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Telling the Story of the Past, Present, and Future of the Peace Corps

ounded during the Cold War, the Peace Corps stands as an icon of American idealism. From the beginning its mission of world peace and friendship proved to be a towering task. Imbued with the unbounded energy and vision of its charismatic leader, Sargent Shriver, and thousands of vigorous volunteers, the story of the Peace Corps is a uniquely American tale. From the political machinations to establish not just a brand new government agency, but a new concept in international relations, to the growing pains of an agency striving to define its mission, A Towering Task takes viewers on a journey of what it means to be a global citizen.

Host country nationals, Peace Corps Volunteers and staff, and scholars and journalists take a closer look at peace building, economic development, and political independence through the Peace Corps’ nearly six decades of trials and transformations. Today Peace Corps volunteers serve in over 60 countries and more than 200,000 have returned since 1961, but America is reevaluating how to engage with the rest of the world. With government agency budgets under fire, increased nationalistic tendencies in America, and Peace Corps Volunteers at the forefront of some of the most pressing themes facing the global community, A Towering Task asks: What role should the Peace Corps play in the 21st century?

If you have come to help, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.
— Lilla Watson