Photo Gallery: Peace Corps 50th Anniversary Celebration
Photos by Pauline Zhu, Division of International Studies
Peace Corps News — March 28, 2011
Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams delivered the closing keynote speech on Peace Corps’ legacy of service in Africa at the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison African Studies Program conference. The University of Wisconsin, which ranks as a top Peace Corps volunteer producing university, currently has 91 undergraduate and 13 graduate alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers.
The event titled, “Talking Peace Corps: Celebrating 50 Years of the Peace Corps and the Wisconsin Idea Abroad,” took place at State Street’s historic Orpheum Theater and was open to the public. UW-Madison alumni and returned Peace Corps volunteers from Wisconsin honored Peace Corps volunteers’ contributions in Africa through personal stories, film, poetry, and music.
The Daily Cardinal — March 28, 2011
Members of the Madison community gathered at the Orpheum Theatre Saturday afternoon for “Talking Peace Corps,” a celebration of the organization that included a lecture by Peace Corps Director and UW-Madison alumnus Aaron Williams.
The event was the culmination of several days of programming organized by UW-Madison’s African Studies Program to honor the Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary and assess the organization’s work on the African continent.
“I stand here as a testament to the Peace Corps volunteers who contributed immensely to my life,” said Alhaji N’jai, a postdoctoral research scientist and the event’s master of ceremonies.
The Badger Herald — March 27, 2011
Gilles Bousquet, vice provost for globalization, said UW’s African Studies Program has played a significant role in supporting the Corps’ mission on campus.
UW is currently the second ranked institution nationally for total Peace Corps recruits, he said, and students’ involvement in the program was one of the first prominent markers of identity he noticed when he arrived on campus.
Bousquet said the value of public service remains inherent to Wisconsin, a quality which has contributed to high numbers of Badger volunteers.
“The will to change the world is a hallmark of UW,” he said. “We embrace the ideal of public service and see that, here and abroad, our fates are intertwined.”
He also announced the creation of a fellowship, managed by the UW Foundation, to reaffirm the university’s commitment to the future of the Peace Corps on campus.
Madison.com — March 27, 2011
In the past 50 years, 2,942 UW-Madison alumni have served in the Peace Corps, but that number does not include Kate Schacter of Madison, a relatively recent Peace Corps volunteer, having helped set up a tree-planting program in Ghana from 2004-07.
“I was 54, the oldest in our group,” she recalled, and had worked for 20 years in Madison biotech companies before deciding to follow up on a dream. Now, active in the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Wisconsin-Madison, she has finished a college degree and wants to volunteer again.
Kim Johnson, UW-Madison’s campus representative, said recruits these days do not so much ask for assignments to specific countries, as look for places that need a certain set of skills. The Peace Corps needs people with skills in education, agriculture, and health care, said Johnson (Papua New Guinea, 1999).