CHARGE D’AFFAIRES URBAN: Thank you. To our Ukrainian government colleagues, our Ukrainian Peace Corps representatives, host families and especially to our soon-to-be Volunteers, I wish you good morning on this happy occasion.
If I may start on a personal note: I was never a Peace Corps Volunteer, but I’m married to one. So if I get emotional today, you’ll understand why. And my Volunteer sends you his best regards from New York.
Well, I’m very pleased to be with you today as we celebrate the formal resumption of Peace Corps in Ukraine. You are the first group of volunteers to arrive since the suspension following the Revolution of Dignity. You are a symbol of hope to Ukrainians and Americans alike.
The Peace Corps has returned to Ukraine thanks in great part to the strong support of the new Ukrainian government, and for that I would like to express the sincere appreciation of my government.
I would also like to recognize the Ukrainian organizers and families who host our Volunteers. Thank you for opening your hearts and your homes to the very special experience of working with our Peace Corps Volunteers.
You know, we often say, “the more you give, the more you receive.” And I’m confident that this will be true with the fine group of Americans that you see before you. They represent the very best of America – and they are eager to offer their talents and their energies for the benefit of Ukraine.
And let me turn now to you – our Peace Corps Volunteers. You’re about to embark on what will surely be a marvelous journey.
You follow in the steps of over 2,500 Volunteers who have served over the years in small villages and large cities throughout Ukraine. You will be, as they were, a link between the people of Ukraine and the people of the United States. You’re going to help build the bridges of friendship and understanding that are so important in today’s world.
As Peace Corps Volunteers, you represent the United States government, of course. But more importantly, you represent the people of the United States. You are our citizen diplomats, living and working with Ukrainians from all walks of life and in all parts of this vast and varied country.
I sincerely hope that during my time here in Ukraine I will get the chance to visit at least some of you at your sites.
In the meantime, I wish you every success and happiness. I have no doubt you’re soon going to feel very much at home in this wonderful country. Thank you.