- October 14, 1960
- In a 2 a.m. impromptu presidential campaign speech, then–Sen. John F. Kennedy addresses 5,000 students at the University of Michigan, challenging them to contribute two years of their lives to help people in countries of the developing world.
- March 1, 1961
- Within weeks of his inauguration, President Kennedy signs Executive Order 10924, establishing the Peace Corps on a temporary pilot basis.
- March 1961
- R. Sargent Shriver is appointed by President Kennedy to be the Peace Corps' first Director. During his tenure from March 1961 to February 1966, Shriver developed programs in 55 countries with more than 14,500 Volunteers.
- June 1961
- Tanganyika I and Colombia I begin training for Peace Corps service. Peace Corps training activities are conducted at U.S. colleges, universities, and private agencies. Many trainees head to Puerto Rico, the Rocky Mountains, and other locations for field–training activities.
- June 22, 1961
- Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver tells the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the agency has received "about 11,000 completed applications" in the first few months of the agency's existence.
- August 28, 1961
- President Kennedy hosts a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden in honor of the first groups of Peace Corps Volunteers departing for service in Ghana and Tanganyika (now known as Tanzania).
- August 30, 1961
- The first group of 51 Peace Corps Volunteers, Ghana I, arrives in Accra to serve as teachers.
- September 22, 1961
- Congress approves legislation for the Peace Corps, giving it the mandate to "promote world peace and friendship" through a mission statement that continues today.
- October 14, 1961
- Peace Corps Volunteers learn a cultural lesson when a postcard written by a fellow volunteer describing her first impressions of Nigeria's living conditions is found by a local student. Not realizing her comparisons would be an affront to her local community and that the anonymous nature the of U.S. postal process would not apply in another country, this short communication home made front–page news in Nigeria and beyond.
- December 1961
- 500+ Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in nine host countries: Chile, Colombia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, St. Lucia, Tanzania, and Pakistan. An additional 200+ Americans are in training in the United States.
- Programs begin in 28 host countries: Afghanistan, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Iran, Jamaica, Liberia, Malaysia, Nepal, Niger, Peru, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Senegal, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, and Venezuela. As of June 30, 2,816 Volunteers are in the field.
- September 1964
- National Geographic magazine features Peace Corps Volunteers on its cover.
- June 1966
- More than 15,000 trainees and Volunteers are serving in the field. Historically, this is the highest number of Peace Corps Volunteers.
- September 1966
- Lillian Carter, the mother of President Jimmy Carter, departs for Peace Corps service at the age of 68 as a public health Volunteer in India.
Last updated Jul 16 2012
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