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U.N. Sets Day to Celebrate Work of 20,000 Volunteers

December 6, 1986

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ The first International Volunteer Day was celebrated here Friday in honor of about 20,000 volunteers who work in developing countries.

As part of the program, Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar met with the leaders of three volunteer organizations - Loret Ruppe of the U.S. Peace Corps, Hikmat Nabulsi of the U.N. Volunteers and William McNeil of Canada’s World University Service.

The Peace Corps is the largest of the programs with 5,600 volunteers in the field. The U.N. organization has 1,200 and the Canadian group 1,000.

Perez de Cuellar issued a statement praising ″that spontaneous and unselfish urge to better the human condition which is manifested in the actions of volunteers and volunteer organizations in diverse societies.″

Mrs. Ruppe told reporters that a significant new development in volunteerism is cooperation among the sending agencies and host countries.

She pointed to a conference last month in Lesotho attended by 18 volunteer agencies and representatives of 50 developing countries who host volunteers.

The meeting produced a declaration calling for an increase in the number of U.N. volunteers to 2,500 by 1989 and asking the U.N. Volunteer program to consult with other sending agencies and draw up a code of standards for international volunteer service.

Nabulsi said an important aspect of th U.N. program is that 85 percent of the volunteers are from developing countries while all the other sending groups draw volunteers from the industrialized nations.

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