In 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps to promote world peace and friendship, forever changing the way we as Americans see the world, and how the world sees us. Over 200,000 volunteers over the past 50 years have collectively worked to continue President Kennedy’s legacy of peace in over 140 countries.
The Peace Corps has become a popular option for recent graduates who are still looking to explore the world and help others. The Peace has it roots, after all, from a talk given by President Kennedy in 1960 at the University of Michigan where he challenged the students “to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries.”
Today, the average age for Peace Corps volunteers is 28 which means that many young people still find their post-college calling in Africa or Latin America. Regardless of where they are, volunteers are able to help with education, health and HIV/AIDS support, business or environmental support and development, or youth development.
In a Presidential Proclamation given by President Obama last month, he stated that “in our increasingly interconnected world, the mission of the Peace Corps is more relevant today than ever.” Returned volunteers bring home a greater understanding and acceptance of other cultures which is essential as we continue to strengthen our bonds with the rest of the world.
Events all around the nation will be celebrating the Peace Corps 50th anniversary for the rest of the year, from festivals to expos and symposiums. For a full list of upcoming events, go to the Peace Corps website and for more volunteering options, check out Abroad101’s Volutneer Abroad page.