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Tuesday April 17, 2012

History of Peace Corp in photos

KAREN Palko came to Malaysia in 1979 under the Peace Corps programme to work in a drug rehabilitation centre in Bukit Mertajam, Penang. She fell in love with her Malaysian family, the food and the people, and stayed on till today.

“I love the people and I love teaching — so here I am,’’ said Palko, who is currently teaching at the Kuala Lumpur International School.

“There are massive changes in terms of the landscape in KL since I first came in 1969 said Peace Corp volunteer John Stupka. He was under Group 18 Industrial Arts section.

The 70-year-old who witnessed the May 13 riot in 1969, said the country has seen many changes and yet the friendliness of the people remained the same.

Educational: Nong Chik (right) and Jones (left) viewing the photo exhibits.

The former Peace Corp volunteers were present at the launch of a photo exhibition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps Malaysia which is being held at the KL City Library.

The exhibition is being held for two weeks beginning April 13.

Themed “Enduring Bond”, the exhibition tells of the extraordinary story of the US Peace Corps in Malaysia which began 50 years ago, when a group of 36 Americans arrived in KL to help develop Malaysia and to build and foster goodwill.

At the opening ceremony, United States Ambasaddor to Malaysia, Paul W. Jones said: “American Peace Corps volunteers were proud to play a small part in the great story of Malaysia’s early development. In thousands of communities across Malaysia, an encounter between two worlds became a meeting of minds, ideas, and connections that reached across cultural and linguistic barriers.’’

Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, who launched the exhibition, said the first batch of Peace Corps volunteers first came to our country, then Malaya, in 1962.

Fond memories: (From left) Palko, Stupka and Joanne Prescott who was a science teacher in Sekolah Tun Fatimah in 1962 at the exhibition.

“They shared their generosity, creativity and skills in many ways that have changed lives and deepened understanding across cultures.

“The services rendered by Peace Corps over the years had helped lay the foundation for countless individuals in Malaysia, and around the world to pursue their dreams and live up to their potential,’’ said Nong Chik.

The special photo exhibition will tour several major towns and cities in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak for the rest of the year.

After KL, the exhibition will be at the following locations:

— Lincoln Corner Kedah at the Kedah State Public Library Corporation

— Lincoln Corner Penang, Seberang Jaya/Penang Public Library

— George Town Festival

— Lincoln Corner Penang, George Town/George Branch Library

— Lincoln Corner Malacca/Malacca State Public Library Corporation

— Lincoln Corner Johor/ Sultan Ismail Library

— Lincoln Corner Kelantan/ Kelantan State Public Library Corporation

— And other locations in Pahang, Terengganu and Johor

For details, visit malaysia.usembassy.gov/pcv_photoexhibit.html

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