Secretary to the Education Ministry Sunil Hettiarachchi and U.S. Peace Corps/Sri Lanka Country Director Kris Besch signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on August 9 to formalize support for English education by bringing U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers back to Sri Lanka.
Peace Corps volunteers were present in Sri Lanka from 1962 to 1998. The Peace Corps Crisis Corps, now Peace Corps Response, also assisted in recovery efforts following the 2004 tsunami, the U.S. Embassy said in a press release.
Chargé d’Affaires to Sri Lanka and Maldives Robert Hilton and Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam witnessed the signing at the Education Ministry. Chargé Hilton recalled the founding of the Peace Corps by U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and its long history of service in Sri Lanka. The current support for English teaching, he stated, would unlock the doors of opportunity for all Sri Lankans.The event was attended by leaders in the education sector, government officials, and community members.
The first 25 American Peace Corps Volunteers will arrive in Sri Lanka in late 2019 and undergo three months of comprehensive cultural, language and technical training before they are given their assignments to serve for two years. Peace Corps’ efforts in Sri Lanka will focus on English language education and supporting the Education Ministry, schools, and community groups in coordination with the Sri Lankan English Teachers’ Association. They will complement several other English teaching programs funded the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the press release stated.