Peace Corps Law and Legal Definition

The Peace Corps is a volunteer program of the U.S. government established pursuant to the Executive Order 10924 on March 1, 1961. It was authorized by Congress with the passage of the Peace Corps Act. The Peace Corps aims to provide technical assistance to people across the globe, familiarize Americans with the cultures of other countries, and make the non Americans understand American culture. 22 USCS § 2501 states that it is the U.S. policy and the purpose of the Peace Corps Act to promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps. The section further states that the Peace Corps shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower, particularly in meeting the basic needs of those living in the poorest areas of such countries, and to help promote a better understanding of the American people on the part of the peoples served and a better understanding of other peoples on the part of the American people. The Peace Corps addresses global needs as they arise.

Participants of the program are known as Peace Corps Volunteers. A peace corps volunteer is a U.S. citizen with a college degree. The volunteer undergoes three month training and then works abroad for a period of 24 months. Volunteers work with governments, non-profit organizations, non-government organizations, and schools. They also work in co-operation with entrepreneurs in education, health, business, information technology, agriculture, and the environment. Peace Corps Volunteers work in areas such as education and health care. They play an active role in educating children, bringing clean water to communities, and conducting HIV/AIDS related activities.

Pursuant to 22 USCS § 2501-1, the Peace Corps has an independent agency status. The section more specifically states that: “Effective on the date of the enactment of the International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1981 [enacted Dec. 29, 1981], the Peace Corps shall be an independent agency within the executive branch and shall not be an agency within the ACTION Agency, the successor to the ACTION Agency, or any other department or agency of the United States.”