Archive - January 2012

1
Will the Peace Corps (once again!) be Swallowed Up?
2
Review — WAR OF HEARTS AND MINDS by James Jouppie (Thailand)
3
Travel Writer Jeffrey Tayler Writes from Russia
4
Peter Hessler Writes in the New Yorker about a Missouri Homeboy living now in Tokyo
5
Kevin Quigley Wants You To 'Call Home!'
6
Peace Corps Photographer Rowland Scherman Remembers the March on Washington
7
More Mad Men & Women at the Peace Corps
8
Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan 2002-04) in Press and in the News
9
Review of Michael S. Gerber's Sweet Teeth and Loose Bowels
10
Bill Moyers Back on TV with Talking Heads!

Will the Peace Corps (once again!) be Swallowed Up?

President Barack Obama announced Friday that he will ask Congress for the power to merge agencies to streamline government and improve efficiency. Obama wants to merger the Commerce Department, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade representative and other independent business agencies into a new, unnamed Cabinet agency to create a more efficient experience for businesses. “Right now, there are six departments and agencies focused primarily on business and trade in the federal government – from the Commerce Department to the Small Business Administration to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office,” Obama said in remarks from the White House. “In this case, six isn’t better than one.” The president needs Congress to enact his idea. What next? The Peace Corps and AID? USIA all one Happy Agency? STAY TUNED!

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Review — WAR OF HEARTS AND MINDS by James Jouppie (Thailand)

  War of Hearts And Minds: An American Memoir by James Jouppi (Thailand 1971–73) iUniverse 618 pages $45.95 (hardcover), $35.95 (paperback), $3.95 (Kindle) 2011 Reviewed by Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963–65) • IN WAR FOR HEARTS AND MINDS, James Jouppi writes about his Peace Corps tour as a civil engineer assigned to the Community Development Corporation Thailand, and what happened to his life as a result.  For those unfamiliar with Thailand and/or Peace Corps, Jouppi has provided maps and identifies key sites mentioned in the book. He has also created a glossary of terms. Jouppi intersperses an historic timeline of public events through out his narrative. In the Preface, to enhance this historical context, Jouppi states: In this memoir, I describe events which were unfolding during a War of Hearts and Minds campaign in Thailand, a War of Hearts and Minds campaign which occurred simultaneously with what, in America, is often . . .

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Travel Writer Jeffrey Tayler Writes from Russia

Jeffrey Tayler (Morocco 1988-90; PC/Staff Poland 1992; Uzbekistan 1992-93) is a PCV writer who never came home but has kept writing. He is the author of such travel books as Siberian Dawn and Facing the Congo, and has published numerous articles in The Atlantic, Spin, Harper’s, and Conde´ Nast Traveler, plus being a regular commentator on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”  Tayler lives in Russia and in the current issue of The Atlantic has a piece on a remote archipelago of Russia, one of county’s holiest places, the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral. It is located on the largest of the Solovetsky Islands and “amid the gale-lashed White Sea, just outside the Arctic Circle,” Jeff writes. Tayler lives in Moscow and Solovki is 650 miles away by plane. (And you thought it was a long way to your site!) The Soviets opened the Solovetsky Monastery back in 1967 as a museum and the monks returned there in 1990. It has taken this RPCV a little . . .

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Peter Hessler Writes in the New Yorker about a Missouri Homeboy living now in Tokyo

The accepted supposition is that there are only six degrees of separation between any two people on Earth. But, I think, if we are talking about RPCVs that ratio tightens and it is more like 4 connections between you and anyone else in the world. And if you add growing up in the rural Mid-West in a town of less than 100,000, and being the same age, well, then, maybe, for all practical purposes, you’re kissin’ cousins. So that is why it is not so strange that Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) has a piece in the January 9, 2012, New Yorker about a guy named Jake Adelstein–who Peter knew as a kid in Missouri–and who went to Tokyo five years ago not knowing a word of Japanese, became a crime reporter for the country’s largest newspapers, and now lives in Tokyo under police protection because of his articles on the yakuza, Japan’s version of . . .

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Kevin Quigley Wants You To 'Call Home!'

Lost Touch: Peace Corps In Search Of 100,000 Old Volunteers January 11, 2012 by Corey Flintoff   Paul Vathis/AP Five Peace Corps trainees look at a map of the Philippine Islands in University Park, Pa. on July 31, 1961. The trainees will go there upon completion of training as teaching assistants in rural elementary schools. The National Peace Corps Association says it’s looking for about 100,000 good volunteers. They’re people who served in the overseas development program at some time in its 50-year history but later lost touch with their former colleagues. NPCA President Kevin Quigley says there’s no complete list of the 200,000 Americans who volunteered for the program, in part because key records were lost during its early days. “When the agency was in its infancy [in the early 1960s], a lot of systems for tracking former volunteers just didn’t exist,” Quigley says. The Peace Corps’ first director, . . .

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Peace Corps Photographer Rowland Scherman Remembers the March on Washington

I have written before about the Peace Corps’ first photographer, Rowland Scherman.  I got to know Rowland  in Ethiopia in the winter of 1962-63 when journalist Jim Walls and Scherman toured many of the Peace Corps countries writing about and taking photos of new PCVs. After his Peace Corps years, Rowland went out on his own as a free-lance photographer and became famous in other arenas. Here is one story of a famous photo he took on a sunny day in 1963. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhuSyFHGes0

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More Mad Men & Women at the Peace Corps

I thought I might continue with a few more tales of Mad Men & Women at the Peace Corps in the early days when Headquarters was located in the Maiatico Building across from the White House and the agency had more clout in D.C. than it would ever have again. As we know the agency attracted to Washington the ‘best and the brightest,’ all of them wanting to work in the Kennedy Administration, with the majority wanting to work at the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps also attracted Republicans and one of them was Richard (Dick) Graham from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who worked with Bill Moyers as the Deputy Associate Director for Public Affairs. Dick Graham was one of the nicest guys to work at the Peace Corps, a selfless self-made millionaire in the days when being a millionaire meant real money. Dick had his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from . . .

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Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan 2002-04) in Press and in the News

“The Right Road,” an excerpt from his novel-in-progress set in Kazakhstan, won 2nd Place in the 2010 Long Story Contest, International (judged by Allison Alsup). Run by White Eagle Coffee Store Press and now in its 18th year, this contest is widely considered the premier competition for long stories (8,000-14,000 words). Three short stories accepted for publication, one by Little Patuxent Review for their Winter 2012 Social Justice issue and two (including one set in Kazakhstan) by Fjords Review for their Spring 2012 issue. His essay “Place as Self” has been accepted for publication by ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, the official journal of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, for an issue TBD. Another essay “Itam,” a portrait of his host father in Kazakhstan, will be reprinted in a new anthology, The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays, to be published in late spring 2012 . . .

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Review of Michael S. Gerber's Sweet Teeth and Loose Bowels

Sweet Teeth and Loose Bowels: The Adventures of an International Aid Worker by Michael S. Gerber (Philippines 1970–73) Troubador Publishing 296 pages $18.95 (paperback) 2007 Reviewed by Robert E. Hamilton (Ethiopia 1965–67) UNDERSTANDABLY, ONE DOESN’T INFORM the family gathered around the Thanksgiving table, “Hey, I’m reading an informative book on international aid with the interesting title of . . ..”  One alternative:  “Read Chapter 34 of Book Two of  Dr. Michael Gerber’s 2007 publication.” There the title is explained.  A better title might have derived from a comment by a fellow Non-Government Organization (NGO) colleague:  “It is the poor and the suffering who create jobs for us.” (Page 252)  Or, as his youngest son, then 11, remarked, following Gerber’s description of what an NGO director does: “Now I understand your job. I can just tell my friends you are a ‘professional beggar.’” Michael Gerber (BA, MA, Ph.D.) worked in Asia and . . .

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Bill Moyers Back on TV with Talking Heads!

Bill Moyers, who started out at the Peace Corps at age 27 or so, as the Associate Director for Public Affairs, and later was the Deputy Director under Shriver, and then continued to star in a variety of arenas, is back on public television this month with a new interview show, Moyers & Company. He left PBS 20 months ago, retiring from Bill Moyers Journal, but as he told Elizabeth Jensen in the New York Times (Sunday, January 8, 2012) he just needed a break. He wasn’t retiring. After all, he’s only 77! The new program by Moyers will be a lot like his last one: thoughtful interviews with thinkers. Upcoming will be interviews with David Stockman, Reagan budget chief; John S. Reed, the former Citibank executive; poet Rita Dove, and a four-hour chat with the political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, on their work Winner-Take-All Politics. The catch to  his return . . .

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