President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. In the fifty years since, nearly 200,000 Americans have served in 139 countries, providing technical assistance, promoting a better understanding of American culture, and bringing the world back to the United States.
In Voices from the Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers, Angene Wilson and Jack Wilson, who served in Liberia from 1962 to 1964, follow the experiences of volunteers as they make the decision to join, attend training, adjust to living overseas and the job, make friends, and eventually return home to serve in their communities. They also describe how the volunteers made a difference in their host countries and how they became citizens of the world for the rest of their lives. Among many others, the interviewees include a physics teacher who served in Nigeria in 1961, a smallpox vaccinator who arrived in Afghanistan in 1969, a nineteen-year-old Mexican American who worked in an agricultural program in Guatemala in the 1970s, a builder of schools and relationships who served in Gabon from 1989 to 1992, and a retired office administrator who taught business in Ukraine from 2000 to 2002. Voices from the Peace Corps emphasizes the value of practical idealism in building meaningful cultural connections that span the globe.
About the Author
Angene Wilson is professor emeritus of education at the University of Kentucky, where she was chair of the secondary social studies program from 1975 to 2004. She is the author of The Meaning of International Experience for Schools and coauthor of Social Studies and the World: Teaching Global Perspectives.
Jack Wilson spent more than thirty-five years in public service, beginning as a Peace Corps administrator in Sierra Leone, Washington, DC, and Fiji, and continuing as an administrator of environmental protection programs in Ohio and Kentucky.