The Peace Corps

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

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Write Your Peace Corps Book Online
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Jody Olsen (Tunisia) sworn in (again) as Director of the Peace Corps
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Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers posts new request
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Blatchford’s 1970’s “New Directions” for the Peace Corps (PC/HQ)
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Good Peace Corps news from the Senate (Washington)
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Talking with P. David Searles (Philippines & Peace Corps/HQ)
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Come Celebrate the Life of Roger Landrum (Nigeria)
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Remembering the murder of PCV Deborah Gardner (Tonga)
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Talking with Romany Tin (Cambodia)
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The Genius of Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)

Write Your Peace Corps Book Online

Want to write a book about your Peace Corps experience? I will lead a two-month seminar beginning this June for RPCVs interested in writing their own Peace Corps memoir or novel. The online weekly seminar will feature videos, online classes and discussions, and individual phone conversations. The seminar will be limited to ten students and have a flexible schedule. Besides writing, the seminar will also focus on ways to publish and promote a finished manuscript. The cost for the two-month seminar is $200. Interested RPCVs should contact me at jcoyneone@gmail.com by May 1, 2018 to secure a spot in the seminar.

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Jody Olsen (Tunisia) sworn in (again) as Director of the Peace Corps

  WASHINGTON – Dr. Josephine (Jody) K. Olsen was sworn in as the 20th Director of the Peace Corps this week. Olsen has previously served the agency in various capacities. Jody, who has made her career at the Peace Corps, having defied the Peace Corps Five-Year-Rule of  going “In, Up and Out” was a PCV in Tunisia (1966-68), Chief of Staff at HQ, Regional Director  and then Deputy and Acting Director of the Peace Corps from 2001 – 2009. In her ‘accepting’ of the position, she misspoke by saying, “It is an absolute honor to begin my service as Director of the Peace Corps.  I’m grateful to President Trump for his trust and confidence.” (Hello! Jody, you been to HQ. You know where the coffee machine is located.) The Peace Corps Press announcement went onto say: “Olsen is committed to leading a Peace Corps that remains the world’s preeminent volunteer agency, offering . . .

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Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers posts new request

Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers advocates for serving Volunteers and RPCVs. The group has been successful in bringing attention to the serious health related problems serving Volunteers may have incountry as well as the problems facing RPCVs with service connected medical conditions. Members have worked, not only with Peace Corps, but  also Congress seeking solutions. Both the pending Sam Farr Peace Corps Enchancement Act HR2259, which HJPCV has specifically worked for as well as the pending  Nick Castle Reform Act of 2018, S2286, reflect the attention they have brought to these important issues Now, a serving Volunteer wishes to gain support to ask Peace Corps to change existing STI testing guides. HJPCV supports her efforts:  From the HJPCV Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Health-Justice-for-Peace-Corps-Volunteers-252575374823790/ “A currently serving Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon is reaching out to PCVs and RPCVs to bring the attention of the Peace Corps to an important health issue . . .

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Blatchford’s 1970’s “New Directions” for the Peace Corps (PC/HQ)

I first published Director Blatchford’s announcement in  May, 1997 — JCoyne • New Directions On my recent trip to Kenya, Libya and Iran I was often the recipient of warm thanks for the work done by others in the past, coming from government ministers truly grateful for a help hand. But just as often I was asked if we couldn’t somehow provide more people trained in vocational education, agriculture, and business management, for example, than are not available. Everywhere the cry was for mean and women with higher priority skills–who can also work with people–to fill priority development needs. To consider these and other problems I called together a task force of 50 distinguished men and women to examine the Peace Corps in ten specific areas. They came from within and without the Peace Corps, from among former Volunteers, staff and men and women of outstanding ability in private life…I have . . .

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Good Peace Corps news from the Senate (Washington)

Thanks to the heads up from Bill Josephson (PC/HQ 1961-66) Dear John, The Senate unanimously passed on March 13 the Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act, S. 2286.  It was introduced in the House on March 14.  Attached is section 1(b), the Table of Contents.  It demonstrates the areas of Congressional concern and, therefore, of Congress’s opinion of the Peace Corps failings. In my 57 years of monitoring Peace Corps legislation, I have never before seen such a wide-ranging list of Congressional concerns, even to the records and monitoring of Peace Corps training attendance.  (I’ve always had anecdotal doubts about overseas training.) The Consolidated Appropriation Act continues the Peace Corps funding level of $410 million.  This makes even more important efforts to ensure that the Peace Corps’ 20 percent staff cuts savings go to enlisting more volunteers. The only provision I regret is the easing of the five year flush.  I feel sure it . . .

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Talking with P. David Searles (Philippines & Peace Corps/HQ)

David Searles’ career has included periods during which he worked in international business, government service and education. After service in the United States Marine Corps (1955-58) Searles worked in consumer goods marketing and in general management positions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Latin America. His business career was interrupted by a brief stint as a high school teacher (1969-71) and longer periods of service with the Peace Corps (1971-76) and the National Endowment for the Arts (1976-1980).  Searles served three years as the country director for the Peace Corps in the Philippines, and two years at Peace Corps headquarters as a Regional Director for North Africa, Near East, Asia, and Pacific (NANEAP) and as Deputy Director under John Dellenback. Following the end of his business career in 1990 Searles earned a Ph. D. from the university of Kentucky (1993), and published two books: A College For Appalachia (1995) . . .

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Come Celebrate the Life of Roger Landrum (Nigeria)

Come Celebrate the Life of Roger Landrum Roger Landrum, whom many of you have known and enjoyed for decades, passed away at home after a battle with cancer on Dec. 9, 2017. His friends will hold a much-deserved Memorial Service to celebrate his life with our words and his, as well as with music and his photographs. This celebration will be held on  Saturday, June 2, 2018, 12:00pm in Washington, DC. Please save the date. And let us know if you plan to attend. We will follow-up more specific information about location, after we receive your responses. We need to have a proper estimate of numbers of attendants (to confirm an appropriate venue), so please respond as soon as possible. Email: Richard Harrill at: rharrill@email.unc.edu Sincerely, Bill Currier, Richie Harrill, and Norma Brooks

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Remembering the murder of PCV Deborah Gardner (Tonga)

In the late Nineties, shortly after I had taken over the job of manager of the New York Recruitment Office for the Peace Corps, I got a call from a reporter at the New York Observer newspaper. I thought he was calling to ask me about the Peace Corps and to write an article about the agency. Well, in a way he was, but he started by asking if I knew anything about the murder of a young woman in Tonga in 1975. The reporter’s name was Philip Weiss and he didn’t realized he had stumbled on an RPCV who was fascinated by the history of the Peace Corps and obsessively collected PCV stories. Phil Weiss was also obsessed, but by the murder of this PCV in Tongo. In 1978, when he was 22 and backpacking around the world, he had crashed with a Peace Corps Volunteer in Samoa named . . .

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Talking with Romany Tin (Cambodia)

The Peace Corps may do work around the world to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination, but, according to a report on Friday, it’s a different story if one of its volunteers tests positive. A Peace Corps volunteer who was stationed in Cambodia claims the federal government agency quarantined him in a hotel room and then terminated his service after he tested positive for HIV. Wrote Jorge Rivas in Splinter News I published the article  “Peace Corps accused of quarantining, then firing, PCV with HIV (Cambodia)” about PCV Romany Tin on March 12 on our site and then reached out to get his story of what happened in Cambodia and with the Peace Corps. — JCoyne • First off, Romany, where did you go to college? I attending California State University Long Beach and majored in Political Science and International Studies. I graduated in May of 2017 and departed to Peace Corps on July . . .

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The Genius of Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)

I first  published this item on June 1, 2009. A new publication from Quito, Ecuador, is out with a scholarly look at the writings of Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador 1965–67). It is the online publication LiberArte, from the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito. Contributors to LiberArte are primarily professors and students at the university. The journal, first published in January, 2005, features articles on literature, film, and critical trends in Ecuador. Last year there was a conference on Thomsen’s writing held in Quito. If you are interested in any reports from that conference, contact Martin Vega (vegamart@gmail.com) Martin also welcomes comments and critiques of Thomsen from those who knew him. I asked Martin if he knew Moritz and he said he didn’t, but that Alvaro Aleman, who heads up their journal, did know Moritz and often visited him in Guayaquil and spoke with him at length about authors and books. After Thomsen’s death, Alvaro . . .

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