JFK creates the Peace Corp

Originally proposed in 1960 in a 2 a.m. impromptu presidential campaign speech, then presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy challenged 5,000 students at the University of Michigan to contribute two years of their lives to help people in countries of the developing world.

Created in 1961 by executive order 10924 issued by President John Kennedy, the Peace Corps is a volunteer program run by the United States government that is responsible for providing technical assistance to developing countries, helping people outside the United States understand American culture, and helping Americans to understand the cultures of other counties.

Since that speech, nearly 220,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps and served in over 140 counties.