New York City – The State University
of New York and the Peace Corps today signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in New
York City, formalizing a new partnership that will allow SUNY graduate students
to earn academic credit for two years of Peace Corps service overseas, as part
of the Peace
Corps Masters International (MI) program. The agreement is the first of its
kind between the Peace Corps and any statewide university system.
“The Master’s International
program is a truly unique opportunity for any graduate student who is
interested in making a difference in the lives of others and gaining valuable
work experience overseas,” said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams
(Dominican Republic, 1967-1970). “SUNY graduate students will return to the
United States as global citizens with leadership, cross-cultural, language, and
technical skills that position them well for all future endeavors.”
“This agreement with the
Peace Corps marks an incredible opportunity for the 41,500 graduate students
currently enrolled at SUNY and all those who will follow,” said SUNY Chancellor
Nancy L. Zimpher. “With this expanded access to the Masters International
Program, our students will have a greater impact on communities across the
globe and return home with invaluable experience to add to their educational
All students enrolled at
SUNY’s 28 graduate schools are eligible to apply for the Peace Corps program.
Students will apply
separately to the Peace Corps and to a SUNY graduate program to prepare them
for service in the following areas: agriculture, community economic
development, education, environment, health, and youth development.
Once accepted by both the
Peace Corps and the University, students begin their studies on a SUNY campus,
serve overseas with the Peace Corps for two years, and then return to school to
finish their graduate work. During Peace Corps service, students will work on
projects related to their master’s studies.
Since the agency was
established in 1961, nearly 3,600 SUNY alumni have served in the Peace Corps.
Today, 124 currently serving
Peace Corps volunteers earned their undergraduate degree at a SUNY college or
university, while 17 earned an advanced degree.
In 2011, New York was ranked
as the second-highest producing state of Peace Corps volunteers.
SUNY joins more than 80 other
distinguished academic institutions nationwide in establishing a MI partnership
with the Peace Corps, and will now be the only university system to have the
capacity to approve MI programs internally. The MI program began at Rutgers
University-Camden in 1987 and since then more than 1,000 Peace Corps volunteers
have completed the program. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov/masters.
first president of SUNY College at Old Westbury, Harris Wofford, was
instrumental in the formation of the Peace Corps under President John F.
Kennedy. He served as the Peace Corps' special representative to Africa and
director of operations in Ethiopia. He also served as associate director of the
Peace Corps from 1962 to 1966, before being named president of Old Westbury for
its opening in 1968. Wofford's book, Of Kennedys and Kings: Making Sense of
the Sixties, details the creation of the Peace Corps.
About the Peace Corps
President John F. Kennedy established
the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. Throughout 2011, Peace
Corps is commemorating 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the
world. Historically, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace
Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139
host countries. Today, 8,655 volunteers are working with local communities in
76 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18
years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.
About the State University of New
The State University of New
York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States,
educating more than 467,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate
programs on 64 campuses with nearly 3 million alumni around the globe. To
learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu