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Peace Corps

A new water system is installed in Malawi with the help of Peace Corps volunteers. 

Missoula jumped this year to the No. 2 spot on the Peace Corps' list of top metropolitan areas that volunteer per capita with the international service organization.

"Montana and Missoula produce volunteers who are devoted to taking their skills abroad and who strive to bring a unique perspective to the communities they serve," Erin Carlson, acting manager of the Peace Corps West Coast Region, said in a news release. "We are pleased to recognize the state's volunteers who set the bar high for commitment, dedication and performance."

Since 1961 when the program began, 1,389 Montanans have served in the Peace Corps. Currently, 42 are on duty to help "tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world."

In the news release, the organization noted Missoula jumped four places to hit No. 2, with 8.1 volunteers per 100,000 residents. The top ranking metropolitan area per capita is Ithaca, New York, with 14.5 volunteers per 100,000 residents. 

Among states, Montana is holding steady in seventh place per capita for the second year in a row, the news release said. It counted 4.1 volunteers per 100,000 residents.

"Peace Corps volunteers promote a better understanding of Americans around the world by sharing their unique hometown perspective during their service," director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. "As we forge a modern Peace Corps for modern times, we remain committed to building a volunteer force that reflects the rich diversity of our country."

The Peace Corps was established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and has operated in 140 countries worldwide.

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University of Montana, higher education