Archive - 2018

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Well … wait till President Kennedy hears about this!
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Richard Graham, Deputy Associate Director for Public Affairs
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Malawi’s First Peace Corps Staff
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Lee St. Lawrence, First Director of the Far East Regional Office
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Peace Corps Gang
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Panama’s First Peace Corps Staff
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Running Away to Join the Peace Corps
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What To Do Till The Peace Corps Comes
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Colombia’s First Peace Corps Staff (Part Four)
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Catherine Onyemelukwe (Nigeria) publishes BREAKING KOLA

Richard Graham, Deputy Associate Director for Public Affairs

His own flourishing electronics company handled such fascinating assignments as the design and construction of the atomic reactor controls for the first atom-powered U.S. merchant ship, the Savannah. For Dick Graham personally it was probably just as important that the firm offered him a constructive outlet for his skills as a high lever tinkerer. From atomic controls engineering to Peace Corps recruiting might seem as first glance to compose a disconnected journey. Not so, Graham insists, explaining that the nature of his duties with his company made his transition to the Peace Corps perfectly natural. “I was my own advertising manager—writing releases, holding sales meetings, editing the house organ—all the kinds of things one does in recruiting.” Here in Washington, he admits to “no regrets about leaving the company,” and insists that he doesn’t want to “hear any nonsense about financial sacrifice. In the Peace Corps, I am doing exactly . . .

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Malawi’s First Peace Corps Staff

The Malawi program, originally explored by Harris Wofford and later negotiated by Bob Hellawell in August 1962, eventually brought 112 Volunteers to the new nation, to teach in secondary schools and a teacher training institute. It also re-directed the services of scholar-athlete Robert Poole, who had originally been scheduled to go to Addis Ababa. Born in Wilmington, Del., and raised in Saylesville, R.I. and Litchfield, Conn., Poole attended Yale on a four-year Northwestern Connecticut Alumni Scholarship. He was middleweight boxing champion of Yale in 1953. He played basketball and baseball I the college intramural league. He participated in hockey and swimming and as a rugby player, participated in the Rug y Week tournaments in Bermuda for three years. (This was a result of the fact that spring football practice was banned when he was a sophomore—all the football players turned to rugby in the spring.) Before he received his degree . . .

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Lee St. Lawrence, First Director of the Far East Regional Office

World War II and the Army sent Lee St. Lawrence into combat duty in Europe. Somehow or other, he didn’t get to the United States again for 17 years. Born in Brockton, Mass., on January 2, 1923, St. Lawrence worked his way through high school as a gandy dancer on the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. He received a classical education in Greek and Latin at a Redemptorist Fathers junior college in Pennsylvania. After his war service, he took advantages of the GI. Bill and went on with his studies—overseas. He earned extra money while at Oxford University with a job piling mail sacks in London’s Paddington Station. After additional work at Dublin’s Trinity Collee and the Institute de Science Politique in Paris, he launched a career as a free-lance writer for British newspapers. Six months of traveling with gypsies in Spain yielded a Sunday feature series. Another . . .

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Panama’s First Peace Corps Staff

His 18th birthday arrived in 1944, in the middle of World War II, so David Boubion left Los Angeles, where he was born, by signing aboard the wartime Navy. He served aboard a destroyer in the campaigns at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Discharged in 1946, he went home to resume the social work that he had become involved in before the war as an off-shoot of his work as a camp counsellor and camps director. Enrolled in night classes at East Los Angeles Junior College, he organized a teenage group of Mexican-Americans in his neighborhood and got 60 to 80 members meeting once a week to participate in social and recreational activities. “I thought to myself, ‘This is a lot of nonsense—doing this kind of work on my own and for nothing. I might as well make a living at it.” He went to work for the Catholic Youth Organization . . .

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Colombia’s First Peace Corps Staff (Part Four)

On September 30, 1963, Associate Director Nancy McNulty arrived in Bogota from Lima, Peru, where she had served as an Associate Director for six months. She brought with her a specialty, and expertise in the techniques of teaching English as a foreign language. These techniques would be employed by those community development Volunteers who teach English in their spare time. They would also be used by the Volunteers specifically assigned to education programs, both at the second school and university level, who went to work about the time that the number of Volunteers in Colombia passed the 600 mark. scene of the largest Peace Corps effort. The extent of the program required further staff additions. Associate Director Betty Hutchinson arrived in Bogota on January 20, 1964. Although she was born in Rosario, Argentina’s second city, Betty compelled high school in Lincoln, Neb., in 1938. Four years later, she received her . . .

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Catherine Onyemelukwe (Nigeria) publishes BREAKING KOLA

  When Catherine Onyemelukwe arrived in Nigeria in 1962 as an idealistic Peace Corps Volunteer, she had no idea of the country’s wealth of customs and traditions she would come to love. With her marriage to a Nigerian electrical engineer and senior manager in the country’s power industry, she became part of his family, clan, and village. She learned to speak the Igbo language and not only adapted to, but adopted, some of the customs of his people. In this intimate portrayal of family members, she reveals the secrets of the ties that bind her to her husband’s community. Through the striking accounts of his parents in their youth, and with nods to customs from other tribes and countries, she paints an unforgettable picture of African life in times past. Catherine evokes the atmosphere of the village market, the religious rituals, and the ceremonies that accompany life’s major events. The . . .

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