Smithsonian Folklife Festival Presents “The Peace Corps at 60 and Beyond: A Towering Task Film Screening & Panel Discussion”

Acting Peace Corps Director Will Join Film Director, Social Entrepreneur and Senior Museum Curator for Panel Discussion
February 25, 2021
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Woman stands and reads as a crowd of women watch

Rahama Wright served in the Peace Corps in Mali from 2002 to 2004. Photo courtesy of Rahama Wright.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival presents The Peace Corps at 60 and Beyond: A Towering Task Screening & Panel Discussion Thursday, March 4. The panel discussion will envision the Peace Corps’ next chapter in a lively conversation featuring several prominent Returned Peace Corps Volunteers: Carol Spahn, acting director of the Peace Corps; film director Alana DeJoseph; Smithsonian curator emerita Rayna Green; and social entrepreneur Rahama Wright.

“This pivotal moment in Peace Corps history, severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, allows us to look back on 60 years of world peace and friendship, while also looking forward to the future of the Peace Corps,” said Jim Deutsch, curator at the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. “In 2011, the Folklife Festival commemorated the agency’s 50th anniversary with a program that featured Peace Corps volunteers and their partners from 16 countries. Now during another milestone Peace Corps Week, the festival once again explores the agency’s significance and impact and looks ahead to the next chapter.”

Event Details

The panel discussion will stream live at 7 p.m. ET on the Smithsonian Folklife Facebook and YouTube pages.

To learn more about the history of the Peace Corps, the festival is also making available the documentary film “A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps” (2019), directed by Alana DeJoseph. Viewers may register on Eventbrite to watch the film at their convenience anytime between 5 p.m. Monday, March 1, and 11:59 p.m. ET, Thursday, March 4. Alternatively, viewers can join the festival’s watch party on Facebook from 5 to 6:45 p.m. ET March 4, immediately before the panel discussion.

This program is presented in partnership with the Smithsonian Cultural Vitality Program, the National Peace Corps Association and the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience. On March 3, the museum opens “Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience,” an exhibition at American University Museum celebrating the 60th anniversary.

Accessibility: Live real-time captioning, and American Sign Language interpretation will be provided for the discussion. Closed captioning will be provided for the film.

About the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, inaugurated in 1967, honors contemporary living cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them. Produced annually by the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in partnership with the National Park Service, the festival has featured participants from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Learn more at

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