The Peace Corps at 60

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In a post-pandemic world, the U.S. Peace Corps will be more important than ever (South Africa)
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“My Life Since Asmara, Eritrea” — Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia)
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My Peace Corps Story — Frank H. Tainter (Chile)
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Peace Corps at 60: “Service changed lives of Valley Volunteers in Sunbury, PA”
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The Peace Corps at 60 — Bonnie Black (Gabon)

In a post-pandemic world, the U.S. Peace Corps will be more important than ever (South Africa)

    By Jeff Walsh (South Africa 2016–18) “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela • March 1st, 1961 marks the 60 year anniversary of the United States Peace Corps. Over two generations ago, U.S. President John F. Kennedy asked idealistic young Americans to “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” On that historic day in March, Kennedy signed Executive Order 10924, sending 750 volunteers on a historic journey to 13 countries. Ghana and the African Continent were the very first to receive U.S. volunteers. Northwestern has certainly done its part as one of the top volunteer-producing universities in the U.S.. Since the Peace Corps’ inception, Northwestern has sent nearly 1,000 volunteers to serve overseas in the Peace Corps. I was sworn into the Peace Corps with my cohort of 37 in . . .

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“My Life Since Asmara, Eritrea” — Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia)

  My Life Since Asmara, Eritrea Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia 1962-64) • I was born and raised in Washington DC so was always surrounded by people from other lands. There are literally hundreds of embassies, consulates, cultural centers, international organizations, and foreign communities in DC from which one gathers an idea of the world. I recognized that man’s knowledge of the universe is rather limited but I could at least learn about our planet, its lands, and its people.  I set out to learn as much as possible about our world. By age ten I could not only name every state and its capital, but also every country in Europe and its capital. I wanted to see it all. My college work was heavy on geography with generous doses of world affairs and economics. I took the first opportunity out of college to learn about the world. The Peace Corps took me . . .

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My Peace Corps Story — Frank H. Tainter (Chile)

  by Frank H. Tainter (Chile 1964-66) • My Peace Corps experience was the most profound event of my life and I still spend much time musing over that experience. As I approach 80 years of age, those two years have become even more sharply into focus. I was raised in the Midwest, primarily in a German/Polish cultural environment with a large splash of Scandinavian thrown in. Neither of my parents graduated from high school, and based on their life experiences, both constantly insisted that I go to college and get an education. I wanted to study forestry but was told that it was one of the most difficult majors as one had to take not just courses relating to forestry but in many other disciplines such as sociology, economics, and psychology. Eventually I left home and worked for a forestry degree at the University of Montana, earning a forestry . . .

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Peace Corps at 60: “Service changed lives of Valley Volunteers in Sunbury, PA”

  By Rick Dandes The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa. Feb. 28—At a time when the Peace Corps has suspended all operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recalled 7,300 volunteers from 60 countries — a first for the six-decade-old program — six former volunteers with Valley connections recall the value of their “life-changing” experiences and praised the virtues of the far-off locations where they served. Whether assigned to primitive villages in Africa in the 1980s, emerging democracies in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, or more recently to South America, they all joined the Peace Corps out of a desire to serve their country and to help people in need, using skills they already had or acquired in college. The Peace Corps will celebrate its 60th anniversary on Monday. Signed into existence by President John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961, the Peace Corps is a service organization with volunteers usually . . .

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The Peace Corps at 60 — Bonnie Black (Gabon)

    A Peace Corps Memory by Bonnie Black (Gabon 1996-98)   Sixty years ago, on March 1, 1961, President Kennedy — heartthrob to me and all of my fellow teenage girlfriends at the time — established the United States Peace Corps. I was not among the thousands of idealistic young people who flocked to answer JFK’s call to “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country” and sign up for Peace Corps service. No. In characteristic glacial fashion, I took a lot longer. I was fifty years old when I joined. Looking back now, I can see it was a risky decision, for which I was rightly criticized by some friends and family. For one thing, if I hadn’t dropped out of the workforce for two years to become a Peace Corps volunteer in Gabon, Central Africa, from 1996-98 — and . . .

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