U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa Tom Udall travelled to Samoa from February 9 – 14 to welcome back the U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers and launch a new American Corner in Salelologa.
Starting off his trip in Savai’i, Ambassador Udall and Minister of Education, Sports, and Culture Honorable Seuula Ioane cut the ribbon to officially open the new American Corner Salelologa.
“American Corner Salelologa will serve as a strong platform on which we can continue to build upon our friendship, and as a physical reminder of our Embassy’s commitment to continued engagement between the people of the United States and Samoa. American Corners are places where visitors can connect and learn about the United States and access educational resources and information about opportunities both in Samoa and the United States,” said Ambassador Udall.
During the launching ceremony, students from Salelologa Primary School sang a thank you hymn and performed a celebratory Samoan dance as a gesture of gratitude on behalf of the Ministry and schools in Savai’i.
“This American Corner will have a positive impact on the community as well as continue to promote education, literacy, and numeracy. It will bridge the gap between students in Samoa and the world by providing access to information,” said Honorable Seuula Ioane.
Later in the day, Ambassador Udall really enjoyed reading to 5 – 10 year-old students at the Asaga Primary school. The Ambassador also presented some reading books and educational materials to add to the school library.
“It is always exciting to receive new books and resources to add to the children’s learning,” said Principal Perosi.
Ambassador Udall visited the Saleaula Lava Field, where he witnessed the devastation caused by the lava more than 100 years ago affecting the community and churches in Saleaula. He was shown the Virgin’s Grave that was discovered to be unaffected by lava and he was proud to pay his respects.
To wrap up his Savai’i trip, Ambassador Udall visited the Sapapalii Mangroves Reserve, which was funded by a USAID project focused on adaptation and conservation of the coastline. The program also promotes the environmental benefits of mangroves to the community and marine life.
On Monday 13, Ambassador Udall met with the Minister of Education, Sports, and Culture Honorable Seuula Ioane as a follow-on discussion on the partnership between Samoa and the United States on areas of mutual interest including education.
The final highlight of the Ambassador’s trip, was welcoming the return of Peace Corps Volunteers to Samoa on February 14. After the worldwide evacuation of volunteers in March 2020, the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Culture were excited to welcome back to Samoa, six (6) PCV’s [with one more to arrive shortly]. The Ministry hosted an Ava Ceremony as a gesture of thanks towards the volunteers and well wishes for the 11-week training they will undergo before being placed into various schools around Samoa.
“We welcome back to Samoa the Peace Corps Volunteers, and we look forward to all the work you will impart on the students and teachers. Since 2020 there has been a gap in our partnership, but today is a start of our continued partnership to not only impact the education system, but to shape the future leaders of Samoa through reading and English,” said Honorable Seuula Ioane.