The Peace Corps

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

1
Peace Corps Announces 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Schools
2
Jody Olsen Takes The Stand (Again)–Congressional Confirmation Hearing
3
Ashley Bell, “In, Up and Out” in Trump’s Fast Turn Over Peace Corps Administration
4
The Peace Corps Experience: Creating Global Citizens–Chicago Humanities Festival
5
Michael Varga Writes About Life With HIV (Chad)
6
Tom Miller Seeks Writer for Moritz Thomsen Book (Ecuador)
7
Peace Corps: Sunset Positions – An Unstructured Situation
8
Tom Bissell Reviews The Triumph of Christianity (Uzbekistan)
9
PC Sunset Positions
10
Former Peace Corps Official Guilty of Violating Conflict of Interest Law

Peace Corps Announces 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Schools

Peace Corps Announces 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Schools Press Release February 21, 2018 For the second straight year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Washington, and the University of Minnesota hold the top three spots respectively on the Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill ascends to No. 4 this year, while the University of Florida holds steady at No. 5. There are 85 Badgers serving in the Peace Corps, bringing the all-time count of volunteers from the University of Wisconsin to 3,279. Wisconsin has appeared in the top 5 of the Peace Corps’ rankings for the past three years. Making big jumps on this year’s large college list, the University of Texas moved from No. 25 to No. 8 and the University of Virginia moved from No. 15 to No. 6. The Texas Longhorns have 61 currently serving Peace Corps volunteers, while . . .

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Jody Olsen Takes The Stand (Again)–Congressional Confirmation Hearing

Things on the Hill are often subject to change: Date:  February, 27, 2018 Place:  Dirkson Senate Office Bldg:  Room 418 Time:  2:30 p.m.  (Suggest arrival 30 minutes before) Length of hearing:  35 – 45 minutes URL to watch on computer: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/nominations-021518  Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Tino Calabia (Peru 1963-65)

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Ashley Bell, “In, Up and Out” in Trump’s Fast Turn Over Peace Corps Administration

Ashley Bell, now an Associate Director of the Peace Corps, has been appointed regional director for the Small Business Administration in the Southeast. Bell, a lawyer and former member of the Hall County Board of Commissioners, has held several positions in the Trump administration — most recently as an Associate Director of the Peace Corps. He got in early with President Donald Trump’s campaign and Republican forces in the general election. “I’m a Day One guy for the administration,” Bell told The Times in a call from Atlanta on Tuesday. Bell worked in communications for the Republican National Committee during President Donald Trump’s campaign, and after Trump’s election Bell worked in communications for the State Department transition team before moving to the Peace Corps to work in external relations with other agencies, the public and Congress. Bell’s brief career at the agency Washington, D.C., July 7, 2017 — The White House has appointed . . .

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The Peace Corps Experience: Creating Global Citizens–Chicago Humanities Festival

I happen to ask  myself what has ever happened on February 21st with the Peace Corps and typed into Google the date and guess what popped up on my computer screen–February 21, 2014, Chicago, Illinois.    

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Michael Varga Writes About Life With HIV (Chad)

Michael Varga is a retired diplomat.  He served as a TEFL Teacher in the Peace Corps in Chad (1977-79).  As a Foreign Service Officer, he served primarily in hotspots in the Middle East for the U.S. State Department.  His assignments included the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Morocco, and Canada.  He worked in Washington, D.C. in the Economic bureau and as the desk officer for Lebanon when the last American hostages were released in the 1990s. He was also a Pearson Fellow at the World Trade Center Miami.  He holds a Master’s degree in Development Economics from the University of Notre Dame.  Michael is also an author.  His novel, Under Chad’s Spell, a fictionalized account based on his service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chad, Africa, is available on Amazon.com.  His essay, “Diplomatic Detours,” published in the March/April issue of Plus Magazine, details his life as a long-term survivor with HIV.  You can access the essay through . . .

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Tom Miller Seeks Writer for Moritz Thomsen Book (Ecuador)

Tom Miller has been writing about Latin America and the American Southwest for more than thirty years. Miller’s highly acclaimed adventure books include The Panama Hat Trail about South America, On the Border, an account of his travels along the U.S.-Mexico frontier, Trading With the Enemy, which takes readers on his journeys through Cuba, and, about the American Southwest, Revenge of the Saguaro. Additionally, he has edited three compilations, How I Learned English, Travelers’ Tales Cuba, and Writing on the Edge: A Borderlands Reader. Miller, a veteran of the underground press of the 1960s, was subpoenaed by the Nixon Justice Department to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the anti-war movement. Miller refused to even enter the grand jury room, claiming that to appear behind closed doors would affect his ability to gather news. After considerable legal maneuvering on both sides a US District Court judge ruled in Miller’s favor. Miller was born and raised . . .

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Peace Corps: Sunset Positions – An Unstructured Situation

Marian Haley Beil  has posted the list of the five pages of the Peace Corps positions which are being sunset.    This information was obtained from FOIA 17-0166, submitted in August 2017 and received on February 9th, 2018.  Here is the background: Peace Corps is caught in a riptide of conflicting directives. It must reduce its staff by 20%; address the “Management Challenges” identified by the OIG; and, continue to place and support serving Volunteers. All of this must be done effectively, efficiently and equitably. The support of the RPCV community is going to be more important than ever. Let us look more closely at each “challenge”, beginning with the 20% staff reduction. In May of 2017, President Trump directed all federal agencies to prepare a plan to reduce staff by 20%. Acting Peace Corps Director RPCV Crowley had each department prepare a list of jobs to be “sunset”.In August of 2017, Crowley announced the survey was complete and tht reduction . . .

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Tom Bissell Reviews The Triumph of Christianity (Uzbekistan)

A little over a week ago,  Denis Nolan (Ethiopia 1964-66), reviewed on this site: Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve written by Tom Bissell (Uzbekistan 1996). This Sunday, February 18th, in the Book Section of The New York Times, Tom reviews the new book by Bart D. Ehrman entitled, The Triumph of Christianity. While Ehrman’s book has received some mixed reviews (check out the WSJ) Tom sums up his lengthy review with this wise comment (and reason alone to read the book) “Reading about how an entire culture’s precepts and traditions can be overthrown without anyone being able to stop it may not be heartening at this particular historical moment. All the more reason to spend time in the company of such a humane, thoughtful and intelligent historian.” A collection of Bissell’s essays entitled, Magic Hours, is being reissued in paperback in March.  

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Former Peace Corps Official Guilty of Violating Conflict of Interest Law

The Peace Corps has just published  the following News Release.  It is important to note that a member of the Peace Corps staff alerted tne Office of General Counsel which led to this conviction. The News Release does not name the NGO.  We will try and find out. Later: POLITICO is reporting that the NGO was Seed Global Health.  Here is the link: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/05/buckingham-charity-lobbying-charge-391975 John Coyne, Peace Corps World Wide has reported on the relationship: Here is  one link: http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/the-peace-corps-in-bed-with-seed-global-health-foundation/ Press Release Peace Corps referral results in successful criminal prosecution The Peace Corps announced that its investigation and referral of a criminal case to the Department of Justice led to the successful prosecution of a former official charged with violating conflict of interest law. Former Peace Corps employee Warren “Buck” Buckingham admitted to violating a criminal conflict of interest law and agreed to pay a $10,000 penalty as part of a deferred . . .

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