On Monday September 21, 2015, Secretary Kalwin Kephas of the FSM Department of Education represented President Peter M. Christian in a swear-in ceremony of new peace corp. volunteers, under its response program.
At the outset of his remark, Secretary Kephas thanked US Ambassador Doria Rosen and Peace Corp-Micronesia Director Robert Reid for the invitation extended for the FSM to participate in the ceremony. He welcomed the volunteers and congratulated them for their selection to be part of a program that represents America’s fundamental values and ideals, and has its roots in the promotion of world peace and friendship.
The Secretary touched on the legacy of the program and its significant contribution to the global growth and prosperity of the United States and its peoples. A global growth that he stated is represented by the more than 200,000 Americans who have served in the program in over 140 countries. Noting the areas of assignment of the volunteers, Secretary Kephas confirmed the importance of the targeted sector areas to the FSM.
He stated that aid coordination is needed to ensure harmonization and streamlining of assistance; that information technology to support educational institutions is critical for effective and efficient information sharing and dissemination; that the role of the civil society in complimenting set development priorities is an indispensible part of economic growth for any country, including the FSM; that effective gathering of statistical data in the heath sector is needed to develop evidence-based decisions and policies. Lastly, the Secretary affirmed environmental health as an area that is also of importance to the FSM.
Working alongside people of the FSM, he encouraged the volunteers to have a rewarding and enriching experience on their respective tours. The Secretary also affirmed his desire and hope for the continued participation of the national government in such ceremonies as it provides an excellent opportunity for both parties (FSM and US) to acknowledge and highlight the people-to-people element of the partnership between the two countries. This, he affirmed, is very important and is a core pillar of the special friendship. He ended his remark by thanking the volunteers for their kind service.
The volunteers and their areas of assignments are as follow: Marshall Ferrin (Specialists in Aid Coordination, Pohnpei), Eric Muehling (Educational Website Support, Kosrae), Michelle Budwitz (Chuuk Women’s Council, Chuuk), Ronald Armstrong (Health Data, Yap) and Charles Pinkus (Environmental Health, Palau).