01 March 2009

Peace Corps Established

President Kennedy Greets Peace Corps Volunteers (1961)
On this day, 01 March, in 1961: President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps was designed to encourage mutual understanding between Americans and other cultures of the world.

Visit this page at the JFK Presidential Library for more information on the establishment of the Peace Corps. Here is the statement as delivered by President Kennedy on the establishment of the Peace Corps:

I have today signed an Executive Order providing for the establishment of a Peace Corps on a temporary pilot basis. I am also sending to Congress a message proposing authorization of a permanent Peace Corps. This Corps will be a pool of trained men and women sent overseas by the United States Government or through private institutions and organizations to help foreign countries meet their urgent needs for skilled manpower. It is our hope to have between five hundred to a thousand people in the field by the end of this year.
We will send Americans abroad who are qualified to do a job. We will send those abroad who are committed to the concept which motivates the Peace Corps. It will not be easy. None of the men and women will be paid a salary. They will live at the same level as the citizens of the country which they are sent to, doing the same work, eating the same food, speaking the same language.
We’re going to put particular emphasis on those men and women who have skills in teaching, agriculture, and in health.

For more information visit the Peace Corps official site.