1961 News Wednesdays: Peace Corps Established

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued an Executive Order establishing the Peace Corps,

To promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.

1961 Peace Corps logo

Kennedy saw the Peace Corps as an antidote to the “Ugly American” stereotype around the world and intended it as a way to ask all Americans to serve their country, each in their own way. Kennedy’s Brother-in-Law, Sergeant Shriver, was appointed to run it. Over 200,000 people have served in the Peace Corps since it began.