Archive - June 2018

1
Review — OUR WOMAN IN HAVANA by Vicki Huddleston (Peru)
2
A Partial List of RPCV Ambassadors–7/3/2018
3
RPCV Jennifer Mamola’s Health Struggles (Uganda)
4
Part Six–First RPCV Ambassador: Parker Borg
5
Richard Sayette (Russian Far East) publishes THE VODKA DIARIES
6
Part Five–RPCV Ambassadors: Women in the State Department
7
The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience Expands
8
Part Four –RPCV Ambassadors: Has the Peace Corps changed?
9
Part Two — RPCV Ambassadors talk about passing the Foreign Service Examination
10
RPCV Ambassadors: Not Pale, Male, and Yale

Review — OUR WOMAN IN HAVANA by Vicki Huddleston (Peru)

  Our Woman in Havana A Diplomat’s Chronicle of America’s Long Struggle With Castro’s Cuba BY Ambassador Vicki Huddleston (Peru 1964–66) The Overlook Press 304pages $29.95 Reviewed by Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru, 1962–64) • The title of Ambassador Vicki Huddleston’s memoir, Our Woman in Havana, is a riff on Graham Greene’s novel, Our Man in Havana, published in 1958. In the novel, Graham sardonically takes on British intelligence, especially M16 and its use of Cuban informants. Ambassador Huddleston, by contrast, has written a forthright memoir covering the years 1999-2002 when she worked as Chief of the US Interests Section in Havana.  As backstory to those years, she provides an interesting narrative of the historical events leading to early US attempts to dominate Cuba and shape its future.  In a brief epilogue, she brings us up to the year 2017 when hopes for a continuing Cuban Spring were jeopardized with Donald . . .

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A Partial List of RPCV Ambassadors–7/3/2018

LATEST LIST OF RPCV AMBASSADORS—7/3/2018 Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, U.S. Ambassador to Malta (2012-16); (PCV Oman 1980-82) Charles C. Adams Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Finland (2015); (PCV Kenya 1968-70) Frank Almaguer, U. S. Ambassador to Honduras (1999 to 2002) ; (PCV Belize 1967–69) & (PC/CD Honduras 1976-79) Michael R. Arietti, U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda (2005-2008); (PCV India 1969-71) Charles R. Baquet III, U.S. Ambassador to Republic of Djibouti (1991-94); (PCV Somalia 1965-67) Robert Blackwill, U. S. Ambassador to India (2001-03); (PCV Malawi 1964-66) Julia Chang Bloch, U.S. Ambassador to Nepal (1989-1993); (PCV Malaysia 1964-66) Parker Borg, U.S. Ambassador to Mail (1981-1984) & Iceland (1993-1996); (PCV Philippines 1961-63) Richard Boucher, Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2009-2013), (PCV Senegal 1973–75) Peter Burleigh, U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka (1995-1997); (PCV Nepal 1963-65) Katherine Hubay Canavan (formerly Peterson), U.S. Ambassador to Botswana (2005-2008); (PCV Zaire 1973-76) Johnnie Carson, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya (1999-2003) & Zimbabwe (1995-97) . . .

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RPCV Jennifer Mamola’s Health Struggles (Uganda)

  Jennifer Mamola, an advocate for HJPCV and RPCV from Uganda 2012-2013, shares her story about mental and physical health struggles and solutions during and after Peace Corps. • My Health Struggles by Jennifer Mamola (Uganda 2012–13) 23 June 2018   Flexibility, one might argue, is a key quality for Peace Corps Volunteers. It starts with the application process, continues with packing up your life to leave for service, sees you through your first bout of illness, and follows you on your return home. We rightly value this trait. However, Volunteers shouldn’t be pressured to flex on our health. As a Volunteer and public servant, I want to believe that I’m an iron woman. However, I admit that I experienced mental health struggles during Peace Corps service. Later, I also experienced severe physical health issues. April 2018 was a significant month for me. It marked five years since I lost . . .

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Part Six–First RPCV Ambassador: Parker Borg

Parker Borg was a PCV with the initial group of Volunteers to the Philippines, 1961-63. While not from Yale, but Dartmouth, Class of ’61, Parker was nevertheless “pale and male.” What made him rare in the State Department was that he was an RPCV. He would be nominated by three separate Presidents for Ambassadorial positions: Mali, Burma, and Iceland, but never went to Burma because of Senate objection to Burma’s human rights problems. When first nominated to go to Mali in 1981, the Peace Corps Director, Loret Ruppe, was thrilled by the news. Finally, the State Department would have an RPCV Ambassador. It had taken the State Department twenty years to fulfill JFK’s hope for the Peace Corps, that someday RPCVs would fill the ranks of U.S. Ambassadors. (We all know how slow the government bureaucracy is. Peter McPherson (Peru 1965-66) was named the Director of AID also in 1981, making . . .

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Richard Sayette (Russian Far East) publishes THE VODKA DIARIES

• The Vodka Diaries is my account of living and working in the Russian Far East as a Peace Corps Volunteer during the tumultuous, post Glasnost years of 1994 and 1995. It was a period in which people watched in shock as the economy collapsed under the weight of hyperinflation, and lawlessness eroded any sense of personal security. I had joined the Peace Corps for two reasons. The first was that I wanted to make a difference in the world and the second was that I wanted one last adventure prior to entering  a career in corporate America. My inspiration stemmed from an NPR segment in which a recently returned Peace Corps Volunteer discussed serving in Moscow as a Business Volunteer. She had been assigned to a team that created and managed the Moscow Stock Exchange. She exuberantly explained how she was able to contribute and make an immediate impact . . .

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Part Five–RPCV Ambassadors: Women in the State Department

JFK’s call to the Peace Corps men and women “from every race and walk of life.” One woman who responded was Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where her mother was a secretary and her father an attorney, and where she had developed an international interest early. In her public high school, Hebrew was offered because of the large local Jewish population, so she decided to study the language. This interest led to participation in an international exchange program in Israel (1978-1979), while she was still in college. “I was too young to hear the President Kennedy’s speech, but as a young child I saw the commercials of young American men and women working in far off places training the trainer. The people in the commercials came in a variety of ethnicities and it was easy to imagine some of the Africans might even be African Americans helping others. The work . . .

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The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience Expands

RPCVs of the Columbia River Peace Corps Association in Portland, Oregon, began developing the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience many years ago. As with so many Peace Corps endeavors, it began as an idea and with persistence and hard work, it grew.  The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience is not an official project of the Peace Corps.  It is now, however, an affiliate member of the National Peace Corps Association and it is growing.  The Museum, initially, focused on presenting exhibits.  Now, it hopes to have a brick and motor place to welcome the public all the time.  Please click on their new website to learn more about the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience and donate, contribute and support this incredibly important project.  See the video of RPCV Pat Wand speaking at the 2018 Shriver Leadership Summit Here is the link and the Introduction from the webpage:https://www.museumofthepeacecorpsexperience.org/cpages/home . . .

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Part Four –RPCV Ambassadors: Has the Peace Corps changed?

From the advantage point of their Foreign Service, and their role as Ambassadors, these RPCVs have noticed how the Peace Corps has changed over the years. At one time the Peace Corps was an organization that prided itself on sending Volunteers to parts of the world where no one else in the U.S. would go. No longer. The new rules circumscribe the ability of Volunteers to serve anywhere there is a hint of danger. Today’s Peace Corps, says these Ambassadors, is increasingly risk averse. One Ambassador had a daughter serving in China. She was issued a cell phone so that she could call the office regularly, and risked termination if she didn’t. As he said, “This completely changes the nature of the Peace Corps Volunteer experience, and makes a Volunteer service less meaningful. It becomes like any other job. The slogan I used to think really encapsulated the PC experience, . . .

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Part Two — RPCV Ambassadors talk about passing the Foreign Service Examination

  Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley Ambassador to Malta (2012-16); (PCV Oman 1980-82)   The majority of the RPCV Ambassadors interviewed for this article said the Foreign Service was not something that they had considered before they saw the State Department in action during their Peace Corps service. But there were exceptions. Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-–Winstanley, who was in the Peace Corps in Oman (1980-82), did decide on diplomat service as a PCV when she had the opportunity to meet and make friends with some of the younger diplomats and heard firsthand about their work while she was still a Volunteer. That led directly to her taking the exam. • Ambassador Thomas N. Hull Ambassador to Sierra Leone (2004-2007); (PCV Sierra Leone 1968-70) Thomas N. Hull, Ambassador to Sierra Leone (2004-2007), a PCV in Sierra Leone (1968-70), said that reading The Ugly American got him interested in the Foreign Service. “More than JFK’s appeal . . .

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RPCV Ambassadors: Not Pale, Male, and Yale

  One of JFK’s most famous speeches was given in the old Cow Palace Auditorium in San Francisco, on November 2, 1960, six days before the presidential election. It was Kennedy’s last major address before the election. It was a speech of six single-spaced pages, less than 3000 words. Written by Ted Sorenson and JFK it was entitled, “Staffing A Foreign Policy For Peace.” In it Kennedy proposed a new government agency, “The Peace Corps” using that name for the very first time. And with the “Peace Corps” Kennedy  envisioned a way to change America’s diplomatic service. Kennedy began by demonstrating how ill-equipped our foreign service was, pointing out that the Lenin Institute for Political Warfare exported, each year, hundreds of agents to disrupt free institutions in the uncommitted world. Kennedy said, “A friend of mine visiting the Soviet Union last year met a young Russian couple studying Swahili and African . . .

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