Archive - 2021

1
Acting Director Carol Spahn’s Letter to the Peace Corps Community
2
Growing Dreams: A Peace Corps Volunteer reflects on his service in Nepal
3
The Peace Corps in the post-Trump era
4
Global Connections TV interview with Alana de Joseph: A Towering Task”
5
The Volunteer Who Was the Once and Future President of the U. S. — Paul Tsongas (Ethiopia)
6
School to use iconic ’60s photos by Rowland Scherman (PC staff) to educate students about race
7
The Infamous Peace Corps Streaking Incident (Costa Rica)
8
Norm Rush (Botswana) — MATING at thirty years
9
More new appointments to the Peace Corps staff
10
RPCV romance writer Mickey Miller (Paraguay)

Acting Director Carol Spahn’s Letter to the Peace Corps Community

“February 5, 2021 The following is an open letter to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers from Acting Director Carol Spahn (Romania 1994-96)   To the Peace Corps community, It’s been just over two weeks since I stepped in as Acting Director of the Peace Corps in the middle of a tumultuous January. As the ground continues to shift under our feet here at home and overseas, I am reminded of the importance of our shared experiences as ambassadors of peace and friendship. Our primary goal during this critical time is returning Peace Corps Volunteers back to the countries we know and love. We are also committed to taking on the work necessary to return to service in a way that promotes racial equity and justice. Peace Corps is in the process of reviewing our structures, programs and policies to identify how we can best recruit and support a diverse cohort of . . .

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Growing Dreams: A Peace Corps Volunteer reflects on his service in Nepal

by Teagen Barresi (Nepal 2016-18)   I joined the Peace Corps because I was looking for a way to serve. Simultaneously, I wanted to give myself an opportunity to grow and learn more skills. I had previously learned about food systems in the U.S., and I wanted to test what I knew about food systems in another part of the world. The Peace Corps gave me the opportunity to learn an enormous amount while working to make a positive impact in the lives of others. I credit my aunt who served in the Peace Corps in the Solomon Islands in the 1990s with inspiring me to serve. Her experience there, and the stories she told, were always in the back of my mind. It was the final push I needed to send in an application. During my two years in Nepal, I lived and worked in a rural agricultural village. Most members . . .

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The Peace Corps in the post-Trump era

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from  Alana de Joseph (Mali 1992–94)   Here are three arguments for why a Biden-Harris administration should prioritize this federal agency — and key steps to get there.   by William G. Moseley (Mali 1987–89) MinnPost Feb. 3, 2021   Americans suffer from a tendency to look inward, an affliction exacerbated by isolationist political winds as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, the United States needs the Peace Corps, the brainchild of the late Minnesota Sen. and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, to help our citizens engage with the rest of the world; cultivate future foreign service leaders, and foster a more climate-friendly international development approach. Here are three arguments for why a Biden-Harris administration should prioritize this federal agency — and key steps to get there. First, the Peace Corps could help the U.S. emerge from four years of isolationism by rebuilding . . .

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The Volunteer Who Was the Once and Future President of the U. S. — Paul Tsongas (Ethiopia)

  By Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)  • In 1962, when Paul Tsongas was in training at Georgetown University to become a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia, on that first night as trainees were beginning to know each other, they were all asking “why did you join?” He answered: “I am going to run for office and the Peace Corps would be to my credit.”  At that time, it was a distant dream. Yet, it set him on a path that would subsequently propel him to be a viable candidate for the presidency of the United States. After his Volunteer days in Ethiopia, that dream was in process of fulfilment had not that cruel master — fate — tragically intervened. After earning a BA Degree from Dartmouth College in 1962, Paul became one of the earliest Volunteers at a time when JFK’s signature on the Executive Order that authorized a Peace Corps was . . .

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School to use iconic ’60s photos by Rowland Scherman (PC staff) to educate students about race

The Cape Cod Chronicle 3 February 2021 by Susanna Graham-Pye     HARWICH – Educators at the Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School are eagerly exploring ways to use a recent gift of photographs, many depicting iconic moments from the civil rights movement. In one photo, the leaders and organizers of the August 1963 March on Washington sit at the feet of the sculpture of Abraham Lincoln in his memorial; in another Marlon Brando stands with his arm slung over James Baldwin’s shoulder, as the pair looks out over the National Mall on that same day. Faces from the crowd fill other photos: of volunteers at workstations, of college students painting signs and children earnestly watching it all. Pictures show Jackie Robinson at the march, hugging his son David, and Harry Belafonte speaking; Peter Paul and Mary singing and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. flanked by Floyd McKissick, Matthew Ahmann and Reverend Eugene . . .

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The Infamous Peace Corps Streaking Incident (Costa Rica)

  Recounted by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador & Costa Rica 1974–77) • The following qualifies as hearsay, though I did hear it from a person directly involved, Skip Baker, a former Colombia PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer) and co–owner of Basico, the company in charge of my Peace Corps group’s training in Costa Rica in the fall of 1974. It seems that about six months prior (say February 1974) there was a training group which, on their last day as trainees, was giving a presentation (possibly in the form of a play) to their host families at the Basico training center. Some or all of the trainees got the idea of ending the presentation by streaking across the stage. Explanatory Note: Streaking had become popular on US college campuses a few years earlier. The practice consisted of taking off all of one’s clothes, except for shoes (typically tennis shoes) and running . . .

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Norm Rush (Botswana) — MATING at thirty years

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Bill Preston (Thailand 1977–80)   Incorporate Everything, Understand Everything Norman Rush’s Mating Scott Sherman The Point Magazine • “In Africa, you want more, I think.” With that laconic affirmation begins one of the strangest and most sublime American novels of the last half-century. The protracted monologue of a 32-year-old Stanford University anthropologist who is adrift and loveless in Botswana at the dawn of the Reagan era, Mating was published by Knopf in 1991 and went on to win the National Book Award for fiction. John Updike, writing in the New Yorker, hailed it as “rather aggressively brilliant.” It was Norman Rush’s (CD Botswana 1978-83) first novel. He was 58 when it appeared. All through the 1960s and 1970s, Rush, who was born in San Francisco in 1933, had written experimental fiction with negligible success. In 1978, he and his wife Elsa moved from Rockland County, New York, where he . . .

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More new appointments to the Peace Corps staff

  The National Peace Corps Association has announced, on their website, three new staff members for the Peace Corps Washington office.  Scott Beale’s appointment was published earlier by John Coyne, here on Peace Corps Worldwide. Of the three new staff, only one is an RPCV, Sarah Dietch, Georgia, 2017-2019. https://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/articles/carol-spahn-named-acting-director-of-peace-corps Dave Noble has been named chief of staff for Peace Corps. He had been serving as executive director of the ACLU of Michigan. Under the Obama administration, he served as a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Presidential Personnel Office, and prior to that as deputy chief of staff and White House liaison for NASA. Scott Beale has been appointed Associate Director of Global Operations for Peace Corps. In 2006 Beale founded Atlas Corps, a volunteer program to connect and empower global leaders through service in the United States. Over the past 15 years, Atlas Corps has brought more . . .

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RPCV romance writer Mickey Miller (Paraguay)

  Mickey Miller is a romance author from the Midwest. He’s lived many lives in his short life including collegiate Athlete, Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay, and high school coach and teacher. Now he writes steamy contemporary romance page-turners in his unique, steamy, thoughtful style: Sometimes fantasy, sometimes real, and always hot. Mickey writes: I realize I’m a bit of an oddball as a guy writing romance. It has happened many times that I’ll be out with friends, and the topic will come up that “Mickey is a romance writer.” Girls will often think I am lying to them when I say I write romance. I guess they think it’s something a guy would say to impress them. Honestly, I have shown girls my books, Instagram, Facebook, and they still give me the side-eye like they think they’re being punked. I find it amusing that apparently, my chosen art form . . .

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