Archive - 2020

1
A Writer Writes — “In the Kitchen with Andrea, Corona, the Dalai Lama, and Archbishop Tutu” by Patricia Edmisten (Peru)
2
Discussion on “How the US Government sold the Peace Corps to the American Public”
3
The Pandemic, Or How People Are Like Butterflies
4
Op-Ed by Richard Wiley (Korea) — “Drew Brees and the Case Against Staying in Your Lane”
5
Will Newman (Nepal) remembers how Shriver made the Peace Corps happen
6
A Peace Corps writer writes — a new list of writers
7
Interview with Aaron Williams, former Director of the Peace Corps
8
John Coyne (Ethiopia) — “The Big Bad Brown Swiss”
9
How the US government sold the Peace Corps to the American public
10
Many British volunteers were able to remain in their assignments

A Writer Writes — “In the Kitchen with Andrea, Corona, the Dalai Lama, and Archbishop Tutu” by Patricia Edmisten (Peru)

  By Patricia Edmisten (Peru 1962–64) I am preparing breakfast for my husband and myself. Today I will use the last of the milk to make lattes. I pack the little metal coffee container of our espresso machine and turn it on. While it starts to steam, I hear Andrea Bocelli on National Public Radio. He is singing Panis Angelicus. I am taken back to St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I attended Mass six mornings a week during the school year and once a week during the summer. I sang with the grade school choir comprised of 7th and 8th graders who had good grades and passable voices. One of the hymns we sang was Panis Angelicus, “Bread of the Angels.” As I listened to Andrea, the bagels with cream cheese and lattes had to wait: Tears streamed, sinuses filled, lips trembled, as longing and nostalgia commandeered . . .

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Discussion on “How the US Government sold the Peace Corps to the American Public”

    Bill Josephson Responds to Wendy Melillo’s “How the US Government Sold the Peace Corps to the American Public.”   I have tried to make sure that what I have received is the complete document that she published in Conversation.  I’m not sure that I have succeeded. I disagree with Ms. Melillo’s statement that “Peace Corps advertising emphasize myths about heroes, adventure . . . But fighting communism was among the agency’s original foreign policy purposes, according to Peace Corps historians and other scholars.”  Ms. Melillo cites virtually no authority for that statement. The origins of the Peace Corps include the bills sponsored by then Senator Hubert H. Humphrey for a point four youth corps, Representative Henry Reuss and others, particularly Congressmen who had had missionary experience. Point four, of course, was President Harry S Truman’s proposal for technical assistance worldwide. “Fighting communism” was not a theme of the University of . . .

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The Pandemic, Or How People Are Like Butterflies

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Steven Saum (Ukraine 1994-96) GUEST ESSAY Northern Express Traverse City JUNE 13, 2020   THE PANDEMIC, OR HOW PEOPLE ARE LIKE BUTTERFLIES by Kathleen Stocking (Thailand & Romania) When did I become more interested in reading about the plague than daily dealings with it? The internet mediates all information. The telephone is part of every conversation. I have not seen a friend face-to-face in so long I can’t remember what it’s like. I am sick and tired of my hot and germ-infested blue-green surgical mask, dangling from one ear when I’m not wearing it, and the pervasive smell of hand sanitizer. Please God, when I die, let me not smell like hand sanitizer. It’s early June in the year 2020 on the northern shores of Lake Michigan. The stores are starting to open again, but there will be no National Cherry Festival in Traverse . . .

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Op-Ed by Richard Wiley (Korea) — “Drew Brees and the Case Against Staying in Your Lane”

  Drew Brees and the Case Against Staying in Your Lane by Richard Wiley (Korea 1967-69) Tacoma News, Jun 14, 2020 • Recently the term “stay in your lane” has been used in identity politics and identity literature to mean something like, “keep to your own culture, don’t usurp my territory.”  Since I have spent 40 years writing about white Americans living in other cultures, learning about other people and other languages, and therefore most emphatically not staying in my lane, I felt the criticism acutely. I grew up as a privileged white kid in Tacoma. I didn’t know jack about anything until I got out of college and joined the Peace Corps. I didn’t know African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, nor native Americans, either, except for a group of Puyallup Indians who performed native dances at the Browns Point Salmon bake every other July. I grew believing that my world was the only world, . . .

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Will Newman (Nepal) remembers how Shriver made the Peace Corps happen

  After 5 years on staff in Nepal and PC/W, I was hired on a short-term personal services contract to form and lead a team to revise the entire Peace Corps Operations Manual.  Don Romine (Ethiopia APCD 1965-67) was with Administration & Finance at the time, and I asked him to join me. Shriver,  Wofford, Wiggins, Josephson and a half dozen others created the Peace Corps in two rooms of the Mayflower Hotel in thirty days in the immediate days after the election. Then Kennedy signed an Executive Order to create the new agency. The next job was selling Congress. Don Romine told how he had been an intern during those days and worked with the task force to sell Congress on the idea of a Peace Corps. Several days a week the task force would invite state congressional delegations to breakfast or lunch at the Capitol.  Shriver would make . . .

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A Peace Corps writer writes — a new list of writers

  Approximately 31 years ago, Marian Haley Beil and I (both Ethiopia 1962-64) began to identify Peace Corps Writers. It was our Third Goal Project to spread the story of the Peace Corps in developing countries by promoting the writings of RPCVs here at home. We did this on our own as two RPCVs, not connected to the Peace Corps agency or the NPCA. We began in April 1989 with a newsletter Peace Corps Writers & Readers and now on a website: www.peacecorpsworldwide.org. We announce new books, have them reviewed, interview authors, and publish writings by RPCVs online. In 2010 we started the imprint Peace Corps Writers and currently have published 92 books by Peace Corps writers. And we have a list of RPCV Peace Corps books with the Library of Congress. Marian Beil is the creative publishing genius behind these projects. Annually we also give cash awards in different . . .

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Interview with Aaron Williams, former Director of the Peace Corps

  Aaron S. Williams, former Director of the Peace Corps, joined Nat Chediak, Coral Gables Art Cinema’s Director of Programming, for a virtual engagement Q&A in conjunction with the documentary A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps.  Watch the June 11th  40-minute interview here: https://youtu.be/iKMF2yfaQXo

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John Coyne (Ethiopia) — “The Big Bad Brown Swiss”

A Writer Writes The Big Bad Brown Swiss By John Coyne I was seven or eight years old when I got so drunk at a family party that I ran out of our farmhouse, down to the barn, and attacked our big brown Swiss cow with a broom. I don’t remember this act of animal cruelty, but the next morning, when I woke from a stupor, my mother—as well as my brothers and sisters—told me in detail how I had impishly sipped booze left in cans and glasses on the dining room table until I was so intoxicated my suppressed rage at one of our milking cows exploded into violence. I was quite a sight, I was told, reeling away from the summer afternoon gathering on our farmhouse front porch and running yelling down the driveway with my brothers and sisters and all the relatives in pursuit, amused by my . . .

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How the US government sold the Peace Corps to the American public

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77)   Academic rigor, journalistic flair by Wendy Melillo, Associate Professor, American University School of Communications         The Peace Corps, a service organization run by the U.S. government that dispatches volunteers to foreign countries, is on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. For the first time in its nearly 60-year history, none of its volunteers is stationed anywhere. To many Americans, the Peace Corps represents the best of American generosity abroad. That’s in line with its stated mission to promote world peace and friendship. But having researched the Peace Corps’ backstory while studying the messages in its early advertising, I see this pause as a chance to learn more about how it came to symbolize U.S. goodwill abroad in many Americans’ minds. I’ve learned how American perceptions of the agency were shaped by ads promising heroic adventures to the volunteers who signed up. In 1968, . . .

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Many British volunteers were able to remain in their assignments

  Thank you to RPCV Alana deJoseph for this announcement from the British Volunteer Service.  Here is the statement of intent from the Volunteer Service Overseas in which British Volunteers work. • “Where it is safe to do so, and in line with national government rules, we will continue to work directly with communities. Volunteers who are already based in communities are key to delivering this approach: our volunteers form deep relationships, built on trust, with the people with whom they work. It’s through these strong relationships that we’re working to tackle the crisis together – ensuring that our response plans are driven by the needs of the people we serve, and using our existing networks to share essential messages. Most of our community and national volunteers have been able to continue their work since the crisis began. Almost half of our international volunteers have continued with their placements; in . . .

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