Peace Corps Day is a holiday that is always celebrated on March 1. It celebrates the volunteers of the Peace Corps program. The program was established by President John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961. The mission of the volunteers is to assist underdeveloped countries by using technology to provide economic and social development while at the same time promoting world peace and mutual understanding between Americans and the populations served. Most of the time due to their exposure these volunteers often have teaching, cross-cultural, language, leadership, and community development skills that give them a competitive edge for job opportunities in today’s global economy. Many companies recruit returned Peace Corps volunteers as employees.
History of Peace Corps Day
President John F. Kennedy established Peace Corps as a U.S. agency of volunteers on March 1, 1961. Then on September 22, 1961, the U.S. Congress approved the Peace Corps Act. Kennedy’s brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver was the first director of the Peace Corps. The program has six project sectors which are, Agriculture, Environment, Community Economic Development, Health, Education, and Youth in Development.
Walter Reuther who was the President of the United Auto Workers proposed in 1950 that the U.S. establish a voluntary agency for American youth to be sent around the world to perform humanitarian objectives. Although Kennedy acknowledged the creation of the Peace Corps, the first initiative came from Senator Hubert H. Humphrey Jr. He introduced the first bill to create the Peace Corps in 1957 which was three years before Kennedy.
Those applying as volunteers of the Peace Corps will go through an interview process and they must be at least 18 years old, a citizen of the U.S., and they must apply six to nine months before they want to leave. Applicants can only apply to one placement per year and they have the choice to narrow down their application by their country of choice. The placement is usually sorted through the six project sectors. Once they are selected as volunteers, they are then expected to serve in the foreign country for two years before which they must have received three months of training. Before 2014, the application process took up to one year.
Peace Corps Day timeline
The first bill to create the Peace Corps is passed.
Congress approves the Peace Corps Act on September 21.
President Richard Nixon brings the Peace Corp under the umbrella agency ACTION in July.
A volunteer murders another volunteer named Deborah Gardner.
The Peace Corps forms a partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (U.S.A.I.D.) to implement the Let Girls Learn initiative.
Peace Corps Day FAQs
What is Peace Corps Week?
It celebrates the week that the agency was founded by President John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961.
Do Peace Corps get paid?
Volunteers get paid but the stipend is just enough for them to live modestly.
Do the Peace Corps carry guns?
They are not allowed to carry guns or any type of weapons to their assignments.
Peace Corps Day Activities
Attend a peace corp program
If you know of any Peace Corps program that will be taking place in your locality, you can attend and even invite a returned volunteer to share their stories and experiences with the group. You will learn a lot there.
Share your story
If you are a returned Peace Corps member you can share your stories and experiences with an audience. There are several programs that you can register with to be a speaker.
Become a volunteer
You can also register to be a volunteer. This way you will get first-hand experience.
5 Interesting Facts About The Peace Corps
Banned from military duties
Former volunteers of the Peace Corps are not allowed to join any military intelligence for four years after serving in the Peace Corps.
A lot of volunteers
There are a total of 7,334 volunteers and trainees.
The most served region
The region that has been served the most is in Africa.
It has served a lot of countries
As of 2018, the Peace Corps had been hosted in 141 countries and it had 235,000 volunteers.
They have been criticized for not responding to the sexual violence that many of its female volunteers face.
Why We Love Peace Corps Day
It is dedicated to helping other countries
The Peace Corps' main objective is to provide development to underdeveloped countries. They help these countries catch up with the rest of the world.
It is a good way to gain experience
As a volunteer for the Peace Corps, you will gain a lot of experience and exposure that will benefit you in the future. You will be equipped with more knowledge and skills than someone who didn’t volunteer.
You form an open mind
After visiting different countries and experiencing different cultures, your mind will be more open to accepting new things that might have ordinarily been out of the norm for you. This open mind will enable you to recognize opportunities that ordinarily you wouldn’t have.
Peace Corps Day dates