Archive - October 2020

1
Latest book by Martha Egan (Venezuela) — RELICARIOS: THE FORGOTTEN JEWELS OF LATIN AMERICA
2
Nixon’s Peace Corps Director, Joe Blatchford, dies
3
Washington Post — “Peace Corps turns 60 amid pandemic, looks to an uncertain future”
4
“A Peaceful Transfer of Power is No Longer a Given in U.S.” by Martin Benjamin (Ethiopia)
5
M Jackson (Zambia): THE SECRET LIVES OF GLACIERS
6
Volunteers may return to the Eastern Caribbean in January
7
60 Years Ago Today — October 14, 1960 — THE UNKNOWN STORY OF THE PEACE CORPS SPEECH
8
An Update to an Unofficial Guide to Some Resources of Peace Corps History
9
“Peace Corps R.I.P.” by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras)
10
Paul Strasburg — “A life-changing lunch in Thailand”

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 Photos commissioned from leading art photographers in the Americas were mostly unpublished until this handsome volume.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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M Jackson (Zambia): THE SECRET LIVES OF GLACIERS

  Geographer, adventurer, environmental educator, 2018 TED Fellow and National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer Dr. M Jackson studies and writes about glaciers and climate change worldwide. Seeking to understand the wild diversity and complexity that exists between people and ice, Jackson lived for a year on the south-eastern coast of Iceland, chronicling in The Secret Lives of Glaciers the cultural and societal impacts of glacier change on local communities. Jackson interviewed hundreds of Icelanders living in close proximity to ice, seeking to understand just what was at stake as the island’s ice disappeared. Painstakingly detailed, Jackson recounts stories of glaciers told by people throughout the region, stories exploring the often conflicting and controversial plasticity of glaciers, the power glaciers enact in society, the possible sentience of glaciers, and the range of intertwined positive and negative consequences glacier change produces throughout Iceland. The Secret Lives of Glaciers reaches beyond Iceland and touches on changing glaciers everywhere, . . .

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Volunteers may return to the Eastern Caribbean in January

  October 14, 2020 WASHINGTON – Peace Corps Director Jody K. Olsen announced Volunteers will begin returning to service in January. Speaking to staff today during a town hall meeting launching the agency’s yearlong 60th anniversary celebration, Director Olsen said public health conditions permit the return of Volunteers to the Eastern Caribbean. The agency suspended global operations in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I am thrilled to share this good news as we commemorate our founding moment, when then candidate John F. Kennedy planted the seed for what would become the Peace Corps during an early morning speech October 14, 1960 at the University of Michigan,” said Director Olsen. “Our decision to return to the field follows months of extensive preparations and review, and I am extremely grateful to the many staff and host country partners who contributed to this effort. I also salute the evacuated volunteers who . . .

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60 Years Ago Today — October 14, 1960 — THE UNKNOWN STORY OF THE PEACE CORPS SPEECH

    JFK AT THE UNION By James Tobin   Well after midnight on October 14, 1960, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy arrived at the steps of the Michigan Union. Legend has it that he first proposed the idea of the Peace Corps here. The truth is a little more complex, but far more interesting.   Senator John F. Kennedy’s motorcade rolled into Ann Arbor very early on the morning of Friday, October 14, 1960. The election was three and a half weeks away. The Democratic nominee for president and his staff had just flown into Willow Run Airport. A few hours earlier, in New York, Kennedy had fought Vice President Richard Nixon, the Republican nominee, in the third of their four nationally televised debates. The race was extremely close, and Michigan was up for grabs. Kennedy’s schedule called for a few hours of sleep, then a one-day whistle-stop train . . .

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An Update to an Unofficial Guide to Some Resources of Peace Corps History

  Here is the current list of unofficial Resources describing the history of the Peace Corps.  It is unofficial and incomplete. The public  documents are available but not necessarily easily accessible. Few are  digitalized. Most are the property of the institutional archives, public, private and certainly university. For example, the training documents for Colombia I, the first Peace Corps group to enter training in June of 1961, are archived at Rutgers University.  RPCVs may visit the university and review the materials, a privilege otherwise reserved for students and faculty of the university.   RESOURCES An unofficial guide to the locations of resources describing the Peace Corps, and its history.    This list is a cooperative effort with RPCV Alana deJoseph, producer of the documentary A Towering Task, her team and the many archivists and librarians at the places cited. Thank you to all .   This is the latest information we have. Please . . .

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“Peace Corps R.I.P.” by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras)

  Between 1961 and 2018, about 230,000 American men and women representing all fifty states served in 140 countries around the world. We all learned a new language before unloading a duffle bag or a trunk, rolled up our sleeves and asked a local in his own native tongue, “How can I help?” Some of us dug latrines and wells. Others fished, built fish farms, planted crops, taught in schools. My group helped to build roads and schools. You might have comforted the sick in hospitals and clinics or helped to set up cooperatives and even businesses. Some of my buddies helped manage forests, museums and new national parks. Others advised about how to set up a touristic hot-spot. We did whatever we were asked for next to nothing which is why we were called volunteers. We trudged home after struggling to learn an alien tongue, adjusting to strange customs, . . .

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Paul Strasburg — “A life-changing lunch in Thailand”

How a young Peace Corps Volunteer’s chance encounter with a teacher in Thailand in 1966 touched over a million lives.   Thousand Currents By Bilen Mesfin Peace Corps’ Passport Blog   ONE HOT DAY in 1965, Paul Strasburg (Thailand 1964-66) was having lunch with his Thai counterparts near the village of Ban Nong Boa. A man in a civil service uniform approached the table. The man introduced himself as a teacher and told them his story. With no school, Boonthom Boonprasert was teaching his students outside. When it rained, school would be canceled. Cautiously and respectfully, Boonprasert asked Strasburg, then a young Peace Corps Volunteer, and his Thai colleagues: Could they help him build a school? Strasburg’s colleagues turned to him.“You are the American,” they said. “You guys have all the money.” In what would prove to be a pivotal moment, Strasburg agreed to find out what he could do. . . .

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