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Ambassador Speeches

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Robert J. Callahan at Peace Corps Volunteers Swearing In Ceremony

Apr 14, 2009

delivered in both English and Spanish

Gracias a todos por estar aquí para la juramentación de nuestros 20 voluntarios más recientes en el sector de salud.

Estos hombres y mujeres muy pronto unirán sus esfuerzos a los de los miembros de las comunidades en las que trabajarán para promover tres importantes metas de la salud comunitaria: promover conductas sexuales mas saludables en la población adolescente y adulta; reducir embarazos no deseados en la población adolescente; y contribuir a la reducción de los índices de mortalidad-morbilidad materna infantil.

Estas son metas que comparten el Cuerpo de Paz y el Ministerio de Salud.

El Cuerpo de Paz verdaderamente representa lo mejor del pueblo de los Estados Unidos. En el Cuerpo de Paz brillan los pilares fundamentales de nuestra sociedad, tales como la buena voluntad, las mentes abiertas, y la voluntad de servicio.

Desde su inicio hace 48 años, el Cuerpo de Paz ha prestado servicio en 139 países, promoviendo ideales de cooperación, compartiendo conocimiento, y sembrando la semilla de la paz entre los pueblos.

El Cuerpo de Paz ha estado en Nicaragua 28 años en total, en los que ha podido apreciar que las comunidades nicaragüenses son de las más cálidas, trabajadoras, generosas, y amistosas.

Los Voluntarios no llevan consigo dinero o recursos materiales, sino el deseo de compartir sus conocimientos técnicos, sus experiencias, y su amistad para apoyar los esfuerzos de desarrollo de las comunidades. Y para ese fin están dispuestos a vivir dentro de las mismas condiciones de sus futuros amigos, vecinos, y colegas.
Y ahora, permítanme dirigir unas palabras en inglés a los que dentro de poco serán nuevos Voluntarios del Cuerpo de Paz para Nicaragua.

You are given a mighty charge filled with expectations and responsibilities. You are here today, ready to go to your sites, and that alone shows us that you are capable of meeting those challenges and, more importantly, ready to make changes in the world around you.

As you get settled in your new communities and meet the people, demonstrate to them our friendliness and commitment, tell them of your homes, families and friends in America, and share with them your lives.

With the efforts that you begin today, you take a step on a path traveled by many before you.  It is the path marked by great works, good deeds, and noble hearts. It is the path towards an ever-stronger relationship between the peoples of the United States and Nicaragua.
In fact, in many ways you have a real opportunity to create a greater impression through your one-on-one contacts with the people than we in the embassy do. You have the chance to make friends, learn the culture, and understand the people in a way, and to a degree, that we cannot.

If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be never to miss an opportunity to dance, to sing, and to share with those in your community. This is the best – the most effective -- form of diplomacy, and the most personally gratifying.

Also keep in mind that the wonder of the Peace Corps is not only that your efforts will help these communities, but that this experience will also help you. You will refine your abilities, perfect a foreign language, meet new friends, and, in the process, come to know and test yourself as few of your contemporaries will.

Now, I will end with the words of President John F. Kennedy, who believed implicitly that organizations such as the Peace Corps would lead the way to international understanding and peace.

He said: “Let us take that first step. And if that journey is a thousand miles, or even more, let history record that we in this land at this time, took the first step."

I congratulate you and wish you great success in your endeavors.  It is an honor for me now to administer the oath.

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