Excerpts from Shriver's speech at the 35th Anniversary celebration in March 1996

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By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, July 15, 2001 - 4:14 pm: Edit Post

Excerpts from Shriver's speech at the 35th
Anniversary celebration in March 1996

What about the Peace Corps? Is the Peace Corps
less necessary for the 21st century than during the
years when Kennedy started it? Can Peace Corps
Volunteers working overseas today perform better
than host country nationals or better than private
sector business leaders and workers? Is the Peace
Corps needed at all, now that there is no Cold War?
Sure we have 140,000 RPCVs here at home, but can
we prove how their presence overseas contributed
to the American economy, to American politics or
to American spiritual values? Have we changed
anything in America profoundly for the better?
What reasons, justifications or objectives do we
Peace Corps veterans have for our own country and
for all the people of the world in the next century?
Does our Peace Corps experience give us any
special ability or clarity to see what the 21st century
will be?

Suppose all nations became just like us in politics,
economics and democratic values. Will the mission
of our country be fulfilled? If not, what do we have
to offer beyond representative democracy, private
business freedom, personal wealth and equal rights
for all within the law? I don't mean to diminish
those rights and achievements. Lots of nations
haven't even gotten to where we are, but let's look
ahead ten years. More of them will be where we are,
I hope.

Why don't we returned Peace Corps Volunteers and
early staff members express our hopes and
convictions concerning the Peace Corps and its
mission for the next century just as Jefferson spoke
for our country in 1776.

I believe that someone like Bill Moyers could write
a new declaration with clarity and eloquence, a
declaration for our times as inspired as Jefferson
was for his. I think that with experienced, loyal,
imaginative returned Peace Corps Volunteers, Bill
Moyers could describe what the Peace Corps
believes in and offers to the 21st century. A new
declaration could project the spirit and vision of
1776 forward into the 21st century and even
beyond. Our fledgling nation was founded on new
politics, new economics, and new social realities.
Today, those same new politics, new realities are
becoming very clear. In the new world of instant
world-wide communications, one of the most
extraordinary things is that the further we see, the
less we see anybody like us.

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