Archive - March 2011

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George Packer to Write Book on Peace Corps CD Richard Holbrooke
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Review of Mary Acosta's History Begins in Africa
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One Hand Does Not Catch A Buffalo, Volume One of Peace Corps @ 50
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World Premiere of Becoming Kinky
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RPCV Publisher of Travel Books Written by RPCVs
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Review of Answering Kennedy's Call
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Talking with the editors of Answering Kennedy's Call
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Chris Howard's Tea of Ulaanbaatar
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Published in today's The Hill — "Capitol Hill Corps"
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Where's the Peace Corps? Nowhere, That's Where!

George Packer to Write Book on Peace Corps CD Richard Holbrooke

The book that Richard C. Holbrooke, former Peace Corps CD in Morocco (1970-72), always wanted to write, the story of his life dealing with international conflicts, will now be written by George Packer (Togo 1982-83). Packer signed a contract with Knopf to “write a book about Mr. Holbrooke’s career and the trajectory of American foreign policy during his time as a diplomat” according to a piece in today’s New York Times. Packer is reported as saying he had “been thinking about it” when a group of Holbrooke’s friends approached Packer and asked him if he had thought of writing a book. Packer says in the Timespiece, “What a life he had, how much ground he had covered, how many crises and big events in American foreign policy he had touched. He had such an outsized life that connected with so many important periods of recent American history.” The book will be released in . . .

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Review of Mary Acosta's History Begins in Africa

History Begins in Africa by Mary Acosta (Afghanistan 1964–66) Birds Nest Publishing $29.95 385 pages December 2010 Reviewed by Shlomo Bachrach (Ethiopia Staff 1966-68) THE CLAIM IN MARY ACOSTA’S TITLE is a bit more modest than the one made by the paleoanthropologists who locate all human origins in the Danakil and the Awash Valley in eastern Ethiopia. But she’s plenty bold: she says that written history begins with a bronze plaque reporting the victory of Terkinos, a king from what is Ethiopia today, over Melmanios, the next to last ruler of Uruk, a major city in Sumer, which became Babylon, which became Iraq in modern times. (Gilgamesh, for those who recognize the name, was a king in Uruk a few centuries after the events she writes about.) Acosta dates her insights into history on material on two plaques that refer to events in the 4th millennium BC. History begins there, . . .

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One Hand Does Not Catch A Buffalo, Volume One of Peace Corps @ 50

In January 2008 I received an email from Jane Albritton (India 1967–69) asking if I would get the word out about her books project. I was happy to do so. Anything to help RPCV writers get published. Anything to help RPCVs tell their stories. Anything to fulfill the Third Goal of the Peace Corps. Jane’s plan was to publish four books of stories for the 50th anniversary. The four volumes focusing on Africa and the Middle East; Central Asia and Eastern Europe; Asia and the Pacific; and Central America, South America and the Caribbean, would feature stories from past and present Volunteers, staff and instructors. Even while I was “spreading the word” I thought to myself: This is a crazy idea! Well, once again I was wrong. I am now holding: One Hand Does Not Catch A Buffalo, 50 Years of Amazing Peace Corps Stories, Volume One, edited by Aaron Barlow (Togo 1988-90) the first collection of . . .

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World Premiere of Becoming Kinky

He’s back! After running unsuccessfully several times for governor of Texas (not teabagger enough), Kinky Friedman (Borneo 1967-69) is being ‘written about’ in a new musical based on his life. The second act of this new musical is “Kinky in the Peace Corps” –see, Fitzgerald was wrong: there are second lives in a man’s life. The ‘world premiere of Becoming Kinky…The World According to Kinky Friedman, written by Ted Swindley, who also wrote the international hit, Always….Patsy Cline, features three actors, including recording artist Jesse Dayton, portraying Kinky at different stages of his life. Little Jewford will play the role he was born to play–himself. Kinky Friedman himself will not appear in the play, but he will attend the world premiere and be available for pictures and autographs after the show. The world primiere is Monday night, March 28, at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck. It will benefit Kinky’s  Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch. Benefit tickets cost . . .

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RPCV Publisher of Travel Books Written by RPCVs

Christopher Beale (Eastern Caribbean 2005-07 ) has done an amazing thing for RPCV writers. He had built a book publishing company–Other Places Publishing–located in North Carolina that publishes travel guides written by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who, as he says, “Few travelers (or travel guides) have the experience and local knowledge that an RPCV has about his or her country.” Chris started in early 2009 to develop his travel guides written and researched by RPCVs. To date, they had published eight book with another 10 coming out within the next few months. With a few exceptions, everyone who works with Chris, from editors, writers, researchers andphotographers, are RPCVs. Today, Other Places Publishing has guide books for Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Pacific. The newest publication is Making Peace with the World Photographs of Peace Corps Volunteers by Richard Sitler (Jamaica 2000-02). Sitler, who worked at newspapers in Ohio, Indiana, New Hampshire . . .

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Review of Answering Kennedy's Call

Answering Kennedy’s Call: Pioneering the Peace Corps in the Philippines Edited by Parker W. Borg, Maureen J. Carroll, Patricia MacDermot Kasdan, Stephen W. Wells (all Philippines (1961-63) A Peace Corps Writers Book $25.00 498 pages March 2011 Reviewed by P. David Searles (CD Philippines 1971-74; Regional Director NANEAP and Deputy Director Peace Corps HQ 1974-76) IF ANY ADDITIONAL PROOF IS NEEDED, the early groups of Peace Corps Volunteers in the Philippines achieved a remarkable level of unit cohesion, as this massive collection of essays shows.  In all, 110 of those involved in the first three groups — 96 of whom are returned Volunteers — have joined  together to produce a remarkable and historically valuable set of reminiscences focusing on their experiences in the Philippines during 1961–63. The overriding impression one gets from reading them all is that the experience was life altering, life altering in a very positive and long . . .

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Talking with the editors of Answering Kennedy's Call

Publisher Marian Haley Beil writes — FOUR MEMBERS from the first groups of Peace Corps Volunteers to arrive in the Philippines in 1961 have just publish Answering Kennedy’s Call: Pioneering the Peace Corps in the Philippines — Parker Borg, Maureen Carroll, Patricia MacDermot Kasdan and Steve Wells. These four tackled the huge task of editing submissions from 91 RPCVs who served in that era, and preparing two print-ready photos from each of the essayist to produce a 500-page look at the lives of PCVs and the long-term effect of their service. It is a book that will be loved by those who contributed to it, will provide much to researchers looking at what the Peace Corps was all about in its early years, and will be a wonderful resource for those interested in the Peace Corps as a life choice. For me, it is a book I enjoy picking up, . . .

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Chris Howard's Tea of Ulaanbaatar

As the minutes passed, the recycled air in the fuselage became like old breath. The planeload of Americans shot nervous looks at each other. Pinpricks of sweat forming on skin, cool but quickly warming. Charlotte joked that they had been abandoned, left to suffocate on the tarmac as a message to all foreigners. They crowded around the windows to look at their new home. The skyline was made of Soviet-built apartment compounds, sooty smokestacks. They saw a man from the ground crew idling on the tarmac. The man looked up, saw their faces pressed against the portholes. They slapped the glass and called to him. He smiled, revealing rotten teeth, but made no move to assist. The temperature soared. • SO BEGINS CHRISTOPHER HOWARD’S debut — and Peace Corps —novel, Tea of Ulaanbaatar: the story of disaffected Peace Corps Volunteer Warren, who flees life in late-capitalist America to find himself . . .

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Published in today's The Hill — "Capitol Hill Corps"

By Emily Cahn – For two years, Matt Colvin lived in a rickety wooden shack above chicken and rooster coops in rural Jamaica, working as a Peace Corps volunteer to help semi-literate fishermen create laws regarding overfishing in the region. Colvin, 27, now a staff assistant to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), says his overseas experience is often hard to describe to others, even though he sees it as beneficial to share in his job on Capitol Hill. If he could organize semi-literate fishermen to help change environmental laws in Jamaica, he said, he could surely help to get legislation drafted and passed in the U.S. To better connect these two experiences, Colvin and Chris Robinson, a fellow Capitol Hill aide and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV), are launching a staff association for their contemporaries who also worked in the Peace Corps. The two hope to help their colleagues translate their . . .

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Where's the Peace Corps? Nowhere, That's Where!

Remember when the Peace Corps led these lists of what college graduates wanted to do? Well, here’s a new one, the results of the US Professional Survey. It reveals how working professionals perceive organizations as employers. And it indicates a company’s position in relation to its competitors in the recruitment market. There were 10,000 respondents in the survey. Something has changed. Is it the age or the agency? Google 1 Apple  2 The Walt Disney Company 3 U.S. Department of State 4 Amazon 5 FBI 6 Microsoft 7 Central Intelligence Agency 8 NASA 9 Teach for America 10 Peace Corps 11 Nike 12 (Well, at least we beat out Nike!)

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