After more than 22 years, the United States Peace Corps is to end its activities in Bulgaria.
Volunteers had a meeting at the US embassy with newly-accredited ambassador Marcie Ries on October 1 2012.
The activities of the Peace Corps programmes will wrap up in summer 2013, according to a statement on the Peace Corps’ Bulgarian website by director Michael Herrington.
Over the past two decades, the Peace Corps has been working with Bulgarian partners at local level in the areas of English language training, local and organisational development and youth development.
“We are proud to say that this co-operation was very successful thanks to the more than 1300 volunteers who lived and worked in more than 300 Bulgarian towns and villages,” Herrington said.
“In the time remaining, our programmes will continue to work with the same professionalism as before. What’s more – we will make special efforts to give the experience will find Bulgarian partners to undertake and continue our successful projects and programmes and will appropriately celebrate our shared successes.”
“Completion of the programme does not mean the end of our contacts as the most durable and strong relationships are those between volunteers and their host families, colleagues and friends. These links will be maintained over the years and will be part of our heritage,” he said.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the upcoming completion of the activities of the Peace Corps in Bulgaria, Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov said: “While today marks the end of the activities of the Peace Corps in Bulgaria, we should not be sad because it leaves behind a legacy of great value – freedom, democracy, respect and willingness to help anyone who needs it.
“More than 1300 volunteers from the Peace Corps showed us that setting an example is the best way to teach something to someone,” Mladenov said.
The successful co-operation over the past 20 years is the result of a combination of this particular legacy with the Bulgarian tradition of tolerance, openness and goodwill,Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister said. He expressed confidence that all the good practices and joint projects would continue in the future.
Mladenov presented certificates to thank the Peace Corps and all its volunteers, as well as to Herrington, for their contribution to modernising the administration and to the development of civil society in Bulgaria.
(Main photo, of volunteers in July 2010: Peace Corps)