Author - John Coyne

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Paul Theroux’s Peace Corps Prose (Malawi)
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Harris Wofford: The Key to John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Victory
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Review: WALLED IN WALLED OUT by Mary Dana Marks (Iran)
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Paul Theroux writes the Peace Corps story for JFK: A VISION OF AMERICA
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West Virginia Writers’ Workshop–Peace Corps Tuition Discount
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Colin Powell— “We Can’t Do It for Free”
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Paul Theroux: The Urge to Write (Malawi)
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The Peace Corps takes a very small “hit” in CBJ Budget
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2017 Lillian Carter Award given to Leita Kaldi (Senegal)
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The editorial that got Paul Theroux in trouble and CD Mike McCone kicked out of Malawi

Paul Theroux’s Peace Corps Prose (Malawi)

Paul Theroux’s novel, The Lower River is his most direct use of his Peace Corps experience. Paul’s first three novels: Waldo, Fong and the Indians, and Girls at Play all were East Africa based, but not about the Peace Corps. Girls at Play, set at a girls’ school in western Kenya, has a ‘Peace Corps character,’ and unhappy, Midwest woman. I believe this is the first use of a ‘Peace Corps character’ in a work of fiction. (Mary-Ann Tyrone Smith’s (Cameroon 1965-67) Lament for a Silver-Eyed Woman published in 1987, is the first novel about a Peace Corps Volunteers.) In his collection of nonfiction pieces, Sunrise with Seamonsters (1986), Paul republished a few of his essays that focused on the agency and Africa, and how he was kicked out of the Peace Corps. Theroux wrote a wonderful ‘peace corps’ short story “White Lies” first published in Playboy in 1979. I republished . . .

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Harris Wofford: The Key to John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Victory

Tonight’s CNN program entitled  “Race for the White House” captures the drama of how a high-stakes presidential election can turn on a single issue. The issue involved Harris Wofford who created our Peace Corps with Sargent Shriver but before that ‘saved’ the presidential campaign of JFK with one phone call. If you saw the Monday night CNN program you saw how Martin Luther King was arrested in October 1960 and Coretta King called Harris Wofford, a friend, and asked for his help.  King had been arrested and sentenced by a Georgia judge to four months of hard labor for driving with an out-of-state license. Coretta was afraid that her husband would be killed and she asked Wofford, then working on the Kennedy campaign for the presidency, for his help. As the CNN program details, and as Wofford described in his book, Of Kennedys and Kings, he called Shriver in Chicago . . .

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Review: WALLED IN WALLED OUT by Mary Dana Marks (Iran)

  Walled In Walled Out by Mary Dana Marks (Iran 1964–66) Peace Corps Writers Books 348 pages April 2017 Reviewed by John Krauskopf (Iran 1965–67) • WALLED IN WALLED OUT IS A CAPTIVATING MEMOIR.  The Kennedy-era idealism lured young Mary Beckett Marks into the Peace Corps to serve for two years in conservative Kerman, Iran. This sojourn forced the author to struggle to adjust to the Kermani culture and to mature many of the ideas that have guided her life since. The memoir traces Mary’s emotional reaction to the culture, her feelings, frustrations and adjustments. During a low point at the end of her first year, Mary was so discouraged that she decided to request a transfer to another site. This opportunity passed without action because of a cholera quarantine. Reluctantly remaining in Kerman for her second year, the book outlines Mary’s increasing language skills and her greater comfort with the . . .

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Paul Theroux writes the Peace Corps story for JFK: A VISION OF AMERICA

  JFK: A Vision for America by Stephen Kennedy Smith & Douglas Brinkley was published by HarperCollins this May on the centennial of President Kennedy’s birth. The book has a compendium of JFK’s most important speeches, hundreds of photographs, and commentary and reflections on Kennedy’s administration, policies, and programs by leading American and international authorities. The “authority” selected to write the Peace Corps story is none other than Paul Theroux. What’s amusing to RPCVs is that Theroux was perhaps the first Volunteer to be sent home (ETed) by the agency because of his involvement in Malawi political affairs. This just goes to show that even in the Peace Corps “writers always have the last word.”      

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West Virginia Writers’ Workshop–Peace Corps Tuition Discount

West Virginia Writers’ Workshop Expands Focus; New This Summer: Writing about Health and Healing In addition to its usual focus on fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, this summer’s West Virginia Writers’ Workshop will include talks, readings, and classes on health and healing (sometimes called narrative medicine). The Workshop, in its 21st year, will be held on WVU’s downtown campus from July 20 to July 23. Visiting writers and lecturers will include West Virginia poet and children’s book author Marc Harshman, who will kick off the event with a talk entitled “The Poetry of Healing,” and faculty members from the Narrative Medicine program in Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. Other faculty members include novelist Courtney Angela Brkic, a professor at George Mason University and the author of The First Rule of Swimming; poet Geffrey Davis, a professor at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and the author of Revising the Storm, winner of . . .

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Colin Powell— “We Can’t Do It for Free”

Thanks to a “heads up” from Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru 1962-64) Colin Powell: American Leadership — We Can’t Do It for Free By COLIN POWELL May 24, 2017 New York Times Op-Ed At our best, being a great nation has always meant a commitment to building a better, safer world — not just for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren. This has meant leading the world in advancing the cause of peace, responding when disease and disaster strike, lifting millions out of poverty and inspiring those yearning for freedom. This calling is under threat. The administration’s proposal, announced Tuesday, to slash approximately 30 percent from the State Department and foreign assistance budget signals an American retreat, leaving a vacuum that would make us far less safe and prosperous. While it may sound penny-wise, it is pound-foolish. This proposal would bring resources for our civilian forces to a third of what . . .

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Paul Theroux: The Urge to Write (Malawi)

Paul Nelson (Malawi 1963-65) remembers that Paul Theroux was always writing while a PCV. As Nelson told me, “Paul on many occasions in Malawi would show up late or disappear or not show up at all because he was writing. I don’t think he let a day go by without writing—writing all sorts of things: poetry, essays, letters to the editor, short stories, novels. His discipline was remarkable. So the Peace Corps did not provide his motivation or discipline.” The Peace Corps did, however, provide him was new experiences that enhanced his writing. In the introduction of Sunrise with Seamonsters published in 1985, Paul writes about Africa and describes the moment when he realized he had a mother lode of material to write about. “I remember a particular day in Mozambique, in a terrible little country town, getting a haircut from a Portuguese barber. He had come to the African . . .

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The Peace Corps takes a very small “hit” in CBJ Budget

  Congressional Budget Justification: Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs   Portion of report regarding the Peace Corps: 1/ The FY 2017 Estimate reflects funding from the annualized Continuing Resolution. The FY 2018 Budget request for the Peace Corps of $398.2 million of which $5.5 million is for the Office of Inspector General, will allow the Peace Corps to meet its core goals: to help countries meet their development needs by building local capacity, to promote a better understanding of Americans around the world, and to bring the world back home by increasing Americans’ knowledge of other cultures. This request supports a cost-effective investment in strengthening the nation by advancing sustainable development and promoting a positive image of the United States. The Peace Corps also helps develop the next generation of American leaders who return home and leverage their leadership and entrepreneurial skills to shape communities across the United . . .

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2017 Lillian Carter Award given to Leita Kaldi (Senegal)

LEITA KALDI (Senegal 1993–96) worked at the United Nations in New York, UNESCO in Paris, at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard University. She then joined Peace Corps and went to Senegal. This year she was awarded the Lillian Carter Award. At the presentation in Atlanta, Leita spoke about her experiences as an older Volunteer in the Peace Corps. •   WHEN I LEARNED that I was to receive the Lillian Carter Award, I was as overcome with emotion as on that day in 1993 when I was told that I’d been accepted into the Peace Corps.  Beside myself with joy! Thank you, President Carter,  for this wondrous award. It’s not surprising that the President would honor his mother so, as he and the Carter Center have been supporting women across the globe for decades, in their struggles not only for equality, but for survival. I also wish . . .

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The editorial that got Paul Theroux in trouble and CD Mike McCone kicked out of Malawi

THE MIGRAINE A PUBLICATION FEATURING GENTEEL INTROSPECTION SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER, 1965 Written and published by Peace Corps/Malawi, P.O. Box 700, Blantyre, Malawi. The editors welcome correspondence arising out of articles in The Magraine. Essays, poems, etc., all given serious consideration. EDITORIAL The horrors multiply in Vietnam. The editorial staff of The Migraine openly condemns President Johnson for his recent decision to send 20,000 more troops into that country. This is a time when our vanity must be forgotten in the interests of those awaiting their own murder by United States and Chinese forces. We do not share President Johnson’s views and we earnestly hope that he will summon the courage to begin withdrawing troops. He has recognized that he can blunder–the withdrawal of the troops from the Dominican Republic was a recognition of his fecklessness in the crisis. We do not approve of totalitarianism in any of its forms, masquerading as a democrat or . . .

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