Archive - May 2017

1
Peace Corps Writers Awards Nominations for 2016
2
Fox News fires RPCV Bob Beckel (Philippines)
3
Mike McCone takes on the U.S. Ambassador in Malawi
4
Mike McCone, early Peace Corps CD, dies in California
5
Phoenix Rising & Reading!
6
F.F. Quigley (Thailand) seeks a way to raise the numbers at Marlboro College
7
The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 12
8
How we can solve the HEALTH ISSUES for RPCVs
9
“America’s Deaf Team Tackles Identity Politics at Gallaudet University” by Matthew Davis (Mongolia)
10
“That Day”: A poem by Ada Jo Mann (Chad)

Peace Corps Writers Awards Nominations for 2016

Peace Corps Writers Book Awards Nominations are now being accepted by Peace Corps Writers for its awards for best books published during 2016 and written by PCVs, RPCVs, and Peace Corps staff. Do you have a favorite to nominate? Or did you write a book that you would like to have considered? Please recommend your candidates for the following categories: Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award Maria Thomas Fiction Award The Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award (for best memoir on the Peace Corps experience) Award for Best Poetry Book Award for Best Travel Writing Award for Best Children’s Book Award for Best Book of Photography Read MORE ABOUT OUR AWARDS. Send in your nominations by June 30, 2017 to: jcoyneone@gmail.com  

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Fox News fires RPCV Bob Beckel (Philippines)

Fox News this Friday announced that it had fired “The Five” co-host Bob Beckel (Philippines 1971-72) for a remark he made to an employee of color. “Bob Beckel was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee,” a network spokesperson said in a short statement. Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen, lawyers handling a growing racial discrimination lawsuit filed by current and former Fox employees, said in a joint statement that Beckel told one of their clients, a black IT worker, that he was leaving the office while the employee serviced his computer because the employee is black. When the IT worker filed a complaint, Beckel attempted to intimidate him to withdraw it, Wigdor and Christensen said. “As with our other 22 clients, we intend on holding 21st Century Fox accountable for these actions and will be filing multiple other complaints in other matters next week,” Wigdor and . . .

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Mike McCone takes on the U.S. Ambassador in Malawi

  WHEN MIKE MCCONE arrived in Malawi as the new Peace Corps Director in August of 1965 he met PCV Paul Theroux who was teaching in Blantyre at the teacher’s college, Mike told me when I interviewed him for an article I wrote about Theroux for the January 1998 issue of RPCV Writers & Readers.  Theroux asked for McCone’s permission to resume publishing the Volunteer newsletter, The Migraine, which the previous director had banned because the first issue had an editorial by Paul critical of U.S. policy on South Africa. McCone told Paul he could publish the newsletter. Theroux put together the next issue of The Migraine which was full of prose and poetry, facts and fiction, plus opinion pieces. In this issue, Paul had a two-paragraph editorial critical of U.S. policy in Vietnam. As a routine matter, McCone sent a copy to the U.S. Embassy in Blantyre. Two weeks later, when he was on . . .

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Mike McCone, early Peace Corps CD, dies in California

  Mike McCone, executive director of the California Historical Society during crucial years that were to determine its survival and later board chair at Heyday Books in Berkeley, died May 9 after a sudden onset of leukemia. McCone’s death was confirmed by his companion of 20 years, Charlene Harvey. Mike was 83 and had been living in an assisted living facility in San Francisco. Among the institutions for which he worked during his nonprofit management career, besides the historical society, were the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Grace Cathedral. Mike McCone was one of those famous Mad Men of the early Peace Corps days, but unlike the Washington types, Mike cut his teeth in the agency overseas. He worked on the staff as a deputy in Sierra Leone, and then director in Malawi, Malaysia, Sarawak and back in Washington. He was with the Peace Corps from 1961 to 1967. . . .

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Phoenix Rising & Reading!

    Last week in Phoenix there was a “double reading” and an evening of enjoying host country food. Mike Walker (Guatemala 1971-73), who has just published his memoir Different Latitudes with Peace Corps Writers and Mike Stake (India 1966-68), author of Ripples in the Pond — also published by Peace Corps Writers, read from their books, and then invited guests — RPCVs from Moldova, Liberia, Samoa, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela — to share their Peace Corps tales. Of the evening of readings, storytelling, and wonderful home-cooked food, Mark wrote, “My Guatemalan wife, Ligia, brought Guatemalan goodies like black beans and Rosa de Jamaica (hibiscus juice) and Mike and his wife brought Indian delicacies. It made for quite an international exchange. I felt that this is what sharing our books and appreciation of different cultures is all about.” The next such event in downtown Phoenix is on May 25th at the Pomelo Restaurant, hosted by . . .

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F.F. Quigley (Thailand) seeks a way to raise the numbers at Marlboro College

Kevin Quigley (Thailand 1976-79 & CD Thailand 2013-15 plus the former head of the NPCA) has a new problem as the president of Marlboro College, in Vermont. A recent study by the National Association of College and University Business Officers is showing that tuition discounting at private colleges and universities is straining colleges and their enrollment is still weak. Colleges are now worried about the sustainability of their tuition discounting strategies. “We offer an incredibly generous financial aid package, and someone else increases it by $10,000 or $15,000,” Kevin is quoted in an interview with Inside Higher Education. “We talk to the students or parents and they say, ‘We love Marlboro, we love what you do there, but they just sweetened the pot by $10,000 or $15,000.’ What can you do about it?” Marlboro is in many ways an extreme example of the pressures placed on small colleges. It enrolls . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 12

When Gaddi Vasquez left the agency on September 7, 2006, he was replaced quickly by another Republican, Ron Tschetter, on September 26. Ron was an RPCV, having served in India with his wife from 1966-68. Ron was from Wisconsin, had a career in finance, and after the Peace Corps would move to Florida and retirement. At the agency, I’m told, he focused his attention on getting older Volunteers. (I will forgive him from changed the name I had given my idea, “Crisis Corps” to “Response Corps.”) Ron would be Director until January 16, 2009. During his tenure, the attrition rate increased to 35%, the highest since the first Gulf War. But there were positive movements with the Peace Corps for Ron. In the fall of 2007, 59% of all Volunteers were women. (In the 1960s, 65% of all PCVs were men.) Ethnic minority Volunteers jumped to 17%. Unfortunately, he would not . . .

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How we can solve the HEALTH ISSUES for RPCVs

The combined efforts of sick and/or injured RPCVs, Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers, and the NPCA continue to collaborate and to advocate for improving access to appropriate medical services, care, and treatment for RPCVs who return from service sick and/or injured. Nancy Tongue (Chile 1980-82) is the Director of Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers after having formed the organization due to her continued challenges accessing medical services, care, and treatment. She has recently been joined by Sara Thompson (Burkina Faso 2010-12), to further advocate for improving access to resources for the health, safety, and security of Volunteers in the field and upon returning sick and/or injured. Casey Frazee (South Africa 2009) has also been working to improve Peace Corps and response to victims of sexual assault after having been the survivor of sexual assault while serving in Southern Africa. She organized First Response Action to raise awareness about access to rights and resources . . .

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“America’s Deaf Team Tackles Identity Politics at Gallaudet University” by Matthew Davis (Mongolia)

  Matthew Davis Mongolia 2000–02) writes . . . IN ORDER TO SURVIVE, Gallaudet University has to blend a diverse student body from very different backgrounds: Deaf Culture and Hearing Culture. Can football players show the school how?   The homecoming game falls on a brilliant, unseasonably warm Saturday afternoon in late October 2016. The sun streams through the multicolored leaves of oak trees and dapples thousands of alumni and fans in patches of light and shade. Pop-up booths have been erected behind the football stadium: The Class of 2019 is selling crepes; the Class of 1992 is selling T-shirts; writers for the student newspaper, The Buff and Blue, are hawking the latest issue. Little kids terrorize the person dressed as the school mascot, a bison, by pulling his tail and then squealing in delight. The smells of fraternities grilling cheeseburgers waft through the air. Previous classes gather in anticipation of their march around . . .

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“That Day”: A poem by Ada Jo Mann (Chad)

  That Day By Ada Jo Mann (Chad 1967–69) It seemed like just an ordinary day Safe in bed next to my husband as we lay under the Peace Corps issued mosquito net, listening to the lulling sounds of millet pounded rhythmically each day in the time-tested  traditional way. Soon our cook would arrive and begin rattling pots and pans in the  room we called the kitchen I heard the children running fast to school fearing the grass whip’s unfriendly sting, if they were late and made to play the fool because they failed to hear the school bell ring. I rolled out from beneath the gauzy net making sure to check for creatures hiding in my well worn  LL Bean slipper set before padding off to what looked like a well-equipped bathroom, but was powered by gravity from a rain barrel on the roof. Delicious anticipation of an upcoming trip . . .

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