Peace Corps Director Visits Boston: Attends Events at Harvard and Tufts University

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 13, 2010 Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams visited Tufts and Harvard University, participating in panel discussions at each of the institutions to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of President John F. Kennedys speech, which led to the creation of the Peace Corps.

Few people could have imagined 50 years ago, when then-Sen. Kennedy introduced the idea of the Peace Corps, that his idea for service would live on at college campuses around the country, said Director Aaron S. Williams (Dominican Republic, 1967-70). The students from Tufts University and Harvard embody President Kennedys call to service and both institutions are wonderful partners.

Magnifying glass iconHarvards Kennedy School Academic Dean Mary Jo Bane, and former Peace Corps Directors, Hon. Elaine Chao (1991-92) Mark Gearan (1995-99), Gaddi Vasquez (2002-06), and current Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams (2009-present).Director Williams visited the Fletcher School of International Affairs at Tufts University to host a roundtable discussion with returned Peace Corps volunteers from Tufts University. He later participated in a panel discussion at Harvards Kennedy School of Government: 50 Years of the Peace Corps: Answering President Kennedys Call to Service.

Thursday, October 14, 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of JFKs presidential campaign speech in Ann Arbor, Mich., that led to the creation of Peace Corps.

The Harvard panel also included former Peace Corps Directors Hon. Elaine Chao, Director 1991-92, Mark Gearan, Director 1995-99, and Gaddi Vasquez, Director 2002-06. The panel was moderated by Harvards Kennedy School Academic Dean Mary Jo Bane, a returned Peace Corps volunteer, Liberia 1963-65.

Harvards panel discussion is part of Harvards John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Seriesa series that brings together academic scholars, government officials and other notable speakers. All participants in the Forum series must respond to questions posed by the moderator, and then participate in a question and answer session with members of the audience, comprised primarily of Harvard College students, Harvard Kennedy School students and members of the community.

Harvard and Tufts Universities have strong connections to the Peace Corps. Since 1961, there have been 1,205 Harvard graduates and 484 Tufts graduates to serve as Peace Corps volunteers. Currently there are 19 Harvard alumni serving in 16 countries and 16 Tufts alumni serving in 14 countries.

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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