The Peace Corps

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

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Peace Corps Writers MFAs
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Florence, From the Simple to the Spectacular (Travel)
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Despite memo, White House says Michelle Obama program unchanged
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JFK at 100
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Trump Abolishes Michelle Obama’s Signature ‘Let Girls Learn’ Programme
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2017 Budget Request for the Peace Corps
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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 11
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Matthews Davis of the Alan Cheuse Writers Center invites RCPVs… . .(Mongolia)
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Plan for Peace Corps in the Absence of Appropriations
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Let’s help Rajeev Goyal (Nepal) with his crowd funding

Peace Corps Writers MFAs

National University’s online MFA program has yet to launch a PCV & RPCV MFA cohort, though several Peace Corps Volunteers are already enrolled and taking classes. (The farthest away from sunny California and the main campus of Natural University is PCV Sally La Rue in Mongolia. Sally finishes up in-country this summer, will tour on her way home with her husband, and be back in an online class this fall wherever they decide to settle down.) I am now teaching a class (No Peace Corps Volunteers in it) on non-fiction for National University. While I have only ‘met’ my students online, they range in age from 23 to 65. All are getting their MFAs in Creative Writing. While National University has one of the few ‘totally online” programs, online classes are increasing across the US. Just last week Purdue University announced it was buying for-profit Kaplan University to boost enrollment . . .

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Florence, From the Simple to the Spectacular (Travel)

Florence, From the Simple to the Spectacular Is it worth an overnight flight to Firenze for a taste of gelato at La Carraia near Ponte alla Carrala? Is it worth a sleepless night on a jet for a sandwich of street food (porchetta and more) at all’Antico Vinaio near the Uffizi Gallery? Or perhaps dinner, after a day of sightseeing, at the friendly neighborhood hangout Alla Vecchia Bettola on the Piazza Tasso? Yes, it is. Throw in Florence’s showier treasures—the Medici Chapel, the Duomo, and the leather-goods stores, to name just a few—and this ancient yet lively Italian city becomes an irresistible destination. Last year my wife and I planned a trip to Florence for early May, hoping to beat the rush of summer tourists (we did). We wanted a room with a glorious rooftop view and a location within an easy walk of the museums, churches and restaurants—and to . . .

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Despite memo, White House says Michelle Obama program unchanged

(CNN)Hours after CNN reported on an internal document advising administration employees that former first lady Michelle Obama’s signature education initiative would not be maintained, the White House said the program had not changed. “There have been no changes to the program,” said Kelly Love, a White House spokeswoman, referring to the “Let Girls Learn” initiative, which Obama launched in 2015. “There have been no changes to the Let Girls Learn program. The Administration supports policies and programs to empower adolescent girls, including efforts to educate them through the completion of secondary school.We are committed to empowering women and girls around the world and are continuing to examine the best ways to do so.” The White House’s response came after an internal Trump administration document showed plans to end the “Let Girls Learn” program, which facilitates educational opportunities for adolescent girls in developing countries. “Moving forward, we will not continue to use . . .

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JFK at 100

Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Bill Preston (Thailand 1977-80) On this morning’s Brian Lehrer show, Douglas Brinkley and Stephen Kennedy Smith talked about JFK and their new book, on what would have been his 100th birthday. Among other things, the Peace Corps was mentioned. http://www.wnyc.org/story/jfk-centennial

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Trump Abolishes Michelle Obama’s Signature ‘Let Girls Learn’ Programme

The White House has discontinued Michelle Obama’s signature “Let Girls Learn” initiative, effective immediately. Internal documents obtained by CNN direct Peace Corps employees not to use the “Let Girls Learn” name or branding. While they may continue some “Let Girls Learn” projects, the Peace Corps will no longer maintain a stand-alone “Let Girls Learn” program. The initiative, which focused on educating girls around the world, was run primarily by the Peace Corps and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). A spokesperson from USAID told The Independent the agency is “committed to empowering women and girls around the world” and are “continuing to examine the best ways to do so.” Ms Obama launched the $250 million initiative in 2015 with the aim of using public and private partnerships to fund “new efforts to expand educational opportunities for girls – including in areas of conflict and crisis.” In the two years since its . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 11

In late January 2002, when a group of RPCV (myself included) heard that President Bush had appointed Gaddi H. Vasquez as the next Peace Corps Director, we began a protest against the appointment and rallied support from across the country from other RPCVs as well as former Directors, like Jack Hood Vaughn, a Republican. There were many concerns about Gaddie, beyond the fact that he had had never been a PCV, and the general sentiment was that now in the fullness of time, only a qualified RPCV should be appointed as director of the Peace Corps. There were certainly enough qualified RPCVs for the job. Gaddie’s father had immigrated from Mexico, but Gaddie was born on this side of the border, in Texas. (Gaddie was very proud–and rightly so–of his upbringing and kept a photo of his Dad on his Peace Corps Director Desk.) He talked a lot about how he . . .

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Matthews Davis of the Alan Cheuse Writers Center invites RCPVs… . .(Mongolia)

The Alan Cheuse Writers Center is at George Mason University in Virginia and the founding director is Matthew Davis (Mongolia 2000-02). Matt joined the Peace Corps after college, and his years as a Volunteer in The Land of Blue Sky inspired his first book, When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter’s Tale, which won our 2011 Peace Corps Experience Award. Davis holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa and an MA in International Relations from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He’s worked at The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, been a Fulbright Fellow to Syria and Jordan and a Tom and Mary Gallagher Fellow at The Black Mountain Institute in Las Vegas. The Alan Cheuse International Writers Center is a center that facilitates the exchange of international creative writers and writing in order to help foster the tolerance and understanding . . .

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Plan for Peace Corps in the Absence of Appropriations

There is some uncertainty about continuing funding for the federal government as Congress deliberates on a budge and/or a continuing budget resolution.  In a statement published in December of 2016, Peace Corps outlined its plans in the event there is temporary absence of appropriations.  Here is the link: http://files.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/documents/Peace_Corps_Operations_Plan_in_the_Absence_of_Appropriations.pdf

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Let’s help Rajeev Goyal (Nepal) with his crowd funding

The Crowd Rise Earth Roadmap Challenge is a crowd funding competition aimed at finding the most innovative, grassroots solution to the global environmental crisis. Whichever organization raises the most funds by May 18, will receive a $100,000 bonus prize in addition to whatever they raise, and beyond that their concept will help define the new global roadmap to tackling challenges that larger INGOs and the UN have failed in addressing. KTK-BELT (www.belt-project.org) has entered its vision of the world’s first 25,000-foot ‘Vertical University’ into the competition and after one week, they are in 1st place among 60 organizations, having raise $22,596. They are seeking support to win the competition. Donations, which are tax-deductible, can be made by clicking below. https://www.crowdrise.com/ktk-belt-roadmap2017 Rajeev Goyal was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal between 2001 and 2003. During that time he helped bring water to a village called Namje. He wrote a memoir about his . . .

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