History of Peace Corps in Armenia
From Peace Corps Wiki
History of the Peace Corps in Armenia
The Peace Corps program in Armenia began in 1992. Since then, more than 500 Volunteers have served in Armenia. During the first years, conditions were very difficult, with no electricity or heat. The country was reeling from the aftermath of the devastating 1988 earthquake, the breakup of the Soviet Union, and a war with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave.
Today, conditions have significantly improved. There is electricity throughout the country. Yerevan, the capital, is an increasingly modern city with a European atmosphere. More restaurants, cafes, jazz clubs, and Internet cafés have opened in and around the city; and new hotels and restaurants are being built near Lake Sevan, Gyumri, and other regional cities. Still, rural poverty is pervasive, and the loss of hope among some Armenians forces many to emigrate to other countries.
After years of Soviet rule, Peace Corps Volunteers were the first Americans many Armenians had ever met. Living with the people in their communities, Volunteers have brought hope of a better future, and many have formed lifelong friendships with Armenian counterparts, friends, and neighbors.
There are now approximately 85 Volunteers serving in villages and towns throughout the country. Peace Corps is well-established in Armenia and has a strong reputation for effective grass-roots development work.