Peace Corps

Peace Corps At A Glance

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The Peace Corps is a program that seeks to promote world peace and understanding by sending American volunteers to serve at the grassroots level in villages and towns across the globe.

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The Peace Corps is a U.S. program that seeks to promote world peace and understanding by sending American volunteers to serve at the grassroots level in villages and towns in all corners of the globe. Originally established via executive order by President John Kennedy in 1961, the Peace Corps was institutionalized by the Peace Corps Act of 1961. The bill authorizes the creation of an independent Peace Corps agency housed within the executive branch that “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 … and to help promote a better understanding of the American people.” Annually, thousands of American volunteers serve in over 70 countries; volunteers typically serve for two year periods. Host countries are selected by several criteria: the extent of host country commitment, the safety and security of volunteers, the level of resources available to the Peace Corps, compatibility of country and Corps objectives, the presence of potential projects, cost effectivenes and congruence with U.S. national interests. The relevant legislation requires numerous annual reports to Congress on coordination efforts, work to stem sexual assault and program descriptions, among other things. Congress appropriates hundreds of millions of dollars annually to fund the Peace Corps, though the program’s funding authority has not been renewed since FY 2003. 

Program Data

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