94th Group of Peace Corps Volunteers Welcomed in Ava Ceremony

94th Group of Peace Corps Volunteers Welcomed in Ava Ceremony

Apia, Samoa – 10 July 2024 – Fourteen (14) Americans arrived in Samoa on Monday, joining a select group of citizens who have come to Samoa to serve as US Peace Corps Volunteers.

The new Volunteers were welcomed at an Ava Ceremony at the Ministry of Education and Culture Fale by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Education and Culture Aeau Christoper Hazelman, and the U.S. Ambassador to Samoa and New Zealand Tom Udall, and the Peace Corps Country Director Gini Wilderson.

94th Group Peace Corps Ava

One of the new Peace Corp volunteers receiving her Ava Cup.

This group of Volunteers will work under a partnership with the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Culture to promote teaching and learning capacities in English Literacy.  The new volunteers, who range in age from their early 20s to their late 40s, will spend two years living and working in Samoa villages serving as English Resource Teachers in government primary schools.

“It is an honor to welcome to Samoa a fresh contingent of Peace Corps volunteers,” U.S. Ambassador Tom Udall said. “The Peace Corps celebrates 57 years in Samoa this year, having formed a deep, enduring partnership with the people of Samoa since 1967.  Peace Corps volunteers over the years have formed countless relationships with Samoan families, and I have no doubt that this new group will be just as warmly welcomed by the Samoan people as their predecessors have been.”

94th Group Peace Volunteers greeted by CEO

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Aeau Christoper Hazelman welcoming the new volunteers.

The Government of Samoa first requested the assistance of the Peace Corps in 1967.  Since then, more than 2,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Samoa providing small scale technical assistance and building cross-cultural ties.

Volunteers choose to serve in Samoa for a variety of reasons.  Some want to make a difference in students’ lives.

As one Volunteer said, “As an educator I believe that literacy is the key to the world.  My primary aspiration is to get my students excited about reading and writing.”

Another added, “I realize how important education is in the hopes of accomplishing dreams and goals in life.”

94th Group Peace Groups Volunteer Takes Ava

Acceptance and welcome for one of the new group of volunteers.

Other Volunteers are eager to learn about Samoa and building lasting bonds within their communities. “I hope to become as much a part of my community as possible, attending church, spending time with my host family and students, forming bonds with the people around me, coupling respect with friendship and hopefully [one day] earning my place as a community member myself,” said one.

The new group of Volunteers, the 94th group to have lived and worked in Samoa, will spend their first 11 weeks in a Pre-Service Training Program, which will include learning the Samoan language and culture along with technical training. The first week of the training will take place in Apia, followed by 10 weeks in a village setting. After training and cultural orientation, these volunteers will work in Samoa from September 2024 to 2026.

94th Group Peace Groups with CEO

The 94 Grouop of Volunteers with the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Education and Culture – Aeau Christoper Hazelman; the U.S. Ambassador to Samoa and New Zealand – Tom Udall and the Peace Corps Country Director Gini Wilderson after the welcome Ava Ceremony.