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Peace Corps Connect 2021: 60th Anniversary Global Virtual Conference



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A virtual gathering for the entire Peace Corps community

This year we mark six decades since the founding of the Peace Corps — culminating in an anniversary conference in September 2021. That comes 60 years after President John F. Kennedy signed into law the Peace Corps Act, legislation permanently creating and funding the agency, in September 1961.

This is a pivotal moment for the Peace Corps community. This year we mark six decades of service by Volunteers in communities around the world. But this is also an unprecedented time for the Peace Corps. In March 2020, all Volunteers were evacuated because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a community-driven effort, National Peace Corps Association is working to help transform Peace Corps: to reimagine, reshape, and retool the agency for a changed world. So while we celebrate this historic milestone, we also focus on the work that must be done in the present to make a better and stronger Peace Corps for the future.

We began 60th anniversary celebrations in fall 2020, commemorating the anniversary of JFK’s campaign speech at University of Michigan that sparked national interest in the Peace Corps. And in March 2021 events took place across the country and around the world to mark Peace Corps Week—and the anniversary of the executive order that established the agency. Here’s what’s in store for September.

Community. Service. Impact.

Our Peace Corps Connect to the Future Global Ideas Summit in 2020 underscored an important benefit to virtual platforms: We can bring together a broad array of members of the Peace Corps community. It’s essential to us that Peace Corps Connect 2021 is a global gathering, including members from communities where Volunteers have served. We want to ensure that we have an international perspective on service and its impact — and the needs for a changed world. And we will be leveraging the virtual platform to ensure as broad participation as possible.


September 18–22


Saturday, September 18
Affiliate Group Network Annual Meeting

Monday, September 20 and Tuesday, September 21
Virtual Reunions and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Service Project Presentations

Wednesday, September 22
Peace Corps Act Day: Advocacy Day and Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery

See a full description of events here.
Mark the Moment | 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM (Eastern)

September 22, 1961 at 9:45 AM. That was the moment when President John F. Kennedy signed congressional legislation that formally established the Peace Corps. Join NPCA to celebrate this moment. Former Congressman Joseph Kennedy III – JFK’s great nephew – is scheduled to join us. Register here.


Social Media Mobilization | 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM (Eastern)

Be part of a nationwide social media mobilization to amplify the importance of the Peace Corps at this historic 60th anniversary moment.While activity is likely and encouraged throughout the day, you can also plan to stop by anytime during an hour-long zoom gathering to say hello to others, hear the latest from NPCA leaders and citizen advocates, and celebrate 60 years of the Peace Corps. Whether you stop by the virtual gathering or not, help amplify Peace Corps through social media. Register here.


Honor Those Who Have Served | In-Person Wreath Laying at John F. Kennedy Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery | 2:45 PM – 4:00 PM (Eastern)

Northern Virginia Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (NOVARPCV) host a wreath-laying ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Speakers include Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn and NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst, who will speak on the legacy of the Peace Corps to honor President John F. Kennedy. Following speeches, attendees will walk together to the grave site of President John F. Kennedy, where a wreath and flowers will be placed. This is an in-person event. Learn more and register here.


Learn the Ropes: How to Become a Citizen Advocate | 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM (Eastern)

If you’re interested in becoming a citizen advocate but aren’t sure how — or if you’re just wading in — this is the most important hour of the day. We need to substantially build our ranks to score significant victories in Congress in this key moment in Peace Corps’ history. Don’t think you alone will make a difference? In this program, you’ll hear from NPCA advocates who absolutely have — bringing on board legislators who have never supported Peace Corps in the past. Don’t think lawmakers listen to what you say? We will hear from RPCV Capitol Hill staff on that topic. Register here.


60th Anniversary Live … from Capitol Hill? | Times TBD  

We will be monitoring Capitol Hill for possible Peace Corps-related actions and news on or about September 22 — related to advancing the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act, support for Peace Corps funding, or commemorating the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Peace Corps Act. Register here to be notified about any key developments.




Thursday, September 23 to Saturday, September 25

We will be looking back at impact over the decades — and to the future of what Peace Corps needs to be. That will include addressing themes important to the community:

  • Racial justice and how we can foster equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Climate change and its impact
  • Refugees and forced migration
  • Continuing service by Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers — and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers more broadly
  • Register here. 


All times are Eastern. All events are virtual. Schedule subject to change.

Thursday, September 23

Peace Corps Connect 2021: Conference Welcome and Plenary Session | 7:00 – 7:15 PM

Peace Corps at 60: A Conversation with the Director of the Peace Corps and the President of National Peace Corps Association | 7:15 – 8:00 PM

Keynote Discussion: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Leading in a Time of Adversity | 8:00 – 9:00 PM

Awards Ceremony | Making a Significant and Lasting Impact: Deborah Harding Award, Kate Raftery Emerging Leader Award, Loret Miller Ruppe Award | 9:00 – 10:00 PM


Friday, September 24

Welcome Remarks | 8:00 – 8:05 PM

Presentation of Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service | 8:05 – 8:15 PM

Save Your Place in History: The Oral History Project, Museum of the Peace Corps Experience, and the Peace Corps Community Archives at American University | 8:15 – 9:00 PM

Peace Corps Story Hour | 9:00 – 10:00 PM


Saturday, September 25

Morning Plenary Session and National Peace Corps Association Annual General Membership Meeting  | 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Panel Discussion | Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers: Then and Now, We Continue to Serve  |  12:00 – 1:15 PM

Interactive Session with Breakouts | From Peace Corps to Black Lives Matter: Striving for Allyship at Home and Abroad  |  1:15 – 2:30 PM

Panel Discussion | Climate Change and Migration: Policies, People, and Proposed Solutions  |  3:00 – 4:15 PM

Safety and Security in the Peace Corps: Impact of the Kate Puzey Volunteer Protection Act on the 10th Anniversary of its Passage  |  4:30 – 5:15 PM

Afternoon Plenary Session and Keynote Address  |  5:30 – 6:00 PM

Closing and Adjournment  |  6:00 – 6:05 PM

Register here for all conference sessions. 

Last updated September 20, 2021

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