Peace Corps Hosts 50th Anniversary Events across Washington, D.C.
September 27, 2011
Agency announces 50th anniversary photo contest winnersWashington, D.C., Sept. 27, 2011 In commemoration of Peace Corps' 50th anniversary, thousands of returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) joined Peace Corps staff and community members in Washington, D.C. to honor the contributions of more than 200,000 Americans who have served as Peace Corps volunteers. The weekend featured the revealing of the agencys 50th anniversary photo contest winners, a performance by world renowned musical artist Youssou N Dour, a discussion panel with returned Peace Corps volunteers, the unveiling of the official Peace Corps collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Peace Corps baseball night at Washington Nationals baseball stadium and a story telling event for RPCVs.
RPCVs also attended 50th anniversary events organized by the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) and the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. (RPCV/W). A full list of events is below.
Thousands of returned Peace Corps volunteers attended 50th anniversary events throughout the Washington, D.C. area to honor the work of Peace Corps volunteers who have served around the world, said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams (Dominican Republic, 1967-1970). "We are very proud of these global citizens, for their dedication to America and the world. Returned Peace Corps volunteers continue to have an enthusiasm for service and dedication to promoting world peace and friendship long after they return to the United States. Peace Corps service is truly the work of a lifetime.
During an open house at Peace Corps headquarters, the agency displayed the winning photos from Peace Corps official 50th anniversary photo contest. Out of more than 2,200 submissions from current and returned volunteers, 13 thought provoking, creative photos were showcased at the open house. The photos show Peace Corps volunteers working with local communities in the countries where they serve. One Peoples Choice Award winning photo was chosen by public vote on Facebook, one of Peace Corps official social media channels.
Peace Corps volunteer Paige Gable (Indonesia, 2011-Present) won first place in the Providing Technical Assistance category; Cate Crandell, Moldova, 2010-Present) won first place in the Sharing American Culture Overseas category, Sara Holtz, (Togo, 1995-1998) won first place in the Sharing Overseas Culture with America category, Ciara Johnson (Guinea, 2007-2009) won first place in the Photographic Technical Merit category; and Julie Smith (Madagascar, 2009-Present) won the Peoples Choice Award. To see other winning photos, please visit the Peace Corps website. The first-place winners will receive a framed official Peace Corps certificate, be added to the official 50th Peace Corps anniversary timeline and were exhibited in Peace Corps headquarters.
Peace Corps volunteers, returned Peace Corps volunteers and Peace Corps staff submitted photos to the Peace Corps Digital Library 50th Anniversary Photo Contest, which ran from July 15 to Sept. 8, 2011. The Peace Corps evaluated more than 3,700 photos and chose 12 winners based on creativity, photographic quality, and effectiveness in representing each of four award categories, the first three of which exemplify the Peace Corps goals. All photo submissions have been permanently added to the Peace Corps Digital Library, a searchable collection of electronic Peace Corps materials from 1961 to the present.
From Sept 21 to Sept. 25, 2011, the Peace Corps, the NPCA, RPCV/W and many different NPCA groups collectively held more than 200 events across Washington, D.C. to commemorate the 50th anniversary. Events included:
- A musical performance by world renowned African musician Youssou NDour at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.
- More than 1,500 returned Peace Corps volunteers visited Peace Corps headquarters. Visitors met with agency officials and a attended panel discussion with early Peace Corps volunteers. RPCVs Newell Flather (Ghana, 1961-1963), Judy Guskin (Thailand, 1961-64), Steve Allen (Turkey, 1962-1964) and Gary and Linda Bergthold (Ethiopia 1962-1964) spoke at the event.
- Peace Corps donated more than 50 artifacts to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
- More than 700 returned Peace Corps volunteers commemorated the 50th anniversary at Peace Corps Night with the Washington Nationals. Peace Corps Director Williams threw the first pitch and returned volunteers carried flags of 139 host countries at the start of the game.
- The Peace Corps hosted a fast-paced story-telling event in McPherson Square in Washington, D.C. Twenty RPCVs shared stories from their service in front of a crowd of more than 120 people.
- The NPCA hosted a Promise of the Peace Corps Gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Peace Corps Director Williams, dignitaries, Harris Wofford and others spoke at the event, which was emceed by Chris Matthews (Swaziland, 1968-1970). American singer-songwriter, Crystal Bowersox, headlined the evenings musical entertainment.
- Peace Corps Director Williams spoke at an Arlington Cemetery Special 50th Program organized by RPCV/W at the Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Amphitheater honoring the 50th anniversary and recognizing volunteers who lost their lives in service.
- RPCV/W organized a 50th Anniversary Walk of Flags from Arlington National Cemetery to the Lincoln Memorial.
About the Peace Corps: President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. Throughout 2011, Peace Corps is commemorating 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world. Historically, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Today, 8,655 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 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. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.