Archive - February 2020

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Peace Corps Mongolia To Be Evacuated Due to Virus
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New Screenings Scheduled for “A Towering Task”
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Talking with poet Bill Preston (Thailand)
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A Writer Writes — “Africa Delivers” by Bob Criso (Africa)
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Peace Corps announces 2020 top volunteer-producing schools
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New book by Evelyn Kohl LaTorre (Peru)
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“The Pope’s Astronomer” Guy Consolmagno (Kenya)
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“Ending the Peace Corps program in China is not smart”
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A TOWERING TASK presentation March 1st at the JFK Library
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Purchase PEACE CORPS CHRONOLOGY by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras)

Peace Corps Mongolia To Be Evacuated Due to Virus

Philly-area Peace Corps volunteers are forced to evacuate due to coronavirus: ‘I wasn’t ready to leave’ by Ellie Silverman, Updated: February 28, 2020- 2:02 PM Courtesy of Kaelynn Williams Kaelynn Williams, 25, thought she had about six more months in Mongolia, where she has been working as a Peace Corps volunteer for almost three years. But this week all volunteers in her program were told they had to go home. For Williams, that means returning to Southwest Philadelphia and hoping she can get back to Mongolia.   “We’re crossing our fingers to make sure, to see if that’s possible,” she said. There haven’t been any confirmed cases of coronavirus in Mongolia, but it has hit nearby countries hard. Mongolia borders China, where the virus began, and Mongolian Airlines has canceled flights to and from China, South Korea, and Japan. The Peace Corps is a service program run by the U.S. government . . .

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New Screenings Scheduled for “A Towering Task”

Serra Mesa / Kearny Mesa Library San Diego Sunday, March 1, 2020 1:30 PM 3:30 PM VIEW EVENT → 0 Likes Share MAR 2 5:30 PM Florida State University Monday, March 2, 2020 5:30 PM 8:00 PM VIEW EVENT → 2 Likes Share MAR 3 6:30 PM University Of Wisconsin, Madison Tuesday, March 3, 2020 6:30 PM 9:00 PM VIEW EVENT → 0 Likes Share MAR 3 7:00 PM Silver Spring Town Center, Silver Spring, MD Tuesday, March 3, 2020 7:00 PM 9:30 PM VIEW EVENT → 1 Likes Share MAR 5 4:30 PM American Councils For International Education, DC Thursday, March 5, 2020 4:30 PM 6:30 PM VIEW EVENT → 0 Likes Share MAR 6 6:30 PM Colonial Heights Library, Sacramento, CA Friday, March 6, 2020 6:30 PM 9:00 PM VIEW EVENT → 0 Likes Share MAR 7 1:00 PM Shriver Circle Screening At Hilton Garden Inn, DC Saturday, . . .

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Talking with poet Bill Preston (Thailand)

  The poems in Strange Beauty of the World invite readers to reflect on the ways the past impinges on the present, how events long ago continue to inform who we are now; to consider acts taken and not taken, and the way actions have unintended consequences; to bear witness to cruelty and injustice; to summon the creative imagination to resist the mundane, challenge the rehearsed response. In particular, they pay homage to beauty, and its weird, wonderful diversity and expression. As with many aspects of his life, Bill Preston never started out to be a poet. Nor does he really think of himself as one: Strange Beauty of the World is his sole collection of poems, and he currently has no plan to write another. Not that planning has ever been his particular strong point. In fact, Bill never planned on joining the Peace Corps, choosing to serve in VISTA first, . . .

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A Writer Writes — “Africa Delivers” by Bob Criso (Africa)

A Writer Writes    Africa Delivers by Bob Criso (Nigeria 1966-67, Somalia 1967-68)    My fascination with Africa began when my brother-in-law, Harry, gave me his old stamp collection after he married my sister, Mildred. I was nine years old. It was those East African stamps that fired my imagination at the time — giraffes, flamingoes, and exotic flowers on stamps from places like Tanganyika, Rhodesia, and Madagascar. It sent me to the encyclopedia for my first independent study of geography. In high school, it was the independence movements of the late fifties and early sixties that caught my interest. European colonies in Africa struggling for autonomy and self-government. I was rooting for Kwame Nkrumah and Ghana all the way. Back to the encyclopedia for another independent study, this time in history. Years later, I realized how much these movements paralleled my own struggles for independence at home. After I . . .

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Peace Corps announces 2020 top volunteer-producing schools

Peace Corps News Press Release                         Peace Corps announces 2020 top volunteer-producing schools WASHINGTON – Peace Corps announced today its 2020 ranking of top volunteer-producing colleges and universities. The schools are classed in large, medium or small categories, as well as a graduate school and an all-time category, which ranks the top Peace Corps volunteer-producing schools since 1961, the year of the agency’s inception. “These schools are institutions that emphasize being global citizens and service-minded students,” said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “I am excited to know the graduates coming from Peace Corps’ top colleges are using their skills to make a positive impact on their communities at home and abroad.” In the large school category, the University of Wisconsin–Madison continues to hold the No. 1 spot. After placing ninth in 2019, the University of Florida is now in . . .

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New book by Evelyn Kohl LaTorre (Peru)

    Between Inca Walls: A Peace Corps Memoir to be published by Evelyn Kohl Latorre   At twenty-one, Evelyn is naïve about life and love. Raised in a small Montana town, she moves at age sixteen with her devout Catholic family to California. There, she is drawn to Latino culture when she works among the migrant workers. During the summer of her junior year in college, Evelyn travels to a small Mexican town to help set up a school and a library — an experience that whets her appetite for a life full of both purpose and adventure. After graduation, Evelyn joins the Peace Corps and is sent to perform community development work in a small mountain town in the Andes of Perú. There, she and her roommate, Marie, search for meaningful projects and adjust to living with few amenities. Over the course of eighteen months, the two young . . .

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“The Pope’s Astronomer” Guy Consolmagno (Kenya)

    Brother Guy Consolmagno (Kenya 1983-85) was appointed Director of the Vatican Astronomical Observatory by Pope Francis in 2015. His books include Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist and Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?: and Other Questions from the Astronomers’ In-box at the Vatican Observatory. He is known as “The Pope’s Astronomer.” In a radio interview on NPR recently he spoke of his Peace Corps experience and astronomy: Interviewer: And then you went into the Peace Corps and you’ve said that you couldn’t see the point of studying stars when people were dying of hunger. So I want to ask you how you saw the point of studying stars differently when you went back to astronomy after Kenya? Br. Consolmango: Well, I joined the Peace Corps with the attitude I’ll go wherever they ask me to go because they know better than me where they can use me. And after . . .

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“Ending the Peace Corps program in China is not smart”

Thanks to Alana deJoseph for referencing this article. Author Lex Rieffel is a RPCV, India 1965-67 https://thehill.com/opinion/international/483437-ending-the-peace-corps-program-in-china-is-not-smart#bottom-story-socials BY LEX RIEFFEL, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 02/21/20 01:00 PM EST 40 THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL © Getty Images Last month, before the corona virus outbreak, the Peace Corps informed the Congress that it would begin terminating its program in China in 2020. Sen. Marc Rubio (R-Fla.) applauded the decision, noting that China no longer is a developing country and, echoing the sentiment, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) told reporters: “I’m glad the Peace Corps has finally come to its senses.” I beg to differ. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in India (1965-67) and I’ve done research on what America gains from allocating funds in the federal budget for the Peace Corps. Measured against our country’s long-term national interests, pulling the Peace Corps out of China now . . .

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A TOWERING TASK presentation March 1st at the JFK Library

    https://www.peacecorpsdocumentary.com/screenings-event/2020/3/1/john-f-kennedy-presidential-library “In Celebration of the Anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps, please join us at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Sunday, March 1st for a free showing of the documentary film “A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps.” Watch the trailer at: https://vimeo.com/363392905. This event is free to the public, co-hosted by the Boston Area Peace Corps Volunteers (BARPCV), the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Please reserve a ticket here in order to attend. We are also raising funds to offset the costs of the film showing.  If you are able to make a donation you can do so here.   Schedule of events: 1:00 pm – Free admission to JFK Library and Museum, including Oral History Project 2:00 pm – A Towering Task Documentary Showing 3:30 pm – Q&A panel session hosted by Alan Price, . . .

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Purchase PEACE CORPS CHRONOLOGY by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras)

    As we slide towards March 1, 2020, fifty-nine years since JFK signed an Executive Order creating the Peace Corps, I have a suggested for all RPCVs who want to hold onto the history of the agency. Buy a copy of Larry Lihosit’s chronology of the agency that covers the years 1961-2010. This is, I think, the only source of dates and facts on how the agency grew and developed, listing the Peace Corps changes that happened in every country where Volunteers served from 1961 to 2010. For example, here are three examples of what you’ll find in the book. Aug. 28, 1961 The first groups of Peace Corps Volunteers sent to Ghana and Tanzania, Africa. Summer, 1967 Volunteers in Chile circulated a petition to protest the Vietnam war. Jack Vaughn, Director, sent a letter to all countries assuring volunteers that they had the right to free speech but . . .

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