Archive - March 9, 2010

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Peace Corps At Day One: #16 Anybody Want Any PCVs?
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Ann Lounsbery Owens (Ethiopia 1962-64) In New Book On JFK

Peace Corps At Day One: #16 Anybody Want Any PCVs?

Warren Wiggins would tell me in an interview I did with him in January 1997  that the greatest weakness of the original idea of the Peace Corps was that it didn’t have a constituency beyond “the youth of America.” The Peace Corps, Warren said, “was not an outgrowth of development experience. It didn’t have a constituency in the Congress, the press, or other leadership institutions in the U.S. nor did it have a constituency abroad.” This proved to be an immediate and immense problem. Kennedy had created a Peace Corps and no one wanted it! There were 25,000 potential PCVs waiting to go do something for America, but no Third World country asked for them. Getting requests for PCVs was a major problem. “Shriver almost terminated me in those early months,” Warren recalled in his interview. “He would never admit that, and I am not sure if it was conscious. Hell, . . .

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Ann Lounsbery Owens (Ethiopia 1962-64) In New Book On JFK

There is an article in the New York Times this morning (Tuesday, March 9) about a new book, Letters to Jackie: Condolences From a Grieving Nation edited by the historian and professor at the University of New Hampshire, Ellen Fitzpatrick. One of the letters was written by Ann Lounsbery, who in1963 was an Ethiopia I PCV serving in the town of Mekelle. She had written home to her mother after Kennedy’s assassination, and her mother had sent her letter, and one of her own, to Mrs. Kennedy. In Ann’s letter, (now Ann Lounsbery Owens), she wrote  “I feel now as if a member of my family had died. In a very real sense he was our idol; he is the reason for us being here–his idealism, his courage.” Ann did not know her mother had sent her letter to  Jackie Kennedy until she was contacted by Fitzpartrick. “It brought tears to my eyes to hear my mom’s words,” she said in  the Times . . .

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