Archive - October 2010

1
My Favorite Mad Man: Harris Wofford, Part Four
2
Joshua Berman Publishes Two New Books On Nicaragua
3
The Peace Corps Returns To Sierra Leone Video
4
My Favorite Mad Man: Harris Wofford, Part Three
5
September 2010 books by Peace Corps writers
6
UNLV Black Mountain Institute Celebrates Peace Corps Writers
7
My Favorite Mad Man: Harris Wofford, Part Two
8
Update On University of Michigan Peace Corps Events
9
My Favorite Mad Man: Harris Wofford

My Favorite Mad Man: Harris Wofford, Part Four

That summer in Washington changed my life. It changed all our lives in one way or the other, but in most respects it was a peaceful few months. We were back on a college campus; we were living a simple routine of early morning exercises, breakfast, classes, lectures, and beers in a bar late at night. We had some money in our pockets, and we had little responsibility. It was a lovely time, and those of us who might worry, worried about being de-selected, not that we knew much about that process. We all thought we were going to Africa once this silly Training thing was over. For the most part it was vacation time. Only after two years in Addis Ababa, coming back and working for the agency, and going to Training sessions for new Volunteers to Ethiopia, did I find Training useful. Now, I knew, something about the Empire, and how to put into . . .

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Joshua Berman Publishes Two New Books On Nicaragua

Joshua Berman and Randy Wood (Nicaragua 1998-2000) are two very successful RPCV travel writers. Josh was interviewed last month by TravelWriting 2.0 by Tim Leffel and one of the questions I think you’ll find interesting is: How did you “break in to travel writing”? What have been the keys to your success? The first step was joining the Peace Corps and being assigned to a beautiful tropical country on the verge of tourism with no useful guidebooks. My coauthor, Randy Wood, and I sent a proposal to Moon. We told them we were going to write the first comprehensive guide to Nicaragua and we wanted to do it for them. They gave us the job, then a few years later, they offered me Moon Belize when the original writer (Chicki Mallan) retired. Josh’s travel articles have appeared in the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Budget Travel, The Boston Globe, Yoga Journal, . . .

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The Peace Corps Returns To Sierra Leone Video

The NBC video featuring the 37 new PCVs in Sierra Leone was finally telecast on the NIGHTLY NEWS last evening. It was extremely well done and included references to the first group that arrived back in the early ’60s and had interviews with a few of the volunteers who were shown in their assigned locations. Below is the web link sent by Jim Sheahan (Sierra Leone 1961-63) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39151931/ns/nightly_news-making_a_difference/

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My Favorite Mad Man: Harris Wofford, Part Three

On those hot and humid evenings in Georgetown during Training when there wasn’t an evening lecture at the Hall of Nation, we would walk down the hill to the college bars on K Street and sit around telling lies about our lives back home, or we would walk along the shady cobblestone streets of the old section of Washington, with its clapboard small houses, and stone mansions built close to the sidewalk and find a party going on. There were always parties going on, kids working for the government, young bureaucrats. We weren’t like them. We were living on the edge, or so we fantasized that about ourselves; we weren’t finding safe jobs at home  nor settling down with careers. And on those hot summer evenings guys and gals would be standing outside their group houses with bottles of beer in hand, smoking cigarettes, catching a bit of breeze. Walking by, we’d paused and say hello, or step through an open gate, . . .

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September 2010 books by Peace Corps writers

Runes of Iona by Robert Balmanno (Benin 1973–75) Regent Press $15.95 349 pages August 2010 • Exhaust the Limits: The Life and Times of a Global Peacebuilder by Charles “Chic” F. Dambach (Colombia 1967–69) Apprentice House $18.95 314 pages November 2010 • A Voter’s Handbook: Effective Solutions to America’s Problems by James P. Gray (Costa Rica 1966–68) The Forum Press $17.95 200 pages May 2010 • You Are Invited To Serve: A Black American Peace Corps Volunteer Serves in Swaziland by Joseph Green III (Swaziland 1987-89; PC Staff: Jamaica APCD 1991–94) iUniverse $23.95 365 pages April 2010 • Being First: An Informal History of the Early Peace Corps by Robert Klein (Ghana 1961-1963) Wheatmark, Inc. $19.95 162 pages September 2010 9781604944570 • No Hurry in Africa: Life as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya (Peace Corps memoir) by Theresa Munanga (Kenya 2004-07) iUniverse $15.95, $9.99 e-book 168 pages August 2010 • . . .

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UNLV Black Mountain Institute Celebrates Peace Corps Writers

Black Mountain Institute of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas is presenting Writing the World: American Authors Looking Outward, a panel discussion featuring four noted former Peace Corps volunteers. The  RPCV writers are: Peter Hessler (China 1996-98); Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65); Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65); and Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965-67).  The panel discussion is on the evening of October 14. Peter Hessler was the The New Yorker‘s correspondent in China from 1996 to 2008. His first book, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, recounts his experiences in the Peace Corps. His second, Oracle Bones, was a finalist for the National Book Award. His newest book, Country Driving: A Journey from Farm to Factory, is a record of his journey from northern Chinese counties to the factory towns on southern China. Paul Theroux’s highly acclaimed novels include Picture Palace; Hotel Honolulu; My Other Life; Kowloon Tong; and The Mosquito Coast, . . .

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My Favorite Mad Man: Harris Wofford, Part Two

WOFFORD HAD COME TO THE NEW ADMINISTRATION as JFK’s Special Advisor on Civil Rights, but there were rumors he was pushing so hard on African-American issues that Kennedy wanted him out of the White House. There were also rumors Harris could have any ambassadorship he wanted in Africa, but Wofford wasn’t interested in a diplomatic role. My guess was that Harris was looking for an assignment that was a  zinger. At that moment in Peace Corps History, Ethiopia was the zinger. This Empire post with the largest project of the agency. So in 1962 Wofford became the first CD to Ethiopia, and was named by Shriver to be the Peace Corps Representative to Africa. In 1962 Harris and his wife Clare had three young children. It was not an easy move in the early Sixties to move a family, especially to a new continent. Thinking back, fifty years ago, we as a nation knew very little about Africa. . . .

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Update On University of Michigan Peace Corps Events

Looking forward to this year’s 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, the University of Michigan is planning many events, including a national symposium on the future of international service and a commemoration of Senator John F. Kennedy’s speech on the steps of the Union. All of these events were organized by the University and not the Peace Corps or the National Peace Corps Association. The events that have been planned to date include: October 1-November 30 U-M and the Peace Corps: It All Started Here Hatcher Graduate Library, Library Gallery (Room 100) This dynamic exhibit showcases the unique role of University of Michigan students and faculty in the creation and popularizing of the Peace Corps. As Sargent Shriver said, “It might still be just an idea but for…those Michigan students and faculty.” The exhibit highlights the development of student activism as well as important historical events. Sponsored by the University of Michigan Library and . . .

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My Favorite Mad Man: Harris Wofford

One of the Peace Corps’ Mad Men who did not have a ‘real’ job at 806 Connecticut Avenue was Harris Wofford. Wofford, who was at the birth of the agency in the two-room suite in the Mayflower Hotel, was in 1961 32 or 34, and was one of the Best and the Brightest who had come to Washington with the Kennedy Administration. Wofford had been a white-shoe firm lawyer in D.C., an early civil rights advocate, and had become friends with Sarge Shriver early in Kennedy’s run for the White House when Shriver sought out Harris at Notre Dame, where Wofford was teaching law. Their first meeting was at a Notre Dame football game, where they talked civil right and politics while watching ND play. During the presidential campaign it was Wofford’s idea to suggest to Kennedy that he make the famous phone call to Martin Luther King’s wife after . . .

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