Good morning. I can’t think of any place that I’d rather be than here today with you for this swearing-in ceremony.
Minister Bensaid, thank you for coming and thank you for your extraordinary partnership.
Thank you to the Wali, Khatib El Hebil, for the gracious hospitality you have shown to the Peace Corps Trainees.
I am also thrilled that Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn is here today. Director Spahn, your team here in Morocco is truly exceptional.
As you know, Morocco now has the largest group of Peace Corps Volunteers anywhere in the world. And that is a direct result of the team’s exemplary work and the trust and friendship they have built with Moroccan communities over the last 60 years.
And, now, to the Trainees. Lena tells me that this is one of the most committed and impressive groups of Volunteers that Peace Corps Morocco has received.
I want to thank all 64 of you for making the bold decision to volunteer and immerse yourselves in a local community for the next two years.
I want to give a special mention to the Trainees who spoke just before me, delivering remarks in Darija – Mabrook! I see that you have been taking your language classes very seriously. In fact, Lena told me that the entire group has high language scores.
I want to talk to you today about friendship. Morocco is America’s
oldest friend, and this is a relationship that we cherish. All of us here today are incredibly fortunate to be standing on the shoulders of generations of Moroccans and Americans who have forged this deep and special friendship over the past 247 years.
In those two and half centuries, we have signed treaties, we have deepened the ties of trade and
commerce, we have worked together to advance peace and security. All of those things are important, but perhaps the most lasting impact has come through the deep personal bonds created between ordinary Americans and Moroccans. You are literally the embodiment of those people-to-people ties.
This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Peace Corps coming to Morocco.
The Kingdom was one of the first countries to accept Volunteers in
1963, just two years after President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961.
Since then, more than 240,000 U.S. citizens have served as Peace Corps Volunteers across the globe. Over 5,000 have had the privilege of serving in Morocco.
After nine and a half weeks of intensive preparation, you are now ready to join their ranks. You will work alongside our Moroccan friends as we search for solutions to some of the most pressing challenges at the local and global levels.
Many Moroccans who interact with you will have never met an American before. As you establish relationships, one by one, you will cross cultural barriers and forge new bonds of friendship between our two countries.
Each of you will be Ambassadors over the next two years.
Many of you will be working with youth in the rural communities that host you. Young people comprise 30% of Morocco’s population, and they represent Morocco’s future. You will work with them as they deal with challenges we all share: the climate crisis, the demands of the knowledge economy, and the ever growing need for more jobs.
Through you work in the “Dar Shabab,” you will help young people in your host communities develop life skills so they can thrive.
But this won’t be a one-way street, I know that you too will benefit from your interactions with your new Moroccan friends, with their families, and with the wider community.
And I trust that you will come away with a set of skills that will help you achieve your own personal and career goals.
I predict that many of you are now embarking on a lifetime of service. You may become teachers, medical professionals, development workers, elected officials, and maybe even diplomats.
We currently have 5 former Peace Corps Volunteers working at the
Embassy and Consulate here in Morocco, including several who were Volunteers here in Morocco. For Mission Morocco, it’s a family affair.
I congratulate you on completing your pre-service training. You are extraordinary Americans who are giving your time and your talents while far from home. I am confident that you will leave a legacy that will shape many lives, including your own, for years to come.
Before administering the oath to you, I want to read from a letter written by America’s first President George
Washington to Sultan Mohammed III on December 1st, 1789: “this young Nation (referring to the United States), just recovering from the waste and desolation of a long war, have not, as yet, had time to acquire riches by agriculture and commerce. But our soil is bountiful, and our people industrious; and we have reason to flatter ourselves, that we shall gradually become useful to our Friends.”
I have no doubt that each and every one of you will become “useful to our friends” over the next two years. Now, let us administer the oath.
Please raise your right hand and repeat after me:
· I, (first, last name)
· do solemnly swear
· that I will support and defend
· the Constitution of the United States
· against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
· that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
· that I take this obligation freely
· without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;
· and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office
· on which I am about to enter.
· [So help me God.]