Archive - September 2011

1
Two great reviews of Tony D'Souza's new novel
2
Meet Your Favoriate Peace Corps Writer!
3
New Survey Published on Peace Corps Service
4
Peter Hessler Wins MacArthur Foundation 'Genius' Award
5
Review of Tony D'Souza's Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight
6
Robert Klein is winner of the Advancing the Mission Award
7
Mary Ellen Branan is winner of Peace Corps Writers Poetry Award
8
Peter Hessler's Letter in the Denver Post
9
“The Early Days of the Peace Corps” – Video copies available
10
Older Than You Think!

Two great reviews of Tony D'Souza's new novel

Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight by Tony D’Souza (D’Ivoire 2000–02, Madagascar 2002-03) from Booklist Blissfully happy in a new relationship and orbiting the trendy Austin party scene, James and Kate thought they had everything figured out. When the downturn not yet called the Great Recession and an unexpected pregnancy turn their world upside down, they cut costs by relocating to a tiny cabin in Northern California. There James is introduced to the underground world of primo-marijuana transport, in which the wages for a week’s cross-country driving could comfortably support a family for months. After the first payload turns into repeated California-Florida trips, James must decide how much time he’s willing to devote to his risky new career. Without glorifying or condemning the couple’s choices, D’Souza articulates the existential tensions that affect so many of America’s recession generation. His authorial voice is sharp and crisp, eschewing flowery prose for a . . .

Read More

Meet Your Favoriate Peace Corps Writer!

On Thursday, September 22, 6 p.m. The Peace Corps writers in Washington, D.C. for the 50th Anniversary will meet up at the Black Rooster Pub, 1919 L Street (around the corner from the Peace Corps Office). The meeting place has been arranged by Peace Corps Writers, so if you are in D.C. drop by anytime after six p.m. I’ll be there!

Read More

New Survey Published on Peace Corps Service

In advance of the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps this Thursday, Civic Enterprises and the National Peace Corps Association released today A Call to Peace: Perspectives of Volunteers on the Peace Corps at 50 A new report based on the largest ever independent survey of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs). The survey found that 93% of RPCVs believe the Peace Corps has improved global perceptions of the U.S. The report can be obtained at: www.civicenterprises.net or http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/2011/09/acalltopeace/

Read More

Peter Hessler Wins MacArthur Foundation 'Genius' Award

It was announced today that Peter Hessler (China 1996-98)–who lives now in a small town in Colorado– is one of 22 recipients of the $500,000 ‘genius awards’  given by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He is one of 12 men and 10 women selected this year. The MacArthur award, which has been bestowed on 850 people since the program began in 1981, comes to five annual payments of $100,000. According to Robert Gallucci, the president of the MacArthur Foundation, “Fellows are selected for their creativity, originality and potential to make important contributions in the future.” Peter was given the award for his writings about China, the subject of his first three books. His first book, the memoir River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze is about his Peace Corps tour. It is believed that Peter is the first RPCV to win this lucrative and prestigious award. Next month, Peter, his wife, who is also a writer, and . . .

Read More

Review of Tony D'Souza's Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight

Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000—02; Madagascar 2002—03) Mariner Books September 2011 304 pages $14.95 Reviewed by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1990-93) AFTER YOU READ Tony D’Souza’s Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight, you’ll never approach late-night driving the same way again. You’ll imagine you’re carrying thousands of dollars worth of marijuana in your backseat. You’ll check your speed every five minutes. Am I driving too fast? Too slow? You’ll look for cops everywhere. It’s a testament to D’Souza’s talent that one feels such a powerful connection to James, the novel’s drug-running protagonist, even if the closest one might have come to his lifestyle is smoking an occasional joint in college  — or laughing at a soon-to-be president’s claim that he didn’t inhale. James isn’t in the illegal drug business by choice. In a troubled economy, his work (as a freelance writer) simply dried up. . . .

Read More

Robert Klein is winner of the Advancing the Mission Award

Robert Klein (Ghana 1961–63; 1974–75) is the winner of the Peace Corps Writers  Advancing the Mission Award for his book Being First: An Informal History of the Early Peace Corps that was published in 2010 by Wheatmark. Klein, who taught in Ghana for two years, was a member of the first Peace Corps group to go overseas. He then joined the Peace Corps program staff, serving in Kenya and in Ghana, where he was the country director from 1966 to 1968. Returning to the U.S., Klein had a career as a journeyman educator working in New Frontier and other experimental settings in the areas of remedial education and English as a second language. In 1974 he went back to Ghana, with his family, to serve another term as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Through the years he has remained close friends with his Ghanaian students whom he first taught in 1961, and has made periodic visits back to . . .

Read More

Mary Ellen Branan is winner of Peace Corps Writers Poetry Award

Mary Ellen Branan (Poland 1994–96) is the winner of the Peace Corps Writers Poetry Award for her collection, Weavings published in 2010 by First World Publishing. Dr. Branan lives in Bastrop, Texas, a small river town not far from Austin.  She plied a social worker career in Houston and Austin for 20 years, then returned to the graduate Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston, finishing in 1991.  As a PCV she was on the faculty of a English-teacher-training college in Pulawy, Poland, a cultural experience and a landscape that inspired a number of poems included those in Weavings. According to Karla K. Morton, Texas Poet Laureate in  2010: ” Poet Mary Branan’s work chronicles life, death, family, and even Poland, with a warmth and sophistication that only time and artistic sensitivity can bring.” Congratulations, Mary Ellen! Mary Ellen receives a special citation and a cash award from Peace Corps Writers – . . .

Read More

Peter Hessler's Letter in the Denver Post

The value of the Peace Corps’ China program By Peter Hessler​ Posted: 09/17/2011 01:00:00 AM MDT Rep. Mike Coffman recently called for the Obama administration to end the Peace Corps program in China, describing it as “an insult to the taxpayers of the United States.” As a former China volunteer who now lives in Colorado, I have several criticisms of Coffman’s stance. The first is basic: Coffman did not meet with any Peace Corps staff or volunteers during his spring trip to China, despite the fact that he visited Sichuan University, where the program is headquartered. Other American lawmakers have made the effort to learn firsthand about what their constituents do as volunteers. On April 24, no fewer than ten senators, including Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, attended a briefing by Peace Corps staff and volunteers in Chengdu. Legislators are busy; I appreciate that. But a little time makes a big difference . . .

Read More

“The Early Days of the Peace Corps” – Video copies available

Watch Bill Moyers “channeling” LBJ. You will laugh and then cry.  Last Spring, the National Archives and Record Administration in conjunction with the Peace Corps hosted a panel discussion, described as follows: Peace Corps 50th Anniversary Thursday, March 17, at 7 p.m. William G. McGowan Theater The Early Years of the Peace Corps Panelists included award-winning broadcaster and journalist, Bill Moyers; former U.S. Ambassador Jack Hood Vaughn; and Senator Harris Wofford – all of whom held leadership roles during the agency’s early years, as well as Mary Ann Orlando, Shriver’s administrative assistant and right hand “man.”  Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams introduced the panel. The proceedings were video recorded and that DVD is now a public record. Marian Haley Beil plans to post the video on this website, Peace Corps Worldwide, sometime after September 26th.  Peace Corps does not have plans to put this video on the government website.  However, it . . .

Read More

Older Than You Think!

This morning I discovered that I am ten years older than I thought. The history section of Wikipedia Peace Corps explains that JFK suggested the Peace Corps in 1951! Later in the same section, the article mentions a funding increase in 1985 which resulted in 10,000 volunteers in the field by 1992. According to books by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, Stanley Meisler and Lawrence F. Lihosit (as well as the Peace Corps) there were 5,831 volunteers in 1992.

Read More

Copyright © 2019. Peace Corps Worldwide.