Archive - March 2013

1
Review of Julie R. Dargis's (Morocco 1984-87) Pit Stop in the Paris of Africa
2
Robert Pastor (Malaysia 1970-72) of American University and the White House
3
Dennis L. Carlson’s (Libya 1968-69) Volunteers of America – The Journey of a Peace Corps Teacher
4
Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Western Samoa 1981-83) will host a Town Hall for RPCVs on April 2
5
Review of Ben Berman's (Zimbabwe 1998-2000) Strange Borderlands
6
What does Barry Hillenbrand (Ethiopia 1963-65) Have to Say About Pope Francis?
7
The New Pope and the Geopolitics of Secrecy by Brazilian Feminist Theologian Ivone Gebara, one of Latin America's Foremost Catholic Thinkers
8
Advisory council created by Kate Puzey Law issues first annual report
9
No Peace Corps Staff or PCVs to be ETed Because of Sequester
10
Maureen Orth Talks Gaelic with Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, on St. Patrick's Day!

Review of Julie R. Dargis's (Morocco 1984-87) Pit Stop in the Paris of Africa

Pit Stop in the Paris of Africa by Julie R. Dargis (Morocco 1984–87) Indie House Press 237 pages $14.95 (paperback), $7.49 (Kindle) 2013 Review by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) Julie R. Dargis was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco more than twenty-five years ago. After her service, she “. . . continued kicking around the world in search of adventure.” She got more than she bargained for in war-torn countries like Serbia, Congo, Somalia, Pakistan, Darfur, Rwanda, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire. Eventually Julie finds the real goal of her search . . . herself. Not only has she written a fascinating memoir of her exploits, but she writes poetry as well, and has published a collection, Seven Sonnets. Here’s an excerpt from an ode to Peace Corps. I lay in bed, then sat up with a start. The Peace Corps was for me a time to seek; To live and . . .

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Robert Pastor (Malaysia 1970-72) of American University and the White House

[American University’s Alumni Association, School of International Service, and University Library are  presenting “Waging Peace Through a Lifetime of Service” on Thursday, March 21, 2013. This event will celebrate the launch of American University’s Peace Corps Community Archive.  [One of the key speakers is Robert Pastor (Malaysia 1970-72) who is a professor at AU in the School of International Service; Director of the Center of North American Studies; Co-Director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management.  In 2009, Pastor would write, “”I have viewed each experience as an opportunity u to build on what I learned in the Peace Corps, and I was deeply grateful to have been awarded the Sargent Shriver Humanitarian Service Award in 1995. Peace Corps is a community, and I am proud to be part of that.” Longtime friends, colleagues and family, including former President Jimmy Carter, former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and AU president Neil . . .

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Dennis L. Carlson’s (Libya 1968-69) Volunteers of America – The Journey of a Peace Corps Teacher

Volunteers of America: The Journey of a Peace Corps Teacher by Dennis L. Carlson (Libya 1968-69) Sense Publishers, $38.00 paperback. $98.00 hardcover April 2012 Reviewed by Martin R. Ganzglass (Somalia 1966-68) Relying on a forty five year old journal he kept on almost a daily basis, Dennis Carlson has written a timely and thoughtful view of his service as a Peace Corps teacher in Libya. The book mainly chronicles his life in the small village of Igsaya, and his teaching experiences in that village and an even smaller school five kilometers away. Carlson describes the impact of Colonel Qaadafi’s 1969 coup on Igsaya and Tripoli: the food shortages and suffering of villagers due to the closing of market places and a ban on inter-village bus travel; the initial calm in the capital, followed by the threatening presence of armed soldiers, the beginning of anti-American rhetoric and subsequent street demonstrations, the . . .

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Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Western Samoa 1981-83) will host a Town Hall for RPCVs on April 2

Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Western Samoa, 1981-83) will be hosting a Town Hall for RPCVs on April 2, 2013, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. EDT.  She will discuss and answer questions about important topics identified by the RPCV community.  RPCVs should submit their topics and questions – along with their name, country and dates of service – in advance to thirdgoal@peacecorps.gov (please refer to “Town Hall Question” in the subject line) or tweet them at @PeaceCorps with the hashtag #PCtownhall. RPCVs around the world are encouraged to join via our live-stream broadcast at the URL here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/pc-town-hall-meeting RPCVs in the Washington area are welcome to attend in person at Shriver Hall, Peace Corps Headquarters, 1111 20th Street NW, Washington, D.C., although seating is limited.  You can sign up to attend the event in person or request an email reminder of the live-stream event by registering to participate. Hessler-Radelet will also be . . .

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Review of Ben Berman's (Zimbabwe 1998-2000) Strange Borderlands

Strange Borderlands (Poems) By Ben Berman (Zimbabwe 1998-2000) Able Muse Press, $18.95 80 Pages 2013 Reviewed by Jan Worth-Nelson (Tonga 1976-78) As an unwilling alumna of a Peace Corps tragedy during my service many years ago – the 1976 murder in the Kingdom of Tonga of one volunteer by another, I quickly attuned to heart-pulsing themes of violence and cultural dislocation in Ben Berman’s riveting first poetry collection, Strange Borderlands. I have never quite recovered from the shock and senselessness of that murder, not to mention the unceasing parade of vivid, direct, in-your-face carnage – chickens, cats, dogs, horses, whales, the old woman in the hut behind me – what seems, in persistent memory, to be a daily, bloody assault, often in startling contrast to banal quotidian life. During a powerful earthquake during my first year, I stumbled out of my hut shrieking with fear – I would die 9,000 . . .

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What does Barry Hillenbrand (Ethiopia 1963-65) Have to Say About Pope Francis?

Barry Hillenbrand (Ethiopia 1963-65) (Jesuit trained so he knows what he is talking about ) and who after the Peace Corps went on to be a correspondent of TIME magazine for more than 30 years serving most of those years as a foreign correspondent, including three years as South American Bureau Chief based in Rio de Janeiro and covering the early years of the Dirty War in Argentina sent me this email based on the recent blog about our new Pope. Here’s what Saint Barry had to say. (By the way, his wife would never call him a saint.) • Sigh.  First of all any archbishop who holds up a football banner while decked out in his miter has to be partly alright, but this cozy laddie-ness will no doubt be added to all those other overly charming traits that Donna Gebera finds so suspicious. I suspect that part of D. Gebera’s problem is . . .

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The New Pope and the Geopolitics of Secrecy by Brazilian Feminist Theologian Ivone Gebara, one of Latin America's Foremost Catholic Thinkers

[This is being circulated by the Catholic community I’m part of.] The new pope and the geopolitics of secrecy by Ivone Gebara (Brazilian feminist theologian Ivone Gebara is one of Latin America’s foremost Catholic thinkers. This article was first published in Portuguese and Spanish by Adital.) Now that the initial shock of Buenos Aires Cardenal Bergoglio’s election and the thrill of having a Latin American pope who is both cordial and friendly are over, it’s time for some reflection. Despite their value, the media also have the power to distract us, to lull our minds and keep us from allowing needed critical questions to surface.  In the days leading up to the papal election, many in Brazil and around the world were “hijacked” by live broadcasts from Rome.  Of course the historic events witnessed in these days are not everyday occurrences!  But what interests are leading the huge telecommunication industry . . .

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Advisory council created by Kate Puzey Law issues first annual report

But you won’t read it on the Peace Corps’s official main website.   The RPCV women of First Response Action are the courageous ones who worked so hard to make the law that protects Peace Corps Volunteers a reality.  The report is posted prominently on their website: http://firstresponseaction.blogspot.com Finding the report on the official Peace Corps website is instead  a “scavenger hunt”. Go to peace corps.gov and scroll to the bottom of the page. There you will find a wealth of links to important agency documents, including the Peace Corps Manual and Evaluation reports from the Inspector General’s office. But you won’t find a report entitled “Peace Corps Volunteer Sexual Assault Advisory Council Annual Report”. You have to know to scroll down, on that main website, to the heading labeled “Media”, click on ” News Releases”. The disclaimer on this webs page is that only press releases for the last 90 . . .

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No Peace Corps Staff or PCVs to be ETed Because of Sequester

The Peace Corps Agency is not planning any furloughs for the FY2013 year, and they are now working so as not to furlough anyone in FY 2014 if the Sequester has its full effect on the government.  That said, they are looking at ways to “cut back on headquarters staff”  either through extended lapses in staffing or hiring freezes.  At this time there are no expected staff reductions in the field in either FY 2013 or FY 2014 (i.e. all staff reductions will be taken at HQ).   There are also no plans to reduce the total number of PCVs currently overseas.   In 2014, however, they might have to cut 200-300 Volunteer positions if the sequester isn’t resolved.

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Maureen Orth Talks Gaelic with Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, on St. Patrick's Day!

[Maureen Orth (Colombia 1965-67) has been a special correspondent for Vanity Fair since 1993. She is the founder of the Marina Orth Foundation and Escuela Marina Orth in Medellín, Colombia, which she was a PCV.  The MarinaOrthFoundation.org now has 3 schools with 1200 students, all One Laptop Per Child schools in Colombia. Orth began her journalism career in 1973 as the third female writer ever hired by Newsweek and won a National Magazine Award for group coverage of the arts at Newsweek. She is the author of Vulgar Favors (Delacorte Press, 1999), a book about the murder of Gianni Versace, and The Importance of Being Famous (Henry Holt, 2002), a collection of her Vanity Fair articles. PCV Orth in Colombia This piece appeared on the vf.com website on March 15, 2013, and is reprinted with Maureen’s permission. ] Former Irish President Mary Robinson on Gay Rights, Sheryl Sandberg-and Pope Francis’s Future By Maureen Orth 2:17 . . .

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