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Cablegate: Bring the Peace Corps Back to Bangladesh

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKA #0921 2670948
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 240948Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9479

UNCLAS DHAKA 000921

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS TO PEACE CORPS FROM AMBASSADOR MORIARTY TO PEACE
CORPS DIRECTOR AARON WILLIAMS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON PREL BG
SUBJECT: BRING THE PEACE CORPS BACK TO BANGLADESH

REF: DHAKA 735

SUMMARY
-------

1. Director Williams, congratulations on taking the helm at
Peace Corps, the pre-eminent people-to-people nexus of the
United States. I strongly believe the time is right to
re-open the Peace Corps program in Bangladesh. By returning
Peace Corps Volunteers to Bangladesh, the world,s fourth
most populous Muslim nation, we can best follow through on
the President,s call in Cairo for greater U.S. engagement
with the Muslim world. Through developing personal ties with
the people of Bangladesh, Peace Corps Volunteers can leverage
our existing, broad-based development programs, particularly
in the areas of education and community development. Since
the Peace Corps closed its Bangladesh program in 2006 for
prudent security reasons, we have further strengthened our
bilateral relationship. The security environment in
Bangladesh has dramatically improved, and the government has
made significant strides in its commitment and ability to
guarantee the security of USG personnel in the field.

ENGAGING THE MUSLIM WORLD
-------------------------

2. From the Prime Minister on down, Bangladeshis
enthusiastically applauded the President,s Cairo speech and
his commitment to reaching out to the Muslim World. I am
confident Bangladesh would welcome back the Peace Corps with
equal enthusiasm. By living and working with local
communities, Peace Corps Volunteers could help to build
individual personal connections and broader organic
relationships between the people of Bangladesh and the United
States. Their work could help us underscore our common
values and strong support for grassroots development in
Bangladesh. In addition, by sharing their experiences in
Bangladesh, returned volunteers could help to improve U.S.
understanding of Bangladesh and South Asia more broadly.

ADVANCING HUMAN DEVELOPMENT GOALS
---------------------------------

3. Bangladesh has earned a reputation for developing
cutting-edge grassroots development programs through
world-renowned philanthropic organizations such as Grameen
Bank. Peace Corps Volunteers could leverage existing
development programs to help communities improve health,
education, English-language skills and economic opportunity.
The United States' mission in Bangladesh is to help
strengthen democracy, promote development and deny space to
terrorists. In the coming months, we also expect to focus
increasingly on an agenda including food security, climate
change and women's empowerment. Peace Corps Volunteers could
make vital contributions on all these issues through their
work and personal example.

THE TIME IS RIGHT TO RETURN
---------------------------

4. Three years after Peace Corps closed its program in
Bangladesh, we have a much stronger bilateral relationship.
U.S.-Bangladesh security cooperation has increased and
expanded, making conditions ripe for Peace Corps' return;
country team agrees that the security situation has improved
substantially to allow for the return of Peace Corps. We
supported Bangladesh in its successful transition to
democratic government through 2008 elections. The new
government enjoys a strong mandate and has shown by word and
deed that it is implacably opposed to activities and
individuals that threaten local or global security. This is a
promising time for Bangladesh. I strongly encourage you to
seize this opportunity to reopen Peace Corps in Bangladesh.

MORIARTY

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