Cheers to peace, love and friendship!
Peace, love and friendship. Those are the three words Peace Corp volunteers take with them when they leave Samoa, after their service.
This is according to Sherry Russell, Country Director for Peace Corps Samoa who spoke during the celebration of the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary on Friday night at U.S. Embassy, Vailima.
In attendance was the Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II and the Masiofo, Her Highness Fa'amausili Leinafo.
The Acting Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa was also present.
The celebration included performances by the FiaFia Trio with Galumalemana Al Hunkin an original member of this Trio.
There were short videos featuring Samoan leaders including the former Head of State, His Highnesses Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and Masiofo Filifilia.
According to Sherry Russell, since 1967 close to 2,000 volunteers have lived and worked in Samoa.
She quoted the 35th President of The United States of America, John F. Kennedy who was keen to promote global peace and friendship.
“He [Kennedy] challenged Americans with the famous words.... ask not what your country can do for you, but for what you can do for your country."
“His [Kennedy] brother in law Sargent Shriver was the first founding director of Peace Corps in 1961 and he said what can change the world today, is the same thing that changed it in the past."
“An idea and the service of dedicated individuals to that idea. Since 1967 close to 2,00 Peace Corps volunteers have lived and worked in Samoa, in service of that idea."
“That idea is not about men and women providing technical assistance. But it’s about peace... again as Sargent Shiver articulates, peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us.”
The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio, thanked the Peace Corps fortheir work.
“On behalf of the Samoan government, I thank you most sincerely for your service and commitment to our people."
“The Peace Corps Volunteers have served Samoa since 1967 and through. Their kind assistance to schools, many Samoans have been successful in their education, many families and communities have had their lives enriched through various ways as a result of their work."
“I am one of the many Samoans who have benefitted from the tremendous work Peace Corp volunteers have given to Samoa since 1967 and it is my honor to acknowledge with gratitude the work of past and present Peace Corp Volunteers.
As Minister of Education, I am most thankful for the invaluable support provided to our primary schools to improve literacy and numeracy.”