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Peace Corps volunteers up by 18 percent over last year

Record number of applications shows strong interest in public service

Posted: October 22, 2009 11:44 p.m.
Updated: October 24, 2009 8:00 a.m.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Peace Corps recruited 15,386 applicants in fiscal year 2009. This represents the largest amount of applications since the agency began electronically recording applications in 1998 and is an 18 percent increase from fiscal year 2008.*

"Our record application numbers are another indicator of the strong interest in public service," Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams said.

"From recent college graduates to our mid-career or retired applicants, Americans are inspired to serve both their country and the world as a Peace Corps volunteer. Peace Corps is a tremendous leadership opportunity for individuals prepared to live and work for two years in a community abroad."

As of Sept. 30, 2009, 7,671 Peace Corps and Peace Corps Response volunteers and trainees are serving worldwide in 74 host countries.

While the average age of a Peace Corps volunteer is 25, six percent of Peace Corps volunteers are over 50 and the oldest currently serving volunteer is 85.

Sixteen percent of volunteers are minorities and 60 percent are women. Eighty-nine percent of volunteers hold at least a bachelor's degree.

Peace Corps Global Operations are divided into three regions:
* Africa Region: 2,860 Peace Corps volunteers serve in 27 countries/posts. The largest number of Peace Corps volunteers serving in one country is 180 in Mozambique.

* InterAmerica and the Pacific Region: 2,480 Peace Corps volunteers serve in 22 posts and 28 countries. The largest number of Peace Corps volunteers serving in one country is 221 in Paraguay.

* Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia Region: 2,331 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 19 countries/posts. The largest number of Peace Corps volunteers serving in one country is 339 in Ukraine. Ukraine is the agency's largest program.

Peace Corps volunteers serve in seven general skill sectors:
* Education: 35 percent

* Health & HIV/AIDS: 22 percent

* Business Development: 15 percent

* Environment: 14 percent

* Agriculture: 5 percent

* Youth Development: 5 percent

* Other Sectors: 4 percent

Peace Corps is an independent U.S. government agency that provides volunteers to countries requesting assistance. As Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world.

Historically, nearly 200,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries in which they have served.

Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.



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