Old friends and new friends alike gathered at the residence of Colombian ambassador to the United States, Juan Carlos Pinzon, in Dupont Circle, Washington D.C, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Peace Corps Colombia.
Guests included returned Volunteers from both phase one (1961-1981) and phase two (2010-2015) of Peace Corps operations in Colombia, Peace Corps HQ staff, and a few friends of Colombia.
Embassy staff welcomed guests will a warm cafecito and pan de yucca before Ambassador Pinzon began with an interesting discourse on the history and current state of Colombia, thanking Peace Corps Volunteers for their contributions and continued service in the country.
Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler Radelet spoke next, offering her heartfelt appreciation to Ambassador Pinzon as well as the former Volunteers in attendance. Radelet recognizes Peace Corps Colombia as one of the earliest Peace Corps programs and praised the Group 1 Volunteers for their bravery and continued support of Colombia.
Group 1 Volunteers then presented Radelet with a copy of the bronze plaque that hangs at Rutgers University, commemorating the first group to go into training in 1961. A copy of the original plaque now hangs proudly at Peace Corps Headquarters.
There was a sense of collective comradery in the room and spirits were high as guests remembered their own experience with Peace Corps and Colombia.
United States Congressman Sam Farr was also in attendance for the 25th anniversary celebration and as a parting gift, each guest received a photography book called, “Colombia; A Country of Opportunity.”