Archive - January 2013

1
Why The Peace Corps?
2
JFK Creates The Peace Corps
3
Review of R J Huddy's (Morocco 1981-83) Death to the Rescue: A Twisting Creek Mystery
4
Be # 1000 on our Petition for Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sign UP!
5
J. Grigsby Crawford (Ecuador 2009-11) Publishes His Peace Corps Memoir
6
Review of Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2001-03) The Springs of Namje:A Ten-Year Journey from the Vallages of Nepal to the Halls of Congress
7
Review of Peter Chilson (Niger 1985-87) We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali
8
Hey, Peace Corps! Join MOOC While You Still Can!
9
Al Qaeda Country: Why Mali is Important–Peter Chilson (Niger 1985-87) will speak at George Washington University in D.C. on Tuesday, January 29, 2013
10
"Teddy [Roosevelt] Award for Political Courage" to RPCV and Ambassador Christopher Stevens

Why The Peace Corps?

As we near March 1, 2013, and another anniversary of an agency that appears to be ‘disappearing’ from the view of most Americans, if not Congress and the White House. How often do we hear, “Is there still a Peace Corps?” from the men and women on the street. It seems that for the public the Peace Corps failed away with the “Kennedy Generation.” But what brought about the Peace Corps in the first place? I thought I might try and chart the impulses in America that brought about its creation. These ‘impulses’ we might say are close to being lost in the fog of history. There were, however, several generally accepted desires that coalesced in the last days of the Fifties, framed by a number of people in speeches and in prose, and with the election of John F. Kennedy, became a reality as a federal agency. Most of the . . .

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JFK Creates The Peace Corps

[Over the next month or so–as we reach the anniversary of the Peace Corps–I thought I might relate some tales of how the Peace Corps was established. Let’s begin with Kennedy and his involvement in the agency that he would create, and what many people think was his greatest achievement, and which all of you were part of making a reality.] Kennedy Learns about the Peace Corps JFK’s first direct association with the Peace Corps came on February 21, 1960. He was on a college television show called “College News Conference” and someone asked about the “Point Four Youth Corps.” Kennedy said he didn’t know what the legislative proposal was. Afterwards, he told aide Richard Goodwin to research the idea. Goodwin, who was the Kennedy link with the “brain trust” at Harvard, wrote to Archibald Cox at the university’s law school about the idea. Then in April and May of . . .

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Review of R J Huddy's (Morocco 1981-83) Death to the Rescue: A Twisting Creek Mystery

Death to the Rescue: A Twisting Creek Mystery by R J Huddy (Morocco 1981-83) A Peace Corps Writers Book $15.95 (paperback); $.99 (Kindle) 329 pages October  2012 Reviewed by P. David Searles (CD Philippines & PC/HQ 1971-76) When the USPS dropped off R J Huddy’s Death to the Rescue I was well into reading Jon Meacham’s recent biography of Thomas Jefferson, a work that has been highly praised and is essential reading for anyone who wants to consider himself well read.  I decided to take a short break from it and sample this new book.  Within 20 pages I had concluded “Sorry, Jon, Jefferson is going to have to wait!  It’s a bit like homework, whereas Death is fun.  Huddy’s story is centered around the murder of a prim and proper single woman – a bank loan officer and Sunday School teacher – by, all of the evidence strongly suggests, . . .

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Be # 1000 on our Petition for Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sign UP!

Carol Gelhaus of Five Point, South Caroline  is # 999 You can be #1000! [Tino Calabia (Peru 1963-65) who rallied all of us RPCVs in support of Ambassador Christopher Stevens sent me a note about our collective efforts to reach 1000 signatures. Marian Haley Beil (Ethiopia 1962-64) established a petition at SignOn.org that we hope you will sign. This is what Tino had to say, writing today from Tokyo where he is visiting his son, the FSO at our Embassy in Japan.] Several Senators and House Representatives have finally brought Hillary Clinton before them to regurgitate their pre-election criticism of the Administration’s initial description of the Benghazi killings that left four Americans dead. The winds of punditry swirl with conjectures regarding the reasons Clinton’s harshest critics are attempting to besmirch her coming departure as Secretary of State.  Some commentators suggest that a few of her critics were launching preemptive strikes aimed at weakening . . .

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J. Grigsby Crawford (Ecuador 2009-11) Publishes His Peace Corps Memoir

J. Grigsby Crawford (Ecuador 2009-11) is the author of The Gringo: A Memoir, which tells the story of his two years as a PCV. He served in Peace Corps Ecuador’s Natural Resource Conservation program, and ultimately wrote a successful grant to help build a greenhouse at the local high school in his Amazonian community. But Grigsby writes: The Gringo tells a different Peace Corps tale than one is used to hearing. In Ecuador, Crawford was originally sent to the coast, where after just a few months he narrowly escaped an abduction attempt and was pulled out by security and forced to change sites. From there–as the synopsis of The Gringo states–he undertakes “a savage journey of danger, drugs, sex, and alarming illness.” It is a PCV story that is both tragic and sharply humorous.  The Gringo was published in December 2012 and, he says, “immediately met national attention,” getting excerpted in the Huffington Post and . . .

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Review of Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2001-03) The Springs of Namje:A Ten-Year Journey from the Vallages of Nepal to the Halls of Congress

The Springs of Namje: A Ten-Year Journey from the Villages of Nepal to the Halls of Congress by Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2001-03) Beacon Press $24.95 (hardcover), $13.72 (Kindle) 214 pages September 2012 Reviewed by Ken Hill (Turkey 1965-67) The jacket describes it as “A ten year journey from the villages of Nepal to the halls of Congress”.  But “The Springs of Namje” goes beyond that, unveiling a relationship of deep dedication by an RPCV to “his village”. And, it chronicles what might be the most effective single effort yet at providing a substantive increase in funding for the Peace Corps. This story transcends the more typical Peace Corps narrative. Since completing his PCV service in 2003, Rajeev has returned to Namje on 21 occasions – probably even again since the book was published.  His close relationship with the people and his involvement in their lives, economic and social development is extraordinary. . . .

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Review of Peter Chilson (Niger 1985-87) We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali

We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali By Peter Chilson (Niger 1985-87) FP Group, $499 2013 The book can be purchased as a pdf on the Foreign Policy web site: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/ebooks/we_never_knew_exactly_where   Reviewed by Robert E. Hamilton (Ethiopia 1965-67) Edited by Susan B. Glasser with assistance from Margaret Slattery, Foreign Policy (the FP Group) and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting have launched a Borderlands project in which they will commission “leading writers to travel several of the world’s most impenetrable fault lines, the global gray zones where countries and people-and our own flawed ideas about them-meet.”  Peter Chilson’s eBook is the first in this series to be released.  It provides useful background as a travelogue although it is not, as Glasser claims, “a definitive account” of what has happened in Mali since the military coup of March 2012. The book does represent the Mali crisis . . .

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Hey, Peace Corps! Join MOOC While You Still Can!

Tom Friedman’s column this morning in The New York Times  is entitled “Revolution Hits the Universities” and focuses on online learning but adds a new twist. He writes about MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) and Coursera, which Friedman has written about before, as well as edX, the nonprofit MOOC M.I.T. and Harvard are jointly building. One paragraph in particular caught my attention. Friedman writes that today only a small percentage complete all the work in an online course, and even they still tend to be from the middle and upper classes of their societies, but then he writes, “I am convinced that within five years these platforms will reach a much broader demographic. Imagine how this might change U.S. foreign aid. For relatively little money, the U.S. could rent space in an Egyptian village, install two dozen computers and high-speed satellite Internet access, hire a local teacher as a facilitator, . . .

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Al Qaeda Country: Why Mali is Important–Peter Chilson (Niger 1985-87) will speak at George Washington University in D.C. on Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Al Qaeda Country: Why Mali is Important Tuesday, January 29, 2013 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM George Washington University Lindner Family Commons, Room 602 1957 E Street NW Washington DC RSVP Click Here Peter Chilson, Associate Professor of English, Washington State University Introduction by David Rain, Associate Professor of Geography and International Affairs, GW Prizewinning author Peter Chilson is one of the few Westerners to travel to the Mali conflict zone. There he found a hazy dividing line between the demoralized remnants of the former regime in the south and the new statelet in the north – Azawad – formed when a rebellion by the country’s ethnic Tuareg minority as commandeered by jihadi fighters. In this inaugural lecture of the African Research and Policy Group of the Institute for Global and International Studies, Chilson will lay out the lines of conflicting interest in Mali as some of the world’s great . . .

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"Teddy [Roosevelt] Award for Political Courage" to RPCV and Ambassador Christopher Stevens

[Tino Calabia (Peru 1963-65) who rallied all of us RPCVs in support of Ambassador Christopher Stevens sent me a note about our collective efforts to reach 1000 signatures. Marian Haley Beil (Ethiopia 1962-64) established a petition at SignOn.org that we hope you will sign. This is what Tino had to say, writing today from Tokyo where he is visiting his son, the FSO at our Embassy in Japan.] Several Senators and House Representatives have finally brought Hillary Clinton before them to regurgitate their pre-election criticism of the Administration’s initial description of the Benghazi killings that left four Americans dead. The winds of punditry swirl with conjectures regarding the reasons Clinton’s harshest critics are attempting to besmirch her coming departure as Secretary of State.  Some commentators suggest that a few of her critics were launching preemptive strikes aimed at weakening a Presidential candidacy she may seek in 2016. Any mention of RPCV Ambassador Chris . . .

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