Archive - June 2012

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Paul Theroux's (Malawi 1963-65)The Lower River
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Dial Up Your Next Novel
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Heather Andersen (Lesotho 2001-03) Wins Indie Excellence Book Award
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Download the Final Evaluation Report on the Five Year Rule
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The Five Year Rule – Where it came from and why it is important to RPCVs
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Jim McConkey (India 1967-69) Speaking Tonight at World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, PA
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A Writer Writes Leita Kaldi (Senegal 1993-96) "Wings for West Africa"
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There’s $ in ebooks
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I'll Loop for Obama at Midlothian County Club
10
Reggie Pearman, early Peace Corps Staff to Venezuela, Dies at 89

Paul Theroux's (Malawi 1963-65)The Lower River

Over the weekend I read Paul Theroux’s latest book, The Lower River. This novel is his most direct use of his Peace Corps experience. Paul’s first three novels: Waldo, Fong and the Indians, and Girls at Play all were East Africa based, but not about the Peace Corps. Girls at Play, set at a girls’ school in western Kenya, has a ‘Peace Corps character,’ and unhappy, Midwest woman, as I recall. I believe this is the first use of a ‘Peace Corps character’ in a work of fiction. (Mary-Ann Tyrone Smith’s (Cameroon 1965-67) Lament for a Silver-Eyed Woman published in 1987, would be the first novel about a Peace Corps Volunteers.) Later, in his collection of nonfiction pieces, Sunrise with Seamonsters, Paul republished a few of his essays that focused on the agency and Africa, and how he was kicked out of the corps. Theroux wrote a wonderful ‘peace corps short . . .

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Dial Up Your Next Novel

Reading a recent article by Chuck Martin, author of The Third Screen: Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile (he is the Director of the Center for Media Research at MediaPost Communications) I was struck at what he had to say about the future of books in a  world gone mobile. The focus of his short piece was the recent (a few weeks ago)  BookExpo America (BEA), which is, I think, the largest book industry event in North America and one of the largest gatherings of publishers in the world. It was held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York. At the same time, and on another floor of the Center, was the BlogWorld and New Media Expo, which promotes itself as the largest conference in the world geared to bloggers, podcasters, Web TV content creators, social media enthusiasts and new media content creators. Over 3,000 attending the . . .

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Heather Andersen (Lesotho 2001-03) Wins Indie Excellence Book Award

I Never Intended to Be Brave: A Woman’s Bicycle Journey Through Southern Africa by Heather Andersen (Lesotho 2001-03) and published by Windy City Publishers has won the Adventure category in the sixth annual National Indie Excellence Book Awards. Heather’s book was reviewed on our site. Check it out at: http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/review-i-never/ The competition is judged by independent book industry publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters. They selected award winners and finalists based on overall excellence of presentation.      

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Download the Final Evaluation Report on the Five Year Rule

The Office of the Inspector General of the Peace Corps spent a year evaluating the impact of the Five Year Rule.  This is the first public report that I could find that references the original memo from Dr. Robert Textor in 1961.  That memo became the founding document for Peace Corps Five Year Rule.  In this evaluation, the evaluators begin with the original memo and show that the intent was to link limited tenure and the employment of former Peace Corps Volunteers.  It also emphasizes that Dr. Textor never recommended that tenure be limited to five years.  He recommended perhaps eight years. The report describes both positive and negative impacts of the rule and makes recommendations to Director Williams to formulate polices and procedures to correct the negative impact.  It is vital that the Peace Corps community become knowledgeable about this report and it possible implications for policy and law. . . .

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The Five Year Rule – Where it came from and why it is important to RPCVs

UPDATE:  Peace Corps has just released the long awaited Inspector General’s review of the Five Year Rule.  To read this report in its PDF form, go to peacecorps.gov; scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Office of the Inspector General. The report will be the first one listed, Click on it for the PDF. I expect that a direct link will be posted to Peace Corps Worldwide, soon. Of remarkable note is the fact that the Inspector General’s report quotes extensively from Dr. Textor’s original memo. Dr. Robert B. Textor proposed in an memo on December 11, 1961 a personnel policy for the Peace Corps. In 2011, he revisited the memo and wrote an essay describing his memo and the analysis that promoted it.  The entire essay can be and should be read at: http://www.stanford.edu/~rbtextor/History_of_In_Up_Out_Policy.pdf I would like to quote from that essay: “This essay deals with . . .

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Jim McConkey (India 1967-69) Speaking Tonight at World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, PA

If you had to boil down Jim McConkey’s book to a simple ‘X Meets Y’ premise, it would be “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” meets “Lost in Translation.” By that, we mean “To the Far Side of Planet Earth” is an introspective glimpse at McConkey’s time spent serving as a member of the Peace Corps, combining bits of anthropology, mythology, psychology and a good amount of humor as culture shock gives way to new perspective. McConkey aspired to be a writer since childhood, but made a few career stops on the way to work on a farm, wash dishes, pump gas, drive a school bus and deliver papers. After gaining a degree in journalism, McConkey joined the Peace Corps, and soon he found himself in India. His speaking engagement on “Understanding the Philosophy and Culture of India” today at Temple University’s Harrisburg Campus is part of a World . . .

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A Writer Writes Leita Kaldi (Senegal 1993-96) "Wings for West Africa"

A Writer Writes [Peace Corps Volunteers often have experiences that follow them throughout their lives. Such was the case with Habib Diatta, who came into Leita Kaldi’s life in 1993 to tell her he taught at a school with 800 students and no latrines! She helped him to find funding and develop the project himself, in collaboration with local villagers, to provide sanitary facilities for his students. Habib didn’t stop there. In his rural school with no electricity, he dreamed of providing computers and training to schools throughout Senegal. When he was recruited to a university in Indiana, he realized his dream, founding Wings for West Africa, a non-profit organization that ships computers to every corner of Senegal. Nearly twenty years after meeting Habib, Leita is compelled to share his story.] Wings for West Africa by Leita  Kaldi (Senegal 1993-96) “At our school we have eight hundred students and no . . .

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There’s $ in ebooks

I picked up this piece of news off my favorite publishing site, GalleyCat as reported by Jason Boog (Guatemala 2000-02) Net sales revenue from eBooks have surpassed hardcover books in the first quarter of 2012 according to the March Association of American Publishers (AAP) net sales revenue report (collecting data from 1,189 publishers), adult eBook sales were $282.3 million while adult hardcover sales counted $229.6 million during the first quarter of 2012. During the same period last year, hardcover accounted for $335 million in sales while eBooks logged $220.4 million. The report also say, “In Q1 2012, net sales revenue for eBooks was higher than that for Hardcover; this represents a switch of positions in the category vs Q1 2011. In both quarters, however, Trade Paperback remained a clear #1 in net sales revenue despite some erosion. While eBooks continue to show growth, downloaded audiobooks also keep accelerating vs last . . .

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I'll Loop for Obama at Midlothian County Club

Over Father’s Day weekend, President Obama went out of his home in Hyde Park to play golf at Beverly Country Club on the southside of Chicago. I’ve been to Beverly Country Club, not to play, but to caddie back when I was a kid caddie. Beverly we used to call “a ritzy club.” But, hey, I’ve been around Chicago! Well, at least as a caddie. Now if I had been advising Obama on where to play golf, I would have suggested Midlothian Country Club, not only for sentimental reasons (my own) but also because it is a better  course.  And famous in ways that Beverly never has been, never will be. I’ll grant that Beverly has more political types and ex-cons as members, but Midlothian has history and pedigree. Take history. Midlothian Country Club was built in 1898; it is one of the oldest golf clubs in America. Members financed their own two-mile railroad . . .

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Reggie Pearman, early Peace Corps Staff to Venezuela, Dies at 89

Reggie Pearman, Postwar Middle-Distance Runner, Dies at 89 Reggie Pearman, right, winning the 880-yard run for N.Y.U. in 1947. Reggie Pearman, one of America’s outstanding middle-distance runners in the post-World War II era, winning multiple titles for New York University, died on Monday near his home in Silver Spring, Md. He was 89. The cause was complications of pneumonia and renal failure, his daughter Lydia Pearman Harris said. At 6 feet 2 inches and 175 pounds, Pearman, a son of Ethiopian immigrants, won seven national and major collegiate titles for N.Y.U. in events of 440, 600, 880 and 1,000 yards. His fastest times were 47.6 seconds for 440 yards and 1 minute 51.5 seconds for the 880, strong numbers for those years. But his greatest impact came as the anchorman on N.Y.U. relay teams. Dave Johnson, the director of the annual Penn Relays, one of the premier track and field events . . .

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