Remarks on the Occasion of the Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers by The Honorable Kendrick Meek, U.S. Public Delegate to the UN, General Assembly Hall, December 5, 2011

The Honorable Kendrick Meek, U.S. Public Delegate to the UN
New York, NY
December 5, 2011



Thank you Madame President, Members of the General Assembly.


Let me begin by thanking all volunteers worldwide for their service.  In particular United Nations Volunteers deserves our gratitude and recognition as one of the few international organizations that sends volunteers to work in some of the most dangerous situations in the world.  Today, as Host Country, the United States pays special tribute to those UN volunteers who have lost their lives helping others.  They touched many lives and made them better.


UN Volunteers plays an important role in the international development community.  UN volunteers’ experience, enthusiasm, and professionalism are indispensible to the UN’s humanitarian, peacekeeping, and development operations throughout the world.  Their contributions far exceed what one would expect from their organization’s size – and 80% of UN Volunteers come from developing countries. Thank you to all who serve.


I’d like to take this opportunity to express our government’s gratitude also to American volunteers, who exemplify the quintessential American idea that we can change things, make things better, and solve problems when we work together. Today Americans are volunteering in great numbers, as we always have throughout the history of our nation.  In 2010, over 62 million American adults volunteered, donating over eight billion hours serving those in need.  Thank you for your hard work!


Today, the United States is not only the largest provider of development assistance dollars, but also the largest donor of voluntary development services through both citizens’ organizations and government agencies.  We are proud to say that this past September, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the United States Peace Corps, which has sent more than 200,000 Americans to 139 countries. Peace Corps volunteers have provided a wide-range of development services and have forged lasting bonds with the people in these countries.


Mr. President, the United States is grateful to all the volunteers now and in the past who have given their time and energy to improve the world.  We are a far better world community today because of their selfless service.


Thank you, Madame President.


PRN: 2011/305