Peace Corps


Peace Corps Essay, Research Paper

1. Introduction

"Abundant Rewards." This is the

title of an essay that was written

by a Peace Corps volunteer, Laura

Stedman, on her reflections of her

work in Swaziland, serving as a

science teacher. The essay

discusses her students and what

turned out to be her most important

accomplishment, to give the

children confidence in themselves.

In this way she opened the door for

them to learn on their own, and to

feel that their opinions were

important. Once the children began

to share their own opinions, she

learned a large amount from them


The essay I described above sums up

my interests in the Peace Corps. To

be able to help those less

fortunate than you, and in a very

concrete way. Unlike sending "two

dollars a month, to help a child,"

to some informercial, were you

never really see the results, or

are to involved with them either.

You also don?t get the amazing

experience of learning about a

country?s culture and customs. Most

importantly, through the Peace

Corps you are able to go through

the enriching experience of

interacting with people, in which

case you both learn from each other

a great deal, and help each other

along the path of life. On a side

note, through the Peace Corps we

also show that the US is not the

"bully of the world" (as Saddam

would like to claim). That some of

us Americans, if not most, do care

about all people, not just


2. Background and Support

Peace Corps is a volunteer service,

in which Americans are sent to help

undeveloped and poverty-stricken

countries. The volunteers stay in

these host countries for two years.

They live with the people, in many

times poor conditions, and serve

and interact with the people of the

country. In doing this, the Peace

Corps have three major goals: "1)

To provide volunteers who

contribute to the social and

economic development of interested

countries; 2) To promote a better

understanding of Americans among

the people whom volunteers serve;

3) To strengthen Americans?

understanding about the world and

its people." Most of all, the

organization promotes world peace,

and understanding between America

and all the other nations and

people of the world. It is a United

States government agency, and is

funded by our tax dollars. Which is

a place where I don?t mind my money

going to.

How did the Peace Corps come to be?

It is a very complicated political

web of incidents, but can be summed

together quite easily. In the early

1960?s the youths of the nation had

grown tired of being idle, and they

believed America was becoming

pompous and arrogant. They wanted

change. They wanted to change the

world. Then the first glimpse of

that chance came. President Kennedy

went to the University of Michigan

on October 14, 1960. In his speech

that day, he asked the group of ten

thousand students present: "How

many of you are willing to spend

ten years in Africa or Latin

America or Asia working for the US

and working for freedom?" This

idea, the idea that later became

the Peace Corps, gave the chance to

quench this thirst for change, and

more importantly action.

3. Development and Recognition

The plan behind the Peace Corps was

mainly masterminded by Senator

Hubert Humphrey and Congressman

Henry S. Reuss. However, Kennedy

was the person who articulated it.

He did so at his speech at the

University of Michigan, and many

other speeches, including his

inaugural address. Especially with

his famous line: "Ask not what your

country can do for you, ask what

you can do for your country" (today

this line is somewhat of a motto

for the Peace Corps). Also, in

March of 1961, after being elected

president, Kennedy did as he

promised, and gave the executive

order creating the Peace Corps.

Less than half a year later,

volunteers were already being sent

to Ghana. By the end of 1961, the

Peace Corps expanded to serve a

dozen countries, and had close to a

thousand volunteers. Within the

next few years, the number of

countries with programs ore than

doubled, and in 1966 the number of

volunteers reached the highest in

history of over 15,000. In 1981, it

celebrated it?s 20th anniversary,

and received congratulations from

President Reagan. By this point it

had had programs in 88 countries,

and accumulated almost a hundred

thousand alumni. In 1989 the "world

wise schools" initiative is put in

place. This plan has elementary and

junior high classes going with the

volunteers to the countries, to

help promote world-wide awareness.

In 1995, a new form of the Peace

Corps, the Crisis Corps, is created

to help nations in cases of

emergencies. This brings us up to


4. Presentation

Today the Peace Corps continue to

help countries in need, and to

promote world peace. The volunteers

continue to help countries in the

areas of agriculture, education,

health, and trade. However, today

they are also helping countries in

the areas of teaching English,

business, city planning, youth

programs, and even the environment.

About six and a half thousand

volunteers and serving in

eighty-four different countries.

The regions in which most of their

effort is concentrated are Africa,

South America, the Pacific, Asia,

the former Soviet Union, the

Caribbean, and Eastern Europe.

President Clinton plans to try to

get the Peace Corps an increase in

funding of about twenty percent. If

he is able to, it is hoped that

within the next few years the

number of volunteers can be raised

to ten thousand, and that the Peace

Corps could have programs in even a

greater number of countries. This

extra money could also help with

the new Crisis Corps programs. The

Crisis Corps are Peace Corps

volunteers who go and help

countries suffering from recent

disasters by working through

non-governmental agencies, relief

agencies, and development agencies.

A part of the Peace Corps that is

not fully illustrated is the people

of countries who have or are

receiving aid. Through the Peace

Corps they gain new knowledge to

improve their lives, but they also

must take the initiative to do so.

Hopefully these people can put the

knowledge into use, and combined

with the continued aid of the Peace

Corps can empower themselves to

improve their lives, but hopefully

also improve the lives of others.

5. Conclusion

Without the Peace Corps the world

would not have one of the great

opportunities to grow together. One

volunteer can effect just one

person in his/her host country.

However, that person who becomes

empowered with new knowledge and

hope, instills that into his

family, who slowly instill this

into their village, and hopefully

at some point the entire country.

All the while America, through the

volunteers, is improving relations

with other countries, while other

nations are able to do the same.

With both parties learning so much

about each other, and through each

other. If this is not an utterly

good and important cause, I don?t

know what is. One day these

countries that we are, and have,

helped to improve their lives can

hopefully one day do the same for

others. The dream that I see in the

Peace Corps is one day worldwide

understanding between all people.

As long as the Peace Corps is

around, we know at least we are

striving in this direction.

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