180: The Peace Corps is Founded

US-Official-PeaceCorps-Logo

On this date in 1961, the Peace Corps was officially authorized by the United States Congress.

Here are a few facts you may not have known about the Peace Corps.

It was established by by executive order by President John F. Kennedy to promote world peace and friendship. Members of the Peace Corps provide technical assistance and help with social and economic development abroad. The first bill to form the Peace Corps was introduced by Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota in 1957.

Kennedy’s inaugural speech’s famous line of “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country” was in regard to the Peace Corps. Kennedy’s brother-in-law Sargent Shriver was the program’s first director.

The program focuses on anti-malaria efforts, environmental protection, emergency management and education.

Nearly 220,000 U.S. citizens have served in the Peace Corps in 140 countries.

Notable Peace Corps alumni include Reed Hastings, co-founder of Netflix, writer Paul Theroux and former “This Old House” host Bob Vila.

Our question, what is the only continent on which the Peace Corps does not operate?

Today is World Car-Free Day, Independence Day in Bulgaria and Mali, and Hobbit Day, the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. In the United States it is unofficially National Ice Cream Cone Day and National White Chocolate Day, which, of course, isn’t chocolate at all. Besides the Bagginses, it’s the birthday of actor John Houseman, musician Joan Jett and actor Scott Baio.

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