A 96-member delegation of former U.S. Peace Corps volunteers enjoyed a reunion gathering in Korea (October 25-31), which provided an opportunity for them to relive memorable experiences of their volunteer activities, and for Korea to express its gratitude for their valuable contributions to the country’s modernization. Friends of Korea
The recent visit of former U.S. Peace Corps members was arranged in conjunction with Friends of Korea, an organization that strives to promote Korea-U.S. friendship and cooperation. In December 2007, this group made known its interest in organizing a reunion program for former volunteers who had been dispatched to Korea in the 1960s and 1970s. Then, in April 2008, as part of a presentation at the Korea Society in New York City, President Lee Myungbak announced his administration’s intention to support reunion visits for such members of the U.S. Peace Corps. In addition, Friends of Korea has recently published a “Through Our Eyes: Peace Corps in Korea (1966-1981)” book, which includes personal accounts and photos of the volunteers who served in Korea, some 40 years ago.
Over the years, some 2,000 U.S. Peace Corps members have been assigned to Korea, where they worked in such fields as English-language education, public health care, and occupational training. Following a pilot program in October 2008, in which an initial 56-member group visited Korea, the Korea Foundation is now implementing this invitation program in full scale through 2013, so that all such U.S. Peace Corps members can have a chance to revisit Korea under this program.
At a dinner hosted by the Korea Foundation for its special guests, Mr. William B. McCloy (Korean name: Ma Wiryong), made the following remarks to express the appreciation and thoughts of the visiting delegation.