Archive - October 2012

1
If Romney Wins–There Goes the Peace Corps!
2
Former Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams Returns to RTI International
3
Danger: Transitions Revisited. Redoubled?
4
Honoring RPCV Ambassador Chris Stevens
5
Su Mano en Mi Mano —Tim Flaherty Remembers Guatemala
6
Training on Campus in the U.S.of A.
7
Joanna Luloff (Sri Lanka 1996-98) to Read at Harvard Book Store
8
Family, friends, dignitaries pay tribute to Ambassador Stevens
9
Suzy McKee Charnas (Nigeria 1961-63) Publishes on New E-Publishing Site
10
The Peace Corps' Greatest Volunteers:Cuero de Paz

If Romney Wins–There Goes the Peace Corps!

I think that we can be assured of massive changes in the Peace Corps Administration, the size and scope of the agency, and where PCVs will go next,  given a Romney Administration. Unlike some former presidents, Romney has no historical connections to the Peace Corps. Yes, he was a missionary for the Mormon Church as a young man, but not to a developing country. He was in France! He didn’t, therefore, see the world where Peace Corps Volunteers lived and served. He did not share the adventures of being a young person in another society, though some might say the Left Bank had a lot to teach Mitt. Also, as a Republican, he had no ‘Kennedy Legacy’ blowing at his back. The Peace Corps was ‘their’ program, Romney might say, not ours. During the Nixon Administration, Fat Pat Buchanan and others Right Wingers attempted to close the agency down, given . . .

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Former Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams Returns to RTI International

Aaron Williams is returning to RTI International from which he came as Executive Vice President of the International Development Group. The announcement was made to the employees of RTI this afternoon. Aaron Williams became director of the Peace Corps on July 14, 2009. The Senate confirmed him on August 7, 2009, and Williams was sworn in as Director on August 24, 2009. Williams served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic from 1967 to 1970. Before joining the agency, Aaron had over 25 years of experience in the design and implementation of worldwide assistance programs. As USAID Mission Director in South Africa, Williams led a billion dollar foreign assistance program during President Nelson Mandela’s administration. In addition to his work in South Africa, Williams has extensive experience in the strategic design and management of assistance programs in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East; including long-term assignments . . .

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Danger: Transitions Revisited. Redoubled?

If there is a Republican takeover in the White House in November, the transition at Peace Corps could be even more difficult for serving Volunteers. The agency is already experiencing changes because of the early and unexpected resignation of Director Aaron Williams, (Dominion Republic 67-69) who headed Peace Corps for three years. The agency is in the capable hands of Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet; but she is still only the acting Director. In a recent evaluation, the Inspector General of the Peace Corps found that transitions caused unique problems at Peace Corps because of the so-called Five Year Rule. One problem was the lack of succession planning.  The OIG made specific recommendations to correct these problems. The then Director Williams accepted them and was to send to the OIG, in August of this year, the policy changes and perhaps even proposed legislation all designed to implement the recommendations. However, this has been . . .

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Honoring RPCV Ambassador Chris Stevens

Tino Calabia studied at Georgetown, Columbia, and the University of Munich, was a Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru, 1963-65), then headed a Bronx antipoverty agency. He directed planning projects with residents of New York’s poverty neighborhoods, and authored numerous federal studies with topics ranging from the rights of female offenders to bias on college campuses. He has served on national Asian American boards, and presented seminars in former Eastern bloc countries for exchange students he had mentored while they lived in the U.S. Tino wrote Marian and me this note, and responding to it, Marian has established a petition at SignOn.org that we hope you will sign. • This is what Tino had to say: Last month’s tragic deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens (Morocco 1982–85) and three American colleagues in Libya have been turned into fuel for the firestorm of partisan attacks during the closing national campaigns to win the White . . .

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Su Mano en Mi Mano —Tim Flaherty Remembers Guatemala

In August, Tim Flaherty (Guatemala 1974-76) published his Peace Corps memoir, Your Hand in My Hand: The Memoirs of a Former Peace Corps Volunteer. The opening sentence  of the book jacket copy reads: “This very personal book/memoir has been written in order to inform people of the very dangerous locations where Peace Corps volunteers are sent throughout Latin America.” Tim goes onto write, ” As a Peace Corps volunteer I lived in one such place called Asuncion Mita in the southeastern part of Guatemala, Central America. Many of the men from that region openly carry guns for their own protection. However, others very often use these armaments to threaten and kill people after little to no provocation or after becoming stone cold drunk. During my work in Asuncion Mita, I knew two neighbors whom were shot to death from point blank range just across the street from my residence. These . . .

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Training on Campus in the U.S.of A.

This is a short piece on Training that Marian Beil and I published years ago on our www.peacecorpswriters.orgsite. It is  another view on Training, this time on a college campus. John Krauskopf (Iran 1965-67) served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for two year in Ahwaz, the provincial capital of the province of Khuzistan, part of the Mesopotamian Delta. He taught English in a boy’s high school, ran a language enrichment program, and organized English instruction for more than 400 teachers and staff of the provincial office of education. Later he worked as a Peace Corps Trainer for two Iran TEFL programs, in the U.S. and Iran. Tequila and Temblors by John Krauskopf (Iran 1965–67) PEACE CORPS TRAINING was intensive and stressful. Superficially, it seemed a lot like the college culture most of us had recently left. Walking around the University of Texas campus in Austin had a familiar feel since we lived . . .

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Joanna Luloff (Sri Lanka 1996-98) to Read at Harvard Book Store

Joanna Luloff (Sri Lanka 1996-98) will be reading from her interwoven collection of stories The Beach at Galle Road at the Harvard Book Store on Tuesday, October 23. This is her first book. Joanna Luloff received her BA from Vassar College and her MFA from Emerson College, and her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri. Her fiction has appeared in The Missouri Review, Confrontation Magazine, and New South. The basic theme of this book, which is being published this month by Algonquin Books, is that when the rumors of civil war between the ruling Sinhalese and the Tamils in the northern sector of Sri Lanka reach those who live in the south, somehow it seems not to be happening in their own country. At least not until Janaki’s sister, Lakshmi, now a refugee whose husband has disappeared, comes back to live with her family. And . . .

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Family, friends, dignitaries pay tribute to Ambassador Stevens

Family, friends, dignitaries pay tribute to Ambassador Stevens By Scott Johnson Oakland Tribunemercurynews.com SAN FRANCISCO — Several hundred mourners from around the world, including a former secretary of state, a former bishop of California and the Libyan ambassador to the United States, gathered in the elegant rotunda of San Francisco City Hall Tuesday to honor the life and work of former U.S. Ambassador John Christopher Stevens. The memorial, called “A Celebration of Life,” included remembrances and appreciations by more than a dozen family members, former colleagues and government dignitaries, a video montage narrated by Stevens himself, as well as songs by the University of California Men’s Glee Club Alumni. “He’s always been with me, he was my most important mentor,” said a younger sister, Anne Stevens Sullivan. “The world needs a lot more big brothers like Chris Stevens.” “Christopher Stevens stood out as extraordinary in an already extraordinary group of . . .

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Suzy McKee Charnas (Nigeria 1961-63) Publishes on New E-Publishing Site

 A new e-pub venture opened this week in New Mexico. It is called, “Snackreads,” and their front page features a science-fiction short story by Suzy McKee Charnas (Nigeria 1961-63) entitled Scorched Supper on New Niger. It is Suzy’s only story that draws directly with her Peace Corps experience in Nigeria in the early sixties. The story is 17,000 words long, is available in the formats: Kindle, EPUB, and PDF. The publisher, SnackReads, says “if you like Science Fiction, women in space, high stakes intrigue, uplifted cats, just desserts” you will love Scorched Supper on New Niger.” The plot goes this way: Space pilot Dee Steinway has so far escaped the clutches of her empire-building brother-in-law; now he has her, her feline companion, and her uniquely valuable spaceship in his sights. Will her desperate landing at a colony of traders from Old Africa lead to an escape, a delicious comeuppance, or a trap?    Here is . . .

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The Peace Corps' Greatest Volunteers:Cuero de Paz

I know I can generate a lot of ‘comments’ and ‘Com’on Coyne!’ complaints by picking out Volunteers who really did an amazing job overseas. Yes, we all did amazing jobs! However, there are many, many PCVs who away from their APCDs, or any host country attention, did wondrous working as teachers, nurses, community development workers in the barrios of Latin America, or digging fish ponds in Africa. Whatever! We all knew one or two Super Vols in our programs. Some of us, perhaps, were Super Vols. Still, on the national level, over the 50 plus years of the agency, there are several moments when the world as a whole paused and for a moment at least nodded in agreement and thought: ‘yes, this is what the Peace Corps is all about.’ One such moment occurred early on in Nigeria at the University of Ibadan when Trainee Maragery Michelmore dropped a . . .

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