Peace Corps to be Featured in the 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

June 24, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. The Peace Corps and the Smithsonian Institutions Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage are pleased to announce that the Peace Corps will be featured at the 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The festival will be held on the National Mall over 10 days June 30 to July 4 and July 7 to July 11, 2011 and is expected to draw over one million visitors. All of the festival events are free and open to the public. The 2011 festival coincides with the Peace Corps commemoration of its 50th anniversary.

It is an honor to celebrate the great tradition of community service with America at the 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams (Dominican Republic 1967-1970). While times have changed since the Peace Corps founding in 1961, our mission to promote world peace and friendship has not. This is a wonderful opportunity for Peace Corps to commemorate our history of working with 139 countries to create sustainable community-based projects and inspire the next generation of volunteers.

Through involvement in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Peace Corps intends to increase public understanding and appreciation of the experiences and accomplishments of Peace Corps volunteers, staff members, and host countries over the last five decades. Exhibits and demonstrations will explore and celebrate the ways in which Peace Corps volunteers understand communities in which they serve through local cultural traditions, and collaborate with those communities to accomplish their work.

The Peace Corps Folklife program will coincide with programs on both Colombia and Rhythm and Blues music, produced in cooperation with the Government of Colombia and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, respectively.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an annual tradition of summer in the nations capital. Initiated in 1967, the Festival has become a national and international model of a research-based presentation of contemporary living cultural traditions. Over the years, it has brought more than 23,000 musicians, artists, performers, craftspeople, workers, cooks, storytellers, and others to the National Mall to demonstrate the skills, knowledge, and aesthetics that embody the creative vitality of community-based traditions. The Festival has featured exemplary tradition bearers from more than 90 nations, every region of the United States, scores of ethnic communities, more than 100 American Indian groups, and some 70 different occupations.

Peace Corps is commemorating its 50th anniversary in 2011. For more information about the history of the agency and for a listing of Peace Corps 50th activities, visit: www.peacecorps.gov/50.

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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