Following are quotations that reflect the vision for the Peace Corps, and the response of opinion and world leaders to the impact of Volunteers.
Former U.S. Presidents on Peace Corps:
"Peace Corps volunteers don't carry our culture; they carry universal values and principles that are so incredibly important for all mankind."
George W. Bush 2001 - 2009
"When President Kennedy founded the Peace Corps in 1961, he saw it as a bold experiment in public service that would unite our nation's highest ideals with a pragmatic approach to bettering the lives of ordinary people around the world. He also saw it as an investment in our own future, in an increasingly interdependent world. In the years since, it's paid off many times over."
William Clinton 1993-2001
"Soon you'll be in Africa, where you'll be a vital part of the relief aid to help the millions suffering from malnutrition and starvation. You'll be living in some of the most impoverished countries of the world, working in food production, soil conservation, fisheries production, forest preservation, and water supply development. By bringing your training and skills to bear on the underlying problems of agricultural and economic development, you can help your host nations make the difficult but vital journey from dependence on short-term aid to self-sufficiency."
Ronald Reagan 1981 - 1989
"Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed—doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language.
But if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps—who works in a foreign land—will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace."
John F. Kennedy 1961 - 1963
Governors on Peace Corps:
"Since its inception in 1961 the Peace Corps has become an enduring symbol of our nation's active commitment to support progress, improve development and create opportunity in the developing world. President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps with a vision to promote world peace and friendship. The first director of the Peace Corps, Sargent Shriver, encouraged Americans to 'participate directly, personally and effectively in this struggle for human dignity.'"
Arnold Schwarzenegger Governor of California
"Everybody in their lives comes upon something where they don't know if they can do it. This was it for me and [my wife] Jessie. This was our test."
Jim Doyle Governor of Wisconsin
"In the Peace Corps we present a different image of America. The Peace Corps breaks down the stereotypes and turns an American into a fellow human being."
Robert Taft Governor of Ohio
Opinion Leaders on Peace Corps:
"We found the one thing that both parties can agree on, which is that it's important right now for America that the world sees the greatness of America through their AIDS medicines, through their Peace Corps, through the real America I see, the America I was a fan of."
Bono U2 Lead Singer
Leaders of Other Countries on Peace Corps:
"Peace Corps Volunteers have made an important contribution to Niger over the past 40 years. The Peace Corps is a model of development assistance."
Mamadou Tandja Niger President
"I wish the Peace Corps program further success."
President Ilham Aliyev Azerbaijan President
"The Peace Corps opens a window to the world for many people, I went through that window and became President of my country."
Alejandro Toledo former Peru President
"The Peace Corps program has reached this far because several young Americans motivated by moral virtue and compassion for assisting the poor, leave their studies or work and come to this country to live among poor Malawians."
Bakili Muluzi former Malawi President
"Malawians and Peace Corps Volunteers together are breaking the silence, upholding human dignity, and showing compassion for all those with HIV/AIDS."
Justin Malewezi former Malawi Vice President
"I support the good things in life, and the Peace Corps is one of the good things."
Teburoro Tito former Kiribati President
"During your tour of duty, you can do a lot to dispel the misconception of what HIV/AIDS is and what it is not. I hope and request that you will take an active role in educating communities about the dangers and prevention of this scourge."
Nevers Mumba former Zambia Vice President
"In our own work, we at the World Bank have come across them in every corner of the developing world and have seen for ourselves what fine work their dedication and drive have achieved. The Peace Corps reminds us that traditional American idealism can indeed be translated into effective action for the betterment of peoples less privileged than ourselves."
A.W. Clausen former President of the World Bank
Last updated Jan 22 2013