Peace Corps
The Peace Corps is an American volunteer program
United States Cultural Exchange Programs
United States cultural exchange programs, particularly those programs with ties to theBureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, seek to develop cultural understanding between United States citizens and citizens of other countries...

 run by the United States Government, as well as a government agency of the same name. The mission of the Peace Corps includes three goals: providing technical assistance, helping people outside the United States to understand US culture, and helping Americans to understand the cultures of other countries. Generally, the work is related to social and economic development.
The Peace Corps is an American volunteer program
United States Cultural Exchange Programs
United States cultural exchange programs, particularly those programs with ties to theBureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, seek to develop cultural understanding between United States citizens and citizens of other countries...

 run by the United States Government, as well as a government agency of the same name. The mission of the Peace Corps includes three goals: providing technical assistance, helping people outside the United States to understand US culture, and helping Americans to understand the cultures of other countries. Generally, the work is related to social and economic development. Each program participant (aka Peace Corps Volunteer) is an American citizen, typically with a college degree, who works abroad for a period of 24 months after three months of training. Volunteers work with governments, schools, non-profit organizations, non-government organizations, and entrepreneurs in education, hunger, business, information technology, agriculture, and the environment. After 24 months of service, volunteers can request an extension of service.

The program was established by Executive Order 10924, issued by President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 on March 1, 1961, and authorized by Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 on September 22, 1961, with passage of the Peace Corps Act (Public Law 87-293). The act declares the program's purpose as follows:
To promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.

Since 1961, over 200,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps and have served in 139 countries.



Following the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, various members of the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 proposed bills to establish volunteer organizations in developing countries. In December 1951 Representative John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

) 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." In 1952 Senator Brien McMahon
Brien McMahon
Brien McMahon, born James O'Brien McMahon was an American lawyer and politician who served in the United States Senate from 1945 to 1952...

 (D-Connecticut) proposed an "army" of young Americans to act as "missionaries of democracy." 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
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

), who introduced the first bill to create the Peace Corps in 1957—three years prior to the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

 speech. In his autobiography The Education of a Public Man, Humphrey wrote,
Only in 1959, however, did the idea receive serious attention in Washington when Congressman Henry S. Reuss
Henry S. Reuss
Henry Schoellkopf Reuss was a Democrat U.S. Representative from Wisconsin.-Childhood and education:He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew up in that city's German section. Reuss earned his A.B. from Cornell University in 1933 and was a member of the Sphinx Head Society. He then earned his LL.B...

 of Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 proposed a "Point Four Youth Corps". In 1960, he and Senator Richard L. Neuberger
Richard L. Neuberger
Richard Lewis Neuberger was a U.S. journalist, author, and politician during the middle of the 20th century. A native of Oregon, he would write for The New York Times before and after a stint in the United States Army during World War II...

 of Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

 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
United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It is charged with leading foreign-policy legislation and debate in the Senate. The Foreign Relations Committee is generally responsible for overseeing and funding foreign aid programs as...

 endorsed the study, the latter writing the Reuss proposal into the pending Mutual Security legislation
Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan
The was signed between the United States and Japan in Washington, D.C. on January 19, 1960. It strengthened Japan's ties to the West during the Cold War era...

. 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 the Maurice Albertson, Andrew E. Rice, and Pauline E. Birky of Colorado State University
Colorado State University
Colorado State University is a public research university located in Fort Collins, Colorado. The university is the state's land grant university, and the flagship university of the Colorado State University System.The enrollment is approximately 29,932 students, including resident and...

 Research Foundation for the study.


John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 first announced his idea for such an organization during the 1960 presidential campaign, at a late-night speech at the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

 in Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Washtenaw County. The 2010 census places the population at 113,934, making it the sixth largest city in Michigan. The Ann Arbor Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 344,791 as of 2010...

 on October 14, 1960. On November 1, he dubbed the proposed organization the "Peace Corps."

Critics opposed the program. Kennedy's opponent, Richard M. Nixon, predicted it would become a "cult of escapism" and "a haven for draft dodger
Draft dodger
Draft evasion is a term that refers to an intentional failure to comply with the military conscription policies of the nation to which he or she is subject...


Others doubted whether recent graduates had the necessary skills and maturity. The idea was popular among students, however, and Kennedy pursued it, asking respected academics such as Max Millikan and Chester Bowles
Chester Bowles
Chester Bliss Bowles was a liberal Democratic American diplomat and politician from Connecticut.-Biography:...

 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". 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
Operation Crossroads Africa
Operation Crossroads Africa is a non-profit, non-governmental organization working to build links between North America and Africa. It was founded in 1957 by the priest James Herman Robinson. OCA annually sends groups of young volunteers from North America to work on projects in Africa. At its...

 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". 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.
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
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

, Kennedy saw the Peace Corps as a means of countering the stereotype
A stereotype is a popular belief about specific social groups or types of individuals. The concepts of "stereotype" and "prejudice" are often confused with many other different meanings...

 of the "Ugly American" and "Yankee imperialism," especially in the emerging nations of post-colonial Africa and Asia. Kennedy appointed his brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver
Sargent Shriver
Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr., known as Sargent Shriver, R. Sargent Shriver, or, from childhood, Sarge, was an American statesman and activist. As the husband of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he was part of the Kennedy family, serving in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations...

, to be the program's first director. Shriver fleshed out the organization with the help of Warren Wiggins and others. Shriver and his think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

 outlined the organization's goals and set the initial number of volunteers. The program began recruiting in July 1962.

Until about 1967, applicants had to pass a placement test that tested "general aptitude" (knowledge of various skills needed for Peace Corps assignments) and language aptitude. 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
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

 and Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

. 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.

The organization experienced controversy in its first year of operation. On October 13, 1961, a postcard
A postcard or post card is a rectangular piece of thick paper or thin cardboard intended for writing and mailing without an envelope....

 from a volunteer named Margery Jane Michelmore in Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 to a friend in the U.S. described her situation in Nigeria as "squalor and absolutely primitive living conditions." However, this postcard never made it out of the country. The University of Ibadan
University of Ibadan
The University of Ibadan is the oldest Nigerian university, and is located five miles from the centre of the major city of Ibadan in Western Nigeria...

 College Students Union demanded deportation and accused the volunteers of being "America's international spies
Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it...

" and the project as "a scheme designed to foster neocolonialism
Neocolonialism is the practice of using capitalism, globalization, and cultural forces to control a country in lieu of direct military or political control...

." Soon the international press picked up the story, leading several people in the U.S. administration to question the program. Nigerian students protested the program, while the American volunteers sequestered themselves and eventually began a hunger strike
Hunger strike
A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance or pressure in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal, such as a policy change. Most hunger strikers will take liquids but not...

. After several days, the Nigerian students agreed to open a dialogue with the Americans.


In July 1971, President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

, an opponent of the program, brought the Peace Corps under the umbrella agency ACTION
ACTION (U.S. government agency)
ACTION was a United States government agency described as, "the Federal Domestic Volunteer Agency". It was formed in 1970 from VISTA; the Peace Corps; and the Foster Grandparents, Retired and Senior Volunteer, and Senior Companion Programs...

. President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

, 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. 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
Murder of Deborah Gardner
Deborah Gardner was a 23-year-old American Peace Corps volunteer who was murdered by another volunteer in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga in 1976. The handling of the subsequent trial of the killer brought much criticism against the Peace Corps.-Murder:...

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


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. During the Nixon Administration the Peace Corps included foresters, computer scientists, and small business advisors among its volunteers.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 appointed director Loret Miller Ruppe
Loret Miller Ruppe
Loret Miller Ruppe was a Director of the Peace Corps and US Ambassador to Norway. She was the wife of U. S. Congressman Philip Ruppe of Michigan.-Early life:...

, 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 September 11, 2001, attacks alerted the US to growing anti-U.S. sentiment in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 pledged to double the size of the organization within five years as a part of the War on Terrorism
War on Terrorism
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

. For the 2004 fiscal year, Congress passed a budget increase at 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
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 proposed to double the size of the Peace Corps. However, as of 2010, the amount requested was insufficient to reach this goal by 2011. 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. According to former director Gaddi Vasquez
Gaddi Vasquez
Gaddi Holguin Vasquez was the 8th United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, in Rome, Italy. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on June 29, 2006. Vasquez was sworn into office on September 7,...

, the Peace Corps is trying to recruit more diverse volunteers of different ages and make it look "more like America". A Harvard International Review article from 2007 proposes to expand the Peace Corps, revisit its mission and equip it with new technology. In 1961 only 1% of volunteers were over 50, compared with 5% today. Ethnic minorities currently comprise 19% of volunteers. 35% of the U.S. population are Hispanic or non-White.

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. 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. In 2011, a 20/20 investigation found that "more than 1,000 young American women have been rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

d or sexually assaulted in the last decade while serving as Peace Corps volunteers in foreign countries."


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. 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.

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
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...


Peace Corps Response

Peace Corps Response, formerly named the Crisis Corps, was created by Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan in 1996. 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
Rwandan Genocide
The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people in the small East African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of approximately 100 days through mid-July, over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate...

. On November 19, 2007 Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschetter changed Crisis Corps's name to Peace Corps Response.

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 six 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.

U.S. Code

Public law governing Peace Corps is contained in Title 22 of the United States Code
Title 22 of the United States Code
Title 22 of the United States Code outlines the role of foreign relations and intercourse in the United States Code.—Diplomatic and Consular Service Generally—Consular Courts—United States Court for China—Passports—Preservation of Friendly Foreign Relations Generally—Foreign Diplomatic and Consular...

 – Foreign Relations and Intercourse, Chapter 34 – The Peace Corps (22USC2501-22USC2523)

Code of Federal Regulations

The Peace Corps is subject to Federal Regulations as prescribed by public law and executive order and contained in Code of Federal Regulations
Code of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government of the United States.The CFR is published by the Office of the Federal Register, an agency...

 under Title 22 – Foreign Relations, Chapter 3 – Peace Corps (22CFR301 – 22CFR312)

Executive orders

Peace Corps was originally established by Executive Order, and has been modified by several subsequent executive orders including:
  • 1961 – 10924 – Establishment and administration of the Peace Corps in the Department of State (Kennedy)
  • 1962 – 11041 – Continuance and administration of the Peace Corps in the Department of State (Kennedy)
  • 1963 – 11103 – Providing for the appointment of former Peace Corps volunteers to the civilian career services (Kennedy)
  • 1971 – 11603 – Assigning additional functions to the Director of ACTION (Nixon)
  • 1979 – 12137 – The Peace Corps (Carter)

Public laws

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:
  • Pub. L. 87–293 – The Peace Corps Act – Sept. 22, 1961
  • Pub. L. 88–200 – Dec. 13, 1963
  • Pub. L. 89–134 – Aug. 24, 1965
  • Pub. L. 89-554 – Sept. 6, 1966
  • Pub. L. 89-572 – Sept. 13, 1966
  • Pub. L. 91–99 – Oct. 29, 1969
  • Pub. L. 91–352 – July 24, 1970
  • Pub. L. 94–130 – Bill to carry into effect certain provisions of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and for other purposes – Nov. 14, 1975
  • Pub. L. 95–331 – Peace Corps Act Amendments – Aug. 2, 1978
  • Pub. L. 96–465 – The Foreign Service Act of 1980 – Oct. 17, 1980
  • Pub. L. 97–113 – International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1981 – Dec. 29, 1981
  • Pub. L. 99-83 – International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1985 – Aug. 8, 1985
  • Pub. L. 99-514 – Tax Reform Act of 1986 – Oct. 22, 1986
  • Pub. L. 102-565 – 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 – Oct. 28, 1992
  • Pub. L. 105-12 – The Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act of 1997 – Apr. 30, 1997
  • Pub. L. 106-30 – Peace Corps Act, FY2002, 2003 Authorization Bill- May 21, 1999

Limitations on former volunteers

Former members of the Peace Corps may not be assigned to military intelligence
Military intelligence
Military intelligence is a military discipline that exploits a number of information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to commanders in support of their decisions....

 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.

Time limits on employment

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.

Union representation

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
Collective bargaining
Collective bargaining is a process of negotiations between employers and the representatives of a unit of employees aimed at reaching agreements that regulate working conditions...

 agreement became effective on April 21, 1995.


In July 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Aaron S. Williams, a career international development specialist, to serve as the new Director. At the time he was serving as vice president for international development at RTI International, a nonprofit. A former senior official with the United States Agency for International Development
United States Agency for International Development
The United States Agency for International Development is the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. President John F. Kennedy created USAID in 1961 by executive order to implement development assistance programs in the areas...

 (USAID), Williams volunteered in the Dominican Republic in 1967–70. He also coordinated Peace Corps minority recruitment in Chicago in 1970–71. On August 25, 2009 Mr. Williams was sworn in as the eighteenth Director of the Peace Corps.
DirectorService DatesAppointed byNotes
1 R. Sargent Shriver  1961–1966 Kennedy President Kennedy appointed Shriver three days after signing the executive order. Volunteers arrived in five countries during 1961. In just under six years, Shriver developed programs in 55 countries with more than 14,500 volunteers.
2 Jack Vaughn
Jack Vaughn
Jack Hood Vaughn was the second Director of the United States Peace Corps succeeding Sargent Shriver. Vaughn was appointed Peace Corps Director in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson and was the first Republican to head the agency....

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
Joseph Blatchford
Joseph Blatchford was the third Director of the United States Peace Corps succeeding Jack Vaughn. Blatchford was appointed Peace Corps Director in 1969 by President Richard Nixon.-Early life and education:...

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
Kevin O'Donnell
-Early life:O’Donnell was born and grew up in Cleveland and was educated at St. Rose’s Grammar School and West High School. O'Donnell spent two semesters at Kenyon college before joining the US Navy Supply Corps during World War II. He returned after the war and graduated from Kenyon in 1947...

1971–1972 Nixon O'Donnell's appointment was the first for a former Peace Corps country director (Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, 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 down-sizing 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
Carolyn R. Payton
Carolyn Robertson Payton was appointed Director of the United States Peace Corps in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter. She was the first female and the first African American to be Peace Corps Director...

1977–1978 Carter Payton was the first female director and the first African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

. 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
Loret Miller Ruppe
Loret Miller Ruppe was a Director of the Peace Corps and US Ambassador to Norway. She was the wife of U. S. Congressman Philip Ruppe of Michigan.-Early life:...

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
Caribbean Basin Initiative
The Caribbean Basin Initiative was a unilateral and temporary United States program initiated by the 1983 "Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act" . The CBI came into effect on January 1, 1984 and aimed to provide several tariff and trade benefits to many Central American and Caribbean countries....

, the Initiative for Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

 and the African Food Systems Initiative.
11 Paul Coverdell
Paul Coverdell
Paul Douglas Coverdell was a United States Senator from Georgia, elected for the first time in 1992 and re-elected in 1998, and director of the Peace Corps from 1989 until 1991...

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
Elaine Chao
Elaine Lan Chao served as the 24th United States Secretary of Labor in the Cabinet of President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. She was the first Asian Pacific American woman and first Chinese American to be appointed to a President's cabinet in American history. Chao was the only cabinet...

1991–1992 G.H.W. Bush Chao was the first Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

 director. She expanded Peace Corps' presence in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 and Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 by establishing the first Peace Corps programs in Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, and other newly independent countries.
13 Carol Bellamy
Carol Bellamy
Carol Bellamy has been Director of the Peace Corps, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund , and President and CEO of World Learning. In April, 2009, Bellamy was appointed as Chair of the International Baccalaureate Board of Governors...

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
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 and Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

15 Mark L. Schneider
Mark L. Schneider
Mark Lewis Schneider served as the 15th director of the Peace Corps .-Education and Peace Corps Service:Schneider grew up in Antioch, California where he attended Antioch High School and was class salutatorian. Schneider attended U.C...

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
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, and also sought volunteers to work on information technology projects.
16 Gaddi Vasquez
Gaddi Vasquez
Gaddi Holguin Vasquez was the 8th United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, in Rome, Italy. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on June 29, 2006. Vasquez was sworn into office on September 7,...

2002–2006 G.W. Bush Gaddi H. Vasquez was the first Hispanic American director. His focus was to increase volunteer and staff diversity.
17 Ron Tschetter
Ron Tschetter
-Education and Peace Corps service:Tschetter earned a bachelor's degree from Bethel University in psychology and social studies. After college, he and some friends traveled and hitchhiked around Europe, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. He returned home and met and married his wife Nancy...

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
Aaron S. Williams
Aaron S. Williams is the current Director of the Peace Corps.In July 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Williams, a career international development specialist, to serve as the new Director. The nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 7, 2009. At the time, Williams was serving as...

August 2009 – present Obama Aaron S. Williams became director on August 24, 2009. Mr. Williams is the fourth director to have served as a volunteer.

Inspector General

The Peace Corps Office of Inspector General is authorized by law to review all programs and operations of the Peace Corps. 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. 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


Hundreds of volunteers have written books about their countries of service, notably including:
  • Alan Weiss's 1968 account of Peace Corps training, High Risk, High Gain: A Freewheeling Account of Peace Corps Training, has been called "perhaps the most obscure, least known, and most unread" of all the great books written about the Peace Corps experience. Trainees in those days were classified by potential risk and by potential gain and Weiss discovered in his training days that he had been classified as High Risk/High Gain, a potential "Supervolunteer" or a potential "crash and burn." Weiss's book is funny, outrageous and sad but also valuable because it captures the “craziness” of those early years at the Peace Corps.
  • Published in 1969, Moritz Thomsen
    Moritz Thomsen
    Moritz Thomsen was an American farmer, writer, and Peace Corps volunteer who worked in the small Ecuadorian town of Rio Verde. His books have been praised by writers such as Paul Theroux, Thomas Cahill and Larry McMurtry.- Life :...

    's Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle (ISBN 978-0295969282) recounts the author's service in Ecuador. RPCV Paul Theroux
    Paul Theroux
    Paul Edward Theroux is an American travel writer and novelist, whose best known work of travel writing is perhaps The Great Railway Bazaar . He has also published numerous works of fiction, some of which were made into feature films. He was awarded the 1981 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his...

     said that Living Poor was the best book he ever read on the Peace Corps experience and Tom Miller wrote that Thomsen was "one of the great American expatriate writers of the 20th century." "And as an expat, he was free to judge us all, an undertaking he finessed with acute observations, self-deprecation, and a flavorful frame of reference that ranged from a Tchaikovsky symphony to a Sealy Posturpedic mattress."
  • For a history of the Peace Corps' early days, Coates Redmond's Come as You Are (1986, ISBN 978-0151194353) recounts its birth and how it was thrown together in a matter of weeks. "The book works as a charming, first-person history of the people who made the corps what it was in its formative years," says Charles DeBenedetti at the University of Toledo. "This book is highly readable and essential to understand the evolution of the unique Peace Corps spirit and style that continues to characterize the agency almost 45 years later," wrote Maureen Carroll, an early Peace Corps volunteer.
  • George Packer's
    George Packer
    George Packer is an American journalist, novelist and playwright.-Biography:Packer's parents, Nancy Packer and Herbert Packer, were both academics at Stanford University; his maternal grandfather was George Huddleston, a congressman from Alabama. His sister, Ann Packer, is also a writer...

    Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

     1982–83) The Village of Waiting (1988, ISBN 978-0374527808) is "one of the most wrenchingly honest books ever written by a white person about Africa, a bracing antidote to romantic authenticity myths and exotic horror stories alike," wrote Matt Steinglass. Isak Dinesen, Packer notes, wrote of waking in the Kenyan highlands and thinking, "Here I am, where I ought to be." Packer himself woke up sweating, hungry, "mildly at ease, or mildly anxious. But never where I ought to be."
  • Tom Bissell served for a few months in Uzbekistan in 1996 before he "early terminated". However, Bissell felt he had really failed the people he joined to help, so he returned in 2001 to write Chasing the Sea (2004, ISBN 978-0-375-72754-2) about the Aral Sea
    Aral Sea
    The Aral Sea was a lake that lay between Kazakhstan in the north and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan, in the south...

    . However, "the secret, personal point of the journey was revisiting this failure of mine, to try to make something up to the country and people I’d abandoned," says Bissell. "My ambitions were actually pretty modest. I wanted to write a book that everyone who traveled to Central Asia would want to read, and I wanted to write a book that everyone who joins the Peace Corps has pressed upon them," Bissell said.
  • Kris Holloway's Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years With a Midwife in Mali (2006, ISBN 978-1577664352) warmly recounts the author's experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali from 1989 to 1990, working as an assistant to a midwife, Monique Dembele. Holloway's memoir provides unique focus on issues of women's health and women's social and economic vulnerability. Reviewing the book for African Studies Review, Yale's Kari A. Hartwig noted that the story, "is told with an honest self-awareness of the author's own naiveté, her hope for a better future for her friend Monique and Monique's family, and the uncertain path of how to bridge difference, culture, opportunities, and privilege"
  • Lawrence F. Lihosit's Peace Corps Chronology; 1961–2010 (2010, 978-1450270694, ISBN 978-1450270694) nominated for the 2010 Peace Corps Writers' Publisher's Special Award, offers a compact history of the Peace Corps as well as informative comparisons. John P. Coyne, editor of Peace Corps Worldwide, has called it "a very impressive book" while fellow Peace Corps historian P. David Searles called it "excellent."
  • Lawrence F. Lihosit's South of the Frontera; A Peace Corps Memoir (2010, ISBN 978-1450218580) is a fast-paced and humorous travel adventure book describing Mexico and Central America between 1975 and 1977 when he went native before even joining the Peace Corps. "One learns a great deal about our Latino neighbors and about ourselves when we respond to them." , wrote P. David Searles, former Peace Corps staffer and author of a Peace Corps history. Craig Carrozzi, author of The Road to El Dorado (2000, ISBN 9780962028618), called this book "a classic."
  • Lawrence F. Lihosit's Years On and Other Travel Essays (2011, ISBN 978-1-4620-0804-9) includes twelve essays which describe how he hitchhiked along bleak Arizona highways, hacked a path though Honduran mountains in search of water, avoided caiman while riding bulls across flooded Bolivian savannah and grizzlies as he hunted caribou in bush Alaska, ran for his life after getting embroiled in Mexico City politics and more. Tony D'Souza, author of Whiteman commented, "Lihosit chronicles a Moritz Thomsen-like 'path less traveled,' a Peter Hessler-esque possession of language and culture...(the) best and rarest of ex-pats: the Yankee gone native."
  • Lawrence F. Lihosit's Whispering Campaign; Stories from Mesoamerica (2009, ISBN 978-1-4401-7331-8) is like a powerful magnifying glass, focusing on telling details and offering a different hue to American portraits. Allen W. Fletcher, author of Heat, Sand & Friends commented, "As in Chinatown or Ballad of a Thin Man, they go directly to the gut. The mix is a rich one."
  • Robert Keller's "Only Bees Die" (2010, ISBN 978-1452860343) is another travelogue/essays/speeches/example of work written as an "unofficial guide for new Volunteers serving in Eastern Europe." Several members of the wider international development community recommend the book to anyone serving in former communist, traditionally poorer countries.


In popular culture, the Peace Corps has been used as a comedic plot device
Plot device
A plot device is an object or character in a story whose sole purpose is to advance the plot of the story, or alternatively to overcome some difficulty in the plot....

 in such movies as Airplane!
Airplane! is a 1980 American satirical comedy film directed and written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker and released by Paramount Pictures...

, Christmas with the Kranks
Christmas with the Kranks
Christmas with the Kranks is a 2004 American comedy film directed by Joe Roth and starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. The screenplay by Chris Columbus is based on the 2001 novel Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.-Plot:...

, Shallow Hal
Shallow Hal
Shallow Hal is a 2001 romantic comedy film starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jack Black, and Jason Alexander. It was directed by the Farrelly Brothers and filmed in and around Charlotte, North Carolina as well as Sterling and Princeton, Massachusetts at Wachusett Mountain.- Plot :Hal Larson is a...

, and Volunteers
Volunteers (film)
Volunteers is a 1985 comedy directed by Nicholas Meyer and starring Tom Hanks and John Candy.-Plot:Lawrence Bourne III is a spoiled rich kid with a large gambling debt in the 1960s. After his father, Lawrence Bourne Jr...

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
Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing is a 1987 American romantic film. Written by Eleanor Bergstein and directed by Emile Ardolino, the film features Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the lead roles, as well as Cynthia Rhodes and Jerry Orbach...

. The Peace Corps has also been documented on film and examined more seriously and in more depth.
  • The 2006 movie Death of Two Sons, directed by Micah Schaffer, juxtaposes the deaths of Amadou Diallo
    Amadou Diallo
    Amadou Diallo was a 23-year-old Guinean immigrant in New York City who was shot and killed on February 4, 1999 by four New York City Police Department plain-clothed officers: Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, Edward McMellon and Kenneth Boss. The four officers fired a total of 41 shots...

    , a Guinean-America 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. The two men never met, but their destinies intertwine in this unique documentary.
  • In the 2005 Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Angelina's character Jane reveals to her husband John that she lied about being in the Peace Corps. Visibly upset, he responds, "I really liked that about you!".
  • 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
    Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

    . James speaks Nepali fluently and brings you into a culture where there are no roads, vehicles, electricity, plumbing, telephone or radio. Jimi Sir has been called the best movie ever made about the Peace Corps experience.
  • The 1970 movie ¿Qué Hacer?, filmed in Chile and directed by Saul Landau
    Saul Landau
    Saul Landau is journalist, filmmaker, and commentator. He is Professor Emeritus at California State University, Pomona. He is a senior Fellow at and Vice Chair of the Institute for Policy Studies.-Career:...

     on the eve of the election of Salvador Allende
    Salvador Allende
    Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

     as president of Chile, tells the story of CIA agent Martin who is sent to Chile to recruit Suzanne, a volunteer. Suzanne instead falls for the Chilean revolutionary Hugo and gets involved in a plot to kidnap Martin. Suzanne finally realizes that the revolution must be fought, but that for her the fight is back in the US.
  • Many Colombians believe that volunteers first taught Colombians how to process coca leaves into cocaine. U.S. officials and Peace Corps volunteers have long denied the allegation, but some Colombian historians and journalists have kept it alive. 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 "training".
  • In the 1969 film, Yawar Mallku/Sangre de cóndor/Blood of the Condor, Bolivia
    Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

    n Director Jorge Sanjinés
    Jorge Sanjinés
    Jorge Sanjinés is a Bolivian film director and screenwriter. He founded the production group Groupo Ukamau. He won the ALBA Prize for Arts in 2009.-Film career:...

     portrayed "Peace Corps volunteers in the campo 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."


  • The series finale of the television show, Boy Meets World
    Boy Meets World
    Boy Meets World is an American comedy-drama series that chronicles the events and everyday life lessons of Cory Matthews, played by Ben Savage, a kid from suburban Philadelphia who grows up from a young boy to a married man. The show aired for seven seasons from 1993 to 2000 on ABC, part of the...

    , showed characters Jack and Rachel both deciding to join the Peace Corps after they graduate from college.
  • In Grey's Anatomy
    Grey's Anatomy
    Grey's Anatomy is an American medical drama television series created by Shonda Rhimes. The series premiered on March 27, 2005 on ABC; since then, seven seasons have aired. The series follows the lives of interns, residents and their mentors in the fictional Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital in...

    , season 5, Callie Torres says she was in the Peace Corps and that is what made her want to go to medical school.
  • In the Family Guy
    Family Guy
    Family Guy is an American animated television series created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Griffins, a dysfunctional family consisting of parents Peter and Lois; their children Meg, Chris, and Stewie; and their anthropomorphic pet dog Brian...

    episode, "Jungle Love
    Jungle Love (Family Guy)
    "Jungle Love" is the thirteenth episode of the fourth season of Family Guy. Chris runs away from his home after getting hazed on his first day of school and joins the Peace Corps, after which he is dropped off in South America...

    ", Chris joins the Peace Corps and is assigned to a South American village, where he marries a native girl.
  • In How I Met Your Mother
    How I Met Your Mother
    How I Met Your Mother is an American sitcom that premiered on CBS on September 19, 2005, created by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays.As a framing device, the main character, Ted Mosby with narration by Bob Saget, in the year 2030 recounts to his son and daughter the events that led to his meeting...

    , season 1, it is mentioned that Barney Stinson
    Barney Stinson
    Barnabas "Barney" Stinson is a fictional character created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas for the CBS television series How I Met Your Mother, portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris. The character has been extremely well received by critics and has been credited for much of the show's success...

     was to run away with his girlfriend Shanon and join the Peace Corps, but instead she leaves for a womanizing suit-wearing man, which causes Barney to "suit up".
  • The character Goodwin in Lost
    Lost (TV series)
    Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...

    mentions that he was once a Peace Corps volunteer, and in being one learned how to bow drill
    Bow drill
    The bow drill is an ancient tool. While it was usually used to make fire, it was also used for primitive woodworking and dentistry. It consists of a bearing block or handhold, a spindle or drill, a hearth or fireboard, and a simple bow...

  • In Seinfeld
    Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, lasting nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself...

    , while explaining why he wants John F. Kennedy's golf clubs, Jacopo Peterman tells Elaine the inspiration for starting his company was his time in the Peace Corps.
  • In the final episode of The Suite Life on Deck
    The Suite Life on Deck
    The Suite Life on Deck is an American sitcom that aired on Disney Channel from September 26, 2008 to May 6, 2011. It is a sequel/spin-off of the Disney Channel Original Series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody...

    , Maya gets a mission from the Peace Corps to go to Chad
    Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

    , and in turn, breaks up with Zack.

See also

  • List of returned Peace Corps Volunteers
  • AmeriCorps
    AmeriCorps is a U.S. federal government program that was created under President Bill Clinton by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 and later expanded by 50 percent under President George W. Bush...

  • British Romanian Educational Exchange
    British Romanian Educational Exchange
    BREDEX is the British Romanian Educational Exchange. It is a volunteer student-led organisation which sends university students from the UK to a number of cities in Romania to teach conversational English....

  • CUSO
    CUSO was founded June 6, 1961 as Canadian University Service Overseas . It was a Canadian non-profit organization that provided volunteers to aid in the development of Third World countries. In 2008, CUSO merged with VSO Canada to become CUSO-VSO...

  • European Voluntary Service
    European Voluntary Service
    European Voluntary Service is the European Commission's project that allows a young person to become a volunteer in another country for a specified period, normally between 2–12 months...

  • Fredskorpset
    FK Norway is a Norwegian governmental body financing two-way mutual personnel exchange between companies and organisations in Norway and similar companies and organisations in the South - that is countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America....

  • International Voluntary Services
    International Voluntary Services
    International Voluntary Services, Inc., was a private nonprofit organization that placed American volunteers in development projects in Third World countries. IVS had volunteers in Algeria, Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Laos, Nepal, South Vietnam and other countries...

  • JICA
    KF3 is a kart racing class for top drivers aged 12 to 15 .This class used to be called Junior Intercontinental A and has changed since January 2007 when CIK-FIA decided to replace the 100 cc air-cooled two-stroke engines with 125 cc Touch-and-Go water-cooled two-stroke...

     (Japan International Cooperation Agency)
  • Korea International Cooperation Agency
    Korea International Cooperation Agency
    The Korea International Cooperation Agency was established on April 1, 1991, by the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.-KOICA:...

  • National Peace Corps Association
    National Peace Corps Association
    -Overview:Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the National Peace Corps Association is the nation’s leading 501 nonprofit organization supporting Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community through networking and mentoring to help guide former Volunteers...

  • Provincial Reconstruction Team
    Provincial reconstruction team
    A Provincial Reconstruction Team is a unit introduced by the United States government, consisting of military officers, diplomats, and reconstruction subject matter experts, working to support reconstruction efforts in unstable states. PRTs were first established in Afghanistan in late 2001 or...

  • United Nations Volunteers
    United Nations Volunteers
    The United Nations Volunteers program is a United Nations organization that advocates the role and benefits of volunteerism for development, integrates volunteers into development programmes, and mobilises volunteers for development projects. It was created to be a development partner for UN...

  • United States Cultural Exchange Programs
    United States Cultural Exchange Programs
    United States cultural exchange programs, particularly those programs with ties to theBureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, seek to develop cultural understanding between United States citizens and citizens of other countries...

  • Voluntary Service Overseas
    Voluntary Service Overseas
    Voluntary Service Overseas is an international development charity that works through experienced volunteers living and working as equals alongside local partners. It is the largest independent volunteer-sending organization in the world...

Further reading

  • Dillon Banerjee (2000). So You Want to Join the Peace Corps: What to Know Before You Go. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California.
  • Jahn, GC (1992). "Entomology with the Peace Corps in Thailand." American Entomologist 38(1):10–11.
  • Travis Hellstrom (2010). Unofficial Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook Written by Peace Corps Volunteers.
  • Peace Corps Writers. "A Bibliography of Writings by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers by Countries of Service" Peace Corps Writers.
  • In March 2011, the VOA Special English
    Special English
    Special English is a controlled version of the English language first used on October 19, 1959, and still presented daily by the United States broadcasting service Voice of America. World news and other programs are read one-third slower than regular VOA English. Reporters avoid idioms and use a...

    service of the Voice of America broadcast a 15-minute program on the Peace Corps and its 50th anniversary. A transcript and MP3 of the program, intended for English learners, can be found at "Peace Corps at 50: Same Mission of Aid, Just Smaller".
  • Moseley, W.G. and P. Laris. 2008. “West African Environmental Narratives and Development-Volunteer Praxis.” Geographical Review. 98(1): 59–81.
  • Moseley, W.G. 2011. “What I Tell My Students.” In: Barlow, A (ed). One Hand Does Not Catch a Buffalo: 50 Years of Amazing Peace Corps Stories. Volume One: Africa. Pp. 68–74."

External links

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