The Peace Corps, an international service organization based in the United States, sends volunteers overseas to help solve problems and meet the needs of people around the world. The organization seeks to make a difference on global issues such as climate change, pandemic disease, food security, and gender equality and empowerment. Furthermore, the Peace Corps seeks to help people outside the United States understand American culture, and also help Americans understand the cultures of other countries.
The duties and responsibilities of Peace Corps volunteers are usually related to social and economic development. Volunteers are American citizens, most with college degrees, who work abroad for a period of two years after three months of training. Volunteers work with all types of organizations, including governments, schools, nonprofits and entrepreneurs in a variety of industries. After 24 months of service, volunteers can request an extension of service.
The Peace Corps program was established by an executive order issued by President John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961. Congress subsequently passed Peace Corps Act on September 21, 1961. The Peace Corps has operated in more than 140 countries (as of 2009, volunteers were actively engaged in 68 countries) and more than 220,000 volunteers have signed up for service.