Interest in Peace Corps Soars in Response to President’s Initiative

February 1, 2002

Record Number of Application Requests, Web Traffic Logged in Day after Announcement

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2002—One day after President Bush announced his intention to double the number of Peace Corps volunteers over five years, the Peace Corps experienced record Web traffic and inquiries from members of the public interested in volunteering. Following the president’s Jan. 29 State of the Union speech, in which he announced the Peace Corps growth target as part of the new USA Freedom Corps initiative, Peace Corps Web site traffic and requests for applications increased more than 300 percent.

Already experiencing a spike in inquiries after Sept. 11, the Peace Corps on Jan. 30 logged more than 1,200 requests for Volunteer applications. The same day, Peace Corps’ Web site (www.peacecorps.gov) more than tripled its previous peak for Web traffic, with 3.2 million total hits and 17,000 unique visitors. The number of online applications also spiked, with 500-plus applicants logging on in the 24 hours following Bush’s announcement.

“The tremendous response of Americans who want to serve overseas with the Peace Corps is an inspiration,” said Acting Deputy Director Lloyd Pierson. “After 40 years of service in 135 countries, the Peace Corps is well poised to grow and expand its mission of service and cross-cultural understanding. We are honored to support the President’s goal of expanding volunteer service overseas, and are eager to give U.S. citizens the chance to represent America in communities around the world and to bring their experiences back home.”

Preparing for an increased presence in the Muslim world and other countries, the Peace Corps has selected a highly skilled assessment team and is prepared to depart on short notice for Afghanistan. Depending on the safety and security situation, Peace Corps is eager to assist in the reconstruction of Afghanistan with the help of Crisis Corps volunteers. These volunteers will likely assist in efforts to address basic human needs and make life better for Afghanis with programs in health, education and construction.

The Peace Corps also recently has accepted Peru’s invitation to re-enter that country, and is evaluating establishment of a program in East Timor, the first new country in the 21st century.

More than 165,000 volunteers have served in 135 countries since the Peace Corps was established in 1961. Today, more than 7,000 volunteers serve in programs to address business development, health and HIV/AIDS, the environment, education, agriculture and information technology. For more information, contact the Peace Corps' toll free recruitment line at 1-800-424-8580, or visit www.peacecorps.gov.

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