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The organization experienced controversy in its first year of operation.On October 13, 1961, a postcard from a volunteer named Margery Jane Michelmore in Nigeria to a friend in the U. described her situation in Nigeria as "squalor and absolutely primitive living conditions." The University of Ibadan College Students Union demanded deportation and accused the volunteers of being "America's international spies" and the project as "a scheme designed to foster neocolonialism." The theme of enabling Americans to volunteer in poor countries appealed to Kennedy because it fit in with his campaign themes of self-sacrifice and volunteerism, while also providing a way to redefine American relations with the Third World.
President Kennedy in a speech at the White House on June 22, 1962, "Remarks to Student Volunteers Participating in Operation Crossroads Africa", acknowledged that Operation Crossroads for Africa was the basis for the development of the Peace Corps.
After 24 months of service, volunteers can request an extension of service.