Peace Corps’ 50th Anniversary (1961-2011)



From September 21 – 24, a series of global commemorative events were held to commemorate 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world. Established by President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps’ stated mission has 3 goals:

1. Helping the people of interest countries in meeting their need for trained men and women;

2. Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served;

3. Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

To date, more than 200,000 volunteers have served proudly in a total of 139 countries, working in such areas as Education (37%), Health & HIV/AIDS (22%), Business Development (14%), Environment (13%), Agriculture (4%), Youth Development (5%) and other (5%). The goal of educating and engaging the public requires making a positive image difference every day. In an ever-changing new technologies world, current and former volunteers learn how to meet new challenges flexibly with innovation, creativity, determination and compassion, inspiring the next generation of volunteers while enabling others to build better lives for themselves.

More than 5,000 dedicated PCVs have served in Thailand since the program was established in 1962, with Sargent Shriver serving as the first Director. Among the proven successful Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who continue to contribute significantly by making a substantive humanitarian impact are: Barent Springsted, Consultant to the Siam Society (under Royal Patronage); Doris Wisbunsin , Member of Executive Board – NTU/Thailand; Joe Cummings (author of Lonely Planet Guides); Ginny Kirkwood, president of the Kirkwood Charity Foundation; Paul Wedel, Executive Director, Kenan Institute Asia; Kevin Quigley, President of the National Peace Corps Association; Terry Fredrickson, head of educational marketing and teacher support for the Bangkok Post; John Williams, PC Thailand Country Director; Darryl N. Johnson, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand and Emilie Clevenger Ketudat, Coordinator of the Thailand Campaign to Ban Landmines. Thank you!

Of course, there are many other unsung heroes whose one-on-one efforts, striving to make an others-oriented enabling difference go unrecognized in the media. Most helping hands would agree that they receive far more from the caring and sharing experience than they give. The major bonus that these generous, kind-hearted individuals receive include: greater appreciation of tolerant multiversity, free-thinking independence, flexible cooperative learning organizational skills, increased self-confidence, more focused positive energy and inner satisfaction spiritual joy. Chai-yo!

Dr. Charles Frederickson