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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Readout of the President’s Meeting with the Peace Corps

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps to promote peace and increase international understanding by encouraging Americans to serve in developing countries.  This afternoon, on the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, President Obama met with longtime supporters of the Peace Corps, its leadership, and volunteers currently serving in Tanzania.  Together, they paid tribute to President Kennedy’s legacy and reaffirmed the importance of serving others at home and abroad.  Since the Peace Corps’ creation, more than 215,000 Americans have committed their lives and talents serving others in 139 countries, and have returned home to give back to their own communities.

President Obama opened the meeting by observing a moment of silence at 2:00 p.m. EST to honor President Kennedy’s memory.  He expressed his appreciation for the commitment exemplified by Peace Corps’ supporters and volunteers and for continuing to respond to President Kennedy’s call to service.  In his web-based videoconference with Peace Corps volunteers in Tanzania, the President learned more about how Americans are keeping those ideals alive today by working to promote food security, bolster health, and empower youth in sub-Saharan Africa.   

Peace Corps Supporters and Volunteers who attended the meeting included:

  • Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Acting Director of the Peace Corps
  • Tim Shriver, Chief Executive Officer of the Special Olympics
  • Harris Wofford, Former Senator from Pennsylvania
  • L. Mariko Schmitz, Board Chair of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington
  • Glenn Blumhorst, President of the National Peace Corps Association
  • Five Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Tanzania