Archive - November 2019

1
“One Morning in September” — 9/11
2
Legendary journalist and early Peace Corps staff member Bill Moyers fears for our nation
3
Review–Blue Country by Mark Wentling (Honduras)
4
The Birth of the Peace Corps
5
Screening schedules for Peace Corps Documentaries
6
Peace Corps Writers imprint publishes WOVEN by Nancy Heil Knor (Belize)
7
The Writer Who Named the “Peace Corps”
8
Peace Corps Placement Test
9
Review — TWO YEARS BEHIND THE PLOW by Jonathan Stewart (Nepal)
10
Mark Gearan interviews Jody Olsen at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum

“One Morning in September” — 9/11

One Morning in September by Edwin Jorge (Jamaica 1979–81) Edwin Jorge was the Regional Manager of the New York Peace Corps Office and was at work in Building # 6 of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The building was destroyed when the North Tower collapsed. At a commemoration service held at Headquarters in Peace Corps/Washington a year after 9/11 Edwin spoke about the attack and what happened to the Peace Corps Office. His comments follow.   ONE YEAR AGO TODAY, on the morning of September 11, 2001, I sat down at my office desk and turned on my computer. As the computer booted to life, I glanced up and looked out of the windows of my office on the sixth floor of the Customs House in the heart of the financial district of New York. From where I sat, I could see the corner of Tower One . . .

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Legendary journalist and early Peace Corps staff member Bill Moyers fears for our nation

    Legendary journalist Bill Moyers says he fears for the nation for the first time in his life. “Society, a democracy, can die of too many lies — and we’re getting close to that terminal moment,” he warns. by Mary Papenfuss • Respected journalist Bill Moyers said Sunday that for the first time“in my long life” — including the Depression and World War II — he fears for the nation’s survival. unless we reverse the obsession with lies that are being fed around the country, Moyers told Brian Stelter on CNN. Hope lies in citizens paying careful attention to the televised impeachment hearings beginning this week on Wednesday. . . Read in HuffPost

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Review–Blue Country by Mark Wentling (Honduras)

Blue Country by Mark Wentling (Honduras 1967–69, Togo 1970–73; PC Staff: Togo, Gabon, Niger 1973–77) Page Publishing 204 pages August 2019 $16.95 (paperback) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971-73)   I’ve been looking forward to the author’s next book after thoroughly enjoying “Africa’s Embrace,” which is part of his African Trilogy. I reviewed his book “Dead Cow Road,” which took place in Somalia, so I’m familiar with the author’s ability to spin an interesting yarn about far off places. Although the author was a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, he was also a volunteer in Honduras for five years, so I’ve been waiting for a story that took place in Central America. The author’s work and travels span more than 46 years, which have taken him to 54 African countries. The author worked with USAID, the U.S. Foreign Service, CARE International and World Vision, making him an ideal person . . .

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The Birth of the Peace Corps

The Birth of the Peace Corps JFK’s first direct association with the Peace Corps idea came on February 21, 1960. He was on a college television show called “College News Conference” and someone asked about the “Point Four Youth Corps.” Kennedy said he didn’t know what the legislative proposal was. Afterwards, he told aide Richard Goodwin to research the idea. Goodwin, who was the Kennedy link with the “brain trust” at Harvard, wrote to Archibald Cox at the university’s law school about the idea. Then in April and May of 1960, when Kennedy was running against Humphrey for the nomination, the idea was discussed further. Humphrey introduced his bill for a “Peace Corps” in the Senate in June, but after Kennedy won the nomination in July, Humphrey transferred all his research files to Kennedy’s office. The Cow Palace speech made by Kennedy right before the election, which revealed his growing . . .

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Screening schedules for Peace Corps Documentaries

Peace Corps has hit the Big Screen!  Thanks to the efforts of talented, persistent and dedicated RPCVs, the Peace Corps story is now being told in film. RPCV Alana deJoseph, (Mali 92-94) and RPCV Allen Mondell(Sierra Leone 63-65) are the producers.  Here is the current schedule, first, for screenings of RPCV Alana deJoseph’s A Towering Task and then the  PBS presentation of RPCVAllen Mondell’s Waging Peace. It is also important to recognize Academy Award Dominated RPCV Alan Toth Documentary, Posh Corps and his website continues to show important videos. http://www.poshcorps.com/film   Here are the schedules for A Towering Task and a PBS presentation of Waging Peace __________________________________________________________ A Towering Task Link: https://www.peacecorpsdocumentary.com/screenings-event Denver Film Festival Sunday, November 10, 2019 11:15 AM 1:15 PM VIEW EVENT → 0 Likes Share NOV 18 7:00 PM Gannon University Screening Monday, November 18, 2019 7:00 PM 9:00 PM VIEW EVENT → 0 Likes Share NOV 19 . . .

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Peace Corps Writers imprint publishes WOVEN by Nancy Heil Knor (Belize)

    About WOVEN: A Peace Corps Adventure Spun with Faith, Laughter, and Love by Nancy Heil Knor (Belize 1989-1991) • The idea for Woven started back in 1989 when I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the K’ekchi Mayan village of San Pedro Columbia in Belize, Central America. As a new teacher-volunteer, I noticed the distinct absence of books in the village. The few picture books that I had brought with me were read and reread by men, women, and children until their bindings cracked; in the schools, classes were taught in English, but had no books for the students to read; and there was always a waiting list of men wanting to borrow my Peace Corps issued Newsweek Magazine.   Within a few months, my Peace Corps project became clear: I would work alongside the villagers to create the first-ever San Pedro Columbia Library! The San Pedro Library . . .

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The Writer Who Named the “Peace Corps”

THOSE OF US WHO follow the history of the Peace Corps agency know the term “peace corps” came to public attention during the 1960 presidential election. In JFK’s last major speeches before the November election at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California he called for the creation of a “Peace Corps” to send volunteers to work at the grass roots level in the developing world. However, the question remains: who said (and wrote) “peace corps” for the very first time? Was it Kennedy? Was it his famous speech writer Ted Sorensen? Or Sarge himself? But — as in most situations — the famous term came about because of some young kid, usually a writer, working quietly away in a back office that dreams up the language. In this case the kid was a graduate student between degrees who was working for the late senator Hubert Horatio Humphrey. Today, fifty-eight plus . . .

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Peace Corps Placement Test

In the early days of the Peace Corps there was a Placement Test given to all applicants. Actually it was two tests. A 30-minute General Aptitude Test and a 30-minute Modern Language Aptitude Test. The areas of testing were in Verbal Aptitude, Agriculture, English, Health Sciences, Mechanical Skills, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, World History, Literature, United States History and Institutions, and Modern Language Aptitude. One-hour achievement tests in French and Spanish were also offered during the second hour. The instruction pamphlet that accompanied the tests said that the results would be used “to help find the most appropriate assignment for each applicant.” For those who missed the opportunity to take the tests, which were given — as best I can remember — from 1961 until around 1967, I am including a few of the questions. Lets see if you could still get into the Peace Corps back then. Verbal Aptitude . . .

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Review — TWO YEARS BEHIND THE PLOW by Jonathan Stewart (Nepal)

Two Years Behind the Plow: Bringing the Green Revolution to Nepal by Jonathan Stewart (Nepal 1969-72) Self-Published 254 pages October 2019 $20.00 (paperback) order from the author at: 20116 Cumulus Land, Bend OR 97702   Reviewed by John Comings (Nepal 1969-72) • In August of 1969, Peace Corps Nepal’s Group 19 landed in Kathmandu. Fifty years later, one of the group’s agriculture volunteers, Jon Stewart, finished writing a memoir of his time as a PCV. I was a member of Nepal 19, and Jon’s book is an honest portrait of a Nepal PCVs experience at that time. Being a PCV in Nepal 19 meant not seeing or talking with your family or friends for two years, communicating by writing letters and waiting a month for a response, and sometimes going for months without seeing another American.  It also meant being sick all the time, often lonely, and occasionally malnourished. Why then, . . .

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Mark Gearan interviews Jody Olsen at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Susan Zawalich —    Mark D. Gearan (left), Jody Olsen (center), and Barbara Stewart (right) discuss the importance of young people having the opportunity to pursue public service, seen here at the Institute of Politics.  Photo: Sung Kwang Oh By Christina T. Pham and Ethan Lee Harvard Crimson   Director of the Peace Corps Jody Olsen and Barbara Stewart, chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service said at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on Friday that increasing Americans’ awareness of service opportunities is critical to expanding public service. Moderated by Mark D. Gearan ’78, a former director of the Peace Corps and the current director of the Institute of Politics, Stewart and Olsen each spoke about how they began their journey in service. Stewart credited her mother for instilling in her the inspiration to volunteer. Olsen’s journey began later in her life, . . .

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