John F. Kennedy signed the Peace Corps into existence by executive order on March 1, 1961. Since then, the University of Virginia has sent over 800 volunteers to all corners of the globe. Since 2000, over 400 U.Va graduates have gone overseas to honor and sustain Kennedy’s vision of an agency that works for world peace through coexistence and understanding. Last week, U.Va celebrated its special role in the Peace Corps in a day-long series of conversations and musical performances.
We spoke with three volunteers about what they learned. Charlottesville resident Bob Vernon served in Venezuela in the 1970’s. Curry School graduate Sara Johnston served in Namibia and the Gambia from 1998 through the end of 2000. Matt Hural is the current on-Grounds recruiter for the Peace Corps. Their remarks are book-ended by comments by deputy director Jody Olsen in this 27-minute podcast.
Update: The Hook features the stories of several U.Va graduates who served in the Peace Corps in its July 27 edition.