Archive - March 2014

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Larry Lesser (Nigeria 1963-65)Marry an Asian Woman
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Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Acting Director of the Peace Corps at Michigan
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Review of Jon Thiem (Ghana 1968-70) Letters from Ghana
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Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) Border Bleed
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New York City A Bookstore Desert
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What's the Peace Corps Going to do: Another African country is expected to Pass an Anti-Gay Law
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Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03)Wins College Alumni Award
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Mark G. Wentling (Honduras 1967-69; Togo 1970-73): African Hunger
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Looking for a Scholarly Editor to Help Edit your Book?
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Collin Tong (Thailand 1968-69) Editor of Into The Storm:Journeys with Alzheimer's

Larry Lesser (Nigeria 1963-65)Marry an Asian Woman

[Larry Lesser, a retired FSO, served as DCM in Bangladesh and Rwanda and as deputy executive director of the Department’s NEA Bureau. Other overseas tours were in Belgium, Burkina Faso, India, and Nigeria – the latter as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Since retiring he has been a re-employed annuitant, chiefly for the Office of Inspector General, as an editor of human rights reports for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), and teaching mediation at the Foreign Service Institute. Lesser has been an OSCE supervisor or observer for numerous elections in eastern Europe. He was an appointed member of the Foreign Service Grievance Board 1997-2003, and an elected member of the American Foreign Service Association board of governors 2005-07.This piece appeared in American Diplomacy. They gave permission to republish it. ] Marry an Asian Woman by Larry Lesser (Nigeria 1963-65) I’m thinking about a man I saw when . . .

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Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Acting Director of the Peace Corps at Michigan

By Joel Goldstein, For the Michigan Daily Published March 26, 2014 Fifty-four years ago, U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy, then presidential candidate, held an impromptu election speech on the steps of the Michigan Union, where he proposed to more than 5,000 students the idea of the Peace Corps, a volunteer organization to help impoverished nations. One year after Kennedy’s speech, the Peace Corps was established through an executive order. Since the establishment of the program, the University has supplied the fourth most volunteers to the organization, with 2,556 graduates serving in the Peace Corps. Carrie Hessler-Radelet, acting director of the Peace Corps, spoke at the Ford School of Public Policy Wednesday, discussing the future of the organization. The talk was part of a series of policy talks held at the Ford School this year. Recently, Hessler-Radelet has focused on improving efficiency and safety within the organization. The Peace Corps experienced . . .

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Review of Jon Thiem (Ghana 1968-70) Letters from Ghana

Letters from Ghana 1968-1970: A Peace Corps Chronicle Compiled and Edited by Jon Thiem (Ghana 1968–70) A Peace Corps Writers Book (An Imprint of Peace Corps Worldwide) $12.99 (paperback), $10.99 (Kindle) 255 Pages 2013 Reviewed By William G. Spain (Malawi 1967–69) Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in a foreign country knows how important it is to write home about your experiences and receive letters from home.  Letters are a lifeline and self-chronicle, a way to reach inside of oneself.  When those letters are written by strangers, reading them is like looking into another person’s life in progress. Jon Thiem’s Letters from Ghana 1968–70: A Peace Corps Chronicle is just such a book, full of the small mysteries of everyday life as well as the bigger mysteries of a dynamic period in our history. An introductory essay sets the stage for the collection of letters that follow. . . .

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Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) Border Bleed

A Writer Writes Border Bleed by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978–80) In 1989, days after my first big publishing break, I was hanged in effigy in Bolivia. Protestors marched on the American embassy. Although I had left the country, the nation’s journalists boycotted our ambassador’s Fourth of July reception to express their anger. La Paz was the setting for a story that The Atlantic Monthly published called “Stone Cowboy on the High Plains.” Being caricatured as a monster in the Latin American media was not the reaction I had been hoping for. I had been set up. An organization called the Council on Hemispheric Affairs published a communiqué linking me with ugly sentiments about Bolivians that the story’s protagonist expressed. The premise was absurd, the motivation political. The magazine’s credits identified me as an American diplomat, and the Council was a fierce critic of U.S. policy to Latin America. But knowing . . .

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New York City A Bookstore Desert

In an article this morning in the New York Times reporter Julie Bosman writes how surging rents are forcing booksellers out of Manhattan. Once a literary city, NYC is now a bookstore desert. “Rising rents in Manhattan have forced out many retailers, from pizza joints to flower shops. But the rapidly escalating cost of doing business there is also driving out bookstores, threatening the city’s sense of self as the center of the literary universe, the home of the publishing industry and a place that lures and nurtures authors and avid readers,” writes Bosman. She then details the closing and moving of book stores out of the city. “The Rizzoli Bookstore was recently told that it would be forced to leave its grand space on 57th Street because the owners decided that the building would be demolished. “The Bank Street Bookstore in Morningside Heights announced in December that it would . . .

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What's the Peace Corps Going to do: Another African country is expected to Pass an Anti-Gay Law

Terri Rupar writes today in the Washington Post: Another African country is expected to pass an anti-gay law… Ethiopia’s legislature is expected to pass a bill that would take away the president’s ability to pardon people convicted under laws banning homosexual acts, the Associated Press reports. The move comes on the heels of the passage of harsh anti-gay laws in Uganda and Nigeria that drew condemnation from around the world. Same-sex acts were already illegal in Ethiopia, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. But during the Ethiopian New Year, the president often pardons thousands of prisoners, the AP said. The new law, endorsed last week by the Cabinet, would take away his ability to pardon people convicted under anti-homosexuality laws. When Uganda enacted its law last month, the Ethiopian minister for women, children and youth affairs sent out a tweet that seemed to criticize it. Subsequent tweets disowned . . .

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Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03)Wins College Alumni Award

[Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) has won the Carthage College Alumni Award, called the Beacon, which will be presented on May 3, 2013 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Established in 1847, Carthage is a four-year private college of the liberal arts and sciences, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The college is located on an 80-acre arboretum on the shore of Lake Michigan, half way between Chicago and Milwaukee. The Award is given to those alumni “who provide light to their communities, honoring the recipient for one specific accomplishment, act of service, professional or personal achievement, event, or program.” Tony was honored, not for his Peace Corps, but for his writings. The release on the college web side reads:] Anthony D’Souza ’95 Sarasota, Florida Anthony’s third novel, “Mule,” was released in September 2011 to advance praise from “Vanity Fair,” “Gawker,” “Kirkus,” “Booklist,” and “Library Journal.”Anthony was was an English major, . . .

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Mark G. Wentling (Honduras 1967-69; Togo 1970-73): African Hunger

Mark G. Wentling spent nine years with the Peace Corps (Honduras, 1967-69; Togo, 1970-73; Peace Corps Staff, Togo, Gabon and Niger, 1973-76) before joining USAID in 1977. As a U.S. Foreign Service Officer he served in Niamey, Conakry, Lome, Mogadishu, Dar es Salaam and Washington, D.C before retiring from the Senior Foreign Service in 1996. Since his retirement he has worked for USAID as it Senior Advisor for the Great Lakes and Country Program Manager for Niger and Burkina Faso. He is a 1992 National War College Graduate. He has also worked in Africa for U.S. Non-Governmental Organizations and he is currently Country Director for PLAN in Burkina Faso. On September 20, he marked 41 years since arriving in Africa in 1970. He has worked in, or visited, 53 African countries. This piece appeared in American Diplomacy. They gave permission to republish it. • Africa’s Hunger by Mark Wentling “Cram-cram,” . . .

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Looking for a Scholarly Editor to Help Edit your Book?

Editors Janet Dixon Keller and Katharine Wiegele (Philippines 1988-90) have over 40 years of experience as hands-on developmental editors. Janet’s background includes extended terms as Editor-in-Chief at two international journals (The American Anthropologist and Ethos), three decades in bringing student work to fruition, a term as editor of a University of Illinois Press book series, collaborative grant writing, and team-based production of administrative documents. RPCV Katharine Wiegele is an author and anthropologist with years of editorial experience with various publications including Politics and the Life Sciences, Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, Daily Illini, and others. Her book, Investing in Miracles: El Shaddai and the Transformation of Popular Catholicism in the Philippines, published in the United States and the Philippines, won a National Book Award in the Philippines (Manilla Critics Circle and National Book Development Board). Katharine is also currently teaching at Northern Illinois University. Janet and Katharine have extensive experience with both commercial . . .

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Collin Tong (Thailand 1968-69) Editor of Into The Storm:Journeys with Alzheimer's

INTO THE STORM: Journeys with Alzheimer’s Collin Tong (Thailand 1968-69), Editor Book Publishers Network, $16.95 170 pages 2014 Reviewed by Dan Close (Ethiopia 1966–68) In 1953, the brilliant scientist and science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke wrote a short story entitled “The Nine Billion Names of God.” In a few short pages, he described how the monks of a lamasery high in the mountains of Tibet hired a couple of technicians to install a program on their computer. The monks are dedicated to reciting all the names of God, and it is their belief that when all nine billion names have been chanted, the world will end. To accelerate this process, they need a computer program. The technicians install a program, but don’t believe it will work. Fearing the wrath of the monks, they leave in the middle of the night, making their way down the dark mountain trails as . . .

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