Archive - July 2020

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Allen Mendenhall interviews Melissa Fischer (Ghana), author of THE ADVOCACY
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Julie Dargis wants your words of wisdom (Morocco)
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Ross Pritchard, former Peace Corps official, dies at 95 (Turkey)
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John Perkins (Ecuador) and TOUCHING THE JAGUAR
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Commemorating the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
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Peace Corps Volunteers will go to Viet Nam
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Chic Dambach (Colombia) publishes new edition of EXHAUST THE LIMITS
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NPCA ISSUES THESE INSTRUCTIONS FOR TOWN HALLS
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Melissa Fischer (Ghana) interviewed — THE ADVOCACY
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UPDATE ON THE NPCA TOWN HALL CONVERSATION TONIGHT

Allen Mendenhall interviews Melissa Fischer (Ghana), author of THE ADVOCACY

  SOUTHERN LITERARY REVIEW A Magazine for Literature of the American South • AM:  I’m glad we have this opportunity, Melissa, to talk about your profound new book, The Advocacy, which is set in 1992 in Obuasi, Ghana, a mining town known for its gold. You lived in this town in 1992 and remained there for a few years while you worked for the Peace Corps. How did your experiences shape and inform the writing of The Advocacy? MF:  Thank you, Allen, for your kind words and for this opportunity to talk about The Advocacy. I lived in Obuasi for two years [1992–94], the normal duration of a Peace Corps tour. The experience touched me on a spiritual level. The richness of that life inspired my dedication to completing the novel over the course of 25 years. I find that a story lives in the telling, not within the premise or plot. For . . .

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Julie Dargis wants your words of wisdom (Morocco)

  The last day of my Peace Corps training, I entered the main hallway of the high school where I had spent the past three months. Each day, Craig Storti, an RPCV, and the Director of our training in Morocco, had posted an inspirational quote. As I prepared to set off on an overnight bus to the southern town of Taroudant, I stood before the corkboard, pondering the last bit of advice that I would receive before my journey: “Always remember, no-one is going to look out for you out there, except for Jiminy Cricket. You can be as good a Volunteer or as bad a Volunteer as you want. And chances are, after two years, the way that you feel about your Peace Corps service will be the way that you feel about yourself.” Words, like an inner symphony, that still resonate with me today. This week, I began . . .

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Ross Pritchard, former Peace Corps official, dies at 95 (Turkey)

  by Bill Bowden Arkansas Democrat Gazette • Touring the backcountry of Turkey, a Peace Corps group came upon a man with a dancing bear. “This is our newest Volunteer,” Ross Pritchard told Sargent Shriver. Then Pritchard made up a name for the bear. “Daddy had a wicked sense of humor,” said Irene Pritchard. Ross Joseph Pritchard, 95, of Fayetteville died Wednesday after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The bear incident took place in 1964, when Pritchard was the Peace Corps’ representative in Turkey and Shriver was the organization’s first director. Pritchard was born Sept. 3, 1924, in Paterson, N.J. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the Navy to fight in World War II. While Pritchard was playing football during officer candidate school, Coach George Cole told him that he should enroll in the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville after his discharge and play for the Razorbacks. So he did. In . . .

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John Perkins (Ecuador) and TOUCHING THE JAGUAR

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77)   TOUCHING THE JAGUAR: John Perkins (Ecuador 1968-71) on his new book and envisioning a better future. The author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” discusses how we can collectively harness this moment to transform our economy by Emily Green | 9 Jul 2020 Street Roots Portland, Oregon John Perkins (Ecuador 1968-71) is a well-known author among readers of two seemingly divergent genres. Among his more political-minded readers, he’s known for writing the 2005 bestseller, “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.” In it, he revealed how for years he worked as a consultant hired to convince developing nations to build unnecessary infrastructure projects. The projects not only enriched large, usually American, corporations, but also indebted poor nations to countries like the U.S., putting them at an economic and political disadvantage. He subsequently wrote four more books about the economic colonization of . . .

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Commemorating the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

  July 11 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Over the last quarter century, our two countries have built a partnership and friendship founded on shared interests, mutual respect, and people-to-people ties.  Our everyday interactions are highlighted by increasing trade and investment ties, strategic cooperation, and collaboration on humanitarian and legacy of war issues, including the solemn duty of accounting for our wartime missing.  In recent years, we have strengthened and expanded our Comprehensive Partnership, based on a shared vision of a stable and peaceful Indo-Pacific region, as well as respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political systems.  We commend Vietnam for its outstanding Chairmanship of ASEAN this year, especially in coordinating ASEAN’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and issues related to economic recovery. The ties between the American and Vietnamese peoples grow deeper every . . .

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Peace Corps Volunteers will go to Viet Nam

  from the Peace Corps WASHINGTON – Peace Corps Director Jody K. Olsen attended a reception at the State Department today to celebrate the signing by Viet Nam of the implementing agreement between the Peace Corps and the Ministry of Education and Training to officially establish the Peace Corps program in English education. The event, which also commemorated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States of America and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, included Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell, Viet Nam Ambassador to the United States Ha Kim Ngoc and Deputy Chief of Mission Hoang Thi Thanh Nga. Viet Nam will be the 143rd country to host Peace Corps volunteers since the agency was founded in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. “We are . . .

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Chic Dambach (Colombia) publishes new edition of EXHAUST THE LIMITS

  Inspired by the leaders, causes, and music of his youth, Chic Dambach set out to change the world. This is the fascinating life story of a ’60s antiwar and free speech leader who remained true to his values and helped build a more peaceful world. Along the way, he witnessed the torture of a black football teammate, he led a strike for his Peace Corps training group, his best friend and mentor was murdered, he donated a kidney to save his son’s life, faced financial ruin, helped end two major wars in Africa, and created the first Global Symposium of Peaceful Nations. Exhaust the Limits is a compelling adventure story and road map for idealists young and old. The cover is a caricature by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Matt Wuerker. The story of their chance meeting on a river and his vital role in saving USIP is in the . . .

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NPCA ISSUES THESE INSTRUCTIONS FOR TOWN HALLS

Register for NPCA Town Halls and Peace Corps Connect to the Future Summit We invite members of our community to participate in our Town Halls on July 9-16 and Peace Corps Connect to the Future ideas summit on July 18. To register, login to your NPCA account. (There is a “forgot your password,” option if needed.) You will receive a confirmation email with call in details once you have successfully signed up. Please note: Each session has a separate registration page. You may sign up for as many sessions as you like. All sessions are listed below. To register for each, click on the orange “attending” button with the checkmark by it. A green bar indicating you have successfully registered will now appear at the top of your screen. If you have any problems registering, please contact support@peacecorpsconnect.org.Thursday, July 9 (8 pm EDT) – Peace Corps Funding and Capitol Hill MobilizationSaturday, July 11 (2 pm EDT) – Recruiting the . . .

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Melissa Fischer (Ghana) interviewed — THE ADVOCACY

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Steven Boyd Saum (Ukraine 1994–96)   Kirkus Review by Walter Rutter-Bowman      “I had a sense as a very young child,” says Melissa Fischer (Ghana 1992-94), debut author of The Advocacy, “that I would grow up and write a novel. That was just a form that I loved.” The Advocacy is set in Ghana, where the author served in the Peace Corps. While there, Fischer kept three journals. “One was my personal journal,” they say. “One was a professional journal. And then I kept a journal as if I was speaking to my family and friends—as if I was telling them the story.” That third journal became the first draft of the novel. Fischer, who now lives in Los Angeles and works for the LA County Sanitation Districts, lived in Ghana for two years. A civil engineer, they worked for a water and sanitation agency in a gold mining . . .

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UPDATE ON THE NPCA TOWN HALL CONVERSATION TONIGHT

  The event tonight will be on ZOOM, at 8PM to 9:30 PM EDT. You may also participate by phone. To register: https://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/events/peace-corps-connect-for-the-future If you are not a NPCA member, you will be asked to join – there is no cost. When you have registered, you will be brought to a page with a red box. If you have registered, there will be a check in that box, saying “attending”.  Click on the red box with the check.  You should be rewarded with a green banner which says you have successfully registered. You should check your email.  You should have a message from NPCA with instructions on how to sign in to participate. It will have the sign in link and telephone numbers if you wish to call in, instead. I would advise contacting NPCA directly if you follow these instructions, which I doublechecked today, and are having any problems. . . .

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