Undergraduate Journal of Global Citizenship


The Peace Corps is a United States government agency that provides assistance to developing countries by sending American volunteers to work in sectors of agriculture, education, health, and community development for two years. While many would call this type of service honorable, it is crucial to recognize the agency’s origins in neocolonialism and Western superiority. These deeply-rooted ideologies created structural inequities within the Peace Corps that continue to negatively affect the intercultural relationships they hold dear, despite changes in recent years to promote better cultural understanding, sensitivity, and integration. This article examines Peace Corps’ rhetoric, service model, and organizational structure through applications of development theory, Edward Said’s “Orientalism”, Michael Latham’s theory of “positional superiority”, and Jenna Hanchey’s “postcolonial self-reflexivity” to determine whether or not the Peace Corps agency can remedy these inequities and promote sustainable change in the future. The findings herein provide worthy contributions to the fields of international development, intercultural communication, and postcolonial studies.



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