By bolder, we are suggesting mainstreaming the service concept so it spans society — regardless of sex, age or race. There are benefits of an age- and race-diversified volunteer corps. A more diverse Peace Corps would allow for greater success in certain regions of the world depending on experience, language skills or country-of-origin. Recognizing the international, national and individual benefits of public service, we need to be creative in encouraging Americans of all ages and backgrounds to volunteer.
If America makes this a priority, we not only help the global poor become more self-sufficient, stable and secure — which in turn makes our country more secure — but we simultaneously increase good will toward the United States through development-based diplomacy.
Peace Corps volunteers represent the hope and opportunity that make America great. We mark the 52nd anniversary by honoring their service and ushering in the next generation of volunteers to serve our nation in the name of peace and international community-building.
Rep. Michael M. Honda, D-Calif., served as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador from 1965 to 1967. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Somalia from 1966 to 1967.