The Peace Corps

Agency history, current news and stories of the people who are/were both on staff and Volunteers.

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Article that appeared in The Washington Post 11/23/88
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RPCV Mark Walker Wins Honorable Mention With Peace Corps Memoir (Guatemala)
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The Journals of Peace Capital Rotunda, November 21, 1988
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Bill Josephson on the Lost Essay of Warren W. Wiggins
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The Peace Corps in Vanity Fair magazine
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Who was Warren Wiggins? (PC/HQ)
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A lost essay of Warren Wiggins (PC/HQ)
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Position description for Director of the Peace Corps
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Kinky Friedman’s bio published (Borneo)
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Bill Josephson Has Something To Say About Thomas M. Hall

Article that appeared in The Washington Post 11/23/88

Thousands rekindle Kennedy’s words, fire by Mary Jordan Washington Post Staff Writer November 23, 1988; Page A1 THEY BEGAN ARRIVING in the predawn darkness, more than three hours before the cemetery gates opened, drawn to the flame of a man and a time now 25 years past. By yesterday evening, more than 20,000 had made the pilgrimage to Arlington National Cemetery to stand silently at John F. Kennedy’s grave and watch the orange flames of the eternal torch reach upward. “It’s memories,” said Col. Floyd James Thompson, a prisoner of war in Vietnam for nine years. “I can’t explain why I came. It’s memories. It’s emotions, so much emotion.” Like Thompson, who flew here from Key West, Fla., for ceremonies marking the 25th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, thousands of others took time yesterday to relive, if only for a few moments, the early 1960s when a young president . . .

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RPCV Mark Walker Wins Honorable Mention With Peace Corps Memoir (Guatemala)

Arizona Authors’ is one of the longest established non-profit writers’ organizations in the Southwest. Since 1978, it has served as an information and referral center for the literary and arts community. Internationally renowned, the Association sponsors an annual Literary Contest including both published and unpublished categories. The awards ceremony coincides with the yearly publication of the Arizona Literary Magazine. This year Mark Walker’s Different Latitudes, published by Peace Corps Writers), received an “Honorable Mention.” It was one of  72 entries in this annual award. Summer, 1971. A naive young man must decide his path upon graduation from a small university in Colorado. Amidst the turmoil of the counterculture years and the looming possibility of being sent to Vietnam, he concludes that he wants to travel, serve, and, if possible, save the world. As a Peace Corps volunteer Mark embarks on a vigorous cross-cultural experience in the Caribbean and two Central American countries, with . . .

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The Journals of Peace Capital Rotunda, November 21, 1988

The Journals of Peace Making It Happen by Tim Carroll (Nigeria 1963–66) • In 1988, as the first Director of the National Council of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (NCRPCV), now the National Peace Corps Association, I felt a considerable part of my mandate was to bring our disparate numbers together, to gather us up to celebrate those feelings we had in common. A number of special events given under my tenure accomplished this in varying degrees of success, but none held the hearts of Peace Corps family as did the Journals of Peace. As the 25th anniversary of the death of President John Kennedy — the founder and much loved hero of early Volunteers — approached, I made a call to St. Matthew’s Cathedral, the church that had been the site of JFK’s funeral service, and asked if we might have a memorial Mass that would include not only the . . .

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Bill Josephson on the Lost Essay of Warren W. Wiggins

I’ve already profusely thanked Karen Wiggins-Dowler for reappearing, with an essay by Warren to boot! Without necessarily disagreeing with anything Warren Wiggins says, let alone with the great quote from Scottie Reston, I do need to say something about context. Wiggins was the relatively new deputy in the International Cooperation Administration’s Far East Region under Bill Sheppard.  Warren was an all-but-dissertation Harvard Ph.D. economist.  He served in Norway in the Marshall Plan, in the Philippines, in Bolivia.  He had been the famous airsick pilot of DC 3s, flying supplies over the Himalayan Hump from India to China and back. I joined ICA as Far East Regional Counsel in November 1959. We bonded immediately. In November/December 1960 we wrote a paper on foreign aid reorganization.  I still have it. With the ICA Vietnam desk officer, Sherwood Fine, we wrote a paper on the impending crisis there.  To dramatize the crisis, Warren . . .

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The Peace Corps in Vanity Fair magazine

The October 2017 issue of Vanity Fair carries an article by Meryl Gordon from her upcoming book The Life of an American Style Legend being published by Grand Central Publishing. It is the story of how Jacqueline Kennedy turned to her friend Bunny Mellon to help Jackie fix up the White House Rose Garden, JFK’s favorite spot. The new Rose Garden was finished in June 1962 and began to be used by Kennedy for ceremonial occasions. One of the very first events in the garden was in August. Kennedy welcomed to the garden the PCVs for Ghana and (then) Tanganyika the day before they left for their assignments. That summer there were other PCVs in Training in the DC area who would meet the president on the White House lawns. They were at Georgetown, Howard, American, Catholic, George Washington, and the University of Maryland, over 600 in all. To read the whole article go to: https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2017/09/how-bunny-mellon-invented-the-white-house-rose-garden Using . . .

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Who was Warren Wiggins? (PC/HQ)

  Warren W. Wiggins: Bold Treatise Shaped Peace Corps’ Mission By Patricia Sullivan, Staff Writer Washington Post  Sunday, April 15, 2007 Warren W. Wiggins, 84, the major architect and organizer of the Peace Corps who wrote the basic philosophical document that shaped its mission, died of atypical Parkinson’s syndrome April 13 at his home in Haymarket. In 1961, Mr. Wiggins, who became one of the top leaders of the high-profile agency in its earliest years, was an unknown foreign policy adviser whose brief paper, “The Towering Task,” landed in the lap of the Peace Corps’ first director, R. Sargent Shriver, just as he was trying to figure out how to turn President John F. Kennedy’s campaign promise into a working federal department. The response to it became legendary in the agency as “the midnight ride of Warren Wiggins.” Shriver, burrowing through correspondence shortly after midnight on Feb. 6, 1961, was electrified . . .

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A lost essay of Warren Wiggins (PC/HQ)

  Thanks for the heads-up from Alana DeJoseph’s (Mali 1992-94) who forwarded this essay by Warren Wiggins, co-author with Bill Josephson, of “The Towering Task” the founding document that Shriver used in creating the Peace Corps. Warren’s daughter, Karen Wiggins-Dowler, sent the article to Alana, writing: “I was going through a box of family archives when I ran across this Peace Corps reflection written by my father. I don’t know if you have finished your research yet but thought that you would enjoy reading the reflection especially about the “risk” assessment with the creation of the Peace Corps.” Karen also is kind enough to let me post her father’s short essay so all of us in the worldwide Peace Corps Community might have the opportunity to read, after all these years, what one of the key founders had to say about the Peace Corps becoming a reality. — JC • What . . .

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Position description for Director of the Peace Corps

  The unofficial newsletter, Gov Exec, reports: “Nov. 16 looms large for government leaders paying attention to the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act. The law stipulates that 300 days after a president is sworn in, officials who have been serving in an acting capacity since that time lose much of their authority.  I do not know how of if this would apply to the position of Peace Corps Director and Deputy Director.  I would welcome information if anyone knows more.  However, I thought I would post the postion description for Director of the Peace Corps, if it is not too late to apply! I note that among the requirements is the statement: Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (preferred). — JC • POSITION DESCRIPTION OVERVIEW Senate Committee Foreign Relations Agency Mission The Peace Corps is an independent U.S government agency considered the preeminent leader in international volunteer service, with more than 220,000 . . .

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Kinky Friedman’s bio published (Borneo)

  About the book Kinky Friedman (Borneo 1967-69) has always maintained his Kinkster persona and hidden Richard Friedman from the public eye. Using one-liners, humor, and occasional rudeness, he follows the advice of his friend Bob Dylan to keep an aura of mystery. Author Mary Lou Sullivan spent many contentious days and nights at Kinky’s Texas Hill Country ranch before he trusted her enough to open up and speak candidly. Best known as an irreverent cigar-chomping Jewish country-and-western singer turned author, turned politician, Kinky has dined on monkey brains in the jungles of Borneo, supped with presidents, and vacationed with Bob Dylan in the tiny fishing village of Yelapa, Mexico. A satirist who loves pushing the envelope, he’s been attacked onstage, received bomb threats, and put on the only show in Austin City Limits’ history deemed too offensive to air. From the 1970s music scene in L.A. with Tom Waits . . .

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Bill Josephson Has Something To Say About Thomas M. Hall

In a note from Bill Josephson, Founding Counsel of the Peace Corps from 1961-66, Bill wrote about Thomas M. Hill’s essay entitled The Peace Corps, A lot of bucks for very little bang? saying:              The United States Consumer Price Index by Major Group 1915-2015 All Items was 31.5 in 1965.  In 2015, it was 237, an increase of 7.5 times.  Another way to make the point is that what cost $31.5 in 1965 would cost $205.50 more in 2015. From 1961 to 1966, the Peace Corps said that it held the per volunteer cost steady at $30,000 each.  $30,000 times 7.5 is $225,000. If my math is right, which it may not be, it’s no longer (at 83) one of my strong points, the Peace Corps at $56,500 a volunteer is even more of a bargain than it was in 1965. Comments and criticisms more than . . .

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