UCLA made a ’small fortune’  in the ’60s from the federal government to train PCVs at their Extension School, and is now joining up with the Peace Corps Regional Recruitment Office to host three days of events–March 2-5, 2011–on their main campus.

Entitled, “Peace Corps: The Next 50 Years” there will be a panel discussion in Powell Library on March 2, 2011 at 7 that will has as its moderator Chris Matthews (Swaziland 1968-70)  and will include Frank Mankiewicz (CD Peru & HQ 1961-65), who graduated from UCLA and went onto become Latin America Regional Manager after Peru; Maureen Orth (Colombia 1964-66), special correspondent for Vanity Fair and the founder of the Marina Orh Foundation, and Aaron Williams (Dominican Republic 1967-70) the current Peace Corps Director.

After that discussion there will be a ‘dessert reception’  (What, no beer?) and a exhibition if their appeal to RPCVs pays off and former Trainees send in photos. This exhibit will be up in Powell Library through the semester.

On March 3rd, at noon in the famous UCLA Bruin Plaza there will be an international food fest, with music.

Also on Thursday, that evening at the James Bridges Theater there will be a screening , A Small Act, a film done by Jennifer Arnold, the daughter of a PCV. (UCLA is ‘really’ stretching their Peace Corps connections now!)

I have a feeling that while the UCLA events are pretty slim, they will develop in time. If you have any ideas for the organizers, drop them a note, and leave a comment here.

One thought they might consider is the film done by cross town neighbor Judy Irola (Niger 1966-68) who is an award winning cinematographer and a Full Professor at the University of Southern California. She also holds the Conrad Hall Chair in Cinematography (endowed by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg) at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

In the summer of 1966 a group of 65 PCVs went to Niger. They worked in agriculture, dug wells and started health clinics for women and their babies. In 2008 five of these RPCVs return to Niger to revisit the country, see our old friends and witness how their work has improved the lives of the people there. When they returned to their host country, they also did a documentary film. You can see a short ten minute trailer of this film at www.niger66.com.  The film was produced and directed by Judy Irola.

See, UCLA, you could get a film by a talented film maker who WAS a PCV!

Just a thought.