Archive - May 2010

1
More on Moritz
2
Making a Difference: One Life at a Time
3
Who Was What, When, Where, And Why?
4
When The Peace Corps Was Young And New
5
RPCV Mike Tidwell (Zaire 1985-87) Interviewed By Katie Couric Today On The Disaster In The Gulf
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Could You Pass The Peace Corps Test?
7
RPCVs and the FBI–In Case You Are Still Wanted!
8
Obama Remembers JFK At U of Michigan Commencement

More on Moritz

When I interviewed Moritz Thomsen back in July 1990, I asked him when someone like himself, who had lived for so long in another culture, writes about that society, are they writing from any sort of advantage: the advantage of an insider, for example, or are they limited by always being a foreigner in a strange land. Moritz answered in part, “The only thing I know about foreign culture is how I feel about it: that’s what I’ve always tried to write about. Cornell wrote about the overpowering importance of our emotions to ourselves. The trick for a writer, and he is probably like most writers writing about his emotions, is to make these emotions important to others. What a risky and awful business to write, finding yourself interesting when you’re not.” We also published in RPCV Writers & Readers, back in May 1995, an exchange of letters between Moritz . . .

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Making a Difference: One Life at a Time

Making a Difference: One Life at a Time by Nancy and Joel Meister (Peru 1964-65) This is another chapter in the early  history of the agency. We published this essay several years ago in www.peacecorpswriters.org. [While serving overseas, many PCVs take a host-country national youth under their wings. Many even provide these girls and boys help in school within their own country, and on occasion arrange scholarships for them to study in the U.S. Often this “adopting” of a young girl or boy is the first building block of life-long friendships and successful lives for these children. While often the “Peace Corps kids” of Volunteers go on to have productive lives within their own country, few of them become presidents of their nations.    At the NPCA’s 40+1 celebration of the Peace Corps, Joel and Nancy Deeds Meister (Peru 1964-65) were scheduled to introduce the keynote speaker at the Opening . . .

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Who Was What, When, Where, And Why?

[In an attempt  to bring together all the loose threads of the ‘Peace Corps’ early days, if not under one roof, than one blog, here is my quick summary of the reasons, causes, studies, movements, persons, and congressional legislation that resulted in the creation of the agency. I have written about some aspects of this in other blogs, but this is an attempt to pull the events into some sort of order, (if only my own!) for those of us who are tracking the development of the Peace Corps as we reach the magical half century.] In early 1960, Maurice (Maury) L. Albertson, director of the Colorado State University Research Foundation, received a Point-4 (precursor to USAID) contract to prepare a Congressional Feasibility Study of the Point-4 Youth Corps called for in the Reuss-Neuberger Bill, an amendment to the Mutual Security Act. The Youth Corps was “to be made up of young Americans . . .

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When The Peace Corps Was Young And New

It is interesting to see what the public reaction was to the agency in its first days. Here is part of an editorial from the Norristown, Pennsylvania Times Herald back on February 15, 1962. • WHEN THIS ADMINISTRATION entered office, one of its most novel proposals was for creation of the Peace Corps. The idea was, and is, that numbers of dedicated young people with particular talents and education would be sent to underdeveloped countries to aid them in becoming responsible nations. Members of the Corps would, so far as possible, live with the people, and accept a more or less comparable standard of living. The proposal was nonpartisan — and it was met with a nonpartisan response. Members of both parties greeted the plan with enthusiasm — and other members of both parties shook their heads in doubt. In any event, Congress approved, and the President appointed his brother-in-law, R. Sargent . . .

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RPCV Mike Tidwell (Zaire 1985-87) Interviewed By Katie Couric Today On The Disaster In The Gulf

May 4, 2010 1:45 PM Katie Couric interviews RPCV author and environmental expert Mike Tidwell about the massive oil spill in the Gulf and its potential consequences to coastal communities. Entire interview available at: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6460705n  @katiecouric is a weekly online webshow on Tuesdays at CBSNews.com.  The webshow is hosted by Katie Couric, Anchor and Managing Editor of the CBS EVENING NEWS, and features candid one-on-one interviews with top newsmakers from the worlds of politics, business, entertainment and more.  Past interviews have included Glenn Beck, First Lady Michelle Obama, pop star Justin Bieber, and Sesame Street’s Elmo.

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Could You Pass The Peace Corps Test?

A Peace Corps Test In the early days of the Peace Corps there was a Placement Test given to all applicants. Actually it was two tests. A 30-minute General Aptitude Test and a 30-minute Modern Language Aptitude Test. The areas of testing were in Verbal Aptitude, Agriculture, English, Health Sciences, Mechanical Skills, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, World History, Literature, United States History and Institutions, and Modern Language Aptitude. One-hour achievement tests in French and Spanish were also offered during the second hour. The instruction pamphlet that accompanied the tests said that the results would be used “to help find the most appropriate assignment for each applicant.” For those who missed the opportunity to take the tests, which were given – as best I can remember – from 1961 until around 1967, I am including a few of the questions. Lets see if you could still get into the Peace Corps. . . .

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RPCVs and the FBI–In Case You Are Still Wanted!

The Committee of Returned Volunteers (CRV), established around 1965, was the first national organization of RPCVs to actively oppose the Vietnam war. Their copious writings–newsletters, information kits, analytical papers–portrayed the goals of U.S. foreign policy as exploitative. The true function of the Peace Corps, they believed, was to mask this imperialism by putting a warm and friendly face on America’s presence overseas. CRV members were among the marches showered with tear gas at the 1968 Democratic convention, and in 1970 they occupied the Peace Corps building in Washington for 36 hours to protests the student killings by National Guardsmen at Kent State and Jackson State Universities, as well as the invasion of Cambodia. All of this is detailed by Karen Schwartz who found out this information by filing a Freedom of Information Act request back in 1988 when she was researching her book on the agency, What You Can Do For . . .

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Obama Remembers JFK At U of Michigan Commencement

On Saturday, May 1, President Obama gave the Commencement Address at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Towards the end of his talk, he turned his attention to government service and to what happened at Ann Arbor nearly 50 years ago. Here are three short excerpts… Participation in public life doesn’t mean that you all have to run for public office – though we could certainly use some fresh faces in Washington.  But it does mean that you should pay attention and contribute in any way that you can.  Stay informed.  Write letters, or make phone calls on behalf of an issue you care about.  If electoral politics isn’t your thing, continue the tradition so many of you started here at Michigan and find a way to serve your community and your country – an act that will help you stay connected to your fellow citizens and improve the . . .

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