37¢ The Peace Corps
Celebrate the Century – 1960s
Issue Date: September 17, 1999
City: Green Bay, WI
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed, engraved
While campaigning for president in October of 1960, John F. Kennedy issued a challenge to students at the University of Michigan. He asked those who were willing to serve their country and work for peace to volunteer in a developing nation. In March of 1961, President Kennedy officially created the Peace Corps. Since then, more than 150,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers in over 100 host countries.
The first Peace Corps volunteers trained at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey; Sargent Shriver was the organization’s first director. In 1961, there were 900 volunteers serving in 16 countries. By 1966, there were 10,000 volunteers in 52 countries. The program declined in the 1980s, when the Corps was asked to leave several countries.
Volunteers work with people in developing countries to help them better their living conditions. The primary fields they work in are education, agriculture, health care, technology, and community development. The Corps sends people into a nation only at its request.
The 1999 Peace Corps postage stamp issued by the U.S. was based on an illustration by Norman Rockwell that appeared in Look magazine on June 14, 1966. It is titled: “The Peace Corps in Ethiopia.”