Iran Peace Corps Volunteers Reunion, Portland Oregon.

President Kennedy

AIFC is proud to sponsor Peace Corps Iran’s first-ever* reunion, to be held in Portland this summer in conjunction with the Iranian Festival!

Who: Everyone who served in Iran in the Peace Corps, and everyone who loves Iran or wants to know more about it  

What: Reunion! Saturday night’s banquet will feature Ambassador John Limbert as our keynote speaker!

Where: The south Park Blocks and Portland State University campus. 

When: August 5-7, 2011

The founding of the Peace Corps is one of President John F. Kennedy's most enduring legacies. Yet it got its start in a fortuitous and unexpected moment. Kennedy, arriving late to speak to students at the University of Michigan on October 14, 1960, found himself thronged by a crowd of 10,000 students at 2 o'clock in the morning. Speaking extemporaneously, the presidential candidate challenged American youth to devote a part of their lives to living and working in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Would students back his effort to form a Peace Corps? Their response was immediate: within weeks students organized a petition drive and gathered 1,000 signatures in support of the idea. Several hundred others pledged to serve. Enthusiastic letters poured into Democratic headquarters. This response was crucial to Kennedy's decision to make the founding of a Peace Corps a priority.

Portland, OR, August 5-7: From 1962 to 1976, 1,748 volunteers served with the U.S. Peace Corps in Iran. Initially focusing on education, the Peace Corps in Iran later expanded to include environmental, urban planning, community development, health, agriculture, vocational education, and other programs. 

On the weekend of August 5-7, 2011, volunteers and staff who served their country in Iran will reunite, and they have chosen Portland as the city in which to hold their reunion. For only the second time since the Peace Corps program in Iran ended 35 years ago - and in honor of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the American Peace Corps by President Kennedy in 1961 - they will join friends and family on the campus of Portland State University for a weekend to "Reconnect, Reminisce and Revitalize." The reunion is jointly sponsored by American-Iranian Friendship Council (AIFC), International Studies Department at Portland State University, and Friends of Iran, an affiliate of the National Peace Corps Association.

 The reunion will bring together almost 300 former volunteers, staff, family and friends. During the weekend program, attendees will view films on Iran and participate in panel discussions and workshops focusing on topics such as travel to Iran, environmental issues, Iran's current situation and its future outlook, preparing slide shows, and other educational and informative programs. 

On Saturday, attendees have the opportunity to enjoy the 11th annual Iranian Festival held each summer in Portland and to gather around the Peace Corps tent. The reunion will culminate with a grand reunion banquet at the university's Hoffmann Hall, featuring Persian food, a performance of Persian music and Ambassador John Limbert as the keynote speaker. Ambassador Limbert taught in Iran, both as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1964-66 and as an English instructor at Shiraz University from 1969-72, and afterwards he held various diplomatic posts including Ambassador to Mauritania. Ambassador Limbert was one of the hostages held for 444 days, from November 4, 1979 to January 21, 1981, at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. He has written numerous articles on Middle Eastern subjects and has authored Iran: At War with History (Westview Press, 1987), Shiraz in the Age of Hafez (University of Washington Press, 2004), and Negotiating With Iran, Wrestling the Ghosts of History (U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 2009).

 Ambassador Limbert joined the Foreign Service in 1973 and retired in August 2006 after 33 years of service. From retirement, he returned to the State Department in 2009-10 to be Deputy Assistant Secretary in charge of Iranian affairs. He is currently Distinguished Professor of International Affairs at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

 The Peace Corps is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in Washington, DC, in September with a variety of service programs, reunions, and a gala.


For more information please go to: Send email to organizers Jackie Spurlock at or Doug Schermer at to get on the list for ongoing updates.

* as far as we know

"Wild Turkey" party at home of PC Agricultural advisor Dave Lucas for his 30th birthday Tehran, Iran, Spring 1971, Photo by Wayne Kinunen

Submitted by AIFC on Fri, 03/11/2011 - 7:25pm.