Archive - November 2016

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Why This RPCV Should Be The Next Peace Corps Director
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#24 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Dave Gelman (Washington, D.C.)
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Refugees in “The Time of Trump”: RPCV Support Groups Linking RPCVs to Local Resettlement Agencies (United States)
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# 23 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Bob Gale (Washington, D.C.)
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Review of Stephen E. Murphy’s memoir: On the Edge: An Odyssey (Latin America)
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# 22 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Bob Gale (Washington, D.C.)
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# 21 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Samuel Babbitt (Washington, D.C.)
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# 20 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Bob Gale (Washington, D.C.)
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# 19 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Bill Moyers (Washington, D.C.)
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# 18 Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris (Washington, D.C.)

Why This RPCV Should Be The Next Peace Corps Director

It’s that time of year again. Time to pick a new Peace Corps Director with a new Administration. The President and his people get to fill 30 top level positions in the Peace Corps Administration, from director to heads of divisions. They are called Schedule C Appointments. The next Director, however, will not have the opportunity to put together ‘his or her team’ as the appointees come usually from the campaign workers. Historically the ‘jobs’ are in great demand. In previous administrations, there have been many RPCVs who didn’t want to go to the White House. They wanted to go back to the Peace Corps and “fix it” (in their minds) from what it was when they were PCVs. Other political types have seen the job as glamorous and full of overseas travel and cushy jobs. (Of course, those were Schedule C types who had never been near a PCV.) Bill . . .

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#24 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Dave Gelman (Washington, D.C.)

Trouble, however, was brewing for using the Wisconsin Plan at other colleges across the country. And early Peace Corps Evaluator Dave Gelman was warning that unless the Peace Corps gave priority for quality over quantity, the Peace Corps would not only acquire too many “high-risk” applicants but also “drink dry the well of potential recruits.” (Remember when the agency had those–High Risk/Low Gain–Trainees?) Gelman felt Gale’s method was wrong and warned about the “evils of excess” and the grave danger of becoming over-eager to ‘sign-up’ people for two years of service. One young applicant expressed his disappointment at the Wisconsin Plan style this way: ‘I thought we were something special. Then I saw that they were just pulling people off the street and testing them later.” Dave Gelman was a bright and tough son-of-a-bitch. I did not know him, but I watched him in the hallways of the building. He always appeared . . .

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Refugees in “The Time of Trump”: RPCV Support Groups Linking RPCVs to Local Resettlement Agencies (United States)

The five RPCVs named here were PCVs in the ’60s, ’70s, and 2000s.  Tino Calabia (Peru, 1963-65) spoke to them and had meetings with the State Department-funded national organizations called Volags. If you have questions or interest in helping out please contact Tino at: fcalabia36@gmail.com Tino Calabia Writes: As the UN High Commissioner for Refugees posts new stats on refugees — 65 million and climbing — some TV viewers change channels, and newspaper readers turn the page.  Others vent their rage against those they fear as including hordes of terrorists disguised as refugees or others whom they damn as “illegals.” But show photos of a Syrian toddler bleeding, covered with dust from rubble caused by bombings or of a three-year-old tike lying facedown dead like the flotsam littering the rest of the seashore.  These photos shock and awaken Americans to the plight of desperate asylum seekers.  Many Americans ask what can be . . .

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# 23 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Bob Gale (Washington, D.C.)

Following Sarge’s ‘T’riffic!’ and approval for the new recruitment campaign, Gale went up to his rabbit warren of rooms and started to call everyone he knew at the University of Wisconsin. “They were all old pals of mine, and they were going ape over the phone about my plans for the Peace Corps at the university. But it wasn’t an easy job. In 1963, the campus covered nine hundred acres on the shores of Lake Mendota. There were over 17,000 undergraduates, another 7,000 grad students. Gale realized early on that he (and the Peace Corps) had to see the recruitment trip as a presidential campaign. There were two of them assigned by Sarge for the first campaign–Doug Kiker and Bob Gale–neither of them knew each other at HQ. Both were new to the Peace Corps. They couldn’t do it all Gale realized so he decided on a second team to arrive in Wisconsin a . . .

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Review of Stephen E. Murphy’s memoir: On the Edge: An Odyssey (Latin America)

On the Edge: An Odyssey Stephen E. Murphy (Regional Director, Inter-Americas Region, 2002-2003) Odyssey Chapters (via CreateSpace), Seattle, WA September 23, 2016 188 pages $15.95 paperback, $5.99 Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Edge-Odyssey-Stephen-Murphy/dp/1536851876 Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964-66) Harvard missed an opportunity to welcome young Steve from Seattle, and work on his MBA with Boston’s finest…their loss, our gain! On the Edge, An Odyssey takes you from the Northwest to Boston to Rio and South America. Full of surprises and adventure, as well as serving in the administrations of Bush 1 and Bush 2. I found his book both exciting and a joy to explore funny moments as Steve becomes an adult in Brazil. But before he can continue, Vietnam calls and he becomes a US Navy Lieutenant junior grade, and finds himself as a participant in the war. Steve, or as the Brazilians call him…Estive, never allows grass to grow under his . . .

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# 22 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Bob Gale (Washington, D.C.)

Speaking up at the Senior Staff Conference Table on the 5th floor in the Maiatico Building, surrounded by the Mad Men & Mad Women, Bob Gale told Shriver and the others that Sam Babbitt’s ‘gentleman’ approach to recruiting wasn’t working. In a way (to use today’s terminology), the Peace Corps wasn’t a ‘brand’; it had not established its value with college students where most of the recruits for the new Peace Corps were to be found. “Off the top of my head,” recalled Gale, “I said, I’d get the college administrators and the faculty fully on our side, get them involved. I’d alert the campus newspaper and the campus radio station. I’d co-opt office space in the Student Union–that’s where a lot of the action is at a big university. I’d send out from Washington senior staff and famous names….” Shriver stopped him. He pounded the table with his fist, startling Gale who wasn’t familiar with Sarge’s ways. Then came, Shriver’s famous hoot: “T’rffic!” he yelled, . . .

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# 21 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Samuel Babbitt (Washington, D.C.)

In 1962 the Peace Corps received 20,000 applications, compared with 13,000 in 1961. Nevertheless, Recruitment couldn’t keep up with the staggering period of growth. For example, in 1961 the Peace Corps was in 9 countries. A year later they were in another 32 countries. Then, in the early months of 1963, there was a dramatic decline in applications, and the Peace Corps suffered its first shortfalls. This happened just as more and more countries were asking for Volunteers. The head of Recruitment–called then ‘Chief of the Division of Colleges and Universities–was the former Dean of Men at Vanderbilt University, Samuel F.  Babbitt. Sam Babbitt was a low-key kind of guy. His idea for recruitment was to set up a single Peace Corps faculty contact on campuses all across the country with instructions to conduct a continuous but unaggressive information program. Babbitt wanted to win the Peace Corps a reputation for honesty and thoroughness which, he told everyone, “would produce a . . .

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# 20 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Bob Gale (Washington, D.C.)

Bob Gale was six foot two, blue eyed, and owned a big personality. People who didn’t like Bob Gale eventually ended up, if not liking him, appreciating what he did for the Peace Corps. He was an academic coming to the Peace Corps from being the vice president for development at Carlton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and a Humphrey supporter. Gale had decided he wanted to go to Washington with the New Frontier and work for the Peace Corps and got in touch with Hubert Humphrey, who he knew, and a meeting was arranged with Bill Haddad (another early Mad Man) who was already working at the agency. William F. Haddad was the Associate Director for the Office of Planning and Evaluation. (At the age of 14 in post-Pearl Harbor, he had enlisted in the Army Air Corps pilot training program and advanced to cadet squadron commander before his true age was discovered.) Haddad (who went on to become . . .

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# 19 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Bill Moyers (Washington, D.C.)

I’ve saved this “character” for my last round-up of  Peace Corps Mad Men.  A television producer might think of  featuring this person as the main character for a new series. He wouldn’t be a bad ‘concept’ as they say in Hollywood for a new show. In those early days of the agency he invented a new way of doing things in the government (it didn’t last,) but did propel the Peace Corps from being a minor bureaucracy into a major player in D.C. Warren Wiggins credits Bill Moyers as the key figure in the Peace Corps during those first years, citing Moyers role in creating full bipartisan support in Congress, and how he got Young and Rubicam to develop those award winning ads some of us today are old enough to recall. All true. Warren was right about Moyers. However, recently I read a draft of an essay “Reflections on the Peace Corps” by the late Robert Textor, a former professor of . . .

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# 18 Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris (Washington, D.C.)

In Come As You Are: The Peace Corps Story, Coates Redmon tells how Shriver came back from Hyannis Port that Monday morning and charged into the Conference Room “waving the two memos” and declared, “I have talked to my wife, Eunice. I have talked to my sister-in-law, Ethel. And I have talked to General Maxwell Taylor. They all believe that married Peace Corps Volunteers should be able to have their babies overseas.” The Mad Men of the Senior Staff sat stunned and silent. The Medical Division stared at Sarge in disbelief. Betty Harris tried hard not to look smug. What had really transpired in the mythical Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port? Betty Harris would reach this conclusion: “What Sarge was revealing in all innocent candor was that the Kennedy family felt fully  empowered to influence Peace Corps policy on matters of family. The Kennedy family would proclaim and decree at this level. Of course. Who . . .

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