John F. Kennedy


On This Day in History!

On March 1, 1961 newly elected John F. Kennedy issued an executive order establishing the Peace Corps on a trial status.

President Kennedy’s intent was to have volunteers from our country to travel to underdeveloped countries and support the people of those nations who were “struggling for economic and social progress.” [1]

“Our own freedom,” Kennedy continued, “and the future of freedom around the world, depend, in a very real sense, on their ability to build growing and independent nations where men can live in dignity, liberated from the bonds of hunger, ignorance, and poverty.” [2]

During the 1960’s and 1970’s thousands of Americans served in dozens of underdeveloped countries. The majority of these countries included: Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Working with the people of these nations, Peace Corp helped build sewer, water systems, they helped teach in schools, helped the people develop new crops and agricultural methods to yield higher production to support their country.


220,000 Americans have served in the Peace Corp to date, they have helped 141 host countries, they currently have 6,919 volunteers and trainees, and are currently in 63 host countries.

Did You Know?

“• In March 2015, President Barack Obama and First
Lady Michelle Obama, along with the Peace Corps
and other federal agencies, launched Let Girls
Learn, a collaboration to promote education and
empowerment for girls worldwide. In the first nine
months, the effort had already inspired 105 projects by
Peace Corps Volunteers in 32 countries, from building
libraries to hosting technology camps, and enabled
new training for 700 Volunteers to date.

• In 2015, more than 23,000 people applied to be
Peace Corps Volunteers—a 40-year high. The record
came a year after the agency implemented historic
application and recruitment reforms, including the
option to choose your country of service and program
area, and shortening the application so it can be
completed in under an hour.

• The Peace Corps Prep program, which prepares
college students for international development
work, now boasts 39 college and university partners.
Founded in 2007, the Peace Corps Prep curriculum
combines undergraduate coursework, foreign
language study, and community engagement.
• In 2015, the Peace Corps expanded the innovative
Global Health Service Partnership to four countries,
working in conjunction with partners Seed Global
Health and PEPFAR, to increase training for doctors
and nurses abroad.” [3]

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