Phil Lilienthal has won the NPCA 2013 Sargent Shriver Award to be presented this coming weekend in Boston. The award is well phildeserved. I first met Phil and his lovely wife Lynn in Ethiopia in 1965 when they were new PCVs. Lynn was doing social work in Addis Ababa, and  Phil was a lawyer working for one of the ministers. As a secondary project, Phil and Lynn started a summer camp at Lake Langano in the Rift Valley. This was the only lake, as I recall, that was free of schistosomiasis. The camp, I know, was the first of its kind, though other Volunteers had done other types of summer camps. Our own Marian Haley Beil was one of three women who had a summer camp in Debre Berhan back in 1963.

Phil and Lynn had their first child in Addis Ababa. Their son would grow up to become a PCV himself in Latin America.( But what else could he do with two PCV parents.) Later Phil was in the General Counsel’s office at Peace Corps HQ, and then the Deputy Director of the Peace Corps in Thailand. After that he returned to the US to practice law, and for most of his life, he was the owner and director of Camp Winnebago in Maine. In 2004, he turned Winnebago over to his son and started Global Camps Africa. It is great to see another  Ethie Vol being honored, especially Phil Lilienthal, for all the great work he had done for Africa. Congratulations, Phil!

Here is the Press Release about the award from the NPCA.

Press Release: National Peace Corps Association Announces Winner of the 2013 Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service

Washington, DC - June 4th, 2013 - The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), the nation’s leading nonprofit organization supporting Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) and the Peace Corps community, today announced the winner of the 2013 Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service: Philip Lilienthal (Ethiopia 1965-67).

The Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service is named after the first director of the Peace Corps, Sargent Shriver, in an effort to recognize the outstanding contributions he made to the foundation and development of the Peace Corps. Each year, the Sargent Shriver award is given by the NPCA - the alumni association for former Volunteers - to a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who continues to work towards humanitarian causes at home, abroad, or whose contributions and social entrepreneurship will bring about significant long-term change.

Philip Lilienthal is the founder and president of Global Camps Africa, a nonprofit that aims to empower children for an AIDS-free future. Phil runs 8-day camps and subsequent bi-weekly follow up sessions to provide a way for children that have been effected by violence and the HIV crisis in Soweto Township to find hope for their future.

“It is great to see such a socially powerful program grow from Phil’s Peace Corps background, and the potential for future expansion is tremendous,” says  NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst (Guatemala 1988-91). “Global Camps Africa succeeds in teaching Americans and Africans about one another, while educating children on HIV/AIDS prevention. Phil is an excellent example of enduring, significant humanitarian work even after his time of service in the Peace Corps has ended, and he is truly deserving of this prestigious award.”

Forty-five years ago, Phil Lilienthal went to Ethiopia to serve in the Peace Corps. Drawing on his past experiences as a camper and a counselor, Phil was able to successfully complete one of his many assignments while abroad - organizing a summer camp. After returning to the United States and serving in the Peace Corps both as staff and as a Volunteer, Phil directed Camp Winnebago in Maine in the summers and practiced law in the winters.

After retirement, Phil managed to find a partner in South Africa who shared his vision of helping children, and was able to open Camp Sizanani in 2004. The staff members of Camp Sizanani are trained locals, aided by Volunteers from Northern Virginia, and 5,000 children have attended the camp to date. Through the foundation and development of Global Camps Africa, Phil has been able to live and practice his desire to help children, continuing the tradition of service he learned in the Peace Corps.

An award reviewer commented, “I love that he has built up such a significant and impactful new program that seems to be headed in the right direction with potential for growth.  Also great that he went back to his Peace Corps roots after … a more mainstream career.”

The recipient of the Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service will receive the award at NPCA Peace Corps Connect - Boston, June 28-29 in Boston, MA.