by Therese Porod
March 1 marked the 51st anniversary of the establishment of the Peace Corps and the beginning of National Peace Corps week. Throughout the week, volunteers will contribute to various projects and help people around the world.
There are approximately four BenU alumni that are currently serving in the Peace Corps and 30 alumni total have dedicated their time to the Peace Corps.
“English teaching and business and community development seem to be main assignment areas that Benedictine graduate volunteers serve in for Peace Corps,” said Christine Torres, public affairs specialist for the Peace Corps. “[This] makes sense given Benedictine’s liberal arts focus and that these are also strong academic areas for [BenU].”
There are 9,095 volunteers in 75 different host countries that are volunteering their time to better communities. Some of the areas that volunteers in the Peace Corps help with include the areas of education, environmental, public health, community development and business. It is a main goal for the Peace Corps volunteers to help fix and address these important issues.
By joining the Peace Corps, volunteers can receive paid living expenses, full health and dental coverage, readjustment allowance, field experience and cross-cultural skills in addition to tuition assistance.
Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams, says the alumni that go on to volunteer apply the knowledge they have acquired during their studies to “promote world peace and friendship and improve the lives of people around the world.”
He continues, “every day, volunteers make countless contributions to projects in agriculture, education, the environment, health and HIV/AIDS education and prevention, small business development and youth development.”
When President John F. Kennedy signed an Executive Order in 1961, he stated that the establishment of the Peace Corps was intended to use the resources and talents instilled by private institutions and groups.
“Universities, voluntary agencies, labor unions and industry will be asked to share in this effort-contributing diverse sources of energy and imagination-making it clear that the responsibility for peace is the responsibility of our entire society,” said the late President Kennedy.
While the Peace Corps welcomes many volunteers, there are several qualifications one must meet when joining. Volunteers need to be 18 years old and a United States citizen; all volunteers are required to make a 27-month commitment to the Peace Corps. Interviews are held in the final stages of the application process.
For more information on the Peace Corps, visit http://www.peacecorps.gov.