Good morning! It is a great pleasure to have you join us here today for this special ceremony that commemorates the return to service of a dedicated Volunteer and marks the first of many to come as Peace Corps prepares to bring more groups of new Volunteers over the coming months and years.
To our soon-to-be reinstated Peace Corps Volunteer, Crissy Hendrickson, I wish you a warm welcome back to Namibia, and want to thank you for your dedication and commitment to completing your service.
The U.S.-Namibia relationship is strong and diverse, and it is built upon people-to-people connections. Peace Corps is a special part of the overall U.S. presence in Namibia, and in many ways, a cornerstone of our friendship.
After the U.S. recognized Namibia’s independence in 1990, a memorandum was signed in March, 1990 by Minister Angula so that Peace Corps Volunteers could assist in Namibia’s development. Today, more than 1,800 Volunteers have honored that commitment.
By pledging to re-dedicate yourself to helping your fellow human beings, you embody the very best American values. You will continue to work alongside Namibians not just as equals, but as a sincere member of their community. By modeling American values of equality and respect, you will represent the bright future of the U.S.-Namibia partnership.
For many Namibians, you may be one of the only direct connections they have with the United States of America. By representing our ideals, you will inspire them. By authentically opening yourself to their world, they will enrich yours.
Your experiences and your insights will be different from other Americans. As you re-engage in your service it is important to reflect on the significance of the perspective that you will gain as you deepen your understanding of the language, eat the same food, take the same transportation, and ‘go deep’ to integrate and help improve the lives of your neighbors.
In your role as an education volunteer, you will help the younger generation of Namibians to become entrepreneurs, business leaders, scientists, doctors, nurses, community health workers, and more.
But all that you will do, and all that you will achieve, begins with the friendship and welcome extended by Namibians. On behalf of the United States, I extend gratitude and thanks to the Namibian people who have opened their arms to welcome our volunteers and have enabled our collective friendship to grow through the exchange.
And for you, Crissy Hendrickson, the first of many who will commence service here in Namibia over the coming months, I appreciate the work that you will soon resume, and I admire the risks you accept in your service. I commend you, in advance, for the lasting imprint you will have on the lives of so many Namibians and the important role that you will play in re-building the vibrant Peace Corps program here in Namibia.
I trust that you are ready for the challenge ahead, and it is now time to take the Pledge of Service. Please stand, raise your right hand, and repeat after me:
Peace Corps Pledge of Service
I _[state your name]__ promise to serve alongside the people of Namibia.
I promise to share my culture with an open heart and open mind.
I promise to foster an understanding of the people of Namibia, with creativity, cultural sensitivity, and respect.
I will face the challenges of service with patience, humility, and determination.
I will embrace the mission of world peace and friendship for as long as I serve and beyond.
In the proud tradition of Peace Corps’ legacy, and in the spirit of the Peace Corps family past, present, and future…… I am a Peace Corps Volunteer.