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Change and Ambition

For the Peace Corps, the 1970s are a time of change, far-ranging ambition, and specialized talent.

Despite budget constraints, by December of 1974, Volunteers are serving in 69 countries, the largest number to date. The Peace Corps is working with developing nations as never before to plan and select projects to meet their specific needs. More foreign nationals join the Peace Corps as administrators; by 1973, they comprise more than half of Peace Corps' overseas staff.

The Multipler Effect

Volunteers are more qualified than ever. Men and women with professional skills, such as doctors, engineers, and horticulturists, account for more than a fifth of the Volunteers. These Volunteers, Peace Corps officials believe, will have a significant "multiplier effect" - they will transfer their talents to host country nationals who will, in turn, share these skills with their fellow citizens.

As the Peace Corps becomes older, so do its Volunteers. The average age of a Volunteer reaches 27, and 5 percent of Volunteers are over 50 years old.

In July 1971, the Nixon Administration folds the Peace Corps and several other federal volunteer programs into a new federal volunteer agency called ACTION. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter signs an executive order that grants the Peace Corps full autonomy.

At the close of the decade, more than 6,000 Volunteers are at work in the field and two returned Volunteers have been elected to the United States Senate: Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts, who served in Ethiopia from 1962-64; and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, who was a Volunteer in the Dominican Republic from 1966-68.

External Links

1970s Official US Peace Corps Website