Archive - November 2015

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Talking with Dr. Molly Geidel about her Provocative Cultural History of the 1960s' Peace Corps
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From Daily Beast: Whistleblower: Peace Corps Ignored and Then Blamed Sexual Assault Victims
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Review — PEACE CORPS FANTASIES by Molly Geidel
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CBS This Morning Set to "Hammer" the Peace Corps
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Sexual Assault Issues with Peace Corps to be aired on CBS This Morning
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Peace Corps Mali Program Temporarily Suspended
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Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) in Front of the Camera
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Shriver Scholarships Available
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Review in WSJ of Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone 1964-66) Exhibition at Morgan Library
10
Novelist David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963-65) Wins Two Book Awards

Talking with Dr. Molly Geidel about her Provocative Cultural History of the 1960s' Peace Corps

Several weeks ago I was reading The New York Review of Books and spotted a full page advertisement for new books published by the University of Minnesota Press. Glancing at the page one title jumped out at me. Contacting the press for a review copy of the book, I also sought out (and found) Molly Geidel in England where she is teaching American studies at the University of Manchester. Her official title is Lecturer in Twentieth Century American Cultural History in the Division of English, American Studies and Creative Writing. I am pleased to say, Molly agreed to be interviewed for our site and over the course of a few weeks, while I read her cultural history of the agency, I emailed  Molly a series of questions about her book and her study of the Peace Corps in the 1960s. I should start by saying that Dr. Geidel in her . . .

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From Daily Beast: Whistleblower: Peace Corps Ignored and Then Blamed Sexual Assault Victims

Whistleblower: Peace Corps Ignored and Then Blamed Sexual Assault Victims Peace Corps volunteers dedicate two years to serving others, but if they are sexually assaulted, one inside advocate says, they are blamed, shamed, and face removal from the program. And we have the emails to prove it. Internal Peace Corps documents and emails obtained by The Daily Beast from Congress indicate an appalling culture within the agency: where sexual assault victims stationed abroad on behalf of America are blamed; assailants are allegedly permitted to walk free without consequence; and the organization fails to fully support the Americans it posts abroad. Following the sexual assault of a Peace Corps volunteer in 2014, Peace Corps clinical psychologist Dr. Kris Morris issued behind-the-scenes “guidelines.” The message: Volunteers who continue to need help following a sexual assault are not Peace Corps material. “Demonstration of a need for ongoing therapy is an indication that she . . .

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Review — PEACE CORPS FANTASIES by Molly Geidel

PEACE CORPS FANTASIES: How Development Shaped the Global Sixties by Molly Geidel University of Minnesota Press, $30.00 320 pages 2015 Reviewed by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965-67) Please note the subtitle, herein: How Development Shaped the Global Sixties. This book is not a saga of the Peace Corps, but rather the conception and incubation of a plan to offer opportunities where none were available christened, “community development” (a fairly lame term I always thought). It is centered in the 1950s, an era that began in1950 but lasted till around1964, when men were men and women were having nervous breakdowns (treated with submersion in ice water, electric shock and lobotomies). Then 1965, accompanied by the Titan II rocket usher, broke open portal, and suddenly, Cassius Clay is Muhammed Ali; the Second Vatican Council turns altars around; Gloria Steinem dons a bunny suit to give an insider’s account of the casual acceptance . . .

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CBS This Morning Set to "Hammer" the Peace Corps

The agency was notified this last Wednesday afternoon about an upcoming broadcast tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning sometime between 7 am and 9 am EST.  The topic is sexual assaults on PCVs. The general feeling within in the agency–based on questions asked–is that the segment will focus on what has gone wrong overseas and CBS will not balance its reporting with the positive changed that have taken place for women since the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 took effect. The reporting will also focus on the failures of  some CDs in country to protect their Volunteers. Whether the CBS Morning segment will have the ‘staying power’ of the 20/20 report remains to be seen.   For a good  overview of how the agency is doing read the Peace Corps Performance and Accountability Report FY2015. It has just been published. The link:http://files.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/policies/annrept2015.pdf Meanwhile, applications to join the Peace Corps are at . . .

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Sexual Assault Issues with Peace Corps to be aired on CBS This Morning

Health Justice for Volunteers Founder, Nancy Tongue send out this notice: “The journalist who has been working on the sexual assault issues has notified us that her piece is going live on Monday on CBS This Morning, the national broadcast, sometime between 7 and 9am ET on Monday.” From the information that Nancy Tongue mailed, my understanding is that the focus will be on Peace Corps’s implementation of The Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011. For a good  overview, read the Peace Corps Performance and Accountability Report FY2015. It has just been published. Here is the link: http://files.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/policies/annrept2015.pdf The last section is by the is the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).  The OIG reviews its previous recommendations to Peace Corps management  and the current status of those recommendations. One ongoing concern of the OIG has been the training of overseas staff, particularly in regard to the law and sexual . . .

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Peace Corps Mali Program Temporarily Suspended

Peace Corps has issued the following press announcement: WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 27, 2015 – The Peace Corps today announced the temporary suspension of its program in Mali due to escalating security concerns. All Peace Corps volunteers are in the process of departing the country and the agency will continue to monitor the security environment in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Bamako to determine if and when volunteers can return. The Peace Corps has enjoyed a long partnership with the government and people of Mali and is committed to continuing volunteers’ work there in a safe and secure environment. Volunteers’ health, safety and security are the Peace Corps’ top priorities. There were 35 volunteers in Mali working with their communities on projects in community economic development and health. More than 2,645 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Mali since the program was established in 1971.http://www.peacecorps.gov/media/forpress/press/2612/

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Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) in Front of the Camera

Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) author of half a dozen books (the last is entitled My Life as a Pencil) and for 22 years a writer at People Magazine retired a year or so ago to Hermosa Beach, California and gave up (at least full time) his writing career and began to throw pots. It’s a true story. Ron is finding his new occupation satisfying as well as fun. Recently cinematographer Matt Hanlon of www.wearethreaded.com did 3 hours of videos and produced 5 minutes of Ron at work as a potter. He also relates how Ron made the transition from print to clay. Take a look: https://vimeo.com/146351224

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Shriver Scholarships Available

The following announcement was posted in the CRPCVA weekly newsletter.  The Columbia River Peace Corps Association is a very active group.  They present a museum display of the Peace Corps Experience around the Portland area. The formatting is copied from the newsletter.  Here is the link to their webpage: http://www.crpca.org The link in the announcement should be a copy and paste if reading it here.  Many  of us may beyond Graduate School, but what a great way to honor Shriver and a wonderful opportunity to pass along. Graduate Fellowship Opportunity with
Shriver Pieceworker Fellows Program Hello RPCV’s! I am writing you from the Shriver Peaceworker Fellows Program in Baltimore, MD.  Peaceworker is a competitive graduate fellowship program exclusively for RPCVs, and our current recruitment season is open and accepting applications. Fellows complete fully funded masters degrees in any discipline while serving 20 hours per week with a nonprofit or government partner . . .

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Review in WSJ of Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone 1964-66) Exhibition at Morgan Library

The Wall Street Journal on November 24, 2015, had a review of Martin Puryear‘s : Multiple Dimensions show at The Morgan Library & Museum. Reviewer Lance Esplund writes “The 74-year-old American sculptor Martin Puryearis a consummate craftsman. As a skilled young wood-worker, he made furniture, guitars and canoes. And from an early age, he has been interested in the natural sciences and once considered becoming a wildlife illustrator.” In the Peace Corps (Sierra Leone 1964-66) , he taught  biology, French, English, and art at the secondary school level in a rural Sierra Leone. The village carpenters who made furniture for his classroom impressed him with the level of their craftsmanship. While he studied biology at Catholic University, he took painting classes in his junior year and continued his adolescent interest in nature by making detailed drawings of birds and insects. After the Peace Corps he went to Stockholm and entered . . .

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Novelist David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963-65) Wins Two Book Awards

Lily of Peru published by Peace Corps Writers books and written by David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963-65) recently won two awards. It was selected in second place in the category of Latino Theme Movie by Non-Latino Author. These awards are sponsored by Latino Literacy Now and were presented in 16 key categories during the 2015 Los Angeles Latino Book & Family Festival. Copies of all winning books will be presented to key television networks and movie studios. The novel also won the silver in the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award-Silver in the category of Thriller/Terrorist. Readers’ Favorite has become the fastest growing book review and award contest site on the Internet. More than 300 authors and guests attended the awards ceremony in Miami this year.

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