Miscellany

As it says!

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Peace Corps Connect — 9/21–9/25 — Washington D.C. — Be an early bird!
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New York RPCV Story Slam
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My cousin Bob Mushroom
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“Impressions of Cuba” by Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru)
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Do you want to earn your MFA ONLINE?
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Tom Hebert’s Peace Corps Settlement House
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We’re baaaack!
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Peace Corps Worldwide on vacation this weekend
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A mayor, a liberal lion, and a moment of tears
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Harris Wofford Interview With Bill Moyers at New York Main Library

Peace Corps Connect — 9/21–9/25 — Washington D.C. — Be an early bird!

  There are a few hours left for you to register as an “early bird” and get a discount on the admission fees for the annual RPCV conference — this year celebrating the 55th Anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps in Washington from September 21st to September 25th. There are also discounts for “seniors” and recently returned PCVs. Go to the registration page to get the details and sign up. We shall be there Peace Corps Worldwide/Peace Corps Writers will — 1 – be part of the “Stories of Peace” program  the afternoon of Wednesday, the  21st. “RPCVs have some of the most compelling and inspiring stories. Sign up for this series of workshops to learn how to find, craft and share your story. You will participate in a workshop on “Spoken Word Storytelling,” a workshop led by John Coyne of Peace Corps Writers, and a panel discussion featuring published RPCV . . .

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New York RPCV Story Slam

  RPCV NYC held its 5th Annual Story Slam on the upper West Side on Saturday night, June 25th, at Hostelling International. A packed house of RPCVs, and would be PCVs, heard eleven, mostly humorous, tales from Peace Corps life. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of New York City is a nonprofit group connected with the NPCA It is made up of, mostly, recent (i.e., within the last ten or fifteen years) PCVs. This group, like all RPCV groups, either by location or country of service, is involved in fund raising projects of countries where they serviced, and also for local NYC projects. Donations at the door (suggested $5) went to help underfunded project through the Peace Corps Partnership Program. That said, what was the evening like? My experience with RPCVs and their stories over the last 55 years is that all of us have one good paragraph, one great story, . . .

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My cousin Bob Mushroom

Since I lean increasingly towards nature writing, I find myself ordering Kindle books on the topic. I’m delighted with my latest purchase: The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter by Colin Trudge. In very accessible prose, he provides a truly refreshing “refresher” course in basic biology.   In high school, as I was on the college track, I was instructed to take chemistry and physics, rather than biology. Maybe biology was considered a lesser science then. In college Biology 1A and B, I barely scraped by. I was a liberal arts gal. Fast forward fifty years: Now I realize that I want to deepen my understanding of the scientific foundations of the natural world — the evolution of scientific names for things and Carolus Linaeus’ system of classification: species, genus, orders, classes and kingdoms (later phylum was inserted between class and kingdom . . .

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“Impressions of Cuba” by Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru)

• Impressions of Cuba A Thirty-Year Retrospective by Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru 1962-64) • Why Cuba? The year before my mother married my dad, she and her cousin Celia took a Greyhound bus from Milwaukee to Miami. After sight-seeing in Miami, they took an amphibian plane to Havana where they ran into some wealthy American men (playboys) who showed them the sights, including the newly opened Tropicana night club that still entertains visitors with scantily clad women dancing to fiery salsa. I don’t know why my mother, a first-generation daughter of a Bavarian-born pastry chef, chose Cuba. Her affinity toward Latin America developed after that trip even though she returned only once, after she had talked my dad into a family road trip from Milwaukee to Mexico City and Acapulco in 1956. It was my mother who encouraged me to say yes to a 1962 telegram from Sargent Shriver inviting me . . .

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Do you want to earn your MFA ONLINE?

I am currently talking to several colleges and universities about developing an online Creative Writing MFA for Peace Corps PCVs and RPCV Writers. This degree could be obtainable within a year of your service–or while you are still overseas–you would have a MFA degree, and, I hope, a book, either a memoir or a novel before you finish your tour.  The time frame would be one or two years depending on your schedule. Are you interested? I am working with several non-profit accredited colleges that have MFA online programs so that you could obtain the degree while you are a PCV, or after your tour, wherever you are living in the world….if you have a computer handy. I would teach one of the writing courses, and other RPCV faculty would be involved, including several book editors I know. It would be friendly, ‘hands on,’ and approachable courses that focus on your . . .

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Tom Hebert’s Peace Corps Settlement House

The Peace Corps, as we know, has Three Goals, but the agency traditionally has only spent about 1% of their budget on the Third Goal of the Peace Corps act, i.e., that’s the RPCVs community. That given, Tom Hebert (Nigeria 1962–64) has come up with a great idea to help RPCVs, would-be PCVs, and the Peace Corps community-at-large with the “Peace Corps Settlement House” in Washington, D.C. The Peace Corps Agency, of course, will not support the effort. As the Peace Corps Director wrote Tom recently— I know how passionate you are about the community enrichment that is possible through the settlement house model. I know that you also realize that the leadership for a settlement house project must come from foundations, the NPCA/RPCV community, and committed others, because it is outside the authorities of the Peace Corps. So this is what Tom Hebert has in mind. If you are willing and can help . . .

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We’re baaaack!

Looking different, but with the same purpose to promote, publicize and recognize the writers of the Peace Corps — whose writings are the ultimate fulfillment of the Third Goal! The site is now much more secure vis-à-vis hacking so John and I don’t have to lose any sleep about that issue — as if we ever did — by I do believe our tech guy, Noah, did. There’s been some rearranging to make more accessible articles about our countries of service. Just click on the tag at the bottom of the righthand column to read about your other home. A word of warning — this transfer has been a huge job and all is not complete. Yet to come is a complete review of articles to assign them to their appropriate country tags, the Bibliography of Peace Corps Experience Books, the listing of books published under the Peace Corps Writers Imprint and some rearrangement of Category assignments. . . .

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A mayor, a liberal lion, and a moment of tears

Mayor Kenney (right) speaks with former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford during the opening ceremony for the 21st annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service at Girard College on Jan. 18, 2016. by Maria Panaritis If you thought public office would make Philadelphia’s new boss less Jimmy and more Mayor, think again. Kenney, the former longtime City Councilman whose sleeve and heart are famously one and the same, had a moment that nearly brought him to tears the other day in front of a large crowd of onlookers. It happened at Girard College as Kenney stood on stage with a smorgasboard of other political VIPs for the 21st annual Martin Luther King Day of Service. Dignitary after dignitary approached the podium to reflect on the legacy of the slain civil rights leader. As they did, Kenney seemed thrilled to be standing next to one of his heroes, former U.S. Sen. . . .

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Harris Wofford Interview With Bill Moyers at New York Main Library

​Over 180 friends and colleagues of Harris Wofford packed the Celeste Bartos Forum of the New York Public Library last week for a conversation with Harris and Bill Moyers, and a special preview of the documentary being made about Harris’s life.  Generous donations are helping with the goal of completing the film in time for Harris’s 90th birthday this April, but more support is still needed.  You can contribute online here:supportwofforddoc.splashthat.com.

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