Archive - 2021

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Janelle Jones (Peru) joins Biden Administration as Chief Economist at DOL!
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Samra Brouk (Guatemala) Is newly elected to the New York State Senate
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RPCVs march in 1993 Inaugural Parade
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Tell Your Peace Corps Story
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Review — ANDEAN ADVENTURES by Allan Wind (Ecuador)
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RPCV Navarro (Thailand) leaves the White House with his loot (Thailand)
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Trump to freeze Peace Corps budget before leaving office
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13 Things About US Capitol RPCV rioter Thomas Baranyi (Albania)
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Ex-PCV (Albania) who saw deadly Capitol breach shooting charged in riot
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Review — FEVER! AND OTHER STORIES FROM THE LAND OF MOBUTU

Janelle Jones (Peru) joins Biden Administration as Chief Economist at DOL!

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Monica Mills (PC/HQ 1995-2000)   “I’m very excited to announce I have joined the Biden Administration as the Chief Economist at the Department of Labor! I am excited to help build back a better economy where workers, especially those usually left behind, are safe, secure, & empowered at the workplace. Let’s get to work!” Janelle Jones was an economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute through 2018. She is an economic analyst working on a variety of labor market topics within EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy (PREE) and the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN). She was previously a research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), where she worked on topics including racial inequality, unemployment, job quality, and unions. Her research has been cited in The New Yorker, The Economist, Harper’s, The Washington Post, The Review of Black Political Economy, and other . . .

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Samra Brouk (Guatemala) Is newly elected to the New York State Senate

From Spectrum News in New York State:   “State Senator Samra Brouk is a freshman Democrat from Rochester who has spent much of her life working on behalf of others. After graduating from Williams College, Brouk volunteered with the Peace Corps in Guatemala, where she was a health educator. After her return to New York, she founded a non-profit, which enables seniors to age in place. Most recently, Brouk raised money for Chalkbeat, a grassroots journalism organization devoted to education.: Brouk spoke with Capital Tonight host Susan Arbetter about what she hopes to bring to Albany.  Here is the interview: https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/central-ny/ny-state-of-politics/2021/01/04/meet-new-state-senator-samra-brouk–sd—55 • Please note:  Thank you to the group RPCVs for Political Action for this  important news. They posted on their Facebook page a link to the ZOOM ceremony in which Senator Brouk was sworn to office. I believe it is also noted in the ceremony that Senator Brouk is . . .

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RPCVs march in 1993 Inaugural Parade

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Mike Wolfson (Peru 1964-66)     This picture, made as a poster courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, was taken at President Bill Clinton’s inaugural parade on January 20, 1993. The organization was then the National Council of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, now the National Peace Corps Association. Mike borrowed the 6 x 8-foot outdoor flags and 9-foot aluminum flag poles from the U.S. Department of State.  There were, he believes, 110 flags representing all of the countries that Peace Corps volunteers had or were serving in. He had all of these flags and poles in his living room the day before the inauguration where Ken Hill (Turkey 1965-67) and he put country labels on each flag, attached them to the 110 poles, and put them in a truck that Ken stored overnight and took to the parade staging area the next morning. He did . . .

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Tell Your Peace Corps Story

  As we approach the 60th Anniversary of the agency — which was officially born on March 1, 1961—Peace Corps Worldwide wants to capture for history the stories of as many Volunteers as possible. Your experiences need to be preserved because, thanks to your service, the Peace Corps has become the most significant and successful cross-cultural venture ever undertaken by the United States. And in today’s nationalistic world, the example of Peace Corps Volunteers is more important than ever. The Peace Corps is about service, but it is also about friendship. For 60 years, Volunteers have lived with host-country families, shared their lives and experiences, and showed our hosts that we were more like them than we were different. We were younger than many of our hosts, often less experienced in life, and sometimes needing their help to navigate their culture. But we went, and we were ready to work, . . .

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Review — ANDEAN ADVENTURES by Allan Wind (Ecuador)

  Andean Adventures: An Unexpected Search for Meaning, Purpose and Discovery Across Three Countries Allan “Alonzo” J. Wind (Ecuador 1980–82) Self-published August 2020 270 pages $14.99 (paperback), $4.19 (Kindle Reviewed byD.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • Allan Wind knew he wanted to join the Peace Corps from pretty early in his life. But he expected that he would serve two years abroad and then return to the US and continue his career. He became a Peace Corps volunteer (PCV) and served for two years in Ecuador but after that he did not return home. He stayed on in Ecuador, working in development, later working in Bolivia and Peru as well. This is a memoir of the early years of Wind’s lifelong career in development. He begins his journey after college in 1980. From the beginning he is an agitator, always trying to go beyond his job description to . . .

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RPCV Navarro (Thailand) leaves the White House with his loot (Thailand)

Peace Corps Thailand 1972-75 Jim McCaffery (Ethiopia 1966-68) told me that this photo (below) is the real one Peter Navarro was taking out of the White House. It was (we think) hanging in the Oval Office.

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Trump to freeze Peace Corps budget before leaving office

  President Trump on Thursday moved to freeze $27.4 billion worth of government programs in the last week of his presidency using a budget maneuver called rescission. Under the 1974 Budget and Impoundment Control Act, the president can request that Congress rescind, or wind back budget authority over certain programs. While Congress considers the request, the programs can be frozen for up to 45 days, at which point the request expires if Congress does not act. In a letter to congressional leadership, Trump specifically requested 73 cutbacks to the 2021 federal budget. The 73 proposed rescissions largely align with the annual budget proposal Trump has set out, which proposed extreme cuts to domestic programs. Congress roundly rejected the cuts each year. The letter asked leaders in the House and Senate to impound funds from almost every Cabinet-level agency including the Environmental Protection Agency. The request also included cuts from the National Endowments for the Arts and . . .

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13 Things About US Capitol RPCV rioter Thomas Baranyi (Albania)

  ConanDaily.com JANUARY 14, 2021 BY Marky O’Brien   Thomas Baranyi (Albania 2018-20) is a white man from New Jersey, United States. Here are 13 things about him: He lives in Ewing, New Jersey. (a) He graduated from The College of New Jersey in Ewing. (b) He went into basic training for the U.S. Marine Corps but he was discharged. (b) He is the eldest son of Drake Baranyi, who is from Kathmandu, Nepal. (c) On December 9, 2017, he proposed to his girlfriend Rachel Fury, according to his father. (c) From 2018 to 2020, he served in the Peace Corps in Albania. (b) On December 22, 2020, his father took to Facebook to say they have not seen each other in person since 2017. (c) Wearing a blue New York Giants sweatshirt and a navy blue baseball hat while carrying a blue backpack on January 6, 2021, he entered the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., USA on the side where scaffolding was erected for Joe Biden‘s inauguration on January 20, 2021. That . . .

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Ex-PCV (Albania) who saw deadly Capitol breach shooting charged in riot

  January 13, 2021 11:15 AM TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man who said he was standing next to a woman when she was fatally shot during the U.S. Capitol riot is now charged in connection with last week’s breach. Thomas Baranyi, 28, was arrested Tuesday night by the FBI and charged with disorderly or disruptive conduct. He made his initial court appearance later that night via video conference, where bail was set at $100,000, but he was later released on an unsecured bond. Baranyi, who formerly served in the Peace Corps, gained attention on the day of the riots when he told a TV reporter that he was standing next to Ashli Babbitt when she was fatally shot inside the building, and held up his right hand to show blood that was still there. In a criminal affidavit, FBI Special Agent Cassidy Vreeland wrote that Baranyi’s identity . . .

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Review — FEVER! AND OTHER STORIES FROM THE LAND OF MOBUTU

  Fever! and other stories from The Land of Mobutu Peter Loan (Staff— CD Zaire 1976–79; Washington) Peace Corps Writers August 2020 100 pages $9.99 (paperback), $5.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Larry Trouba (Togo 1988–90; staff/APCD Benin 1997–2000) • Ebola, insanity and physical insecurity are just a few of the themes that Peter Loan explores in Fever! and Other Stories from the Land of Mobutu. In his debut short story collection, Loan gives the reader a glimpse of life in 1970s Zaire for Peace Corps Volunteers and staff living in a county which perhaps more than any other typified the kleptocracy that was omnipresent in sub-Saharan Africa, but also a land that nevertheless engendered a fond affection for those dedicated enough to face the challenge. This collection illustrates some of the issues faced by Peace Corps administrators in overseeing a large program in a vast African country, third the size of the . . .

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