Remarks by Ambassador-Designate William A. Heidt at the Swearing-in of the Ninth Cohort of Peace Corps Volunteers

(As Prepared for Delivery)
U.S. Embassy, Phnom Penh
September 25, 2015

Excellency IM Koch, Excellency Dr. Or Vandine, Mr. Mok Sarom, Peace Corps Volunteers and staff, distinguished guests and most importantly the Peace Corps trainees, welcome to the swearing-in ceremony for the 9th cohort of Peace Corps Volunteers in Cambodia. Thank you all for coming. Today, we have the honor of witnessing 64 fine American men and women answer the call to serve.

I am particularly excited to be a part of today’s events since arriving in Cambodia just last weekend. Peace Corps represents the great people to people connections we have between our two countries. And I look forward to traveling around the country to get to know our volunteers and the communities they are living and working in.

Khnyom sabaay dzet nah dial baan dzoelrheum knong gamwhiti tenghai nih.

Bontoap pi ruup knyom, derp baan mao dol proteh Kampuchea gal pi ahtit mun. Ongka Peace Corps domnang aoey gah psah pczhoap khnia yang lahoh brohsah rowieng procziaczun nay proteh taeng pih.

Khnyom nung twer domnael dzomwin proteh dambei baan skoal niech smah dzet mouy dzomnuon gaw doich dzia sahahgum dial pouk gey kompong snah nul bompeng gahnia.

As Peace Corps Volunteers, you are a joining a very select group of approximately 220,000 United States citizens who have served since U.S. President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, and you follow in the footsteps of over 400 volunteers who have served in Cambodia since 2006.

You will be the real face of America – perhaps, the only Americans that many Cambodians will ever know. In establishing relationships, one by one, through your willingness to serve, eagerness to learn, desire to share, belief in change, and abundant enthusiasm, you help Peace Corps continue to be one of our best ways of building strong relations with Cambodia and the Cambodian people. As the Cambodians learn from you, you will also learn from them, especially the families you are placed with.

The enduring legacy of Peace Corps is also evident in the U.S. Embassy, where many of my colleagues are former volunteers, having served in places like Moldova, Zambia, Morocco, China, Thailand, and Cote d’Ivoire. They have now come to Cambodia to serve in new ways of extending our relationship.

I would like to recognize the hard work of the Peace Corps staff for their dedication in seeing this training through to such a successful conclusion. I would like to thank the Kandal authorities and their communities for hosting the trainees and supporting Peace Corps efforts. Finally, I would like to thank the newest members of our Peace Corps family for your service. I congratulate you on successfully completing your training and on the great adventure that awaits you.