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NPCA Awards

National Peace Corps Association presents three awards annually to honor work inspired by and connected to the Peace Corps community: the Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service, the Loret Miller Ruppe Award for Outstanding Community Service, and the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award. Recent winners include and CorpsAfrica founder Liz Fanning, second from left in the photo above, and Guatemalan filmmaker Luis Argueta, right.

Traditionally the awards are presented at Peace Corps Connect, our annual conference. In 2020 we presented awards in September at our rescheduled Annual General Membership Meeting, hosted virtually. We accept nominations for each award on a rolling basis.

To nominate a candidate for one of these awards, please submit the short nomination form found below. If you have a candidate recommendation but do not know the candidate personally or do not feel otherwise qualified to nominate them, you may bring the candidate to the attention of the selection committee for consideration by submitting this form.


Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service

The Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service is awarded annually by NPCA to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who continue to make a sustained and distinguished contribution to humanitarian causes at home or abroad or are innovative social entrepreneurs who bring about significant long-term change. The award is named in honor of the tremendous contributions of the first Peace Corps Director, Sargent Shriver, who founded and developed the Peace Corps.


2020 Winner: Matthew Paneitz

For 18 years, Matthew “Mateo” Paneitz has devoted his life to the redress of ethnic violence and systemic oppression perpetrated against the indigenous peoples of Guatemala. He has been doing this while living and working in San Juan Comalapa, a town of 40,000 primarily indigenous Kaqchikel Maya, located in Guatemala's Western highlands. The Peace Corps brought Mateo to Guatemala in 2002 and led him to a life of unwavering dedication to equitable development in Comalapa and Guatemala. In Comalapa, Mateo was exposed first-hand to the brutal aftermath of the Guatemalan Civil War, a colonialism-driven conflict that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives — primarily indigenous peoples. Throughout Guatemala, extreme environmental challenges and inequality, as well as high rates of unemployment and illiteracy, stymie equitable and sustainable development. To address these issues and to provide better living conditions for Comalapans, Mateo founded Long Way Home, a 501(c)3 non-profit, in 2005. Long Way Home utilizes green building, employment, and education to mobilize people to actively participate in democracy and create innovative pathways to economic and environmental justice. 

Learn more


See the full list of previous award winners


To nominate an individual for the Shriver Award, please download the Shriver Award nomination packet and submit all materials to vp@peacecorpsconnect.orgAward nominations are accepted year-round but must be received by July 25, 2021 to be considered for the 2021 award. To better understand the selection process and eligibility for the award, please review the Rules, Regulations and Review Criteria included in the nomination packet.

The Loret Miller Ruppe Award for Outstanding Community Service


The annual Loret Miller Ruppe Award, named after the widely admired 10th Director of the Peace Corps, is presented by NPCA to outstanding affiliate groups for projects that promote the Third Goal of Peace Corps — “strengthen Americans’ understanding about the world and its peoples” — or continue to serve host countries, build group spirit and cooperation, and promote service. Eligible projects include those completed within the past two years or ongoing for at least three years. The purpose of the award is to recognize the great work that NPCA’s groups are doing and to generate ideas that other groups may emulate in their communities.


2020 Winners: Friends of Korea and Friends of Tonga


Friends of Korea was established to foster connections between people in U.S. and Korea — and between Korean-American communities stateside and wider communities. The group has also sought to foster cultural awareness and cultivate philanthropy. In 2016, Friends of Korea started the Project “Study Guide to Accompany The Korean Transformation,” an easy-to-use manual for educators and workshop facilitators to use when teaching about the dramatic economic, social, and political development of Korea. 

The main purpose of the Study Guide was to promote a better understanding to the American public of the dramatic story of modern-day Korea’s development. In addition to the activities devoted to the story of Korea, the guide purposely included “extension” activities so that students can understand about the diversity in their local community, the Peace Corps and community service, and transformative learning — all of which lend themselves to the development of group spirit, cooperation, and the inclination to serve. The guide also helps Friends of Korea to stay connected with the country where they served by spreading one unique story in particular: Korea is the first Peace Corps partner country in the world to launch its own government-funded overseas volunteer service corps, “World Friends Korea.”

Friends of Tonga designed and implemented a pen pal exchange program between schools in the United States and Tonga. Teachers are provided with a pen pal guide that gives an overview of the program and its process. When possible, a Friends of Tonga representative has gone to participating schools to introduce both Tonga and the project to the teachers and students. When Friends of Tonga is unable to deliver a presentation in person, slideshows have been created for both Tongan and U.S. teachers to orient their students to the other culture. 

This program enhances literacy rates in Tonga, raises awareness of Tonga and its people, and has increased event participation and donations. “This project is extremely replicable!” note Friends of Tonga. Partners are provided with guidance and an orientation PowerPoint deck to present to classes, digitally. All of these resources can be found online.

Learn more

See the full list of previous award winners


To nominate an affiliate group for the Ruppe Award, please download the Ruppe Award Nomination Packet and submit all materials to groups@peacecorpsconnect.orgAward nominations are accepted year-round but must be received by July 25, 2021 to be considered for the 2021 award.

Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award will not be presented in 2020.

The Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award is named after the former U.S. Senator and special assistant to U.S. President John F. Kennedy who was instrumental in the formation of the Peace Corps. It is awarded annually to an outstanding global leader who grew up and continues to live in a country where Peace Corps Volunteers serve and whose life was influenced by the Peace Corps. Learn more about Harris Wofford.

This award is made possible by a generous gift from Atiku Abubakar, businessman, philanthropist, and former Nigerian Vice President for the Global Leaders Program. Atiku Abubakar was the first recipient of the award, which was presented at the Promise of the Peace Corps Gala in September 2011.

In summer 2020 three past winners of the award took part in the global ideas summit, Peace Corps Connect to the Future, to give host country perspectives on Peace Corps at a time when all Volunteers have been evacuated from the countries where they were serving. Read and watch remarks from Luis Argueta of Guatemala (2019 recipient), Kul Chandra Gautam of Nepal (2018 recipient), and Dr. Mohamud Sheikh Nurein Said of Kenya (2013 recipient).


See the full list of previous award winners


To nominate an individual for the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award, please download the Wofford Award nomination packet, and submit all nomination materials to (Contact us for nomination materials in Word.) Award nominations are accepted year-round; the date of the next award presentation has not yet been set due to COVID pandemic restrictions. To better understand the selection process and eligibility for the award, please download the frequently asked questions.

Women of Peace Corps Legacy Awards

Do you know a Peace Corps woman who is an emerging leader supporting women and girls in her community or around the world? Or, do you know a Peace Corps woman whose lifetime contributions have made a significant difference in the lives of women and girls in the world? Learn more about the requirements and how to nominate these women for the annual Kate Raftery Emerging Leader Award or the Deborah Harding Women of Achievement Award.

Nominate exceptional Peace Corps women for these awards. The 2021 deadline for nominations was June 15. The awards will be presented at the Peace Corps Connect 2021 Conference in September.