On August 16, 2018, Chargé d’Affaires (Acting Ambassador) Christopher J. Lamora swore in 33 Peace Corps education volunteers. These volunteers will be teaching science, maths, visual arts and special education in various schools in the rural parts of Ghana. Present at the ceremony was Ghana’s minister for Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh and Peace Corps Country Director Gordon Brown.
Volunteers in Ghana work with their communities on projects in agriculture, education, and health. During their service in Ghana, volunteers learn to speak local languages, including Dagaare, Dagbani, Dangbe, Ewe, Ghanaian Sign Language, Kasem, Mampruli, Sisali, and Twi.
Read Chargé d’Affaires Christopher Lamora’s full remarks below.
Swearing-In Ceremony for Peace Corps Education Volunteers
Remarks by Charge D’Affaires Christopher J. Lamora
Chief of Mission Residence
August 16, 2018 | 9:00 a.m.
Good morning. It’s an honor to welcome you here today, and especially to administer the swearing-in oath to this group of great Americans beginning their Peace Corps service in Ghana. I am proud to say that many members of the U.S. Mission and the U.S. Department of State have also served as Peace Corps volunteers, including our new Cultural Affairs Officer Elizabeth Ategou who
served right next door in Togo.
The 33 trainees here with us this morning have successfully completed 10 weeks of training and are now prepared to serve as Peace Corps Volunteers in the education sector. Among them, seven will teach special education and visual arts, 21 will
teach math in junior high schools, and five will teach science in senior high schools across Ghana. Among them, they’ve been trained in seven local languages, including Ghanaian sign language.
Today they join over 5,000 fellow Americans who have served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Ghana over the past 57 years, and in doing so left us all a golden legacy to strive to emulate. As we honor your predecessors in Peace Corps Ghana service, I urge you to look to their example to sustain you during the tough times. Each of those 5,000 volunteers directly impacted countless lives… not just those people they worked with directly, but also those who benefitted indirectly, via parents, friends, colleagues, neighbors, teachers, and others who multiplied the lessons gained from Peace Corps Volunteers.
So will you. Commit yourself to leaving your own positive legacy. How do you want to be remembered after you leave? Your name may well be remembered by the communities you serve decades from now, as will the impact of your work and representation of your country.
As I see you gathered here, I’m reminded of the famous photo (famous at lback in east here in Ghana) of the first Volunteers back in 1961 when they were about to board a Pan American Lockheed L-188 Electra “Clipper Peace Corps” prop-jet aircraft on their way to Ghana. Since then, the United States has consistently demonstrated our commitment to Ghana’s development. America’s sons and
daughters in the Peace Corps have been at the core of this partnership, advancing improvements in health, education, agriculture, and other areas.
Just as importantly, your PCV predecessors have cemented personal ties of friendship, mutual understanding, and goodwill by living and working in Ghanaian communities.
My Embassy colleagues and I share with you a love of the wider world beyond America’s borders, as well as the desire to help change the lives of our host countries’ citizens for the better. The advantage you all have – and what I’ve often envied in my Volunteer friends, and what I envy in you – is the closeness and personal connections your form of service by its very nature allows you to build, in ways mine doesn’t always so easily lend itself to.
Your leadership, initiative, and embodiment of American ideals – which the Ghanaians you live and interact with will see first-hand once you get out to your sites – will have a lasting impact. It’s an impact you’ve already begun to have during your Pre-Service Training, immersing yourselves in the lives of your host families, making new friends, and becoming connoisseurs of red-red, banku, and kelewele.
Working in education, you will be teaching science, math and visual arts to students in public senior and junior secondary schools and schools for the deaf. With Ghanaian teachers, you will develop teaching resource manuals; establish science resource centers, laboratories, and art studios. The Honorable Minister of Education is here because we wish to recognize the importance of your
I’m sure you’ve all studied your Peace Corps history, and you know that the first director of the Peace Corps was …Yes, Sargent Shriver, who was also President Kennedy’s brother-in-law. About 20 years ago he spoke to the graduating class at Yale University. As these students embarked on their new lives, just as you are embarking on yours, Shriver told
“I hope you remember to believe in things until you die. I hope you
remember to be guided by beliefs powerful enough to change the world. I
hope you remember the example of the Peace Corps Volunteer, the Head
Start parent, the Special Olympics athlete. They, each in their own way, are
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy hosted the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers in the White House Rose Garden before they departed for Ghana and Tanganyika, and told them:
“There are … a great many … people scattered throughout the world. You will
come in contact with only a few, but the great impression of what kind of country
we have, and what kind of people we are, will depend on their judgment … of you
… If you can impress them with your commitment to freedom, to the advancement
of the interests of people everywhere, to your pride in your country and its best
traditions and what it stands for, the influence … will go far beyond the immediate
day-to-day tasks that you may do in the months that are ahead. So I hope you
realize — I know you do — that the future of the Peace Corps really rests with
And so it does, and your country and Ghana are proud of you. Good luck, and best wishes for great success!