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U.S. Peace Corps, Education Ministry sign MoU on English education

August 14, 2018

Secretary to the Education Ministry Sunil Hettiarachchi and U.S. Peace Corps/Sri Lanka Country Director Kris Besch signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on August 9 to formalize support for English education by bringing U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers back to Sri Lanka.

Peace Corps volunteers were present in Sri Lanka from 1962 to 1998. The Peace Corps Crisis Corps, now Peace Corps Response, also assisted in recovery efforts following the 2004 tsunami, the U.S. Embassy said in a press release.

Chargé d’Affaires to Sri Lanka and Maldives Robert Hilton and Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam witnessed the signing at the Education Ministry. Chargé Hilton recalled the founding of the Peace Corps by U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and its long history of service in Sri Lanka. The current support for English teaching, he stated, would unlock the doors of opportunity for all Sri Lankans.The event was attended by leaders in the education sector, government officials, and community members.

The first 25 American Peace Corps Volunteers will arrive in Sri Lanka in late 2019 and undergo three months of comprehensive cultural, language and technical training before they are given their assignments to serve for two years. Peace Corps’ efforts in Sri Lanka will focus on English language education and supporting the Education Ministry, schools, and community groups in coordination with the Sri Lankan English Teachers’ Association. They will complement several other English teaching programs funded the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the press release stated.

In 2016, the Government of Sri Lanka invited Peace Corps to return to work and assist in furthering the country’s development goals. A new bilateral agreement to re-establish the program was signed in February 2018. The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 230,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide. For more information, visit and follow on Facebook and Twitter.