Title

Egoistic, Altruistic, or Pacifistic: Volunteers' Motivations to Serve

Publication Date

1-1-2003

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Karen Blanchard

Abstract

Over the past forty years of its existence, over 170,000 Americans have volunteered their service in the Peace Corps. Some individuals have been motivated by the opportunity to gain experience and training, while others have been inspired by their sincere interest in contributing to the development of the world. Still others have regarded Peace Corps as a means to promote understanding amongst peoples and nations. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 marked a change in volunteer patterns within the United States (U.S.) quite different from those patterns experienced in the past. Following the events of September 11, both government and public support for volunteer programs such as Peace Corps were on the rise. Through surveying a sample of forty Peace Corps Volunteers serving in the Dominican Republic, this study attempted to answer the question: How have the factors that motivate U.S. American volunteers to carry out Peace Corps services changed since the events of September 11, 2001? The study compared motivation statements written by twenty pre- and twenty post-September 11 volunteers; qualitative interviews were carried out with twenty volunteers. Overall results of the study demonstrate a shift in volunteer motivation. Although the post September 11 Peace Corps Volunteer is still motivated by a combination of egoistic and altruistic factors, promoting peace and understanding amongst individuals and nations now tends to play a much stronger role in the volunteer's service than in the recent past.

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