The Shriver Center at UMBC is a bridge between the vision of a better world and the power to make real change; between the energy and idealism of the young, and the sophisticated know-how to get things done; between one of America's most dynamically charged universities and one of America's most challenged cities; between the enduring, inspiring legacy of Peace Corps founder Sargent Shriver and the continuing opportunities for America's future.
Established in 1993 in honor of Eunice and Sargent Shriver, the Center has touched and transformed the lives of thousands, applying the formidable strengths of the University to create innovative programs that have achieved demonstrable, quantifiable success.
The Shriver Center succeeds with the belief that America's universities, with their vast resources of learning and scholarship and their constantly replenished ranks of bright, energetic idealists, are uniquely suited to address the persistent problems of America's cities by working in partnership with public, private and non-profit organizations to make lasting change. The Shriver Center's mission is to create a new generation of leaders who have the vision and capacity to affect policy on a national level.
As the dynamic convergence of learning and action, compassion and energy, the Shriver Center is powerful evidence of what is possible and a challenging testament to what is necessary.
In 1994, the Shriver family established The Shriver Peaceworker Program within The Shriver Center at UMBC. The Shriver Peaceworker Program is a rigorous two-year interdisciplinary graduate program, in which Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) study in wide-ranging areas while they engage in community service and ethical reflection. This combination of experiences, unique to American higher education, ensures that graduates acquire the practical skills, theoretical knowledge, and broad vision necessary to understand complex, deeply-rooted social problems and discern authentic possibilities for their solution. The goal of the program is to educate and train leaders in the image of Sargent Shriver.
From the earliest days of his service in the Kennedy administration, Sargent Shriver envisioned that returning Peace Corps volunteers would have a deep and lasting impact upon American society, a vision that he instituted as the third goal of the original Peace Corps legislation. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers have become one of America's most important human resources. After two years acting on their idealism around the world, they return matured, focused and eager to apply their best energies to this country's problems.
Representing a diversity of disciplines including public policy, education, non-profit management, public health, intercultural communication and sociology, Peaceworkers also bring their experience and enthusiasm to create a culture of service at UMBC and member institutions of the Shriver Center Higher Education Consortium.
Living in a close-knit community of shared values and goals, inspired and pushed deeper by everyone around them, Peaceworkers learn and grow, becoming what they want most to be, what we most need them to be: wiser, stronger, more compassionate & prepared to engage fully and successfully in the unending work of social change.