Peace Corps Response Celebrates 25th Anniversary

May 26, 2021

Nearly 4,000 highly skilled, short-term volunteers have served since 1996

WASHINGTON – Peace Corps Response, a specialized program for Peace Corps, is celebrating 25 years of sending experienced professionals to short-term, high impact volunteer assignments around the world. Since its founding on June 19, 1996, nearly 4,000 Americans have served in over 80 countries.

Over 150 Peace Corps Response volunteers are currently deployed across the nation to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supported Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) to aid in the fight against COVID-19, marking the second time in the agency’s history that volunteers will serve domestically. Volunteers will serve in these assignments through August.

“From sending doctors and nurses to teach at schools of medicine and nursing in Africa to facilitating global, virtual service during the pandemic, Peace Corps Response has partnered with countries around the world to meet critical needs – and we are now doing the same to support the COVID-19 response here in the United States.” said Carol Spahn, Acting Director of the Peace Corps. “For the past 25 years, Peace Corps Response volunteers have shared their skills and expertise to impact global health, resilience and development. We are incredibly grateful for their service."

Formerly known as Crisis Corps, Peace Corps Response was formally established by Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan and President Bill Clinton to send returned Peace Corps volunteers to assist communities immediately following conflict and natural disasters abroad. In 2005, Response volunteers deployed in the U.S. for the first time in the program’s history, following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2012, Peace Corps Response expanded its mission to include additional, specialized assignments that engaged other qualified Americans with extensive professional experience.

Response volunteers serve in specialized assignments that range from three to 12 months. In addition to disaster relief, Response volunteers serve in all six of Peace Corps’ sectors: agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth development. They are often the first on the ground when the agency opens a new country program, reopens a suspended program or pilots partnerships. Peace Corps Response most recently launched Advancing Health Professionals (AHP) in 2019. AHP aims to improve health care education and strengthen health systems on a societal level in resource-limited areas.

“By sending specialized volunteers to targeted assignments, we are helping to advance Peace Corps’ mission of world peace and friendship,” said Sarah Dietch, Director of Peace Corps Response. “Although Response volunteers are not working abroad right now, we are so honored to serve right here in the U.S., aiding in the fight against COVID-19.”

In March 2020, Peace Corps temporarily suspended its global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers, including Peace Corps Response volunteers, from 61 countries due to the coronavirus.

About Peace Corps Response: Peace Corps Response sends experienced professionals on short-term, targeted service assignments around the world for 12 months or less. The positions are highly specialized and technical and Volunteers provide targeted assistance in areas such as agriculture, community economic development, disaster risk reduction and mitigation, education, environment, health, and youth in development. Since Peace Corps Response began in 1996, nearly 4,000 Americans have served in over 80 countries around the world. For more information, go to www.peacecorps.gov/response and follow us on Facebook.

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, the environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans of all ages have served in 142 countries worldwide. For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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