Archive - March 2021

1
Review — THE GOOD HUSBAND by Danny Langdon (Ethiopia)
2
Changes in the 60 Years of the Peace Corps
3
Manufacturing Diplomacy by Peter Hessler (China) in The New Yorker
4
Lillian Carter (India) movie premieres Saturday
5
A Perfect Storm, a Perfect Partnership Opportunity — Kevin Quigley (Thailand)
6
Harris Wofford tells the story of how the Peace Corps began
7
A Writer Writes: Letter from Pamplin by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)
8
What Worked and Why and What Did Not Work and Why
9
In a half century in and out of the Peace Corps, she’s done it all — Kate Raftery (Paraguay)
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Review — LENIN’S ASYLUM: Two Years in Moldova by A.A.Weiss

Review — THE GOOD HUSBAND by Danny Langdon (Ethiopia)

  The Good Husband: 50 Practices That Will Make You Nearly Perfect Danny Langdon (Ethiopia 1962–64) Performance International December 2020 262 pages $15.00 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Sue Hoyt Aiken (Ethiopia 1962-64) • The book’s dedication states: “This book was written for husbands . . ..” That is so true! After a short introduction, the author lays out the format for all 50 Practices. Practice #1 is titled, “Have your Song!”  Each chapter thereafter is dedicated to an explanation of a specific practice, including “Scenes from Our Relationship,” followed by suggestions for putting the practice into place. Some specific resources or actions tried and true for the author are also offered. This book comes about after a divorced Langdon, along with his second wife, learns, observes and activates a methodology, resulting in 50 Practices.  All suggestions come from real life and feel authentic as a result. While not all practices . . .

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Changes in the 60 Years of the Peace Corps

    Established by President John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961, via Executive Order, the concept for the public service agency was first introduced months prior in an impromptu presidential campaign speech delivered to college students. “How many of you who are going to be doctors, are willing to spend your days in Ghana? Technicians or engineers, how many of you are willing to work in the Foreign Service and spend your lives traveling around the world?” then-Senator Kennedy asked the students. “I think Americans are willing to contribute. But the effort must be far greater than we have ever made in the past.” The response was swift and enthusiastic. Since the Peace Corps’ founding, more than 240,000 Americans have served in 142 host countries. Here’s a look back at some of the agency’s major accomplishments and milestones: 1961: President Kennedy hosts a ceremony in the White House Rose . . .

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Manufacturing Diplomacy by Peter Hessler (China) in The New Yorker

    In the March 15, 2021 issue of The New Yorker Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) has a long, long fascinating article about the ‘real’ world of commerce between China and the U.S. entitled ”The Rise of Made-in-China Diplomacy.” While political leaders trade threats, the pandemic has made Americans even more reliant on China’s manufacturers. • Peter Hessler has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2000. He is the magazine’s correspondent in China, a role he also held from 2000 until 2007. From 2011 to 2016, he was based in Cairo, where he covered the events of the Egyptian Arab Spring. His subjects have included archeology in both China and Egypt, a factory worker in Shenzhen, a garbage collector in Cairo, a small-town druggist in rural Colorado, and Chinese lingerie dealers in Upper Egypt. Before joining The New Yorker, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Fuling, a small Chinese . . .

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Lillian Carter (India) movie premieres Saturday

    Lillian Carter movie premieres Saturday By Diane Urbani de la Paz Sequim (WA) Gazette, Friday, March 19, 2021 The path to this point has been long — crisscrossing the country — but then so was the life of the woman who inspired it. The trailhead, you could say, appeared when actor Carol Swarbrick Dries of Sequim asked her husband, Jim: Who’s the one famous person you’d love to meet? That inspired Carol to learn more about the 39th president and, fatefully, about his mother, known to the world as Miss Lillian (India 1966-68). This Saturday, March 20, the movie in which Carol stars in the title role will premiere in Cinejoy, the online incarnation of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Cinequest film festival. “Miss Lillian: More than a President’s Mother” — a docudrama also featuring former President Jimmy Carter, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, friends of Lillian, including the . . .

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A Perfect Storm, a Perfect Partnership Opportunity — Kevin Quigley (Thailand)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Bill Preston (Thailand 1977-80)   By Kevin F. F. Quigley (Thailand 1976-79) Inside Higher Ed March 16, 2021 As the Biden-Harris administration gets underway in the midst of the global health, environmental and political crises that have given new urgency to needed social change, can a deeper partnership between higher education institutions and the Peace Corps play a role in building a more just and caring world? When they launched it at an earlier inflection point in American history, the Peace Corps’ founders tapped the energy and idealism of the young to achieve three enduring goals: 1) to help other countries help themselves, 2) to promote cross-cultural understanding and 3) to broaden our understanding of the world beyond our borders by having volunteers share their experiences with other Americans. Although the Peace Corps began as a bold innovation with great vision and ambition, much . . .

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Harris Wofford tells the story of how the Peace Corps began

  In accepting the presidential nomination, John Kennedy promised “invention, innovation, imagination, decision.” Thirty-nine days after taking office, he established the Peace Corps by executive order and began to keep that promise. Harris Wofford remembers in this long-ago short essay. • The Peace Corps began for me when a call came from Millie Jeffrey, a Democratic National Committee member and active colleague in the Kennedy campaign’s Civil Rights Section (where I was deputy to Sargent Shriver). With great excitement, she told me about Kennedy’s extemporaneous talk she had heard at 2 a.m., October 14, 1960 to thousands of students, faculty, and town people waiting for him in front of the University of Michigan’s Student Union. Challenging the students, he had asked them if they were ready to spend years serving in Asia, Africa, or Latin America. Stirred by his question, Michigan students, including Millie’s daughter, had taken around a petition . . .

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A Writer Writes: Letter from Pamplin by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

  It’s a fact of Peace Corps life that a volunteer must learn to get by in a world not his own, not her own. It’s never a perfect adjustment, not a completely comfortable fit. Often you make mistakes, some of which can be serious. Others are hilarious. (Once, at the dinner table with our training family in Asunción, as we were learning Spanish, my wife, Anne, commented that she had been taking notes in her diarrhea, which completely cracked people up and may still rank near the top in their hall of conversational fame.) In our case, our Peace Corps experience of feeling our way, doing our best to understand what was going on, turned out to be good practice for the foreign service, which we joined a few years after returning from Paraguay. Our Peace Corps country was nothing like Bolivia, or Honduras, or Spain, despite the common . . .

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What Worked and Why and What Did Not Work and Why

  Peace Corps was created in the golden glow of Post-World War II America. That war was won with our fossil fuel based industrial might. With the Marshall Plan, our ideals, our resources, our technology, we rebuilt our enemies, Germany and Japan,  into strong capitalist economics and laid the foundation for their democratic governments. Both countries became our strong, independent allies. At home, the GI Bill gave veterans a college education and support to own a home, building blocks for our growing middle class. Our economy was a golden cornucopia spewing forth millions of products, from a polio vaccine to pastel, scented toilet paper. In his Inaugural Address, President Kennedy acknowledged our wealth and our success with this call: Now the trumpet summons us again — not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need — not as a call to battle, though embattled we are — but . . .

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In a half century in and out of the Peace Corps, she’s done it all — Kate Raftery (Paraguay)

  Not many people can claim association with an agency spanning nearly 50 years, but our guest can. In the case of the Peace Corps, she’s been working for, with and in it for almost all of the 60 years the Peace Corps is celebrating this year. She’s got a great title to go with that experience — Expert in the Office of the Director. Kate Raftery (Paraguay 1973–75), joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin on March 16, 2021 to discuss her Peace Corps career. • In a half century in and out of the Peace Corps, she’s done it all   Tom Temin: Ms. Raftery, good to have you on. Kate Raftery: Thank you very much for having me. TT: And we should point out, you didn’t work for the Peace Corps continuously, because no one can do that. But tell us how you have been orbiting that agency for all this . . .

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Review — LENIN’S ASYLUM: Two Years in Moldova by A.A.Weiss

  Lenin’s Asylum: Two Years in Moldova by A.A. Weiss (Moldova 2006-08) Everytime Press 255 pages June 2018 $6.00 (Kindle); $16.95 (Paperback) Reviewed by Steve Kaffen (Russia 1994-96) • Lenin’s Asylum; Two Years in Moldova by A.A. Weiss (Moldova 2006-08) is superb writing: flowing and fast-paced, insightful, entertaining, humorous, and empathetic. It describes the author’s two years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in a village in Moldova. A.A. Weiss is a gifted storyteller and uses crisp sentences, vivid descriptions, and abundant dialogue that are lively, revealing, and often funny. The writing is very personal; you feel the author’s frustrations and joys. Moldova is perhaps the most forgotten country of the former Soviet republics, a landlocked place sandwiched between Russia, Romania, and Ukraine. Moldova clings to Russian, Romanian, or Ukrainian language, culture, and traditions depending upon the region. Of note, the author remarks several times that he was appropriately . . .

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