History of the Peace Corps in Panama

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History of the Peace Corps
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Since 1960, when then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries, more than 182,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 138 countries all over the globe.

See also:



The Peace Corps has a long history in Panama. The first Volunteers began work in 1963 and continued serving in Panama until May 1971. In February 1990, the Panamanian government asked the Peace Corps to return, and the program has continued without interruption ever since.

The central goal of Peace Corps/Panama is to promote sustainable community development, in partnership with Panamanian agencies and NGOs, in Panama’s poorest and most disenfranchised regions. Each project has sector-specific goals related to this commitment.

With the reversion of the Panama Canal to Panama in 1999, the country is at a critical juncture in its history. For the first time in many decades, there is no American military presence. The economy, when not in recession, is generally weak with growing unemployment. The areas most affected by these economic woes are rural and indigenous communities, and this is where you will find Peace Corps Volunteers working. Volunteers work with communities and agency/NGO partners to meet the challenges of poverty. By helping communities gain access to resources and helping agencies locate communities in need, Volunteers facilitate a more efficient allocation of resources and help establish links between the communities and agencies that can last well after the Volunteers have left.

History and Future of Peace Corps Programming in Panama[edit]

Approximately 750 Peace Corps Volunteers served in Panama from 1963 to 1971. More than 500 Volunteers have served since 1990; 140 are currently in service. Volunteers are assigned to one of the four projects: community environmental conservation, sustainable agriculture, community economic development, and environmental health.

Peace Corps/Panama integrates projects so that Volunteers can best meet the needs of their communities. In many situations, it is both helpful and necessary for Volunteers to be versed in topics that lie outside their sector. The groundwork for such integration is accomplished during the training period and subsequent in-service training sessions.

Peace Corps/Panama continually works to meet the growing needs of rural Panamanians. Recent program additions support HIV/AIDS education, information technology development, youth development, and gender equity.

Assignment History[edit]

Sector Assignment Beg. Yr End. Yr
Agriculture Ag Economics 2001 2006
Ag Extension 1990 2007
Animal Husband 1970 2007
Apiculture 1990 1990
Crop Extension 1963 2007
Business Accounting 1991 1991
Business Advising 1991 2007
Business Development 2005 2007
Computer Science 2004 2004
Crisis Corps Crisis Corps 2007 2008
Education Fisheries Fresh 1990 1990
Gen. Construction 2004 2007
Industrial Arts 1967 1970
Prim-Ed/Teach Trn 1969 1996
Secondary-Ed Math 1996 1996
Secondary-Ed Sci. 1995 2001
Environment Comm Forestry Ext 1994 1998
Environmental Ed. 1991 2007
Forestry 1990 2007
Protected Areas Management 1991 2007
Health Envir. and Water Resource 1997 2007
Health Degreed 2004 2004
Health Extension 1991 2004
Hygiene Ed/Sanitation 2002 2007
Master's International Masters Internationalist 2002 2002
Youth and Community Development Commun. Serv/Deg. 1966 2000