Archive - July 10, 2009

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In The New York Times Still 'Ugly After All These Years
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So, What's with the NPCA?
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Former CD Says What Is Right & Wrong About Step # 9

In The New York Times Still 'Ugly After All These Years

Still ‘Ugly’ After All These Years By MICHAEL MEYER In the annals of misunderstood titles, a special place belongs to William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick’s novel “The Ugly American.” Today, the phrase is shorthand for our compatriots who wear tube tops to the Vatican or shout for Big Macs in Beijing. But as summer vacation season begins (at least for those who can still afford it), it’s worth recalling that the impolitic travelers in “The Ugly American” aren’t drunken backpackers or seniors sporting black socks, but the so-called educated elite of the diplomatic corps, whose insensitivity to local language and customs prompts observations like this: “The simple fact is, Mr. Ambassador, that average Americans, in their natural state, if you will excuse the phrase, are the best ambassadors a country can have,” a Filipino minister tells an American official. “They are not suspicious, they are eager to share their . . .

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So, What's with the NPCA?

I have been around the Peace Corps so long that I remember the first RPCVs who organized against the Vietnam War back in 1965. This group managed, by the way, to take over the old Peace Corps offices in the Maiatico Building at 806 Connecticut Avenue during the Nixon years. Various local and county-of-service groups began to organize in the mid-sixties. One such group in Washington, D.C. iniated planned and launched the 25th anniversary conference on the Mall in 1986. At that same moment in time a national RPCV organization began, this time in Colorado at a reunion of RPCVs. They were spurred into action because Sam Brown, who was running ACTION and the Peace Corps for Jimmy Carter, told the RPCVs he wouldn’t have anything to do with them (yes, the distrust by the Peace Corps administration for RPCVs started way-back-then: disown the kid once he’s/she’s served!) The Colorado crowd of RPCVs didn’t want anything . . .

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Former CD Says What Is Right & Wrong About Step # 9

I received an email today that I’d like to share with you. Dave Berlew, the Peace Corps CD in Ethiopia (1965-68), was in his professional life a PhD from Harvard in behavioral science and a management consultant in his career. He wrote to say what he thought of my Step #9 for the Peace Corps. Take a look. John, your list qualities for CD (Country Director) candidates, while on the one hand humorous, is also pretty close to the mark if you look at it as a Gestalt rather than item by item.  But there are more systematic ways of approaching the CD assessment problem.  In late 1964 I traveled to Washington to interview with Shriver for the Director of Selection position.  When I got there he told me had filled the position the day before with the head selection guy at Exxon Corporation.  When he offered me the job as Deputy Director of . . .

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