peace Corps mission.

When President Kennedy created the Peace Corps 50 years ago, he insisted on the involvement and the desire of the American people to serve their country. One of his most famous quotations, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” helped to launch the Peace Corps.

In office just after the wave of independence that washed across the world in 1960, President Kennedy understood the potential of assigning motivated youth to share their knowledge with the citizens of the new developing countries, to lend a hand to help a distant neighbor, to sow the seeds of peace, comprehension and mutual respect.

Fifty years on, Peace Corps continues to follow the founding guidance foreseen by President Kennedy. Peace Corps Volunteers continue to provide precious gifts to their Cameroonian colleagues — not really presents in the traditional sense, but contributions such as help drawing up a business plan to start a new enterprise, or a new set of techniques for providing first aid to prevent infections, or better crop yields resulting from using improved inputs and adopting new production techniques. Such knowledge is based on sustainable techniques that can be replicated by the producers, laying the groundwork for a better future for all Africans.

I salute Peace Corps volunteers for their commitment and their dedication. To their Country Directors who inspire, train and guide these volunteers, I wish you every success. I celebrate this important aspect of America’s development assistance. I thank all those who have assisted volunteers during these 50 years and who contributed to the success of this wonderful example of collaboration, partnership, and fellowship.

I am happy and proud to be here as we celebrate together the achievements of these 53 men and women, who will begin their service today. Each of them decided to devote the next two years of their lives to expanding horizons – their own and, most importantly, those of the Cameroonian villagers and townspeople with whom they will develop wonderful working and social relationships during the time they are here.

And now, to the new volunteers:

This is an exciting moment for you who are about to become Peace Corps Volunteers. More than two months ago, you came to Cameroon anxious to begin your Peace Corps experience. Since then, you have learned to communicate in new languages. The transformation has indeed been impressive. You are now well prepared to discover the myriad new things that await you in your assignments, and to accomplish the many things that you certainly have your hearts set to do. That is ample cause for excitement.

We also are excited for you as we anticipate your success and the many joyful experiences you will have during your volunteer service. For 50 years, men and women like yourselves have come to Cameroon, full of hopes and dreams, worked diligently and harmoniously with their Cameroonian partners and completed their tours with more satisfaction and a greater sense of accomplishment than they ever thought they could have. Since President Kennedy created the Peace Corps in March 1961, more than 200,000 Americans from all 50 states have worked side by side with people in developing nations around the world. You are continuing that tradition of excellence today.

While they are not here with us at this ceremony, the people with whom you will work, in the villages and towns across Cameroon, also are excited today. They are ready to welcome you and have great hopes for the work that you will accomplish together. To these people, your Cameroonian colleagues and neighbors, you will be the face of America, perhaps the only American they will ever know. Please remember that you will always be viewed as representatives of the United States of America, of the American people. I have great confidence that you will show the best of America to our Cameroonian friends and will represent our country and our people well.

As you prepare to begin your assignments in agroforestry and community health and the newest program in youth development, I congratulate each of you, and I wish you great success. I know that your Peace Corps experiences will be wonderful, and that what you begin today will remain a part of you forever.

And now, please demonstrate your sincere commitment to partner with the people of Cameroon for the next two years by pronouncing the Oath of Service. This Oath is the same one that every American in federal service takes. It is a meaningful affirmation of our values as Americans as we pledge to uphold the profound principles embodied in our Constitution, including the Bill of Rights. So if you are ready,

Please stand and raise your right hands and repeat after me, filling in the pause after “I” with your name.

I, ____________________ DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR (OR AFFIRM)

State your name

THAT I WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC, AND THAT I WILL BEAR TRUE FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE TO THE SAME, THAT I TAKE THIS OBLIGATION FREELY, WITHOUT ANY MENTAL RESERVATION OR PURPOSE OF EVASION, AND THAT I WILL WELL AND FAITHFULLY DISCHARGE MY DUTIES IN THE PEACE CORPS, SO HELP ME GOD.

Congratulations! It is an honor to welcome you as Peace Corps Volunteers. Serve honorably and productively. Enjoy every challenging moment that lies ahead. Learn as much as you can. Your experience will serve you well for all the years to come.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present our newest Peace Corps Volunteers.

Thank you very much.


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