Archive - May 1, 2017

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Despite memo, White House says Michelle Obama program unchanged
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JFK at 100
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Trump Abolishes Michelle Obama’s Signature ‘Let Girls Learn’ Programme
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2017 Budget Request for the Peace Corps
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Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala) wins City Council seat in Morgantown, WV
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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 11

Despite memo, White House says Michelle Obama program unchanged

(CNN)Hours after CNN reported on an internal document advising administration employees that former first lady Michelle Obama’s signature education initiative would not be maintained, the White House said the program had not changed. “There have been no changes to the program,” said Kelly Love, a White House spokeswoman, referring to the “Let Girls Learn” initiative, which Obama launched in 2015. “There have been no changes to the Let Girls Learn program. The Administration supports policies and programs to empower adolescent girls, including efforts to educate them through the completion of secondary school.We are committed to empowering women and girls around the world and are continuing to examine the best ways to do so.” The White House’s response came after an internal Trump administration document showed plans to end the “Let Girls Learn” program, which facilitates educational opportunities for adolescent girls in developing countries. “Moving forward, we will not continue to use . . .

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JFK at 100

Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Bill Preston (Thailand 1977-80) On this morning’s Brian Lehrer show, Douglas Brinkley and Stephen Kennedy Smith talked about JFK and their new book, on what would have been his 100th birthday. Among other things, the Peace Corps was mentioned. http://www.wnyc.org/story/jfk-centennial

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Trump Abolishes Michelle Obama’s Signature ‘Let Girls Learn’ Programme

The White House has discontinued Michelle Obama’s signature “Let Girls Learn” initiative, effective immediately. Internal documents obtained by CNN direct Peace Corps employees not to use the “Let Girls Learn” name or branding. While they may continue some “Let Girls Learn” projects, the Peace Corps will no longer maintain a stand-alone “Let Girls Learn” program. The initiative, which focused on educating girls around the world, was run primarily by the Peace Corps and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). A spokesperson from USAID told The Independent the agency is “committed to empowering women and girls around the world” and are “continuing to examine the best ways to do so.” Ms Obama launched the $250 million initiative in 2015 with the aim of using public and private partnerships to fund “new efforts to expand educational opportunities for girls – including in areas of conflict and crisis.” In the two years since its . . .

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Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala) wins City Council seat in Morgantown, WV

Post-Election Statement I am proud of the positive, idea-driven campaign we’ve run. We’ve introduced big and essential ideas: expanding our borders in a fair and comprehensive way in order to increase revenue; fixing our roads and sidewalks; preserving and enhancing our recreational and green spaces; pursuing every grant for which we are eligible; and creating a healthy, prosperous city—the kind of great small city that allows us all the best chance at success. Progress is never easy, and there will be obstacles put in the way of our city’s success. With tonight’s victory, however, I am confident that there is a clear path forward for us to create the dynamic, healthy, and successful city we deserve. —Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93) A Morgantown, WV referendum on Trump. And he lost.    

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 11

In late January 2002, when a group of RPCV (myself included) heard that President Bush had appointed Gaddi H. Vasquez as the next Peace Corps Director, we began a protest against the appointment and rallied support from across the country from other RPCVs as well as former Directors, like Jack Hood Vaughn, a Republican. There were many concerns about Gaddie, beyond the fact that he had had never been a PCV, and the general sentiment was that now in the fullness of time, only a qualified RPCV should be appointed as director of the Peace Corps. There were certainly enough qualified RPCVs for the job. Gaddie’s father had immigrated from Mexico, but Gaddie was born on this side of the border, in Texas. (Gaddie was very proud–and rightly so–of his upbringing and kept a photo of his Dad on his Peace Corps Director Desk.) He talked a lot about how he . . .

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