The 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps

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It was an impromptu speech on the 1960 Presidential campaign trail.  John F. Kennedy proposed the idea of young American volunteers helping people in developing nations with health care and education.  The idea sparked so much enthusiasm among college students, that JFK promised to create a “Peace Corps” if elected.

The Peace Corps still continues with 8,600 volunteers in 77 countries.  This month marks the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary.

Hear from former volunteers about the life-changing impact of the Peace Corps experience, with OSU Education Professor Merry Merryfield, OSU Public Health graduate student Kristen Mallory, and OSU Center for International Business Education Director Stephen Hills.

And learn how the Peace Corps’ mission has evolved to the present, with foreign correspondent and author Stanley Meisler.

Related information:

  • Merry Merryfield is a Professor in the School of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone in West Africa from 1977-79, then worked as an evaluation specialist for Peace Corps in Washington DC.  She’s now an expert in global education at OSU.
  • Stephen Hills is Professor Emeritus in the Fisher College of Business and now Academic Director, Center for International Business Education & Research.  He is a former Peace Corps volunteer to Venezuela (1965-67) and coordinator for the Fisher College Peace Corps – MBA program.
  • Kristen Mallory, a graduate research associate in Public Health at OSU, joined the Peace Corps in 2007 and as sent to work in a rural coastal province of Ecuador.
  • Stanley Meisler is the author of When The World Calls: The Inside Story Of The Peace Corps and Its First Fifty Years. For 30 years he served as foreign and diplomatic correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of United Nations: The First Fifty Years and Kofi Annan: A Man of Peace in a World of War.  In the early years of the Peace Corps, he was deputy director of its Office of Evaluation & Research.

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