Archive - October 2021

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RPCV Neil Boyer Writes About the Secretary of State (Ethiopia)
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Talking With Eric Madeen (Gabon)
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The Volunteer Who as a Superior Court Judge Threw Out California’s Lethal Injection Procedure
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Laurence Leamer writes: Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era
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The Volunteer Who Built a Railroad to the Sky — Jay Hersch (Colombia)
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Peace Corps’ 60th year marks US /Philippines’ partnership, amity
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Peace Corps film: “A Walk on the Moon”
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Peace Corps Moving Forward: A Series of Town Hall Meetings on Sex- and Gender-Based Violence
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INSIDE PEACE CORPS — Issue 3 Is posted
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Peace Corps Strengthens Sexual Assault Reduction and Response Efforts

RPCV Neil Boyer Writes About the Secretary of State (Ethiopia)

I once flew to  New York on a plane across the aisle from Secretary of State Colin Powell, and we chatted a bit about my job at State, mostly in relation to the World Health Organization. When the plane arrived at LaGuardia airport, I was a bit stunned to see that the Secretary was being greeted by our ambassador to the United Nations, Jeane Kilpatrick. They greeted each other seemingly warmly. I don’t know, but this may have been the occasion of his controversial speech justifying the invasion of Iraq.  He didn’t tell me that was the purpose of his trip.

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Talking With Eric Madeen (Gabon)

  Eric Madeen (Gabon 1981-83) is an associate professor of modern literature at Tokyo City University and an adjunct professor at Keio University. He has been published widely – in Time, Asia Week, The East, The Daily Yomiuri, Tokyo Journal, Kyoto Journal, Metropolis, Mississippi Review, ANA’s inflight magazine Wingspan, Japanophile, The Pretentious Idea, several academic journals and so on. His most recent novel Massage World is a  high-octane thriller. Note: John Coyne    Eric where are you from in the States? I’m from Elgin, Illinois, which is a suburb of Chicago. I earned my BA in Journalism from the University of Arizona and MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from San Diego State University. Why did you join the Peace Corps? I joined the Peace Corps for several reasons, foremost I wanted to see the world, get down and dirty in the outback of the “third world,” specifically Africa since . . .

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The Volunteer Who as a Superior Court Judge Threw Out California’s Lethal Injection Procedure

  Faye Hooker D’Opal earned a bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College in Arkansas and a Doctorate in Jurisprudence from New College of California, San Francisco. Faye commented that a motivating factor in deciding to earn a law degree was based on her earlier experience of racial discrimination while growing up in rural Arkansas. This is where her legacy of community service began where she participated in the historic efforts to desegregate Little Rock’s public schools. Peace Corps In 1963–65, she became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia, one among the first women to serve in that capacity. In her first year, she worked in health/community development programs, based in a local health center serving an area of 9,000 people. Its primary goal was to develop an extensive program in preventive medicine. Faye also participated in various development activities in four other nearby communities. She and her colleagues were successful in . . .

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Laurence Leamer writes: Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era

  New York Times bestselling author Laurence Leamer (Nepal 1965-67) reveals the complex web of relationships and scandalous true stories behind Truman Capote’s never-published final novel, Answered Prayers–the dark secrets, tragic glamour, and Capote’s ultimate betrayal of the group of female friends he called his “swans.”   “There are certain women,” Truman Capote wrote, “who, though perhaps not born rich, are born to be rich.” Barbara “Babe” Paley, Gloria Guinness, Marella Agnelli, Slim Hayward, Pamela Churchill, C. Z. Guest, Lee Radziwill (Jackie Kennedy’s sister)—they were the toast of midcentury New York, each beautiful and distinguished in her own way. Capote befriended them, received their deepest confidences, and ingratiated himself into their lives. Then, in one fell swoop, he betrayed them in the most surprising and startling way possible. Bestselling biographer Laurence Leamer delves into the years following the acclaimed publication of Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1958 and In Cold Blood in 1966, when Capote . . .

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The Volunteer Who Built a Railroad to the Sky — Jay Hersch (Colombia)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)   Back story: Imagine the improbable After serving in Colombia, 1964-66, RPCV Jay Hersch buys a farm in the Western Highlands of Virginia, starts a successful business, then fulfills a long-held dream: he lays down a road bed for 155 feet of track, builds a replica of an existing Train Station, finds a surplus caboose and coal car — and from dream to reality, creates a railroad on his property! Jay’s published book, Phantomrail: The Railroad that Never Was, available on Amazon, tells the complete story.   Since his boyhood days in Chicago, Jay remembers waiting with his grandfather at the end of the Kenzie Avenue line, fascinated as he watched rail workers push the streetcar around the turnstile until it was headed back toward downtown. He also recalled counting the cars as the freight trains rumbled past and last . . .

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Peace Corps’ 60th year marks US /Philippines’ partnership, amity

  by Philippines’ BUSINESS MIRROR OCTOBER 13, 2021   The first Peace Corps volunteers comprised of teachers arrived on October 12, 1961. THE United States Peace Corps, the US Embassy in the Philippines, the Philippine government and other partners held a virtual event to commemorate the American Peace Corps volunteers—more than 9,300 of them—who had served alongside Filipino host-communities across the country since October 1961. Hundreds of former volunteers, host organizations, Peace Corps staff, as well as youth and other beneficiaries gathered online on October 6, as they recognized contributions of American volunteers and their local partners working in education, fisheries, coastal resource management, youth development, and other sectors through the decades. Participants also reflected on the unique ability of Peace Corps volunteers to meaningfully impact and integrate into their host communities as they learned local Filipino languages and lived with Filipino host families. “Peace Corps volunteers have significantly advanced our . . .

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Peace Corps film: “A Walk on the Moon”

  Cohen Film Collection is working on a restoration of “A Walk on the Moon,” by the late Raphael D. Silver. The 1987 drama, about a Peace Corps volunteer who travels to a Colombian village, stars Kevin Anderson and Terry Kinney. The restoration was part of an agreement with filmmaker Joan Micklin Silver, Raphael D. Silver’s wife, who died last year. The story Everett Jones (Kevin Anderson) is a Peace Corps volunteer, bubbling o’er with idealism. To his surging delight, he learns he has been assigned to a remote, backward Colombian village. When Anderson arrives, he is confused by the cynical attitude of his predecessor (Terry Kinney). Even more confusing–though it won’t be for long–is that the villagers greet the ebullient Anderson’s arrival with silent, sullen indifference.

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Peace Corps Moving Forward: A Series of Town Hall Meetings on Sex- and Gender-Based Violence

In 2019, 1 out of every 3 Peace Corps Volunteers experienced sexual assault. Legislation like the Kate Puzey Act (2013) and the Farr/Castle Act (2018) were passed to protect Volunteers, but more work needs to be done to ensure the safety of everyone who serves in the Peace Corps. Join RPCVs of Washington D.C. and Boston Area RPCVs starting Wednesday, October 13 for a 4-part series of events on sex- and gender-based violence. These sessions will include storytelling and a community-building circle, a session specific to the experiences of BIPOC RPCVs, and the development of recommendations moving forward. Register below to receive one link for all four events. Please feel free to attend as many as you would like. The Zoom link will be provided by email and a calendar invite for each event. Wednesday, October 13th, 8:30-10 PM EDT: Storytelling and Community Building Thursday, October 21st, 5:30-7 PM EDT: BIPOC . . .

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INSIDE PEACE CORPS — Issue 3 Is posted

Acting Director’s Message Welcome back to Inside Peace Corps, where we share updates on our work, both at headquarters and in the countries where our Volunteers are invited to serve. We have celebrated the legacy of the Peace Corps over the past weeks with anniversaries of the signing of the Peace Corps Act and of 60-year partnerships with Ghana, Tanzania, Colombia, and the Philippines. After attending these events – surrounded by partners, host community members, returned Peace Corps Volunteers, staff, and other supporters – I am in awe of the strength of the Peace Corps network, the values we live by, and the power of service to unite. This network has stepped up in countless, innovative ways to advance the Peace Corps’ mission of promoting world peace and friendship during this historic time. Those efforts have included virtual engagements with host country partners, staff programming outreach, interagency collaborations, and above-and-beyond . . .

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Peace Corps Strengthens Sexual Assault Reduction and Response Efforts

  October 8, 2021 WASHINGTON – Today, the Peace Corps provided an update on the agency’s progress to strengthen its volunteer safety, and sexual assault risk reduction and response efforts over the last six months. “When I stepped into the role of Acting Director, I called for all Peace Corps staff to examine how our agency can better meet our service commitments to both volunteers and the community members we work alongside,” said Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn. “This deep, structural work involves upgrading all of our systems, including and especially those related to sexual assault risk reduction and response. Peace Corps staff care deeply about the safety of our volunteers and, as an agency, we are continuously learning, wholeheartedly dedicated to reducing risk, wherever possible, and committed to providing victim-centered, trauma-informed care.” In the spring, the Peace Corps committed to making specific, systemic improvements to sexual-assault-related policies and . . .

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