50 years ago today, on October 14, 1960 President John F. Kennedy spoke on the campus of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. In his speech, he challenged the students to give two years of their lives working in developing countries and dedicating themselves to the cause of peace and development. His call to service resulted in the foundation of the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. In the fifty years since, nearly 200,000 Americans have served in 139 countries, providing technical assistance, promoting a better understanding of American culture, and bringing the world back to the United States.
In Voices from the Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers, Angene Wilson and Jack Wilson, who served in Liberia from 1962 to 1964, follow the experiences of Kentucky volunteers as they make the decision to join, attend training, adjust to living overseas and the job, and eventually become citizens of the world for the rest of their lives.
Angene Wilson is professor emeritus of education at the University of Kentucky, where she was chair of the secondary social studies program from 1975 to 2004. She is the author of The Meaning of International Experience for Schools and coauthor of Social Studies and the World: Teaching Global Perspectives.
Jack Wilson spent more than thirty-five years in public service, beginning as a Peace Corps administrator in Sierra Leone, Washington, DC, and Fiji, and continuing as an administrator of environmental protection programs in Ohio and Kentucky. The Wilsons live in Lexington, Kentucky.