PCIA Historian Genna Wangsness approaches the history of the Peace Corps in Iran from the perspsective of the volunteer. She has researched and composed a series of PCIA articles about individuals who played a role in the history of the Peace Corps in Iran. Here is a set of links to her articles printed in the KhabarNameh, PCIA's official newsletter.
Writing the History of Peace Corps Iran by Jasamin Rostam-Kolayai
The New Frontier Meets The White Revolution by Jasamin Rostam-Kolayai
The Peace Corps brought an estimated 1,800 Americans to Iran from 1962 to 1976, coinciding with the unfolding of Mohammad-Reza Shah Pahlavi’s Enqelāb-e Sefid, or White Revolution. This article surveys Peace Corps Iran’s fourteen-year history by dividing it into three distinct moments defined by changing social and political conditions in Iran and shifting US‒Iranian relations. Initially, the Peace Corps Iran experiment built on earlier American foreign assistance programs, while coinciding with the roll-out of the White Revolution. Second, during its heyday in the mid-1960s, the Peace Corps inevitably became entangled with the White Revolution’s unfolding, both experiencing a phase of expansion and apparent success. Finally, as Iranian social and political conditions moved toward instability by the 1970s, Peace Corps Iran also seemed to have lost its direction and purpose, which ultimately led to a vote by volunteers to terminate the program. Based on accounts by US Peace Corps volunteers and the Iranians with whom they worked, the Peace Corps Agency, and the US State Department, this article argues that, ultimately, the Peace Corps Iran experience left a more lasting legacy on individuals than institutions.
A full text version of this article is available by sending a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wangsness and Rostam-Kolayai presented their respective approaches to this history at the 2019 conference in San Diego. To view their presentation, click HERE.
Sheldon Fleming, son of Quentin Fleming (the last Peace Corps Director), writes about the decision of the Peace Corps to leave Iran. In short, "Mission Accomplished." You can read his article by clicking HERE.