OCTOBER 13, 2021
The first Peace Corps volunteers comprised of teachers arrived on October 12, 1961.
THE United States Peace Corps, the US Embassy in the Philippines, the Philippine government and other partners held a virtual event to commemorate the American Peace Corps volunteers—more than 9,300 of them—who had served alongside Filipino host-communities across the country since October 1961.
Hundreds of former volunteers, host organizations, Peace Corps staff, as well as youth and other beneficiaries gathered online on October 6, as they recognized contributions of American volunteers and their local partners working in education, fisheries, coastal resource management, youth development, and other sectors through the decades. Participants also reflected on the unique ability of Peace Corps volunteers to meaningfully impact and integrate into their host communities as they learned local Filipino languages and lived with Filipino host families.
“Peace Corps volunteers have significantly advanced our shared diplomatic and human development objectives with the Philippine government, and will continue to embody the best in our partnership and friendship with the Filipino people for many more years to come,” said Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Heather Variava in her remarks.
Meanwhile, Acting Peace Corps Agency Director Carol Spahn recognized Peace Corps Philippines partners and staff on the recent pandemic-response efforts: “These are unprecedented times, and I commend you all for creatively working together to support students and communities across the Philippines in recovering from this [health crisis].”
Executive Director James Donald Gawe of the Philippines’s National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency also considered the contributions of Peace Corps Philippines staff and volunteers in education and social and economic development as “exceptional,” as he concluded: “Your dedication to service has been an inspiration to all of us, and we look forward to many more years of partnership, coordination, and advocating for national volunteerism.”
The event likewise featured anniversary greetings from senior leadership at the departments of Education and Social Welfare and Development, as well as a speakers’ panel composed of prominent Filipino leaders and national public-service award winners whose lives were touched and shaped by Peace Corps Philippines.
The Peace Corps is the US government’s premier volunteer-service organization. It was founded by former US president John F. Kennedy in 1961. Since then more than 240,000 Americans have served in 141 countries and committed themselves to achieving the Peace Corps’ mission of world friendship and peace.
Peace Corps Philippines is the agency’s second-oldest program. It looks forward to many more years of volunteer service and partnership with Filipinos. according to the US Embassy.