The Peace Corps

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

1
Peace Corps Budget on the Firing Line
2
The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 9
3
From the Atlantic Monthly–James Fallows Remembers Charlie Peters
4
Do you remember this 1984 PCV tragedy? (Togo)
5
Dr. Brendan Goff speaks on the Peace Corps: The New Frontier in Action
6
Senator Tim Kaine Writes RPCV Dan Campbell (El Salvador)
7
Looking for an Editor to Help You Write Your Book? Check Out RPCV Chuck Lustig!
8
The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 8
9
The first class of MFA Creative Writing for PCVs and RPCVs at National University begins on April 10, 2017.
10
Talking with Sabra Moore (Guinea)

Peace Corps Budget on the Firing Line

Last night on Hard Ball Chris Matthews (Swaziland 1968-70) was asking his panel for “something he didn’t know” and one commenter said the Secretary of State had gotten much of AID’s budget restored. Matthews asked immediately, “what about the Peace Corps?” The reply was “I think Peace Corps is okay, the politics behind it are so strong.” The reason that they are strong is that NPCV president Glen Blumhorst (Guatemala 1988-91) led the efforts to generate a record number of signatures from 175 members of Congress to sign a “Dear Colleague Letter” for funding for the Peace Corps at no less than $410m for FY 2018. Also significant was that the Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet spent the last two weeks of her directorship walking the halls of Congress talking to congressmen and senators about supporting for the agency in the upcoming budget. Rumors are that the Senate will also . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 9

Carol Bellamy left the agency on May 1, 1995, and for several weeks it appeared that Harris Wofford (Ethiopia CD 1962-1964), a central figure in the creation of the agency, might become the new director. Clinton, however, had other plans and Wofford was asked by the president to take over and ‘save’ the new National Service Corporation. In August, Mark Gearan, then in the press office of the White House, and a political type, was named the next Peace Corps Director. Gearan was Director until August 1999, a total of four years and proved to be an outstanding director. I am indebted to Mark for taking an idea of mine—the Crisis Corps—and making it a reality. I had previously floated the idea of a “Crisis Corps” in a memo to Carol Bellamy who was intrigued by the idea but she didn’t last long at the agency. However, shortly after Gearan . . .

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From the Atlantic Monthly–James Fallows Remembers Charlie Peters

Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77) How to Reverse the Resentful, Unequal, Uncaring Parts of American Culture—-From the Atlantic Monthly A new book by Charles Peters (PCW/Staff 1961-65) looks to the past to address the problems of the contemporary United States Stories From Another Time, for Our Times: ‘We Dp Our Part’ James Fallows 8:42 AM / April 3, 2017 To the extent I spent any time studying in college, it was to learn about American history. The main impression the lectures and readings left on me was the realization that the country has always had big, serious problems. Slavery, violence, corruption, injustice—things were worst-ever during the Civil War, but if you choose your decade, you can name the corresponding set of failures and crises. As I think back to almost any stage in my own lifetime, I can tick off the emergencies of each . . .

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Do you remember this 1984 PCV tragedy? (Togo)

  AN IDEALIST’S SHORT LIFE ENDS IN A KILLING IN A TOGO VILLAGE Published: July 4, 1984 New York Times Twelve months into her tour as a Peace Corps volunteer, Jennifer Lynn Rubin, a 23-year-old from Oneonta, N.Y., seemed finally to have come to terms with the loneliness of being the sole volunteer in the village of Defale, population 500, in the West African country of Togo. Her letters home told of her trouble adjusting to her relocation from upstate New York. In some letters, Miss Rubin repeatedly mentioned a villager she had befriended, a 19-year-old woman named Gieselle who helped her adjust to the culture in northern Togo, a former French colony. On June 11 Miss Rubin was bludgeoned to death in her home, and the police in Togo have charged Gieselle with the murder. The police say they believe Miss Rubin was killed in revenge for telling Gieselle’s . . .

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Dr. Brendan Goff speaks on the Peace Corps: The New Frontier in Action

  Dr. Brendan Goff of New College of Florida met Harris Wofford for the first time when Harris was a senator in Washington. It was then that Goff learned of the role Wofford played in the creation of the Peace Corps. Speaking recently at a meeting of the Gulf Coast RPCVs group, he gave his perspective on the creation of the agency. He has kindly agreed to let me republish his presentation to the RPVCs about his studies. Footnotes to this academic article were removed. If interested in Dr. Goff’s writings email him at New College of Florida — bgoff@ncf.edu. • The Peace Corps:  The New Frontier in Action In the fall of 1991, I worked as an intern in the office of Senator Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania. I chose to do my internship with Senator Wofford because of his strong stance on the need for health care reform.  But I was soon . . .

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Senator Tim Kaine Writes RPCV Dan Campbell (El Salvador)

Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77) wrote a letter to his senator– Tim Kaine–asking for support for the Peace Corps in the upcoming budget. I thought we would all like to read it and asked Dan if I might share it with you. Thanks, Dan. Dear Mr. Campbell: Thank you for contacting me about the Peace Corps.  I appreciate hearing from you. Since 1961, the Peace Corps has challenged nearly 220,000 Americans to serve in over 140 countries and to help people in need.  In the process, Peace Corps volunteers have helped develop hundreds of communities around the world while promoting a better understanding of the American people.  Currently, about 6,800 volunteers, including over 200 Virginians, serve in 64 countries, mostly in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.  I strongly believe that this service helps advance the national interests of the United States. I understand the value of serving . . .

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Looking for an Editor to Help You Write Your Book? Check Out RPCV Chuck Lustig!

Chuck Lustig (Colombia, 1967-68) novelist, editor and an Iowa Writers’ Workshop MFA graduate. Some of his instructors at Iowa: John Irving, John Leggett and Gail Godwin. Currently finishing part one of his four-part Peace Corps hero saga entitled Charging the Jaguar (the story of a PCV turned Colombian drug lord), Chuck Lustig is available for: Writer’s coach therapy sessions by telephone or Skype: Tell me your writing challenges; let me listen and only then suggest possible options/solutions; Line-by-line edits of manuscripts; and Editorial critiques of Peace Corps novels and memoirs. Your immediate opportunity: Subscribe to Chuck Lustig’s monthly ExcitingWriting Advisory. Cost: Gratis. (Chuck has been bringing out a new issue of his newsletter every month for the past 15 years. Content also appears as a blog. For a number of years now, Chuck has been reviewing a different book about writing every month. For sample content, visit my blog at . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 8

Carol Bellamy was nominated to be Peace Corps Director by Bill Clinton. The Senate confirmed her for the position on October 7, 1993. Leaving Bears Steams, where she was managing director, she was Peace Corps Director until May 1, 1995. President Clinton then nominated her to be head of UNICEF. One of Carol’s many claims to fame is that she is the first RPCV (Guatemala 1963-65) to be Director of the agency. How she got the appointing is an interesting and typical Washington story of how people get jobs in D.C. Maureen Orth (Columbia 1964-66) attending a Georgetown party shortly after Clinton was elected mentioned to the president-elect that the Peace Corps never had an RPCV director. Maureen told me, “Clinton’s eyes widened, hearing that news.” It was clear he understood he could be the one to nominate a ‘first” for the job.   Clinton also would nominate Chuck Baquet (Somalia 1965-67) . . .

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The first class of MFA Creative Writing for PCVs and RPCVs at National University begins on April 10, 2017.

The first class of MFA Creative Writing for PCVs and RPCVs at National University begins on April 10, 2017. This total online graduate degree program will begin with a seminar in Creative Nonfiction. Students write and critique each others’ original work in an online workshop-style format. Through presentation and critique of published and student-generated work, students will advance their understanding of the genre’s many forms, including memoir, autobiography, nature writing, literary journalism, and the personal essay. The course is being taught by novelist and nonfiction writer John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64). If interested in enrolling in this special MFA program, contact John Coyne at jcoyneone@gmail.com, or Frank Montesonti, Lead Faculty at National University at fmontesonti@nu.edu.

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Talking with Sabra Moore (Guinea)

Sabra Moore (Guinea 1964-66) an artist and activist before, during, and after her Peace Corps years has just published her memoir of twenty-two years in New York working as an artist and freelance photo editor. The book is entitled, Openings: A Memoir from the Women’s Art Movement, New York City 1970-1992. Her book also goes back to her Peace Corps years and her childhood in east Texas. I recently interviewed Sabra about her career, in and out of the Peace Corps, and her current life in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Sabra, what was your background before the Peace Corps?  I grew up in east Texas- my grandparents were farmers, my father organized for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and was a railroad engineer for the Cotton Belt and my mother was a dedicated first-grade school teacher. I graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a BA cum laude and studied in the liberal . . .

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