PH, US celebrate 60 years of Peace Corps Philippines virtually

Hundreds of former Peace Corps volunteers and officials from the Philippines and United States gathered virtually Wednesday, Oct. 6, to celebrate the 6oth anniversary of Peace Corps Philippines.

VIRTUAL CELEBRATION--The U.S. Peace Corps, U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, Philippine government, and other partners hold a virtual event celebrating the 60th anniversary of Peace Corps Philippines on Oct. 6, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the US Embassy in the Philippines)

The U.S. Peace Corps, U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, and other partners met to honor the over 9,300 American Peace Corps volunteers, who have served alongside Filipino host communities across the country since October 1961.

During the online gathering, they recognized the contributions of American volunteers and their local partners working in education, fisheries, coastal resource management, youth development, and other sectors over the decades.

Participants also reflected on the unique ability of Peace Corps volunteers "to meaningfully impact and integrate into their host communities by learning local Filipino languages and living with Filipino host families."

“Peace Corps volunteers have significantly advanced our shared diplomatic and human development objectives with the Philippine government and will continue to embody the best in our partnership and friendship with the Filipino people for many more years to come,” said Heather Variava, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the United States Embassy in Manila.

Acting Peace Corps Agency Director Carol Spahn, on the other hand, has recognized Peace Corps Philippines partners and staff for their recent COVID-19 response efforts saying, “these are unprecedented times, and I commend you all for creatively working together to support students and communities across the Philippines in recovering from this pandemic.”

The first Peace Corps volunteers, all teachers, arrived in the Philippines on Oct. 12, 1961. (Photo courtesy of the US Embassy in the Philippines)

Executive Director of the Philippines National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency James Donald Gawe also called the contributions of Peace Corps Philippines staff and volunteers in education and social and economic development “exceptional.”

“Your dedication to service has been an inspiration to all of us, and we look forward to many more years of partnership, coordination, and advocating for national volunteerism,” Gawe said.

The Peace Corps is the U.S. government’s premier volunteer service organization and was founded by former U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1961. Since then, over 240,000 Americans have served in 141 countries and committed themselves to achieving the Peace Corps’ mission of world friendship and peace.