The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, and youth development. Through their service, Volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy.
The agency traces its roots to 1960, when then-Sen. John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country by living and working in some of the most remote corners of the world. He ignited a movement among young Americans that inspired the nation and led to the founding of the Peace Corps. In an ever-changing world, the agency has become a dynamic, forward-leaning champion for international service defined by its innovation and compassion—yet, its original mission remains the same:
- To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
- To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
- To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
The Peace Corps has been a leader in international development and citizen diplomacy for more than 50 years across more than 140 countries. In an increasingly interdependent world, it tackles challenges that know no borders—such as climate change, pandemic disease, food security, and gender equality and empowerment. Although times have changed since the Peace Corps' founding in 1961, the agency's mission—to promote world peace and friendship—has not. Today, the Peace Corps is more vital than ever, working in collaboration with partner organizations and using cutting-edge technologies and well-tested best practices to enhance impact.
The more than 225,000 current and returned Peace Corps Volunteers know that it changes lives—both their own and the lives of people in communities around the world. Volunteers learn about leadership, ingenuity, self-reliance, and relationship building and become global citizens. Peace Corps Volunteers reflect the very best of humanity, innovation and aspiration for a better tomorrow. When they return home, they share their stories and experiences and give back to their own communities, helping to strengthen international ties and increase the Peace Corps global competitiveness.