Archive - February 2018

1
Michael Varga Writes About Life With HIV (Chad)
2
Tom Miller Seeks Writer for Moritz Thomsen Book (Ecuador)
3
Peace Corps: Sunset Positions – An Unstructured Situation
4
Tom Bissell Reviews The Triumph of Christianity (Uzbekistan)
5
PC Sunset Positions
6
Former Peace Corps Official Guilty of Violating Conflict of Interest Law
7
The IT office at the Peace Corps is undergoing a leadership shakeup (DC)
8
Review–The Lost City of the Monkey by Douglas Preston (Honduras)
9
Mark Gearan Appointed to Head IOP at Harvard’s Kennedy School
10
Review — CULTURE MAP by Erin Meyer (Botswana)

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 . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

Peace Corps: Sunset Positions – An Unstructured Situation

Marian Haley Beil  has posted the list of the five pages of the Peace Corps positions which are being sunset.    This information was obtained from FOIA 17-0166, submitted in August 2017 and received on February 9th, 2018.  Here is the background: Peace Corps is caught in a riptide of conflicting directives. It must reduce its staff by 20%; address the “Management Challenges” identified by the OIG; and, continue to place and support serving Volunteers. All of this must be done effectively, efficiently and equitably. The support of the RPCV community is going to be more important than ever. Let us look more closely at each “challenge”, beginning with the 20% staff reduction. In May of 2017, President Trump directed all federal agencies to prepare a plan to reduce staff by 20%. Acting Peace Corps Director RPCV Crowley had each department prepare a list of jobs to be “sunset”.In August of 2017, Crowley announced the survey was complete and tht reduction . . .

Read More

Tom Bissell Reviews The Triumph of Christianity (Uzbekistan)

A little over a week ago,  Denis Nolan (Ethiopia 1964-66), reviewed on this site: Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve written by Tom Bissell (Uzbekistan 1996). This Sunday, February 18th, in the Book Section of The New York Times, Tom reviews the new book by Bart D. Ehrman entitled, The Triumph of Christianity. While Ehrman’s book has received some mixed reviews (check out the WSJ) Tom sums up his lengthy review with this wise comment (and reason alone to read the book) “Reading about how an entire culture’s precepts and traditions can be overthrown without anyone being able to stop it may not be heartening at this particular historical moment. All the more reason to spend time in the company of such a humane, thoughtful and intelligent historian.” A collection of Bissell’s essays entitled, Magic Hours, is being reissued in paperback in March.  

Read More

Former Peace Corps Official Guilty of Violating Conflict of Interest Law

The Peace Corps has just published  the following News Release.  It is important to note that a member of the Peace Corps staff alerted tne Office of General Counsel which led to this conviction. The News Release does not name the NGO.  We will try and find out. Later: POLITICO is reporting that the NGO was Seed Global Health.  Here is the link: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/05/buckingham-charity-lobbying-charge-391975 John Coyne, Peace Corps World Wide has reported on the relationship: Here is  one link: http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/the-peace-corps-in-bed-with-seed-global-health-foundation/ Press Release Peace Corps referral results in successful criminal prosecution The Peace Corps announced that its investigation and referral of a criminal case to the Department of Justice led to the successful prosecution of a former official charged with violating conflict of interest law. Former Peace Corps employee Warren “Buck” Buckingham admitted to violating a criminal conflict of interest law and agreed to pay a $10,000 penalty as part of a deferred . . .

Read More

The IT office at the Peace Corps is undergoing a leadership shakeup (DC)

Peace Corps CIO exits after 3 months By Chase Gunter Feb 15, 2018 The IT office at the Peace Corps is undergoing a leadership shakeup. Rick Endres, who took over as Peace Corps CIO in October, is no longer in the position, an agency spokesperson confirmed. Deputy CIO Scott Knell, who served as the agency’s acting CIO from January through October 2017, is once again acting CIO. The CIO job at the Peace Corps is a career position, not a politically appointed one. The agency’s CIO is charged with managing a global network and infrastructure that includes the D.C. headquarters and overseas posts that support staff and more than 7,400 volunteers worldwide. The Trump administration is requesting $31.2 million for Peace Corps OCIO operations for FY2019, down from $42 million in 2017. The agency’s overall budget request is $396 million. The agency is currently in the midst of a technology . . .

Read More

Review–The Lost City of the Monkey by Douglas Preston (Honduras)

The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston Published by Grand Central Publishing 326 pages January 2017 Kindle $9.49, Hardback $10.81, Paper $9.49 According to the author of The Lost City of the Monkey God, Douglas Preston, two Peace Corps Volunteers were instrumental in discovering an ancient ossuary in the Mosquitia of Honduras, which would turn out to be the most important archaeological find since discovering Copan. In April 1994, Timothy Berg (Honduras 1993-95)  and Greg Cabe (Honduras 1993-95) explored some caves on the Talgua River and, walking in a shallow stream, entered into one of the largest caves where, to their surprise, they ran across a ledge littered with pre-Columbian artifacts and eventually, something strangely elongated and “frosted like sugar candy, covered with glittering crystals of calcite. The discovery of an abandoned metropolis occurred almost eighteen years later in 2012, when the author joined a team of scientists and . . .

Read More

Mark Gearan Appointed to Head IOP at Harvard’s Kennedy School

Mark Gearan, who’s spent much of his career in politics and academia, is the new director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School. Mark, who was Director of the Peace Corps from 1995-99, growing up in Gardner, Mass, and  worked on former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis’s 1988 presidential campaign, and in President Clinton’s White House. Most recently, and for over 18 years, he was President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in upstate New York. “The IOP exposes students to the practical world of politics and public service in order to inspire and help the students enter that world later in their lives,” said Douglas Elmendorf, Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School. “Our students will benefit greatly from Mark’s deep knowledge of both public service and higher education.” “I am honored to serve as the next director of the Institute of Politics.  The mission to inspire and prepare Harvard . . .

Read More

Review — CULTURE MAP by Erin Meyer (Botswana)

  The Culture Map: Breaking Through The Invisible Boundaries of Global Business by Erin Meyer (Botswana 1993-95) Public Affairs Books 288 pages 2014 $26.99 (hardcover), $10.98 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Laurette Bennhold-Samaan (PC/HQ 1994-01) • The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Globe Business, is beneficial even for a 30+ year seasoned interculturalist as myself having lived and worked globally with multiple nationalities. I was born in Egypt to an Egyptian father and an American mother of Armenian origin.While Erin Meyer, the author, “was not born into a multicultural family to parents who took her around the world,” she and I share much in common—a former professor, interculturalist, Peace Corps experience and most importantly the love and understanding of the impact culture has on shaping us as individuals and our personalities. I can personally relate to almost every one of Erin’s illustrative examples. The Culture Map provides us with a smart, . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2016. Peace Corps Worldwide.