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Peace Corps Essay Examples

peace corps essay examples



Example #1

The Peace Corps is a volunteer service, in which Americans are sent to help undeveloped and extremely poor countries. The volunteers stay in these host countries for two years. They live with the people, in many times poor conditions, and serve and work together with the people of the country. In doing this, the Peace Corps has three major goals:

  1. To provide volunteers who give to the social and economic development of interested countries.
  2. To promote a better understanding of Americans among the people who the volunteers serve.
  3. To strengthen Americans? understanding about the world and its people.

Most of all, the organization promotes world peace and understanding between America and all the other nations and people of the world. It is a United States government agency and is funded by tax dollars. How did the Peace Corps come to be? It is a very difficult political web of happenings, but can be summed together pretty easily; In the early1960’s the young people of the nation had grown tired of sitting around, they believed America was becoming snobbish and conceited. They wanted change; they wanted to change the world. Then the first sight of that chance came.


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President Kennedy went to the University of Michigan on October 14, 1960 (though the Peace Corps was originally established on March 1, 1961). In his speech that day, he asked a group of ten thousand students present: “How many of you are willing to spend ten years in Africa or Latin America or Asia working for the US and working for freedom?” This idea, the idea that later became the Peace Corps, gave the chance to quench this thirst for change, and more importantly, action.

The Peace Corps oath of allegiance for many of us has meant a lifetime pledge of public service, of community concern, and of international awareness. Finding myself now with the opportunity to lead the Peace Corps constitutes a moment of rare fortune.? [Mark L. Schneider Shriver Hall, Peace Corps Headquarters, Washington, D.C. January 7, 2000]

As a people to people organization, the Peace Corps has depended upon the dedication and commitment of individual Americans for two years, in countries that have requested them. The Peace Corps seeks out people with skills and the dedication to use their skills to help others. It takes a huge amount of commitment because volunteers are placed in the same poor environments as native citizens. These places usually have no electricity or running water, things that we often took for granted. “It was an enormous culture shock.

One moment I was watching the Sonics game in Chicago and the next, I’m in a little hut in Kenya watching a woman milk a cow.” [Melvin Smith, a Peace Corps veteran in Kenya from 1993, 1995] However, the Peace Core was not created to let Americans shock and dare themselves but instead to export America?s potential and brilliance. It tries to find people like Melvin Smith who gave up the luxuries and comfort of his home for a life in a developing country with a dedication to making a difference in their society.

Senator Hubert Humphrey and Congressman Henry S. Reuss mainly masterminded the plan behind the Peace Corps. However, Kennedy was the person who expressed it. He did so at his speech at the University of Michigan, and many other speeches, including his inaugural address. Especially with his famous line: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” (today this line is kind of a motto for the Peace Corps). Also, in March of 1961, after being elected president, Kennedy did as he promised, and gave the executive order creating the Peace Corps. Less than half a year later volunteers were already being sent to Ghana.

By the end of 1961, the Peace Corps grew to serve a dozen countries and had close to a thousand volunteers. ?We have Peace Corps Volunteers serving in the poorest towns of Bolivia, Benin, and Bangladesh as well as rural villages of South Africa, Slovakia, and the Solomon Islands. Everywhere they serve, they have a common purpose and common goals. President John F. Kennedy explained that purpose as contributing to world peace and international understanding. The goals were three-fold

First, to improve the lives of people in developing countries, particularly among the poorest communities. The second goal was to convey an understanding of the people of the United States, our values and our ideals, through the friendships and relationships that develop by living and working side by side with the people of other lands. The third goal was the flip side of the cross-cultural coin? Peace Corps Volunteers would convey here in the United States a personal knowledge of other people, other cultures, and other realities when they return.? [Remarks by the Honorable Mark L. Schneider Director of the Peace Corps, Yale University-April 12, 2000]

Within the next few years, the number of countries with programs more than doubled, and in 1966, the number of volunteers reached the highest in history of over 15,000. In 1981, it celebrated its 20th anniversary and received congratulations from President Reagan.

By this point, it had had programs in 88 countries, and build up almost a hundred thousand former students. In 1989 the “world-wise schools” plan was put in place. This plan had elementary and junior high classes going with the volunteers to the countries, to help promote worldwide awareness. In 1995, a new form of the Peace Corps, the Crisis Corps, was created to help nations in cases of emergencies.

Today the Peace Corps continue to help countries in need and to promote world peace. The volunteers continue to help countries in the areas of agriculture, education, health, and trade. However, today they are also helping countries in the areas of teaching English, business, city planning, youth programs, and even the environment.

The education is at 40 percent, the environment is 17 percent, health is 18 percent, business is at 13 percent, the agriculture is 9 percent, and there is 3 percent of others. These are the current percentages of learning or helping that the Peace Core is working on. The total amount of volunteers and trainees throughout history is 155,000, and they have served 134 countries.

The current number of volunteers and trainees is 7000. 61 percent of that is women, the other 39 percent is male; 93 percent of these people are single, and 7 percent are married. The average age of a Peace Corps volunteer is 28 years old with the median being 25 years old. The oldest volunteer in the Peace Core is 79. Of the Peace Corps volunteers, 82 percent are undergraduates, and 13 percent have graduated in studies or have degrees. The budget for this year (2000) is $244 million.

The regions in which most of their effort is concentrated are Africa, South America, the Pacific, Asia, the former Soviet Union, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. President Clinton plans to try to get the Peace Corps an increase in funding of about twenty percent. If he is able to, it is hoped that within the next few years the number of volunteers can be raised to ten thousand and that the Peace Corps could have programs in the new Crisis Corps programs.

Then they could help an even greater number of countries; this extra money could also help with the Crisis Corps. Peace Corps volunteers go and help countries suffering from current disasters by working through non-governmental agencies, relief agencies, and development agencies. A part of the Peace Corps that is not fully pointed out is the people of countries who have or are receiving aid through the Peace Corps, they gain new knowledge to improve their lives, but they also have to want to do it for themselves.

With any luck, these people can put the knowledge into use, and combined with the nonstop aid of the Peace Corps, can give power to themselves to improve their lives, but hopefully also improve the lives of others.

Without the Peace Corps, the world would not have one of the great opportunities to grow together. One volunteer can affect just one person in his/her host country. Yet, that person who becomes enriched with new knowledge and hope can infuse that into his family, who slowly will introduce this into their village, and at some point the entire country.

All the while America, through the volunteers, is improving affairs with other countries, while other nations are able to do the same; with both parties learning so much about each other, and through each other.

As far as I can see, this is nothing but a good cause. I think that the main goal of the Peace Corps is a worldwide understanding between all people. For all the countries and people they have helped, that they will one day do the same for others; and as long as the Peace Corps is around, we know that at lest we are moving in that direction.

 

Example #2

Every day, millions of citizens around the world feel a need to channel their social and moral values through occupation. Some of them choose professions connected with helping people. Others participate in social movements or become members of charitable and nonprofit organizations.

Sociologists define this sort of social commitment (altruism) “as behavior that is motivated primarily out of a consideration another’s needs rather than one’s own” (Kallman, 2015, p. 73). Founded in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps volunteer program unites about 230,000 Americans, who are driven by the idea to change the life of millions of people in the world for better promoting social and economic development through technical assistance.

The Peace Corps is an agency run by the United States government that train and send volunteers to work and live in communities worldwide. According to the report made by Curt Tarnoff (2016), volunteers “serve at the grassroots level in villages and towns across the globe to meet its three-point legislative mandate of promoting world peace and friendship by improving the lives of those they serve” (p.1). Since 1961, over 230,000 volunteers have served in about 140 countries. Currently, volunteers are engaged in six sectors: agriculture, environment, community economic development, health, education, and youth in development.

Agriculture volunteers aim at helping small-scale farmers to increase production and food security. They assist farmers in introducing technologies that prevent soil erosion, minimize the use of pesticides, and replenish the soil. Concerning environmental goals, Peace Corps volunteers teach principles of ecological awareness to members of local communities, encouraging them to conserve the local environment.

Peace Corps members are also engaged in helping communities to create economic opportunities. Volunteers frequently teach business owners to develop and market their products. Promotion of basic hygiene, nutrition, water sanitation, maternal and child health in communities is the highest priority as well. The Peace Corps organization introduces HIV/ AIDS education and prevention projects.

At the same time, there are programs created to support community members who have been already affected by HIV/ AIDS (Glass, Cochran & Davidson, 2015, p. 1150). The most significant program area of the organization is education. Peace Corps’ teachers work in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools.

In addition to their primary work, volunteers get involved in other work activities in the communities, such as teaching English and youth sport. Peace Corps volunteers have been assigned to library projects throughout the history of the program. Researchers claim that “in the early years, professional librarians were recruited and assigned to work in public and academic libraries in such places as Botswana, Colombia, Fiji, and Morocco” (Constantinou, Miller, & Schlesinger, 2016, p.148).

As cross-cultural and intercultural skills are vital for successful Peace Corps service, recruiters and placement officers estimate the suitability of potential candidates for the service, as well as evaluate if they can live and work abroad for twenty-seven months.

The Peace Corps is an organization with a long and significant history. For many years, thousands of Americans have been trained to participate in volunteer activity, which encourages and enables the growth, development, and well-being of millions of people across the globe. As the work of the Peace Corps members covers almost all vital social spheres, their efforts are of great importance and cannot be overestimated.

 

Example #3

1. Introduction

“Abundant Rewards.” This is the title of an essay that was written by a Peace Corps volunteer, Laura Stedman, on her reflections of her work in Swaziland, serving as a science teacher. The essay discusses her students and what turned out to be her most important accomplishment, to give the children confidence in themselves.

In this way, she opened the door for them to learn on their own, and to feel that their opinions were important. Once the children began to share their own opinions, she learned a large amount from them also.

The essay I described above sums up my interests in the Peace Corps. To be able to help those less fortunate than you, and in a very concrete way. Unlike sending “two dollars a month, to help a child,” to some infomercial, where you never really see the results or are too involved with them either.

Do you also don’t get the amazing experience of learning about a country’s culture and customs? Most importantly, through the Peace Corps, you are able to go through the enriching experience of interacting with people, in which case you both learn from each other a great deal, and help each other along the path of life. On a side note, through the Peace Corps, we also show that the US is not the “bully of the world” (as Saddam would like to claim). That some of us Americans, if not most, do care about all people, not just ourselves.

2. Background and Support

Peace Corps is a volunteer service, in which Americans are sent to help undeveloped and poverty-stricken countries. The volunteers stay in these host countries for two years.

They live with the people, in many times poor conditions, and serve and interact with the people of the country. In doing this, the Peace Corps has three major goals:

  1. To provide volunteers who contribute to the social and economic development of interested countries;
  2. To promote a better understanding of Americans amongthe people whom volunteers serve;
  3. To strengthen Americans? understanding about the world and its people.” Most of all, the organization promotes world peace, and understanding between America and all the other nations and people of the world. It is a United States government agency and is funded by our tax dollars. Which is a place where I don’t mind my money going to?

How did the Peace Corps come to be? It is a very complicated political web of incidents but can be summed together quite easily. In the early 1960s, the youths of the nation had grown tired of being idle, and they believed America was becoming pompous and arrogant. They wanted to change. They wanted to change the world. Then the first glimpse of that chance came.

President Kennedy went to the University of Michigan on October 14, 1960. In his speech that day, he asked the group of ten thousand students present: “How many of you are willing to spend ten years in Africa or Latin America or Asia working for the US and working for freedom?” This idea, the idea that later became the Peace Corps, gave the chance to quench this thirst for change, and more importantly action.

3. Development and Recognition

The plan behind the Peace Corps was mainly masterminded by Senator Hubert Humphrey and Congressman Henry S. Reuss. However, Kennedy was the person who articulated it. He did so at his speech at the University of Michigan, and many other speeches, including his inaugural address.

Especially with his famous line: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” (today this line is somewhat of a motto for the Peace Corps). Also, in March of 1961, after being elected president, Kennedy did as he promised, and gave the executive order to create the Peace Corps.

Less than half a year later, volunteers were already being sent to Ghana. By the end of 1961, the Peace Corps expanded to serve a dozen countries and had close to a thousand volunteers. Within the next few years, the number of countries with programs ore than doubled, and in 1966 the number of volunteers reached the highest in history of over 15,000.

In 1981, it celebrated it?s 20th anniversary, and received congratulations from President Reagan. By this point, it had had programs in 88 countries, and accumulated almost a hundred thousand alumni. In 1989 the “world-wise schools” initiative is put in place.

This plan has elementary and junior high classes going with the volunteers to the countries, to help promote worldwide awareness. In 1995, a new form of the Peace Corps, the Crisis Corps, is created to help nations in cases of emergencies. This brings us up to today.

4. Presentation

Today the Peace Corps continue to help countries in need and to promote world peace. The volunteers continue to help countries in the areas of agriculture, education, health, and trade. However, today they are also helping countries in the areas of teaching English, business, city planning, youth programs, and even the environment.

About six and a half thousand volunteers and serving in eighty-four different countries. The regions in which most of their effort is concentrated are Africa, South America, the Pacific, Asia, the former Soviet Union, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. President Clinton plans to try to get the Peace Corps an increase in funding of about twenty percent.

If he is able to, it is hoped that within the next few years the number of volunteers can be raised to ten thousand and that the Peace Corps could have programs in even a greater number of countries. This extra money could also help with the new Crisis Corps programs. The Crisis Corps is Peace Corps volunteers who go and help countries suffering from recent disasters by working through non-governmental agencies, relief agencies, and development agencies.

A part of the Peace Corps that is not fully illustrated is the people of countries who have or are receiving aid. Through the Peace Corps, they gain new knowledge to improve their lives, but they also must take the initiative to do so.

Hopefully, these people can put the knowledge into use, and combined with the continued aid of the Peace Corps can empower themselves to improve their lives, but hopefully also improve the lives of others.

5. Conclusion

Without the Peace Corps, the world would not have one of the great opportunities to grow together. One the volunteer can affect just one person in his/her host country.

However, that person who becomes empowered with new knowledge and hope instills that into his family, who slowly instill this into their village, and hopefully at some point the entire country.

All the while America, through the volunteers, is improving relations with other countries, while other nations are able to do the same. With both parties learning so much about each other, and through each other. If this is not an utterly good and important cause, I don’t know what is.

One day these countries that we are, and have, helped to improve their lives can hopefully one day do the same for others. The dream that I see in the Peace Corps is one day worldwide understanding between all people.

As long as the Peace Corps is around, we know at least we are striving in this direction.

 

Example #4

I am strongly motivated to join the Peace Corps by my desire to improve the lives of people around the world and promote cross-cultural understanding. While studying economics and international political economy in college, I realized how important access to resources and financial literacy are in achieving economic prosperity. I am eager to use my knowledge of business and economics to help people, whether it be by improving their English or technological skills, creating new income-generating activities, increasing food-security, or something entirely different.

I want to help members within a community gain the skills and resources they need to be set up for long-term success. The Peace Corps offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself into a completely different culture, make a positive impact on a community, empower women and youth, and promote world peace. I believe deeply in this mission and want to help advance it.

I am confident that I will be able to overcome the inevitable hardships associated with serving in the Peace Corps. Some amenities we take for granted in the United States may be considered a luxury in other parts of the world, such as lack of indoor plumbing or running water; I experienced some of this when I traveled throughout northern India last year. I am eager to immerse myself in a new culture by living within the same means as the local population, and I am comfortable knowing I may not have access to the same comforts I have in the US.

I expect to be challenged by a variety of factors throughout my service, but I am confident that I will be able to adapt to new situations and develop the necessary skills to serve my community. My success as a volunteer will be highly dependent upon my ability to integrate and forge meaningful connections with individuals in my community. I am prepared to work closely with community members to understand their needs and how I can use my knowledge and skills to be of the greatest benefit.

I would be honored to represent the United States in a foreign nation, and I understand that my actions will reflect on our country. Therefore, I will act with the utmost professionalism while navigating the integration into my host country. I am able to work in ambiguous situations with little direction, and I will take the time to understand how I can be of the most value to my community.

Upon the conclusion of my Peace Corps service, I aspire to continue exploring new cultures and promoting peaceful cooperation. My time serving as a Peace Corps volunteer will give me the strongest foundation for pursuing that goal. I am committed to spending a full 27 months dedicated to the Peace Corps mission and will proudly represent the United States by engaging in mutual respect, learning, and understanding. I will continue to be motivated throughout my service in the Peace Corps by helping people and communities develop the skills necessary for them to thrive.

 

Example #5

To me, serving in the Peace Corps is an opportunity I cannot let slip away. It is a program that encompasses so many of my dreams because it allows me to fulfill many of my own goals while simultaneously helping others.

Although the list of things I wish to accomplish in life is long, it is astounding how many serving in the Peace Corps will accomplish. I want to learn a different language, I want to be immersed in an entirely different culture, and I want to travel. One of my primary goals in life has been to help people in a meaningful way and I feel that the Peace Corps uniquely provides me with that opportunity. By serving in the Peace Corps, I would be given the time to truly understand what the problems are in a community—not only on a superficial basis but in a cultural context as well. This in-depth understanding would allow me to help problem-solve ‘with’ the community as opposed to doing it ‘for’ them.

What motivates me most is how well Peace Corps overlaps with my life aspirations. I plan to go to medical school to become a primary care physician. One of the most overlooked things in medicine is the need to make a bond with your patients, the need to make a connection with each person on an individual level. I truly could not think of better training for this than being thrust into a different culture where one’s success as a volunteer is dictated by the connections one makes in the community.

In my desire to help people I have come to understand that no problem can be fixed overnight. It takes commitment, it takes patience, and most of all it takes respect from both parties. The only way to gain this respect while living abroad in a different community is to follow the cultural norms and practices of wherever you are living.

This to me will be the most challenging part of serving abroad. However, this is not to say that this will deter me. I feel emboldened by this challenge because this gives us an opportunity to show our community different cultural norms.

I cannot wait for the adventures and challenges that Peace Corps will present my wife and me, and I hope that through my service I will be able to leave a lasting effect on my community.

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