Archive - November 8, 2019

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Peace Corps Writers imprint publishes WOVEN by Nancy Heil Knor (Belize)
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The Writer Who Named the “Peace Corps”

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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