Price: $310.00

    Code: 2384

    Directed by Judy Irola
    2010, 75 Minutes
    Purchase: $310 | Classroom Rental: $125

    Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011, the Peace Corps has inspired generations of young people into service around the world. Directed by one of its early volunteers, Niger '66 offers a fascinating first-person account of the organization's founding and early days as well as its lasting influence.

    In exploring the impact these missions had on both the volunteers and communities they served, this exceptional documentary allows for a greater understanding and much-needed, positive appreciation of Africa; a corrective to the steady drumbeat of negative representation in mainstream media today.

    The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan (at two o'clock in the morning) to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. In 1961, now-President Kennedy established the Peace Corps and appointed his brother-in-law Sargent Shriver as its first director. Since 1961 more than 200,000 Americans have served in foreign lands as Peace Corps volunteers. Many of these have returned to serve their country as well. Lawyers for justice, health workers, journalists, filmmakers, nurses, teachers; and some returned to work for the Peace Corps as in-country directors or to train new volunteers who will serve all over the world.

    The first group of volunteers to serve in Niger arrived on September 7, 1962. Niger is a large country, almost twice the size of Texas, with a hot and dry climate. The northern two-thirds of its territory lie within the Sahara Desert, and most of its 12 million people live in the semi-arid zone across the southern third of the country known as the Sahel. Niger became independent from France in 1961, as did much of Africa. At independence Niger became a constitutional democracy, with an elected president and a National Assembly. While there have been frequent military coups each has respected the democratic goals instilled in 1961.

    Filmmaker Judy Irola was one of a group of 65 idealistic Peace Corps volunteers headed for Niger in the summer of 1966, where they stayed for two years working in agriculture, digging wells for drinkable water and working in health clinics with women and their babies. In 2008 five of the original group returned to Niger to revisit the country, see old friends and witness how their work had improved the lives of the people. This is a documentary about young people who made a difference and about an adventure and time (returning to the U.S. in the turmoil of 1968) that influenced the rest of their lives.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Official Selection, American Documentary Showcase (a traveling program coordinated by the Department of State), 2011
    * Official Selection, Africa World Documentary Film Festival, 2011
    * Official Selection, Mill Valley International Film Festival, 2010
    * Official Selection, Denver Starz International Film Festival, 2010


    " Highly Recommended . The film will be very useful for stimulating high school or college classroom discussions about volunteerism and cross-cultural social issues, and it would be a welcome addition to college, university, or large public library film collections". - Educational Media Review Online

    "This old-school documentary offers a valuable message on the importance of getting different perspectives on other cultures." - Booklist

    "This is a video everyone should see, whether they were in the Peace Corps or not. [The filmmakers] honesty and forthrightness is breathtaking. If there were an Academy Award for Peace Corps films, here’s a sure winner. Thank you, Niger’66.” - Peace Corps Worlwide