Peace Corps volunteers with small business development, information technology and scientific skills may begin serving in Mexico as early as July, Barbara Daly, a spokesperson for the government agency, told GlobalFax from Washington.

“The exact details of the projects and their specific locations have yet to be determined,” she said during a telephone interview.

But even though final arrangements are still being worked out, Mexico?s decision to let the volunteers in for the first time marks an important development in the countries? relationship, she added.

“The warming of relations promises to bring future commercial and social interaction,” said Jose Puente, the president of the Mexican American Business Chamber in Atlanta. He is also CEO of Atlanta-based Avenida America Inc., a multimedia communications company. “It also underscores the desire by the two countries to work together.”

Established in 1962 by President Kennedy, the Peace Corps operates in 69 countries. The paid volunteers, who commit for two years, work in the areas of education, HIV/AIDS awareness, training in information technology and business development.

Under an agreement with Mexico?s National Council on Science and Technology, the volunteers admitted to Mexico are to have technical skills related to small business development.

The Peace Corps began exploring the possibility of entering Mexico after President Bush and Vincente Fox, Mexico?s president, announced the “Partnership for Prosperity” initiative during their first meeting in September 2001. The initiative was aimed at narrowing the economic gap between and within the two countries.

Byron Battle, a former Peace Corps director in Mali, has been appointed to head the Mexican program.

For more information contact Ms. Daly at (202) 692-2118.