The Peace Corps

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

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Sunday’s 25th Anniversary Procession to Arlington National Cemetery Ampitheatre
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Remembering the 25th Anniversary RPCV Conference (Washington, D.C.)
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How will the reinstated Mexico City Policy impact Peace Corps Programs?
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Tom Weck Wins Golden Script Screenplay Writing Prize (Ethiopia)
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RPCV NYC announces 6th Annual Story Slam
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Luncheon in Celebration and Remembrance of Mary Ann Orlando
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Meet the “Impact” Woman at the NPCA….Juliana Essen (Thailand)
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Peace Corps Office of the Inspector General -Semiannual Report to Congress
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Harris Wofford: The Key to John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Victory
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Paul Theroux writes the Peace Corps story for JFK: A VISION OF AMERICA

Sunday’s 25th Anniversary Procession to Arlington National Cemetery Ampitheatre

On Sunday morning, September 21, 1986, the Peace Corps Family gathered beside Daniel Chester French’s statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial. By country of service, all the RPCVs, Staff, and family and friends marched in procession across the Potomac’s Memorial Bridge carrying host country flags loaned by ambassadors. “I was in the Colombia delegation, and our group was close to the front of the line,” wrote Margaret Riley (Colombia 1973-75). “At the point when my group had finished our crossing, I looked back and all I could see was this mass of Returned Peace Corps volunteers and friends spanning the bridge, with the flags of all the countries waving as the group advanced. To me it was the most moving moment of the weekend.” The procession paused in the stark beauty of Arlington National Cemetery at President John F. Kennedy’s grave, by the eternal flame. Alan and Judy . . .

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Remembering the 25th Anniversary RPCV Conference (Washington, D.C.)

The 25th anniversary conference was one of the most remarkable events in the history of the Peace Corps. If you were fortunate enough to be in Washington, D.C., in September 1986, you were one of approximately 5,000 RPCVs who had served in 94 countries who took part in the event, much of it within the largest tent ever raised on The Mall, at the foot of the Capitol Dome adjacent to the Air and Space Museum. The tent was the brainchild of Bill Carey (Bolivia 1965-68), who left a Congressional job to become executive director of the conference. The tent was born of necessity. Other facilities of sufficient size had already been reserved. David Schickele (Nigeria 1961-63) would later write, “That tent was like the Peace Corps I was part of in 1961-63. Its muggy windless flaps said something about heat and hard work and improvisation, its massive nonchalance the . . .

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How will the reinstated Mexico City Policy impact Peace Corps Programs?

We don’t know. It is complicated. President Trump has reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy on abortion, first announced by President Reagan in 1984. My understanding is that the Reagan Memorandum applied to non-governmental organizations, which received US funding. President Trump’s Memorandum expanded to include all departments or agencies. Wikipedia describes Reagan’s policy: The policy requires non-governmental organizations to “agree as a condition of their receipt of [U.S.] federal funds” that they would “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations”.[11] The policy has exceptions for abortions done in response to rape, incest, or life-threatening conditions (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico_City_policy) Here is the link to Reagan’s original policy statement: http://abortion.procon.org/sourcefiles/MexicoCityPolicy1984.pdf On January 27, 2017, President Trump expanded the policy: “I direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the extent allowable by law, to implement a plan to extend the . . .

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Tom Weck Wins Golden Script Screenplay Writing Prize (Ethiopia)

Thomas Weck (Ethiopia 1965-67) has just been awarded a prize as Finalist in the Golden Script Screenplay Writing Contest for his screenplay, The Medal.  The screenplay is the fusion of a love story and a coming of age set in the First World War.   He has entered a number of other screenplay writing contests where he will hear the results later this summer.  He entered into these competitions with his screenplay, The Medal, as well as his second screenplay, Horace & Baby Doe, based on a true story of the most remarkable and improbable love affair set in the waning days of the Wild West.  

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RPCV NYC announces 6th Annual Story Slam

  Returned Peace Corps Volunteers take the stage to share true stories of service abroad The 6th Annual RPCV Story Slam will be held on Saturday, June 24. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. at Hostelling International New York City. It is located at 891 Amsterdam Ave. in Manhattan.  Suggested contribution of $5 for entry and drinks also available for a donation. Proceeds will support a current Peace Corps project abroad. When RPCVs tell stories, they humanize and illuminate places and people with that grassroots, Peace Corps perspective. Chuckle, cringe and even cry as RPCVs relive some of their most meaningful, bewildering and trying moments. “RPCVs are a goldmine of heart-rending, poignant and comical moments that expose us to our own limits and help us push past them,” said Sarah Porter who served in Macedonia from 2005 to 2007. “We tell it like it is, . . .

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Luncheon in Celebration and Remembrance of Mary Ann Orlando

In Washington, D.C. today, June 2, at the Dacor House there is a special luncheon being held in celebration and remembrance of Mary Ann Orlando, the legendary personal assistant of Sargent Shriver who died on April 19, 2017, in Chevy Chase, Maryland. When Sargent Shriver moved from Chicago, Illinois to Washington, D.C. and became the Director of the Peace Corps he brought only one person with him, and that was Mary Ann Orlando. Mary Ann was born and raised in Chicago and went to work in 1946 at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. In 1948 Shriver took charge of the Mart, owned by his father-in-law, and Mary Ann became his secretary. At the start of the Peace Corps in 1961, she had already worked for Sarge for 13 years. Her title was Confidential Assistant to the Director. Mary Ann would go with Shriver to OEO, and later with him to his private . . .

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Meet the “Impact” Woman at the NPCA….Juliana Essen (Thailand)

As Chief Impact Officer, Juliana Essen strives to heighten NPCA’s capacity as a social impact organization in an integrated and comprehensive way. Her key responsibilities include strengthening strategic thinking and evidence-based decision making; stimulating an environment of learning and improvement; prioritizing communications as a primary vehicle of impact; supporting membership, development, and revenue-generating efforts; building collaborative relationships within and beyond the Peace Corps community; and developing NPCA’s third strategic goal: amplifying the Peace Corps community’s global development impact. Before joining NPCA, Juliana enjoyed a first career in academia. She earned a PhD in cultural anthropology specializing in sustainable development and spent 12 years teaching at a small, private liberal arts college in southern California. In 2015, Juliana left academia for the social impact sector where she could more fully engage her values. She completed a professional degree in social enterprise and launched her new career as Operations Director at Tandana . . .

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Peace Corps Office of the Inspector General -Semiannual Report to Congress

The Peace Corps Office of the Inspector General reports to Congress twice a year. Here is the link to the latest report from the OIG to Congress.  It is of interest because it describes the trial and outcome regarding the  murder of Kate Puzey.  The section dealing with that report is printed here. The OIG also is charged with various audits.  In this report, there is the evaluation of programs in China and Georgia. Semiannual Report to Congress October 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.peacecorps.gov/documents/inspector-general/OIG_Semiannual_Report_to_Congress_Oct_2016_-_March_2017.pdf  Here is the section describing the investigation into the murder of Kate Puzey (page 24) “The U.S. Government has been assisting the Government of Benin with the ongoing investigation into Ms. Puzey’s death since 2009. Peace Corps OIG’s initial involvement in the case focused on the circumstances surrounding the related disclosure of confidential information, including the role of agency staff and contractors. Subsequently, OIG . . .

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Harris Wofford: The Key to John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Victory

Tonight’s CNN program entitled  “Race for the White House” captures the drama of how a high-stakes presidential election can turn on a single issue. The issue involved Harris Wofford who created our Peace Corps with Sargent Shriver but before that ‘saved’ the presidential campaign of JFK with one phone call. If you saw the Monday night CNN program you saw how Martin Luther King was arrested in October 1960 and Coretta King called Harris Wofford, a friend, and asked for his help.  King had been arrested and sentenced by a Georgia judge to four months of hard labor for driving with an out-of-state license. Coretta was afraid that her husband would be killed and she asked Wofford, then working on the Kennedy campaign for the presidency, for his help. As the CNN program details, and as Wofford described in his book, Of Kennedys and Kings, he called Shriver in Chicago . . .

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Paul Theroux writes the Peace Corps story for JFK: A VISION OF AMERICA

  JFK: A Vision for America by Stephen Kennedy Smith & Douglas Brinkley was published by HarperCollins this May on the centennial of President Kennedy’s birth. The book has a compendium of JFK’s most important speeches, hundreds of photographs, and commentary and reflections on Kennedy’s administration, policies, and programs by leading American and international authorities. The “authority” selected to write the Peace Corps story is none other than Paul Theroux. What’s amusing to RPCVs is that Theroux was perhaps the first Volunteer to be sent home (ETed) by the agency because of his involvement in Malawi political affairs. This just goes to show that even in the Peace Corps “writers always have the last word.”      

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