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An Urge to Serve: AU Named the Top Producer of Peace Corps Volunteers Among Medium-Sized Colleges

More than 750 Eagles have fanned out around the globe since the agency was founded in 1961.

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a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal ѿý is the top producer of Peace Corps volunteers among medium-sized colleges for 2023 with 11. AU is also no. 1 for graduate school volunteers with four Eagles serving around the globe.

“[AU’s] dedication to the agency’s mission of promoting a better understanding of Americans among the people it serves abroad has been instrumental in our historic return to service in 58 countries,” said Jenn Brown, associate director of volunteer recruitment and selection. “Your outstanding work inspires us all.”

Last year marked the agency’s return to service after the evacuation of 7,300 volunteers from 60 countries in March 2020 when the pandemic hit. Today, more than 2,600 volunteers are fanned out around the world.

AU has enjoyed a close connection with the Peace Corps since its founding. The School of International Service served as an early predeparture training site for volunteers, and President John F. Kennedy delivered “A Strategy of Peace” at the university’s 1963 commencement—just two years after he established the corps.

Since then, 751 Eagles have joined—propelling AU to no. 7 on the agency’s list of top all-time volunteer producers among medium-sized colleges. AU is the only Washington area institution to make the rankings, released on April 17.

“At SIS, we are proud tobe partof AU’s Peace Corps success,”said Dean Shannon Hader. “This hasn’t happened by accident—it’s happened through purpose:connected to SIS’s founding charge from President Eisenhower to produce leaders who ‘wage peace,’enhanced by our Peace Corps Prep program that allows SIS grads to hit the ground running as volunteers, and extended to all Returned Peace Corps Volunteers through the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program that invites returned volunteers, with all their insights, to join us as SIS graduate students.”

Ginger Knight, SIS/BA ’24, will continue AU’s rich tradition of volunteerism, boarding a plane to Lesotho this fall. The Vermont native has wanted to join the Peace Corps since the ninth grade, when a family friend who directed an AmeriCorps program planted the seed of service.

“She knew that I wanted to study international relations, and she told me about the Peace Corps and how I could be a cultural ambassador and change lives by sharing knowledge and learning from those around me,” Knight said. “I enjoy helping people and I want to challenge myself and learn from and serve in a new community before going into the workforce.”