Programs & Events
U.S. and Malaysian VIPs and Guests Celebrate Peace Corps Malaysia's 50th Anniversary Photo Exhibit at Lincoln Corner Melaka
On July 12, U.S. Embassy Counselor for Management Eric Khant and the Malacca State Public Library Board Deputy Chairman Datuk Haji Mustazah bin Osman jointly launched the official opening of the travelling Peace Corps Photo Exhibit at the Lincoln Corner in Melaka. An audience of about 100 people, including former U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Professor (of physics) Steve Mellema, his wife Shirley, English Language Teaching Assistant Yinshi Lerman-Tan, state government officials, other Malaysian teachers, students, librarians, journalists, and members of the public attended the event.
In his remarks, Management Counselor Eric Khant recounted a significant passage in the history of U.S.-Malaysia friendships, augmented by the Peace Corps program. The program began in 1962 when 36 Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) “landed in Kuala Lumpur on a warm, humid January afternoon” and were later joined by thousands of other PCVs and served in many fields, especially in education, agriculture, health and social welfare. He emphasized that the spirit of the Peace Corps continues today in the form of the ETA program, where about 50 young American volunteers are working with their Malaysian counterparts in rural schools in Terengganu, Pahang, and Johor, enhancing English language skills of students and sharing ideas and culture of both American and Malaysian societies.
Datuk Haji Mustazah, the Deputy Chairman of the Malacca Library Board praised the Peace Corps and the ETA programs, pointing out to the audience the many ways in which Malaysia grew during its formative years with the help of the Peace Corps program and cherished the enduring friendships Malaysians made with the volunteers. He said both countries need to learn from each other and he was glad his state had the opportunity to house a Lincoln Corner and to showcase the Peace Corps exhibit, among other joint programs with the U.S. Embassy.
A brief multimedia presentation followed the remarks and showcased historic photographs of American peace corps volunteers consulting with Malaysians, teaching in local, rural classrooms, and celebrating camaraderie at social get-togethers. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony by the U.S. and Malaysian VIPs , another highlight of the day’s celebrations, Professor Steve Mellema delivered remarks in impeccable Malay, reminiscing his early Peace Corps days in Malaysia, and making enduring bonds with both the country and its citizens. His love for Malaysia has brought him back to Malaysia in 2012 to work at the Science University (USM) in Penang.
At the press availability that ensued, Counselor for Management Eric Khant, Malacca State Public Library Board Deputy Chairman Datuk Haji Mustazah, Malacca Public Library Director Aizammuddy Idris, former PCV Professor Steve Mellema, Lincoln Resource Center Director Gerard George, and ETA Yinshi Lerman-Tan answered questions on the Peace Corps photo exhibit and the Peace Corps and ETA Programs, and the Lincoln Corner and its related services and programs for the public.
The day’s celebration included guided tours of the Lincoln Corner for members of the public. Press assistant and webmaster Hisham Selamat, Lincoln Resource Center librarian Nurhajariah Matrang and ETA Yinshi Lerman-Tan organized special guided tours of the Lincoln Corner for guests who attended the Peace Corps Photo Exhibit launch. Chief among these were SK Kesang school children and teachers who travelled from Muar, Johor, to attend the event at Lincoln Corner Malacca. According to Yinshi, the children exclaimed in excitement when they were told they would be taken to a special photo exhibit launch from “America Syarikat” (United States of America).
- Read the opening speech by U.S. Embassy Counselor for Management Eric Khant.