An official website of the United States government

Welcome back Peace Corps!
U.S. Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Noriko Horiuchi welcomes new Peace Corps Trainees.
July 11, 2023

Peace Corps Volunteer Group 93 welcomed with an ava ceremony by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture

A woman offers a ceremonial cup
U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Noriko Horiuchi welcomes new Peace Corps Trainees.

On Tuesday, July 11, Peace Corps Samoa welcomed its second group of volunteer trainees since the 2020 Global Evacuation due to COVID 19. The 11 trainees, who arrived in Samoa on Monday, were welcomed with a traditional ava ceremony hosted by the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Culture (MESC). Peace Corps Volunteers in Samoa work at the invitation of MESC to support English literacy in primary schools throughout the country. The ava ceremony was attended by the U.S. Charge d’Affaires, Noriko Horiuchi and the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Honorable Seuula Ioane.

A man in island dress presents a ceremonial cup to a woman
Peace Corps Trainee Polu received ava and thanks Ministry of Education for the warm welcome.

The Peace Corps was established by President John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961. Peace Corps is about promoting world peace and friendship around the world, about building relationships and opportunity, and strengthening bonds among nations. From the onset, Peace Corps was the aspiration of visionaries who saw how the efforts of individual people who work together to build cultural bridges and understanding could become a powerful instrument for “world Peace through friendship”.  And since that day, over 240,000 Americans have served in 142 countries around the world.

A group of men and woman try a traditional island dance
Peace Corps Trainees Group 93.

The Samoan government invited Peace Corps Volunteers to Samoa in October of 1967, nearly 56 years ago. Since then, more than 2,000 Volunteers have served in Samoa, living and working alongside their partners to catalyze positive change. This immersion in the culture and the grassroots approach to development have been essential for the success of the volunteer projects over the years. The energy, enthusiasm, and passion with which Volunteers come to service are the cornerstones of these transformational experiences.

A woman holds up a ceremonial cup
Peace Corps Samoa Country Director Gini Wilderson welcomes Peace Corps Trainees and thanks the Ministry of Education for the warm welcome.

Peace Corps’ Country Director Gini Wilderson says “Peace Corps Samoa is thrilled to welcome its second cohort of English Literacy Volunteers this year. These latest arrivals will join the group that arrived in February in addressing critical reading and writing challenges for primary school students across Samoa. We are thankful for the double input of Volunteers this year following the global evacuation of Volunteers three years ago, and look forward to reaching our pre-COVID program capacity.”

The values which propelled Peace Corps to the organization it proudly stands today – respect for other cultures, collaboration, and acceptance while celebrating diversity and nurturing equity and inclusion—are more important than ever, both at home and overseas.

The 11 Peace Corps trainees will now begin an 11-week community-based training in literacy, culture, intercultural diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility as well as the Samoan language. They will then swear-in to become Peace Corps Volunteers and disperse to their sites throughout the country to begin their two years of service, bringing the total number of Peace Corps Volunteers currently serving in Samoa to 18.