Archive - 2020

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New York RPCVs lead the way
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Review — UNSCREWING AMERICA by Mike McCabe (Mali)
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LIVING BETWEEN IRAQ AND A HARD PLACE by Marty Feess (Jordan)
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The Man Who Killed Hollywood — RPCV Reed Hastings (Swaziland)
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“WHAT WE’RE READING” — MATING by Norm Rush (Botswana)
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“Tiffany Trump, Don’t Join the Peace Corps!”
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RPCV Alexandra Bell (Jamaica) Senior Policy Director
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2020 Peace Corps Writers’ Marian Haley Beil Award for Best Book Review to Marnie Mueller (Ecuador) for YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS by Kristen Roupenian
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RPCV Dennis Briskin “The Face of Iran Before…”
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The Fourth Goal of Former Peace Corps Volunteers

New York RPCVs lead the way

Podcast: Peace Corps Stories: The Unofficial Podcast (Apple Podcasts | Google Play) presents an unfiltered, uncensored look at the toughest job you’ll ever love. Each episode features true stories about the Peace Corps, told by returned volunteers reflecting on the thrilling highs, the debilitating lows, the near-death experiences and the crazy adventures from their service in the Peace Corps. https://peacecorpsnyc.org/peace-corps-stories-the-unofficial-podcast/ For those of you who loved Season 1 of Peace Corps Stories: The Unofficial Podcast, we are happy to bring you a new collection of RPCV stories for 2020 and beyond. We’ve published several episodes this year (all from our live shows) and have plans to bring you many more. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, or click the link below to listen on our website. If you have a story to tell, let us know at podcast@peacecorpsnyc.org. Story Slams: You ready for this?! Our RPCV Story Slam is a time each year to come . . .

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Review — UNSCREWING AMERICA by Mike McCabe (Mali)

  UNSCREWING AMERICA by Mike McCabe (Mali 1989 – 91) Little Creek Press 272 pages February 2020 $17.95 (paperback), $8.00 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Dr. Robert E. Hamilton (Ethiopia 1965-67) • This is how Mike McCabe ends his latest book, Unscrewing America (February 2020): “America is never finished. It is always a work in progress. . . . It is always in the making.” If we work on improving our “goodness,” McCabe argues, we don’t have to worry about our “greatness,” which will follow. To get the reader to this point, over 200 pages from the beginning, McCabe first writes a memoir of his campaign in 2018 to be elected Governor of his home state, Wisconsin. He and a dozen other Democrat candidates lost to the current Governor, Tony Evers, who defeated incumbent Governor Scott Walker. Following the 60 pages of memoir, McCabe then describes and offers his opinion of the present . . .

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LIVING BETWEEN IRAQ AND A HARD PLACE by Marty Feess (Jordan)

  IRAQ IS A WAR TORN COUNTRY, and the US is mainly responsible for such a state in the Arab country – but Martin Feess had a different experience in Jordan, and the experience is immortalized in Living Between Iraq and a Hard Place: Peace Corps Volunteers in Jordan, 2005-2007. Marty Feess terms his Jordanian experience a real-life twenty-first-century adventure. In the two years, Marty and his wife Karen Louise (Coote) Feess (Jordan 2005-07) have basked and submerged in the Arab-Muslim culture, embracing the attributes of Jordanian culture and gaining enough experience of a lifetime that’s inscribed in the memoir. Marty Feess narrates how he and his significant other imbibed backwater Jordanian life and forged friendships that grew near and dear while witnessing the turmoil and tumult in which the Middle East is embroiled. Marty Feess writes how his thought process evolved in lieu with all the various issues plaguing . . .

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The Man Who Killed Hollywood — RPCV Reed Hastings (Swaziland)

  Reed Hastings Had Us All Staying Home Before We Had To Netflix started with sending DVDs — remember them? — through the mail, but now the streaming pioneer sits atop a Hollywood it has thoroughly upended. By Maureen Dowd New York Times Sept. 4, 2020 Does it feel good to be the man who killed Hollywood? “No,” said Reed Hastings, who nurtured Netflix into the Godzilla of the entertainment world. “But, of course, we haven’t killed Hollywood.” At 59, the slender, gray-haired Mr. Hastings remains a mystery in the industry he dominates. “He’s a complete cipher here,” one Hollywood macher said. You won’t find Mr. Hastings hanging with the stars at the San Vicente Bungalows. He doesn’t bellow at the pool at the Hotel du Cap or swan around at premieres. He may show up in line at Sundance, but he’s not cutting the line. He started a delivery system for . . .

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“WHAT WE’RE READING” — MATING by Norm Rush (Botswana)

  The Sunday, September 6, 2020 issue of the New York Times Book Review section has a column in the front of the magazine entitled: What We’re Reading. It is there every Sunday. Today’s column is focused on Norman Rush (Staff: Botswana 1978-83). It was written by Noor Qasim, a Book Editor Fellow at the magazine. Qasim writes: I picked up Mating because it’s long. I’d been craving something immersive, to draw me in and force me to sit still. Norman Rush’s unnamed narrator — an American anthropologist in Botswana, whose failed thesis propels her to a series of romantic encounters — provides it. Witty and incisive, she drops Latin at every turn, and examines the practice of mating with precision. Mating was published in 1991. It was Rush’s novel set in Botswana ( Whites, his collection of short stories set in Botswana, was published in 1986). Mating won the . . .

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“Tiffany Trump, Don’t Join the Peace Corps!”

 Newsweek – 4 Jun 19 Tiffany Trump’s child support payments would have been ended by Donald if she joined the Peace Corps. “President Donald Trump’s newly revealed prenuptial agreement with his second wife Marla Maples contains rules regarding their daughter Tiffany Trump — specifically on circumstances under which his child support payments for her would end early. The 1993 prenup, obtained and reported by Vanity Fair on Tuesday, established that Donald Trump would halt $100,000 child support payments for Tiffany Trump when she turned 21 years old, or earlier if she joined the military, the Peace Corps., or landed a full-time job.”

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RPCV Alexandra Bell (Jamaica) Senior Policy Director

Senior Policy Director (202) 546-0795 x 2502 abell@armscontrolcenter.org Alexandra Bell is the Senior Policy Director at the Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation. Her areas of focus include bilateral and multilateral arms control and non-proliferation, Euro-Atlantic security, and Congressional affairs. Previously, Bell served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Before joining the Department of State in 2010, she worked on nuclear policy issues at the Ploughshares Fund and the Center for American Progress. Bell received a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the New School and a Bachelor’s degree in Peace, War and Defense from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From 2001-2003, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica. Bell is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Member of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) Board of . . .

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2020 Peace Corps Writers’ Marian Haley Beil Award for Best Book Review to Marnie Mueller (Ecuador) for YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS by Kristen Roupenian

  The new Peace Corps Writers’ Best Book Review Award is named in honor of Marian Haley Beil (Ethiopia 1962-64), co-founder and publisher since 1989 of the Peace Corps Writers newsletter, website, and book imprint. Following her tour of service, Marian worked for 4 years in the Office of Reports and Special Studies at Peace Corps Headquarters. She founded the Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCV group in 1991, and later co-founded Rochester RPCVs.   Our first Peace Corps Writers’ Best Book Review Award goes to Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) who has authored three novels: Green Fires, The Climate of the Country, and My Mother’s Island, published by Curbstone Press, and currently in-print with Northwestern University Press. She is a winner of the Maria Thomas Prize for Fiction, an American Book Award, The New York Times  New and Noteworthy in Paperback, and Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers, among many awards.  She is on the steering . . .

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RPCV Dennis Briskin “The Face of Iran Before…”

Palo Alto photographer publishes images of pre-revolution Iran by Karla Kane / Palo Alto Weekly September 3, 2020 Palo Alto resident Dennis Briskin (Iran 1967-69) has published two books of photographs he took while serving in the Peace Corps in pre-revolution Iran. Courtesy Dennis Briskin. When Dennis Briskin was preparing to move to Iran for a few years in the late 1960s, he had a thought: “Maybe I should get a camera.” Though he didn’t have any prior photography experience, he read up a bit, got a basic camera and, fresh out of college and inspired by Life and Look magazines, was on his way. “The best advice I got was, ‘Film is cheap; take lots of photos,’” he recalled. The Palo Alto resident has now compiled many of his favorite photos and published two books: “Iran Before” (released in 2019) and “The Face of Iran Before” (focused on portraits, released this . . .

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The Fourth Goal of Former Peace Corps Volunteers

• What Have You Done (Lately) For Your Host Country? As you have read on this site, there are numerous RPCVs who have never forgotten the people of their Peace Corps countries. Recently we wrote about what several Ethiopia RPCVs have done, and are still doing today, for where they once served. We know there are many similar stories that can be told by all of you. We call this generous effort the Fourth Goal of the Peace Corps. A term suggested By David Arnold (Ethiopia 1963-65). It is how being a PCV does not end with the close of service conference. We ask you now — What have you done for your Peace Corps country since you came home? How have you helped one or more of your former students? What have you done for the family that adopted you, gave you a new name and all their love, . . .

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