Peace Corps: Make the Most of Your World

How would you respond if you were asked the question “Would you be willing to serve your country and the cause of peace by living and working in the developing world?” This is the question that the father of the Peace Corps, John F. Kennedy, posed to 10,000 University of Michigan students during his presidential campaign in October 1960. On March 1, 1961, Kennedy put his idea into action by signing an executive order which established the Peace Corps, a government agency where college grads spend two years aiming to help developing countries. It was official when Congress approved the budget. Since then, around 235,000 Americans have served in the Peace Corps hoping to “make the most of their world” which is displayed on the home page of their official website.

The Peace Corps aim is to “turn the world’s challenges into shared triumphs.” The Peace Corps was developed to provide aid to developing countries through expertise, education, and training. It is the same mentality of the old proverb “give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime.” Instead of providing monetary help, the Peace Corps strives to help developing countries advance through instruction and guidance from Peace Corps volunteers. Their mission statement is “To promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals: To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women. To promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of people served. To promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.” 

The Peace Corps is a noble cause and I value its efforts, however, I think it is a waste of government resources. It would be better for the U.S. and would save taxpayer money if the Peace Corps were an independent company. Through fundraising, the Peace Corps is able to raise millions. Although the fundraising money is quite a bit less than what the agency is receiving from the government, if the Peace Corps funds were slowly cut it would give them time to reorganize. The Peace Corps is no longer a unique concept. Of all U.S. citizens who serve in international volunteer programs lasting longer than 26 weeks, the Peace Corps only accounts for a little over ten percent. There is also no concrete evidence that the Peace Corps fulfills its mission statement. While volunteers become more cultured and share some of our cultures with other countries, it is not clear if the Peace Corps is truly helping advance developing countries. The money that is provided for the Peace Corps would simply go back to the federal foreign operations budget where it came from in the first place. 

Works Cited

  1. “The Founding Moment.” The Founding Moment,
  2. “Global Initiatives.” Global Initiatives,
  3. Grabianowski, Ed. “How the Peace Corps Works.” HowStuffWorks, HowStuffWorks, 3 July 2007,
  4. “About.” About,
  5. Hill, Thomas M. “The Peace Corps: A Lot of Bucks for Very Little Bang?” Brookings, Brookings, 16 Oct. 2017,
  7. “Leadership.” Leadership,
  8. “President's FY19 Budget Signals More Cuts for the Peace Corps.” NPCA, 1 Mar. 2019,     
07 July 2022
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