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December 9, 2022

Peace Corps: Ambassador's remarks Swearing in ceremony

Monsieur le Secrétaire Général Adjoint du gouvernement,
Monsieur le Directeur de la Coopération Technique,
Monsieur le maire de Ngor,
Madame la Directrice Nationale du Corps de la Paix américain au Sénégal,
Chers anciens volontaires du Corps de la Paix américain,
Chers stagiaires du Corps de la Paix américain,
Honorables Invités,
Bonjour, Good Morning, Assalam Aleikoum!


Dear trainees,


I’m immensely happy and honored to be with you this morning, and to congratulate you all on the wonderful milestone we’re celebrating today.
You’ve gotten through an arduous selection process, a rigorous training period, and – for many of you – a sizeable pandemic-induced delay, and you’re now on the cusp of becoming full-fledged Peace Corps Volunteers.

I hope you’re as proud of yourselves as I am of each one of you.

And yet, despite everything you’ve accomplished up to now, I know you know that your real journey lies ahead.

As John F. Kennedy himself once said about the Peace Corps, “if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying.”

You’ve left your homes, friends, and families to have an incredible adventure, to discover new things, to share your talents, to build up the lives of others, and to serve the United States and Senegal through our nations’ longstanding traditions of service and volunteerism.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that you’re about to embark on an experience that, if you’re doing it right – and I know each one of you will do it right – will be life-changing.

You’ll be challenged in ways you can only glimpse today, and you’ll gain more from this experience than you can possibly imagine.

But when I say that your experiences will be life-changing, I don’t mean just your lives.

Because, after all, what motivated each one of you to undertake this adventure was a deep desire to bring positive change to the lives of others.

Indeed, you may never again have the scope you’ll have, over these next two years, to make so much of a difference in so many lives, while expanding your own sense of self and purpose in the process.

And when you return to the United States after your service here, you’ll change still more lives, simply by sharing your experiences of Senegal with your friends, families, and communities in the United States.

You’re the next generation of one of the largest and most successful Peace Corps programs in the world – a program that’s entrusting you with building upon six decades of dynamism and impact, and with honoring the legacy of the more than 4,000 volunteers who came to Senegal before you.

This is no small trust, and no small responsibility. But it’s nothing you can’t handle.

Indeed, the moments I’m most proud of our country and our fellow Americans are when I’m seeing Peace Corps volunteers exactly like you, and visiting your sites, hearing about your projects, and watching you thrive in your work and communities.

The intelligence, enthusiasm, dedication, humility, integrity, optimism, and good humor that I see in Peace Corps volunteers – that I see in you – represent the very best of America.

And so too does your glorious diversity.

Though I may have the title of U.S. Ambassador to Senegal, each of you, the Peace Corps Volunteers on the ground, living and working in local communities, are the truest ambassadors of the United States.

To countless people – to your Senegalese neighbors, friends, and colleagues – you’ll be the face of the United States, and perhaps the only Americans they’ll know.

Who you are, and the way you carry yourself, will determine their perceptions of our country.

This is a great responsibility, but it’s also an immense opportunity to represent your country, touch lives, impact communities, and experience this amazing country – Senegal – in a way that few Americans, including me, ever will.

And it’s also a great opportunity to have a lot of fun – responsible fun, please – along the way.

For all that, I envy you.

And as I travel the country in the days ahead, I look forward to visiting where you work and live, and to learning from your experiences and perspectives.

And now, if you are ready, it’s time to officially take the oath, and the plunge, and to embrace the adventures that await you as you formally become Peace Corps Volunteers.

In leading you in taking the Oath of Service, I’ll be reciting the standard oath, and when you repeat the oath, you’re free to make allowable adjustments if you wish. And now, please rise, raise your right hand, and repeat after me:


I, [state your name]

do solemnly swear,

that I will support and defend,

the Constitution of the United States,

against all enemies, foreign and domestic,

that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same,

that I take this obligation freely,

without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion,

and that I will well and faithfully,

discharge the duties,

of the office on which I am about to enter.

So help me God.


Congratulations Peace Corps Volunteers!

Be safe, be happy, and do great things.

Merci beaucoup à vous tous, et vive la coopération entre les peuples américains et sénégalais!  Thank you.