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Thursday, June 22 is Action Day for Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers
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The Primary Achievement of the 25th Anniversary Conference
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Laurette Bennhold-Samaan in Samos, Greece: Working with Refugees
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A Weekend of Deep Nostalgia, the 25th Anniversary Conference
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Bill Moyers Says It All At The 25th Anniversary Conference
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Sunday’s 25th Anniversary Procession to Arlington National Cemetery Ampitheatre
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Talking with Mary Dana Marks (Iran), author of WALLED IN, WALLED OUT
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Remembering the 25th Anniversary RPCV Conference (Washington, D.C.)
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Talking with Mark Walker (Guatemala)
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How will the reinstated Mexico City Policy impact Peace Corps Programs?

Thursday, June 22 is Action Day for Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers

  NPCA will be in the Halls of Congress to advocate for HR 2259, A.K.A. The Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act, June 22.  NPCA gives eight reasons why we should support this important bill.  If the links within the article do not work, as it is copied and pasted here, then use this link to go directly to the NPCA website.  If you are going to be in the Washington DC area, you can sign up to walk the Halls with other RPCVS.  If that is not an option, then use the link to contact your Congressional Representative. Here is the article: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/articles/eight-reasons-you-should-support-peace-corps-health-legislation “As the Peace Corps community prepares for our 3rd annual Health Justice Awareness Day on June 22nd, here are eight reasons why you should join us on Capitol Hill or make plans to take action to advance Peace Corps health legislation in the House of Representatives (HR 2259, A.K.A. The Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act). The . . .

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The Primary Achievement of the 25th Anniversary Conference

As president of the RPCV of Washington, D.C., Roger Landrum (Nigeria 1961-63) was the major force in creating the 25th Anniversary Conference. I asked Roger to write from his perspective about the event, and I am pleased to publish his comments here. Thank you, Roger. Note JC The Primary Achievement of the 25th Anniversary Conference The most enduring impact of the 25th anniversary conference was engaging the growing number of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer as an organized force supporting the three goals of the Peace Corps. Those of us who initiated and organized the anniversary conference were determined to build more effective RPCV organizations.  The group of Iowa RPCVs who created the National Council of RPCVs (now the NPCA) made an important breakthrough in 1979 by establishing a framework for an independent national alumni organization, but that organization had only a small membership and lacked momentum. The 1986 anniversary conference, . . .

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Laurette Bennhold-Samaan in Samos, Greece: Working with Refugees

Laurette Bennhold-Samaan started working at the Peace Corps in 1995 as the first Cross-Cultural  Specialist with the Peace Corps and pioneered mandatory state-of-the-art cross-cultural training for all Volunteers and Staff in more than 90 countries. After her Peace Corps years, she went to work for the World Bank, and then for several cross-cultural firms until very recently when she found herself out-of-work. This is Laurette’s very new blog that is telling us what she is doing now, and I thought you might all find it interesting. Note: JC Your job is over…. But your work has just begun Hearing the words, “your job is over” from my current employer went over like a lead balloon. Then, after 3 long and arduous months of job searching, I realized that I needed to change directions. I needed to take advantage of the time “off” in between jobs and do something that I have always wanted . . .

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A Weekend of Deep Nostalgia, the 25th Anniversary Conference

Many RPCVs had traveled to the conference primarily to be united with old friends. Friday evening, they were involved in hundreds of parties around the city. One street was cordoned off in the Adams Morgan area of D.C. for dancing and food. The restaurants of that area—Meskerem, the Red Sea, The Manilla, and others—were filled with RPCVs. Loret Miller Ruppe got her family to donate Miller beer for an international festival on the Mall that Sunday afternoon. There was a Caribbean band, I recall, plus the Izalco and Asian dance troupe, and the Kankouran, an African dance troupe, which had hundreds of volunteers up and dancing to African drums. “You could tell the volunteers from Africa by how they danced,” said Mark Hallett (Philippines 1983-85). Paul Wood (Nepal 1965-67) wrote in the Sebastapol Times and News of his time in D.C., “We could be free with each other in ways . . .

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Bill Moyers Says It All At The 25th Anniversary Conference

What most of us remember of the weekend were Sargent Shriver’s comments under the big tent on the Mall and Bill Moyers’ speech in Arlington National Cemetery Ampitheatre. A ‘heads’ up’ to Sally Collier (Ethiopia 1962-64) for reminding me that Moyers’ talk should be published and shared with all the RPCVs and Staff who were not in Washington that bright September Sunday morning in 1986, or who joined the Peace Corps in the years since our 25th Anniversary Celebration. Remarks by Bill Moyers At the Peace Corps’ 25th Anniversary Memorial Service September 21,1986 Those men and women whose memory we honor today—volunteers and staff—would not wish us to be sentimental, to make heroic their living or to bestow martyrdom on their dying. I never met a volunteer who did not wince at the tales of idealism and sacrifice spun by Peace Corps/Washington in the cause of plump budgets and rave . . .

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Sunday’s 25th Anniversary Procession to Arlington National Cemetery Ampitheatre

On Sunday morning, September 21, 1986, the Peace Corps Family gathered beside Daniel Chester French’s statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial. By country of service, all the RPCVs, Staff, and family and friends marched in procession across the Potomac’s Memorial Bridge carrying host country flags loaned by ambassadors. “I was in the Colombia delegation, and our group was close to the front of the line,” wrote Margaret Riley (Colombia 1973-75). “At the point when my group had finished our crossing, I looked back and all I could see was this mass of Returned Peace Corps volunteers and friends spanning the bridge, with the flags of all the countries waving as the group advanced. To me it was the most moving moment of the weekend.” The procession paused in the stark beauty of Arlington National Cemetery at President John F. Kennedy’s grave, by the eternal flame. Alan and Judy . . .

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Talking with Mary Dana Marks (Iran), author of WALLED IN, WALLED OUT

  In April, Mary Dana Marks published Walled In, Walled Out: A Young American Woman in Iran with Peace Corps Writers. She describes her book this way: “A young American woman comes of age in Iran, threading her way through the venerable history and culture of this ancient, proud Muslim land to find her own unique role.” Here she talks of her Peace Corps experience, her career, and how she came to write Walled In, Walled Out. • Where and when did you serve in the Peace Corps? I was a Volunteer in Iran from 1964 to 1966. What was your Peace Corp project assignment? I was part of a large TEFL group, Iran 4, which trained at the University of Michigan during the summer of 1964. We studied Farsi, of course, and Iranian history and culture. Working with U of M’s summer English Language Institute students, we trained to be teachers . . .

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Remembering the 25th Anniversary RPCV Conference (Washington, D.C.)

The 25th anniversary conference was one of the most remarkable events in the history of the Peace Corps. If you were fortunate enough to be in Washington, D.C., in September 1986, you were one of approximately 5,000 RPCVs who had served in 94 countries who took part in the event, much of it within the largest tent ever raised on The Mall, at the foot of the Capitol Dome adjacent to the Air and Space Museum. The tent was the brainchild of Bill Carey (Bolivia 1965-68), who left a Congressional job to become executive director of the conference. The tent was born of necessity. Other facilities of sufficient size had already been reserved. David Schickele (Nigeria 1961-63) would later write, “That tent was like the Peace Corps I was part of in 1961-63. Its muggy windless flaps said something about heat and hard work and improvisation, its massive nonchalance the . . .

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Talking with Mark Walker (Guatemala)

  Mark Walker recently published Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond with Peace Corps Writers. Read more about Mark,  his writing and his book. • Mark, where and when did you serve in the Peace Corps? I served in Guatemala from 1971 to 1973. What was your Peace Corps project assignment? My Peace Corps program was a soil fertilization project that operated under the auspices of the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture in cooperation with the University of North Carolina through a contract with USAID. We inventoried soil productivity in our site by taking soil samples and sending them to UNC for analysis. We also tested the productivity of new seed varieties (corn, wheat, beans and potatoes) which were treated with different types of fertilizers. Tell us about where you lived and worked in-country. Initially, I was sent to one of the highest points in Central America, Ixchiguan, in the highlands . . .

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How will the reinstated Mexico City Policy impact Peace Corps Programs?

We don’t know. It is complicated. President Trump has reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy on abortion, first announced by President Reagan in 1984. My understanding is that the Reagan Memorandum applied to non-governmental organizations, which received US funding. President Trump’s Memorandum expanded to include all departments or agencies. Wikipedia describes Reagan’s policy: The policy requires non-governmental organizations to “agree as a condition of their receipt of [U.S.] federal funds” that they would “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations”.[11] The policy has exceptions for abortions done in response to rape, incest, or life-threatening conditions (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico_City_policy) Here is the link to Reagan’s original policy statement: http://abortion.procon.org/sourcefiles/MexicoCityPolicy1984.pdf On January 27, 2017, President Trump expanded the policy: “I direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the extent allowable by law, to implement a plan to extend the . . .

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