Discours: Prestation de serment de treize nouveaux Volontaires du Corps de la Paix

Allocution de S.E. Madame Lucy Tamlyn
Ambassadeur des Etats-Unis d’Amérique
A l’occasion de la prestation de serment de treize nouveaux Volontaires du Corps de la Paix
Cotonou, Résidence de l’Ambassadeur
Le Jeudi 15 Septembre 2016 à 10:00




Excellence Monsieur le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères et de la Coopération,
Excellence Monsieur le Ministre des Enseignements Secondaire, Technique et de la Formation Professionnelle,
Honorables Invités,
Mesdames et Messieurs,

C’est un réel plaisir de vous accueillir aujourd’hui dans ma résidence, à l’occasion de la cérémonie de prestation de serment des nouveaux Volontaires du Corps de la Paix, spécialisés dans l’enseignement de la langue anglaise.
Nous sommes honorés d’avoir avec nous le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, Son Excellence Monsieur Aurélien Agbenonci, et le Ministre des Enseignements Secondaire, Son Excellence Monsieur Lucien Kokou.
Votre présence témoigne de l’engagement actif de nos deux peuples en faveur du développement de ce beau pays.
Je voudrais aussi saisir cette occasion pour exprimer notre gratitude aux autorités de Lokossa, qui ont accepté d’abriter les sites de formation et d’accueillir ces Volontaires pendant 12 (douze) semaines.

Nos vibrants hommages vont également aux différentes familles d’accueil qui ont accepté les Volontaires dans leur foyer et dans leur cœur.
Je ne saurais oublier l’équipe des formateurs qui n’a ménagé aucun effort pour que les compétences requises soient assimilées par chaque stagiaire.
Une fois encore merci à tous.
Enfin, je voudrais m’adresser aux heureux du jour en Anglais.

Dear Peace Corps Volunteers,
In a few moments, you will be sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers. Congratulations! [applause] You will soon be a part of an elite number of Americans who have volunteered two years or more for the service of their country. Since 1960, when the then candidate John F. Kennedy stood on the steps on the University of Michigan’s Student Union and laid out the plan for what would later become the Peace Corps, over 220,000 Americans like you have answered the question “What can I do for my country?”
I congratulate you on completing this important first step in your mission, but want you to know that the real work begins now.
Over the course of the next two years, you will represent not only yourselves, but the United States here in Benin. With that responsibility there are certainly going to be challenges. And I would like to offer the first three challenges to you.

First, I’d like to echo Director Hessler-Radelet,: “I challenge you to choose optimism. If we are to address the world’s greatest challenges, we need to see the opportunities.”
Second, I will challenge you to make relationships a priority. One of my colleagues told me a story this week about his time in the Peace Corps. On his first day of work at his site, a man in his fifties came into the center where he was working and gave him a bear hug. Taken aback for a moment, my colleague asked, “What was that for?”
The man responded, “You are Oliver’s brother, so you are my brother! In our family we hug.”
Oliver was not his brother. He was a PCV that had been in the same town a decade before the arrival of my colleague. I say this to you because you should never underestimate the power and longevity of the relationships that you will develop here in Benin.

Finally, I will challenge you to be active. As teachers of English in the Beninese education system, you will be essential in the development of Benin, while at the same time promoting American values in your respective communities.

For some of you, you will be the first American that the people in your community will have met. You will be trail blazers in helping underprivileged Beninese achieve their goals. Peace Corps Volunteers are in reality true ambassadors to the people in the places they serve. I’d like to encourage you to think of yourselves in that way when faced with the inevitable challenges of life in an underdeveloped country such as Benin.
In addition to your role as English teachers, you will also be able to contribute in helping solve some of Benin’s biggest challenges. Gender empowerment, food security, hygiene, and basic sanitation are just some of the important issues that you will be able to tackle in your two years here.
Be assured that we, here, at the Embassy will help support you along your journey. We wish you all the best as you start this new, exciting step in your mission.

Vive les Volontaires du Corps de la Paix !
Vive la coopération entre les Etats Unis d’Amérique et le Benin !
Je vous remercie.