Archive - 2020

1
David Wertime (China) new Editorial Director for China for POLITICO
2
The Mike McCaskey most didn’t know — far away from Soldier Field
3
Ross Anthony of the Hollywood Report Card reviews “A Towering Task” and interviews Alana deJospeh
4
The Fallen Peace Corps Memorial Project
5
Volunteers’ Days: Stories from 11 Countries
6
“Tonight’s the night . . . ” — Alana DeJoseph (Mali)
7
“THE PEACE CORPS NEEDS A MEDIA LITERACY PROGRAM“ – Monika Bochert (Mongolia)
8
New books by Peace Corps writers: March – April, 2020
9
George Packer (Togo) on PBS News Hour talking about Trump Administration
10
Interim Update: Murder of Kate Puzey: PC Office of the Inspector General

David Wertime (China) new Editorial Director for China for POLITICO

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Steven Boyd Saum (Ukraine 1994-96)   David Wertime is POLITICO’s inaugural Editorial Director for China, and the author of China Watcher, its newsletter about the U.S.-China relationship. He is an honors graduate of Harvard Law School and Yale College who speaks and reads advanced Chinese (Mandarin) and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in China from 2001-03. Co-founder of Tea Leaf Nation, a website that tracked Chinese social media, David served as Senior Editor for China at Foreign Policy magazine, where he launched the first Chinese-language articles in the publication’s history. He was also Entrepreneur in Residence at the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, which owns the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2019, David joined POLITICO’s parent company to launch its China service. David’s work has appeared in the Financial Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, POLITICO, and Slate.  

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The Mike McCaskey most didn’t know — far away from Soldier Field

The Mike McCaskey most didn’t know — far away from Soldier Field By JOHN COYNE CHICAGO TRIBUNE | MAY 26, 2020 | 5:23 PM Mike McCaskey with children in his Peace Corps village in Ethiopia. (Associated Press) I met Mike McCaskey in the fall of 1965, not at Soldier Field but in Fiche, Ethiopia, a small village perched high on the escarpment above the Blue Nile River, far from the shores of Lake Michigan. Mike was a Peace Corps volunteer assigned to teach in an elementary school. He would live for two years in a tin-roofed, whitewashed house made of dirt and dung and teach in a two-room school. Those two years, he later told me, gave him an entirely new perspective on the world, one for which he was profoundly grateful. At first, that change wasn’t obvious. After the Peace Corps, he returned to the U.S. and earned a doctorate, spending the next . . .

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Ross Anthony of the Hollywood Report Card reviews “A Towering Task” and interviews Alana deJospeh

  Anthony Ross reviews the Peace Corps Documentary, A Towering Task, and gives it an A-.  Ross also interviews  Producer/Director RPCV Alana deJoseph and the link to the interview is on the webpage.  During the interview, deJosph describes the process of producing the wide ranging documentary of the Peace Corps.  She also talks in depth about her Peace Corps expereience in Mali.  Finally, Alana deJospeh analyzes the Peace Corps at the crossroads today and the possible direction which it may take or may be forced to take. Here is the review by Anthony Ross. from his webpage. The Story of the Peace Corps A TOWERING TASK Review by Ross Anthony Full disclosure: I volunteered in Africa under an American NGO. I was not Peace Corps, but we served in similar ways. Additionally, on some weekend trips to the nearest city, we’d hang out with Peace Corps volunteers and trade stories and . . .

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The Fallen Peace Corps Memorial Project

  On this Memorial Day, it is good to remember those who served in the Peace Corps and lost their lives.  From the webpage about the Fallen  Peace Corps Volunteers Project: ” The Fallen Peace Corps Volunteers Memorial Project, Inc. is a non-profit corporation. It is independent of the U.S. Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association, though we are supportive of their missions and have been grateful to receive their encouragement since our inception in 2003. The Fallen Peace Corps Volunteers Memorial Project began as a very personal project envisioned by Chelsea and Donna Mack and inspired by Jeremiah Mack. We maintain this website and a Facebook page, write and respond to letters and emails, attend events and memorial services when possible, and generally do what we can to support others who have also lost a loved one while serving in the Peace Corps and are seeking community. . . .

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Volunteers’ Days: Stories from 11 Countries

These 11 short essays — funny, touching, insightful — unique glimpses into the overseas experiences that in many ways shaped the lives and careers of these talented writers. Now that everyone has plenty of time to stay inside and sit in front of their computers I thought I would republish them so you might read them again, or for the first time. Read what RPCVs writers have to say from Guyana, Mongolia, Senegal, Cameroon, Mali, Ghana, Malawi, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Zaire, and Eastern Caribbean.n — JCoyne, ed. • Telling Time Katherine Jamieson (Guyana 1996–98) For two years I lived in a country with no seasons. We measured time by other means than falling leaves or snow, new buds on trees. There was a fresh breeze in the air, the ash of burned sugar cane floating in the window. There were times to go to work, times to stay home, an election, . . .

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“Tonight’s the night . . . ” — Alana DeJoseph (Mali)

. . . for you to stream the Virtual Cinema premiere of director Alana DeJoseph’s (Mali 1992–94) wonderful movie: A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps via  60 theaters around the country. It’s easy to watch: Choose a theater closest to you on the Playdates page. Then click on “Ticket” to rent the film for three days. The ticket price is $10. Half of the proceeds go to the theater to help keep them alive during the COVID closure! Watch the trailer NOW.   “ENLIGHTENING AND UPLIFTING! A Towering Task puts a human face on the Peace Corps – and makes sense of its history of idealism, improvisation and politics. It is the most coherent and satisfying documentary I know of the Peace Corps, and I can’t imagine a better one. The film is enlightening, too, for being in large part the portrait of a period when America was . . .

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“THE PEACE CORPS NEEDS A MEDIA LITERACY PROGRAM“ – Monika Bochert (Mongolia)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Arnold Zeitlin (Ghana 1961-63)   As rural classrooms become more connected, students have to understand how to evaluate the content they consume Monika Bochert (Mongolia 2017-19) May 19, 2020 Inkstick publication • Last month, a hoax circulated online that people wearing shoes indoors led to a spike in coronavirus cases in Italy. Worldwide, rapidly spreading misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 is negatively affecting people’s behaviors towards the virus. Action must be taken to curb the spread of false information on a global stage, and the Peace Corps has the capacity to do it. Media literacy, or the ability to critically evaluate media, is an integral tool that can be used to combat false information online. Despite the need for this skill to discern COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation, there is no formal program geared toward teaching digital skills and media literacy internationally. We need to implement a program to stymie . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers: March – April, 2020

To purchase any of these books from Amazon.com — CLICK on the book cover, the bold book title, or the publishing format you would like — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance from your purchase that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards. We now include a one-sentence description — provided by the author — for the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  1) to order the book and 2) to volunteer to review it. See a book you’d like to review for Peace Corps Worldwide? Send a note to Marian at peacecorpsworldwide@gmail.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions.   • Letters from Turkey: A Peace Corps Volunteer’s Story William D. Brockhaus (Turkey 1967–69) Outskirts Press August 2019 524 pages $26.95 (paperback) The author will take the reader through an intimate view of his two years in the small Turkish town . . .

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George Packer (Togo) on PBS News Hour talking about Trump Administration

  Thanks for the ‘heads-up’ from Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965-67) — This is from Wednesday, May 20th PBS News Hour, which featured Judy Woodruff and William Brangham, of the PBS NewsHour talk with George Packer (Togo 1982-83). As Mary-Ann wrote to me about Packer’s presentation, “Brilliant indictment of the Trump administration.” — J Coyne, ed. • Judy Woodruff: Throughout this entire crisis, questions continue to be raised about why the U.S. government was not better prepared for such a challenge. As William Brangham tells us, those questions include how the Trump administration views the role of government and civil service broadly. William Brangham: That’s right, Judy. Most people would agree that the scale and speed of this pandemic would have taxed the resources and abilities of any administration and of any president. But the Trump administration’s response has certainly come under some intense scrutiny. Let’s turn now to two writers who . . .

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Interim Update: Murder of Kate Puzey: PC Office of the Inspector General

  In 2017, the PC OIG followed up on the investigation and trial of the accused of the murder of Kate Puzey. The murder remains unresolved as of today. The OIG had monitored the implementation of the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 and that was included.  Jody Olsen, the current Director of the Peace Corps was Acting Director in March of 2009 when Kate Puzey was murdered. Click for an update: https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.peacecorps.gov/documents/inspector-general/Interim_Update.pdf From the update: “Ultimately, all four defendants were acquitted. Three of the defendants had been incarcerated for eight years pending trial, and one had been incarcerated for three years. Despite the extensive investigative fieldwork conducted in Benin and other resources devoted to this investigation by the Beninese Gendarmerie, the Peace Corps OIG, the FBI, and the Regional Security Office of the U.S. Embassy in Benin, the case remains unresolved. OIG and our partners continue . . .

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