Today in History: Kennedy Establishes the Peace Corps
If you explore the Peace Corps website, and search for library or librarian among its “Stories”, you will certainly find work being done to advance literacy and improve education throughout the world — Moldova to Tanzania to Guyana. You’ll read of heroic efforts by teachers to build and stock libraries; the essential relationship between libraries and classrooms; and how libraries, the most democratic of institutions, open themselves to the greater community. Some stories are finished, others, in the beautiful process of unfolding, but there is live testament to the folk making the most to improve our world.
With an executive order issued on March 1, 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps was established as a volunteer program aimed at assisting people outside the United States. Service includes work in governments, schools, non-profit organizations, non-government organizations, and entrepreneurs in education, business, information technology, agriculture, and the environment. The mission includes helping: 1) the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women; 2) promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served and 3) promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
Did you know that Teachers College, Columbia University offers teacher certification program that supports Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) as they become outstanding New York City public school teachers in high need schools while earning a master’s degree? Read about the Peace Corps Fellows Program.
The following articles are selected from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
- Smith, H. Special to The New York Times. (1963, Jan 14). Kennedy to Ask Domestic Unit of Peace Corps to Start Feb. 1. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Special to Newsday. (1961, Mar 02). Youths Flock to JFK Peace Corps. Newsday (1940-1988)
- Skills for Peace. (1961, Mar 02). The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973)
- Braestrup, P. Special to The New York Times. (1961, Mar 03). Capital Diplomats Hail Peace Corps: Envoys Welcome Peace Corps Idea. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Young, R. (1961, Apr 10). Peace Corps: An Idea Becomes a Reality: Kennedy Acts under Law of 1954. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963)
- The Peace Corps Grows. (1963, Jan 20). The Hartford Courant (1923-1991)
- Lyn, & Dobrin, A. (1981, Mar 01). The Peace Corps after 20 Years: Still Much Needed. Newsday (1940-1988)
- Behrens, D. (1986, Feb 8). Four Who Remember the Earlier Days: They Set Out to Change the World. Newsday (1940-1988).
- Peace Corps Veterans Turn to Teaching. (1991, Apr 25). The Washington Post (1974-Current File)
- Wheeler, L. (1991, Aug 05). Peace Corps Volunteers Look Back to the Future: At Reunion a Call for Renewed Activism. The Washington Post (1974-Current File)
Consult Educat, our catalog, for resources relating to the Peace Corps. International efforts by Teachers College can be explored in greater detail via Pocketnowledge, our institutions’ digital archive. Examples include Teachers for East Africa and Teacher Education in East Africa and other US Agency for International Development (US AID) Projects, including Peru, Afghanistan, and many more countries.
Need to keep current, look to the past, teach a topic? The Everett Cafe features daily postings of news from around the world, and also promotes awareness of historical events from an educational context.