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NY TIMES Today: Questions on Trump? Peace Corps Volunteers Change the Topic
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Review — THE EMPEROR AND THE ELEPHANTS by Richard Carroll (CAR)
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A benefit for Operation Respect draws RPCV crowd
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Laurette Bennhold-Samaan “Going HOME” From Samos
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“Disillusionment in the Delta” by William Seraile (Ethiopia)
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Laurette Bennhold-Samaan Final Week at Refugee Camp in Greece
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Wofford and Shriver cited in new book: KENNEDY AND KING
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NPCA Conference in Colorado This August
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A Different View of the Ocean
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“Astronomer Jillian Bellovary (The Gambia) on Black Holes, the Peace Corps and Roller Derby”

NY TIMES Today: Questions on Trump? Peace Corps Volunteers Change the Topic

Questions on Trump? Peace Corps Volunteers Change the Topic By EMILY COCHRANEJULY 5, 2017 WASHINGTON — As a Peace Corps volunteer assigned to a school in Gostivar, Macedonia, Sarah Blake would listen, waiting for the English words that began to puncture the conversations during the first months of 2017. Trump. Ban. Ms. Blake, in her third year as a Peace Corps volunteer, was often the only American in the city of about 80,000 in the Macedonian foothills, where the predominantly Muslim population speaks Albanian. She began to stress about having to explain the Trump administration’s new travel policy and the president’s own statements about Islam. Shoulders hunched, head down, she would conjure reasons to step away in case these questions came up, she said. Too much work. A meeting to attend. “There hasn’t been a really perfect president,” said Ms. Blake, a Maryland native who now lives in Istanbul after completing her Peace . . .

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Review — THE EMPEROR AND THE ELEPHANTS by Richard Carroll (CAR)

  The Emperor and the Elephants: A Peace Corps Volunteer’s Story of Life during the Late 1970s in the Central African Empire Richard W. Carroll (Central Africa Republic 1976–82) Peace Corps Writers May 2016 186 pages $15.00 (paperback); $3.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mark T. Jacobs (Paraguay 1978–80) • A LONG-TIME WILDLIFE CONSERVATIONIST, Richard Carroll began his engagement with Africa as a Volunteer in the Central African Republic in the late 1970s. His memoir spans the decades that have come and gone since then while emphasizing the early years. Although the natural world is the focus of the book, Carroll draws a human frame around his observations of animals, plants, terrain, and the weather. He does this two ways. Both of them enrich the narrative, leaving the reader with an appreciation of the complex interactions of humankind with the planet we inhabit, along with a heightened awareness of the threat to the . . .

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A benefit for Operation Respect draws RPCV crowd

  Thanks to a ‘heads up’ from Geri Critchley (Senegal 1971-72) —   A BENEFIT WAS HELD ON JUNE 7th in Washington, DC for Operation Respect.  Created in 1999, Operation Respect offers free resources and training for addressing anti-bullying and respect for differences, and are distributed to schools worldwide. It was co-founded by Peter Yarrow (of “Peter, Paul and Mary” fame). OR was catapulted to success by the song “Don’t Laugh at Me” that was introduced to Peter by his daughter Bethany, and subsequently he recorded it with Paul and Mary. The benefit was chaired by Geri Critchley (Senegal 1971–72), and hosted by  Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, former Ambassador to Portugal. At the benefit, former Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator Harris Wofford (Ethiopia CD 1962–64) were honored for their service. After hearing Yarrow lead a rousing sing-along, Kerry was prompted to remark that he now could “believe in the country’s ability to weather a storm.” (Kerry and Yarrow’s . . .

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Laurette Bennhold-Samaan “Going HOME” From Samos

Going “HOME” Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit it. — H. Jackson Browne “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” — Dalai Lama In Closing This was my first blog and I hope that I was able to capture my ideas, impressions, and stories to create imagery and intrigue. I hope you have learned a bit more about what one person’s experience has been with refugees and I hope it has brought questions to your head and moved your heart in some way. Tomorrow at the crack of dawn I fly back. Over my career, I have worked with others on their re-entry and how difficult it is and oftentimes more difficult than the outbound adjustment. I have no doubt that this experience will stay with me forever. It has impacted and affected every . . .

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“Disillusionment in the Delta” by William Seraile (Ethiopia)

After his Peace Corps service in Ethiopia, William Seraile returned home to earn his masters in ’67 from the Teachers College at Columbia, and a doctorate in American history from the City University of New York in 1977. Now a professor emeritus — after 36 years teaching African American history at Lehman College, CUNY in the Bronx  — Bill lives in New York, and is the father of two and grandfather of four. In a 3-part review published on this site in 2016 of  The Fortunate Few: IVS Volunteers from Asia to the Andes  written by Thierry J. Sagnier (2015), I wrote about Seraile and other RPCVs (33) and Peace Corps Staff (15) who joined the International Voluntary Services (IVS) and went to Vietnam, and I wrote about the four IVS veterans who went from IVS into the Peace Corps. What follows is Bill Seraile’s account of his Vietnam experience. — JC • Disillusionment . . .

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Laurette Bennhold-Samaan Final Week at Refugee Camp in Greece

July 1 Samos is Small: people impressions Give what you have to someone. It may be better than you dare to think. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words and action is all that is necessary. — Margaret Cousins I grew up in a small town- about 15, 000 townspeople and then 15,000 university students. The entire island of Samos has only 35,000 people and the capital Samos about 6,000 (not including the refugee camp which is about 1000 give or take). First, a bit about Samos, Greece. It’s in the eastern Aegean Sea, separated from Turkey (which I can see with the naked eye) by the mile-wide Mycale Strait. It was the birthplace of mathematician Pythagoras and philosopher Epicurus and is known for producing sweet Muscat wine which I don’t actually care for. On the southeast . . .

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Wofford and Shriver cited in new book: KENNEDY AND KING

The story of Harris Wofford and Sarge Shriver’s advice to Jack Kennedy in the 1960 election has been told many times. I first heard it from Wofford in Ethiopia when a group of PCVs were at the Woffords’ home for dinner back in 1962. For those who do not know the history, Wofford was the first Peace Corps Director in Ethiopia, having already helped to create the Peace Corps with Shriver, and after having been Kennedy’s civil rights advisor in the White House, and before that involved in the campaign to elect Kennedy president when this incident took place. In a new book: KENNEDY AND KING The President, the Pastor, and the Battle Over Civil Rights by Steven Levingston, reviewed in the  New York Times in this week’s Sunday edition, that event in the presidential campaign is detailed again. Many believe it was the ‘key’ event that swayed the election in Kennedy’s favor. In his review, James . . .

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NPCA Conference in Colorado This August

Meet Acting Director Sheila Crowley at Peace Corps Connect   Acting Director Sheila Crowley  to Join Peace Corps Connect Conference. NPCA is pleased to announce that Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley will be a featured speaker at the Peace Corps Connect conference on Saturday, August 5, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Acting Director Crowley will join NPCA President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst in a “fireside chat” to talk about Peace Corps’ priorities under her leadership and then present the Deborah Harding Women of Achievement Award. Register now to get your front row seat at these important events. Meet Acting Director Sheila Crowley Sheila Crowley has served as Acting Director of the Peace Corps since January 2017. She brings to that role more than 25 years of public and private-sector experience, including leadership roles in international development, business, and the financial services industry. Most recently, Sheila served from 2015 to 2017 as Acting Associate Director of Peace Corps’ Office of . . .

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A Different View of the Ocean

Laurette Bennhold-Samaan writes from refugee camp in Greece Courage is the ladder on which all other virtues mount― Clare Boothe Luce The gift we can offer other is so simple a thing as hope- Daniel Berrigan I love the ocean and always have. It gives me a peaceful sense and an appreciation of nature. My dream has always been to retire at the ocean someplace sometime. I now look at the ocean in a different way. Yesterday I learned much more about the EU/Turkey deal the end of March in which the EU paid Turkey to accommodate more refugees however many of the refugees would prefer to be reunited with various family members in other countries. In 2015 when there were hundreds of refugees arriving daily, to Samos, they were sleeping on the streets as there was no coordinated location to house them (no refugee camp). Last night at dinner, . . .

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“Astronomer Jillian Bellovary (The Gambia) on Black Holes, the Peace Corps and Roller Derby”

  Thanks for the ‘Heads up’ about the following article from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77)  • Astronomer Jillian Bellovary On Black Holes, The Peace Corps And RollerDerby Written by Swapna Krishna, Syfy Wire Women are doing amazing things in space science, and today I want you to meet Jillian Bellovary. Jillian studies black holes, and in this interview she was kind enough to talk to me about her research, her experiences as a woman in STEM, the Peace Corps, roller derby, and how knitting led her to a dream job.     Can you tell me about how you got to where you are professionally? What was your path to becoming an astronomer? Jillian Bellovary: I’m interested in everything. I wasn’t one of those kids who always wanted to be a scientist because I have always wanted to do everything. Everything! I almost majored in Anthropology but decided the job . . .

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