Press Room

Cultural Merit Order awarded to Peace Corps Romania

Press release

On 30 November 2011, Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi has bestowed, on behalf of Romania’s President Traian Basescu, the Cultural Merit Order in the rank of commander to the Peace Corps governmental agency of the US, in token of recognition and appreciation of the work American volunteers have done for 20 years in Romania.

The ceremony at the MFA headquarters was attended by the US Ambassador to Bucharest, Mark Gitenstein, and by Peace Corps country director Sheila Crowley, by the organization’s staff and representatives of the volunteers working in this country.

The head of the Romanian diplomacy thanked the country director for the sustained activity conducted in the service of disadvantaged communities in Romania, underscoring at the same time the agency’s direct contribution to developing human contacts and consolidating Romania’s friendship relations with the USA, also by facilitating closer cultural ties.

Minister Baconschi commended the group of volunteers for their support and dedication to the programmes conducted in Romania, insisting notably on the projects completed in the rural area of Romania. “In the last 20 years, the dedicated work of over 1000 Peace Corps volunteers has significantly and specifically improved the life of many disadvantaged communities in Romania. The Peace Corps team has not only helped promote peace and friendship in the world but, most importantly, has helped people in need, while also conveying a lesson of generosity,” said Minister Teodor Baconschi.

Since 1991, when the first Peace Corps volunteers arrived in Romania, this country has covered a long way in order to be what it is today: a state with a solid democratic foundation, strongly and irreversibly attached to the values and principles of freedom, rule of law, observance of human rights, a proud and respected member of the European Union and of NATO. You have witnessed these achievements and contributed to them, and we realize the time has come for other disadvantaged communities in the world to benefit, in the years to come, by the generous support of Peace Corps volunteers,” the Romanian Foreign Minister added.

In his address, US Ambassador Mark Gitenstein spoke of how attached the Peace Corps volunteers are to Romania, showing that the award stands for acknowledgement of the commitment of the United States to Romania and other countries throughout the world. The US official also spoke of his own Romanian roots and his love for Romania, shared by all Peace Corps volunteers he has met.

Peace Corps country director Sheila Crowley thanked the President of Romania and the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the recognition of the organization’s contribution to the development of Romania, mentioning that the Peace Corps encourages civic commitment and responsibility. She also spoke of the success recorded in each county of Romania where the volunteers worked in the last two decades.


Currently in Romania there are 80 volunteers working in 31 counties, the latest group having joined the Peace Corps in 2011. This year, the activity of Peace Corps Romania has focused on teaching English as a foreign language.

2011 is marked by two anniversaries – 50 years since the Peace Corps came into being and 20 years since it first came to Romania; it is, moreover, the European Year of Volunteering. Peace Corps programmes in Romania will end in mid-2013.

Sheila Crowley took over as country director in February 2010.

For further info about the work of Peace Corps Romania, go to .

The Cultural Merit Order rewards special talent and services to culture, the arts, science, and promotion of charitable spirit by individuals or public institutions and cultural establishments, through creative and social work having a national impact.