Peace Corps Challenges

Has the venerable agency outlived its purpose?


The Peace Corps has long stood as one of America's most idealistic efforts — a program founded in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy to send young Americans to some of the world's poorest countries with a mission to spread good will and offer assistance. The agency still sends volunteers on two-year assignments and is active today in 76 countries. But the idealism in the Peace Corps’ charter has come up against some troubling accusations. Volunteers who say they were sexually assaulted while overseas complain that the Peace Corps ignored or downplayed their allegations. Other volunteers say they received inadequate training, and still others question the agency's accomplishments. Yet supporters say there has never been a greater need for the kind of person-to-person, international understanding ...

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