Ambassador Scott DeLisi’s Remarks at Peace Corps Relaunch Prime Minister’s Office, Kathmandu Nepal
January 17, 2012
Most Honorable Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, Honorable Ministers, Respected Guests and Colleagues: Namaskaar.
It is my great pleasure to be here today as we re-launch the Peace Corps Program in Nepal and greatly appreciate your warm welcome to our new Peace Corps/Nepal colleagues.
The return of the Peace Corps to Nepal is symbolic of the deep and cordial friendship between our countries. A friendship, I would add, which blossomed during the forty-two years of Peace Corps’ presence in Nepal from 1962 – 2004.
This is a friendship that extends from the very highest echelons of the Government, where many government officials warmly recall their relationship with Peace Corps teachers, to the far-flung rural villages where our Volunteers forged unforgettable bonds with the Nepali people with whom they lived, worked, ate, and socialized every day.
The strong support of this Government for the return of the Peace Corps is a reflection of that long-standing friendship and I especially want to thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for personally welcoming my Peace Corps colleagues back to Nepal. Your support and engagement send a powerful signal.
I would note as well, Mr. Prime Minister, that the Peace Corps’ re-launch comes at a critical time in Nepal’s history. The Peace Corps’ return is another demonstration of the US Government’s support for this nation’s ongoing transition to a democratic system of governance and the government’s commitment to investing in its people.
We believe that this year will witness the successful completion of the peace process and the drafting of a democratic constitution that matches the aspirations of your citizens.
We believe as well that we will see a continued commitment by the government to building a better life for the people of Nepal and that progress in addressing health and food security needs of Nepal’s people will remain a priority.
In that regard I want to emphasize that we remain committed to help, working through President Obama’s Feed the Future and Global Health Initiatives. In implementing these initiatives, USAID will partner with your government to enhance food security, ensure better nutrition for children, and promote economic growth that will improve lives all across Nepal. We are very excited that Peace Corps Nepal will be part of this effort and will complement the partnership we already enjoy with your government in the fields of health and agriculture.
In closing, Mr. Prime Minister, let me observe that my time in Nepal has shown me that our friendship has its roots in people-to-people ties. And it is also clear to me that, as much as we talk about the impact Peace Corps volunteers had in Nepal over their first 42 years here, the people of Nepal have had an equal impact on our Volunteers.
I have heard from countless former Volunteers—some who have never left Nepal—about the profoundly far-reaching and beneficial impact their time as Peace Corps volunteers in Nepal has had on their lives. They tell me that they will always remember and treasure the kindness, hospitality and thoughtfulness Nepalis showed them every day of their time here.
I wish to thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, and the members of the government for your commitment to deepening and strengthening our partnership and for helping us to bring the US government’s premier people-to-people organization, the Peace Corps, back to Nepal. I know our citizens, Nepali and American alike, will be the beneficiaries.
Thank you, and Namaste.