Archive - 2021

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The Volunteer Exemplar for the Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Pat Wand (Colombia)
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Travel Writer RPCV Andy Trincia (Romania)
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Textile Artist Hollis Chatelain (Togo)
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Kennesaw State professor’s research validates value of Peace Corps
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Peter Hessler (China) in The New Yorker, June 21, 2021
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The Volunteer Who Became “One of the Most Influential Observers of American Politics”*— Chris Matthews (Swaziland)
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Mary-Ann Tirone Smith’s memoir (Cameroon) inspires Connecticut Congress to help young woman
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Barry Hillenbrand (Ethiopia) Celebrates Peace Corps Anniversary on Arlington Connection
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Solomon’s Net by Lew Mermelstein (Ethiopia) Reading at Gallery Bookshop
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Peace Corps May Be Returning Volunteers to Service

The Volunteer Exemplar for the Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Pat Wand (Colombia)

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • Patricia A. Wand, Pat to her hosts of friends and associates across planet earth, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia from 1963 to 1965 after graduating cum laude in history from Seattle University’s Honors Program. As a rural community development and health education volunteer she taught nutrition, sewing, knitting, and public health and worked with local juntas to build three schools and a bridge. In 1969, she was on Peace Corps staff in the Eastern Caribbean. Thereafter, writing about and detailing her professional career at home and abroad is an exhausting task—as Pat somehow discovered how to get more than 24 hours out of a work day and seven days out of a week! In Pat’s own words, this is how she described her Peace Corps experience. A half century ago, service as a Peace Corps Volunteer introduced me to a . . .

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Travel Writer RPCV Andy Trincia (Romania)

  Interviewed by Rolf Potts, International Known Travel Writer   Andy Trincia (Romania 2002-04) is an American freelance writer and editor based in Romania. Having visited nearly 60 countries, he writes mainly about travel, with special focus on Eastern Europe. He recently edited three European history books, and a travel guide focused on Jewish history in Romania. Before embarking on a lengthy career in corporate communications and public affairs, he was a newspaper reporter in North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, and Kansas. He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, doing economic development in Timisoara, Romania. More than a decade later he moved back to Romania — he and his family now divide their time between Timisoara (2021 European Capital of Culture) and the Transylvania countryside. How did you get started traveling? I grew up moving around – mostly in suburban Philadelphia but with stints in Houston, Tampa and Charlotte – . . .

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Textile Artist Hollis Chatelain (Togo)

  The Large-Scale Textile Portraits of Hollis Chatelain Orange County Arts Commission July 16, 2021 • Meet Hillsborough textile artist Hollis Chatelain  (Togo 1980-81). She creates large-scale, colorfully saturated textile portraits through a process called textile painting. To create the artworks, she draws out enlarged depictions of scenes that appear to her in monochromatic dreams, frequently using surrealist imagery. She then translates the design onto fabric, dyes the fabric in monochromatic shades, then adds all vibrant color through thread with quilting. Her textile art is internationally exhibited — held in the permanent collections of The Discovery Channel, The American Embassy in Mali, and the Durham Public Library, amongst others — and she currently has a 30 year retrospective of her work on exhibit at the Quilters Hall of Fame in [Marion] Indiana. As the subjects for her textiles, Hollis often draws upon the 12 years she spent working for humanitarian organizations . . .

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Kennesaw State professor’s research validates value of Peace Corps

  KENNESAW, Ga. (Jul 16, 2021) — Kennesaw State University’s Thomas Nisley (Dominican Republic 1989-91)) has delved deeply into the Peace Corps, first as a volunteer worker helping communities in need and then as an academic researcher. His study indicates that the international assistance program is a significant and cost-effective component of the United States’ foreign affairs. That finding is particularly significant, Nisley contends, since last year the Peace Corps withdrew all its volunteers worldwide from their host sites — nearly 7,000 people serving in 60 countries — due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While Congress has authorized federal funding throughout the Peace Corps’ six-decade history, Nisley is concerned that the ongoing volunteer hiatus potentially could threaten further financial support for the Peace Corps and hinder its long-term future. “We have lost a year of what I often refer to as field-deployed public diplomacy,” said Nisley, a political science professor in KSU’s School of . . .

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Peter Hessler (China) in The New Yorker, June 21, 2021

  Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) has a long, long essay in the issue entitled “Year of the Bunny Hill” As China prepares to host the Winter Olympics, the country gets on skis The article is on a trip Peter and his family took to Wanlong, site of the 2022 Winter Olympics. Peter, who is teaching in Chengdu, will be leaving China soon, I’m told. His visa wasn’t renewed. Peter who has been in China with his wife and twin daughters for several years might have ‘run-up against’ the government because of his New Yorkers articles. Peter began to write for the magazine in 2000. His most recent book, based on his years in Egypt is entitled, The Buried. Peter and his family, I presume, will be returning to Colorado where they own a home in a small town an hour from Telluride. While Peter’s wife Leslie and their two girls . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became “One of the Most Influential Observers of American Politics”*— Chris Matthews (Swaziland)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris — Colombia, 1963-65 •   Chris Matthews (Swaziland 1968–70) recently published a book entitled: This Country: My Life in Politics and History (2021) As one reviewer commented: Chris “shares the many stories that show us the greatness of our nation and her people.” And another stating: “. . . a must read for all, no matter where you self-identify on the current political spectrum.”. So, who is this former Volunteer that was so instrumental in green-lighting Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal while providing ‘friend and foe’ alike some great insights into the cultural values that have informed his public commentary and world view”? After graduating from Holy Cross College in Massachusetts, Chris pursued a Ph. D. in Economics at the University of North Carolina. Then, after completing his graduate studies, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland. There his two years of service as a . . .

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Mary-Ann Tirone Smith’s memoir (Cameroon) inspires Connecticut Congress to help young woman

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dick Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64).   The following is an interview with Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965-66) on NBC-CT, after the bill passed the House with a unanimous vote. • Bill Passes That Could Give Hartford Woman a Reward She Was Denied in 1953 A 2008 memoir Girls of Tender Age written by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith documenting the murder of an 11-year old girl and efforts to arrest her killer inspired the bill passed by the Connecticut Congress. Lawmakers in the House recently voted to approve a bill to provide a reward to a woman in her 80s, who as a teen, helped get a murderer and sexual predator off the streets of Hartford. Connecticut’s General Assembly unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that could give a woman a reward she earned nearly 70 years ago. House Bill 5088 was introduced to recognize and compensate Ms. Patricia . . .

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Barry Hillenbrand (Ethiopia) Celebrates Peace Corps Anniversary on Arlington Connection

    Peace Corps celebrates 60th anniversary, Tuesday, July 20, 1:30 p.m. Program presented by Barry Hillenbrand (Ethiopia 1963-65), former TIME magazine correspondent. Registration # 914400-17. On the program will be a discussion of:“Peace Corps Volunteers End Smallpox In the 1970s – 73 Peace Corps volunteers helped the World Health Organization eradicate smallpox in Ethiopia and ultimately the world. The story has important parallels to today’s battle against Covid-19. To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Peace Corps, Barry Hillenbrand, former Time magazine correspondent, will share the experiences of these remarkable volunteers, as memorialized in Eradicating Smallpox in Ethiopia. • July 20 Tuesday 1:30-2:30 p.m. Virtual #914400-17 1 session” Flourishing After 55 in Arlington: 55+ Programs are virtual and outdoors. A 55+ Membership is required to participate ($20 annual fee). To join or register, go to registration.arlingtonva.us or call 703-228-4747. Local Media Connection LLC Independent, locally owned publishers of the Connection Newspapers, 15 . . .

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Solomon’s Net by Lew Mermelstein (Ethiopia) Reading at Gallery Bookshop

  Please join Lew (and other writers) on Thursday, July 15 at 6 PM (PDT) as he reads from his new novel Solomon’s Net. Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, California, requests that you register at their website:  https://www.gallerybookshop.com/event/authors-night-online-0 Solomon’s Net – A Tale Of Madness It’s the summer of 1973. Steve Williams, recently terminated Peace Corps Volunteer is being treated for paranoid schizophrenia by his doctors in Iowa. But Steve knows the real problem is evil Zar demons and only his Ethiopian lover Abebech can help. However, they’d never let Steve back into Ethiopia, not after what he did. Based on real events, through Steve, we explore how delusional disorders were treated by Western psychiatry in the early 1970s. Through Abebech we learn how traditional Ethiopian healers treated madness. • Solomon’s Net: A Tale Of Madness by Lew  Mermelstein (Ethiopia 1970 – 73) Does Not Apply, publisher January 2020 398 pages

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Peace Corps May Be Returning Volunteers to Service

https://www.peacecorps.gov/news/library/peace-corps-takes-steps-return-service-overseas/   “June 30, 2021 Agency will resume inviting volunteers to serve in countries that have met rigorous health, security and safety standards Today, the Peace Corps announced that it is a step closer to returning volunteers to overseas service. The agency will resume inviting volunteers to serve at posts that have met a comprehensive set of health, safety and security criteria. “Following 15 months of global isolation, tireless work by our staff around the world and incredible patience from our applicants and host country partners, the Peace Corps is moving forward in the process of returning to our overseas posts,” said Acting Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn. “The Peace Corps is advancing with an abundance of caution, flexibility and pragmatism, but also with so much hope about all the important work that is ahead of us.” While the COVID-19 pandemic remains a dynamic challenge, the agency has developed a . . .

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