Peace Corps Week Promotes Cultural Exchange

February 20, 2009

Current and former Volunteers promote cross-cultural understanding, world peace, and friendship

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 20, 2008 - From February 23 to March 2, 2009, thousands among the 195,000 Peace Corps Volunteers who have served over the years in more than 139 countries will share their overseas experiences with schools and community groups throughout the United States.

Designated as Peace Corps Week, this weeklong celebration marks the 48th anniversary of the Peace Corps, founded on March 1, 1961, when President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order establishing it as a new government agency.

By giving presentations during Peace Corps Week, Peace Corps Volunteers help Americans better understand the people and cultures they've experienced, and the many benefits of service. Additionally, by making presentations in classrooms, Volunteers help create greater global awareness among students.

For a complete listing of events nationwide, please visit the Peace Corps Week events page on the Peace Corps website.

"Peace Corps Week is a great way for both currently-serving and former Volunteers to carry out Peace Corps' third goal, which is to promote a better understanding of other peoples among Americans," said acting Director Jody K. Olsen.

Although Peace Corps Week marks the occasion of the founding of the agency, Volunteers are also being encouraged to share their Peace Corps experiences throughout the year. Said Olsen, "By sharing their experience of living and working in a developing country, whether during Peace Corps Week or at any other time during the year, Volunteers share their deep understanding of other peoples and cultures, and help promote cross-cultural understanding. This gets at the heart of what the Peace Corps experience is aboutthe promotion of peace and friendship worldwide."

Events to be held throughout the country in honor of Peace Corps Week include Peace Corps fairs at universities, anniversary celebrations, community service projects, and presentations that promote volunteerism and global service. In addition, members of the U.S. Congress, state governors and many municipal leaders will be recognizing the service of Volunteers from their communities in proclamations and official statements.

Volunteers currently serving overseas communicate their experiences back home to family, friends, and community members by phone, email, blogs, and by the sharing photos and letters, among other means.

As the Peace Corps approaches it 50th anniversary in 2011, current and former Peace Corps Volunteers continue to celebrate the agencys legacy of service by carrying out activities that promote peace and friendship around the world. Historically, over 195,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries in which they have served. Applications to serve in the Peace Corps have increased 16 percent this past year, the largest boost over the past five years. Currently, 7,876 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in 76 countries. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

For information about joining the Peace Corps, call 1-800-424-8580 (press 1) to speak to a local recruiter. To learn more about Peace Corps Week, call 1-800-424-8580 (press 2, then ext. 1961) or email [email protected] or visit the Peace Corps website at www.peacecorps.gov.

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