famous refugees
June 20 marked the 65th World Refugee Day, described by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as “a special day when the world takes time to recognize the resilience of forcibly displaced people throughout the world.”

The official definition of the term “refugee,” quoted from the 1951 Refugee Convention, states:

“A refugee is someone who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

While many associate this definition to the countless faces pictured in the midst of crisis, like the current situation in Syria, the term refugee can be applied to prominent figures that have made a significant change in our international history. Below are just five examples of famous refugees that have made a difference.

1. Albert Einstein
Profession: Scientist
Country of Origin: Germany
Country of Asylum: United States of America
Backstory: As a German Jew, Einstein was accused of treason and his books were thrown into Hitler’s bonfires. Finding it increasingly difficult to work in Nazi Germany, Einstein took a job at Princeton University in 1932 and gained United States citizenship. Despite having left Germany, Einstein and his wife continued to support the German Jews from abroad, making visa applications for refugees and later selling his 1905 research paper on special relativity, earning $6 million towards the war effort.
Quote: “I am privileged by fate to live here in Princeton,” Einstein wrote in a letter to the Belgian Queen. “In this small university town the chaotic voices of human strife barely penetrate. I am almost ashamed to be living in such peace while all the rest struggle and suffer.”

2. Frédéric Chopin
Profession: Composer
Country of Origin: Poland
Country of Asylum: France
Backstory: Chopin left his home country to advertise Poland’s fight, against the Russians, through music abroad. After leaving Warsaw for Vienna, the fighting broke out and Chopin was notified that he was longer welcome back in Poland.
Quote: “Oh, how hard it must be to die anywhere but in one’s birthplace.”

3. Madeline Albright
Profession: First Female U.S. Secretary of State
Country of Origin: Czech Republic
Country of Asylum: United States of America
Backstory: Albright is unique in the fact that her family was forced to leave her home country on two separate occasions. The family fled to England when Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia during World War II and later fled Prague during the Communist takeover of 1948.
Quote: “My father had been in the Czechoslovakian Diplomatic Service. I was a refugee during World War II in England as a little girl and lived through the Blitz. I then went back and had a fairly glorious life as a daughter of an ambassador. And then all of a sudden we were again refugees and came to the (U.S.) with nothing.”

4. Sigmund Freud
Profession: Neurologist
Country of Origin: Austria
Country of Asylum: England
Backstory: Upon the Nazi army’s attack on Austria, Freud fled to London and became a refugee at age 84, after living in Austria for 79 years.
Quote: “Civilized society is perpetually menaced with disintegration through this primary hostility of men towards one another.”

5. Henry Kissinger
Profession: 56th U.S. Secretary of State
Country of Origin: Germany
Country of Asylum: U.S.
Backstory: Kissinger did not publicly share much information about his experience as a refugee. However, it is known that Kissinger fled with this family to the U.S., escaping the Nazi regime in his homeland of Germany. Dr. Kissinger became a U.S. citizen in 1938 at age 15.
Quote: “When you see the mass exodus of people in war situations, or in genocidal situations, that magnifies my personal experience. But I think my personal experience creates an understanding and, I like to think, a sense of obligation to being sympathetic and supportive. So for all of these reasons I think helping refugees is something this country must do.”

– Blythe Riggan

Sources: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, History, Huffington Post, BrainyQuote, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Nobel Prize, International Rescue Committee
Photo: Colombo Telegraph

history of usaid
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was created in 1961 through the passage of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Until the passage of the Foreign Assistance Act, USAID had existed as several different organizations; the act combined the organizations into one.

President John F. Kennedy was at the forefront of the transformation of US foreign assistance. He understood that there was a need for development to be combined into a single organization to promote social and economic development abroad. The values that guide USAID are rooted in our nation’s commitment to doing the right thing.

The agency’s model is also based off of the success of the Marshall Plan following World War II. The Marshall Plan allowed countries to rebuild their infrastructure, strengthen their economies and stabilize. This plan led the United States’ recognition that International Aid needed to become a part of our foreign policy strategy. We realized that investing abroad would reduce poverty, and create new markets for US products.

The precursors to USAID included a Mutual Security Agency, a Foreign Operations Administration, and an International Cooperation Administration. When USAID was signed into law in 1961, international development assistance opportunities grew tremendously, sparking what would become known as the “decade of development”.

In the 1970s, the agency shifted their focus to basic human needs. This approach focused on food and nutrition, population planning, health, education, and human resources development.

The 1980s saw yet another shift with foreign assistance aimed at stabilizing currencies and financial systems. USAID refocused on their commitment to broad-based economic growth, working to revitalize economic systems and promote employment and income opportunities.

In the 1990s, USAID focused on sustainability and democracy. They wanted to help countries improve their quality of life. This allowed the agency to provide developing countries with integrated assistance packages, transitional countries with help in times of crisis, and countries with limited the agency presence to receive NGO support.

The 2000s have focused on war and rebuilding. USAID has launched programs calling for reform. The agency has helped Afghanistan and Iraq rebuild their governments, infrastructure, civil society, and basic services including healthcare and education. USAID has begun reaching out to the private sector in order to help stretch its funding as much as possible.

USAID occupies more than 100 countries with the same overreaching goals set out by President John K. Kennedy in 1961. USAID aims to further America’s foreign policy interests in expanding democracy and free markets while also extending a helping hand to people struggling to make a better life, recover from a disaster, or striving to live in a free democratic society.

– Caitlin Zusy 

Source: USAID

A common refrain from critics of USAID is the lack of benefits they see would come back to the United States. It is hard to see the longterm benefits of these foreign aid programs, especially when things look so bad when they’re shown on the news. For many, it is easy to write off dire circumstances in distant nations as lost causes rather than potential areas of promise. Many fail to see how the United States was once such a seemingly hopeless region.

If the nations of Europe had the mentality that detractors of foreign aid have today, the United States wouldn’t have had a chance in its fight for independence from Great Britain. This decision took place during an era when it was much more difficult to give support to struggling groups from distant parts of the world.

France was one of the first countries to step up and provide foreign aid for the fledgling United States. While most of that foreign aid was military based, the loans they gave to the United States helped the nation function and get on its feet when it had few options. The loans that France made to the United States went beyond just military help. It also helped with needed supplies for the populace; supplies that kept the nation afloat.

Spain was another country that provided important foreign aid to a developing United States. Spain still had possessions in the Caribbean at the time of the Revolutionary War, making it easy for them to send over supplies to port cities that had been cut off by a British blockade. The goods that Spain was able to supply from such a close outpost helped offset the losses that many Americans were feeling in dealing with the might of the British Empire.

A number of other nations stepped in to help the United States in its struggle. The Netherlands gave some important trade support to help subvert the blockade, and even a number of Indian colonists helped the American cause. This foreign support was a key part to the war, and is arguably undervalued by people today.

While military support is most notable when looking back at this period of foreign involvement in the United States, the supplies and exports other countries provided kept the United States on its feet. It is this type of support for struggling economies that the United States as a superpower should be providing today. The U.S. is in the position to keep others from sinking from the status of a promising democracy into chaos, and organizations like The Borgen Project hope to encourage that type of foreign aid. It just repays the moral debts that the United States benefited from long ago.

– Eric Gustafsson

Sources: History, American Revolutionary War, America’s Library
Photo: Development Diaries

There have been crises in South Sudan, with recent news of the presence of child soldiers. The country has a population of 11,090,104, ranking at 77th in the world with  the majority of its population at 14-years of age or younger.  Approximately 46.2% of the South Sudanese population are children.

Southern Sudan was colonized by Egypt with the province of Equatoria in the 1870s. The region was then overrun by Islamic Mahdist revolutionaries in 1885, only to be overrun again by British forces in 1898.  Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was then formed, with Equatoria one of eight provinces. South Sudan eventually gained its independence in 1956, when full participation in the political system was granted to all provinces.

In 2005, after two prolonged periods of conflict that killed 2.5 million people, peace talks finally led to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which entailed a six-year period of autonomy for Equatoria. Independence was then achieved on July 9th, 2011 and since then South Sudan has had a hard time maintaining good governance to build its nation. Since 2012, South Sudan’s economy has been deteriorating and the nation has struggled to control rebel militia groups in the territory.

According to South Sudanese national law and international law, no child should be able to fight in armed conflict, either with an informal militia or an army.  UNICEF has been concerned with this issue for some time and suspected numerous combatants to be children in the conflict in South Sudan. These allegations have recently been confirmed in reports received by UNICEF, but the number of child combatants is still uncertain.  UNICEF is on the UN Security Council and is monitoring the children affected by armed conflict in the country. UNICEF has called on both parties to halt the use of child soldiers and release them straightaway.  They are also reminding the parties that they are currently committed to international and national law and will face the consequences if they do not comply.

Kenneth W. Kliesner 

Photo: amnestyusa

Polio is a virus that causes paralysis of the lungs and spine and in severe cases death. It is suspected that polio has been around for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptian paintings portray priests with deformed limbs reminiscent of the disease. It was not until the industrial age however that major polio epidemics occurred first in Europe and then in the United States.

The first documented outbreak of Polio in the U.S. occurred in 1884 in Rutland Country, Vermont. Eighteen deaths and 132 cases of infantile paralysis were documented. However British physician Dr. Michael Underwood had written a clinical description of the disease almost 100 years earlier, calling it “debility of the lower extremities”. In 1840 German physician Dr. Jacob von Heine conducted a systematic investigation of the disease and hypothesized that it might be contagious. In 1905 after a series of epidemics in Sweden, Dr. Ivar Wickman published that a report suggesting that polio was contagious and seemed to involve the spine. In 1907 he characterized different types of polio noting that polio could occur in milder forms, which he called “abortive”.

Throughout the 19th century known as “Infantile Paralysis” but in 1908 Austrian physicians Karl Landsteiner and Erwin Popper announced that the disease was viral and it was named poliovirus.  They made this discovery by withdrawing spinal fluid from a patient who had died from the disease and putting it through a bacterial filter. They then inserted the fluid into the spines of monkeys, who then developed the disease. As viral particles are smaller than bacterial particles they concluded that the disease was viral.

In 1916 the first major polio epidemic occurred in the U.S there were 27, 000 cases and 6000 deaths. In New York City alone there were 9000 cases and 2343 deaths. Polio was most common in children however it also affected adults; between 1949 and 1954 35% of the cases were adults. In 1921 Franklin D. Roosevelt contracted the poliovirus at the age of 39. In 1927 he formed the Warms Spring Foundation for polio rehabilitation in Georgia. He then founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis in 1938. The organization still exists today as the March of Dimes, a fundraising organization focused on polio research.

During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s Dr. Jonas Salk at the University of Pittsburg began developing a vaccine for polio and in 1955 he developed the first effective vaccine against polio, the inactive (killed) injectable vaccine. Between 1955 and 1957 the incidence of polio in the U.S. fell by almost 90%. Around the same time Dr. Albert Sabin developed and tested a “live” vaccine. He had to test the vaccine in Russia due to Salk’s monopolization of the U.S.  This became the vaccine of choice world wide due to its easier oral administration and cheaper cost. However as of 1999 the US began using Salk’s inactive virus because of the risk that the active virus could be too strong and lead to the development of polio. Both of these doctors were instrumental to the eradication of polio in North America and Europe.

By 1988 the virus had been completely eradicated in North America, Australia and Western Europe, however it still remained endemic in 125 countries. In 1988 the World Health Organization announced a plan to vaccinate all children in underdeveloped countries. As of 2012, polio is officially endemic in only four countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and India.

– Lisa Toole

Sources: History of Vaccines, Global Polio Eradication, NMAH, BBC, Polio Today
Photo: Terrierman’s Daily Dose

We talk sadly about the terrible conditions in “The Third World.” But do we actually know what the Third World is? Here are three things you probably didn’t know about the so-called Third World:

Etymology— After the Second World War, and before the start of the Cold War, the world was divided roughly into three different groups: the First World, the Second World, and the Third World. The First World referred to countries such as the U.S.: capitalist, democratic, and industrial.

The Second World referred to the communist-socialist countries in Eastern Europe and East Asia, such as Russia, China, Poland, etc. Finally, the Third World referred to the rest of the countries.

Today, the phrase “Third World” is used to refer to the Global South, or in general, to poorer nations. While this appropriation of the phrase is not entirely incorrect, there are a lot of “Third World” nations that are quickly developing, and taking center stage in many different fields.

History— A majority of what’s considered the “Third World,” both in terms of the original definition and what people assume now to be the third world has an imperial/colonized past. Africa represents one simple example of this. During the Berlin Conference of 1884, there was a “Scramble for Africa,” during which various European nations divided up the continent into parts to share.

Nations outside Africa, including Indonesia and India, were also colonized. Eventually, all these nations fought for and gained independence, and started developing their economies and governments. While most of these “Third World” nations that fought for independence remained democratic, some fell under the rule of tyrannous leaders and many citizens are still oppressed. These nations today continue to have severe human rights crises, as the rights of the citizens are very often denied or even ignored in these nations.

Economy— On a more optimistic note, some of the developing nations are places of great economic potential. It is widely agreed that investing in the “Third World” will have positive impact on the global economy. Up-and-coming innovations and businesses, along with the masses of populations that are just now trying to rise above the cycle of poverty provide great potential—if they’re given the opportunity to break out of said cycle of poverty.

It is important to remember that in addition to aiding the global economy, investing in and supporting the “Third World” will liberate millions from the shackles of poverty, opening up a world of opportunities and potential.

– Aalekhya Malladi

Sources: Nations Online, Nations Online: Third World, Then Again, The Borgen Project
Photo: Global Giving Foundation

Ukraine, “The Bread Basket of Europe,” a 233,000 square mile expanse of fertile steppe stretching from Poland and Romania in the West to Russia in the East.  Much like in Turkey, her southern neighbor across the Black Sea, Ukrainian culture combines elements of the Asiatic and the European into a Eurasian entity that is undoubtedly one of the most distinct in the world.  Even during the tyrannical rule of the Soviet Union, Ukraine retained the unique agricultural identity that defined it, consistently expressing an anti-regime, nationalistic fervor while making up for over a quarter of the USSR’s grain production.

Ukraine’s significance as the agricultural gold mine of Eastern Europe was the cornerstone of it’s economy for centuries, making it the most valuable territory to the former Soviet Union.  The strategic importance of Ukraine as a center of agricultural output is most notably evidenced by the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33, also known as the Holodomor (Голодомор). This great tragedy was deliberately created by Joseph Stalin to quell a strain of Ukrainian nationalism that had started to become active in the late 1920‘s.  The main thrust behind the designed famine, however, was Stalin’s desire to accelerate the industrialization of the Soviet empire by utilizing Ukraine’s enormous agrarian resources.

The famine was a result of the forced collectivization of Ukrainian farms by the government in which virtually all of the food produced on the collectives was seized by Soviet authorities and sold on the international market to raise the national income, leaving the Ukrainian locals with nothing to eat.  This collectivization was against the will of the Ukrainian “kulak” class of wealthy farmers who opposed Soviet rule and ran private farms for personal profit.  In devising this artificial famine, Stalin decimated the population of Ukraine and, through murder and banishment, eliminated the Kulak class, along with any rebellious sentiment represented by the Kulaks.

What Stalin did to the Ukrainians has been described by many historians as mass genocide.  Between 1932 and 1933, over seven million Ukrainians died of starvation.  Ukrainian famine survivor Miron Dolot, who was a child in Ukraine during the forced collectivization, recalls grisly scenes in which desperate villagers resorted to cannibalism and the consumption of rats to stay alive.   Stalin had reduced the Ukrainians to a condition of destitution that was beyond comprehension.  To the heartless dictator,  fast industrialization was the end goal, and any amount of life that stood in his way was expendable.

The Holodomor is a stain on the history of the former Soviet Union, and was only recently recognized by the Russian government.  To this day, the Ukrainian Famine is one of the only instances in history in which a dictator calculatedly reduced a contingent of his people to starvation and abject poverty.

– Josh Forgét

Sources: Execution by Hunger, Reflections on a Ravaged Century, CIA World Factbook
Photo: United Human Rights

History of the World Bank: Successes
Despite the depressing news of the last part in this three-part history of the World Bank, the global lending institution has had a great number of successes that improved the livelihoods and well being of millions of people.

Immediately after establishment in 1944, the World Bank set up offices around Europe and started work. The first recipient was France. $250 million was used for reconstruction of factories, roads, and other essential economic and social infrastructure. Europe was not the only focus of the new institution. India received assistance and expertise from the World Bank in harnessing the “River of Sorrows.” Once a source of major floods, the River of Sorrows was transformed by power generator, sanitation, and irrigation projects.

In 1971, the World Bank built a worldwide network of agriculture research centers resulting in the creation of a scientific partnership and massive increases in agricultural production via technology adoption. This initiative allowed countries to better fulfill their growing populations’ nutritional needs. This decade also saw investments in renewable energy (1973, El Salvador) and the establishment of national programs for water pollution controls.

With projects like the long-standing water deal signed by India and Pakistan and the establishment of the International Development Association, the World Bank started focusing on a ‘basic-needs’ approach to development. Pursuant projects included helping subsistence farmers (1973) and eradicating River Blindness in 1974 allowing more people to participate in the development of their communities and nations.

Milestone projects include the 1984 donations for food-for-drought victims through the World Food Program for sub-Saharan African countries. Other note-worthy initiatives include stopping ozone damage (1989) and protecting forests (1991) through which the World Bank implemented the Montreal Protocols on the environment and halted all financing to commercial logging in primary tropical forests such as the Amazon. The World Bank also played a role in developing job-creating projects under Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1991. The World Bank joined the post-conflict reconstruction team after the war in Yugoslavia in 1995. In 2000 and 2001, the World Bank declared war on HIV/AIDS and the next year started delivering vaccines through the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. 1997 marked the beginning of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative, which eventually led to the Jubilee Drop the Debt campaign to relieve poor countries of crippling debts. The next year the Freud and Corruption hotline was set up to help combat corruption associated with World Bank projects.

The World Bank took the opportunity of the turn of the century to embark on a project of groundbreaking proportions: a war on HIV/AIDS. Over these 13 years that the World Bank has been engaged in this project, AIDS drugs have dropped in cost from $10,000 per person annually to less than $100. Additionally, 1.5 million women were provided with drugs to prevent them from transferring the disease to their child. On a global scale, 50,000 grass-roots organizations in 50 countries have received funding to combat AIDS. Some of these projects resulted in huge decreases such as those in India (preventing 3 million cases), West Africa (22% decrease in 4 years) and Rwanda’s 76% increase in use of health systems.

Between 2000 and today, the World Bank has successfully undertaken projects in health, education, and financial sectors. Health projects include fighting TB, food crises responses, and recovering from natural disasters. Education projects approach it as not only a necessity for economic growth and development, but also a moral imperative and human right. 2010 marked a record high of financing education projects at $5 billion. $5 billion accomplished training for 3 million teachers and renovating/building 2 million classrooms all affecting an improved education for 105 million children.

The moral of the story: raising the living standards of the world’s poor is a multifaceted and difficult task. The World Bank has had a mixed record of getting successful results. However, their institutional framework is extremely valuable and their experience of both successes and failures is invaluable.

– Katherine Zobre
Source: World Bank
Photo: UNESCO Bangkok

History of the World Bank

For those who think the history of international institutions is boring, it’s time to think again. The history of the World Bank is full of scandals, contentions, failures, and successes, all impacting millions of people. This is part one of a three-part blog about the history of the World Bank. Before discussing the contentions and failures in the next part, it is important to give a brief overview.

The 1944 establishment of the World Bank has its origins in the need for post-WWII reconstruction of Europe. Initially founded as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), at the Bretton Woods Summit in New Hampshire, the purpose was post-war reconstruction and development. Initial projects ranged from industry to reconstruction of roads, bridges, and buildings.

A shift in focus came during the 1960s with re-energized focus on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. The basic-needs approach to development is premised on human resilience and desire to contribute to growing societies. The World Bank’s focus on environmental issues in the 1970s reflected social movements at the time demanding higher accountability of human impact on the environment. The first World Development Report was published in 1978 reflecting a growing demand for transparency in the institution and publicly available data.

Through the 1980s, as international development as a whole was being disputed by practitioners, recipients, and academics, the World Bank was pulled in many different directions. The first was macroeconomic failures mandating debt rescheduling. Later that decade social, environmental, and civil concerns vocalized criticisms over the quality of the World Bank’s projects. An investigation panel was set-up, reports were written, and reform was made in the early 1990s.


History of the World Bank


Through the 1980s, 90s, and 2000s the World Bank sponsored programs and reforms in many industries and focused on all four of the established priorities: basic-needs of health, education and livelihoods; economic development through construction projects; improving the environment; and data collection and research.

The World Bank still builds infrastructure, but now has a more holistic approach. At conception, the IBRD was a homogeneous organization based solely in Washington DC. Now it is a complex bureaucracy with diverse professions and 40% of the staff based internationally. The five institutions that constitute the World Bank Group of today are IBRD, International Development Association, International Finance Corporation, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, and International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

The Bank’s performance—efficiency and efficacy—have generally improved and, according to the World Bank, clients are satisfied with the level of service, quality, and commitment. The Bank is an important actor in shaping global policy in the arenas of poverty reduction and disaster (both natural and man-made) recovery.

Katherine Zobre

Source: World Bank
Photo: Bretton Woodsk

History of the Peace Corps
Before Kennedy was even President, he had a vision for a stronger America through understanding the struggle of developing nations and peace building around the world. His speech at the University of Michigan formed the origin of the Peace Corps. From the first deployment of 51 volunteers to Accra, Ghana, in 1961, Americans have engaged in critical projects of building wells, schools, and clinics. They distribute information about AIDS/HIV prevention and environmental preservation. They strengthen capacity and resilience of crop and livestock by working with locals and their intimate knowledge of their needs and resources.

Over 52 years, the Peace Corps has engaged over 210,000 American volunteers in 139 countries and thousands of projects. Volunteers are asked to serve “under conditions of hardship” to help accomplish the mutual goal of improved livelihoods and welfare.

From the start, the Peace Corps was hugely popular with American citizens and partner countries. In the first few years of the Peace Corps, the number of volunteers expanded exponentially. Starting out with only 51 volunteers in March of 1961, by December the organization had more than 500 volunteers serving and 200 more training in the US. By 1962 there were 28 countries participating and nearly 3,000 volunteers. By 1966 the number of volunteers jumped to 15,000 volunteers and trainees. Former president Jimmy Carter’s mother volunteered in 1966 as a public health worker in India. By the early 1970s, Peace Corps volunteers were being elected to the House of Representatives in the US Congress and the first female and first African American was appointed to Peace Corps Director. 9,000 serving volunteers in 1970 is the record for most serving volunteers.

In 1981 the Peace Corps, which had been a congressional mandate, became an independent federal agency. In 1985 the Peace Corps was the subject of the John Candy, Tom Hanks, and Rita Wilson movie “Volunteers.” This was not the Peace Corps’ debut in pop-culture. References to the Peace Corps have also been made in “the ‘Pink Panther’ (1963), ‘Animal House’ (1978), ‘Airplane!’ (1980), ‘Dirty Dancing (1987), ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’ (2005), ‘The Simpsons’, and ‘Family Guy.’” The number of women serving as Peace Corps volunteers jumped past the number of men serving in 1985.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, for the first time volunteers were sent to eastern and central Europe starting in 1990. 1993 saw the first volunteers go to China as English teachers. 1993 also marked a divergence of Peace Corps Directors as appointed from outside the organization. Since Carol Bellamy, director from 1993-1995, and a returned volunteer, all the directors have been former volunteers. Started in 1995, the Peace Corps now also sends volunteers on short-term missions to respond to humanitarian crises caused by natural disasters; this included responses to Katrina in New Orleans. When the apartheid ended in South Africa, the Peace Corps sent the first group of 33 volunteers in 1997. The 2003 ad campaign was aimed at refreshing the image of the Peace Corps in the American mind. The new slogan read: “Life is calling. How far will you go?”

The next year the Peace Corps received the largest appropriation from Congress in the history of the Peace Corps: $400 million. The budget expansion coincided with a “40-year high in numbers of volunteers”—8,655 volunteers in 77 countries.

Who are volunteers? They are mothers, children, fathers, astronauts, scientists, members of Congress, and ambassadors. They are descedants of an organization born in the campaign of President Kennedy and shaped by the demanding needs of people suffering the indignity of poverty and underdevelopment and hard work of thousands of American citizens.

“The Peace Corps represents some, if not all, of the best virtues in this society. It stands for everything that America has ever stood for. It stands for everything we believe in and hope to achieve in the world”- Sargent Shriver.

Katherine Zobre