Archive - November 8, 2016

#12 More Mad Women at the Peace Corps (Washington, D.C.)

#12 More Mad Women at the Peace Corps (Washington, D.C.)

Two real power-house-women in those early years of the Peace Corps were: Cynthia Courtney, English-speaking Africa Division Director, and Francesca Gobi, French-speaking Africa Division Director. Both were recruited from the Africa American Institute (AAI), which years later was exposed by Ramparts magazine as being a CIA front. (Sorry, Sarge!) I met Cynthia Courtney in the late summer of ’64 when I returned from Ethiopia and went to work in the Office of Volunteer Services (DVS). Cynthia was one of the original ‘characters’ at the agency. She was a tall, demanding presence in the African Region, a woman of experience within Africa. One of her favorite tricks in the early years to get the very best PCVs for her countries (at the expense of other countries) was to go downstairs to the Selection Division late in the day, pull up a chair, and thumb through the files of new PCVs, and pick up the best candidates. She was looking for ‘the best and . . .

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