Archive - February 2013

1
Death of a PCV in China
2
Peter Tinti (Mali 2008-10) On Front Page of NYTIMES
3
Facebook Destroying Cross Cultural Life
4
Once Again, Sequestration Rears Its Ugly Head
5
Three Washington State Colleges Lead Nation in PCVs
6
Peace Corps Jocks
7
RPCV Catherine "Kitty" Houghton (Nepal 1964-66) and The Preciousness of Life
8
Announcing the Creation of the Peace Corps by JFK
9
JFK and Shriver
10
Harris Wofford (CD Ethiopia 1962-64) Remembers The Beginning

Death of a PCV in China

Peace Corps Global FROM:            Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Acting Director SUBJECT:      Peace Corps Volunteer Nicholas M. Castle I am deeply saddened to inform you that we have lost a member of our Peace Corps family.  Yesterday, Peace Corps/China Volunteer Nick Castle, 23, died after a short illness in Chengdu, China.  His parents were at his bedside at the time of his death.  Nick arrived in China on June 29, 2012, to begin his pre-service training and was sworn in as a Volunteer on August 27, 2012.  He was serving as an education Volunteer at Tongren University in Guizhou Province, where he taught university-level English.  He was scheduled to complete his service in July 2014. Nick was an outstanding Volunteer who was dedicated to helping others and his passing is mourned by the entire Peace Corps community, including his fellow Volunteers in China, Peace Corps/China staff, and his students.  We are taking the . . .

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Peter Tinti (Mali 2008-10) On Front Page of NYTIMES

“[Peter Tinti (Mali 2008-10) is a freelance journalist, writer and analyst based in Bamako, Mali. He writes and reports on issues pertaining to politics, culture and security in West Africa. He has lived and worked in the region since 2008, first as a PCV in Gao, northern Mali.]   February 9, 2013 Mali War Shifts as Rebels Hide in High Sahara  By ADAM NOSSITER and PETER TINTI DAKAR, Senegal – Just as Al Qaeda once sought refuge in the mountains of Tora Bora, the Islamist militants now on the run in Mali are hiding out in their own forbidding landscape, a rugged, rocky expanse in northeastern Mali that has become a symbol of the continued challenges facing the international effort to stabilize the Sahara. Expelling the Islamist militants from Timbuktu and other northern Malian towns, as the French did swiftly last month, may have been the easy part of retaking . . .

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Facebook Destroying Cross Cultural Life

I read recently in The Chronicle of Higher Education how Facebook was destroying Study Abroad Program. The writer, Robert Huesca, a professor communications at Trinity University in San Antonio, made the point that while living for six months in Benin he was “particularly attuned to the issues that concern professionals in study abroad-ranging from cultural immersion to health and safety. All of those issues seem to have been transformed for good and for ill by advances in information and communication technology.” After living with 10 students in the town of Ouidah, watching all of them (and himself!) operate in a new cross-cultural setting, equipped with “computers, mobile phones, digital cameras, iPads, iPods, and other media players loaded with movies, television programs, and music,” he came to the decision that  “we need to add technology management to curricula aimed at preparing students to gain as rich an experience as possible from . . .

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Once Again, Sequestration Rears Its Ugly Head

In December, Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet wrote a memo on how sequestration would impact the Peace Corps. Sequestration was part of the “fiscal cliff” that was to occur on January 2nd, 2013 and now looms as a possibility on March 1st.  Sequestration is the procedure in which automatic spending cuts are triggered to budgets of federal agencies if Congress and the President cannot reach agreement on spending measures. Here is the Director’s memo: December 20, 2012 TO: Peace Corps Global FROM: Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Acting Director SUBJECT: Implications of Ongoing Fiscal Cliff Negotiations for the Peace Corps As you are all likely aware, the Administration and Congress are continuing to work to resolve a series of economic or fiscal events, collectively referred to as the “fiscal cliff,” that are scheduled to occur around the end of the year. One of the key issues involves potential across-the-board reductions in federal spending— . . .

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Three Washington State Colleges Lead Nation in PCVs

Three Washington state colleges swept the nation in their respective size categories for having the most PCVs in the Peace Corps. It’s the first time WWU has been ranked No. 1 and the fifth time for the University of Washington. Five other universities in Washington also made the Peace Corps 2013 Top Colleges rankings, all in the small school category: Seattle University (No. 5, 19 alumni currently serving), University of Puget Sound (No. 8, 18 alumni), Evergreen State College (No. 8, 16 alumni), Whitman College (No. 8, 16 alumni), Pacific Lutheran University (No. 18, 15 alumni). The full top 25 rankings for each school size category – plus all-time and graduate school rankings – can be found on the Peace Corps website: www.peacecorps.gov Gonzaga University climbed to No. 1 nationwide among small colleges and universities whose graduates serve in the Peace Corps. Twenty-four Gonzaga undergraduate alumni are serving overseas as Peace . . .

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Peace Corps Jocks

Rachel Bachman in the WSJ published this article today. The Peace Corps’ Press Office provided the data. It was Mark Gearan, when he was the agency’s director, who began to provide colleges and news organizations this information, which has proven to be a valuable way of keeping the agency’s name in the news. Great idea, Mark! Here is how Ms. Bachman used the information. Thanks to Mike McCaskey (Ethiopia 1965-67) for bringing the article to my attention. • Five-Star Recruits vs. Five-Star Humanitarians By Rachel Bachman: The Journal compared just-released rankings of universities by number of Peace Corps volunteers and Scout.com’s rankings of the nation’s top football recruiting classes as of early Wednesday evening, signing day. The resulting list shows that Alabama doesn’t dominate everything. Florida and Washington tied for the No. 1 spot with 107 former undergraduates serving in the Peace Corps. The Gators and Huskies also cleaned up . . .

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RPCV Catherine "Kitty" Houghton (Nepal 1964-66) and The Preciousness of Life

Laurence Leamer posted this touching piece on Huffingtonpost.com yesterday. Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963-65) was thoughtful enough to forward it to me so that I might share it with the whole Peace Corps community. • Catherine “Kitty” Houghton and The Preciousness of Life By Laurence Leamer (Nepal 1964-66) There is no greater gift than to know the preciousness of life. Once you realize it, every moment is enhanced and however long you live, you have a far longer life. Of all the people I have known, the person who grasped that essential fact the youngest and perhaps the most fully was Catherine “Kitty” Houghton. Kitty was an ebullient presence who danced through life as if in a dream, helping those who needed help and admiring the abilities and achievements of those who fell far short of her attainments, always with her sparkling, inquisitive eyes finding in life nothing but endless far . . .

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Announcing the Creation of the Peace Corps by JFK

This comes to us again through the kindness of Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963-65) who blogs on this site and is an expert on the history of the Peace Corps. This audio is 30 minutes long. The Peace Corps is mentioned in the first five minutes.    http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/TNC-5.aspx#.UQwOozmfFJw.email According to Joanne, President Kennedy announces the Peace Corps as a pilot program at the beginning of his Press Conference, on March 1st, 1961.  “The entire Press Conference is thirty minutes long,” says Joanne, ” and it is well worth listening to the entire Conference.  Many of the topics sound contemporary for today, such as finding alternatives to military resolution of international problems and how to control the deficit.  Kennedy’s moral positions shine throughout all of his remarks. This very special press conference illustrates the political and ethical environment in which the Peace Corps was born.” This was only the 5th Press Conference for JFK. Again, thanks, . . .

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JFK and Shriver

Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963-65) who blogs on our site, and who knows more than all of us about the agency, sent me the following note and interesting links at the JFK’s library in Boston. Joanne writes: “The JFK Presidential Library works hard to protect the history and legacy of the Kennedy administration. The Peace Corps is an important part of that history.  Here is an example of how important preserving and protecting that history can be. “Since the beginning, Peace Corps Volunteers have long fought the myth that somehow Volunteers were intelligence agents in disguise. A telephone conversation between President Kennedy and Sargent Shriver on April 2, 1963 documents that Kennedy and Shriver were strongly determined to protect the Peace Corps from the CIA. “This telephone conversation was recorded in the White House and the JFK Library has now digitized the recording and is making them available on its website. . . .

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Harris Wofford (CD Ethiopia 1962-64) Remembers The Beginning

In accepting the presidential nomination, John Kennedy promised “invention, innovation, imagination, decision.” Thirty-nine days after taking office, he established the Peace Corps by executive order and began to keep that promise. The Peace Corps began for me when a call came from Millie Jeffrey, a Democratic National Committee member and active colleague in the Kennedy campaign’s Civil Rights Section (where I was deputy to Sargent Shriver). With great excitement, she told me about Kennedy’s extemporaneous talk she had heard at 2 a.m., October 14, 1960 to thousands of students, faculty, and town people waiting for him in front of the University of Michigan’s Student Union. Challenging the students, he had asked them if they were ready to spend years serving in Asia, Africa, or Latin America. Stirred by his question, Michigan students, including Millie’s daughter, had taken around a petition saying yes, they were ready – nearly one thousand had . . .

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