Archive - September 2012

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Would Ayn Rand Be De-Selected?
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Talking with Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2002-03) About his book The Springs of Namje
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Book Launch of Rajeev Goyal's (Nepal 2001-03) The Springs of Namje Book Launch
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Review of Lucinda Wingard (Nigeria 1966-68) YA Novel The Turn-around Bird
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PCVs Return to Nepal
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Mark Brazaitis wins Gival Press Novel Award
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New Books by Peace Corps Writers — August 2012
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Winner of the 2011 Children's Book Award — Tom Weck (Ethiopia 1965-67)
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Winner of the 2011 Publisher's Special Award — Stanley Meisler (PC/HQ 1963-67)
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Use Your Cross Cultural Experience–And Do Some Good!

Would Ayn Rand Be De-Selected?

I remember when Atlas Shrugged was published in 1957. In the  college dorm of my Jesuit University (St. Louis University) the book was passed about by all the business majors who decided the novel was better than the bible (not that Catholics ever read the Bible!). I attempted to read the book but couldn’t make it beyond the first page. Talk about ‘gag me with a spoon.’ I recently read about the novel (again) in a short and entertaining piece written by Henry Meininger,  the publisher and editor (of all things!) The Berkshire Home&Style.  This is a free give-away publication in western Massachusetts, a  magazine “of home and good living”…I kid you not! Writing about Atlas Shrugged in his magazine shows you where Henry is coming from. With all the talk by Paul Ryan, who made the novel required reading for his Congressional staff, I picked up the 1,168 page novel over the weekend and . . .

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Talking with Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2002-03) About his book The Springs of Namje

Talking with Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2002-03) by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) When you arrived in Nepal, Rajeev, the Nepalese royal family had just been massacred, Maoists threatened national security, and, as you discovered, a caste system dominated the culture. How did these realities affect your Peace Corps tour? The Maoist war affected every element of life, including education. Bridges, roads, and electricity grids were being blown up all across the country pretty much from the moment we stepped off the plane. So on a physical level, you never quite felt secure. But there was also an ideological “war” taking shape about how the country should move forward, the role and limits of tradition and religion in social and political life. Teachers and students were not shielded from this debate, obviously. The royal massacre had created a political vacuum, which the Maoists were capitalizing on.  Ordinary Nepalis felt squeezed between an . . .

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Book Launch of Rajeev Goyal's (Nepal 2001-03) The Springs of Namje Book Launch

Rajeev Goyal’s new memoir The Springs of Namje, published by Beacon Press, will be launched at The Rubin Museum of Art in New York. The museum opened in 2004 and  is recognized as the premier museum of Himalayan art in the Western world. The Launch Friday September 14, 2012 @ 7:00 PM The Rubin Museum of Art 150 West 17 Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues) Price: $12.00 Member Price: $10.80 About the Book The Springs of Namje A Ten-Year Journey from the Villages of Nepal to the Halls of Congress “The Springs of Namje tells many stories, including, very movingly, how to try to effect real change in Washington, D.C. It’s about idealism and savvy, and it shows how they can mix powerfully.” — Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet In 2001, Peace Corps volunteer Rajeev Goyal was sent to Namje, a . . .

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Review of Lucinda Wingard (Nigeria 1966-68) YA Novel The Turn-around Bird

The Turn-around Bird (A Young Adult Book) by Lucinda Wingard (Nigeria 1966–68) Plicata Press $16.00 294 pages 2012 Review by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) Aimée and Zoe, African American twin teenagers, accompany their father to Timbuktu, where he pursues historical research on the ancient Mali Empire.  At first, the girls find traveling in the endless desert arduous, and the city of Timbuktu boring, with its sand-colored buildings and weird spires and spikes. But through the magie of a genie, Ifrit, they are catapulted back into 14th century Timbuktu, then a mecca of civilization. The girls embark upon adventures replete with tall, dark, handsome princes, caravans, Tuareg warriors, harems, a Griot, a sorcerer and a Sufi mystic. In the magnificent Mansa Kankan Musa’s Golden Empire, the girls learn many things about ancient Africa.  Aimée, who tends to be bookish and fascinated by words, is told that she inherits the gift . . .

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PCVs Return to Nepal

Yesterday, September 9, 2012, 20 PCVs arrived in Katmandu, the first Volunteers to Nepal in eight years. The PCVs, after Training, will work in food security, sanitation and in health projects. The Peace Corps  withdrew Volunteers  in 2004 citing security concerns as Maoist rebels fought government troops.The Maoists joined the peace process in ’06, giving up their armed revolt. The Maoists’ deputy leader Baburam Bhattarai now leads a coalition government. The US removed the Maoists from its list of terrorist groups last week.

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Mark Brazaitis wins Gival Press Novel Award

Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991–93) has won the 8th Annual Gival Press Novel Award for his novel Julia & Rod. Mark will receive $3,000 and his novel will be published in 2013 by Gival Press. Mark is the author of four books of fiction, including The Incurables: Stories, winner of the 2012 Richard Sullivan Prize, from the University of Notre Dame Press. Of his book, Thaddeus Rutkowski, final judge of the contest, and author of Haywire, Tetched and Roughhouse wrote: This expressive, touching and at times wrenching novel tells the stories of two young people living in Guatemala during that country’s civil war. Teenagers Julia García and Rodrigo Rax meet at a school pageant and find that they are drawn to each other. Julia, the daughter of an engineer, lives in one of the few two-story houses in town. Rodrigo, who comes from less privilege, is a soccer star. But what begins . . .

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New Books by Peace Corps Writers — August 2012

The Measure of a Dream: A Peace Corps Story by Lora Parisien Begin (Tunisia 1988-90) Peace Corps Writers $16.96 356 pages July 2012 • Seven Sonnets by Julie B. Dargis (Morocco 1984–87) Createspace $5.99 16 pages 2012 • God and Conflict: A Search for Peace in a Time of Crisis: A True Story by Philip M. Hellmich (Sierra Leone 1985–89) GodandConflict.com Spirit of Peace Press $15.00 (paperback); $7.99 (Kindle) 262 pages 2012 • Every Town Needs A Castle: Especially When Built of Recycled Junk and Spunk by Dwayne Hunn (India 1965–67) Xlibris $19.99 (paperback), $3.08 (Kindle) 319 pages 2010 • I Was a Peace Corps Volunteer: Lost and Found in Micronesia by Heather Kaschmitter (Micronesia 2002–04) CreateSpace $12.00 286 pages June 2012 • The Soft Exile by Eric Kiefer (Mongolia 2006–07) Gentleman Tree Publishing $11.99 (paperback), $5.99 (Kindle) 209 pages August 2012 • The South American Expeditions, 1540–1545 by Alvar . . .

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Winner of the 2011 Children's Book Award — Tom Weck (Ethiopia 1965-67)

Tom Weck (Ethiopia 1965–67) is the founder of Lima Bear Press. With his son Peter, and illustrator Len DiSalvo, they have created a series of children’s books for 4–8 year-olds called The Lima Bear Stories, three of which,  The Megasaurus, How Back-Back Got His Name, and The Cave Monster were published in 2011 and we are recognizing with this award. These books grew out of bedtime stories about a clan of bears the size of lima beans that Tom told his four children. Four of the planned 10-book series have been published. 2 more are due in 2013.   Each book has an important message (e.g. tolerance, forgiveness). After graduating from Harvard Business School, Tom went with Louis Berger & Associates, a consulting firm, and ran the business as president for the last 12 years. “It was my son Peter who prompted me to start Lima Bear Press, LLC.,” Tom says today. “He felt my stories . . .

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Winner of the 2011 Publisher's Special Award — Stanley Meisler (PC/HQ 1963-67)

In 2011 Stan Meisler published When The World Calls: The Inside Story of the Peace Corps and Its First Fifty Years. It is a comprehensive history of the agency written by someone who knew the Peace Corps almost from its first days. Stan Meisler was a reporter for AP in 1963 when he joined the Evaluation staff at the Peace Corps.  “I was not there in those very first days, the madcap, exciting, glorious beginning. I started my work at Peace Corps headquarters just after the election of Lyndon B. Johnson to a full term as president, a year after the assassination of President Kennedy.” He had misgivings about working for the government, as any reporter might, but the Peace Corps was different. “It was,” Meisler writes, “an oasis of idealism and goodness in the vast Washington bureaucracy. Everyone, even Washington correspondents, loved the Peace Corps.” In his career at the agency he would make a half dozen . . .

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Use Your Cross Cultural Experience–And Do Some Good!

Laurette Bennhold-Samaan (PC/HQ Cross-Cultural Specialist 1994-01) now works for an international consulting company called Aperian Global. She is asking for the help of RPCVs in developing content for a half dozen African countries with an unique  ‘web tool’ that provides extensive knowledge on how to conduct business effectively in countries around the world. What this ‘web tool’ does is to help people understand and work better in new cultures, and work effectively with people of different backgrounds. Today, GlobeSmart has detailed information on 66 countries. It is being used by more than 400,000 people working for 100 international organizations. (If you’d like to see a demonstration of GlobeSmart, check out https://www.aperianglobal.com/login/). Now Aperian Global is looking to increase their countries in Africa. They develop profiles by  interviewing host country nationals, and people-like you!–who have worked in these countries. Laurette, who I worked with at the agency, has asked me to let . . .

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