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International Voluntary Services Records


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Executive Committee / Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Project Files

Executive Director Files


Alumni Materials



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International Voluntary Services Records, 1952-2010 | Mennonite Church USA Archives

By Colleen McFarland

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Collection Overview

Title: International Voluntary Services Records, 1952-2010Add to your cart.

ID: XI/014

Primary Creator: International Voluntary Services

Extent: 33.7 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: By series

Date Acquired: 07/14/1997. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Community development, International Voluntary Services, Public health, Rural development, Voluntarism

Forms of Material: Audio tape reels, Negatives (photographs), Photographs, Slides (photographs), Video cassettes

Languages: English, French, Spanish;Castilian, Vietnamese

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection consists of seven series:

Series 1: Executive Committee / Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, 1953-2001 Series 2: Project Files, 1952-2002 Series 3: Executive Director Files, 1953-1997 Series 4: Publications, 1954-2003 Series 5: Alumni Materials, 1963-2000 Series 6: Photographs, 1960-1995 Series 7: Miscellaneous, 1973, undated

Biographical Note

International Voluntary Services (IVS) was founded in 1953 with the support of the U.S. Technical Cooperation Agency, today known as USAID.  The U.S. Technical Cooperation Agency sought to foster the development of private voluntary organizations to supply educated volunteers to work in developing countries.  A committee that included Mennonites and Brethren experienced with overseas relief work conceptulaized the organization that ultimately became IVS.


The first IVS volunteers were stationed in Egypt in 1954.  Within two years, IVS placed volunteers in Iraq, Laos, Jordan, and Vietnam to work with villagers to improve agricultural production, education, and health.


For nearly twenty years, IVS expanded its geographical locations and its projects while remaining dependent upon funding from USAID.  In 1973, IVS was asked to find funding apart from USAID funds.  In spite of its financial problems, the organization continued to grow, beginning programs in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Bolivia, and other countries and expanding its services to include disaster relief.


In the 1980s and 1990s, IVS began consolidating programs and placing volunteers as workers with non-government organizations.  Attempts to restructure the organization financially were unsuccessful, as IVS metamorphosized from a grassroots volunteer organization into an agency that administered sub-grants on behalf of USAID.


In its final years, much IVS work focused on AIDS education and prevention in southeast Asia.  By the late 1990s, however, only three strong programs remained: Ecuador, Bolivia, and Bangaldesh.  Before the dissolution of IVS, these programs were converted into national NGOs.  IVS was dissolved in 2003.

Subject/Index Terms

Community development
International Voluntary Services
Public health
Rural development

Administrative Information

Repository: Mennonite Church USA Archives


Acc 2011-30: 25 linear feet, donated by Anne Shirk

Acc 2015-003, Carlie E. Numi, 0.1 linear feet of alumni material (Vietnam slides, 1963-1965)

Alternate Extent Statement: 57 Archives Boxes, 2 Records Cartons, and 2 Oversize Boxes

Access Restrictions: This collection is open to the public.

Use Restrictions: Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. Copyright owned by the Mennonite Church USA Archives.

Acquisition Source: Perry Bush / IVS

Related Materials: The Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH) holds the papers of Don Cohon, who served with IVS in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967. The papers document Cohon's term of service as well as decades of post-IVS work with southeast Asian refugees in the United States. For more information please see

Preferred Citation: International Voluntary Services Records, 1952-2010.  XI-014.  Mennonite Church USA Archives. Elkhart, Indiana.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Executive Committee / Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, 1953-2001],
[Series 2: Project Files, 1952-2002],
[Series 3: Executive Director Files, 1953-1997],
[Series 4: Publications, 1954-2003],
[Series 5: Alumni Materials, 1963-2000],
[Series 6: Photographs, 1960-1995],
[Series 7: Miscellaneous, 1973, undated],

Series 3: Executive Director Files, 1953-1997Add to your cart.
These files document the adminsitration of IVS, particularly its efforts to grapple with funding and organizational difficulties in the 1980s and 1990s.  Contents include articles of incorporation and by-laws, communications from IVS executive directors to field directors, reports evaluating IVS as an organization, workplace, and private volunteer organization, and policy and procedure documents.  Researchers will also find speculations on the future or IVS during uncertain economic times for the organization.
Box 42: Executive Director Files, 1979-1992Add to your cart.
Box 43: Executive Director Files, 1953-1997Add to your cart.
Box 44: Executive Director Files, 1973-1993Add to your cart.
Box 45: Executive Director Files, 1971-1992Add to your cart.
Box 46: Executive Director Files, 1977-2002Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Executive Committee / Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, 1953-2001],
[Series 2: Project Files, 1952-2002],
[Series 3: Executive Director Files, 1953-1997],
[Series 4: Publications, 1954-2003],
[Series 5: Alumni Materials, 1963-2000],
[Series 6: Photographs, 1960-1995],
[Series 7: Miscellaneous, 1973, undated],

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