Ambassador Delawie’s Remarks at Peace Corps Kosovo MOU Signing

Ambassador Delawie’s Remarks at Peace Corps Kosovo MOU Signing, April 6, 2018

I’ve been impressed since almost my first day in Kosovo by the dedication and perseverance of our Peace Corps Volunteers, and perhaps most of all, by their willingness to leave what is familiar to them in the U.S., their families, friends, and coworkers, to serve in Kosovo for 27-months, to live the entire time in small villages and towns with local host families to co-teach with English teacher counterparts.

Having worked overseas as for many years, I know a little bit about how challenging living abroad can be.  But admittedly, I have never tried to live on the tiny stipend our Peace Corps Volunteers receive.  I understand that even some of their teacher here are concerned about them because of that, but they thrive, which is terrific.

This year, out of the 25 Volunteers who are completing their service, we have 4 who will extend for a third year or even fourth year.  Each of these Volunteers feel that their work is not finished.  They feel a strong commitment to Kosovo and believe there is more work to do.  Chester, who is here with us today, is one of those who has renewed his call to service and will be staying in Podujeva for third year.

Our Volunteers bring enthusiasm to teaching English. It is really fun to look at the Facebook posts that Peace Corps puts up of what the volunteers are doing all the time. It is one of my favorite things that I look for.  When they combine that enthusiasm with close collaboration with their teacher counterparts, they make what is sometimes a frustrating endeavor, fun and memorable. I’ve spent a lot of my life learning foreign languages, I know how tough it is and that the PCVs can make it interesting for the kids is a real testament to their skills.

I should say I arrived about two and a half years ago. On my first day, I said hello to the then-Kosovo President and I presented my formal credintials. I went to a raspberry festival, which is a story for another day. But the day after that, I swore in a group of Peace Corps Volunteers. It is so important to me that in my jet lagged state, I got up early in the morning to go help the PCVs conclude their training and to swear them in as new employees of the U.S. Government and the Peace Corps. That was just a thrilling experience. I could not miss this today!

Thank you all for joining us, thank you Peace Corps for supporting Kosovo because it is so important and I think every PCV that has been here over the last several years could tell you about the important work they have done, the work that you do, is for the Kosovo-U.S. relationship.

Thank you very much.