Since it’s founding on March 1st, 1961, over 225,000 volunteers (One quarter million!!) have served in the Peace Corps. They’ve served in 141 countries all over the world, from Ghana to Iran to Tonga to Armenia. In the Peace Corps founding act, three goals were laid out:
- To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women
- To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served
- To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans
These are lofty and powerful goals, and can be broken down into the core expectations and individual volunteer beliefs and all the initiatives that make up Peace Corps, all of which I’ll discuss at length I’m sure. But for now, I’m really proud of being a part of something so ambitious.
Since it was read aloud to us, I’ll repeat the story here from the Peace Corps website of how JFK first unofficially announced the Peace Corps:
After a day of campaigning for the presidency, Senator John F. Kennedy arrived at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on October 14, 1960, at 2:00 a.m., to get some sleep, not to propose the establishment of an international volunteer organization. Members of the press had retired for the night, believing that nothing interesting would happen.
But 10,000 students at the university were waiting to hear the presidential candidate speak, and it was there on the steps of the Michigan Union that a bold new experiment in public service was launched. The assembled students heard the future president issue a challenge: How many of them, he asked, would be willing to serve their country and the cause of peace by living and working in the developing world?
The reaction was both swift and enthusiastic, and since 1961, over 220,000 Americans have responded to this enduring challenge. And since then, the Peace Corps has demonstrated how the power of an idea can capture the imagination of an entire nation.