2010.10.04: The University of Michigan Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps

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Schedule of Events for the University of Michigan Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps

Schedule of Events for the University of Michigan Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps

Well after midnight on Oct. 14, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy arrived at the Michigan Union after a long day of campaigning for the presidency. Speaking from the center of the stone staircase, he challenged University of Michigan students to dedicate themselves to global peace and justice by living and working in developing nations-and hundreds responded with signed petitions. From that powerful idea and the action of the U-M students grew the Peace Corps, the signature program that has defined international volunteer service for the past fifty years. Since 1960, nearly 200,000 Americans, including 2,200 U-M graduates, have lived abroad in the service of world peace, and making a difference in the lives of others.

Schedule of Events for the University of Michigan Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps


Looking forward to this year's 50th anniversary, the university is planning many events, including a national symposium on the future of international service and a commemoration of Senator John F. Kennedy's speech on the steps of the Michigan Union. Sign up for email event updates »

The events that have been planned to date include:

September 30

Engineering Social Change Lecture & Activities Fair

6:30 p.m., Stamps Auditorium on North Campus

Sponsored and organized by the University of Michigan Engineering Council, this event will consist of speakers discussing the relevance of engineering work in social change ventures, followed by an open session activities fair. At this fair, representatives from student organizations and university programs related to engineering social change will be present to discuss their work and recruit new members to their organizations.

October 1–November 30

U-M and the Peace Corps: It All Started Here

Normal library hours, Hatcher Graduate Library, Library Gallery (Room 100)

This dynamic exhibit showcases the unique role of University of Michigan students and faculty in the creation and popularizing of the Peace Corps. As Sargent Shriver said, "It might still be just an idea but for…those Michigan students and faculty." The exhibit highlights the development of student activism as well as important historical events.

Sponsored by the University of Michigan Library and the International Center.

October 1–31

Serving Others Around the World

Normal Union hours, Michigan Union, Art Lounge

Enjoy a photo exhibit featuring five decades of U-M alumni experiences in the Peace Corps.

October 11–21

"As I See It" Photo Competition

Michigan Union Lobby, Beanster's at the Michigan League, and the Piano Lounge in Pierpont Commons

In honor of the Peace Corps' 50th anniversary, "Peace" is the theme for October's "As I See It" photo competition. Students should submit photos by October 7. The exhibit will be up from October 11–21. Cast your vote for your favorite photo online through the Arts At Michigan website or in any of the three Unions, and help a student photographer win cool prizes! All current University of Michigan students are eligible. Sponsored by Arts At Michigan and University Unions, Arts & Programs. More information about submissions and voting is at http://www.arts.umich.edu

October 11

A Passing of the Torch

7:00–8:30 p.m., Hatcher Graduate Library, Library Gallery (Room 100)

A Passing of the Torch is an hour-long documentary that explores the grassroots effort organized by U-M students to push for the creation of the Peace Corps after Senator John F. Kennedy's inspiring late night speech on the steps of the Michigan Union on October 14, 1960. This film captures the amazing set of circumstances, efforts, and coincidences that occurred, as well as the extraordinary people that made it all happen. The Office of Vice President for Communications commissioned the film, which premieres at this event. The film will then make its national television debut in October on the Big Ten Network, and later in the fall on public television.

October 12

Film Screening: Atumpan: The Talking Drums of Ghana

6:30 p.m., African Studies Center: Room 1636, School of Social Work Building, 1080 S. University

The story and sounds of the talking master drums of the Ashanti. In observance of the Peace Corps' 50th year celebration, James Acheampong, the chief drum maker at the Centre for National Culture of Ghana (Kumasi) crafted a specially commissioned set of Fontomfrom drums-the drums that symbolize the rank and status of chiefs, announce the opening of parliament, and have the capability of speech. Now part of the permanent collection of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, the drums will be heard at key points during the U-M celebrations. Sponsors: African Studies Center, Office of the Senior Vice Provost.

October 13

National Symposium: The Future of International Service

8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Blau Auditorium Ross School of Business

This symposium focuses on new initiatives and policies related to global service and kicks off a year-long series of events across the nation that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps. This event is sponsored by U-M, the Brookings Institution, and the National Peace Corps Association, with support from the Building Bridges Coalition. Public welcome, registration not required; web streaming available.

Featured speakers and event details »

October 13

Paul Theroux: How the Peace Corps Changed My Life

7 p.m., Hatcher Graduate Library, Library Gallery (Room 100)

The American travel writer and novelist will discuss the impact of the Peace Corps on his life. Sponsored by LSA Theme Semester ("What Makes Life Worth Living"), Hatcher Graduate Library, and the International Center.

Read Paul Theroux's "The Lesson of My Life" »

October 13/14

Challenges and Opportunities of International Service: A Student Symposium

10 p.m. Oct 13–1 a.m. Oct 14 Pendleton Room, Michigan Union

The creation of the Peace Corps was as much a story of active, engaged, and passionate students as it was about the political and social environment of the time. 50 years on we, the students of this campus, ask ourselves, "How best can we carry the torch of service, activism, and motivation for our generation?" Interested in international issues? Interested in service, both international and domestic? Do you see ways in which your experiences both at the University of Michigan and elsewhere can be leveraged to engage students in important issues?

If you answer ‘yes' to the above questions, then register to be a participant at the Student Symposium we are holding the late hours of October 13 that lead up to that historic moment 50 years ago when the seed of an idea was planted on our very own Michigan Union steps.
o Space is limited, so register now!
o Deadline for participant registration is October 7th.

Interested in being a student presenter at the Student Symposium?*
o Presenters can be students who have experience, an interest, or an idea to share on the topics of service, activism, or engagement.
o Presentation guidelines and application forms
o Deadline for presenter applications is October 3.

October 14

A Passing of the Torch

1:00–2:00 a.m., Michigan Union steps

Special outdoor screening of A Passing of the Torch immediately before the commemoration of Senator John F. Kennedy's inspiring late night speech on the steps of the Michigan Union on October 14, 1960. This new documentary captures the amazing set of circumstances, efforts, and coincidences that occurred, as well as the extraordinary people that made it all happen. This screening is sponsored by the Student Symposium, which directly precedes this screening. See additional information in October 11 entry, above.

October 14

First Ceremony on Michigan Union steps

2–2:30 a.m. Michigan Union steps

Meet at the Union steps on the same date and hour of JFK's speech to 5,000 assembled U-M students. The program will include a performance by the UM Educational Theater Company (UMetc) that tells the story of JFK, U-M, and the Peace Corps. Special guest speakers include Aaron Williams, Director, Peace Corps; Alan Guskin, student leader in 1960 who with others advocated for the creation of the Peace Corps; and Steven Weinberg, current student and founder of Will Work For Food.

October 14

Historical Marker Dedication

10:30–10:45 a.m., in front of the U-M Museum of Art

On the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's challenge to U-M students to commit to international service, the U-M International Center, the Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit Program,U-M Community Relations, and the City of Ann Arbor will dedicate a historical marker, which tells the story of JFK's speech on the steps and the subsequent events at U-M that led to the creation of the Peace Corps.

October 14

Second Ceremony on Michigan Union steps

11 a.m.–12 p.m. Michigan Union steps

Participate with special guests in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of JFK's speech that led to the creation of the Peace Corps. Special guest speakers include former Kennedy aide and architect of the Peace Corps, Sen. Harris Wofford; Jack Hood Vaughn, second director of the Peace Corps and U-M alumnus; Aaron Williams, current director of the Peace Corps; Julia Darlow, chair, U-M Board of Regents and Mary Sue Coleman, U-M President.

October 14

Spending Your Days in Ghana: Responding to JFK's Challenge

1:30–5 p.m. Symposium: Pendleton Room, Michigan Union

JFK asked, "How many of you who are going to be doctors are willing to spend your days in Ghana?" Learn about the U-M's long history-and exciting future-in Ghana and how both Ghana and U-M have benefited from partnerships in a number of fields including medicine, engineering, technology and museum studies. This symposium, which will be complemented by a performance featuring specially commissioned Ghanaian Fontomfrom drums played by visiting Ghanaian drummers and percussion students of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, is sponsored by the Medical School. Speakers include: Dr. Timothy Johnson, Medical School; Dr. Lisa Newman, Medical School; Dr. Cary Engleberg, Medical School; Prof. Kathleen Sienko, Engineering; and Prof. Ray Silverman, Museum Studies.

October 14

Reception for U-M Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs)

4:30–6:00 p.m., Anderson Room, Michigan Union

U-M alumni who are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers will be special guests at a reception honoring all U-M alumni for their service to others. Dr. Alan Guskin and three others will receive the Distinguished Alumni Service Award. This event is sponsored by the U-M Alumni Association.

October 14

Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams: Inspiring the Next Generation of Volunteers

6:30–7:30 p.m. Kuenzel Room, Michigan Union

Calling all future Peace Corps Volunteers! Peace Corps has thousands of new volunteer positions available for 2011. Learn more about the personal and professional rewards of international Peace Corps service. Hear from the agency's top representative, Director Aaron Williams, about his own service as an education volunteer in the Dominican Republic-a pivotal experience that led to a distinguished career in international development. Deputy Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet, who served in Western Samoa, also will be on hand to share her stories and insights. Please attend and prepare to be inspired to create your own Peace Corps story!
Free and open to the public. Hosted by the Chicago Regional and University of Michigan Peace Corps offices, peace.corps@umich.edu, www.facebook.com/peacecorps

October 14

Tom Hayden: The Importance of Community Organizing: From the Peace Corps to Barack Obama

8:30–10:00 p.m., Hatcher Graduate Library, Library Gallery (Room 100)

This social and political activist, author and politician was editor of the Michigan Daily in 1960 and supported the students who were working for the creation of the Peace Corps. Later, he became active in the civil rights movement and was one of the founders of the student activist group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Mr. Hayden will discuss student activism in the 1960s compared with student activism today.

October 15

History of the Peace Corps: From the Michigan Union Steps to the Present

1:00–2:30 p.m., Hatcher Graduate Library, Library Gallery (Room 100)

Hear an eyewitness account of JFK's speech and the campus events that followed leading to the creation of the Peace Corps, and then hear about the growth and development of the Peace Corps over the past fifty years. Presenters are Alan Guskin (U-M alumnus and RPCV-Thailand), Jody K. Olsen (former Deputy Director of the Peace Corps, RPCV and Visiting Professor at the U. of Maryland), and Stanley Meisler (former Peace Corps staff member and author of When the World Calls: The Inside Story of the Peace Corps and Its First Fifty Years). The panel moderator will be Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Deputy Director, Peace Corps.

October 15

Peace Corps Authors

3:00–4:30 p.m., Hatcher Graduate Library, Library Gallery (Room 100)

U-M alumni who wrote books and or poetry about their Peace Corps experience will discuss the effect and impact of the Peace Corps on their writing. Presenters will include Terry Sack (Bolivia 1963–65); Jan Worth-Nelson (Tonga 1976–78); and John Flynn (Moldova 1993–95). The panel moderator will be Judith Guskin, U-M Alumna, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Thailand), and key leader of student organization that advocated for the creation of the Peace Corps.

October 15

Engineers in the Peace Corps: A Conversation with College of Engineering Alumni

3:00–5:00 p.m., Chesebrough Auditorium, Chrysler Center (North Campus)

Join College of Engineering Alumni as they share their experiences from the Peace Corps and discuss the role of engineering in service to society. A BBQ reception will follow on the Dell Plaza (located off the North Campus Diag in front of Tishman Hall). This event is sponsored by the College of Engineering and the Society of Global Engineers. Please RSVP. For more information, contact Amy Conger by email at: aconger@umich.edu.

October 15

Happy Hour for RPCVs and Their Families and Friends

5:00–7:00 p.m. Dominick's on Monroe Street

October 15–November 12

U-M Alumni/Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Exhibition

Slusser Gallery in the Art & Architecture Building on North Campus
Opening reception, October 15, 6–9 p.m. at Slusser Gallery

The University of Michigan School of Art & Design invites submissions of work in all media for a 50th anniversary celebratory exhibition of work by U-M alumni who are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Creative work should reflect or respond to the Peace Corps experience. Submitted work will be juried by a committee drawn from the School of Art & Design community. Submittal information »

October 16

Football Game and Halftime Program

Michigan Stadium

U-M-affiliated Returned Peace Corps Volunteers will be recognized at halftime during the Homecoming football game. For information about ordering tickets and participating in the halftime program, contact John Greisberger by email at: jegreis@umich.edu.

October 26 and November 2, 9, and 16

Film Series: International Development Issues-Four Countries

8:00 p.m. North Quad Dining Hall

Issues, problems, successes and failures of international development will be explored by viewing films about four countries followed by discussion. Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai is the inspiring story of the Green Belt Movement and its Nobel Laureate founder (Oct. 26). End of the Rainbow is about the impact of gold mining in Guinea (Nov. 2). Poto Mitan is the story of five Haitian women who struggle against huge obstacles to create change through collective action (Nov. 9). Once in Afghanistan is a film about the work of female Peace Corps vaccinators and its impact on them and Afghans (Nov. 16). This program is co-sponsored by the Global Scholars Program, LSA Theme Semester and the International Center.

October 27

Swords into Plowshares: Peace Corps Service in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

12:00–1:30 p.m. 1636 International Institute/School of Social Work Building

U-M graduate students and staff will discuss their Peace Corps experiences in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Presenters include: Rutherford Hubbard, master's student in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies/JD student in law and RPCV (Armenia 2006–08); Mahima Mahadevan, master's student in public policy and RPCV (Kyrgyz Republic 2004–06); William Nash, immigration specialist(International Center) and RPCV (Ukraine 2001–03); and Maria Smith, master's student in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies/public policy and RPCV (Azerbaijan 2006–08). This event is sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and the International Policy Center at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

October 28

Sarah Chayes: Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series

5:10 p.m. Michigan Theater

Author Sarah Chayes' presentation is part of the Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series. Ms. Chayes is a former Peace Corps Volunteer and NPR reporter. She has lived in Kandahar, Afghanistan since 2002 where she has established a number of cooperatives to help local farmers. She will discuss the current dilemma in Afghanistan and a plan for its resolution. This program is sponsored by the School of Art and Design, LSA Theme Semester and the International Center.

November 2

Provost's Seminar on Educating Globally Competent Students
(By invitation only)

1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Michigan League

This seminar, sponsored by the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT), is a professional development opportunity for U-M faculty members that will provide opportunities to explore and examine ways to internationalize course material and class discussions in order to increase students' intercultural competency and maturity, and skills for global citizenship.

November 4

Advancing Global Public Health: Presentation of the Thomas Francis, Jr. Medal

2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Ross School of Business, Blau Auditorium. A reception follows.

The second Thomas Francis, Jr. medal will be awarded to Alfred Sommer, M.D., M.H.S., professor of epidemiology, international health, and ophthalmology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research into Vitamin A deficiency has saved millions of children from blindness and death. Sommer credits the Peace Corps for fueling his initial desire to work overseas, and today he advises many Corps volunteers as they administer Vitamin A. His talk will be followed by a panel discussion.

Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: October, 2010; 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps

When this story was posted in October 2010, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: University of Michigan

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