Growing Together: Stories from the Peace Corps
Submission deadline is December 1
Stories forge connections. They change minds, touch hearts, and build bridges between individuals and communities. Stories are at the heart of the Peace Corps experience, and they inspire us in service of Peace Corps’ mission of world peace and friendship.
To help celebrate Peace Corps Week 2024, Peace Corps will hold a storytelling contest to highlight the amazing work of the entire Peace Corps network. On March 1, 2024, contest winners will have their stories come to life at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, through the voices of local Washington D.C. area students.
Winners will receive public recognition from the Peace Corps and will be invited to attend the storytelling event, either virtually or in-person. Student performers will have the opportunity to learn about new cultures, places and people; perform in front of their community; and connect with individuals from around the world.
For those interested in participating in the storytelling contest, please review the guidelines below and send in your story by December 1, 2023. Please send any questions to [email protected].
The theme of the 2024 Storytelling Contest is Growing Together and will feature Peace Corps Volunteers, returned Volunteers, counterparts, community members and staff sharing stories about the connections they have made through their Peace Corps experience. Through this theme we hope to capture stories with one or more of the following elements:
- Shared Progress: The essence of "growing together" underscores collective advancement and unity. It speaks to the idea that when individuals, communities, and nations come together with a shared vision, they can achieve great things.
- Building Relationships: The value of relationships and the bonds formed between Peace Corps volunteers, staff, and local communities are powerful. A story capturing the mutual respect, trust, and openness in these relationships can serve as a vivid representation of positive change and hope.
- Environment and Sustainability: "Growing together" can also be interpreted in an environmental context. Stories showcasing Volunteers and communities working together to plant trees, cultivate sustainable gardens, or restore habitats depict a shared commitment to the environment.
- Intercultural Exchange: Peace Corps’ Second and Third Goals form the foundation for successful Volunteer service. Meaningful intercultural learning between individuals in the Peace Corps network inspires and enables growth for everyone involved.
- Future Generations: Stories about the power of youth – the next generation – can convey the potential and hope for a brighter future. "Growing together" emphasizes the shared responsibility of ensuring that future generations inherit a world filled with opportunities.
Individuals from across the Peace Corps network are eligible to submit a story, including:
- Current Peace Corps or Peace Corps Response Volunteers (PCVs/PCRVs)
- Current and former Peace Corps staff
- Host families or host community members
- Returned Peace Corps or Peace Corps Response Volunteers (RPCVs/RPCRVs)
- Virtual Service Pilot Participants
Selected winners who are able to travel to the Kennedy Center may receive travel and accommodations for the Washington D.C. event. Selected winners will be asked to commit to approximately 4-6 hours of virtual meetings with the local students who will be performing their stories.
Submissions will be accepted until 11:59 pm ET on December 1, 2023, and should be sent via the submission form below. This includes a video of the story that you propose to be shared at the Kennedy Center event. The video component of the submission is required and must be shared as a link to an unlisted YouTube video or similar private video platform.
If the video is filmed in a language other than English, a transcript in English must also be provided. We encourage Volunteers and staff members to assist interested community members in filming and translating their story for submission!
Video submissions should be no longer than 5 minutes and will be evaluated using the following criteria:
- The story has a clear connection to the theme of the event – Growing Together.
- The story demonstrates a respectful and ethical approach to storytelling and helps deepen intercultural understanding.
- The story is authentic and will help motivate individuals to become part of the Peace Corps Network.
- There is a clear plot and story elements are used effectively; characters are compelling, full story arc (context, rising action, climax, conclusion).
A maximum of eight stories will be selected as winners, with the exact number to be determined after all submissions have been evaluated.
Winners will have the opportunity to attend the storytelling event at the Kennedy Center on March 1, 2024, either virtually or in person. However, winners will not present their own stories during the performance. Instead, they will partner with a student who will perform the story on their behalf at the Kennedy Center. Performers will receive coaching as part of the preparation leading up to the storytelling event at the Kennedy Center.
- Video: Storytelling Training Tips & Tools
- Storytelling Tips
- Peace Corps’ Approach to Ethical Storytelling Toolkit
- 2022 Peace Corps Storytelling Showcase at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage
- 2016 Peace Corps Storytelling Showcase at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage
For additional guidance on preparing your submission: See frequently asked questions