The Peace Corps

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

1
To Die On Kilimanjaro
2
The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 6
3
Chris Honoré: Why preserve the Peace Corps? (Colombia)
4
The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 5
5
Charlie Peters remembers Appalachia in NYTIMES, Sunday Review
6
Project Concern International celebrates the Peace Corps, March 1 Anniversary, and RPCV employees
7
RPCV Charles Murray (Thailand 1965-67) shouted down at Middlebury College
8
The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 4
9
Acquital in the Trial of Accused Murderers of PCV Kate Puzey
10
The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 3

To Die On Kilimanjaro

To Die On Kilimanjaro By John Coyne I first went to the Blue Marlin Hotel at the edge of the Indian Ocean in the summer of ’63. It was the summer between my two years of teaching at the Commercial School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At the time the Blue Marlin was full of Brits. It was the last days before Kenya’s independence. By the late Sixties the Brits had been replaced by German tourists. Today, I’m told, the village, and most of Kenya, suffers from a lack of tourists because of Al- Shabbaab. This story begins, however, in the early ‘70s when the hotel was full of Germans and where the few English speaking tourists gravitated to one end of the bar. It was there when I had come again to travel through Africa—heading back to Addis Ababa– that I met Phillip and his beautiful wife, April, and their . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 6

In the middle of 1989, Loret Ruppe left the Peace Corps to become a U.S. ambassador in Europe and Paul Coverdell was appointed Director on April 20. Once again the head of the agency became a revolving door. All Directors, as we know, have a way of stamping their tour (however brief) with some new project. For Coverdell it was the famous school-to-school program and the establishment of the Fellows/USA which helps RPCVs get into graduate programs. Coverdell would also say that the Peace Corps should be a “vibrant, vital part of the U.S. foreign policy.” This was a radical change for an organization that has embodied the spirit of altruism since its inception. The Peace Corps has always been about helping other people because it was the right thing to do, not because it was politically advantageous or even politically correct. Coverdell, however, is most famous for a front . . .

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Chris Honoré: Why preserve the Peace Corps? (Colombia)

Why preserve the Peace Corps? Mar 6, 2017 at 12:01 AM By Chris Honoré One of Donald Trump’s first acts as president was to eliminate funding for nongovernmental organizations in poor countries if they offer abortion counseling as a family planning option or if they advocate for the right to seek an abortion in their countries. The freeze applies even if the NGO uses other funds for such services. Republicans have supported this policy since the Reagan administration.   But the reality is that despite how freighted with ideology the above policy is, it’s not a one-off. The Trump administration has submitted a budget that will propose severe cuts to foreign aid programs as part of a 37 percent cut to the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development. As well, Trump has told interviewers that he does not plan on filling hundreds of currently vacant posts in State or at USAID, . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 5

On April 27, 1979, President Carter signed an amendment to the ACTION legislation granting the Peace Corps special independence. Dick Celeste was appointed Peace Corps Director and ACTION associate director for International Operations. I’m told Bill Josephson, a New York lawyer, and one of the Mayflower Gang that created the agency in 1961 was involved in writing the amendment. Peace returned to the Peace Corps with the appointment of Loret Miller Ruppe on May 6, 1981. She is, so far, the longest serving Peace Corps Director. In her tenure from 1981 to 1989 the budget increased almost 50%, the number of PCVs by 20%, the average attrition rate decreased significantly and according to Senator Chris Dodd (Dominican Republic 1966-68) she “took the Peace Corps out of the pit of politics and made it non-partisan.” Programs began or were renewed in 14 countries. One of the disturbing pieces of information that . . .

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Charlie Peters remembers Appalachia in NYTIMES, Sunday Review

  I Remember When Appalachia Wasn’t Trump Country By CHARLES PETERS MARCH 4, 2017 New York Times Sunday Review • I am a liberal from West Virginia. That didn’t used to be unusual. I remember when the people of the state were liberal, and what liberalism meant for their lives. In 2016 a majority of West Virginia’s voters supported Donald J. Trump, and many expressed outright hatred of Barack Obama. But when I was last active in the state’s politics, in 1960, the state was a leader in desegregating schools in response to the Brown v. Board of Education decision. John F. Kennedy won the state by a wide margin, and I was one of an overwhelming majority of Democrats elected to the state’s House of Delegates — along with a handful of Republicans. Today that tiny minority is the majority. So how did we get from there to here? The . . .

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Project Concern International celebrates the Peace Corps, March 1 Anniversary, and RPCV employees

(l to r) Mark O’Donnell (Honduras  ) PCI COO; PCDirector Carrie Hessler-Radelet; Gaddie Vasquez (PCDirector 2002-06) never a PCV, Board of PCI; Bob Sullivan (Ethiopia 1968-70) Board PCI Former Peace Corps Director takes helm of International Development Organization SAN DIEGO—Carrie Hessler-Radelet was selected as the new President & CEO of Project Concern International (PCI) by its Board of Directors on February 3. Hessler-Radelet will lead PCI’s efforts working with families and communities in 16 countries to enhance health, end hunger, and overcome hardship. It was 56-years-ago today that President Kennedy established the Peace Corps and began a legacy of Americans serving abroad. Over the years, the Peace Corps has attracted more than 225,000 motivated changemakers to promote world peace and friendship in 141 countries across the globe. The international development community is full of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), and that is especially true here at PCI. While we have . . .

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RPCV Charles Murray (Thailand 1965-67) shouted down at Middlebury College

  Middlebury students chant and shout to prevent Charles Murray from speaking. He later is led to a private location, where a discussion with a professor is live streamed. By Scott Jaschik   March 3, 2017 Students at Middlebury College on Thursday chanted and shouted at Charles Murray, the controversial writer whom many accuse of espousing racist ideas, preventing him from giving a public lecture at the college. Murray had been invited by Middlebury’s student group affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank at which Murray is a scholar. Many of his writings are controversial, but perhaps none more than The Bell Curve, a book that linked intelligence and race and that has been widely condemned by many social scientists (even as Murray has been supported by others). Prior to the point when Murray was introduced, several Middlebury officials reminded students that they were allowed to protest but not to . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 4

The 70s decade produced a series of ETDs — Early Termination Directors. These were Directors who couldn’t hold the position for as long as a PCV’s tour of service. They came and they went from the agency, then they used the ‘good name’ of the Peace Corps as a reference to further their own careers. Most of these Directors had no idea what it meant to be a PCV. The Peace Corps was just another government paycheck to them. The ‘70s had begun with high hopes—at the time, some people thought Nixon ‘liked’ the Peace Corps. There was even a ‘breakfast at the White House with the President that David Searles (Philippines & HQ 1971-76) details in his fine book on the decade, The Peace Corps Experience: Challenge & Change 1969-1976, where Nixon was “talkative” and even posed with the staff for photos. Unfortunately, writes Searles, “the CRV, having learned . . .

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Acquital in the Trial of Accused Murderers of PCV Kate Puzey

Peace Corps has issued the following statement: “The trial in the matter of the 2009 homicide of Peace Corps volunteer Kate Puzey concluded in Benin on February 25, 2017. “Along with her family and friends, we continue to mourn the loss of Kate and we offer them our deepest sympathies during this difficult time. Today and every day, we honor Kate, whose memory is never far from our minds as we continue to build a stronger, more effective Peace Corps. We remain steadfast in our commitment to a Peace Corps that is worthy of Kate’s legacy. The Peace Corps and the Peace Corps Office of Inspector General appreciate the support of the State Department, Justice Department, FBI and the Government of Benin. “https://www.peacecorps.gov/news/library/peace-corps-statement-conclusion-trial-2009-“homicide-peace-corps-benin-volunteer-kate-puzey/ The official statement makes no mention on the outcome. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports there was an acquittal in the conclusion of the trial.  Read the article . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 3

Why did the Peace Corps suffering such a decline in interest in the early ’70s, especially from younger potential PCVs? Why did the agency begin to ‘disappear’ after the assassination of JFK? Was it the focus of New Directions on ‘experienced’ and skilled volunteers? The War in Vietnam? Or did the ‘married couples with families’ change the image of the Peace Corps? (The ‘new and very brief and unsuccessful focus on married couples did give the agency our famous writer Maria Thomas (Ethiopia 1971-73) who served with her husband and young son and that experience produced some wonderful Peace Corps stories, including, Come to Africa and Save Your Marriage.) With the decline in interest in the Peace Corps, one might ask: why was it so initially successful? Here’s one reason why. The central image of the Peace Corps in the Sixties was captured and promoted ‘free’ on radio and television thanks . . .

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