In an unplanned campaign speech in 1960, John F. Kennedy challenged
a group of college students to devote two years of their lives to
helping people in other countries. With those words, the idea of
the Peace Corps was born. In March 1961, President Kennedy signed
an order establishing the agency, the purpose of which is to supply
skilled workers to developing countries and to foster understanding
between Americans and the rest of the world. Since its start, the
Peace Corps has sent about 210,000 volunteers into nearly 140
countries to (among other things) teach in schools, assist with
agricultural and small business development, administer AIDS
awareness programs, and establish computer learning centers.
Though the Peace Corps in known for attracting young adults just
out of college, anyone can join. The
group's volunteers work in education, health and HIV,
business development, environmental conservation, agriculture, and
other areas in around 70 countries.
In 2012, 43% of its volunteers served in Africa, while 21%
served in Latin America; about 15% volunteered in Eastern
Europe and Central Asia. Almost 90% of its volunteers in 2012
assisted collectively with education, health, community economic
development, and environmental matters.
The Peace Corps typically has an annual budget of around $375
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