Thursday, January 20, 2011

On Peace Corps in the News

Peace Corps Press Clips: January 19, 2011


USA Today

(Editor’s Note: The following are excerpts.)

“After helping JFK win election in 1960, Shriver was named the first director of the Peace Corps, a post he held until 1966. The organization had been conceived during the campaign, partially in response to the Cold War conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Since its creation, the Peace Corps has placed more than 200,000 volunteers in 139 countries.

‘Shriver was a distinguished public servant and a visionary leader who accomplished much in his life of public service, but to those of us in the Peace Corps family, he served as our founder, friend and guiding light for the past 50 years,’ Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams said in a statement. ‘Though he is no longer with us, his legacy of idealism will live on in the work of current and future Peace Corps volunteers.’

After Kennedy's assassination in 1963, Shriver added director of Lyndon Johnson's Office of Economic Opportunity to his résumé. It became known as the ‘domestic Peace Corps.’

He helped direct the war on poverty as part of the civil rights movement. That led to the creation of Head Start, Job Corps, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), Community Action Partnership, Legal Services, Foster Grandparents and Upward Bound, all of which continue to serve Americans today.

In 1967, Shriver founded what became the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, which delivered legal services to low-income people. The secret to his many organizations' success, Shriver once said, was ‘a formula for practical idealism.’

From 1968-70, Shriver served as U.S. ambassador to France, but he harbored political aspirations of his own — possibly as a nominee for vice president or for a leading office in Maryland, where he was born, or Illinois, where he was based.”

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Politico, Arlington, Virginia

“R. Sargent Shriver — the first Peace Corps director, one-time vice-presidential nominee, and most famous Kennedy in-law — died Tuesday in his native Maryland. He was 95 and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s since 2003.

While he never held elected office, the idealistic Shriver had one the most of distinguished records of public service of any American from the World War II generation.

He urged his brother-in-law, President Kennedy, to create the Peace Corps and then became its director, creating an organization that ultimately would send hundreds of thousands of young Americans abroad as ambassadors of goodwill.

Shriver continued in public service following Kennedy’s assassination, leading President Johnson’s War on Poverty and overseeing such iconic Great Society programs as Head Start, VISTA, Legal Services for the poor, and the Job Corps.

He was the Ambassador to France from 1968 to 1970, bringing a touch of Camelot to Paris, before being tapped in 1972 to serve as George McGovern’s fill-in running mate after the Democratic nominee pushed Sen. Thomas Eagleton (D-Mo.) off the ticket.

Despite their loss of 49 states, Shriver returned to the campaign trail in 1976 to seek the presidency himself. He came in fifth place in the New Hampshire primary, capturing just eight percent of the vote, but stayed in the race for a few more primaries before dropping out.”

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Vanity Fair

“At a Saint Patrick’s Day party at the White House during Clinton’s first term, I bumped into Sargent Shriver and introduced him to my husband as ‘the George Washington of the Peace Corps.’ Shriver corrected me. ‘No,’ he said, holding out his arm waist high. ‘George Washington was here.’ Then he raised his arm above his head and said, ‘In the Peace Corps, I’m here!’ He laughed so easily and so frequently, and he had such enthusiasm and energy, that he made the idea of service pure fun. And he was right about where he stood with so many of us former Peace Corps volunteers—he was our founding father, an icon. All you had to do was utter his name—Sarge—and it immediately stood for giving your all and being your best.

I was recruited into the Peace Corps at age 20, right off the Berkeley campus, by a loud southern guy with a bullhorn—he was to become the NBC reporter Douglas Kiker (years later we met as colleagues). Sarge had the ability to bring together all sorts of talented and sometimes offbeat people, and to convince them to try something they weren’t really planning to do.

I served in the Peace Corps for two years in Medellin, Colombia, and have remained involved with the community. I was in Medellin last week to help set up a third school for poor kids that is run by a foundation I created several years ago to provide students at all three schools with computers and training in English and leadership. It is a way for me to continue the work I did in the Peace Corps, and I thank Sarge for giving me the means to get along in exotic places, to speak Spanish, and to be a much better journalist, because I learned in the Peace Corps how to observe acutely and to understand issues from other people’s points of view.”

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NBC Nightly News

“For Sargent Shriver, politics was a means to an end; a way to live a life of public service.  He was the founding director of the Peace Corps and also launched several anti-poverty agencies, including Head Start, VISTA and the Job Corps.  Later, he went on to create the Special Olympics with his wife Eunice.  Shriver is remembered as an optimistic public servant, and Obama paid tribute to Shriver stating that he was ‘one of the brightest lights of the greatest generations.’”

Click here for full story


“Sargent Shriver, a brother-in-law of President John Kennedy, founder of the Peace Corps and architect of President Lyndon Johnson's ‘War on Poverty,’ died yesterday in Bethesda, Md. He was 95.

The son of a banker, Shriver went to Yale Law School and earned a Purple Heart in World War II before marrying Eunice Kennedy in 1946. He had political ambitions, but put them aside to help his brother-in-law John F. Kennedy win the 1960 presidential election.

Shriver was named ambassador to France in 1968, at a time of strained relations with that nation. In 1972, he was named Democrat George McGovern's vice-presidential running mate on a ticket that lost by a landslide to Richard Nixon. Four years later, he launched his own presidential bid, which failed to gain traction in the 1976 primaries that sent Georgia's Jimmy Carter to the top of the ticket.

It was Shriver's work in the Kennedy administration that had the most lasting impact on the country. He was founder of the Peace Corps, and its director until 1966. And he developed a wide array of anti-poverty programs during the Johnson administration.”

Click here for full story






The New York Times

Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois

The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland

The Huffington Post

Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon
(Editor’s Note: Click here for 2nd part of story)


The Examiner, San Francisco, California

The Boston Herald



Huffington Post

Associated Press

Politics Daily

ABC News

Washington Post

El Heraldo, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
(Editor’s Note: This article is in Spanish)

Daily Bruin, University of California, Los Angeles


The Daily Clips are collected and distributed by the Peace Corps Office of Press Relations. Note that the Press Office staff does not edit stories, except for length. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the Press Office at(202) 692-2230.

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