Recently I have been wondering how I would go about writing the history of the Peace Corps.  (Thankfully, I don’t have to do it but the question still intrigues me.)  What events, personalities, world events are important enough to be included?  I certainly don’t have the answer but I bet we, collectively, do.  Let’s collaborate on developing a Peace Corps chronology.

I have prepared a starter’ list of ’significant events’ and ‘general topics’ that could be included.  The list is far from complete, especially since my knowledge of the past thirty years is pretty skimpy.  I’m asking for everyone’s help in coming up with a definitive list of subjects.

 The list would include both specific happenings (of all kinds) that affected the Peace Corps in a meaningful way, and also, in a separate list, subjects that don’t have a specific beginning or end, but are important to understanding the organization. 

 Read through the list below, which includes both types.  Then, using your own experience and knowledge of the Peace Corps, make additions, comments, whatever.  For example, I show in 1974 that Peace Corps began to exit countries (I recall we did leave someplace that year) but we need more specifics on this topic. 

 I will do my best to keep up with the flow and regularly post a revised list until the end has been reached.  (If anyone has a good idea of how to manage the logistics of all this let me know.)



Peace Corps is conceived on a chilly night in Michigan (1960)

Peace Corps Executive Order proclaimed (1961)

The Peace Corps Act is passed (1961)

First PCVs go abroad (1961)

PC/W created and staffed (1961-63)

The Nigeria Letter Incident (196?)

Sargent Shriver leaves the Peace Corps (1966)

PCVs in the field reach 15,000 (19??)

Joseph Blatchford becomes Peace Corps Director (1969)



‘New Directions’ becomes Peace Corps policy (1970)

Older men and women actively recruited as volunteers (1970-onward)

Peace Corps training moved to in-country (1970)

Peace Corps subsumed into ACTION (1971-72)

Families with children permitted to serve as PCVs (1971- ?)

Congressman Otto Passman tries to destroy the Peace Corps (1972)

Mike Balzano becomes ACTION Director; PC/W turmoil ensues (1973-76)

Peace Corps exits countries as they prosper, or become dangerous (1974-onward)

Peace Corps achieves limited independence within ACTION (1979)


RPCV’s become a ‘voice’ in the public arena (1980-onward)  

Loret Ruppe serves as Peace Corps Director for eight years (1981-89)

Peace Corps achieves independence from ACTION (1983?)

Peace Corps enters former Soviet Bloc countries (19??)


Peace Corps enters the fight against AIDS (19??)

Presidents promise but never deliver (1990 onwards)

First RPCV (Carol Bellamy) becomes Peace Corps Director (1993)


Peace Corps enters China (19??)

The Peace Corps reaches out to the Islamic world (2001 onward)


Changes in PCV life styles over 50 years

Deaths, Kidnapping & Disappearances

Working relationships with USAID, NGO’s, and other organizations

Volunteer & staff relationships

Overseas posts & PC/W relationships

Partisan politics and the Peace Corps

The making of a successful Peace Corps Volunteer


Has it all been worthwhile?