On Historic Anniversary, Peace Corps Partners with the University of Michigan to Combine Volunteer Service with Graduate School

October 14, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 14, 2010The Peace Corps and the University of Michigan announced a new partnership to pair graduate studies in education, social work, natural resources and the environment, and landscape architecture with Peace Corps volunteer service.

The University of Michigans School of Education, School of Natural Resources and Environment and School of Social Work will offer selected students the opportunity to receive credit hours for their Peace Corps service through the Masters International program.

In commemoration of Sen. John F. Kennedys speech at the University of Michigan 50 years ago, Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams and University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) welcoming the University of Michigan to the Masters International program. The University of Michigan is one of the top producers of Peace Corps volunteers. Historically, 2,331 University of Michigan alumni have served in the Peace Corps.

Fifty years ago today, then-Senator John F. Kennedy visited the campus of the University of Michigan and inspired a movement that lead to the Peace Corps, Williams said. University of Michigan alumni have had a long history with Peace Corps and its my great pleasure to welcome University of Michigan to the Masters International program on this historic occasion.

"We are pleased to partner with the Peace Corps and add to our outstanding graduate programs new and exciting opportunities for our students to combine excellent academic preparation with international service as they pursue their career goals, Coleman said. We are especially proud that the approval of these programs coincides with our 50th anniversary celebration of Senator John F. Kennedys speech on the steps of the Michigan Union that led to the creation of the Peace Corps. We have a long history with the Peace Corps, and look forward to being a part of its future.

Peace Corps Masters International program allows volunteers to combine Peace Corps service with a master's degree program and receive credit for their Peace Corps service abroad. Participants must apply to Peace Corps and University of Michigan separately and students selected to the program would receive credit hours for their time spent volunteering for the Peace Corps.

Participants in Peace Corps Masters International programs typically finish one year of graduate school in the U.S. before earning additional academic credit while serving as Peace Corps volunteers abroad. Upon their return, Masters International participants complete any remaining academic degree requirements. Many of Masters International partner schools also offer volunteers financial benefits such as scholarships and reduced tuition. Further information on Master's International is available at: www.peacecorps.gov/masters.

President John F. Kennedy first announced his plans to establish the Peace Corps at the University of Michigan in 1960, and the school has continued to enjoy a close relationship with the Peace Corps. The University of Michigan ranks number 8 among large universities to produce Peace Corps Volunteers, and the School of Natural Resources and Environment already participates in the Peace Corps Fellows/USA program, a program which provides graduate fellowships to returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

As Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world with 7,671 volunteers serving in 77 host countries. Historically, nearly 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. 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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