The Peace Corps

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

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RPCV Who Served with Distinction in the Foreign Service (Ethiopia)
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Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras) new PEACE CORPS BIBLIOGRAPHY
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Carole Sojka Interviewed on DESTINATION MYSTERY (Somalia)
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“Remembering Peace Corps work: ‘It was our job to save the world’” (Tanganyika)
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The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience
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Do Africans Want Peace Corps Volunteers?
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Early Peace Corps evaluator Dick Richter passes away
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A Partial List of RPCV Ambassadors–7/3/2018
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RPCV Jennifer Mamola’s Health Struggles (Uganda)
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Part Six–First RPCV Ambassador: Parker Borg

RPCV Who Served with Distinction in the Foreign Service (Ethiopia)

Recently, I have published a series of blog items on RPCVs who have fulfilled Kennedy’s wish that Returned Peace Corps Volunteers would join the State Department and become our future ambassadors and finally break the “pale, male & Yale” syndrome of the Foreign Service. I have now identified fifty-four RPCVs, men and women of all ethnic groups, who have become, as they are formally called, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. RPCVs have also made significant contributions to the State Department in many ways  besides becoming ambassadors. One who did so is Tom Gallagher,  a Volunteer with me in Ethiopia from 1962-64. Gallagher was the youngest chief of a major diplomatic mission (US Consulate, Guayaquil), and was well on his way to an ambassadorial appointment when he made the decision to become the first civil servant in the world to publicly and voluntarily declare that he was a homosexual. Having done so, . . .

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Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras) new PEACE CORPS BIBLIOGRAPHY

  Using several sources, mainly Marian Haley Beil’s (Ethiopia 1962-64) listings, started in the 1979 Peace Corps Writers & Readers and currently with 452 titles and available at this website) as well as the 1989 annotated bibliography compiled by Robert B. Marks Ridinger, and also the Library of Congress bibliography, Larry Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77) has published a handy short text entitled Peace Corps Bibliography which contains published work by volunteers and staff about the agency and/or their service. The book is divided into three sections; (1) journals, letters and memoirs, (2) anthologies and (3) history. More than 230 volunteer and staff have written and published journals, letters and memoirs. There are more than a dozen anthologies. The book is available via Amazon.com books. Prior to the Internet and Print-On-Demand books, few Peace Corps Volunteers published accounts of their experience. Of all the first-person accounts, Larry has found that only twelve percent (12%) were published . . .

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Carole Sojka Interviewed on DESTINATION MYSTERY (Somalia)

I have the great pleasure this time of interviewing one of the most lovely and interesting of writers: Carole Sojka. Carole has lived a lifetime of adventures, notably with her husband as one of the first thousand Peace Corps volunteers, and traveling all over the world. She worked, traveled, raised a family, and in retirement, turned her hand to writing. And so a new adventure began. Carole has two books to date and a third on the way in her Andi Battaglia police series, set in Florida. The first, A Reason to Kill, introduces Andi as she tries to break away from her past and start fresh. But of course the past always has a way of sneaking up on you. In her second book, So Many Reasons to Die, it’s Andi’s partner Greg who finds that the past is hard to lay to rest. Especially when she winds up murdered on . . .

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“Remembering Peace Corps work: ‘It was our job to save the world’” (Tanganyika)

Thanks to a ‘heads up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974–77) • Remembering Peace Corps work “It was our job to save the world” After 57 years, four men still gather to reminisce From the Jefferson City, Missouri, News Tribune June 6, 2018 .   Four men who set out to change the world nearly 60 years ago gathered in Jefferson City this week to reminisce and play folk music. The men were members of the first wave of young adults sent overseas as part of the Peace Corps, created by John F. Kennedy shortly after he became president. Several men who were in the first wave of Peace Corps Volunteers gathered for a reunion this week to share stories and reminisce. They also share some that helped form them and the direction in life it caused them to remember Peace Corps work: ‘It was our job to save the world’ Lenny . . .

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The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience

Introducing… The Museum that Celebrates Your Service! The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience (MPCE) debuts virtually in 2018 and will soon becomes brick and mortar in Washington, D.C.  Help us realize this dream! Imagine a museum designed to tell Peace Corps stories, displaying artifacts from all around the world . . .. A museum that connects people and increases global understanding . . .. A place which inspires young people to serve their communities at home and abroad . . .. A shrine to our common humanity, demonstrating that our connections are more fundamental than all the forces that divide us into separate cultures and nations. You can get involved from the very beginning of this new adventure!  Here’ s how — 1. Visit our new website! Learn more about the plans for developing the Museum. 2. Login to the Museum’s new website.  Click here to create a password and login. By logging in, you’ll be able to update your . . .

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Do Africans Want Peace Corps Volunteers?

Thanks to ‘heads up’ about the following article  from Mark Wentling (Honduras 1967–69, Togo 1970–73; PC Staff: Togo, Gabon, Niger 1973–77) • Do Africans Want Peace Corps Volunteers? by Francis Tapon Contributor, Forbes Magazine Most tourists use the city of Tambacounda as a pitstop as they traverse Senegal. There’s little to see or do in town. There are even fewer touristic sites in the surrounding villages. Still, sometimes it’s the unpopular destinations that yield the most interesting stories. The United States Peace Corps operates in safe, poor African countries. It avoids dangerous regions. The Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) in Tambacounda invited me to celebrate the Fourth of July with them. We had no fireworks but we shared some hotdogs and Doritos under an American flag. I asked them, “Is the Peace Corps useful in Senegal?” One PVC said that they had trouble convincing locals to plant their own crops because they knew a . . .

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Early Peace Corps evaluator Dick Richter passes away

  Richard (Dick) William Richter, 88, died on June 29, 2018 in Issaquah, WA. He is survived by Joan, his wife of 67 years, two sons, Dave (Jenni) and Rob, as well as granddaughter India and grandson Kai, and eight nieces and nephews. Earlier in his career, shortly after the Peace Corps was started, Dick was an evaluator, traveling to nine different countries, including Afghanistan. Subsequently, he became Deputy Director of the program in Kenya, where he lived for two years with his wife and two young sons, traveling throughout East Africa. This experience opened the world for the Richter family and launched a lifetime of traveling to distant lands. Dick, who was raised in New York City, next became an award-winning journalist, working for newspapers and television in New York and Washington, DC. After retiring from ABC News and WETA, he was appointed President of Radio Free Asia. Supported by . . .

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A Partial List of RPCV Ambassadors–7/3/2018

LATEST LIST OF RPCV AMBASSADORS—7/3/2018 Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, U.S. Ambassador to Malta (2012-16); (PCV Oman 1980-82) Charles C. Adams Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Finland (2015); (PCV Kenya 1968-70) Frank Almaguer, U. S. Ambassador to Honduras (1999 to 2002) ; (PCV Belize 1967–69) & (PC/CD Honduras 1976-79) Michael R. Arietti, U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda (2005-2008); (PCV India 1969-71) Charles R. Baquet III, U.S. Ambassador to Republic of Djibouti (1991-94); (PCV Somalia 1965-67) Robert Blackwill, U. S. Ambassador to India (2001-03); (PCV Malawi 1964-66) Julia Chang Bloch, U.S. Ambassador to Nepal (1989-1993); (PCV Malaysia 1964-66) Parker Borg, U.S. Ambassador to Mail (1981-1984) & Iceland (1993-1996); (PCV Philippines 1961-63) Richard Boucher, Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2009-2013), (PCV Senegal 1973–75) Peter Burleigh, U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka (1995-1997); (PCV Nepal 1963-65) Katherine Hubay Canavan (formerly Peterson), U.S. Ambassador to Botswana (2005-2008); (PCV Zaire 1973-76) Johnnie Carson, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya (1999-2003) & Zimbabwe (1995-97) . . .

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RPCV Jennifer Mamola’s Health Struggles (Uganda)

  Jennifer Mamola, an advocate for HJPCV and RPCV from Uganda 2012-2013, shares her story about mental and physical health struggles and solutions during and after Peace Corps. • My Health Struggles by Jennifer Mamola (Uganda 2012–13) 23 June 2018   Flexibility, one might argue, is a key quality for Peace Corps Volunteers. It starts with the application process, continues with packing up your life to leave for service, sees you through your first bout of illness, and follows you on your return home. We rightly value this trait. However, Volunteers shouldn’t be pressured to flex on our health. As a Volunteer and public servant, I want to believe that I’m an iron woman. However, I admit that I experienced mental health struggles during Peace Corps service. Later, I also experienced severe physical health issues. April 2018 was a significant month for me. It marked five years since I lost . . .

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Part Six–First RPCV Ambassador: Parker Borg

Parker Borg was a PCV with the initial group of Volunteers to the Philippines, 1961-63. While not from Yale, but Dartmouth, Class of ’61, Parker was nevertheless “pale and male.” What made him rare in the State Department was that he was an RPCV. He would be nominated by three separate Presidents for Ambassadorial positions: Mali, Burma, and Iceland, but never went to Burma because of Senate objection to Burma’s human rights problems. When first nominated to go to Mali in 1981, the Peace Corps Director, Loret Ruppe, was thrilled by the news. Finally, the State Department would have an RPCV Ambassador. It had taken the State Department twenty years to fulfill JFK’s hope for the Peace Corps, that someday RPCVs would fill the ranks of U.S. Ambassadors. (We all know how slow the government bureaucracy is. Peter McPherson (Peru 1965-66) was named the Director of AID also in 1981, making . . .

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