1
Tony D’Souza Wins More Journalism Awards (Cote d’Ivoire)
2
RPCV Averill Strasser (Bolivia) co-founder of water charity
3
Everywhere Stories edited by Clifford Garstang (Korea)
4
Bob Arias Remembers Bobby Kennedy on June 6, 2016 (Colombia)
5
Ambassador Stevens Mother’s letter in the NYTimes: “A Mother’s Complaint About a ‘Cynical Use’ of Benghazi”
6
Bob Arias Reviews La Familia (Bolivia)
7
Marlboro College’s Writing Intensive: Words Against War
8
Why the National University MFA in Creative Writing is ideal for PCVs or RPCVs
9
John Garamendi inspires Peter Yarrow to write The Children Are Listening (Ethiopia)
10
The Wetback and Other Stories by Ron Arias (Peru)

Tony D’Souza Wins More Journalism Awards (Cote d’Ivoire)

Tony D’Souza (Cote d’Ivoire  2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) widely lauded for his  novels Whiteman (a New York Times Editor’s Pick) and Mule  (optioned for film by Warner Bros.) has been based in  Sarasota, FL, the past few years, where he is raising his  two young children and is a contributing editor at Sarasota Magazine. He’s regularly been winning Florida magazine and  journalism prizes, and this past Saturday in Miami, he took  home three more awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. This year, he took first prizes in Public Service Reporting and Investigative Reporting, as well as a  second prize in Investigative Reporting. His long form feature stories which were recognized by the SPJ include “Going Nowhere,” a months-long investigation of  the homeless and their treatment by the affluent communities of southwest Florida. https://www.sarasotamagazine.com/articles/2014/12/31/41465 “Going Nowhere” also received the 2015 Florida Magazine Award for Best Public Service Coverage and has been featured  on long form magazine websites and public radio. Another is “The Sky is . . .

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RPCV Averill Strasser (Bolivia) co-founder of water charity

Averill Strasser (Bolivia 1966–68), who lives in Mount Shasta, CA, is co-founder (with fellow Mount Shasta resident JahSun) and Chief Operating Officer of Water Charity. As a PCV Strasser taught engineering at the University of San Andres in La Paz. Averill received a JD degree in Law from University of West Los Angeles, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Systems Engineering from UCLA.  He worked as a lawyer in Beverly Hills for many years, before embarking on a new career as a businessman and philanthropist. As he says today, “The Peace Corps experience has had a profound influence on every aspect of my life, including educational and career pursuits. It continues to drive me today.” The following story is from MountShastaNews.com and quotes JahSun who teamed up with Strasser to create the non-profit, Water Charity. Thanks to Tony DeSouza for the “heads up” on the article — JC •     Mount Shastan’s . . .

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Everywhere Stories edited by Clifford Garstang (Korea)

  Clifford Garstang (Korea 1976-77) just announced the coming publication, on September 26, 2016, of Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet, Volume II. Like the first volume, this anthology includes 20 stories by 20 writers set in 20 countries, and features the work of several RPCVs: Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1990-93, staff 1995-96); Pamela Hartmann (South Korea, 1973-75); and editor Clifford Garstang. Cliff is the author of In an Uncharted Country and What the Zhang Boys Know (Winner of the 2013 Library of Virginia Award for Fiction) and Editor of Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet.  

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Bob Arias Remembers Bobby Kennedy on June 6, 2016 (Colombia)

A moment to remember a special individual of my youth shared with my beautiful Peace Corps Colombian wife Gloria. It began April 1968 during the riots in the District of Columbia after the death of the Reverend Martin Luther King. We were being posted to Colombia to be Peace Corps Colombia staff, I was to be a Regional Director for the North Coast. But, in order to accept the assignment, Gloria would have to become a US Citizen, State Department policy. Gloria was (is) very proud of Colombia, why should she change being Colombian? Being a strong Liberal, I convinced her that if she became a US Citizen, she would be able to vote for Bobby Kennedy in the California primary…she accepted! Because of the riots in DC and curfew, our stay would be shorten and we would be in Colombia by the end of the week. On our second . . .

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Ambassador Stevens Mother’s letter in the NYTimes: “A Mother’s Complaint About a ‘Cynical Use’ of Benghazi”

Ambassador Christopher J. Stevens was a Peace Corps Volunteer in from 1983 to 1985, he taught English in Morocco.  He joined the Foreign Service utilizing the cultural and skills he gained from his time in Morocco. He was assassinated at the Benghazi, Libya Outpost on September 11, 2012.  Three other Americans were also murdered. The terrorist attack at Benghazi was the subject of numerous Congressional Hearings, although no legislation was ever presented to  prevent such attacks on diplomatic posts in the future.  Now, the tragedy of the lost American lives at Benghazi has become a rallying cry for Republicans in their vendetta against Hillary Clinton.  One grieving mother even spoke at the Republican Convention.  Another, the mother of Ambassador Stevens has pleaded that her son’s death not be used in this manner.  Read her letter, here: To the Editor: As Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens’s mother, I am writing to object to . . .

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Bob Arias Reviews La Familia (Bolivia)

La Familia by Mary Martin (Bolivia 1976-78) Book on Demand Publisher, $19.95 299 pages February 2016   Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964-66) Gaining Ground was the “how to” that walked us thru the creation of the US/Bolivia NGO Mano a Mano International…the creation of Joan Swanson White, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Segundo Velázquez, who would later become Joan’s husband. Joan a polio victim as a child, found Peace Corps her calling. Married at the time (1976-1978) to David White, she was concerned to discover that 37% of rural children suffer from chronic malnutrition, and ten percent of rural children die before age five. La Familia is more than a “love story,” but a trip down memory lane for the Velázquez family, especially the siblings, always working together as a unit in true Quechua fashion, Segundo, José, Ivo, and Blanca.  Segundo, an active member of the family, . . .

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Marlboro College’s Writing Intensive: Words Against War

The Brattleboro Reformer newspaper yesterday carried an article about the summer program at Marlboro College and quoted former PCV Thailand 1976-79 and CD Thailand 2013-15, as well as the recent past president of the NPCA, and now President of Marlboro College, Kevin Quigley: “The Summer Writing Intensive grows out of Marlboro’s fundamental commitment to writing. Our Clear Writing Requirement stems from the belief that clear writing leads to clear thinking, and clear writing in all its forms is a constant focus in the intellectual, political, and social life of the Marlboro community. ” I’d ask Kevin who never was in the military–as many PCVs were–but built his career on Peace Corps service, why doesn’t he honor the many fine Peace Corps ‘vets’  writers and offer them grants to attend this writing intensive?–JC The Brattleboro Reformer article This summer, in collaboration with Words After War, Marlboro College will once again honor . . .

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Why the National University MFA in Creative Writing is ideal for PCVs or RPCVs

About the University National University (NU) is a fully-accredited, not-for-profit university that offers undergraduate and graduate online classes in an accelerated format where courses last either four- or eight-weeks long, and students take only one course at a time. This format offers flexibility to students to take time off from the program for employment, travel, or other obligations. This asynchronous online format allows students to study from anywhere in the world that has an Internet connection. Graduate students at National have completed their Masters Degrees from places as distant as Japan, Guam, Alaska, and Afghanistan. About the Creative Writing MFA Established in 2005, the National University’s Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing (MFA/CW) offered by the  School of Arts and Sciences offers four genres of study: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or screenwriting. Like Masters Degrees in all fine and applied arts,  the MFA in Creative Writing is considered a terminal degree. It thus qualifies a graduate to . . .

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John Garamendi inspires Peter Yarrow to write The Children Are Listening (Ethiopia)

  Inspired by a speech by Rep. John Garamendi (Ethiopia 1966-68) Peter Yarrow wrote a song entitled, “The Children Are Listening” with his friend Kevin Salem producing. The graphic is entitled, “Campaign for Civility” and was designed by the legendary designer, Milton Glaser. Peter writes, “Operation Respect’s CEO and President, Molly McCloskey, has created a link on the Operation Respect website that includes a 6 minute version of Garamendi’s speech, and has sent out 60 emails to various educational allies who are leaders of various educational organizations.” Operation Respect is NOT connected to any political advocacy, party or political agenda. It is a 501(c)3. The link to John Garamendi’s 6 minute video speech to the House of Representatives is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6uFYikh31A&feature=youtu.be And listen to Peter’s song here:  

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The Wetback and Other Stories by Ron Arias (Peru)

The Wetback and Other Stories, by Ron Arias ISBN 978-1-55885-834-3 Publication date: September 30, 2016 Trade paperback, Arte Publico Press, University of Houston, $17.95 I felt reading these wonderful stories that I was admitted to an adjacent neighborhood, a rich culture that is another world—call it Amexica—both mysterious and magical, that is persuasive through its tenderness. My hope is that Ron Arias continues to write short stories that tell us who we are.                                                                              – Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) This collection brings together the short fiction of an acclaimed journalist and Chicano literature pioneer.  In the title story, Mrs. Rentería shouts, “David is mine!” as she and her neighbors gather about the dead but . . .

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