Announcing the Creation of the Peace Corps by JFK

This comes to us again through the kindness of Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963-65) who blogs on this site and is an expert on the history of the Peace Corps.

This audio is 30 minutes long. The Peace Corps is mentioned in the first five minutes.

According to Joanne, President Kennedy announces the Peace Corps as a pilot program at the beginning of his Press Conference, on March 1st, 1961.  “The entire Press Conference is thirty minutes long,” says Joanne, ” and it is well worth listening to the entire Conference.  Many of the topics sound contemporary for today, such as finding alternatives to military resolution of international problems and how to control the deficit.  Kennedy’s moral positions shine throughout all of his remarks. This very special press conference illustrates the political and ethical environment in which the Peace Corps was born.” This was only the 5th Press Conference for JFK.

Again, thanks, Joanne!5th-jfk-press-conference-01


Leave a comment
  • Joanne, You’re such a treasure! A few of us old-time RPCVs have been hoping that someone would pick up the torch that JFK said was being handed down to our generation.

    Thanks God that you and John Coyne are raising high that once brightly burning torch for the rest of us. Now let’s just hope that the Millenium Generation and others will take new notice of it.

  • Tino,

    Thank you but I am just collecting and reporting. This is all from recent release of recordings from the JFK Library. Peace Corps World Wide is the work of John and Marian Haley Beil; they keep it going and they are the inspiration.

    I will say it is so good to share these memories with people who remember and who were moved by the vision of that man and that time. I cry when I listen.

  • This is indeed a treasure. Watching the Press Conference brings out two very strong feelings.

    1. the great sense of loss that JFK was cut down after only three years. He was so special. Often our heroes of the past do not measure up very well when we see them again (or re-read them, say, as in a good book), but JFK is so wonderful. Still. God, we miss him. As much as I admire Obama and think he has done a grand job, he is, well, he is not JFK. Alas.

    2. As a journalist who worked for more than 30 years at the craft and even sat in those very chairs in the WH briefing room, I realize how the world has changed. So many men. No Blacks or Asians or Hispanics that I could see. And a different tone. Tough and knowledgeable questions, but slightly more deferential and respectful. The Press has aged more than JFK.

  • Joey, John,

    You must have noticed that within the first minute of Obama’s Inauguration Speech he mentioned a JFK speech.

    Great that on such an occasion as last night someone calls JFK to mind.

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