Archive - June 11, 2020

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How the US government sold the Peace Corps to the American public

How the US government sold the Peace Corps to the American public

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77)   Academic rigor, journalistic flair by Wendy Melillo, Associate Professor, American University School of Communications         The Peace Corps, a service organization run by the U.S. government that dispatches volunteers to foreign countries, is on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. For the first time in its nearly 60-year history, none of its volunteers is stationed anywhere. To many Americans, the Peace Corps represents the best of American generosity abroad. That’s in line with its stated mission to promote world peace and friendship. But having researched the Peace Corps’ backstory while studying the messages in its early advertising, I see this pause as a chance to learn more about how it came to symbolize U.S. goodwill abroad in many Americans’ minds. I’ve learned how American perceptions of the agency were shaped by ads promising heroic adventures to the volunteers who signed up. In 1968, . . .

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