Remarks of Ambassador Richard L. Buangan on the Occasion of the Peace Corps Swearing-In Ceremony for M32 Volunteers

Remarks of Ambassador Richard L. Buangan

on the Occasion of the

Peace Corps Swearing-In Ceremony for M32 Volunteers (As prepared)

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Sky Resort, Ulaanbaatar

Thank you acting [Peace Corps] Country Director Meredith Dalton for the kind introduction.  [MFA] Director General Anand, Peace Corps Staff, honored guests, and of course, Peace Corps Volunteers and Trainees.

I am very honored to be here this morning as we swear in the newest group of Peace Corps volunteers.  These talented Americans will soon join the 23 Peace Corps volunteers currently serving in Mongolia, as well as the almost 1,500 men and women who have previously served in Peace Corps in Mongolia over the past 32 years.

I had a chance to spend some time with these new trainees last week, or as they are officially called, the M32 Group.  As you all know, Peace Corps volunteers are among the most passionate, self-driven, selfless, and courageous individuals you will ever meet.  This cohort certainly embodies those traits.  They hail from all four corners of the United States from California to Texas to North Carolina.  They are linguists, data scientists, educators, environmentalists, musicians, and business consultants.  They are also readers, hikers, mountain climbers, world travelers, and animal lovers.  They represent the wide spectrum of backgrounds, careers, and interests.  They personify the rich diversity of the United States and the multitude of talents, expertise, and knowledge that we as Americans are eager to share with the rest of the world, in the service of world peace and friendship.  We are all proud that they are here, serving alongside us in Mongolia.

Our People-to-People engagement serves as the bedrock of the U.S.-Mongolia relationship.  It is built on the belief that our two nations are strongest when our dreamers, our entrepreneurs, our teachers, and our inventors inspire and learn from each other.  As two great democracies in the Indo-Pacific, both Mongolia and the United States can serve as models for what nations can achieve, when their governments foster dialogue, exchange, and mutual understanding.

In all of my travels around Mongolia, in all of my interactions with Mongolians from all walks of life, there is not a conversation where I do not hear someone mention the Peace Corps.  Mongolians tell me the importance of the Peace Corps in Mongolia’s modern democratic journey.  I am proud that Peace Corps has been in Mongolia, has stayed in Mongolia, for most of that journey.  Even when COVID forced us to scale back and send our volunteers home, they came right back as soon as they could.  Not only are they back, they are growing again in numbers.  And I am confident that within the next few years, you will see them all over Mongolia’s aimags and soums as they were before COVID.  And they will continue to play the important role of volunteering in Mongolia’s schools and communities.

To our Mongolian government friends, thank you for all that you have done to welcome Peace Corps back.  Thank you for your help to ensure that these volunteers are fully engaged and integrated into your communities, here in Ulaanbaatar and soon throughout Mongolia.  And thank you for your partnership in continuing this proud tradition of Peace Corps volunteers serving the people of Mongolia.

To the M32 Group, I want to be among the first to welcome you to the Peace Corps family.  We welcome the role that you will all play in growing the U.S. – Mongolia friendship to make it meaningful for all Mongolians.  You are now among the ranks of thousands of volunteers who have touched the lives of Mongolians and strengthened the democracy and economic resiliency of this country.  The United States government is proud to see you off today, knowing that you will represent your country in even the smallest of towns and villages throughout Mongolia.  Know that you carry the pride of a grateful nation and the dreams of future Americans who will someday follow in your footsteps.

And remember that you will represent all Americans.  In addition to the prestigious title of Peace Corps Volunteer, as educators, you now carry the added role of models and mentors to your students and to everyone you will meet in your service as a volunteer.

Thank you again for this opportunity to address you and join in your celebration today.  Good luck, safe travels, and congratulations on opening a new chapter of your lives – one that will undoubtedly be filled with much adventure and success.