USF World News

Peace Corps Celebrates 60th Anniversary in March

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Tampa, Fla. -- On March 1, the Peace Corps celebrates 60 years since President John F. Kennedy established the agency in 1961. The anniversary of the Peace Corps commemorates international peace and friendship, volunteerism and service. Since the agency’s inauguration, the University of South Florida (USF) has supported projects around the world through its students and alumni who have chosen to serve as Volunteers. USF is consistently a Top Producer of Peace Corps Volunteers. At last count, 566 USF alumni (former graduate and undergraduate students) have volunteered with the Peace Corps, serving across a wide variety of specialties that most recently supported more than 60 host country partners. 

The University of South Florida also ranks No. 2 nationally among Peace Corps Prep schools on the agency’s list of top certificate-issuing institutions (2020). USF issued 49 Prep certificates to the graduating class of 2020. The Peace Corps Prep program prepares students for careers in international development including service in the Peace Corps. There are currently more than 200 undergraduate students enrolled in the Peace Corps Prep program at the University of South Florida. “We are especially proud that so many USF students choose careers that contribute to the betterment of society, including service with the Peace Corps,” says Kiki Caruson, Interim Vice President for USF Word

The theme for the 60th anniversary is “Peace Corps through the Decades: Sixty Years, Countless Stories” and will be commemorated during “Peace Corps Week,” which runs Feb. 28 to March 6. A number of exciting virtual events are scheduled for Peace Corps Week and can be found on the Peace Corps’ events page. Participats are encouraged to share the events they’re attending on social media using #PeaceCorps60. The agency’s website,, will also feature returned Peace Corps volunteer (RPCV) photos from the past six decades, and RPCVs are encouraged to share their stories and images on social media using #repyourdecade. Visitors to the website can also read about the Peace Corps’ history and stories from service.

This year doesn’t just mark an anniversary for the Peace Corps, it marks a new beginning. When the agency evacuated its global posts in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it paused operations and brought home more than 6,000 Americans who were serving in more than 60 countries. The agency is now recruiting and planning for a return to service, bringing an extraordinary opportunity for future Volunteers to be the start of a new chapter for all of Peace Corps. “As we look to the next 60 years, the Peace Corps will continue to be a community of people—all over the world—willing to do the essential work of promoting peace and friendship across cultures,” notes Acting Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn.

About the Peace Corps

The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans of all ages have served in 142 countries worldwide. For more information, visit or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.