Peace Corps/ Inter-America & Pacific Regional Office
When the Peace Corps was formally authorized by the United States Congress on September 22, 1961, it sought to "promote world peace and friendship" through three goals: (1) To help the people of interested countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained workers; (2) To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served; and (3) To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
These three goals have guided a tradition of service that has earned respect and admiration at home and around the world. These three goals attract those who embody America's most enduring values - hope, optimism, freedom, and opportunity. And Volunteers, with their common spirit of service, dedication and idealism continue to meet the goals in innovative and inspiring ways.
The Inter-America and Pacific Region (IAP) is one of the three geographical units in Peace Corps responsible for supervising overseas operations. As presently configured, IAP was created as a result of an agency-wide move to centralize functions and reduce operating costs. The Pacific sub-region, including some relatively new country programs, was added to the longstanding Inter-America Region, many of whose countries have hosted Peace Corps programs since the establishment of the agency.
Currently the IAP Region consists of 29 countries served by a total of 23 overseas Peace Corps offices or posts. For administrative and programmatic purposes the IAP region is subdivided into four sub-regions, each with 5 or 6 country posts: Central America, South America, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Overseas posts are directly supported by a headquarters staff of professionals, including three-person country desk units for each of the sub-regions.
The numbers of volunteers serving across the IAP region varies somewhat from sub-region to sub-region and significantly from country to country (from 40 to well over 200). Because Peace Corps works toward its three primary goals by responding to the expressed needs of the peoples and governments of our host countries, the types of programs and specific volunteer activities carried out vary considerably across the region.
There are some relative concentrations of "sector" activity in the sub-regions; for example, education predominates in the Pacific and agriculture and environment are strong in Central and South America. In general, however, each post conducts several sector-specific projects which, when aggregated, show that three sectors-- health, the environment and education--each have approximately one-fifth of the region’s volunteers. Small business and agriculture have approximately one-sixth each. Projects benefiting women and youth at risk are emphasized across these categories in most IAP countries.