Peace Corps Director Williams Delivers Commencement Address at North Central College in Illinois

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 11, 2012 – Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams delivered the keynote address at the North Central College commencement ceremony in Naperville, Ill., on June 9, 2012. In his address, Director Williams stressed the importance of service and volunteerism both at home and abroad, and encouraged graduates to consider Peace Corps service after graduation.

"Peace Corps service creates global citizens,” said Director Williams (returned Peace Corps volunteer, Dominican Republic, 1967-1970). “It fosters cultural agility; the ability to work effectively and easily across different cultures. And it’s important for our humanity, and how we respond to challenges in our country and around the world – from income inequality and educational disparities to hunger, climate change and HIV/AIDS to all the manifestations of poverty and injustice. We need young people to be part of the solution to these 21st century challenges.”

Magnifying glass icon Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Willams gives the 2012 commencement speech at North Central College.Following the commencement address, Director Williams was presented with an honorary degree from Associate Professor of Accounting Gerald Thalmann, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Eastern Caribbean.

The Chicago-Naperville-Joliet metropolitan area ranks fourth among the country’s top Peace Corps volunteer producing metro areas. There are currently 316 volunteers from the area. More than 5,275 Chicago-area residents have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

The Peace Corps’ Chicago regional recruiting office works to recruit and provide information to prospective volunteers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Americans with a background in agriculture, environment, teaching English as a second language, public health, and other technical or language skills related to Peace Corps assignment areas are encouraged to apply. To view events occurring in the Chicago region’s Midwest territory, click here .

About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 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 and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit for more information.

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