Archive - July 2009

1
So, What's with the NPCA?
2
Former CD Says What Is Right & Wrong About Step # 9
3
Winners Of Peace Corps Writers 2009 Books Awards
4
RPCV Writer Michael Meyer (China 1995-97)
5
Leahy At Peace Corps Crossroad
6
Our RPCV Reporter in Honduras
7
It Is Time To Call Senator Leahy's Office (Again!)
8
Sarah Palin For Peace Corps Director?
9
RPCV Dick Lipez Is Back With New Don Strachey Mystery
10
New Version of Larry Leamer's Blog on HuffingtonPost

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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Winners Of Peace Corps Writers 2009 Books Awards

Publisher Marian Haley Beil (Ethiopia 1962–64) and I are pleased to announce the winners of the 2009 Peace Corps Writers Awards for books published during 2008. We have added two new awards to the six we have given in the past — one for Best Peace Corps Memoir, and one for Best Book of Photography. The winning books and authors are: Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award The Last Days of Old Beijing Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed By Michael Meyer (China 1995-97) Walker & Company Maria Thomas Fiction Award The Baker’s Boy By Barry Kitterman (Belize 1975–77) Southern Methodist University Press Award for Best Travel Writing Travel Wise How to Be Safe, Savvy and Secure Abroad By Ray Leki (Nepal 1979-80; Staff: 1988–90; Pakistan 1990) Intercultural Press Award for Best Poetry Book The Book of Sleep By Eleanor Stanford (Cape Verde 1998–2000) Carnegie Mellon Press Award for . . .

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RPCV Writer Michael Meyer (China 1995-97)

In the Sunday’s Book Section  of The New York Times there is an essay on the book that ‘launched’ the Peace Corps: The Ugly American. This novel, written by William Lederer and Eugen Burdick in the late Fifties, stirred Kennedy and others in JFK’s administration into new international action. This essay in the NYTIMES on this infamous book is written by one of the China Gang of PCV writers, Michael Meyer (China 1995-97), author of The Last Days of Old Beijing. In his essay, Meyer writes, “The Peace Corps is not a panacea, but when it comes to projecting America’s values abroad, its spirit comes closest to what the fictional Homer Atkins advocated decades before that global symbol of a different kind of ugly Americanism, Homer Simpson, told his children: “You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.”

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Leahy At Peace Corps Crossroad

Leahy at Peace Corps Crossroad is a “My Turn’ column in the Burlington Free Press written by Scott Skinner (Nepal 1964-66). Scott writes: “Sen. Patrick Leahy has frequently provided courageous leadership in the Senate. But he is now faced with a major challenge, and it is not clear that he is going to step up to meet it. “Sen. Leahy is the chairman of a key Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittee that funds the Peace Corps. On Thursday, this subcommittee is scheduled to meet to allocate approximately $49 billion for a large variety of foreign projects. Funding for the Peace Corps is a tiny part of this sum. As chairman, Sen. Leahy can basically decide himself how much funding goes to the Peace Corps. “The Obama administration had proposed a Peace Corps budget of $373 million, an amount that would effectively reduce the number of the Peace Corps volunteers despite the president’s . . .

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Our RPCV Reporter in Honduras

More than 6,000 U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers have served Hondurans since 1963 in every facet of development, in every state of that nation. This uninterrupted service bridged seventeen years of military rule, the Soccer War (1969), two serious hurricanes (1974, 1998), and sporadic flooding exacerbated by deforestation. Since 1981, Honduras has participated in civilian rule. On June 28th, the president elect, his family, and foreign minister were forced at gun point to leave. Below is an electronic message from Joe Arcoleo (Honduras 1977-80) who reports from that country. I was in Tegucigalpa while attending a funeral of a family member and travelled outside of the capital area during the events June 25 through 30 of this year.  I audited an organizing committee meeting that a group of ordinary citizens held during my visit.  These citizens considered the Honduran military’s actions to remove the President illegal.  They brave men and women . . .

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It Is Time To Call Senator Leahy's Office (Again!)

The vote is this week on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State/Foreign Operations. We really have one more day to call. Senator Leahy is the key person.  If you are from his state call 802.863.2525 and tell him you vote! Otherwise, call the Washington, D.C. number (and tell them you are moving to Leahy’s hometown) and that you vote.  Tell the Senator’s office to vote to increase the Peace Corps budget; tell the person who answers the phone that America needs a bold Peace Corps world wide. Thank you. p.s. If you have called, call again. It won’t hurt!

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Sarah Palin For Peace Corps Director?

Here’s a thought….what if the President, in a show of bipartisanship, picks Sarah Palin as our next Peace Corps Director? Obama has a habit of taking ‘potential’ Republican candidates and liberal Republicans into his Administration. [Well, she is not liberal, but she has potential to run against him]. Also, she is versed in international affairs…not only can she see Russia from her  home, she recently got her first passport. Sarah has about as much experience as some past Directors….Nick Craw (1973-74) raced sports cars and had a trust fund; Loret Ruppe (1981-89) had been to Europe (after college) before she was appointed, but she had never been a Governor; Dick Celeste (1979-81) was a Governor and an Ambassador, but only after he was Peace Corps Director; he was, however, a Rhodes Scholar; Coverdell (1989-91) was a state senator; Gearan(1995-990) had a passport (I think) and did work on the Hill; Elane Chao (1991-92) was born in Taiwan, but hadn’t done anything internatonal until she took over the Peace Corps; Gaddi Vasquez (2002-06)was . . .

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RPCV Dick Lipez Is Back With New Don Strachey Mystery

Dick Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) who uses the pen name Richard Stevenson has a new Donald Strachey novel coming out in September. This one is titled, The 38 Million  Dollar Smile. Lipez, who has written for such publications as The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Newsweek and The Washington Post, and more importantly, was a Peace Corps evaluator in the early days when Charlie Peters ran that division, writes now in western Massachusetts  and lives with his spouse, sculptor Joe Wheaton. Lipez has written ten titles in this Strachey series, and this novel is based on Dick’s recent trip to Asia. The plot centers on Gary Griswold, the hapless gadfly scion of Albany old money, late of Key West, who goes missing, and his ex-wife, now married to Gary’s brother, wants to know what’s happened to him–not to mention his 38 million dollars in cash. She calls Don Strachey, Albany’s only gay PI.  The rest, as they say, . . .

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New Version of Larry Leamer's Blog on HuffingtonPost

Senator Patrick Leahy has done much to advance American democracy. When it comes to issues of civil liberties or governmental abuse, he has been there standing stalwart and often alone. That is something that all 195,000 returned Peace Corps volunteers and all Americans concerned with their country’s role in the world must remember, as in the next few days, with the Senate Mark-Up scheduled for Thursday, July 9th, the Senator will have the power to give birth to a bold new Peace Corps or possibly to destroy that dream forever. As Chairman of the State Foreign Operations and Related Programs subcommittee , Senator Leahy has enormous power, and usually what he says goes. Thursday, he can vote for the robust funding of $450 million that will send young Americans out to the most remote archipelagos of Indonesia, carrying a message that Americans are the children of freedom, not of empire. . . .

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