The Peace Corps

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

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Letters from Nurses in the Peace Corps archived at American University
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Peru’s First Peace Corps Staff (Final)
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RPCV Maureen Orth (Colombia) edited by RPCV Bea Hogan (Uzbekistan)
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Peru’s First Peace Corps Staff (Part Three)
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Buck Humphrey speaks at Peace Corps marker dedication in Plainview MN
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First ever Peace Corps marker dedicated in Plainview MN
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President signs H.R. 2259 to Improve Health Care for PCVs and RPCVs
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Peru’s First Peace Corps Staff (Part Two)
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Peru’s First Peace Corps Staff
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Tanganyika’s First Peace Corps Staff

Letters from Nurses in the Peace Corps archived at American University

  American University has graciously accepted a copy of “Letters from Nurses in the Peace Corps”  to be archived in its Digitial Archive as well as a hard copy in its Peace Corps Community Archive.  We are so gratful that this document will be preserved. Letters from Nurses in the Peace Corps is a document containing letters from twelve nurses who served in the Peace Corps from approximately 1962 to 1967.  It was published by the Peace Corps as a recruiting brochure in 1967. Read excerpts from the letters here: Letters From Nurses in the Peace Corps – 1967 In acceping the copy, American University Librarian Nancy Davenport wrote: “This brochure will offer a unique glimpse into the work of Peace Corps volunteers during this period and will be of interest to both our campus community and external researchers.” Click to see the Peace Corps Community Archives at American University

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Peru’s First Peace Corps Staff (Final)

Emory Biro was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, and went to the University of Detroit, where he edited the college paper, and graduated in 1954 with a degree in political science. He was fired from his job as a college editor because of his last editorial, an attack on McCarthyism called “The Rise of Fascism in the U.S.” Also in his undergraduate career, he had served as vice president of the university’s student council, vice president of the Detroit Interracial Council, and finally, vice president of the Migratory Workers Defense League. In 1954, he moved to Chicago and went to work for the Catholic Interracial Council, of which Sargent Shriver was then president. Appointed to the CIC board, he served on it from 1957 until he came to the Peace Corps in 1962. Biro, who spoke Hungarian before he spoke English, and who first learned Spanish working with braceros . . .

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RPCV Maureen Orth (Colombia) edited by RPCV Bea Hogan (Uzbekistan)

  Among many other journalistic skills, Bea Hogan (Uzbekistan 1992-94)  is a contract writer for Seneca Women, a small company devoted to empowering women, and contributes to its weekly newsletter. Bea served in the first group Peace Corps Volunteers to Uzbekistan and wrote me the other day: “Worlds collide: the company I work for, Seneca Women, produced a show — Global Forum: Women Driving Economic Progress — in Dublin for Bank of America earlier this week. One of the star speakers was Maureen Orth. I put together the newsletter yesterday, and I tucked in a little plug for the Peace Corps at the end.” Bea went onto write, It’s funny — Maureen and I have never met in person, but I’ve crossed paths with her several times. I noticed that we both have essays in that collection of essays by RPCVs  you edited for the Peace Corps years ago, At Home in the World. . . .

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Peru’s First Peace Corps Staff (Part Three)

After two years at Utah State, Darwin Bell enlisted in the Army as a private. It was 1942 and, like Frank Mankiewicz, he was sent to ASTP and—to continue the parallel—wound up a mortar gunner in the battle for France. Here their paths diverged. Bell was captured by Germans in the Battle of the Bulge and was taken to Stalag 9-B in  Bad Orb. He escaped from the prison camp twice and was recaptured twice. The third time he escaped, the Germans caught him again, but thinking he was dead, left him in a field where he was picked up by nuns and taken to an infirmary. A doctor told him he had appendicitis and that he would be back the next day to operate. But the next day, according to Bell, “U.S. tanks came rolling into town, and the war was over for me.” He spent the next nine . . .

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Buck Humphrey speaks at Peace Corps marker dedication in Plainview MN

  Thank you, Ken, and thank all of you for being here today in Plainview Minnesota to celebrate and honor the 50+ year history you have with the United States Peace Corps. Before I go any further I want you to know I bring greetings from my father, Skip Humphrey and all the Humphrey family. I also want to recognize and thank my uncle, Judge William Howard for joining me here today. Bill’s mother and Hubert Humphrey’s sister, Frances Humphrey Howard was instrumental in many aspects of my grandfather’s life, but especially foreign affairs, the State Department, the Foreign Service and the Peace Corps, so thank you Bill for being her today. When Ken called me up and asked if I would come down to help commemorate the placing of a historical marker to honor and celebrate the founding of the US Peace Corps and the very real connection Plainview . . .

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First ever Peace Corps marker dedicated in Plainview MN

Ken Fliés of Eagan, MN was one of the first Peace Corps Volunteers, and the youngest when he began his service in Brazil in 1961. Fliés, now 75, grew up on a dairy farm near Plainview, MN, and was just 19 when he answered President John F. Kennedy’s call to find “what you can do for your country.” He chose to represent the U.S. as a PCV in Correntina, in rural Brazil, where he would use his mechanical and agricultural skills to help fix a dam and improve the town’s farming skills. Fliés understood hard work and how to make things work when times were tough, and these were the character strengths he would draw on during his 21-month tour in what proved to be a very unorganized inaugural launch of the Peace Corps. “It was pretty chaotic,” he said. “We were spread out over 15,000 square miles of the São Francisco Valley. . . .

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President signs H.R. 2259 to Improve Health Care for PCVs and RPCVs

  https://www.peacecorps.gov/news/library/new-law-strengthens-health-and-safety-peace-corps-volunteers/ October 10, 2018 President Donald J. Trump signed into law new legislation that seeks to improve access to medical care for Peace Corps volunteers, strengthen accountability and oversight and enhance procedures to reduce the risk of crime in the countries where volunteers serve. The bill was passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate on September 24 after passing the House on July 10. “We are deeply grateful to all those who have championed this important legislation – from the family of Nick Castle to leaders in the U.S. Congress, including Senator Bob Corker, Senator Johnny Isakson, Congressman Ted Poe and Congressman Joe Kennedy III,” said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “Their leadership has made a positive impact on the Peace Corps by helping institutionalize higher standards for volunteer health, safety and security. This bill will codify best practices to help keep volunteers safe and hold the agency accountable to . . .

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Peru’s First Peace Corps Staff (Part Two)

Peru was tantamount to a second home for William Mangin who happened to have been born and raised in Syracuse, N.Y. After one year at Syracuse University, he joined the Navy V-12 program, was sent to St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., then to Cornell Midshipman’s School where he was commissioned an Ensign. Assigned to amphibious forces, he was sent to the Pacific and participated in the Marshall Islands invasions. Discharged in 1946, he returned to Syracuse for a degree in anthropology and mathematics, then went on to Yale for an M.A. in anthropology. In 1951, he went to Peru with a grant from the Social Science Research Council to study drinking practices among Quechua speakers in the high Andes. His report, eventually published, showed that a society could contain heavy drinking patterns (corn beer, super cane rum) and yet very little alcoholism. The next year, he operated the Vicos . . .

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Peru’s First Peace Corps Staff

Frank Mankiewicz was born in New York City into a family whose members are importantly involved in the American cinema. His father, Herman J. Mankiewicz was an Academy Award winner for the screen play, “Citizen Kane;” his brother, Don, wrote the prize novel, “Trial;” and the film version of “I want to Live;” and his uncle, Joseph, directed “Cleopatra” in the Elizabeth Taylor version, as well as, “All About Eve.” Frank got in one year at Haverford College before both World War II and his 18th birthday came along. He enlisted as a private and was sent to the Army Special Training Program, “because, I assume, I spoke French. Anyway, the Army had a rule—if you knew one language, you had to learn another, and when I arrived at City College of New York for ASTP, they assigned me to a Spanish class. I studied Spanish seven hours a day . . .

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Tanganyika’s First Peace Corps Staff

  Lee St. Lawrence,* later to be Peace Corps Regional Director for the Far East, was the first person in the agency to conduct program negotiations overseas. This was in Tanganyika [renamed Tanzania in 1964] in March, 1961. The negotiations resulted in a program in which 30 Volunteer surveyors, geologists and engineers, went into training at Texas Western University in El Paso, inaugurated Peace Corps’ own Outward Bound site, Camp Crozier, in Puerto Rico, and climbed off a plane in Dar es Salaam on September 27, 1961.   Robert Hellawell Several months before the Volunteers arrived in tanganyika, Sargent Shriver had a discussion with Associate General Counsel Robert Hellawell about the problems of getting first-rate people to run the programs overseas. Hellawell asked, “Would you consider me?” Shriver later reported, “I was amazed. There was Bob, a competent, dedicated lawyer, and he wanted to go to Africa for the Peace Corps. This . . .

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