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Peace Corps Launches New Partnership with Knox College

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 20, 2007 - Peace Corps Deputy Director Jody K. Olsen and Knox College President Roger L. Taylor today announced their partnership to revive the Peace Corps Prep program.

Students who enroll in the Peace Corps Prep program at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, will take specialized curriculum promoting international volunteerism. U.S. Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), a Galesburg native, also attended todays signing ceremony to celebrate the agreement between Knox College and the Peace Corps. Peace Corps Deptuy Director Jody K. Olsen shakes hands with Knox college President Roger L. Taylor during the signing ceremony at the Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

"The Peace Corps Prep program offers institutions of higher education a unique way to gain a competitive advantage in international education," said Deputy Director Olsen. "I'm pleased that this program is being re-introduced through our partnership with Knox College and that it will give more Americans an opportunity to serve in the Peace Corps."

In 2006, just two of every five applicants to the Peace Corps were invited to serve. In this highly competitive environment, applicants who are prepared for the demands of Volunteer service have a distinct advantage. With this in mind, and with the goal of increasing the effectiveness of Volunteers in the field, Peace Corps has reactivated its preparatory program to better equip students for international service.

Starting this fall, undergraduates at Knox College will incorporate Peace Corps Prep's internationally focused curriculum, foreign language study, and community service into their degree plans. Interested students will apply to Peace Corps Prep as sophomores, and then spend their junior and senior years fulfilling the programs requirements.

Although participation in Peace Corps Prep doesn't guarantee that applicants will be accepted as Volunteers, the specialized curriculum and experience should make them strong candidates. Peace Corps expects to widen its pool of qualified candidates by expanding the Knox College pilot program to other campuses throughout the U.S.

"Knox College was founded on the premise of preparing students for a life of service, " explains Roger L. Taylor, Knoxs President. "Today, many of our students still feel the pull to be leaders and to serve the greater good. This agreement offers an exciting new avenue to prepare students for volunteer service in international developmentespecially with the Peace Corps. "

Knox College is a national liberal arts college founded in 1837. With 1,350 students from 45 states and 44 countries, Knox College is ranked by The Washington Post among the top 100 colleges in the nation for its commitment to diversity, to student research, and to service.

Since 1961, more than 187,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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