See past winners of agency awards to exceptional Volunteers, returned Volunteers, and staff.

John F. Kennedy Service Award

Each member of the Peace Corps family contributes to the agency’s success. The John F. Kennedy Service Award honors just a few of these individuals who go above and beyond for the Peace Corps and America every day.

President John F. Kennedy
President John F. Kennedy

Awarded every five years, the John F. Kennedy Service Award recognizes two current Peace Corps Volunteers, two Peace Corps staff members, one returned Peace Corps Response Volunteer, and one returned Peace Corps Volunteer for contributions beyond their duties to the agency and the nation. 

Award recipients demonstrate exceptional service and leadership and further the Peace Corps mission and its three goals:

  • To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained Volunteers
  • To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served
  • To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans

2016 winners

  • Volunteer: Theresa Govert (Botswana, 2013-16)
  • Volunteer: Lauren Breland (Thailand, 2014-17)
  • Staff: Bryan Dwyer (RPCV - El Salvador, 2002-04; Staff - El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Rwanda, 2005-16)
  • Staff: T. A. “Froggy” Chance (Jamaica, 1982-present)
  • Returned Volunteer: Dr. Brian Goff Smith (Guatemala, 2003-06)
  • Returned Volunteer: Bob Arias (Colombia, 1964-66; Peace Corps Response Panama, Paraguay, Colombia, 2009-13)

2011 winners

  • Volunteer: Robert Ferguson (Mexico, 2007–11)
  • Volunteer: Chris Fontanesi (Romania, 2007–11)
  • Staff: Maria Francisca (Frances) Asturias (Guatemala)
  • Staff: Mostafa Lamqaddam (Morocco)
  • Returned Volunteer: Kathryn Davies Clark (Sierra Leone, 1968–69; Jamaica, 1984–87)
  • Returned Volunteer: Joe Carroll Jaycox (Venezuela, 1962–1964)

2006 winners

  • Volunteer: Scott Overdyke (Panama, 2004–06)
  • Volunteer: Barbara Schlieper (Ukraine, 2003–07)
  • Staff: William Bull (various African countries)
  • Staff: Munkhjin Tsogt (Mongolia)
  • Returned Volunteer: Tony Gasbarro (Dominican Republic, 1962–64; El Salvador, 1996–98)
  • Returned Volunteer: Roland Foulkes (Ghana, 1982–84)

Franklin H. Williams and Sargent Shriver
Franklin H. Williams and first Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver

Franklin H. Williams Award

The Franklin H. Williams Award recognizes ethnically diverse returned Peace Corps Volunteers who demonstrate a commitment to community service and the Peace Corps' Third Goal of promoting a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

This award is named for Franklin H. Williams, an early architect of the Peace Corps. He worked at the agency from its inception in 1961 to 1963 and helped Sargent Shriver—the first Peace Corps Director—promote the agency and its programs to the world. 

Ambassador Williams' exceptional public service career included positions as the Peace Corps regional director for Africa, the U.S. representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and the U.S. ambassador to Ghana.

The Director's Award is awarded to an exceptional non-RPCV.

2020 winners

  • Director's Award: Dr. Helene Gayle, Chicago Community Foundation CEO
  • Dr. Sheldon Gen (Kenya, 1990-1992)
  • Ella Cheri Bennett (Dominican Republic, 1991-1993)
  • Dr. Sabrina T. Cherry (The Gambia, 2001-2003)
  • Jalina Porter (Cambodia, 2009-2011)
  • Diamond Butler (Comoros, 2015-2017)
  • Denisha Richardson (Fiji, 2015-2017)

2016 winners

  • Director's Award: Bryan Stevenson, Equal Justice Initiative Founder and President
  • Ravi N. Dutta (Namibia, 2003-05)
  • Kendrall Masten (Zambia, 2005-07)
  • Dr. Paul M. Brown (Côte d’Ivoire, 1974-76)

2014 winners

  • Director's Award: Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP CEO
  • Ferney Giraldo (Guatemala, 2008–10)
  • Gertrude Anderson (Morocco, 1987–89)
  • Hugh Williams (Sierra Leone, 1974–76)
  • Manuel Colón (Paraguay, 2010–12)
  • Emily Ellison (China, 2009–12)
  • Alexandra Escobar (China, 2012–13)

Lillian Carter Award

“The Lillian Carter Award is a wonderful celebration of what is best about the Peace Corps—offering up some of America's best to the world, and bringing the world home to other Americans."
President Jimmy Carter

Lillian Carter
Lillian Carter

The Lillian Carter Award was established in 1986 in honor of former President Carter's mother, who served as a health Volunteer in India in 1966 at age 68.

This biennial award recognizes exceptional Peace Corps Volunteers who served at age 50 or over and have continued to advance the Peace Corps' Third Goal.

2017 winner: Leita Kaldi Davis

Leita Kaldi Davis of Bradenton, Florida, began her Peace Corps service in Senegal at age 55 in 1993. Davis spent two years working as a small enterprise development volunteer, eventually extending her service for a third year. As a volunteer, she helped women in her community launch their own business of picking and selling mussels at local markets and taught them how to refine their bookkeeping and increase profits. In addition, she built a warehouse for their operations with the help of a small projects loan.

Leita Kaldi Davis
Leita Kaldi Davis

Since completing her Peace Corps service, Davis has devoted much of her time to promoting the agency’s mission. She has published seven memoirs – two of which document her service overseas, “Roller Skating in the Desert” and “In the Valley of Atibon” – and 50 other articles and stories. In addition, she taught a course titled “Peace Corps at 50” at the Lifelong Learning Academy. Davis has also delivered presentations about the Peace Corps to various groups and organizations – including the U.S. National Committee for UN Women and the American Foreign Service Association – and facilitated discussions at major book clubs about President Carter’s book, “Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power.”

Davis has been an active member of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer groups in South Florida and Gulf Coast Florida since 1993 and 2006, respectively. She is also involved with UN Women and collaborates with the Haitian Women of Miami (FANM) to support their community programs for immigrants. Davis received FANM’s Marie Claire Heureuse Award in 2013 for “outstanding leadership on women’s rights, and for being an ambassador for social justice and global peace.” 

Past winners

  • John Campbell (Fiji, 1989-91; Botswana, 1992-94)
  • Helene Ballmann Dudley (Slovakia, 1997–99; Colombia, 1968–70)
  • Diane Gallagher (Cape Verde, 1990–92)
  • Dr. Catherine Taylor Foster (Nepal, 1996–98)
  • Shirley Maly (Uruguay, 1992–95)

Harris Wofford Joint Service Award

Harris Wofford
Harris Wofford

In honor of Harris Wofford, whose contributions helped establish the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps programs, our agencies are recognizing individuals who have successfully completed both a full-time service term or its equivalent in AmeriCorps, and the Peace Corps or Peace Corps Response.

The Harris Wofford Joint Service Award, established in November 2020, recognizes and honors individuals who have served in both programs since their respective inception in service to our country.

See more information and award criteria at