MSU Texas graduate among first Peace Corps volunteers in Sri Lanka in 26 years

MSU Texas alumni success

MSU Texas graduate among first Peace Corps volunteers in Sri Lanka in 26 years

Midwestern State University alumnus Ethan Allen was recently sworn in as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sri Lanka. He will be one of 20 volunteers who will be the first group to serve in that country since 1998.

Allen graduated from MSU Texas in 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in political science.

“I was interested in applying to join the Peace Corps throughout university,” Allen said. “About a week after I graduated, I applied, and to my surprise, I was accepted a month later. My adviser was very supportive in helping me apply, and this perhaps reinforced that I would want to join.”

Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn traveled to Sri Lanka to officiate the historic swearing-in ceremony, engage in high-level meetings aimed at strengthening partnerships and expanding collaboration, and meet with Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

“Today marks the start of a new chapter in a longstanding friendship shared between the Peace Corps and the wonderful people of Sri Lanka,” Spahn said. “I am grateful to our staff, host communities, and volunteers for answering the call to serve in the spirit of peace and understanding, for opening their hearts and homes, and for embracing the opportunity to stretch beyond their comfort zones. It is our hope that the opportunity to learn and grow together will build bridges of connection that last a lifetime.”

Allen said he was looking forward to becoming a member of the local community in Sri Lanka. “The people of Sri Lanka are extremely hospitable and treat you like you have been a part of the family the whole time, even though they barely know you. I am looking to explore Sri Lanka when I can, to learn more about the country, and share my experiences back home. I hope to become a better teacher and friend of the community through my two years of service.”

Since the Peace Corps departed from Sri Lanka in 1998, Sri Lankan ministers, local administrators, and teachers have emphasized the great demand for English language education as a means of accessing economic, educational, and cross-cultural opportunities that benefit youth, families, and communities across the country. Through their advocacy and partnership, the government of Sri Lanka invited the Peace Corps to return to the country in 2016. Peace Corps subsequently reestablished operations in the country in 2018 and formalized the development of the English education sector that same year. Today’s volunteers represent the latest evolution in the agency’s commitment to Sri Lanka and meeting their development priorities. These volunteers join the more than 500 U.S. citizens who have served as volunteers in Sri Lanka since 1962.

This volunteer cohort arrived in Sri Lanka in December 2023 to complete a comprehensive cross-cultural, language, and technical training program to prepare them in understanding the country’s education system. The volunteers will co-teach with and support their Sri Lankan counterparts in Tamil and Sinhala schools across the country for two years.

ABOUT THE PEACE CORPS:

The Peace Corps is an international service network of volunteers, community members, host country partners and staff driven by the agency’s mission of world peace and friendship. At the invitation of governments around the world, Peace Corps volunteers work alongside community members on locally prioritized projects in the areas of education, health, environment, agriculture, community economic development, and youth development. Through service, members of the Peace Corps network develop transferable skills and hone intercultural competencies that position them to be the next generation of global leaders. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Volunteers have served in 144 countries worldwide. For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Peace Corps invites U.S. citizens from all backgrounds who embody the spirit of service and cross-cultural understanding to become volunteers. Interested individuals are encouraged to apply online to take the first step towards a life-changing experience in contributing to global peace and friendship. Visit PeaceCorps.gov/Bold to learn more about Peace Corps Volunteer service and how volunteers connect with immersive experiences in over 60 countries.

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