Here’s a look at some of the agency’s major accomplishments and milestones:
- 1961: President Kennedy hosts a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden in honor of the first group of volunteers departing for service. Congress approves legislation for the Peace Corps. The first volunteers arrive in Ghana.
- 1977: Carolyn Robertson Payton is appointed Peace Corps Director by President Jimmy Carter. She’s the first female and first African American to serve in this role.
- 1985: The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program, a graduate fellowship program offering financial assistance to returned volunteers, as well as opportunities to continue service in underserved communities, is established.
- 1995: The Peace Corps sends volunteers to the Caribbean island of Antigua to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Luis. This pilot program, Crisis Corps (now called Peace Corps Response), provides short-term humanitarian service to countries worldwide.
- 2005: For the first time, volunteers are deployed domestically when the Peace Corps Response program assists the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s relief operations in the Gulf Coast region following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
- 2007: The Peace Corps Prep program is established, offering an undergraduate certificate program that helps students build skills needed to be effective volunteers, giving them a competitive edge when applying for Peace Corps service.
- 2014: For the first time, Peace Corps applicants can choose the programs and countries they apply to, selecting the path that best fits their skills, languages, and personal and professional goals.
- 2016: The Peace Corps gets a makeover with the adoption of a new look and logo.
- 2020: The Peace Corps initiates its first global evacuation in its history in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.