Archive - October 2012

1
Remembering RPCV & Ambassador Chris Stevens (Morocco 1983-85)
2
Rave Review In TLS For Mark Brazaitis'(Guatemala 1991-93) The Incurables
3
B.A. Generalists–The Best and the Brightest???
4
Review of George Rosen (Kenya 1968-70) The Immanence of God in the Tropics
5
Puerto Rican Training–Blame It On The Brits
6
The Best and the Brightest–Part Two
7
Is the History of Nurses in the Peace Corps Known?
8
Arnold Schwarzenegger Comes Clean Talks to Larry Leamer (Nepal 1965-67)

Remembering RPCV & Ambassador Chris Stevens (Morocco 1983-85)

[Ambassador Chris Stevens was a PCV in Morocco from 1983-85.  He served twice in Libya in three different Foreign Service capacities, first, as Deputy Chief of Mission from 2007-09;  then as Special Representative to Libya’s National Transitional Council from March 2011 to November 2011; and  finally as Ambassador from June 2012 until his death on September 11, 2012.] Learning of Chris Stevens’ Death While Reading The Aeneid by Tino Calabia (Peru 1963-65) What intel the White House should have known/acted upon before the 9/11 attack and killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues in Libya is triggering partisan arguments sullying the memory of Stevens’ sacrifice.  Or so the current gamesmanship seems to this former Peace Corps Volunteer. Lots of the 200,000 Americans who, like I, have served as Volunteers never knew, prior to the violence in Benghazi, that the Peace Corps first sent young Chris Stevens to Morocco.  Later the State . . .

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Rave Review In TLS For Mark Brazaitis'(Guatemala 1991-93) The Incurables

In the September 28, 2012, issue of the Times Literary Supplement,  reviewer Alison Kelly compares Brazaitis’ award winning collection of stories, The Incurables (published by the University of Notre Dame Press) to Sherwood Anderson’s famous story-cycle, Winesburg, Ohio, saying of Mark’s book, “The Incurables deserves a lasting place among regional story cycles; it brings small town Ohio palpably alive and combines a comic relish for the bizarre with a tenderness towards human frailty”.

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B.A. Generalists–The Best and the Brightest???

The early identification of the Peace Corps was that it was an agency filled with B.A. Generalists Volunteers. That evaluation was pretty much true. The majority of  Trainees in ’61 and ’62 were June graduates who went immediately back to school that summer and into 2-3 month Training Programs on colleges and universities across the country. Of the first 1,150 Volunteers to join the agency, more than two-thirds had Bachelor’s degrees; one in 10 had an advanced degree–an M.A. or Ph.D.  The Peace Corps HQ building was also full of academic types. In 1961 there were 31 Ph.D’s, 42 M.A.’s, and 20 LL.B’s on the Washington executive and advisory staff. Overseas, in Latin America alone, there were eight doctorates, all graduates of  Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Columbia, and the University of Chicago.  So it is not surprising that the agency  turned to 36 institutions from the East Ivy League schools, through the Mid-West, and onto California to direct Training Programs. By . . .

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Review of George Rosen (Kenya 1968-70) The Immanence of God in the Tropics

The Immanence of God in the Tropics by George Rosen (Kenya 1968-70) Leapfrog Press $15.95 167 pages 2012 Reviewed by Susi Wyss (Central African Republic 1990-92) All seven stories in George Rosen’s new collection, The Immanence of God in the Tropics, were previously published in top-notch literary magazines such as Harper’s and North American Review. After a bit of online research, I was surprised to learn that these stories were published over a 31-year period, starting with “Our Big Game” (published in 1978) and ending with “A Second Language” (published in 2009). Of course, Rosen produced plenty of other work during that time, including a novel called Black Money and reportage for the Atlantic and the Boston Globe. But I can’t help think that the long period over which these stories were written attest to the labor and care-not to mention sheer life experience-that is so evident in this impressive . . .

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Puerto Rican Training–Blame It On The Brits

When the Peace Corps started  on March 1, 1961 there were few guidelines on how to train Peace Corps Volunteers for work in the developing world. Ordinary Americans had rarely been trained systematically for service overseas. As a result most Americans living abroad, whether privately or as officials, did not have a real understanding of the society in which they found themselves. There was no such thing as Cross Culture Training in 1961. The Peace Corps, setting up shop, planned to avoid this. So, of course,  the agency called a meeting! The Associate Director Lawrence Dennis actually sponsored a series of  what was called Peace Corps Institutes that brought together people from government agencies, universities, foundations, business, labor and professional and academic societies. Conferences were next convened to discuss how to train for particular nations around the world. Next conference were held to get advice on how to train Volunteers for . . .

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The Best and the Brightest–Part Two

High Risk/High Gain criteria was only the first phase of the early Peace Corps selection process. In theory (and those of us who were around in those days remember being victims of a lot of ‘theory’) selection began with a person filling out the questionnaire and returning it to the Peace Corps. This process of volunteering represented a kind of ‘self-selection” and according to the early staffers, “it in no small part was responsible for the generally high caliber of Peace Corps applicants.” Further “self-selection” took place with the applicant was sent an invitation to train for a specific project and was free to accept or decline the invitation. At the time, potential PCVs had listed various references on his or her questionnaire and they were contacted.  The attention that these people gave their replied surprised the Peace Corps Selection Staff and therefore was a tool for final decision making. Interestingly, . . .

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Is the History of Nurses in the Peace Corps Known?

Dr. Vanessa Kerry is the daughter of Senator John Kerry. She has created a partner ship with Peace Corps Response to send doctors and nurses overseas. Kerry was interviewed on NRP about the new Peace Corps Response program. (Read the transcript of the interview at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/09/18/161381770/a-peace-corps-for-doctors-built-by-a-senators-daughter In describing the program, Kerry stated: “The Peace Corps doesn’t have the technical capacity to do clinical medicine and nursing,” Kerry says. “But they do well at deploying people in a sensitive, integrated way.” Peace Corps Nurses, however, have served in the Peace Corps from its earliest days.    

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Comes Clean Talks to Larry Leamer (Nepal 1965-67)

‘I screwed, and here was the kid.’ With his new memoir set for release, Arnold gives his most revealing interview ever to The Daily Beast’s Laurence Leamer (Nepal 1965-67) http://elink.thedailybeast.com/4e555a9fe018bee76c33fcd3njql.264m  //UGmHSpsfcaKPqHJvCfd73>

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