Archive - 2022

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“Ask Not . . . ” by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia)
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Glenn A. Blumhorst (Guatemala) writes about his new job
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Here’s a story I never told anyone — Richard Wiley (Korea)
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Appointment of Chris Dodd as Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas
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THE PANDEMIC PROPHET about early Peace Corps CD Reginald E. Petty
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Where Books Go to Die
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Review — BABUSYA’S KITCHEN by Ukraine RPCVs
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One of the Best Thriller and Mystery Novels of 2022 – Richard Lipez (Ethiopia)
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Former Peace Corps Director Dick Celeste Writes Memoir
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The Fabulous Peace Corps Book Locker
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Museum of the Peace Corps Experience Hires Director
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WHEN CHRIST STOPPED AT EBOLI by Carlo Levi
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25 Memoir Publishers That Accept Direct Book Submissions
14
Friends of Liberia: Celebrating 60 Years of Peace Corps Service
15
Strengthening National Security through Global Water Security

“Ask Not . . . ” by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia)

by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • In 1963, I became a Peace Corps Volunteer, assigned to La Plata, a small village of some 3,000 residents nestled at the 4,000 feet level of Colombia’s Andean mountains. It had no telephone systems, though there were episodic telegraphic services.  On what soon would became a fateful morning of November 22, 1963, I had taken a bus into the Departmental capital, Neiva, to obtain some governmental authorizations of Community Development Funds for one of our projects.  Like most every bus in our area, firmly set above the driver’s head were three pictures with Christmas tree lights around them: Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and President John F. Kennedy. Later in the afternoon, about 3:30 PM or so, before boarding the bus for the trip back, I stopped at a newsstand to see if it had a recent copy of Time Magazine. There was one copy . . .

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Glenn A. Blumhorst (Guatemala) writes about his new job

  November 9, 2022 Dear Friends, Sargent Shriver urged us to “Serve, serve, serve! For in the end, it will be the servants that save us all.” It is fitting that today – Shriver’s birthday – I continue my service to the Peace Corps community in my new role as the lead fundraiser for the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation (PCCF). I am grateful for the warm welcome extended by Tony Barclay and the PCCF Board of Directors as we embark on an $8 million capital campaign to underwrite the design and construction of a commemorative work on the National Mall that honors the creation of the Peace Corps in 1961 and those aspects of the American character exemplified by Peace Corps service. Peace Corps Park will forever be a place in which to gather and reflect; to be inspired by the Commemorative’s meanings and messages; and to share in programmed activities embodying . . .

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Here’s a story I never told anyone — Richard Wiley (Korea)

Raw Potato Bridge by Richard Wiley (Korea 1967-69)   Here’s a story I never told anyone. One evening in August of 1967 I was walking to our Peace Corps training’s makeshift bar with my roommate, Tom, when he asked me in the kind of shaky voice that signaled deep naiveté back then, “Look, don’t laugh, but do you have to be circumcised to have sex with Jewish girls?” We were strolling along with our hands in our pockets, both our brows furrowed. “I don’t think so,” I said, but did Tom have a particular girl in mind? Someone in our group? I tried to think, but I hardly knew who was Jewish and who wasn’t, and Tom had never mentioned anyone. Tom was from Birmingham, Alabama. He was big (6’2”, 270 pounds), and he’d lost his father to a fire his father started himself, in an alcoholic stupor, in, of . . .

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Appointment of Chris Dodd as Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas

Senator Chris Dodd will serve as Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas, following up on his role as Special Advisor for the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles in June.  Senator Dodd will help advance the implementation of key initiatives President Biden announced at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, spanning economic cooperation, migration, health, human rights, food security, as well as other priorities. He will also support the work currently being done by Vice President Harris, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, USAID, and others. Additionally, he will support preparations for the upcoming Cities Summit of the Americas in Denver in April 2023. In his decades as a dedicated public servant, starting as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic and through his time on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Senator Dodd has built trust with many . . .

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THE PANDEMIC PROPHET about early Peace Corps CD Reginald E. Petty

  Left Bank Books  at 399 N. Euclid Street, St. Louis, presents St. Louis author Jaye P. Willis, with Reginald E. Petty in our store on November 21st at 6 p.m. Join us in the store or on YouTube Live Page. This is a poetic and prose praise song to Mr. Reginald E. Petty. He is from a small town in Southern Illinois called East St. Louis. It is now considered an economically deprived city, but it never stopped his drive and passion to make it better, as well as himself. The book speaks to his upbringing and what makes him a legend to not only the citizens of his hometown, but throughout the world — particularly in Africa. Mr. Petty was one of the first African American Peace Corps Country Directors, appointed by the U.S. President John F. Kennedy. He served in several African nations and went on to . . .

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Where Books Go to Die

  by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64)   There was an almost perfect copy of Papa: Hemingway in Key West 1928-1940 by James McLendon who I knew when I lived briefly in Key West. Tucked inside this Popular Library paperback [which, by the way, sold for .95 cents when it was published in 1972] was an article about Hemingway from an April 12, 1999 Newsweek. It was about the publication of True at First Light, the last writings of Papa edited by his son Patrick. I also picked up a brand new copy of The Sportswriter, a novel by the Pen/Faulkner winning writer Richard Ford, as well as a collection of short stories, The Next New World written by one of my favorite Peace Corps writers, Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76). None of these books were library marked. They had, however, been given to the library. And they were now stacked on . . .

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Review — BABUSYA’S KITCHEN by Ukraine RPCVs

  Babusya’s Kitchen: Recipes for Living & Eating Well in Ukraine by Returned Peace Corps Ukraine Volunteers RPCV Alliance for Ukraine, publisher 216 pages $30.00 (hardcover) Review by: D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974-76, and Costa Rica 1976-77) • This is a beautiful cookbook! My favorite part is the pictures of dishes ready to serve, but the photos of Ukrainian scenery and people are a close second. The authors/editors are all Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who served in Ukraine (I love their self-assigned titles so much that I will include them here): Cortney Copeland — Director of Official Stuff Patricia Deignan — Voice of Reason and Logic Sarah Friedman — Communications Wiz Sandy Jacobs — Culinary Storyteller Sarah Kate (Monroe) Demchuk — Professional Book Wrangler Casey Ritter — Captain of Team Morale Colleen Smith — President of Punctuation There is a section full of Ukrainian recipes and one full of . . .

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One of the Best Thriller and Mystery Novels of 2022 – Richard Lipez (Ethiopia)

  The Washington Post has selected Knock Off the Hat by Richard Stevenson (Dick Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) as one of the 12 Best Thriller and Mystery Novels of 2022. Dick Lipez, writing as Richard Stevenson, died this year, shortly before the publication of this standout. (Stevenson, writing under his real name, Richard Lipez, was also a frequent Washington Post reviewer.) The story — In post-World War II  Philadelphia, detective Clifford Waterman is trying to help a man charged with “disorderly conduct” following a raid at a gay bar. The seemingly small case sends Waterman into a world of corruption involving a dangerous judge who preys on the city’s gay population.   Knock off the Hat Richard Stevenson (Richard Lipez – Ethiopia 1962-64) Amble Press, 2022 222 pages 17.99 (paperback), $8.69 (Kindle)  

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Former Peace Corps Director Dick Celeste Writes Memoir

  Dick Celeste has released a book In the Heart of It All, An Unvarnished Account of My Life in Public Service published by Kent State University Press By Sabrina Eaton, cleveland.com    LAKEWOOD, Ohio – Democratic former Ohio Gov. Dick Celeste feels like he’s one of the last people in his family to write a book. His wife, Jacqueline, is already a published author. When Celeste was U.S. ambassador to India, she collaborated with their toddler son, Sam, on a children’s book about a mouse living in the U.S. Embassy. At age 85, the Lakewood native has released his first book, a memoir titled “In the Heart of It All: An Unvarnished Account of My Life in Public Service,” published by Kent State University Press. It follows his life from his childhood through his university days at Yale and Oxford, covering his Ohio political career, diplomatic service, and presidency of Colorado . . .

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The Fabulous Peace Corps Book Locker

The Fabulous Peace Corps Book Locker, Part I For a short period of time in the very first years of the Peace Corps all Volunteers were given book lockers by the agency. The lockers were to be left behind in schools, villages, and towns where PCVs served as seeds for future libraries. There is some mystery of who first thought to give PCVs these lockers and one rumor has it that the idea came from Sarge Shriver’s wife, Eunice. The first locker was put together by a young foreign service officer who left the agency in the very early days of the agency to teach at Claremont College in California. In a letter that Shriver wrote to the early PCVs about the locker, he said, “We know you need books. This Booklocker of paperbacks and inexpensive publications is designed to meet that need. It includes classics and contemporary writing by . . .

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Museum of the Peace Corps Experience Hires Director

Museum of the Peace Corps Experience Hires Director WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience has selected Dr. Zack Klim as its director. He joins the Museum from his current role as Executive Director of Global Affairs and Experiential Learning at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University (NYU). His new appointment will begin on January 2, 2023. Klim has been in leadership at NYU’s Global Programs division since 2008. Throughout his tenure at NYU, he interfaced with colleagues around the world to develop learning and research opportunities, fundraise, and foster understanding across cultural and socioeconomic divides. In his role as Executive Director, he successfully procured funding to ensure international learning opportunities would be accessible to all. His collaboration with faculty in the Visual Arts Administration program were vital to the launch of an international leadership Program in Visual Arts Management . . .

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WHEN CHRIST STOPPED AT EBOLI by Carlo Levi

The Story of a Year by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64)   The other weekend when visiting a small used bookstore appropriately named the “BookBarn” in rural Columbia County, New York, I spotted on a shelf of the cluttered shop a copy of Carlo Levi’s Christ Stopped at Eboli. It is a book I haven’t seen in some sixty plus years. In fact, I hadn’t seen a copy since I was a PCV in Ethiopia. This book was one of appropriately 75 paperback books Sarge Shriver and the first administration of the Peace Corps put together in the ‘booklocker’ for Volunteers to read and leave behind in their villages as seeds for new libraries. The copy I found was first published in  the early Sixties. A trade paperback edition with a new preface, while the book was the same and what a body of prose it is.   First some background . . .

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25 Memoir Publishers That Accept Direct Book Submissions

by Emily Harstone 25 Memoir Publishers That Accept Direct Submissions Memoir publishers that don’t require an agent to submit are few and far between. However, there are still options out there.  Some are old and respected, others are new and still figuring things out. Not all the publishers on this list are currently open to submissions, but most are. Persea Books Persea Books is an independent book publisher based out of New York that was established in the 1970s. Since then they have gained a reputation for publishing thoughtful books in a variety of literary genres, including memoir. Chicago Review Press Chicago Review Press was founded in 1973. They are an established independent publisher of literary fiction and nonfiction. They were founded by Curt Matthews and his wife, Linda Matthews. Curt was the former editor of the literary journal the Chicago Review. Currently, one of their editors, Kara Rota, is open . . .

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Friends of Liberia: Celebrating 60 Years of Peace Corps Service

  Friends of Liberia celebrates the 60th anniversary of Peace Corps service in Liberia. In honor of this banner year, Friends of Liberia has curated activities spanning storytelling in the anthology, Never the Same Again: Life, Service, and Friendship in Liberia edited by Susan Greisen with Susan Corbett and Karen E. Lange, return to in-country service; embassy events; a member engagement series at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C.; a year-long auction of Liberian artifacts with all proceeds going to programmatic support in Liberia; and more. For more information about these incredible stories and anniversary activities that capture the spirit of service for so many who have answered the call to Liberia in the last six decades and beyond, visit Friends of Liberia’s website.  

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Strengthening National Security through Global Water Security

Strengthening National Security through Global Water Security By Kelly Parsons (Guatemala 1993-96)  How would your day go without drinking water? How safe would you feel if you knew every day meant having to find water and coping with no toilet? A country’s ability to effectively provide and manage water and sanitation services profoundly shapes its communities, socio-economic and political stability and national security. However, as shared water resources between countries and communities become scarce, competition for water increases, raising tensions and the likelihood of conflict while contributing to poverty, infectious disease outbreaks and malnutrition. And there is growing evidence suggesting that climate change is playing an ever-increasing role in the global resurgence and spread of cholera and other waterborne diseases. In June, the White House announced the Action Plan on Global Water Security. For the first time, this plan directly links access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) around the world to . . .

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