The Peace Corps

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

1
Peace Corps’ early days: The day the FBI came knocking
2
Cambodia PM calls on U.S. to withdraw Peace Corps volunteers
3
Funding for Peace Corps for FY2018: It’s complicated!
4
Write your House and Senate leadership for better RPCV health care
5
The Sins of Kalamazoo
6
The Not-So-Ugly Americans, 1965 (Ecuador)
7
Peace Corps Volunteers to help? The precedent
8
Peace Corps Burkina Faso Volunteers evacuated safely
9
“The forgotten role of the Peace Corps in U.S. foreign policy” by Bren Flanigan (Benin)
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PEACE CORPS TRANSITION BRIEFING BOOK 2017

Peace Corps’ early days: The day the FBI came knocking

I have a minor disagreement with one comment in this entertaining recollection by John Long. He writes that Kennedy’s idea for a Peace Corps came in a “bull session” at the University of Michigan. It was far from that. I was on campus that long ago night in 1960 covering the event for a Kalamazoo radio station, my parttime job during my graduate school years when thousands of Michigan students cheered Kennedy call to do something for their country. It wasn’t a “bull session.” It was a significant moment in the JFK’s presidency and in the lives all of us who responded to Kennedy’s challenge to make a difference in the world. JC Note. Peace Corps’ early days: The day the FBI came knocking by John C. Long Courier Journal Published Sept. 14, 2017 John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps shortly after his inauguration to fulfill a promise he’d made to . . .

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Cambodia PM calls on U.S. to withdraw Peace Corps volunteers

  Thanks to RPCV Alan Toth for this”heads up” on his facebook page. — JR Reuters reports the following: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cambodia-usa/cambodia-pm-calls-on-u-s-to-withdraw-peace-corps-volunteers-idUSKCN1BQ0DB PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called on the United States on Friday to withdraw Peace Corps volunteers in an escalating row over accusations that U.S. agents conspired with an opposition leader to plot treason. Hun Sen was responding after the U.S. embassy in Phnom Penh issued a travel warning that urged citizens to show caution amid “anti-American rhetoric by officials”. “Are you scaring Cambodians?” Hun Sen said of the United States in an address to garment workers at factories which export much of their production to the United States. “Are you prepared to invade Cambodia and that’s why you told Americans to be careful? It’s good if you pull out the Peace Corps,” Hun Sen said. The U.S. embassy declined to comment. It has previously dismissed . . .

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Funding for Peace Corps for FY2018: It’s complicated!

  The fiscal year for the federal government runs from October 1 from one year to September 30 of the next year. Each year, Congress must approve a budget to fund the federal government for the fiscal year beginning October 1. The President proposes a budget and sends it to the House of Representatives.  The House is free to disregard it, if it wishes. Congress has the sole authority to fund the federal government. The Budget must begin in the House of Representatives. The Senate will also compose a version of a budget. When the two Houses are not in agreement on the budget, then there is a negotiation to arrive at a final budget. The final version goes to the President for his signature. When the two Houses of Congress cannot reach a compromise bill by September 30, then Congress may pass a Continuing Resolution. A Continuing Resolution, or . . .

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Write your House and Senate leadership for better RPCV health care

  This is from Nancy Tongue (Chile 1980-82)  director of Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers, an RPCV who has led the fight for better medical treatment of RPCVs. This is her latest campaign and she needs our help. Nancy writes: We are desperately trying to get bills passed in both the House and the Senate. So many RPCVs are living in squalor with illnesses and injures that they can’t get help for. It is imperative that a call go out to folks to write to their Reps NOW, or we will lose any opportunity to get what we need on the bill. Can you please post this? We are asking people to do this SIMPLE TASK THAT WILL TAKE 3 MINUTES: Copy and paste in the letter below or change it however you’d like. Then: Send a message to your Congressperson asking for co-sponsorship for H.R. 2259. Please remove the email . . .

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The Sins of Kalamazoo

In the spring of 1962 I was a graduate student in English at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. We all know Kalamazoo if we know the poet Carl Sandburg. The sins of Kalamazoo are neither scarlet nor crimson. The sins of Kalamazoo are a convict gray, a dishwater drab. And the people who sin the sins of Kalamazoo are neither scarlet nor crimson. The run to drabs and grays–and some of them sing they shall be washed whiter than snow–and some: We should worry. Well, I wasn’t sinning in Kalamazoo! (We never sinned back in the early Sixties.) I was a grad student and I had just been selected to go to Ethiopia. A country I couldn’t at first find on a map of Africa. (Oh, there it is!) I wasn’t the only Western student joining the Peace Corps in 1962. Bill Donohoe, a history major at Western, also had . . .

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The Not-So-Ugly Americans, 1965 (Ecuador)

  Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) In 1965 Public Television produced a documentary about the Peace Corps in Guayaquil. Marnie Elberson Mueller, Dave Zimmerman, and James Samiljan were chosen as subjects for the project, which was titled THE NOT-SO-UGLY AMERICANS. Jim’s dad managed to get a copy of the film through a friend who worked at WGBH in Boston. It had been sitting in storage until last month when Jim had it digitized. Marnie Mueller thought other RPCVs would enjoy seeing the video after all these years and forwarded it to me to share on this site. (Thank you, Marnie.) Jim had the video uploaded to YouTube. It is about 30 minutes long. The link below should take you directly there: https://youtu.be/TKPGYPtFL5M The Not-So-Ugly Americans, 1965    

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Peace Corps Volunteers to help? The precedent

  In light of current events in Texas and the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, it behooves us to learn from history. Here is what former Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez said about his decision to send Crisis Corps (now Peace Corps Response) Volunteers to aid in the Hurricane Katrina effort. (This interview was recorded by Alana DeJoseph (Mali 192-94) for the upcoming documentary about the Peace Corps, A Towering Task being made by DeJoseph): Vasquez recalls: Well, I had the opportunity to travel to Sri Lanka, Thailand after the tsunami and witnessed the devastation that the tsunami had caused and it was not long thereafter that Katrina struck the United States and the Gulf Coast. I saw the images, the devastation; it was incredible. And made a decision that I would authorize the deployment of Crisis Corps — these are returned Peace Corps volunteers who make up this group at that . . .

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Peace Corps Burkina Faso Volunteers evacuated safely

https://www.peacecorps.gov/news/library/peace-corps-burkina-faso-volunteers-evacuated-safely/?utm_campaign=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=  WASHINGTON, D.C., September 03, 2017 – The Peace Corps today announced that, acting with an abundance of caution and considering the unique circumstances of their service, all Peace Corps Burkina Faso volunteers have been successfully evacuated out of the country due to security concerns. The Peace Corps has been closely monitoring the safety and security environment in Burkina Faso and will continue to assess the situation. The Peace Corps looks forward to a time when volunteers can return while underscoring that the safety and security of its volunteers are the agency’s top priority. There were 124 volunteers working in Burkina Faso on projects in community economic development, education and health. The Peace Corps has enjoyed a long partnership with the government and people of Burkina Faso and hopes to be able to continue volunteers’ work there. More than 2,075 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Burkina Faso since the program . . .

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“The forgotten role of the Peace Corps in U.S. foreign policy” by Bren Flanigan (Benin)

  Thanks for the ‘heads up” from Bob Arias (Colombia 1964-66) about this article. — JC • The forgotten role of the Peace Corps in U.S. foreign policy   Washington Post Opinion Article By Bren Flanigan (PCV Benin) August 31, 2017 After surviving nine hours in a non-air-conditioned bus in the hot West African climate, during which the only escape from the jolting ride is a “pee-pee stop,” the last thing I wanted to do was converse in my extremely limited French with my Peace Corps host father. But I was instantly interrogated on the then-ongoing tumultuous 2016 presidential election: “Why do all Americans hate Muslims?” It’s humbling to find people in Benin following U.S. current affairs with intense interest, when many Americans could never locate Benin on a map. Addressing questions like these gives Peace Corps volunteers the opportunity to shatter the stereotypes about the United States portrayed in television . . .

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PEACE CORPS TRANSITION BRIEFING BOOK 2017

PEACE CORPS TRANSITION BRIEFING BOOK 2017 Human Resources Overview PEACE CORPS STAFF Domestic Headquarters 764 Regional Offices (or other domestic locations) 136 Overseas US Direct Hire 187 Foreign Service National 82 Personal Services Contractor 3013 TOTAL 4182 At the same time in 2016 there were 7,213 PCVs (therefore, more or less, one employee for every two Volunteers. The total number of PCVs also declined in six years, down from 8,655 PCVs in 2010.) You can read all the numbers in the briefing book, (but not names that have been redacted.) Thanks to Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963-65) for getting the Transition Book on an FOI request. Read the Transition Briefing Book 2017 (redacted) (1)  

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