Archive - 2020

1
The group, Decolonizing Peace Corps, Has Started A Petiton On the website, Change. org
2
“6 Reasons We Need to Reform the Peace Corps” by Tyler Anne Donohue (Tanzania)
3
Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras) NEIGHBORS: ORAL HISTORY FROM MADERA CALIFORNIA, VOL.2
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RPCV initiative tops $1 Million in Microloans (Colombia)
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Memories of serving as last Peace Corps/Korea Director
6
“Order and Progress: A Brazilian Peace Corps Saga” by Jack Epstein and Chuck Fortin
7
Latest book by Martha Egan (Venezuela) — RELICARIOS: THE FORGOTTEN JEWELS OF LATIN AMERICA
8
Nixon’s Peace Corps Director, Joe Blatchford, dies
9
Washington Post — “Peace Corps turns 60 amid pandemic, looks to an uncertain future”
10
“A Peaceful Transfer of Power is No Longer a Given in U.S.” by Martin Benjamin (Ethiopia)

The group, Decolonizing Peace Corps, Has Started A Petiton On the website, Change. org

The RPCVs Advocates who created this movement have named the petition, “Abolish the Peace Corps.”  But, in reading the petition, I note they offer many suggestions to “reform” the Peace Corps, not to abolish it.  In this regard, they may be surprised to realize they join other  RPCVs  from earlier eras, who also wanted to improve the Peace Corps. I think it would be worthwhile to read the petition and its proposed changes, because I think it would generate  discussion.  Here is the link to the petition.  Its content has been copied and follows. https://www.change.org/p/the-united-states-peace-corps-abolish-the-united-states-peace-corps?fbclid=IwAR0vHp10YwleiFGxIk-M7MB_KwhFVlD2V3gboOVqUp6htN32e0Yh2sS0rcw   Abolish Peace Corps: A Movement Toward Ending Neocolonialism in International Development The Peace Corps prides itself on being fundamentally apolitical and consistently providing humanitarian efforts around the world. This is a facade in that the Peace Corps, like all U.S. government agencies, is subjected to change due to rotations in administration, which can greatly . . .

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“6 Reasons We Need to Reform the Peace Corps” by Tyler Anne Donohue (Tanzania)

    The Peace Corps is a form of systematic racism, for those it claims to serve and for those who serve. The words, “systematic racism,” seem to be everywhere these days. However, it is crucial that we acknowledge that the words, “systematic racism,” do not refer to a system filled with racists. Instead, these words, refer to a system that would uphold racism and disproportionately harm and subjugate people of certain races even if no racists were present. Those leading the effort to decolonize Peace Corps, @decolonizingpc discussed systematic racism, saying that, “Even after adding more volunteers of color, more anti-racism trainings, more reforms (including the ones [they] have proposed on [their] page), Peace Corps will still be a neocolonialist organization because of the imperialistic goals of U.S. foreign policy. Which brings us to Number 2 — Soft power imperialism, such as providing financial aid or human resources for development, functions best under the pretense . . .

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Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras) NEIGHBORS: ORAL HISTORY FROM MADERA CALIFORNIA, VOL.2

  There are all sorts of history books. Some are based upon numbers from old records, others discuss ideas and some review facts. This book is based upon testimony. Called oral history, it begins with an interview which is then transcribed. . . . All subjects had the opportunity to edit factual errors and/or omissions. Numbers can offer insights. For instance, Madera has been a Hispanic town for decades. According to the 2015 U.S. Census estimate, more than three quarters of the inhabitants were Hispanic (79.8%). Nearly one third (32.2%) were born in another country and of these, the vast majority were born in Latin America. At time of this printing (2020), more than half of the population speaks Spanish or Spanish and English. Only about one third speak English only. The population is younger, less educated and much poorer than the California average.— Lawrence F. Lihosit • Neighbors: Oral History From . . .

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RPCV initiative tops $1 Million in Microloans (Colombia)

  In 2000, when 25,000 families were displaced annually by violence in Colombia, RPCVs started The Colombia Project, a loan program to help families reestablish financial independence. It soon evolved to include any marginalized community and became TCP [The Colombia Project] Global in 2015, expanding to Niger, Guatemala and Peru. In October, this 100% volunteer effort achieved a significant milestone: $1 Million in loans issued. When 7,300 Peace Corps Volunteers were evacuated worldwide in March, due to the Corona Virus, six evacuees joined the TCP Global team, bringing new energy and creativity. The program went viral, adding thirty new sites, including five introduced by evacuees who worked with their counterparts virtually to introduce micro-loan programs. TCP Global currently serves fourteen countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.  An average loan is $210, ranging from $50 in Niger to $698 in Peru. While the program works anywhere, TCP focuses on underserved, . . .

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Memories of serving as last Peace Corps/Korea Director

    by James Mayer (Korea 1978-81) The Korea Times Friends of Korea   No one likes to be last. But I had that distinction as the Peace Corps Korea country director, and I am forever grateful that it happened. In early 1981, Peace Corps Headquarters made the difficult decision that the Peace Corps program in Korea had to be closed due to projected budget reductions to its worldwide programs. When the Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) were told that their service in Korea would be cut short, I truly didn’t know what to expect. I told them there were two basic choices: they could choose to get angry or go out with heads held high. Frankly, I wouldn’t have blamed them for choosing either option. Nonetheless, I was truly delighted by their response. Some PCVs chose to continue their service in other countries where Peace Corps had programs. Others immediately . . .

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“Order and Progress: A Brazilian Peace Corps Saga” by Jack Epstein and Chuck Fortin

Thanks for the ‘heads up” from Leita Kaldi (Senegal 1993-96)   Our RPCVGulf Coast Florida zoomed an extraordinary presentation last Saturday with the two authors of a “Brazilian Peace Corps Saga.”  I believe it would be of interest to PCW readers.  Here are the authors’ bios and an abstract.  It’s not in book form, but is an article that will be published in Brazil. — Leita Kaldi Jack Epstein (Brazil 1968-70) received a BA in Latin American Studies from UCLA. He is the foreign wire editor for the San Francisco Chronicle. He previously headed the newspaper’s foreign service department, overseeing coverage by freelancers and stringers from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. In 1993, he moved to Rio de Janeiro where he worked until 1999 primarily for the Associated Press and TIME magazine. Charles Fortin (Brazil 1968-70) earned his doctoral degree through the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex . . .

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Latest book by Martha Egan (Venezuela) — RELICARIOS: THE FORGOTTEN JEWELS OF LATIN AMERICA

  Relicarios — finely crafted, bi-faced lockets of gold or silver that are artifacts of the Spanish Colonial era. These exquisite jewels containing devotional imagery protected by glass may include paintings on vellum, nacre, alabaster, copper, or ivory; prints; or miniature sculptures of boxwood, ivory, alabaster, or tagua. Although tons of relics were imported from Europe, particularly by Jesuits, in general only high-status individuals wore relicarios containing relics. Relicarios attest to colonists’ dedication to their favorite Virgins and saints as well as fealty to church and crown. As powerful amulets they protected wearers in a precarious world. Relicarios reflects forty years of the Martha’s research, including correspondence and interviews with relicarieros, art historians, curators, collectors, silversmiths, anticuarios, and clergy as well as the author’s collection of several hundred examples. Photos commissioned from leading art photographers in the Americas were mostly unpublished until this handsome volume. • Relicarios: The Forgotten Jewels of Latin America by . . .

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Nixon’s Peace Corps Director, Joe Blatchford, dies

  In Memoriam: Former Peace Corps Director Joseph Blatchford by Steven Boyd Saum (Ukraine 1994-96) • The Peace Corps community mourns the loss of Joseph H. Blatchford, third director of the Peace Corps. He took on that role at a time that heralded, he said, a “new world and a different America from 1961” when the Peace Corps was launched. Joseph Blatchford was appointed to lead the Peace Corps by President Richard Nixon in May 1969 — and he headed the agency during turbulent times of Nixon’s first administration. Tapped for the post at 34 years old, he came with nearly a decade’s experience of organizing international volunteers: In 1961, he had launched the organization Accion to send U.S. volunteers to work in Latin America. Some of the initial luster was already off Peace Corps when Blatchford took on the director’s role. That was true in the U.S. — deeply . . .

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Washington Post — “Peace Corps turns 60 amid pandemic, looks to an uncertain future”

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Barry  Hillenbrand  (Ethiopia 1963-65)   Nina Boe, shown at a wedding, has been living in New York since her work as a Peace Corps volunteer was put on hold and she was ordered to evacuate North Macedonia because of the coronavirus pandemic. • by Carol Morello Washington Post Oct. 15, 2020 NINA BOE’S LIFE is as much in limbo now as it was the day in March when her work as a Peace Corps volunteer was put on hold and she was ordered to evacuate North Macedonia. She has been living in New York ever since, interviewing for jobs that have not materialized. She misses her friends in Skopje, North Macedonia’s capital, who became like family, and cries after they call to keep in touch. But she has been advised it could be mid-2021 before she is recalled, and she does not know if . . .

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“A Peaceful Transfer of Power is No Longer a Given in U.S.” by Martin Benjamin (Ethiopia)

  by Martin Benjamin (Ethiopia 1962–64) San Francisco Chronicle October 15, 2020   Most Americans over the age of 65 remember where they were and what they were doing when they learned that President Kennedy had been assassinated.  I was in the Peace Corps in Gondar, Ethiopia teaching 10th and 11th grade math and history. Late the night of November 22, 1963 a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer trudged up the hill from his house to ours shouting “Kennedy’s been shot.”  Four of us then gathered round a shortwave radio and learned from the BBC World Service that the President had died. The next day news of the assassination spread among our students and colleagues.  The students were very upset.  Some were weeping.  Their concern was not only for the President and his family, but also for the school’s twelve Peace Corps teachers and themselves.  With Kennedy’s death, they believed we . . .

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