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Back to the 1960s

The Peace Corps

In 1960, John F. Kennedy, proposed to the University of Michigan, to help the developing countries, by promoting peace. He encouraged them to go to needy countries and give them aid, financially, educationally, and physically. This spurred an evolution in the form of volunteering around the world.

Since 1960, 190,000 volunteers have been sent to 139 host countries that are in need of help; currently they are serving in 74 countries. These brave volunteers venture to rural third world countries, with the mind set of helping others just because their conscious and mind care for deprived people. Many of these people in these needy countries are dying from starvation, famine, and disease; they spend their days searching for food and shelter. The children seen on infomercials are the same children that the Peace Corps volunteers strive to help.

Volunteers do a variety of jobs within the countries, some teach children how to read and write, and others help with labor intensive jobs, such as building wells and public buildings, such as schools. Other volunteers help the local farmers grow their crops, so they can make enough money to survive. They also help teach the public about the severity of HIV/AIDS. Since 1960, the Peace Corps has saved many lives, they are very determined to educate people and help them learn how to survive the best way they know possible.

They helped teach not only about HIV/AIDS but also about having safe sex, how to decontaminate their water and what traditional ceremonies such as castrating women, were wrong and very unsafe. Building water wells are very important to many of the people in these needy countries. Wells provide families with fresh uncontaminated water that will not make them sick or cause the spread of disease. The volunteers also help take care of sick children; they try to nurse them back to health. Sometimes the local governments in these foreign countries ask the Peace Corps volunteers to clean up local cities that are in despair, and need to be cleaned up.

The main reason that John F. Kennedy proposed this idea was to ultimately, halt communism. The domino theory was going strong, and he asked these volunteers to spread democratic ideas. These volunteers are sent to these countries in hopes of bettering the relationship with the country in need of services and the United States. It helps public relations, and gives the U.S. more allies. The Peace Corps was a good idea during the time of the Cold War because so many countries were in the middle of fighting with other countries or even fighting with themselves, and this organization promoted peace.

Researched by Lindsay Boshak
Volunteer for the Cold War Museum
Cosby High School


Ulam Weiner, Rebecca. “Peace Corp.” Boston Globe. April 23, 2006. Boston Globe. 2 Jun 2008 .

“So You wanna join the Peace Corps.” So You Wanna... 2007. Demand Entertainment. 30 May 2008 .

“What is the Peace corps?.“ Peace Corps . USA Freedom Corps. 12 May 2008 .

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