The Peace Corps is an international non-profit that provides education, environmental conservation, and economic development throughout 65 countries worldwide. Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy was the initial founder, signing an executive order to establish the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961.
- In September of 1966, Jimmy Carter’s mother, Lillian Carter, joined the Peace Corps where she served in India working to improve the public health system. She was 68 at the time of her departure. Evidently, she passed her passion for volunteer service on to her son, as her son went on to form the Carter Center, which is dedicated to humanitarian work worldwide.
- The Peace Corps once served in Afghanistan. They began their work in Afghanistan in 1962, stationing 1,652 volunteers there. However, due to violence and political instability, they ended their program in 1979. Today, the only Middle Eastern country that the Peace Corps serves is Jordan, where there are currently 53 volunteers working to improve education as well as community development. Jordan’s program was established in 1997, and since has hosted 560 volunteers.
- During the early part of the Peace Corps, the majority of those serving were men. This was likely in part due to the traditional views of a woman’s place in society, that were common throughout the 60’s. However, as the 70’s rolled around and the Feminist Movement gained more ground, more women began signing up for the Peace Corps. By 1985, more women were serving than men.
- In 1995, a women’s empowerment group formed within the Peace Corps, entitled Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World). The program was designed to empower young women throughout the world and encourage them to challenge traditional gender roles in their cultures. Additionally, they provided female health education, which is often lacking in the second and third world countries. The first chapter began in Romania , and now there are sixty different Camp GLOW chapters worldwide.
- In September of 2005, the Peace Corps stationed volunteers in the U.S., for the first time in the history of the organization. The volunteers were stationed along the Gulf Coast to aid in the relief work following Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. The Peace Corps has a segment called the Crisis Corps, which is specifically designated to provide relief from natural disasters and to provide medical attention and aid to all of those who were injured in the hurricanes.