Author - John Coyne

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What our children show us — and the world
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Review: HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND AVOID SACRED COWS by David Macaray (India)
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Bike Trip to Massawa and the Red Sea
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Why preserve the Peace Corps?
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Remember this Peace Corps poster?
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Review: MAIL FROM KYRGYZSTAN by Michael Licwinko (Kyrgyzstan)
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Peace Corps staging in Philly
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Writer Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala) turns political
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Peace Corps writers at AWP Conference
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Carrie Hessler-Radelet named President & CEO of Project Concern International

What our children show us — and the world

   Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Jackie Dinneen recently the White House Liaison and also Director of Gifts and Grants Management at the Peace Corps. — JC Note What Our Children Show Us — and the World COMMENTARY From RealClearPolitics By Mark Salter, RCP Contributor February 22, 2017 • Our daughter accepted an assignment as a Peace Corps volunteer yesterday. I’ll leave out the particulars of the job except to note she will be living on the other side of the world in a remote location without electricity or plumbing, and she won’t be home for two years and two months. Her mother and father are experiencing equal measures of pride and dread, and suffering what you might call anticipatory separation anxiety. She won’t leave for several months yet, but I already find myself looking at her picture several times a day. We are going to miss and worry about her constantly. In . . .

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Review: HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND AVOID SACRED COWS by David Macaray (India)

    How to Win Friends & Avoid Sacred Cows: Weird Adventures in India: Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims When the Peace Corps was New by David Macaray (India 1967-68) The Ardent Writer Press (Brownsboro, Alabama) December 2016 291 pages $29.95 (hardcover), $19.95 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Kitty Thuermer (PCV/Mali 1977-79) • Every Peace Corps Volunteer has a near-death story. For David Macaray, supplementing his diet of curry and rice with a ball of opium did the trick. But not to worry. Had he died, he wrote, “Our mothers and fathers would have received the obligatory telegram from the State Department: ‘Dear Parent: [stop] Your son ate opium, passed out, and set house on fire. [stop] He is deceased. [stop] Details to follow.” Fifty years later, one wonders if Macaray, in a fit of nostalgia, ingested a bit of opium while organizing this sometimes heartbreaking, but mostly hilarious, book. Because it’s not really . . .

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Bike Trip to Massawa and the Red Sea

My first trip to Massawa, Eritrea, was by bike. In January of 1963, our first group of PCVs to Ethiopia, some 280 + of us, assembled for a conference in Asmara. On Friday, January 11th, between our workshops, four of us: Tim Bodman, Charles Michener, Ernie Fox, and myself, decide to rent bikes for the six hours ride down the mountains, into the Danakil desert, and to the Red Sea. Starting before sunrise we peddled five miles to the edge of the mountains. At that level, we were above the clouds that enclose the valleys and encased the rugged mountains pikes and lay perfectly still, billows of white and gray, with the red sun coming up out of them like a sore thumb. It was cold when we pushed off down the mountain and for a while we were bothered with the wind that froze our fingers to the hand . . .

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Why preserve the Peace Corps?

A good friend recently asked me: “Why preserve the Peace Corps when no one cares or has even heard about it?” In this new administration where there is talk of cutting government departments and programs, many RPCVs are concerned about what will happen to the agency. Once before, under the Nixon Administration, the agency was cut and smothered into ACTION before being rescued by President Carter and returned to its lawful place as a separate agency. I want to write an article about why the Peace Corps is valuable to Americans and the world. I was hoping you might have specific examples to send me and give me permission to quote your name and years and country of service. Send your reply to: jcoyneone@gmail.com Here are some topics I’ve thought about, and you may have other issues and ideas to contribute. Thank you for your help.  Tell me your story. Most . . .

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Remember this Peace Corps poster?

Do you remember this painting by Peter Max Peter Max drew this Peace Corps poster, to the best of my memory, in the late ‘60s and it was using in Peace Corps recruiting on college campuses. For those new to the Peace Corps (or the world of art) Max was a master of Pop Art and the culture of the ‘60s. His work was first associated with the counter culture, neo-expressionism, and psychedelic movements in graphic design during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Max is famous for using American icons and symbols in his artwork. He has created paintings of several presidents, i.e. Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and the Clintons. He often features images of celebrities, politicians, athletes and sporting events and other pop culture subjects in his artwork, and, of course, the Peace Corps!  

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Review: MAIL FROM KYRGYZSTAN by Michael Licwinko (Kyrgyzstan)

  Mail from Kyrgyzstan: My Life as an Over-50 Peace Corps Volunteer Michael Licwinko (Kyrgyzstan (2008–10) Self-Published November 2016 300 pages $15.99 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Catherine Varchaver (PC/HQ 1990–94; Kyrgyzstan APCD 1995–97)   • In this journal-like collection of annotated blogs and emails, Michael Licwinko sketches a lucid, patient portrait of life as an older Peace Corps Volunteer posted in a remote corner of Central Asia. Licwinko takes us from 2008 to 2010 and gives us a glimpse into the culture and people of Kyrgyzstan — and some of the satisfying and shadowy sides of the Peace Corps experience. If you want to take a virtual trip to Kyrgyzstan by reading one man’s observations and stories, this will help you travel Lonely Planet style — on the cheap, with plenty of “local (post-Soviet) color” and details on what to expect. This isn’t about places to visit and cool things to do. This is about local . . .

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Peace Corps staging in Philly

  This is a short essay that appeared on LinkedIn from a woman who calls herself Kewatki2. She says she is a ‘student and childcare’ person from Salisbury, NC and she wrote this on February 3, 2017 as she prepared to leave ‘staging’ and head overseas for Africa and her Peace Corps assignment. I thought you might enjoy reading it and it will also bring back your memories of your time at Staging. JC note. • STAGE ME Friday, February 3, 2017 Whoa. This past year has been long. Each year that goes by makes me less familiar with the Me I was the year before. In March of 2016 I started the journey through my application to serve in the US Peace Corps. Honestly, I didn’t think I would make the cut. I had been filling my mind with reasons why I should wait “a little bit longer” so . . .

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Writer Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala) turns political

Contact: Mark Brazaitis Pronunciation: Braz-EYE-tis 304-276-8846 markbraz@yahoo.com www.markforwestvirginia.com   WVU English Professor Announces Candidacy for Morgantown City Council   February 6, 2017—Mark Brazaitis, a WVU English professor and the author of seven books, announced today he will run for a position on the Morgantown City Council from the sixth ward.   “We have a wonderful city,” Brazaitis said. “But we have challenges now and ahead, and we could be doing much better.”   Brazaitis is running on a campaign to protect and enhance Morgantown’s small- and medium-sized businesses, its parks, recreation areas, and green spaces, its roads and bridges, and its distinct neighborhoods, including downtown.   “We are a growing city, which presents obstacles as well as opportunities,” he said. “We must ensure that we grow in a smart, thoughtful way—a way that respects the health, safety, and prosperity of the people who live here, including families, as well as . . .

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Peace Corps writers at AWP Conference

  Crossing Borders, Spanning Genres RPCVs at the Associate Writers Program Conference presented a panel on Friday, February 10, 2017, where poets, journalists, and novelists shared their experiences as Peace Corps Volunteers. The panelists discuss how their service affected their writing, their relationship to literature, and their careers.  The panelists were: Peter Chilson (Niger 1985-87) got his MFA in creative writing from Pennsylvania State University in 1994 and teaches writing and literature at Washington State University. His essays, journalism and short stories have appeared in Foreign Policy, The American Scholar, The North American Review,  Audubon,  Ascent, Creative Nonfiction, Clackamas Literary Review, Gulf Coast, Rain City Review,  West Africa, North Dakota Quarterly and elsewhere. His reporting has been supported by a Fulbright grant and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. His work has twice appeared in the Best American Travel Writing anthology (the 2003 and 2008 issues) and other collections of creative nonfiction. Chilson’s book Riding the Demon: On the Road in West Africa (University . . .

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Carrie Hessler-Radelet named President & CEO of Project Concern International

  Former Peace Corps Director takes helm of International Development Organization   SAN DIEGO, CA–(Marketwired – February 07, 2017) – Carrie Hessler-Radelet was selected as the new President & CEO of Project Concern International (PCI) by its Board of Directors on February 3. Hessler-Radelet will lead PCI’s efforts working with families and communities in 16 countries to enhance health, end hunger, and overcome hardship. “Carrie is a recognized leader with decades of experience in global humanitarian affairs, and we are thrilled to have her expertise as PCI seeks to impact the lives of 20 million people annually by 2020,” said PCI Chair Dr. Robert S. Sullivan. “From leading the Peace Corps, to implementing maternal and child health programs in Asia with John Snow, Inc., to establishing Special Olympics programs in Africa, Carrie knows first-hand the difference that can be made when we partner with people and communities on the ground . . .

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