Information

8 Little-Known Facts About the Peace Corps


1. The idea for the Peace Corps predated John F. Kennedy.

While President John F. Kennedy took the lead in establishing the Peace Corps, he wasn’t the first politician to propose an international service organization. One of the idea’s earliest champions was Wisconsin Representative Henry Reuss, who pushed for the creation of a “Point Four Youth Corps” in the late 1950s. In June 1960, meanwhile, Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey coined the name “Peace Corps” when he introduced a bill advocating for a program to send “young men to assist the peoples of the underdeveloped areas of the world to combat poverty, disease, illiteracy and hunger.” Neither of the earlier proposals gained traction, but they played a key role in inspiring Kennedy and his staff to begin researching the idea during the 1960 presidential campaign.

2. JFK first floated the idea of the Peace Corps during an impromptu speech at the University of Michigan.

At 2 a.m. on October 14, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy arrived at the University of Michigan near the end of his presidential campaign. The candidate had planned on heading straight to bed, but when he noticed that a crowd of 10,000 students had gathered to greet him, he stepped behind a microphone and gave an unscripted speech. “How many of you who are going to be doctors, are willing to spend your days in Ghana?” he asked. “Technicians or engineers, how many of you are willing to work in the Foreign Service and spend your lives traveling around the world?” Kennedy wouldn’t officially call for a “peace corps of talented young men and women” until two weeks later, but his late-night challenge is now cited as the program’s founding moment. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor even has a plaque on its campus marking the spot where Kennedy “first defined the Peace Corps.”

3. The Peace Corps was organized in just a few months.

By the time he was inaugurated as president, Kennedy’s Peace Corps had become one of the most talked-about aspects of his platform. University students circulated petitions and pledges to serve, and more than 25,000 letters arrived from prospective volunteers. Faced with such an overwhelming response, Kennedy placed his brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, in charge of a special task force to create the new organization. Shriver and a brain trust of academics issued a report on the program in just a few weeks, and Kennedy officially established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961. Work continued at a frantic pace over the next few months as Shriver—the organization’s first director—interviewed applicants and enlisted the participation of foreign governments. By August 30, little more than seven months after Kennedy’s inauguration, the first contingent of 51 Peace Corps volunteers had already arrived in Accra, Ghana, to serve as teachers.

4. The Peace Corps had several high profile critics.

President Kennedy considered the Peace Corps a Cold War tool to bolster the United States’ reputation and counter the Soviet Union’s influence abroad, but many of his fellow lawmakers were skeptical of what was mockingly called the “Kiddie Corps.” Richard Nixon branded the program a “cult of escapism” and argued that it catered to young men looking to skip out on the military draft. Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, meanwhile, called it a “juvenile experiment” and suggested that its members should be sent to the moon. Despite the criticisms, the Peace Corps remained popular among college students and young people during its early days. By its fifth anniversary in 1966, it boasted over 15,000 volunteers serving two-year terms in 46 countries.

5. Former CIA employees are barred from joining the Peace Corps.

Since it was founded during the height of the Cold War, the Peace Corps was often subject to speculation that it was a front organization for the Central Intelligence Agency. The Kennedy administration ordered the CIA not to meddle in the Peace Corps’ affairs, but many host countries still believed rumors and Soviet propaganda that the program’s volunteers were undercover spies. In the interest of avoiding any connection to the espionage community, the Peace Corps has always maintained a blanket ban on former CIA employees becoming volunteers. Former members of other intelligence outfits are allowed to serve in some cases, but only after a 10-year waiting period.

6. Over 300 Peace Corps volunteers have died in service.

Peace Corps volunteers often face extreme conditions while working in remote and undeveloped parts of the world. The organization suffered its first casualties in 1962, when volunteers Larry Radley and David Crozier were killed in a plane crash in Colombia. Since then, around 300 other volunteers have died on duty from car crashes, accidents, sickness, drowning, animal attacks and violent crime. While certain hazards are unavoidable, the Peace Corps often evacuates volunteers from unstable or potentially dangerous parts of the world. In recent years, security concerns have seen it suspend operations in Kazakhstan, Niger, Honduras, Jordan and El Salvador.

7. Peace Corps volunteers assisted in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.


The Peace Corps is designed to work in the developing world, but a lone exception to its overseas mandate came in 2005, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged the U.S. Gulf Coast. In the wake of the storms, the Peace Corps dispatched nearly 300 veteran volunteers to Louisiana to distribute food, search for survivors and clear debris. The relief efforts marked the first time in Peace Corps history that the organization carried out operations on home soil. Information on fallen Peace Corps volunteers and staff can be found at fpcv.org

8. There is no upper age limit for Peace Corps volunteers.

The average age of Peace Corps volunteers is 28, but the organization has no rule preventing the middle-aged or the elderly from serving. President Jimmy Carter’s mother Lillian famously joined the Peace Corps at age 68, and roughly 7 percent of all current volunteers are over age 50. As of 2016, the Peace Corps’ oldest active member was Alice Carter, an 87-year-old Boston grandmother serving in Morocco.


Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images

What better way to reflect on the 27-months spent in a foreign land than to write a book? More than 1,000 Peace Corps alumni, including the likes of Paul Theroux and Peter Hessler, have published books about their time abroad. One of the earliest is Moritz Thomsen's Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle (1969), which set the standard for former volunteer memoirs with the author's witty expatriate observations. Perhaps the best known is George Packer's The Village of Waiting (1988), in which he vividly describes his feelings of isolation and futility during his time of service in Togo. Many of these books provide an antidote to the oft-idealized vision of what being in the Peace Corps is really like, while also revealing a hard-earned, deeper perspective of the world.


Peace Corps

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Peace Corps, U.S. government agency of volunteers, established by executive order by Pres. John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961, and authorized by the U.S. Congress through the Peace Corps Act of September 22, 1961. (From 1971 to 1981 it was a subagency of an independent agency called ACTION.) The first director of the Peace Corps was Kennedy’s brother-in-law R. Sargent Shriver.

The purpose of the Peace Corps is to assist other countries in their development efforts by providing skilled workers in the fields of education, agriculture, health (there has been a particular emphasis on combating HIV/AIDS), trade, technology, environmental protection, women’s economic empowerment, and community development. Peace Corps volunteers are assigned to specific projects on the basis of their skills, education, and experience. Once abroad, the volunteer is expected to function for two years as a good neighbour in the host country, to speak its language, and to live on a level comparable to that of the volunteer’s counterparts there.

The Peace Corps grew from 900 volunteers serving 16 countries in 1961 to a peak of 15,556 volunteers in 52 countries in 1966. By 1989 budget cuts had reduced the number of volunteers to 5,100, but over the next two decades there were increases, such that by the Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary in 2011 there were more than 8,500 volunteers serving in 77 countries. In the 1990s the organization’s global reach was extended to include eastern European countries such as Hungary and Poland and republics of the former Soviet Union. Among other countries, China was added in 1993, South Africa in 1997, and Mexico in 2003. By 2018, 141 countries had hosted more than 235,000 Peace Corps volunteers.

Overseas volunteer services akin to the Peace Corps are maintained by other countries, while similar humanitarian work is sponsored by nongovernmental organizations such as Doctors Without Borders.


Contents

1950–1959 Edit

In 1950, Walter Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers, proposed, in an article titled, "A Proposal for a Total Peace Offensive," that the United States establish a voluntary agency for young Americans to be sent around the world to fulfill humanitarian and development objectives. [9] Subsequently, throughout the 1950s, Reuther gave speeches to the following effect:

I have been saying for a long time that I believe the more young Americans who are trained to join with other young people in the world to be sent abroad with slide rule, textbook, and medical kit to help people help themselves with the tools of peace, the fewer young people will need to be sent with guns and weapons of war. [10] [11]

In addition, following the end of World War II, various members of the United States Congress proposed bills to establish volunteer organizations in developing countries. In December 1951, Representative John F. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) suggested to a group that "young college graduates would find a full life in bringing technical advice and assistance to the underprivileged and backward Middle East . In that calling, these men would follow the constructive work done by the religious missionaries in these countries over the past 100 years." [12] : 337–338 In 1952 Senator Brien McMahon (D-Connecticut) proposed an "army" of young Americans to act as "missionaries of democracy". [13] Privately funded nonreligious organizations began sending volunteers overseas during the 1950s. While Kennedy is credited with the creation of the Peace Corps as president, the first initiative came from Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, Jr. (D-Minnesota), who introduced the first bill to create the Peace Corps in 1957—three years before Kennedy, as a presidential candidate, would raise the idea during a campaign speech at the University of Michigan. In his autobiography The Education of a Public Man, Humphrey wrote,

There were three bills of particular emotional importance to me: the Peace Corps, a disarmament agency, and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The President, knowing how I felt, asked me to introduce legislation for all three. I introduced the first Peace Corps bill in 1957. It did not meet with much enthusiasm. Some traditional diplomats quaked at the thought of thousands of young Americans scattered across their world. Many senators, including liberal ones, thought it silly and an unworkable idea. Now, with a young president urging its passage, it became possible and we pushed it rapidly through the Senate. It is fashionable now to suggest that Peace Corps Volunteers gained as much or more, from their experience as the countries they worked. That may be true, but it ought not demean their work. They touched many lives and made them better. [14]

Only in 1959, however, did the idea receive serious attention in Washington when Congressman Henry S. Reuss of Wisconsin proposed a "Point Four Youth Corps". In 1960, he and Senator Richard L. Neuberger of Oregon introduced identical measures calling for a nongovernmental study of the idea's "advisability and practicability". Both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee endorsed the study, the latter writing the Reuss proposal into the pending Mutual Security legislation. In this form it became law in June 1960. In August the Mutual Security Appropriations Act was enacted, making available US$10,000 for the study, and in November ICA contracted with Maurice Albertson, Andrew E. Rice, and Pauline E. Birky of Colorado State University Research Foundation [15] for the study. [16] [17]

1960–1969 Edit

In August 1960, following the 1960 Democratic National Convention, Walter Reuther visited John F. Kennedy at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport to discuss Kennedy's platform and staffing of a future administration. [18] It was there that Reuther got Kennedy to commit to creating the executive agency that would become the Peace Corps. [18] Under Reuther's leadership, the United Auto Workers had earlier that summer put together a policy platform that included a "youth peace corps" to be sent to developing nations. [19] Subsequently, at the urging of Reuther, [20] John F. Kennedy announced the idea for such an organization on October 14, 1960, at a late-night campaign speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on the steps of the Michigan Union. [21] [22] He later dubbed the proposed organization the "Peace Corps." A brass marker commemorates the place where Kennedy stood. In the weeks after the 1960 election, the study group at Colorado State University released their feasibility a few days before Kennedy's Presidential Inauguration in January 1961. [23]

Critics opposed the program. Kennedy's opponent, Richard M. Nixon, predicted it would become a "cult of escapism" and "a haven for draft dodgers." [24] [25] [26]

Others doubted whether recent graduates had the necessary skills and maturity for such a task. The idea was popular among students, however, and Kennedy pursued it, asking respected academics such as Max Millikan and Chester Bowles to help him outline the organization and its goals. During his inaugural address, Kennedy again promised to create the program: "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country". [27] President Kennedy in a speech at the White House on June 22, 1962, "Remarks to Student Volunteers Participating in Operation Crossroads Africa", acknowledged that Operation Crossroads for Africa was the basis for the development of the Peace Corps. "This group and this effort really were the progenitors of the Peace Corps and what this organization has been doing for a number of years led to the establishment of what I consider to be the most encouraging indication of the desire for service not only in this country but all around the world that we have seen in recent years". [28] The Peace Corps website answered the question "Who Inspired the Creation of the Peace Corps?", acknowledging that the Peace Corps were based on Operation Crossroads Africa founded by Rev. James H. Robinson. [29]

On March 1, 1961, Kennedy signed Executive Order 10924 that officially started the Peace Corps. Concerned with the growing tide of revolutionary sentiment in the Third World, Kennedy saw the Peace Corps as a means of countering the stereotype of the "Ugly American" and "Yankee imperialism," especially in the emerging nations of post-colonial Africa and Asia. [30] [31] Kennedy appointed his brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, to be the program's first director. Shriver fleshed out the organization and his think tank outlined the organization's goals and set the initial number of volunteers. The Peace Corps began recruiting in July 1962 Bob Hope recorded radio and television announcements hailing the program.

A leading Peace Corps critic was U.S. Representative Otto Passman of Louisiana's 5th congressional district, based about Monroe. Critics called Passman "Otto the Terrible" for trying to thwart the program by reducing its funding to minimal levels. Ultimately, it would be President Nixon, who despite his previous skepticism rescued the Peace Corps after 1969 from Passman's congressional knife. [32]

Until about 1967, applicants had to pass a placement test of "general aptitude" (knowledge of various skills needed for Peace Corps assignments) and language aptitude. [ citation needed ] After an address from Kennedy, who was introduced by Rev. Russell Fuller of Memorial Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, on August 28, 1961, the first group of volunteers left for Ghana and Tanzania, known as Tanganyika at the time. [33] The program was formally authorized by Congress on September 22, 1961, and within two years over 7,300 volunteers were serving in 44 countries. This number increased to 15,000 in June 1966, the largest number in the organization's history. [34]

The organization experienced controversy in its first year of operation. On October 13, 1961, a postcard from a volunteer named Margery Jane Michelmore in Nigeria to a friend in the U.S. described her situation in Nigeria as "squalor and absolutely primitive living conditions." [35] [36] However, this postcard never made it out of the country. [36] The University of Ibadan College Students Union demanded deportation and accused the volunteers of being "America's international spies" and the project as "a scheme designed to foster neocolonialism." [37] Soon the international press picked up the story, leading several people in the U.S. administration to question the program. [38] Nigerian students protested the program, while the American volunteers sequestered themselves and eventually began a hunger strike. [36] After several days, the Nigerian students agreed to open a dialogue with the Americans.

Policies Edit

The theme of enabling Americans to volunteer in poor countries appealed to Kennedy because it fit in with his campaign themes of self-sacrifice and volunteerism, while also providing a way to redefine American relations with the Third World. Upon taking office, Kennedy issued an executive order establishing the Peace Corps, and he named his brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, as the agency's first director. Shriver, not Kennedy, energetically lobbied Congress for approval. Kennedy proudly took the credit, and ensured that it remained free of CIA influence. He largely left its administration to Shriver. To avoid the appearance of favoritism to the Catholic Church, the Corps did not place its volunteers with any religious agencies. [39] In the first twenty-five years, more than 100,000 Americans served in 44 countries as part of the program. Most volunteers taught English in local schools, but many became involved in activities like construction and food delivery. Shriver practiced affirmative action, and women comprised about 40 percent of the first 7000 volunteers. However given the paucity of black college graduates, racial minorities never reached five percent. The Corps developed its own training program, based on nine weeks at an American university, with a focus on conversational language, world affairs, and desired job skills. [40] That was followed by three weeks at a Peace Corps camp in Puerto Rico, and week or two of orientation the home and the host country. [41] [42]

1970–1999 Edit

In July 1971, President Richard Nixon, an opponent of the program, [24] [25] [26] brought the Peace Corps under the umbrella agency ACTION. President Jimmy Carter, an advocate of the program, said that his mother, who had served as a nurse in the program, had "one of the most glorious experiences of her life" in the Peace Corps. [43] In 1979, he made it fully autonomous in an executive order. This independent status was further secured by 1981 legislation making the organization an independent federal agency.

In 1976, Deborah Gardner was found murdered in her home in Tonga, where she was serving in the Peace Corps. Dennis Priven, a fellow Peace Corps worker, was later charged with the murder by the Tonga government. [44] He was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and was sentenced to serve time in a mental institution in Washington D.C. Priven was never admitted to any institution, and the handling of the case has been heavily criticized. The main criticism has been that the Peace Corps seemingly worked to keep one of its volunteers from being found guilty of murder, due to the reflection it would have on the organization. [45]

2000–present Edit

Although the earliest volunteers were typically thought of as generalists, the Peace Corps had requests for technical personnel from the start. For example, geologists were among the first volunteers requested by Ghana, an early volunteer host. An article in Geotimes (a trade publication) in 1963, reviewed the program, with a follow-up history of Peace Corps geoscientists appearing in that publication in 2004. [46] During the Nixon Administration the Peace Corps included foresters, computer scientists, and small business advisers among its volunteers.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed director Loret Miller Ruppe, who initiated business-related programs. For the first time, a significant number of conservative and Republican volunteers joined the Corps, as the organization continued to reflect the evolving political and social conditions in the United States. Funding cuts during the early 1980s reduced the number of volunteers to 5,380, its lowest level since the early years. Funding increased in 1985, when Congress began raising the number of volunteers, reaching 10,000 in 1992.

After the 2001 September 11 attacks, which alerted the U.S. to growing anti-U.S. sentiment in the Middle East, President George W. Bush pledged to double the size of the organization within five years as a part of the War on Terrorism. For the 2004 fiscal year, Congress increased the budget to US$325 million, US$30 million above that of 2003 but US$30 million below the President's request.

As part of an economic stimulus package in 2008, President Barack Obama proposed to double the size of the Peace Corps. [47] However, as of 2010 [update] , the amount requested was insufficient to reach this goal by 2011. In fact, the number of applicants to the Peace Corps declined steadily from a high of 15,384 in 2009 to 10,118 in 2013. [48] Congress raised the 2010 appropriation from the US$373 million requested by the President to US$400 million, and proposed bills would raise this further for 2011 and 2012. [49] According to former director Gaddi Vasquez, the Peace Corps is trying to recruit more diverse volunteers of different ages and make it look "more like America". [50] A Harvard International Review article from 2007 proposed to expand the Peace Corps, revisit its mission, and equip it with new technology. [51] In 1961 only 1% of volunteers were over 50, compared with 5% today. Ethnic minorities currently comprise 19% of volunteers. [52] 35% of the U.S. population are Hispanic or non-White. [53]

In 2009, Casey Frazee, who was sexually assaulted while serving in South Africa, created First Response Action, an advocacy group for a stronger Peace Corps response for volunteers who are survivors or victims of physical and sexual violence. [54] [55] In 2010, concerns about the safety of volunteers were illustrated by a report, compiled from official public documents, listing hundreds of violent crimes against volunteers since 1989. [56] In 2011, a 20/20 investigation found that "more than 1,000 young American women have been raped or sexually assaulted in the last decade while serving as Peace Corps volunteers in foreign countries." [57]

In a historic first, all Peace Corps volunteers worldwide were withdrawn from their host countries on March 15, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [5] Volunteers were not eligible for unemployment or health benefits, although some Members of Congress said they should be. Legislators also called upon FEMA to hire Peace Corps volunteers until the end of their service. [58]

During its history, Peace Corps volunteers have worked in the following countries: [61]

Latin America and the Caribbean (23% of volunteers serve here, 2019)

  • Argentina (1992–1994)
  • Belize (since 1962)
  • Bolivia (1962–1971, 1990–2008)
  • Brazil (1962–1981)
  • Chile (1961–1982, 1991–1998)
  • Colombia (1961–1981, since 2010)
  • Costa Rica (since 1963)
  • Dominica (since 1961)
  • Dominican Republic (since 1962)
  • Ecuador (since 1962)
  • El Salvador (1962–1980, 1993–2016) [62]
  • Grenada (since 1961)
  • Guatemala (since 1963)
  • Guyana (1966–1971, since 1995)
  • Haiti (1982–1987, 1990–1991, 1996–2005)
  • Honduras (1962–2012) [63]
  • Jamaica (since 1962)
  • Mexico (since 2004)
  • Nicaragua (1968–1979, since 1991)
  • Panama (1963–1971, since 1990)
  • Paraguay (since 1966)
  • Peru (1962–1974, since 2002)
  • Saint Lucia (since 1961)
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (since 1961)
  • Surinam (1995–2013)
  • Uruguay (1963–1973, 1991–1997)
  • Venezuela (1962–1976) [64]

Europe and central Asia (13% of volunteers serve here, 2019)

  • Albania (1992–1997, since 2003)
  • Armenia (since 1992)
  • Azerbaijan (2003–2016)
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina (2000–2002)
  • Bulgaria (1991–2013)
  • Cyprus (1962–1964)
  • Czech Republic (1990–1997)
  • Estonia (1992–2002)
  • Georgia (since 2001)
  • Hungary (1990–1997)
  • Kazakhstan (1993–2011)
  • Latvia (1992–2002)
  • Lithuania (1992–2002)
  • Kosovo (since 2014)
  • Kyrgyz Republic (since 1993)
  • Macedonia (since 1996)
  • Malta (1970–1975, 1990–1998)
  • Moldova (since 1993)
  • Poland (1990–2001)
  • Romania (1991–2013)
  • Russia (1992–2003)
  • Slovakia (1990–2002)
  • Turkmenistan (1993–2013)
  • Turkey (1962–1971)
  • Uzbekistan (1992–2005)
  • Ukraine (since 1992) [64]

Middle East and north Africa (3% of volunteers serve here, 2019)

  • Bahrain (1974–1979)
  • Iran (1962–1976)
  • Jordan (1997–2002, 2004–2015) [65]
  • Libya (1966–1969)
  • Morocco (since 1963)
  • Oman (1973–1983)
  • Tunisia (1962–1996, 2013)
  • Yemen (1973–1994) [64]

Subsaharan Africa (46% of volunteers serve here, 2019)

  • Benin (since 1968)
  • Botswana (1966–1997, since 2003)
  • Burkina Faso (1967–1987, 1995-2017 [66] )
  • Burundi (1983–1993)
  • Cape Verde (1988–2013)
  • Cameroon (since 1962)
  • Chad (1966–1979, 1987–1998, 2003–2006)
  • Comoros (1988–1995, since 2015)
  • Congo (1991–1997)
  • Central African Republic (1972–1996)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (1970–1991)
  • Equatorial Guinea (1988–1993)
  • Eritrea (1995–1998)
  • Eswatini (1969–1996, since 2003)
  • Ethiopia (1962–1977, 1995–1999, since 2007)
  • Gabon (1963–1968, 1973–2005)
  • Gambia (since 1967)
  • Ghana (since 1961)
  • Guinea (1963–1966, 1969–1971, since 1985)
  • Guinea-Bissau (1988–1998)
  • Ivory Coast (1962–1981, 1990–2003)
  • Kenya (1964–2014, since 2020)
  • Lesotho (since 1967)
  • Liberia (1962–1990, since 2008)
  • Madagascar (since 1993)
  • Malawi (1963–1976, since 1978)
  • Mali (1971–2012, 2014–2015)
  • Mauritius (1969–1976)
  • Mauritania (1966–1967, 1971–2011)
  • Mozambique (since 1998)
  • Namibia (since 1990)
  • Niger (1962–2011)
  • Nigeria (1961–1976, 1992–1995)
  • Rwanda (1975–1993, since 2008)
  • São Tomé and Príncipe (1990–1996)
  • Senegal (since 1963)
  • Seychelles (1974–1995)
  • Sierra Leone (1962–1994, 2010–2013, since 2016)
  • Somalia (1962–1970)
  • South Africa (since 1997)
  • Sudan (1984–1986)
  • Tanzania (1961–1969, since 1979)
  • Togo (since 1962)
  • Uganda (1964–1972, 1991–1999, since 2001)
  • Zambia (since 1994)
  • Zimbabwe (1991–2001) [64]

Asia (11% of volunteers serve here, 2019)

  • Afghanistan (1962–1979)
  • Bangladesh (1998–2006)
  • Cambodia (since 2007)
  • China (Under the name "U.S.-China friendship volunteers" [67] )(1993 [68] -2020 [69] )
  • India (1961–1976)
  • Indonesia (1963–1965, since 2010)
  • Malaysia (1962–1983)
  • Mongolia (since 1991)
  • Myanmar (since 2016)
  • Nepal (1962–2004, since 2012)
  • Pakistan (1961–1967, 1988–1991)
  • Philippines (1961–1990, since 1992)
  • South Korea (1966–1981)
  • Sri Lanka (1962–1964, 1967–1970, 1983–1998, since 2018)
  • Thailand (since 1962)
  • Timor Leste (2002–2006, since 2015) [64]

Oceania (5% of volunteers serve here, 2019)

  • Fiji (1968–1998, since 2003)
  • Cook Islands (1982–1995)
  • Marshall Islands (1966–1996)
  • Solomon Islands (1971–2000, since 2020)
  • Kiribati (1974–2008)
  • Micronesia (1966–2018)
  • Niue (1994–2002)
  • Papua New Guinea (1981–2001)
  • Samoa (since 1967)
  • Tonga (since 1967)
  • Tuvalu (1977–1997)
  • Vanuatu (since 1990) [64]

Peace Corps activities were suspended and all volunteers worldwide were evacuated on on March 15, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [70]

The application for the Peace Corps takes up to one hour, unless one talks to a recruiter. The applicant must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen and, according to a 2018 document, they should apply 6 to 9 months before they want to leave. They must go through an interview. [71]

Applicants can apply to only one placement every year. Placements can be sorted through the Peace Corps six project sectors: Agriculture, Environment, Community Economic Development, Health, Education, and Youth in Development. Applicants may also narrow down their application of choice by country they want to serve in various regions of the world.

Peace Corps volunteers are expected to serve for 2 years in the foreign country, with 3 months of training before swearing in to service. This occurs in country with host country national trainers in language and assignment skills.

Prior to 2014, the application process took about a year. [72]

The Peace Corps aims to educate community members on the different illnesses that are present in developing countries as well as what treatments exist in order prevent these illnesses from spreading. Volunteers are also often there in order to teach community members about modern agricultural techniques in order for them to more effectively produce food for themselves and each other (Peace Corps). The Corps is also a proponent of equal education and moves to allow for equal education opportunities for girls in countries like Liberia and Ethiopia. In 2015, the organization partnered with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement First Lady Michelle Obama's Let Girls Learn initiative. [73]

Eradicating malaria in Africa Edit

The Corps launched its initiative to engage volunteers in malaria control efforts in 2011. The initiative, which grew out of malaria prevention programs in Peace Corps Senegal, now includes volunteers in 24 African countries. [74] [75]

Environment Edit

The Corps offers a variety of environmental programs. Needs assessments determine which programs apply to each country. Programs include effective and efficient forms of farming, recycling, park management, environmental education, and developing alternative fuel sources. [76] Volunteers must have some combination of academic degrees and practical experience.

The three major programs are Protected-Areas Management, Environment Education or Awareness, and Forestry.

In Protected areas management, volunteers work with parks or other programs to teach resource conservation. Volunteer activities include technical training, working with park staff on wildlife preservation, organizing community-based conservation programs for sustainable use of forests or marine resources, and creating activities for raising revenue to protect the environment.

Environment Education or Awareness focuses on communities that have environmental issues regarding farming and income. Programs include teaching in elementary and secondary schools environmental education to youth programs creation of environmental groups support forest and marine resource sustainability ways of generating money urban sanitation management and educating farmers about soil conservation, forestry, and vegetable gardening. [77]

Forestry programs help communities conserve natural resources through projects such as soil conservation, flood control, creation of sustainable fuels, agroforestry (e.g., fruit and vegetable production), alley cropping, and protection of biodiversity. [78]

Peace Corps Response Edit

Peace Corps Response, formerly named the Crisis Corps, was created by Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan in 1996. [79] Gearan modeled the Crisis Corps after the National Peace Corps Association's successful Emergency Response Network (ERN) of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers willing to respond to crises when needed. ERN emerged in response to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. [80] On November 19, 2007 Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschetter changed Crisis Corps's name to Peace Corps Response. [81]

The change to Peace Corps Response allowed Peace Corps to include projects that did not rise to the level of a crisis. The program deploys former volunteers on high-impact assignments that typically range from three to twelve months in duration.

Peace Corps Response volunteers generally receive the same allowances and benefits as their Peace Corps counterparts, including round-trip transportation, living and readjustment allowances, and medical care. Minimum qualifications include completion of at least one year of Peace Corps service, including training, in addition to medical and legal clearances. The Crisis Corps title was retained as a unique branch within Peace Corps Response, designed for volunteers who are deployed to true "crisis" situations, such as disaster relief following hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions and other catastrophes.

Education and languages Edit

Peace Corps has created resources for teachers in the US and abroad to teach 101 languages. [82] [83] Resources vary by language, and include text, recordings, lesson plans and teaching notes.

Executive orders Edit

Peace Corps was originally established by Executive Order, and has been modified by several subsequent executive orders including:

  • 1961 – Executive Order 10924 – Establishment and administration of the Peace Corps in the Department of State (Kennedy) [84]
  • 1962 – Executive Order 11041 – Continuance and administration of the Peace Corps in the Department of State (Kennedy) [85]
  • 1963 – Executive Order 11103 – Providing for the appointment of former Peace Corps volunteers to the civilian career services (Kennedy) [86]
  • 1971 – Executive Order 11603 – Assigning additional functions to the Director of ACTION (Nixon)
  • 1979 – Executive Order 12137 – The Peace Corps (Carter) [87]

Laws Edit

Federal laws governing the Peace Corps are contained in Title 22 of the United States Code – Foreign Relations and Intercourse, Chapter 34 – The Peace Corps. [88]

Public laws are passed by Congress and the President and create or modify the U.S. Code. The first public law establishing Peace Corps in the US Code was The Peace Corps Act passed by the 87th Congress and signed into law on September 22, 1961. Several public laws have modified the Peace Corps Act, including:

    87–293, 75 Stat.612, enacted September 22, 1961 – The Peace Corps Act 88–200, 77 Stat.359, enacted December 13, 1963 89–134, 79 Stat.549, enacted August 24, 1965 89–554, 80 Stat.378, enacted September 6, 1966 89–572, 80 Stat.764, enacted September 13, 1966 91–99, 83 Stat.166, enacted October 29, 1969 91–352, 84 Stat.464, enacted July 24, 1970 94–130, 89 Stat.684, enacted November 14, 1975 – Bill to carry into effect certain provisions of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and for other purposes. [89]95–331, 92 Stat.414, enacted August 2, 1978 – Peace Corps Act Amendments [90]96–465, 94 Stat.2071, enacted October 17, 1980 – The Foreign Service Act of 1980 [91]97–113, 95 Stat.1519, enacted December 29, 1981 – International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1981 [92]99–83, 99 Stat.190, enacted August 8, 1985 – International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1985 [93]99–514, 100 Stat.2085, enacted October 22, 1986 – Tax Reform Act of 1986 [94]102–565, 106 Stat.4265, enacted October 28, 1992 – A bill to amend the Peace Corps Act to authorize appropriations for the Peace Corps for FY1993 and to establish Peace Corps foreign exchange fluctuations account, and for other purposes. [95]105–12 (text)(pdf), 111 Stat.23, enacted April 30, 1997 – The Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act of 1997 [96]106–30 (text)(pdf), 113 Stat.55, enacted May 21, 1999 – Peace Corps Act, FY2002, 2003 Authorization Bill [97] at Congress.gov

Code of Federal Regulations Edit

The Peace Corps is subject to Federal Regulations as prescribed by public law and executive order and contained in Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations under Chapter 3.

Limitations on former volunteers Edit

Former members of the Peace Corps may not be assigned to military intelligence duties for a period of 4 years following Peace Corps service. Furthermore, they are forever prohibited from serving in a military intelligence posting to any country in which they volunteered. [98] Former members may not apply for employment with the Central Intelligence Agency for a period of 5 years following Peace Corps Service.

Time limits on employment Edit

Peace Corps employees receive time-limited appointments, and most employees are limited to a maximum of five years of employment. This time limit was established to ensure that Peace Corps' staff remain fresh and innovative. A related rule specifies that former employees cannot be re-employed until after the same amount of time that they were employed. Volunteer service is not counted for the purposes of either rule. [99]

Non-supervisory domestic employees are represented by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3548. The Federal Labor Relations Agency certified the Union on May 11, 1983. About 500 domestic employees are members. The current collective bargaining agreement became effective on April 21, 1995.

Directors Edit

On January 3, 2018, President Donald Trump nominated Josephine "Jody" Olsen as the 20th director of the Peace Corps. [100] Olsen has a long history with the agency, serving as Acting Director in 2009, Deputy Director from 2002 to 2009, Chief of Staff from 1989 to 1992, Regional Director, North Africa Near East, Asia, Pacific from 1981 to 1984, and Country Director in Togo from 1979 to 1981. Olsen also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia from 1966 to 1968. [100] [101] She left office on January 20, 2021. [102] Here are the following directors:

# Director Service dates Appointed by Summary of Wikipedia page
1 R. Sargent Shriver [103] 1961–1966 [103] Kennedy [103] President Kennedy appointed Shriver three days after signing the executive order. [104] Volunteers arrived in five countries during 1961. [105] In just under six years, Shriver developed programs in 55 countries with more than 14,500 volunteers. [104]
2 Jack Vaughn 1966–1969 Johnson Vaughn improved marketing, programming, and volunteer support as large numbers of former volunteers joined the staff. He also promoted volunteer assignments in conservation, natural resource management, and community development.
3 Joseph Blatchford 1969–1971 Nixon Blatchford served as head of the new ACTION agency, which included the Corps. He created the Office of Returned Volunteers to help volunteers serve in their communities at home, and initiated New Directions, a program emphasizing volunteer skills.
4 Kevin O'Donnell 1971–1972 Nixon O'Donnell's appointment was the first for a former Peace Corps country director (Korea, 1966–70). He fought budget cuts, and believed strongly in a non-career Peace Corps.
5 Donald Hess 1972–1973 Nixon Hess initiated training of volunteers in the host country where they would eventually serve, using host country nationals. The training provided more realistic preparation, and costs dropped for the agency. Hess also sought to end the downsizing of the Peace Corps.
6 Nicholas Craw 1973–1974 Nixon Craw sought to increase the number of volunteers in the field and to stabilize the agency's future. He introduced a goal-setting measurement plan, the Country Management Plan, which gained increased Congressional support and improved resource allocation across the 69 participating countries.
7 John Dellenback 1975–1977 Ford Dellenback improved volunteer health care available. He emphasized recruiting generalists. He believed in committed applicants even those without specific skills and instead training them for service.
8 Carolyn R. Payton 1977–1978 Carter Payton was the first female director and the first African American. She focused on improving volunteer diversity.
9 Richard F. Celeste 1979–1981 Carter Celeste focused on the role of women in development and increased women and minority participation, particularly for staff positions. He invested heavily in training, including the development of a worldwide core curriculum.
10 Loret Miller Ruppe 1981–1989 Reagan Ruppe was the longest-serving director and championed women in development roles. She launched the Competitive Enterprise Development program, the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the Initiative for Central America and the African Food Systems Initiative.
11 Paul Coverdell 1989–1991 G.H.W. Bush Coverdell established two programs with a domestic focus. World Wise Schools enabled U.S. students to correspond with overseas volunteers. Fellows/USA assisted Returned Peace Corps volunteers in pursuing graduate studies while serving local communities.
12 Elaine Chao 1991–1992 G.H.W. Bush Chao was the first Asian American director. She expanded Peace Corps' presence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia by establishing the first Peace Corps programs in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and other newly independent countries.
13 Carol Bellamy 1993–1995 Clinton Bellamy was the first RPCV (Returned Peace Corps volunteer) (Guatemala 1963–65) to be director. She reinvigorated relations with former volunteers and launched the Corps' web site.
14 Mark D. Gearan 1995–1999 Clinton Gearan established the Crisis Corps, a program that allows former volunteers to help overseas communities recover from natural disasters and humanitarian crises. He supported expanding the corps and opened new volunteer programs in South Africa, Jordan, Bangladesh and Mozambique.
15 Mark L. Schneider 1999–2001 Clinton Schneider was the second RPCV (El Salvador, 1966–68) to head the agency. He launched an initiative to increase volunteers' participation in helping prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, and also sought volunteers to work on information technology projects.
16 Gaddi Vasquez 2002–2006 G.W. Bush Gaddi H. Vasquez was the first Hispanic American director. His focus was to increase volunteer and staff diversity. He also led the establishment of a Peace Corps program in Mexico.
17 Ron Tschetter September 2006 – 2008 G.W. Bush The third RPCV to head the agency, Tschetter served in India in the mid-1960s. He launched an initiative known as the "50 and Over," to increase the participation of older men and women.
18 Aaron S. Williams August 2009 – September 2012 Obama Aaron S. Williams became director on August 24, 2009. Mr. Williams is the fourth director to have served as a volunteer. Williams cited personal and family considerations as the reason for his stepping down as Peace Corps Director on September 17, 2012. [106]
19 Carrie Hessler-Radelet September 2012 – 2017 Obama Carrie Hessler-Radelet became acting Director of the Peace Corps in September 2012. Previously, Hessler-Radelet served as deputy director of the Peace Corps from June 23, 2010, until her appointment as acting Director. [107] From 1981 to 1983, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Western Samoa with her husband, Steve. She was confirmed as Director on June 5, 2014.
20 Jody Olsen February 2018 – January 2021 Trump Jody Olsen was confirmed Director of the Peace Corps on February 27, 2018. Olsen previously served the Peace Corps as Acting Director in 2009, Deputy Director from 2002 to 2009, Chief of Staff from 1989 to 1992, Regional Director, North Africa Near East, Asia, Pacific from 1981 to 1984, and Country Director in Togo from 1979 to 1981. Olsen also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia from 1966 to 1968.
21 Carol Spahn [108] January 2021 - present Biden

Inspector General Edit

The Peace Corps Office of Inspector General is authorized by law to review all programs and operations of the Peace Corps. [ citation needed ] The OIG is an independent entity within the Peace Corps. The inspector general (IG) reports directly to the Peace Corps Director. In addition, the IG reports to Congress semiannually with data on OIG activities. [ citation needed ] The OIG serves as the law enforcement arm of the Peace Corps and works closely with the Department of State, the Department of Justice, and other federal agencies OIG has three sections to conduct its functions:

Audit – Auditors review functional activities of the Peace Corps, such as contract compliance and financial and program operations, to ensure accountability and to recommend improved levels of economy and efficiency

Evaluations – Evaluators analyze the management and program operations of the Peace Corps at both overseas posts and domestic offices. They identify best practices and recommend program improvements and ways to accomplish Peace Corps' mission and strategic goals.

Investigations – Investigators respond to allegations of criminal or administrative wrongdoing by Peace Corps Volunteers, Peace Corps personnel, including experts and consultants, and by those who do business with the Peace Corps, including contractors. [109]

From 2006 to 2007, H. David Kotz was the Inspector General. [110]

Critics and criticisms of Peace Corps include former volunteer and country director Robert L. Strauss in Foreign Policy, [111] The New York Times, [112] The American Interest [113] and elsewhere, an article by a former volunteer describing assaults on volunteers from 1992 to 2010, [114] an ABC news report on 20/20, [115] a Huffington Post article on former Peace Corps volunteers speaking out on rapes, [116] and About.com's article on rape and assault in the Peace Corps. [117]

In the Reagan Administration, in 1986, an article in the Multinational Monitor looked critically at the Peace Corps. [118] On a positive note, the writer praises the Corps for aspects saying that it is "not in the business of transferring massive economic resources. Rather it concentrates on increasing productivity and encouraging self-reliance in villages that are often ignored by large-scale development agencies," and notes the "heavy emphasis on basic education" by the Corps. "Many returned volunteers complain that the Peace Corps does little to promote or make use of their rich experiences once they return . [A] Peace Corps volunteer is sent in . [to] relieve . the local government from having to develop policies that assure equitable distribution of health care . During the early years there were many failures in structure and programming . Some critics charge that the Peace Corps is only a somewhat ineffective attempt to counter damage done to the U.S. image abroad by its aggressive military and its unscrupulous businesses . Many observers and some returned volunteers charge that, in addition to public relations for the United States, Peace Corps programs serve to legitimize dictators . When he began evaluating the Corps in the 1960s, Charlie Peters found "they were training volunteers to be junior diplomats. Giving them a course in American studies, world affairs and communism . Although it seems unlikely that the Peace Corps is used in covert operations, wittingly or not it is often used in conjunction with U.S. military interests . In a review of the Peace Corps in March the House Select Committee on Hunger praised the agency for effective work in the areas of agriculture and conservation, while recommending that the Corps expand its African Food Systems Initiative, increase the number of volunteers in the field, recruit more women, and move to depoliticize country dictatorships." [ citation needed ]

The author suggests that "the poor should be encouraged to organize a power base to gain more leverage with the powers-that-be" by the Peace Corps and that "The Peace Corps is the epitome of Kennedy's Camelot mythology. It is a tall order to expect a small program appended to an immense superpower, to make a difference, but it is a goal worth striving for."

In December 2003, a report by the Brookings Institution praised the Peace Corps but proposed changes. [119] These include relabeling Peace Corps volunteers in certain countries, greater host country ownership, reverse volunteers (have volunteers from the host country in the U.S.), and multilateral volunteers. The Brookings Institution wrote that a "one-year service commitment [for the Baby Boom generation] could make the Peace Corps more attractive to older Americans, possibly combined with the option of returning to the same site or country after a three-month break" and customized placement to a specific country would increase the number of people volunteering.

In a critique by The Future of Freedom Foundation, [120] James Bovard mixes history of the Peace Corps with current interpretations. He writes that in the 1980s, "The Peace Corps's world-saving pretensions were a joke on American taxpayers and Third World folks who expected real help." He goes on to criticize the difference in rhetoric and action of Peace Corps volunteers, even attacking its establishment as "the epitome of emotionalism in American politics." Using snippets of reports, accounts of those in countries affected by the Peace Corps and even concluded that at one point "some Peace Corps agricultural efforts directly hurt Third World poor." At the end of the article, Bovard noted that all Peace Corps volunteers he had talked with conceded they have not helped foreigners . but he acknowledges that "Some Peace Corps volunteers, like some Americans who volunteer for religion missions abroad, have truly helped foreigners." [ citation needed ]

Sexual assault Edit

The Peace Corps has been criticized for failing to properly respond to the sexual violence that many of its female volunteers face. [121] BoingBoing editor Xeni Jardin describes criticism of the agency's response to assault: "A growing number of ex-Peace Corps volunteers are speaking out about having survived rape and other forms of sexual assault while assigned overseas. They say the agency ignored their concerns for safety or requests for relocation, and tried to blame rape victims for their attacks. Their stories, and support from families and advocates, are drawing attention from lawmakers and promises of reform from the agency". Among 8,655 volunteers there are on average 22 Peace Corps women who reported being the victims of rape or attempted rape each year. [122] [123]

At a meeting of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 2011, Peace Corps volunteers shared their experiences of violence and sexual assault. At this meeting, it was found that between 2000 and 2009 there have been several cases of rape or attempted rape, and about 22 women are sexually assaulted each year. The case of murdered Peace Corps volunteer Kate Puzey was discussed. The Peace Corps has gained attention in the media and their directors have been attacked for how they handled this situation. Kate Puzey's mother was one of those to make a comment at the meeting about how badly the situation with her daughter had been handled. One woman claimed that her country's director had blamed her for getting raped, while other victims have also been similarly blamed. [124] Criticism of how Peace Corps has responded to sexual assaults against volunteers culminated in the appointment of Kellie Green as the agency's first Director of the Office Of Victims Advocacy in 2011. Green was eventually pushed out of her position in April 2015 for purportedly "creating a hostile work environment". Greene maintains that Peace Corps retaliated against her for pressing agency officials to fully comply with their responsibilities towards volunteers who have been victims of sexual assault. A Change.org petition demanding that Green be reinstated began circulating among former volunteers in December 2015. [125]

In 2009, the most recent year reported, 69% of Peace Corps crime victims were women, 88% were under 30, and 82% were Caucasian. Worldwide, there were 15 cases of rape/attempted rape and 96 cases of sexual assault reported for a total of 111 sexual crimes committed against female Peace Corps volunteers. The majority of women who join the Peace Corps are in their mid-twenties. In 62% of the more than 2,900 assault cases since 1990, the victim was identified as being alone. In 59% of assault cases, the victim was identified as a woman in her 20s. [126]

White saviorism and American exceptionalism Edit

Some critics say the Peace Corps is an example of white saviorism and American exceptionalism at work. In 2019, Population Works Africa, a network of Black female consultants working in international development, [127] criticized the Peace Corps for its reliance on mostly inexperienced young people as volunteers, saying this "is rooted in the idea that Africa is such a barren wasteland that they will take just about any type of aid." [128] According to a 2020 article in The Washington Post, "About two-thirds [of volunteers] are White, leading some critics to charge it is not a fair representation of Americans and affects how volunteers view people in the countries where they serve." The group "Decolonizing Peace Corps," established in 2020 by returned Peace Corps volunteers, questions if Peace Corps and other development efforts "personify the white man’s burden of needing to 'civilize' non-white spaces and nations" and posits that the Peace Corps benefits volunteers more than it does the people of the countries in which they serve. [7] [129] The group has also criticized Peace Corps for pouring resources into volunteers rather than into the people of the host country. They are calling for an overhaul to Peace Corps' training practices and the eventual phase-out of the Peace Corps altogether. [130] Another former volunteer, Shalean Collins, criticized volunteers (and tourists) for sharing on social media photos of themselves with local people, whom they used "as props to the larger narrative of the Savior, Wanderer, or Nomad." [131] Michael Buckler, another former volunteer, wrote in The Hill that "saviorism is real, pervasive and toxic" in the Peace Corps, but he believes most volunteers come to understand and move beyond any notions of saviorism they may have had at the beginning of their service. [132]

In popular culture, the Peace Corps has been used as a comedic plot device in such movies as Airplane!, Christmas with the Kranks, Shallow Hal, and Volunteers or used to set the scene for a historic era, as when Frances "Baby" Houseman tells the audience she plans to join the Peace Corps in the introduction to the movie Dirty Dancing. [133]

The Peace Corps has also been documented on film and examined more seriously and in more depth. The 2006 documentary film Death of Two Sons, directed by Micah Schaffer, juxtaposes the deaths of Amadou Diallo, a Guinean-American who was gunned down by four New York City policemen with 41 bullets, and Peace Corps volunteer Jesse Thyne who lived with Amadou's family in Guinea and died in a car crash there. [134] Jimi Sir, released in 2007, is a documentary portrait of volunteer James Parks' experiences as a high school science, math and English teacher during the last 10 weeks of his service in Nepal. [135] James speaks Nepali fluently and shows a culture where there are no roads, vehicles, electricity, plumbing, telephone or radio. [135] The movie El Rey, directed and written by Antonio Dorado in 2004, attacks corrupt police, unscrupulous politicians and half-hearted revolutionaries but also depicts the urban legend of Peace Corps Volunteers "training" native Colombians how to process coca leaves into cocaine. [136]

In the 1969 film, Yawar Mallku/Sangre de cóndor/Blood of the Condor, Bolivian director Jorge Sanjinés portrayed Peace Corps volunteers in the camp as arrogant, ethnocentric, and narrow-minded imperialists out to destroy Indian culture. One particularly powerful scene showed Indians attacking a clinic while the volunteers inside sterilized Indian women against their will. The film is thought to be at least partially responsible for the expulsion of the Peace Corps from Bolivia in 1971. Peace Corps volunteer Fred Krieger who was serving in Bolivia at the time said, "It was an effective movie – emotionally very arousing – and it directly targeted Peace Corps volunteers. I thought I would be lynched before getting out of the theatre. To my amazement, people around me smiled courteously as we left, no one commented, it was just like any other movie." [137]

In 2016, Peace Corps partnered with jewelry retailer Alex and Ani to create cord bracelets to raise money for the Peace Corps' Let Girls Learn Fund. [138]


10 Non-peaceful Peace Corps Incidents

The Peace Corps is an organization sponsored by the American government, which trains and supports volunteers who live in developing countries for two years, attempting to improve the lot of the people there, mainly through teaching. I&rsquom a RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) myself, and I&rsquom more than willing to sing the praises of the Peace Corps. Peace Corps volunteers not only do a lot of good for people in other countries, they also encourage closer international bonds by bringing their experiences back with them.

Also, I feel compelled to mention that during my own time in service, I was never killed, raped, or attacked by sharks (admittedly I lived in a land locked country). In fact, I never even had my wallet lifted, and for the most part, I&rsquom sure that&rsquos the experience of most volunteers (we all spent our days surrounded by groups of singing villagers and birthing babies singlehandedly, while vaccinating entire cities). However, the majority of Peace Corps volunteers are just out of college. They are young, naïve, and living in exotic locations. So, it&rsquos not so surprising how many bizarre or notorious incidents, or in a couple of cases, widespread rumors of incidents, have occurred in the 50 or so years Peace Corps has been in existence. Here is a selection of some of the more interesting, in no particular order.

In 2007, some Peace Corps trainees and a Fullbright scholar were asked to spy on any Cubans and Venezuelans they encountered while stationed in Bolivia. This was supposedly to aid the &ldquoWar on Terror&rdquo. An entire group of new volunteers were asked to do this by an American embassy official during a talk on safety, before being sworn in. This sort of political interference is entirely against Peace Corps policy and the request was later withdrawn.

While I was in Peace Corps (2004-2006), our regional houses were in the process of being closed down, and we were to be given hotel vouchers for when we needed to visit the &ldquobig city&rdquo in order to do banking, shopping, and to see other volunteers. A rumor went around that this very unpopular move was due to the discovery of a drug and prostitution ring that had been conducted out of a regional house in Guinea by volunteers. I have searched for confirmation of this rumor, but the only website I managed to find has now been removed. It didn&rsquot mention a &ldquoring&rdquo per se, but did mention &ldquoexcessive drinking, drug use, and prostitution&rdquo and was written by the director of Guinea at the time.

A particularly interesting rumor states that it was early Peace Corps volunteers who taught Colombians how to make cocaine. Peace Corps, of course, denies this. Yes, it&rsquos probably not true, but it&rsquos still a juicy urban legend, and who knows? So I included it here. The only site I could find that wasn&rsquot mentioning it in passing, is this one.

Paul Theroux is a famous travel novelist, who was also in the Peace Corps, stationed in Malawi in 1963. He was involved in several infamous incidences.
First, Theroux published a piece opposing the US involvement in Vietnam in a newspaper run by the Malawian PCVs&hellip and managed to get his country director fired. Then, Theroux became friends with David Rubadiri, just before Rubadiri was named an enemy of Malawian government and forced to live as a political refugee in Uganda. From Uganda, Rubadiri asked Theroux to help his mother flee Malawi, by driving her in Rubadiri&rsquos car up to Uganda. Theroux did this, and also at his friend&rsquos request, delivered a letter to Yatuuta Chisiza, another political enemy of Hastings Banda, then the leader of Malawi. At Yatuuta Chisiza&rsquos request, Theroux then delivered a message to a baker, about a delivery of &ldquobread&rdquo (otherwise known as &ldquoweapons&rdquo). Theroux was subsequently accused of plotting to assassinate Banda, and was expelled from the country and Peace Corps, two months before the end of his service.

This is probably the most horrific of all the incidents recounted here. At Christmas, in 1996, some Peace Corps volunteers in El Salvador were walking on the beach when they were assaulted by a group of men with guns. The male volunteer was restrained while the three female volunteers were gang raped. They were saved from possible murder by another volunteer coming upon them with a flashlight. Seven months later, two of the women involved in that incident were attacked by another group of armed men in Guatemala and one of them was sexually assaulted again.

Dennis Priven was a Peace Corps volunteer stationed in Tonga in 1976 who became obsessed with another volunteer, 23 year old Deborah Gardner. She did not return his feelings, though she was aware of them, and even requested to be transferred to another island, away from him. Just before Priven was due to end his service and return home, the volunteers had a party, and Gardner was escorted home by another volunteer. Priven observed this and it sent him into a jealous rage. Less than a week later, Priven was observed by a Tongan trying to drag Gardner from her hut. She later died from 22 stab wounds, but was able to name her assailant before passing away. Priven was found not guilty by reason of insanity by the Tongan Court. However, when he was released to the United States, he was then proven not to have a mental illness. Because he had already been found not guilty, he was allowed to walk free and remains free to this day.

This is the only Peace Corps incident I&rsquom aware of which has managed to achieve a Darwin award. Natalie Waldinger, a 24 year old volunteer, serving in Tanzania in 2001, died after the click of her camera enraged a bull elephant, which trampled her to death. You can read about it here, and see the Darwin entry here.

Tessa Horan was a 24 year old volunteer stationed on a tropical island in 2006, who decided to swim into deep water with a friend, to cool off after a soccer game. She was pulled under and her friend saw a sharks fin. While they managed to make it back to shore, Horan had lost her leg to the shark and died of blood loss. Where was this dangerous tropical island you ask? Once again, it was Tonga. (For the record, I&rsquove been there, and it is a lovely, friendly place, where sharks are supposedly incredibly rare).

Tom and Eileen Lonergan were a married couple who completed three years in the Peace Corps, two in Tuvalu and one in Fiji. They then took a vacation, which involved scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, in 1998. Unfortunately, their tour boat left them behind on the reef, and they were never seen again. Some of their gear was found, and a diver&rsquos slate, on which was written a message asking for help. The tour operators didn&rsquot notice they had missed anyone for two days. There has been a lot of speculation on how this might have occurred, the most interesting theory being that Tom had planned to commit murder-suicide, a theory supposedly substantiated by entries in both his and Eileen&rsquos diaries. However, this theory may have been sensationalized by the dive tour company wanting to take the heat off themselves. The movie &ldquoOpen Water&rdquo was based on this incident.

One of the first Peace Corps volunteers, Margery Jane Michelmore, stationed in Nigeria, wrote a postcard to a friend in the US describing her situation as &ldquoprimitive&rdquo and in squalor. The postcard was discovered by a Nigerian student, who took offense. Copies were made and distributed to other students and it led to the new volunteers being denounced as &ldquoagents of imperialism&rdquo. This, in turn, led to the volunteers (who included experienced activists in their numbers) conducting a hunger strike, which eventually reopened a dialogue with Nigerian students. Supposedly President Kennedy, while speaking to a subsequent group of volunteers, urged them to write letters to people in the States and share their experiences, and added with a grin, &ldquobut no postcards.&rdquo


3 benefits of federal employment for RPCVs

You may know about the benefit of noncompetitive eligibility as an added boost in getting a federal government job, but did you know that there are other benefits when you become a federal employee after Volunteer service?

More Vacation Time

Although Volunteer service is not considered federal employment, your service can be credited towards certain federal employee benefits. You can increase your federal government annual leave by adding your two years of volunteer service. With your first job as a federal employee, you earn four hours of annual leave for each pay period. After three years of federal employment, you earn six hours of annual leave. Any Peace Corps Volunteer service (not including training) counts towards that federal service employment time. So, let's say you served as a Volunteer for two years – you would be earning two more hours of vacation time after just one year of federal employment instead of after three years of federal employment.

More Retirement Money

You may think it's a bit on the early side to think about retirement, but you can “buy back” your Volunteer service time towards retirement credit. Making a service credit payment is a step in this process since no money is taken out for a federal or civil service retirement system when you’re a Volunteer. It’s better to “buy back” retirement credit sooner rather than later. Interest starts to accrue on the deposit you need to make for this retirement credit after two years of being a federal employee.

Why should you make a deposit? To get a monthly annuity from the federal government, you must be vested in a retirement system. Federal and civil service retirement systems require five years of creditable service. Additional years of service – such as Peace Corps Volunteer service – will increase the amount of your annuity. You can see an example of how much more money here. Most federal employees, as well as teachers or state government employees, may be able to “buy back” service towards retirement. Visit here and contact your human resources department for details. You’ll most likely need to give HR proof of Volunteer service. Send an email to [email protected] and complete and return the Certification Request Form (attached to the automatic response) to request a Peace Corps certification to send to your HR department.

More Time Towards Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Peace Corps Volunteer service and working at a government organization count as qualifying employment for the Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Peace Corps Volunteer service may add up to 27 payments (if you sign up at the beginning of service) to the 120 qualifying payments (on a qualifying repayment plan for eligible loans) needed for this loan forgiveness program. Working for the government, whether at the local, state or federal level, can add more time needed to reach the 120 payments needed for loan forgiveness. Employment at a 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations would also qualify. Visit the Department of Education’s website, call FedLoan Servicing (855) 265-4038 and review this guide to see if and how you can you can get on the path to loan forgiveness.

For an official Certification of Service for any of these three benefits listed above, send an email to [email protected] , then complete and return the request form (attached to the automatic response). For additional resources and assistance with your job search, visit our RPCV Virtual Career Center.

Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors!

Ready to start your Peace Corps journey? Connect with a recruiter today.

Edited by Nana Yaa Agyemang: Nana Yaa Agyemang is a proud graduate of The University of Virginia where she majored in Foreign Affairs and Economics. After graduating, she served as an education and youth development volunteer in Paraguay from 2011-2013 and hopes to return soon. She is now a Program Support Assistant in the office of Peace Corps’ Chief Financial Officer.


Contents

1950–1959 Edit

In 1950, Walter Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers, proposed, in an article titled, "A Proposal for a Total Peace Offensive," that the United States establish a voluntary agency for young Americans to be sent around the world to fulfill humanitarian and development objectives. [9] Subsequently, throughout the 1950s, Reuther gave speeches to the following effect:

I have been saying for a long time that I believe the more young Americans who are trained to join with other young people in the world to be sent abroad with slide rule, textbook, and medical kit to help people help themselves with the tools of peace, the fewer young people will need to be sent with guns and weapons of war. [10] [11]

In addition, following the end of World War II, various members of the United States Congress proposed bills to establish volunteer organizations in developing countries. In December 1951, Representative John F. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) suggested to a group that "young college graduates would find a full life in bringing technical advice and assistance to the underprivileged and backward Middle East . In that calling, these men would follow the constructive work done by the religious missionaries in these countries over the past 100 years." [12] : 337–338 In 1952 Senator Brien McMahon (D-Connecticut) proposed an "army" of young Americans to act as "missionaries of democracy". [13] Privately funded nonreligious organizations began sending volunteers overseas during the 1950s. While Kennedy is credited with the creation of the Peace Corps as president, the first initiative came from Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, Jr. (D-Minnesota), who introduced the first bill to create the Peace Corps in 1957—three years before Kennedy, as a presidential candidate, would raise the idea during a campaign speech at the University of Michigan. In his autobiography The Education of a Public Man, Humphrey wrote,

There were three bills of particular emotional importance to me: the Peace Corps, a disarmament agency, and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The President, knowing how I felt, asked me to introduce legislation for all three. I introduced the first Peace Corps bill in 1957. It did not meet with much enthusiasm. Some traditional diplomats quaked at the thought of thousands of young Americans scattered across their world. Many senators, including liberal ones, thought it silly and an unworkable idea. Now, with a young president urging its passage, it became possible and we pushed it rapidly through the Senate. It is fashionable now to suggest that Peace Corps Volunteers gained as much or more, from their experience as the countries they worked. That may be true, but it ought not demean their work. They touched many lives and made them better. [14]

Only in 1959, however, did the idea receive serious attention in Washington when Congressman Henry S. Reuss of Wisconsin proposed a "Point Four Youth Corps". In 1960, he and Senator Richard L. Neuberger of Oregon introduced identical measures calling for a nongovernmental study of the idea's "advisability and practicability". Both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee endorsed the study, the latter writing the Reuss proposal into the pending Mutual Security legislation. In this form it became law in June 1960. In August the Mutual Security Appropriations Act was enacted, making available US$10,000 for the study, and in November ICA contracted with Maurice Albertson, Andrew E. Rice, and Pauline E. Birky of Colorado State University Research Foundation [15] for the study. [16] [17]

1960–1969 Edit

In August 1960, following the 1960 Democratic National Convention, Walter Reuther visited John F. Kennedy at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport to discuss Kennedy's platform and staffing of a future administration. [18] It was there that Reuther got Kennedy to commit to creating the executive agency that would become the Peace Corps. [18] Under Reuther's leadership, the United Auto Workers had earlier that summer put together a policy platform that included a "youth peace corps" to be sent to developing nations. [19] Subsequently, at the urging of Reuther, [20] John F. Kennedy announced the idea for such an organization on October 14, 1960, at a late-night campaign speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on the steps of the Michigan Union. [21] [22] He later dubbed the proposed organization the "Peace Corps." A brass marker commemorates the place where Kennedy stood. In the weeks after the 1960 election, the study group at Colorado State University released their feasibility a few days before Kennedy's Presidential Inauguration in January 1961. [23]

Critics opposed the program. Kennedy's opponent, Richard M. Nixon, predicted it would become a "cult of escapism" and "a haven for draft dodgers." [24] [25] [26]

Others doubted whether recent graduates had the necessary skills and maturity for such a task. The idea was popular among students, however, and Kennedy pursued it, asking respected academics such as Max Millikan and Chester Bowles to help him outline the organization and its goals. During his inaugural address, Kennedy again promised to create the program: "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country". [27] President Kennedy in a speech at the White House on June 22, 1962, "Remarks to Student Volunteers Participating in Operation Crossroads Africa", acknowledged that Operation Crossroads for Africa was the basis for the development of the Peace Corps. "This group and this effort really were the progenitors of the Peace Corps and what this organization has been doing for a number of years led to the establishment of what I consider to be the most encouraging indication of the desire for service not only in this country but all around the world that we have seen in recent years". [28] The Peace Corps website answered the question "Who Inspired the Creation of the Peace Corps?", acknowledging that the Peace Corps were based on Operation Crossroads Africa founded by Rev. James H. Robinson. [29]

On March 1, 1961, Kennedy signed Executive Order 10924 that officially started the Peace Corps. Concerned with the growing tide of revolutionary sentiment in the Third World, Kennedy saw the Peace Corps as a means of countering the stereotype of the "Ugly American" and "Yankee imperialism," especially in the emerging nations of post-colonial Africa and Asia. [30] [31] Kennedy appointed his brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, to be the program's first director. Shriver fleshed out the organization and his think tank outlined the organization's goals and set the initial number of volunteers. The Peace Corps began recruiting in July 1962 Bob Hope recorded radio and television announcements hailing the program.

A leading Peace Corps critic was U.S. Representative Otto Passman of Louisiana's 5th congressional district, based about Monroe. Critics called Passman "Otto the Terrible" for trying to thwart the program by reducing its funding to minimal levels. Ultimately, it would be President Nixon, who despite his previous skepticism rescued the Peace Corps after 1969 from Passman's congressional knife. [32]

Until about 1967, applicants had to pass a placement test of "general aptitude" (knowledge of various skills needed for Peace Corps assignments) and language aptitude. [ citation needed ] After an address from Kennedy, who was introduced by Rev. Russell Fuller of Memorial Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, on August 28, 1961, the first group of volunteers left for Ghana and Tanzania, known as Tanganyika at the time. [33] The program was formally authorized by Congress on September 22, 1961, and within two years over 7,300 volunteers were serving in 44 countries. This number increased to 15,000 in June 1966, the largest number in the organization's history. [34]

The organization experienced controversy in its first year of operation. On October 13, 1961, a postcard from a volunteer named Margery Jane Michelmore in Nigeria to a friend in the U.S. described her situation in Nigeria as "squalor and absolutely primitive living conditions." [35] [36] However, this postcard never made it out of the country. [36] The University of Ibadan College Students Union demanded deportation and accused the volunteers of being "America's international spies" and the project as "a scheme designed to foster neocolonialism." [37] Soon the international press picked up the story, leading several people in the U.S. administration to question the program. [38] Nigerian students protested the program, while the American volunteers sequestered themselves and eventually began a hunger strike. [36] After several days, the Nigerian students agreed to open a dialogue with the Americans.

Policies Edit

The theme of enabling Americans to volunteer in poor countries appealed to Kennedy because it fit in with his campaign themes of self-sacrifice and volunteerism, while also providing a way to redefine American relations with the Third World. Upon taking office, Kennedy issued an executive order establishing the Peace Corps, and he named his brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, as the agency's first director. Shriver, not Kennedy, energetically lobbied Congress for approval. Kennedy proudly took the credit, and ensured that it remained free of CIA influence. He largely left its administration to Shriver. To avoid the appearance of favoritism to the Catholic Church, the Corps did not place its volunteers with any religious agencies. [39] In the first twenty-five years, more than 100,000 Americans served in 44 countries as part of the program. Most volunteers taught English in local schools, but many became involved in activities like construction and food delivery. Shriver practiced affirmative action, and women comprised about 40 percent of the first 7000 volunteers. However given the paucity of black college graduates, racial minorities never reached five percent. The Corps developed its own training program, based on nine weeks at an American university, with a focus on conversational language, world affairs, and desired job skills. [40] That was followed by three weeks at a Peace Corps camp in Puerto Rico, and week or two of orientation the home and the host country. [41] [42]

1970–1999 Edit

In July 1971, President Richard Nixon, an opponent of the program, [24] [25] [26] brought the Peace Corps under the umbrella agency ACTION. President Jimmy Carter, an advocate of the program, said that his mother, who had served as a nurse in the program, had "one of the most glorious experiences of her life" in the Peace Corps. [43] In 1979, he made it fully autonomous in an executive order. This independent status was further secured by 1981 legislation making the organization an independent federal agency.

In 1976, Deborah Gardner was found murdered in her home in Tonga, where she was serving in the Peace Corps. Dennis Priven, a fellow Peace Corps worker, was later charged with the murder by the Tonga government. [44] He was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and was sentenced to serve time in a mental institution in Washington D.C. Priven was never admitted to any institution, and the handling of the case has been heavily criticized. The main criticism has been that the Peace Corps seemingly worked to keep one of its volunteers from being found guilty of murder, due to the reflection it would have on the organization. [45]

2000–present Edit

Although the earliest volunteers were typically thought of as generalists, the Peace Corps had requests for technical personnel from the start. For example, geologists were among the first volunteers requested by Ghana, an early volunteer host. An article in Geotimes (a trade publication) in 1963, reviewed the program, with a follow-up history of Peace Corps geoscientists appearing in that publication in 2004. [46] During the Nixon Administration the Peace Corps included foresters, computer scientists, and small business advisers among its volunteers.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed director Loret Miller Ruppe, who initiated business-related programs. For the first time, a significant number of conservative and Republican volunteers joined the Corps, as the organization continued to reflect the evolving political and social conditions in the United States. Funding cuts during the early 1980s reduced the number of volunteers to 5,380, its lowest level since the early years. Funding increased in 1985, when Congress began raising the number of volunteers, reaching 10,000 in 1992.

After the 2001 September 11 attacks, which alerted the U.S. to growing anti-U.S. sentiment in the Middle East, President George W. Bush pledged to double the size of the organization within five years as a part of the War on Terrorism. For the 2004 fiscal year, Congress increased the budget to US$325 million, US$30 million above that of 2003 but US$30 million below the President's request.

As part of an economic stimulus package in 2008, President Barack Obama proposed to double the size of the Peace Corps. [47] However, as of 2010 [update] , the amount requested was insufficient to reach this goal by 2011. In fact, the number of applicants to the Peace Corps declined steadily from a high of 15,384 in 2009 to 10,118 in 2013. [48] Congress raised the 2010 appropriation from the US$373 million requested by the President to US$400 million, and proposed bills would raise this further for 2011 and 2012. [49] According to former director Gaddi Vasquez, the Peace Corps is trying to recruit more diverse volunteers of different ages and make it look "more like America". [50] A Harvard International Review article from 2007 proposed to expand the Peace Corps, revisit its mission, and equip it with new technology. [51] In 1961 only 1% of volunteers were over 50, compared with 5% today. Ethnic minorities currently comprise 19% of volunteers. [52] 35% of the U.S. population are Hispanic or non-White. [53]

In 2009, Casey Frazee, who was sexually assaulted while serving in South Africa, created First Response Action, an advocacy group for a stronger Peace Corps response for volunteers who are survivors or victims of physical and sexual violence. [54] [55] In 2010, concerns about the safety of volunteers were illustrated by a report, compiled from official public documents, listing hundreds of violent crimes against volunteers since 1989. [56] In 2011, a 20/20 investigation found that "more than 1,000 young American women have been raped or sexually assaulted in the last decade while serving as Peace Corps volunteers in foreign countries." [57]

In a historic first, all Peace Corps volunteers worldwide were withdrawn from their host countries on March 15, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [5] Volunteers were not eligible for unemployment or health benefits, although some Members of Congress said they should be. Legislators also called upon FEMA to hire Peace Corps volunteers until the end of their service. [58]

During its history, Peace Corps volunteers have worked in the following countries: [61]

Latin America and the Caribbean (23% of volunteers serve here, 2019)

  • Argentina (1992–1994)
  • Belize (since 1962)
  • Bolivia (1962–1971, 1990–2008)
  • Brazil (1962–1981)
  • Chile (1961–1982, 1991–1998)
  • Colombia (1961–1981, since 2010)
  • Costa Rica (since 1963)
  • Dominica (since 1961)
  • Dominican Republic (since 1962)
  • Ecuador (since 1962)
  • El Salvador (1962–1980, 1993–2016) [62]
  • Grenada (since 1961)
  • Guatemala (since 1963)
  • Guyana (1966–1971, since 1995)
  • Haiti (1982–1987, 1990–1991, 1996–2005)
  • Honduras (1962–2012) [63]
  • Jamaica (since 1962)
  • Mexico (since 2004)
  • Nicaragua (1968–1979, since 1991)
  • Panama (1963–1971, since 1990)
  • Paraguay (since 1966)
  • Peru (1962–1974, since 2002)
  • Saint Lucia (since 1961)
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (since 1961)
  • Surinam (1995–2013)
  • Uruguay (1963–1973, 1991–1997)
  • Venezuela (1962–1976) [64]

Europe and central Asia (13% of volunteers serve here, 2019)

  • Albania (1992–1997, since 2003)
  • Armenia (since 1992)
  • Azerbaijan (2003–2016)
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina (2000–2002)
  • Bulgaria (1991–2013)
  • Cyprus (1962–1964)
  • Czech Republic (1990–1997)
  • Estonia (1992–2002)
  • Georgia (since 2001)
  • Hungary (1990–1997)
  • Kazakhstan (1993–2011)
  • Latvia (1992–2002)
  • Lithuania (1992–2002)
  • Kosovo (since 2014)
  • Kyrgyz Republic (since 1993)
  • Macedonia (since 1996)
  • Malta (1970–1975, 1990–1998)
  • Moldova (since 1993)
  • Poland (1990–2001)
  • Romania (1991–2013)
  • Russia (1992–2003)
  • Slovakia (1990–2002)
  • Turkmenistan (1993–2013)
  • Turkey (1962–1971)
  • Uzbekistan (1992–2005)
  • Ukraine (since 1992) [64]

Middle East and north Africa (3% of volunteers serve here, 2019)

  • Bahrain (1974–1979)
  • Iran (1962–1976)
  • Jordan (1997–2002, 2004–2015) [65]
  • Libya (1966–1969)
  • Morocco (since 1963)
  • Oman (1973–1983)
  • Tunisia (1962–1996, 2013)
  • Yemen (1973–1994) [64]

Subsaharan Africa (46% of volunteers serve here, 2019)

  • Benin (since 1968)
  • Botswana (1966–1997, since 2003)
  • Burkina Faso (1967–1987, 1995-2017 [66] )
  • Burundi (1983–1993)
  • Cape Verde (1988–2013)
  • Cameroon (since 1962)
  • Chad (1966–1979, 1987–1998, 2003–2006)
  • Comoros (1988–1995, since 2015)
  • Congo (1991–1997)
  • Central African Republic (1972–1996)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (1970–1991)
  • Equatorial Guinea (1988–1993)
  • Eritrea (1995–1998)
  • Eswatini (1969–1996, since 2003)
  • Ethiopia (1962–1977, 1995–1999, since 2007)
  • Gabon (1963–1968, 1973–2005)
  • Gambia (since 1967)
  • Ghana (since 1961)
  • Guinea (1963–1966, 1969–1971, since 1985)
  • Guinea-Bissau (1988–1998)
  • Ivory Coast (1962–1981, 1990–2003)
  • Kenya (1964–2014, since 2020)
  • Lesotho (since 1967)
  • Liberia (1962–1990, since 2008)
  • Madagascar (since 1993)
  • Malawi (1963–1976, since 1978)
  • Mali (1971–2012, 2014–2015)
  • Mauritius (1969–1976)
  • Mauritania (1966–1967, 1971–2011)
  • Mozambique (since 1998)
  • Namibia (since 1990)
  • Niger (1962–2011)
  • Nigeria (1961–1976, 1992–1995)
  • Rwanda (1975–1993, since 2008)
  • São Tomé and Príncipe (1990–1996)
  • Senegal (since 1963)
  • Seychelles (1974–1995)
  • Sierra Leone (1962–1994, 2010–2013, since 2016)
  • Somalia (1962–1970)
  • South Africa (since 1997)
  • Sudan (1984–1986)
  • Tanzania (1961–1969, since 1979)
  • Togo (since 1962)
  • Uganda (1964–1972, 1991–1999, since 2001)
  • Zambia (since 1994)
  • Zimbabwe (1991–2001) [64]

Asia (11% of volunteers serve here, 2019)

  • Afghanistan (1962–1979)
  • Bangladesh (1998–2006)
  • Cambodia (since 2007)
  • China (Under the name "U.S.-China friendship volunteers" [67] )(1993 [68] -2020 [69] )
  • India (1961–1976)
  • Indonesia (1963–1965, since 2010)
  • Malaysia (1962–1983)
  • Mongolia (since 1991)
  • Myanmar (since 2016)
  • Nepal (1962–2004, since 2012)
  • Pakistan (1961–1967, 1988–1991)
  • Philippines (1961–1990, since 1992)
  • South Korea (1966–1981)
  • Sri Lanka (1962–1964, 1967–1970, 1983–1998, since 2018)
  • Thailand (since 1962)
  • Timor Leste (2002–2006, since 2015) [64]

Oceania (5% of volunteers serve here, 2019)

  • Fiji (1968–1998, since 2003)
  • Cook Islands (1982–1995)
  • Marshall Islands (1966–1996)
  • Solomon Islands (1971–2000, since 2020)
  • Kiribati (1974–2008)
  • Micronesia (1966–2018)
  • Niue (1994–2002)
  • Papua New Guinea (1981–2001)
  • Samoa (since 1967)
  • Tonga (since 1967)
  • Tuvalu (1977–1997)
  • Vanuatu (since 1990) [64]

Peace Corps activities were suspended and all volunteers worldwide were evacuated on on March 15, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [70]

The application for the Peace Corps takes up to one hour, unless one talks to a recruiter. The applicant must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen and, according to a 2018 document, they should apply 6 to 9 months before they want to leave. They must go through an interview. [71]

Applicants can apply to only one placement every year. Placements can be sorted through the Peace Corps six project sectors: Agriculture, Environment, Community Economic Development, Health, Education, and Youth in Development. Applicants may also narrow down their application of choice by country they want to serve in various regions of the world.

Peace Corps volunteers are expected to serve for 2 years in the foreign country, with 3 months of training before swearing in to service. This occurs in country with host country national trainers in language and assignment skills.

Prior to 2014, the application process took about a year. [72]

The Peace Corps aims to educate community members on the different illnesses that are present in developing countries as well as what treatments exist in order prevent these illnesses from spreading. Volunteers are also often there in order to teach community members about modern agricultural techniques in order for them to more effectively produce food for themselves and each other (Peace Corps). The Corps is also a proponent of equal education and moves to allow for equal education opportunities for girls in countries like Liberia and Ethiopia. In 2015, the organization partnered with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement First Lady Michelle Obama's Let Girls Learn initiative. [73]

Eradicating malaria in Africa Edit

The Corps launched its initiative to engage volunteers in malaria control efforts in 2011. The initiative, which grew out of malaria prevention programs in Peace Corps Senegal, now includes volunteers in 24 African countries. [74] [75]

Environment Edit

The Corps offers a variety of environmental programs. Needs assessments determine which programs apply to each country. Programs include effective and efficient forms of farming, recycling, park management, environmental education, and developing alternative fuel sources. [76] Volunteers must have some combination of academic degrees and practical experience.

The three major programs are Protected-Areas Management, Environment Education or Awareness, and Forestry.

In Protected areas management, volunteers work with parks or other programs to teach resource conservation. Volunteer activities include technical training, working with park staff on wildlife preservation, organizing community-based conservation programs for sustainable use of forests or marine resources, and creating activities for raising revenue to protect the environment.

Environment Education or Awareness focuses on communities that have environmental issues regarding farming and income. Programs include teaching in elementary and secondary schools environmental education to youth programs creation of environmental groups support forest and marine resource sustainability ways of generating money urban sanitation management and educating farmers about soil conservation, forestry, and vegetable gardening. [77]

Forestry programs help communities conserve natural resources through projects such as soil conservation, flood control, creation of sustainable fuels, agroforestry (e.g., fruit and vegetable production), alley cropping, and protection of biodiversity. [78]

Peace Corps Response Edit

Peace Corps Response, formerly named the Crisis Corps, was created by Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan in 1996. [79] Gearan modeled the Crisis Corps after the National Peace Corps Association's successful Emergency Response Network (ERN) of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers willing to respond to crises when needed. ERN emerged in response to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. [80] On November 19, 2007 Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschetter changed Crisis Corps's name to Peace Corps Response. [81]

The change to Peace Corps Response allowed Peace Corps to include projects that did not rise to the level of a crisis. The program deploys former volunteers on high-impact assignments that typically range from three to twelve months in duration.

Peace Corps Response volunteers generally receive the same allowances and benefits as their Peace Corps counterparts, including round-trip transportation, living and readjustment allowances, and medical care. Minimum qualifications include completion of at least one year of Peace Corps service, including training, in addition to medical and legal clearances. The Crisis Corps title was retained as a unique branch within Peace Corps Response, designed for volunteers who are deployed to true "crisis" situations, such as disaster relief following hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions and other catastrophes.

Education and languages Edit

Peace Corps has created resources for teachers in the US and abroad to teach 101 languages. [82] [83] Resources vary by language, and include text, recordings, lesson plans and teaching notes.

Executive orders Edit

Peace Corps was originally established by Executive Order, and has been modified by several subsequent executive orders including:

  • 1961 – Executive Order 10924 – Establishment and administration of the Peace Corps in the Department of State (Kennedy) [84]
  • 1962 – Executive Order 11041 – Continuance and administration of the Peace Corps in the Department of State (Kennedy) [85]
  • 1963 – Executive Order 11103 – Providing for the appointment of former Peace Corps volunteers to the civilian career services (Kennedy) [86]
  • 1971 – Executive Order 11603 – Assigning additional functions to the Director of ACTION (Nixon)
  • 1979 – Executive Order 12137 – The Peace Corps (Carter) [87]

Laws Edit

Federal laws governing the Peace Corps are contained in Title 22 of the United States Code – Foreign Relations and Intercourse, Chapter 34 – The Peace Corps. [88]

Public laws are passed by Congress and the President and create or modify the U.S. Code. The first public law establishing Peace Corps in the US Code was The Peace Corps Act passed by the 87th Congress and signed into law on September 22, 1961. Several public laws have modified the Peace Corps Act, including:

    87–293, 75 Stat.612, enacted September 22, 1961 – The Peace Corps Act 88–200, 77 Stat.359, enacted December 13, 1963 89–134, 79 Stat.549, enacted August 24, 1965 89–554, 80 Stat.378, enacted September 6, 1966 89–572, 80 Stat.764, enacted September 13, 1966 91–99, 83 Stat.166, enacted October 29, 1969 91–352, 84 Stat.464, enacted July 24, 1970 94–130, 89 Stat.684, enacted November 14, 1975 – Bill to carry into effect certain provisions of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and for other purposes. [89]95–331, 92 Stat.414, enacted August 2, 1978 – Peace Corps Act Amendments [90]96–465, 94 Stat.2071, enacted October 17, 1980 – The Foreign Service Act of 1980 [91]97–113, 95 Stat.1519, enacted December 29, 1981 – International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1981 [92]99–83, 99 Stat.190, enacted August 8, 1985 – International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1985 [93]99–514, 100 Stat.2085, enacted October 22, 1986 – Tax Reform Act of 1986 [94]102–565, 106 Stat.4265, enacted October 28, 1992 – A bill to amend the Peace Corps Act to authorize appropriations for the Peace Corps for FY1993 and to establish Peace Corps foreign exchange fluctuations account, and for other purposes. [95]105–12 (text)(pdf), 111 Stat.23, enacted April 30, 1997 – The Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act of 1997 [96]106–30 (text)(pdf), 113 Stat.55, enacted May 21, 1999 – Peace Corps Act, FY2002, 2003 Authorization Bill [97] at Congress.gov

Code of Federal Regulations Edit

The Peace Corps is subject to Federal Regulations as prescribed by public law and executive order and contained in Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations under Chapter 3.

Limitations on former volunteers Edit

Former members of the Peace Corps may not be assigned to military intelligence duties for a period of 4 years following Peace Corps service. Furthermore, they are forever prohibited from serving in a military intelligence posting to any country in which they volunteered. [98] Former members may not apply for employment with the Central Intelligence Agency for a period of 5 years following Peace Corps Service.

Time limits on employment Edit

Peace Corps employees receive time-limited appointments, and most employees are limited to a maximum of five years of employment. This time limit was established to ensure that Peace Corps' staff remain fresh and innovative. A related rule specifies that former employees cannot be re-employed until after the same amount of time that they were employed. Volunteer service is not counted for the purposes of either rule. [99]

Non-supervisory domestic employees are represented by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3548. The Federal Labor Relations Agency certified the Union on May 11, 1983. About 500 domestic employees are members. The current collective bargaining agreement became effective on April 21, 1995.

Directors Edit

On January 3, 2018, President Donald Trump nominated Josephine "Jody" Olsen as the 20th director of the Peace Corps. [100] Olsen has a long history with the agency, serving as Acting Director in 2009, Deputy Director from 2002 to 2009, Chief of Staff from 1989 to 1992, Regional Director, North Africa Near East, Asia, Pacific from 1981 to 1984, and Country Director in Togo from 1979 to 1981. Olsen also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia from 1966 to 1968. [100] [101] She left office on January 20, 2021. [102] Here are the following directors:

# Director Service dates Appointed by Summary of Wikipedia page
1 R. Sargent Shriver [103] 1961–1966 [103] Kennedy [103] President Kennedy appointed Shriver three days after signing the executive order. [104] Volunteers arrived in five countries during 1961. [105] In just under six years, Shriver developed programs in 55 countries with more than 14,500 volunteers. [104]
2 Jack Vaughn 1966–1969 Johnson Vaughn improved marketing, programming, and volunteer support as large numbers of former volunteers joined the staff. He also promoted volunteer assignments in conservation, natural resource management, and community development.
3 Joseph Blatchford 1969–1971 Nixon Blatchford served as head of the new ACTION agency, which included the Corps. He created the Office of Returned Volunteers to help volunteers serve in their communities at home, and initiated New Directions, a program emphasizing volunteer skills.
4 Kevin O'Donnell 1971–1972 Nixon O'Donnell's appointment was the first for a former Peace Corps country director (Korea, 1966–70). He fought budget cuts, and believed strongly in a non-career Peace Corps.
5 Donald Hess 1972–1973 Nixon Hess initiated training of volunteers in the host country where they would eventually serve, using host country nationals. The training provided more realistic preparation, and costs dropped for the agency. Hess also sought to end the downsizing of the Peace Corps.
6 Nicholas Craw 1973–1974 Nixon Craw sought to increase the number of volunteers in the field and to stabilize the agency's future. He introduced a goal-setting measurement plan, the Country Management Plan, which gained increased Congressional support and improved resource allocation across the 69 participating countries.
7 John Dellenback 1975–1977 Ford Dellenback improved volunteer health care available. He emphasized recruiting generalists. He believed in committed applicants even those without specific skills and instead training them for service.
8 Carolyn R. Payton 1977–1978 Carter Payton was the first female director and the first African American. She focused on improving volunteer diversity.
9 Richard F. Celeste 1979–1981 Carter Celeste focused on the role of women in development and increased women and minority participation, particularly for staff positions. He invested heavily in training, including the development of a worldwide core curriculum.
10 Loret Miller Ruppe 1981–1989 Reagan Ruppe was the longest-serving director and championed women in development roles. She launched the Competitive Enterprise Development program, the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the Initiative for Central America and the African Food Systems Initiative.
11 Paul Coverdell 1989–1991 G.H.W. Bush Coverdell established two programs with a domestic focus. World Wise Schools enabled U.S. students to correspond with overseas volunteers. Fellows/USA assisted Returned Peace Corps volunteers in pursuing graduate studies while serving local communities.
12 Elaine Chao 1991–1992 G.H.W. Bush Chao was the first Asian American director. She expanded Peace Corps' presence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia by establishing the first Peace Corps programs in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and other newly independent countries.
13 Carol Bellamy 1993–1995 Clinton Bellamy was the first RPCV (Returned Peace Corps volunteer) (Guatemala 1963–65) to be director. She reinvigorated relations with former volunteers and launched the Corps' web site.
14 Mark D. Gearan 1995–1999 Clinton Gearan established the Crisis Corps, a program that allows former volunteers to help overseas communities recover from natural disasters and humanitarian crises. He supported expanding the corps and opened new volunteer programs in South Africa, Jordan, Bangladesh and Mozambique.
15 Mark L. Schneider 1999–2001 Clinton Schneider was the second RPCV (El Salvador, 1966–68) to head the agency. He launched an initiative to increase volunteers' participation in helping prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, and also sought volunteers to work on information technology projects.
16 Gaddi Vasquez 2002–2006 G.W. Bush Gaddi H. Vasquez was the first Hispanic American director. His focus was to increase volunteer and staff diversity. He also led the establishment of a Peace Corps program in Mexico.
17 Ron Tschetter September 2006 – 2008 G.W. Bush The third RPCV to head the agency, Tschetter served in India in the mid-1960s. He launched an initiative known as the "50 and Over," to increase the participation of older men and women.
18 Aaron S. Williams August 2009 – September 2012 Obama Aaron S. Williams became director on August 24, 2009. Mr. Williams is the fourth director to have served as a volunteer. Williams cited personal and family considerations as the reason for his stepping down as Peace Corps Director on September 17, 2012. [106]
19 Carrie Hessler-Radelet September 2012 – 2017 Obama Carrie Hessler-Radelet became acting Director of the Peace Corps in September 2012. Previously, Hessler-Radelet served as deputy director of the Peace Corps from June 23, 2010, until her appointment as acting Director. [107] From 1981 to 1983, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Western Samoa with her husband, Steve. She was confirmed as Director on June 5, 2014.
20 Jody Olsen February 2018 – January 2021 Trump Jody Olsen was confirmed Director of the Peace Corps on February 27, 2018. Olsen previously served the Peace Corps as Acting Director in 2009, Deputy Director from 2002 to 2009, Chief of Staff from 1989 to 1992, Regional Director, North Africa Near East, Asia, Pacific from 1981 to 1984, and Country Director in Togo from 1979 to 1981. Olsen also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia from 1966 to 1968.
21 Carol Spahn [108] January 2021 - present Biden

Inspector General Edit

The Peace Corps Office of Inspector General is authorized by law to review all programs and operations of the Peace Corps. [ citation needed ] The OIG is an independent entity within the Peace Corps. The inspector general (IG) reports directly to the Peace Corps Director. In addition, the IG reports to Congress semiannually with data on OIG activities. [ citation needed ] The OIG serves as the law enforcement arm of the Peace Corps and works closely with the Department of State, the Department of Justice, and other federal agencies OIG has three sections to conduct its functions:

Audit – Auditors review functional activities of the Peace Corps, such as contract compliance and financial and program operations, to ensure accountability and to recommend improved levels of economy and efficiency

Evaluations – Evaluators analyze the management and program operations of the Peace Corps at both overseas posts and domestic offices. They identify best practices and recommend program improvements and ways to accomplish Peace Corps' mission and strategic goals.

Investigations – Investigators respond to allegations of criminal or administrative wrongdoing by Peace Corps Volunteers, Peace Corps personnel, including experts and consultants, and by those who do business with the Peace Corps, including contractors. [109]

From 2006 to 2007, H. David Kotz was the Inspector General. [110]

Critics and criticisms of Peace Corps include former volunteer and country director Robert L. Strauss in Foreign Policy, [111] The New York Times, [112] The American Interest [113] and elsewhere, an article by a former volunteer describing assaults on volunteers from 1992 to 2010, [114] an ABC news report on 20/20, [115] a Huffington Post article on former Peace Corps volunteers speaking out on rapes, [116] and About.com's article on rape and assault in the Peace Corps. [117]

In the Reagan Administration, in 1986, an article in the Multinational Monitor looked critically at the Peace Corps. [118] On a positive note, the writer praises the Corps for aspects saying that it is "not in the business of transferring massive economic resources. Rather it concentrates on increasing productivity and encouraging self-reliance in villages that are often ignored by large-scale development agencies," and notes the "heavy emphasis on basic education" by the Corps. "Many returned volunteers complain that the Peace Corps does little to promote or make use of their rich experiences once they return . [A] Peace Corps volunteer is sent in . [to] relieve . the local government from having to develop policies that assure equitable distribution of health care . During the early years there were many failures in structure and programming . Some critics charge that the Peace Corps is only a somewhat ineffective attempt to counter damage done to the U.S. image abroad by its aggressive military and its unscrupulous businesses . Many observers and some returned volunteers charge that, in addition to public relations for the United States, Peace Corps programs serve to legitimize dictators . When he began evaluating the Corps in the 1960s, Charlie Peters found "they were training volunteers to be junior diplomats. Giving them a course in American studies, world affairs and communism . Although it seems unlikely that the Peace Corps is used in covert operations, wittingly or not it is often used in conjunction with U.S. military interests . In a review of the Peace Corps in March the House Select Committee on Hunger praised the agency for effective work in the areas of agriculture and conservation, while recommending that the Corps expand its African Food Systems Initiative, increase the number of volunteers in the field, recruit more women, and move to depoliticize country dictatorships." [ citation needed ]

The author suggests that "the poor should be encouraged to organize a power base to gain more leverage with the powers-that-be" by the Peace Corps and that "The Peace Corps is the epitome of Kennedy's Camelot mythology. It is a tall order to expect a small program appended to an immense superpower, to make a difference, but it is a goal worth striving for."

In December 2003, a report by the Brookings Institution praised the Peace Corps but proposed changes. [119] These include relabeling Peace Corps volunteers in certain countries, greater host country ownership, reverse volunteers (have volunteers from the host country in the U.S.), and multilateral volunteers. The Brookings Institution wrote that a "one-year service commitment [for the Baby Boom generation] could make the Peace Corps more attractive to older Americans, possibly combined with the option of returning to the same site or country after a three-month break" and customized placement to a specific country would increase the number of people volunteering.

In a critique by The Future of Freedom Foundation, [120] James Bovard mixes history of the Peace Corps with current interpretations. He writes that in the 1980s, "The Peace Corps's world-saving pretensions were a joke on American taxpayers and Third World folks who expected real help." He goes on to criticize the difference in rhetoric and action of Peace Corps volunteers, even attacking its establishment as "the epitome of emotionalism in American politics." Using snippets of reports, accounts of those in countries affected by the Peace Corps and even concluded that at one point "some Peace Corps agricultural efforts directly hurt Third World poor." At the end of the article, Bovard noted that all Peace Corps volunteers he had talked with conceded they have not helped foreigners . but he acknowledges that "Some Peace Corps volunteers, like some Americans who volunteer for religion missions abroad, have truly helped foreigners." [ citation needed ]

Sexual assault Edit

The Peace Corps has been criticized for failing to properly respond to the sexual violence that many of its female volunteers face. [121] BoingBoing editor Xeni Jardin describes criticism of the agency's response to assault: "A growing number of ex-Peace Corps volunteers are speaking out about having survived rape and other forms of sexual assault while assigned overseas. They say the agency ignored their concerns for safety or requests for relocation, and tried to blame rape victims for their attacks. Their stories, and support from families and advocates, are drawing attention from lawmakers and promises of reform from the agency". Among 8,655 volunteers there are on average 22 Peace Corps women who reported being the victims of rape or attempted rape each year. [122] [123]

At a meeting of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 2011, Peace Corps volunteers shared their experiences of violence and sexual assault. At this meeting, it was found that between 2000 and 2009 there have been several cases of rape or attempted rape, and about 22 women are sexually assaulted each year. The case of murdered Peace Corps volunteer Kate Puzey was discussed. The Peace Corps has gained attention in the media and their directors have been attacked for how they handled this situation. Kate Puzey's mother was one of those to make a comment at the meeting about how badly the situation with her daughter had been handled. One woman claimed that her country's director had blamed her for getting raped, while other victims have also been similarly blamed. [124] Criticism of how Peace Corps has responded to sexual assaults against volunteers culminated in the appointment of Kellie Green as the agency's first Director of the Office Of Victims Advocacy in 2011. Green was eventually pushed out of her position in April 2015 for purportedly "creating a hostile work environment". Greene maintains that Peace Corps retaliated against her for pressing agency officials to fully comply with their responsibilities towards volunteers who have been victims of sexual assault. A Change.org petition demanding that Green be reinstated began circulating among former volunteers in December 2015. [125]

In 2009, the most recent year reported, 69% of Peace Corps crime victims were women, 88% were under 30, and 82% were Caucasian. Worldwide, there were 15 cases of rape/attempted rape and 96 cases of sexual assault reported for a total of 111 sexual crimes committed against female Peace Corps volunteers. The majority of women who join the Peace Corps are in their mid-twenties. In 62% of the more than 2,900 assault cases since 1990, the victim was identified as being alone. In 59% of assault cases, the victim was identified as a woman in her 20s. [126]

White saviorism and American exceptionalism Edit

Some critics say the Peace Corps is an example of white saviorism and American exceptionalism at work. In 2019, Population Works Africa, a network of Black female consultants working in international development, [127] criticized the Peace Corps for its reliance on mostly inexperienced young people as volunteers, saying this "is rooted in the idea that Africa is such a barren wasteland that they will take just about any type of aid." [128] According to a 2020 article in The Washington Post, "About two-thirds [of volunteers] are White, leading some critics to charge it is not a fair representation of Americans and affects how volunteers view people in the countries where they serve." The group "Decolonizing Peace Corps," established in 2020 by returned Peace Corps volunteers, questions if Peace Corps and other development efforts "personify the white man’s burden of needing to 'civilize' non-white spaces and nations" and posits that the Peace Corps benefits volunteers more than it does the people of the countries in which they serve. [7] [129] The group has also criticized Peace Corps for pouring resources into volunteers rather than into the people of the host country. They are calling for an overhaul to Peace Corps' training practices and the eventual phase-out of the Peace Corps altogether. [130] Another former volunteer, Shalean Collins, criticized volunteers (and tourists) for sharing on social media photos of themselves with local people, whom they used "as props to the larger narrative of the Savior, Wanderer, or Nomad." [131] Michael Buckler, another former volunteer, wrote in The Hill that "saviorism is real, pervasive and toxic" in the Peace Corps, but he believes most volunteers come to understand and move beyond any notions of saviorism they may have had at the beginning of their service. [132]

In popular culture, the Peace Corps has been used as a comedic plot device in such movies as Airplane!, Christmas with the Kranks, Shallow Hal, and Volunteers or used to set the scene for a historic era, as when Frances "Baby" Houseman tells the audience she plans to join the Peace Corps in the introduction to the movie Dirty Dancing. [133]

The Peace Corps has also been documented on film and examined more seriously and in more depth. The 2006 documentary film Death of Two Sons, directed by Micah Schaffer, juxtaposes the deaths of Amadou Diallo, a Guinean-American who was gunned down by four New York City policemen with 41 bullets, and Peace Corps volunteer Jesse Thyne who lived with Amadou's family in Guinea and died in a car crash there. [134] Jimi Sir, released in 2007, is a documentary portrait of volunteer James Parks' experiences as a high school science, math and English teacher during the last 10 weeks of his service in Nepal. [135] James speaks Nepali fluently and shows a culture where there are no roads, vehicles, electricity, plumbing, telephone or radio. [135] The movie El Rey, directed and written by Antonio Dorado in 2004, attacks corrupt police, unscrupulous politicians and half-hearted revolutionaries but also depicts the urban legend of Peace Corps Volunteers "training" native Colombians how to process coca leaves into cocaine. [136]

In the 1969 film, Yawar Mallku/Sangre de cóndor/Blood of the Condor, Bolivian director Jorge Sanjinés portrayed Peace Corps volunteers in the camp as arrogant, ethnocentric, and narrow-minded imperialists out to destroy Indian culture. One particularly powerful scene showed Indians attacking a clinic while the volunteers inside sterilized Indian women against their will. The film is thought to be at least partially responsible for the expulsion of the Peace Corps from Bolivia in 1971. Peace Corps volunteer Fred Krieger who was serving in Bolivia at the time said, "It was an effective movie – emotionally very arousing – and it directly targeted Peace Corps volunteers. I thought I would be lynched before getting out of the theatre. To my amazement, people around me smiled courteously as we left, no one commented, it was just like any other movie." [137]

In 2016, Peace Corps partnered with jewelry retailer Alex and Ani to create cord bracelets to raise money for the Peace Corps' Let Girls Learn Fund. [138]


Hastings was born in Boston, Massachusetts. [1] His father Wilmot Reed Hastings was an attorney for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in the Nixon administration, and his mother Joan Amory Loomis was a Boston debutante from a Social Register family who was repulsed by the world of high society and taught her children to disdain it. [4] [5] [1] [6] His maternal great-grandfather was Alfred Lee Loomis.

Hastings attended Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door in a gap year before entering college. He graduated from Bowdoin College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics, which he found "beautiful and engaging". [1]

He joined the Marine Corps officer training through their Platoon Leader Class, and spent college summers in the Marines, including a stint at the Officer Candidate School boot camp at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia in the summer of 1981. He did not complete the training and never commissioned into the Marine Corps—choosing instead to pursue service in the Peace Corps “out of a combination of service and adventure”. [1] [7] He went to teach math at a high school of around 800 students in rural northwest Swaziland, Africa from 1983 to 1985 after college. [1] He credits part of his entrepreneurial spirit to his time in the Peace Corps, remarking that, “Once you have hitchhiked across Africa with ten bucks in your pocket, starting a business doesn't seem too intimidating”. [7] [8] [9]

After returning from the Peace Corps, Hastings went on to attend Stanford University after being rejected from his first choice MIT, graduating in 1988 with a Master's Degree in Computer Science. [10] [1]

Hastings' first job was at Adaptive Technology, where he created a tool for debugging software. [11] He met Audrey MacLean in 1990 when she was CEO at Adaptive Corp. [8] In 2007, Hastings told CNN, "From her, I learned the value of focus. I learned it is better to do one product well than two products in a mediocre way." [8]

Hastings left Adaptive Technology in 1991 to lay the foundation to his first company, Pure Software, which produced products to troubleshoot software. [7] The company's growth proved challenging for Hastings, as he lacked managerial experience. [7] He stated he had trouble managing with a rapid headcount growth. [1] His engineering background didn't prepare him for the challenges of being a CEO and he asked his board to replace him, stating he was losing confidence. [12] The board refused, and Hastings says he learned to be a businessman. [7] Pure Software was taken public by Morgan Stanley in 1995. [7]

In 1996, Pure Software announced a merger with Atria Software. The merger integrated Pure Software's programs for detecting bugs in software with Atria's tools to manage development of complex software. [13] The Wall Street Journal reported that there were problems integrating the sales forces of Pure Software and Atria after the head salesmen for both Pure and Atria left following the merger. [14]

In 1997, the combined company, Pure Atria, was acquired by Rational Software, which triggered a 42% drop in both companies' stocks after the deal was announced. [14] Hastings was appointed Chief Technical Officer of the combined companies [14] and left soon after the acquisition. [15] After Pure Software, Hastings spent two years thinking about how to avoid similar problems at his next startup. [15]

In 1997, Hastings and former Pure Software employee Marc Randolph co-founded Netflix, offering flat rate movie rental-by-mail to customers in the US by combining two emerging technologies DVDs, which were much easier to send as mail than VHS-cassettes, and a website to order them from, instead of a paper catalogue. [16] Headquartered in Los Gatos, California, Netflix has amassed a collection of 100,000 titles and more than 100 million subscribers. [17] Hastings had the idea for Netflix after he left Pure Software. [1] "I had a big late fee for Apollo 13. It was six weeks late and I owed the video store $40. I had misplaced the cassette. It was all my fault. I didn't want to tell my wife about it. And I said to myself, ‘I'm going to compromise the integrity of my marriage over a late fee?’ Later, on my way to the gym, I realized they had a much better business model. You could pay $30 or $40 a month and work out as little or as much as you wanted." [1]

Hastings said that when he founded Netflix, he had no idea whether customers would use the service. [7]

Netflix culture Edit

As Netflix grew, the company was noticed for its innovative management practices—the results of the culture Hastings was exploring—called “Freedom and Responsibility.” [15] Netflix reportedly offers mediocre employees large severance packages to ensure that employees are consistently working to further the company's innovative environment. Netflix has eliminated sick and vacation time for employees, and instead allows them to manage their time off individually. [18]

Hastings created an internal culture guide for Netflix by meeting with employees to discuss the company's culture and employees' theories about it. In August 2009, Hastings posted this internal culture guide publicly online, and it eventually became a pre-employment screening tool that dissuaded incompatible people from applying. [19]

In September 2020, Hastings and Erin Meyer co-authored a book on Netflix's culture and management principles with interviews from current and former employees. No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention was a New York Times bestseller, featured on year-end lists for publications such as NPR and The Economist. It was shortlisted for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award. [20] [21] [22]

Internet television Edit

Hastings is a proponent of Internet television and sees it as the future. [23] He credits YouTube for his shift in strategy for developing a video streaming service. [24] Netflix launched a service in 2007 to stream movies and television shows to computers. [23]

Hastings has been a director of Facebook since June 2011. [25] As of September 2016, he was reported to own over US$10 million worth of Facebook shares. [26] In April 2019, Facebook announced that Hastings would leave the board as of May 2019. [27]

Hastings was on the board of Microsoft from 2007 to 2012. [28]

California State Board of Education Edit

After selling Pure Software, Hastings found himself without a goal. [10] He became interested in educational reform in California and enrolled in the Stanford Graduate School of Education. [10] In 2000, Governor Gray Davis appointed Hastings to the State Board of Education, and in 2001, Hastings became its president. [10] He spent $1 million of his own money together with $6 million from Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr to promote the passage of Proposition 39 in November 2000, [29] a measure that lowered the level of voter approval for local schools to pass construction bond issues from 66 to 55 percent. [10] [23]

In 2009, Hastings ran into trouble on the State Board of Education when Democratic legislators challenged his advocacy of more English instruction and language testing for non-English speaking students. [30] The California Senate Rules Committee refused to confirm him as the board's president. [30] The California State Legislature rejected him in January 2005. [30] Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had reappointed Hastings to the board after Hastings' first term, issued a statement saying he was “disappointed” in the committee's action. [10] Hastings resigned. [ when? ] [10]

In April 2008, Steven Maviglio reported that Hastings had made a $100,000 contribution to California Governor Schwarzenegger's “Voters First” redistricting campaign. [31]

Charter schools Edit

Hastings is active in educational philanthropy and politics. [3] One of the issues he most strongly advocates is charter schools, publicly funded elementary or secondary schools that have been freed from some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools, in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each school's charter. [3]

In July 2006, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that Hastings had donated $1 million to Beacon Education Network to open up new charter schools in Santa Cruz County, where he lives. [32]

Hastings, as a Giving Pledge member since 2012, founded Hastings Fund and pledged $100 million to children's education. [33] In his post on Facebook, he said that the Hastings Fund "will donate these funds in the best way possible for kids' education." [34] Hastings Fund gave its first two gifts, totaling $1.5 million, to the United Negro College Fund and the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley for college scholarships for black and Latino youth. [35]

In March 2014, he argued for the elimination of elected school boards. [36]

Technology Edit

In April 2004, Hastings authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed advocating the expensing of stock options. [37]

Politics Edit

In August 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported that Hastings had donated $1 million to a committee formed to support California State Superintendent of Schools Jack O'Connell's candidacy for Governor of California in 2010. [38]

In April 2009, Hastings donated $251,491.03 to Budget Reform Now, a coalition supporting California Propositions 1A to 1F. [39]

In 2021, Hastings gave $3 million to defeat the campaign to recall Gavin Newsom as governor of California. [41]

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Edit

In June 2020, Hastings donated $120 million to be equally split among the United Negro College Fund, Morehouse College and Spelman College. [42] It was the largest individual donation ever to support scholarships at HBCUs.

Hastings lives in Santa Cruz, California. [43] He is married to Patricia Ann Quillin, and has two children. [10]

He appeared in a front-page article in USA Today in 1995, posing on his Porsche. [44] He considers that immature now and has said that if he ever appears on the front page of USA Today again it will "not [be] on the hood of a Porsche, but I would [pose] with a bunch of movies". [44] [ relevant? ] [6] Hastings sold his Porsche for a Toyota Avalon, but now drives a Tesla. [6]

In 2018, Hastings appeared in a podcast series by Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman, Masters of Scale, and discussed the strategy adopted by Netflix to scale. [45]


8 Little-Known Facts About the Peace Corps - HISTORY

Historical events in the month of March by day:

March 1, 1790 - The U.S. Supreme Court convenes for the first time.

March 1, 1872 - Yellowstone becomes the U.S.'s first national park.

March 1, 1932 - The Hoover Dam is completed.

March 1, 1958 - U.S. launches Explorer I, its first satellite.

March 1, 1961 - The U.S. Peace Corps was founded.

March 1, 1982 - Late Night with David Letterman premieres on NBC.

March 2, 1836 - Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

March 2, 1887 - The first Ground Hog Day is observed in Punxsutawney, PA

March 2, 1933 - The movie King Kong premieres.

March 2, 1962 - Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors scores 100 points in a basketball game.

March 3, 1931 - The Star Spangled Banner becomes the National Anthem

March 3, 1791 - Congress establishes the U.S. Mint.

March 3, 1855 - The U.S. Congress authorizes $30,000 to study the feasibility of using camels for military purposes.

March 3, 1899 - George Dewey becomes the first Admiral of the U.S. Navy.

March 3, 1931 - Congressional resolution makes the "Star Spangled Banner" the official U.S. anthem.

March 3, 1933 - Mount Rushmore is dedicated.

March 3, 1997 - The Howard Stern Radio Show premieres in Fayetteville, NC

March 4, 1789 - The Constitution of the United States of America goes into effect.

March 4, 1924 - "Happy Birthday to You" is published by Claydon Sunny/

March 4, 1930 - Mrs. Charles Fahning of Buffalo N.Y. is recognized as the first woman to bowl a perfect 300 game.

March 4, 1966 - John Lennon proclaims "We (Beatles) are more popular than Jesus."

March 5, 1770 - The Boston Massacre occurred.

March 5, 1836 - Samuel Colt manufactures the first pistol, the 34 caliber "Texas".

March 5, 1868 - C.H. Gould patents the Stapler in England.

March 5, 2004 - Martha Stewart is convicted of Obstructing Justice, a felony.

March 6, 1836 - The battle of the Alamo ends as Mexican forces overwhelm and kill all defenders.

March 6, 1899 - Felix Hoffmann at German Bayer company patents aspirin.

March 6, 1950 - Silly putty is invented.

March 6, 1964 - Boxing great Cassius Clay converts to Islam and changes his name to Muhammad Ali.

March 6, 1981 - Well known and loved Walter Cronkite signs off as anchorman off the CBS Evening News

march 7, 1857 - Baseball determines that nine innings constitutes a full game, not nine runs.

March 7, 1876 - Alexander Graham Bell patents the Telephone.

March 7, 1933 - Monopoly board game is invented.

March 7, 2011 - Charlie Sheen is fired from CBS comedy sitcom "Two and a Half Men"

March 8,1531 - King Henry III is officially recognized as the Supreme Head of the Church of England by the Convocation of Canterbury.

March 8, 1817 - The New Your Stock Exchange is founded.

March 8, 1936 - The first stock car race is run at Daytona Beach.

March 8, 1983 - President Ronald Reagan calls the USSR an "Evil Empire".

March 8, 1999 - Baseball great Joe DiMaggio dies.

March 9, 1562 - Kissing is banned in Naples, Italy, punishable by death.

March 9, 1862 - Ironclad ships the Monitor and the Merrimack battle in the Civil war.

March 9, 1959 - Mattel debuts Barbie dolls at the International American Toy Fair in New York City. See Barbie Doll Day

March 9, 1964 - The first Ford Mustang rolls off the assembly line.

March 10, 1862 - The U.S. government issues paper money for the first time.

March 10, 1876 - Alexander Graham Bell places the world's first telephone call, to his assistant in the next room.

March 11, 1669- Mt. Etna in Sicily erupts in its largest eruption ever, killing over 15,000 people.

March 11, 1888 - The most famous storm in American history begins. the Blizzard of 1888.

March 11, 1997 - The ashes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry are launched into space.

March 11, 1997 - Paul McCartney is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

March 12, 1894 - Coca Cola is sold in bottles for the first time in a candy store in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

March 12, 1912 - Girl Scouts of USA were founded by Juliette Low of Savannah, GA..

March 12, 1942 - Baseball great Joe DiMaggio agrees to a new contract with the NY Yankees, and gets a $6,250 raise. My, how times have changed!

March 12, 1965 - The song "Wooly Bully" by Sam the Sham and Pharaohs is released as a single. Karaoke anyone!?

March 13, 1639 - Harvard University is named after clergyman John Harvard.

March 13, 1868 - Senate begins impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.

March 13, 1887 - Greenwood patented earmuffs, originally called the "Champion Ear Protector". See Ear Muff Day

March 13, 1936 - Work on the Boulder dam is completed.

March 13, 1969 - Disney releases movie "The Love Bug".

March 13, 2012 - Encyclopedia Britannica announces it will no longer produce a printed version of its encyclopedia.

March 14, 1794 - Eli Whitney patents the Cotton Gin.

March 14, 1899 - German inventor Ferdinand von Zeppelin receives a U.S. patent for a "navigable balloon".

March 14, 1932 - George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company, commits suicide rather than facing the ravages of cancer.

March 15, 44 B.C. - "The Ides of March" Julius Caesar is stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus.

March 15, 1892 - Inventor Jesse W. Reno receives a patent for the world's first escalator.

March 15, 1965 - TGI Friday's opens their first restaurant, in NYC.

March 15, 2018 - After filing for bankruptcy, Toys R Us announces it will close all of its toy stores.

March 16, 1926 - Professor Robert Goddard launches the first liquid fuel rocket.

Marc 16, 1968 - General Motors produces their 100 millionth automobile, an Oldsmobile Toronado.

March 17 - On this day everyone is a little bit Irish- It's Saint Patrick's Day!

March 17, 1762 - First Saint Patrick's Day parade in NYC.

March 17, 1845 - The rubber band was invented by Stephen Perry in London. Can you imagine life without them.

March 17, 1969 - Golda Meir becomes the first female Prime Minister of Israel.

March 18, 1818 - The U.S. government approves the first pensions for government service.

March 18, 1931 - Shick introduces the first electric shaver to the marketplace.

March 18, 1965 - Soviet Union cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov becomes the first person to take a space walk.

March 19, 1911 - First International Women's Day, over 1 million men and women attend rallies around the world.

March 19, 1918 - Congress approves Daylight Savings Time

March 20, 1852 - Harriet Beacher Stowe publishes the book Uncle Tom's Cabin .

Mach 20, 1922 - The U.S. Navy commissions the first aircraft carrier, the USS Langley.

March 20, 1930 - Kentucky Fried Chicken is founded by "Colonel" Harlan Sanders in North Corbin, KY. It proves to be "finger lickin' good!"

March 20, 1941 - General Douglas McArthur escapes Japanese occupied Philippines, vowing "I shall return!"

March 21, 1935 - Persia is formally renamed Iran.

March 21, 1963 - The infamous Alcatraz prison is closed.

March 21, 2006 - Twitter was created. Social media will never be the same.

March 22, 1960 - The first patent for a laser is issued to Arthur Schlow and Charles Townes.

March 22, 1963 - The Beatles first album "Please, Please Me" is released in England.

March 23, 1775 - Patrick Henry declares "Give me liberty, or give me death!"

March 23, 1857 - Elisha Otis installs the first elevator at 488 Broadway in New York City.

March 24, 1882 - German scientist Robert Koch announces he has discovered the bacillus that causes Tuberculosis.

March 24, 1958 - Elvis Presley joins the U.S. Army.

March 24, 1964 - The Kennedy half dollar is put into circulation.

March 24, 1989 - The super tanker Exxon Valdez runs aground in Alaska's Prince William Sound and ruptures, spilling millions of gallons of oil.

March 25, 31 - The First Easter celebration is held.

March 25, 1954 - RCA manufactures the first color television.

March 25, 1957 - The European Economic Community (ECC) is established by the Treaty of Rome.

March 25, 1970 - The Concorde jet makes its maiden supersonic flight.

March 26, 127 - Greek Astrologer and mathematician Ptolemy begins his observations of the heavens.

March 26, 1827 - Ludwig von Beethoven dies in Vienna, Austria.

march 26, 1830 - The Book of Mormon is published in Palmyra, New York.

March 26, 1885 - The Eastman Dry Plate and Chemical Company manufactures the first motion picture film.

March 26, 1945 - U.S. Marines raise the American flag at Iwo Jima.

March 27, 1855 - Abraham Gesner receives a patent for kerosene.

March 27, 1909 - Fingerprints are used as evidence in a murder trial for the first time.

March 27, 1964 - The biggest earthquake ever recorded strikes Anchorage, Alaska. It measured 8.3 on the Richter scale.

March 28, 1797 - Nathaniel Briggs patents the washing machine.

March 28, 1866 - The first ambulance goes into service.

March 28, 1939 - The city of Madrid falls to the forces of Francisco Franco, ending the Spanish Civil War.

March 28, 1963 - The AFL's NY Titans become the NY Jets.

March 28, 1979 - Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident occurs in Middletown, Pa.

March 29, 1795 - At age 24, Ludwig von Beethoven debuts as a pianist in Venice

March 29, 1848 - Ice jams stop the flow of water over Niagara Falls.

March 29, 1882 - The Knights of Columbus is founded.

March 29, 1886 - Coca Cola is invented.

March 30, 240 B.B. - First recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet.

March 30, 1842. Ether is used as an anesthesia for the first time by Doctor Crawford Long in Georgia. See Doctor's Day.

March 30, 1858 - A pencil with an attached eraser is patented by Hyman L. Lipman of Philadelphia, PA.

March 30, 1867 - The United States buys Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million.

March 30, 1870 - The 15th amendment goes into effect, giving black men the right to vote.

March 30, 1964 - Jeopardy debuts on television.

March 30, 2020 - The International Olympic Committee announces the postponement of the 2020 summer games until 2021 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

March 31, 1880 - Wabash, Indiana claims to be the first town to be illuminated 100% by electricity.

March 31, 1958 - The Eiffel Tower opens in Paris, France

March 31, 1918 - Daylight Savings Time goes into effect for the first time in he U.S.

Holiday Insights , where every day is a holiday, a bizarre or wacky day, an observance, or a special event. Join us in the daily calendar fun each and every day of the year.

Did You Know? There are literally thousands of daily holidays, special events and observances, more than one for every day of the year. Many of these holidays are new. More holidays are being created on a regular basis. At Holiday Insights, we take great efforts to thoroughly research and document the details of each one, as completely and accurately as possible.

Note: If you are using the dates or historical information on our site for calendar or other publishing purposes, we recommend you double check with other sources.


Strengthened the American Space Program

Kennedy showed a strong commitment to revamping the human exploration of outer space. In April 1961, the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin set records as the first man to travel into space he completed a full orbit of the earth using his Vostok 1 capsule.

To counter this marvelous achievement of their rival nation, in what would become the famed race to the moon, Kennedy gave a powerful oration and challenged Americans to dare to land US astronauts on the surface of the moon in the coming 10 years. On 20th July 1969, true to the president’s words, the US manned Apollo missions safely landed American astronauts on the moon’s surface. Unfortunately, Kennedy’s life was cut short before he could witness the fruits of his moon speech.


Peace Corps and UT Austin

The University of Texas at Austin is recognized as the top Peace Corps Volunteer-producing university in the Southwest. Since 1961, more than 1,838 UT graduates have contributed their skills and knowledge in 135 developing nations. UT Austin is now the 8th top volunteer producing university in the country.

UT Austin's best and brightest have represented their alma mater well, lending their skills and knowledge to programs in agriculture, business, community development, education, environment, health and information technology.

Connect with the Recruiter

The UT Austin Peace Corps Recruiter provides on-campus recruiting and advising for current UT Austin students, staff, faculty and recent UT alumni. Please feel free to reach out by email to learn more about Peace Corps and how you can get involved.


Watch the video: Ιερουσαλήμ. Κοίμηση της Υπεραγίας Θεοτόκου (January 2022).