Archive - February 2018

1
Jody Olsen’s testimony in her confirmation hearing before the US Congress Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
2
Review — SPECTATORS by Rob Davidson (Grenada)
3
Great Job Working for International NGO
4
“A Friendship Thrives, With a Sack of Rice” by Nathaniel Spiller (Senegal)
5
Peace Corps announces 2018 top Volunteer-producing schools
6
Jody Olsen Takes The Stand (Again)–Congressional Confirmation Hearing
7
Ashley Bell, “In, Up and Out” in Trump’s Fast Turn Over Peace Corps Administration
8
The Peace Corps Experience: Creating Global Citizens–Chicago Humanities Festival
9
Michael Varga Writes About Life With HIV (Chad)
10
Tom Miller seeks writer for Moritz Thomsen book (Ecuador)

Jody Olsen’s testimony in her confirmation hearing before the US Congress Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Statement for the Record Dr. Josephine (Jody) K. Olsen Nominee for Peace Corps Director Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee February 27, 2018 2:30 p.m.  Chairman Young, Ranking Member Merkley, and other distinguished Members of the Committee; it is an honor and a privilege to appear before you today as the President’s nominee to lead the Peace Corps. I am grateful to President Trump for his trust and confidence. I am also grateful to all those who helped me prepare for today. I also want to recognize my daughter, son-in-law, and brother, who are here, and family who are watching live. I vividly remember standing in a classroom before 40 students at the Lycée de Garçon de Sousse on my first day as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia. I was 22 years old, nervous, and had no idea what my first words would be. In Arabic, French or English. . . .

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Review — SPECTATORS by Rob Davidson (Grenada)

  Spectators (Flash Fiction) by Rob Davidson (Eastern Caribbean—Grenada, West Indies 1990-92) Five Oaks Press May 2016 56 pages $15.79 (paperback) Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson •   This is a slender volume of only 56 pages, but, unlike a novel of similar length, it should not be a quick read. These essays deserve re-reading and study. Ultimately this book is about the compulsion to write or engage in other artistic endeavor, the need to give meaning to life by expressing oneself.  For that which one cannot help but do becomes that which one must do. (from “Clean Pilgrim,” p. 7) Author Rob Davidson teaches creative writing. Spectators teaches writing and creative arts by example. Aspiring writers should read and re-read this collection of essays as they write their own essays, poems and chapters. Davidson’s essays are free verse poems, focusing on meaning rather than meter and rhyme, or portraits executed . . .

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“A Friendship Thrives, With a Sack of Rice” by Nathaniel Spiller (Senegal)

  A Friendship Thrives, With a Sack of Rice by Nathaniel Spiller (Senegal 1970-72) © 2008, The Washington Post/ reprinted with permission • Night falls quickly in Africa. Under a half-moon and partly cloudy sky, a single kerosene lantern silhouetted the contestants against the blackened backdrop. A boom box hooked up to a car battery played traditional Serer music, accompanied by drummers on plastic barrels. Thanks to word of mouth, and probably a few of the cellphones that are increasingly common in the bush, the Keur Waly N’Diaye wrestling tournament was about to begin in earnest. On a day’s notice, several hundred people and maybe two dozen wrestlers from surrounding villages had arrived on foot or by cart and assembled in the open area between the hut-size mosque and general store. Bedecked with amulets and the occasional body paint, the young male hopefuls, all in their late teens or 20s, flexed . . .

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Peace Corps announces 2018 top Volunteer-producing schools

  Peace Corps Announces 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Schools   Press Release February 21, 2018   For the second straight year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Washington, and the University of Minnesota hold the top three spots respectively on the Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill ascends to No. 4 this year, while the University of Florida holds steady at No. 5. There are 85 Badgers serving in the Peace Corps, bringing the all-time count of volunteers from the University of Wisconsin to 3,279. Wisconsin has appeared in the top 5 of the Peace Corps’ rankings for the past three years. Making big jumps on this year’s large college list, the University of Texas moved from No. 25 to No. 8 and the University of Virginia moved from No. 15 to No. 6. The Texas Longhorns have 61 currently serving Peace . . .

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Jody Olsen Takes The Stand (Again)–Congressional Confirmation Hearing

Things on the Hill are often subject to change: Date:  February, 27, 2018 Place:  Dirkson Senate Office Bldg:  Room 418 Time:  2:30 p.m.  (Suggest arrival 30 minutes before) Length of hearing:  35 – 45 minutes URL to watch on computer: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/nominations-021518  Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Tino Calabia (Peru 1963-65)

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Ashley Bell, “In, Up and Out” in Trump’s Fast Turn Over Peace Corps Administration

Ashley Bell, now an Associate Director of the Peace Corps, has been appointed regional director for the Small Business Administration in the Southeast. Bell, a lawyer and former member of the Hall County Board of Commissioners, has held several positions in the Trump administration — most recently as an Associate Director of the Peace Corps. He got in early with President Donald Trump’s campaign and Republican forces in the general election. “I’m a Day One guy for the administration,” Bell told The Times in a call from Atlanta on Tuesday. Bell worked in communications for the Republican National Committee during President Donald Trump’s campaign, and after Trump’s election Bell worked in communications for the State Department transition team before moving to the Peace Corps to work in external relations with other agencies, the public and Congress. Bell’s brief career at the agency Washington, D.C., July 7, 2017 — The White House has appointed . . .

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The Peace Corps Experience: Creating Global Citizens–Chicago Humanities Festival

I happen to ask  myself what has ever happened on February 21st with the Peace Corps and typed into Google the date and guess what popped up on my computer screen–February 21, 2014, Chicago, Illinois.    

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Michael Varga Writes About Life With HIV (Chad)

Michael Varga is a retired diplomat.  He served as a TEFL Teacher in the Peace Corps in Chad (1977-79).  As a Foreign Service Officer, he served primarily in hotspots in the Middle East for the U.S. State Department.  His assignments included the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Morocco, and Canada.  He worked in Washington, D.C. in the Economic bureau and as the desk officer for Lebanon when the last American hostages were released in the 1990s. He was also a Pearson Fellow at the World Trade Center Miami.  He holds a Master’s degree in Development Economics from the University of Notre Dame.  Michael is also an author.  His novel, Under Chad’s Spell, a fictionalized account based on his service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chad, Africa, is available on Amazon.com.  His essay, “Diplomatic Detours,” published in the March/April issue of Plus Magazine, details his life as a long-term survivor with HIV.  You can access the essay through . . .

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Tom Miller seeks writer for Moritz Thomsen book (Ecuador)

Tom Miller has been writing about Latin America and the American Southwest for more than thirty years. Miller’s highly acclaimed adventure books include The Panama Hat Trail about South America, On the Border, an account of his travels along the U.S.-Mexico frontier, Trading With the Enemy, which takes readers on his journeys through Cuba, and, about the American Southwest, Revenge of the Saguaro. Additionally, he has edited three compilations, How I Learned English, Travelers’ Tales Cuba, and Writing on the Edge: A Borderlands Reader. Miller, a veteran of the underground press of the 1960s, was subpoenaed by the Nixon Justice Department to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the anti-war movement. Miller refused to even enter the grand jury room, claiming that to appear behind closed doors would affect his ability to gather news. After considerable legal maneuvering on both sides a US District Court judge ruled in Miller’s favor. Miller was born and raised . . .

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