Archive - 2023

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RPCV Awarded Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship
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Joe Acaba–First RPCV in Space (Dominican Republic)
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John Clark (Ecuador) joins Sarasota’s Selby Gardens
4
PCVs to Solomon Islands to counter China
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Peace Corps Evacuates Its Volunteers From Peru
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The Peace Corps pulls out of Peru
7
The Peace Corps staff member who became the first Peace Corps photographer | Rowland Scherman
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LOVING HIM PEACEFULLY – 1, 2 & 3 | A Spicy Romance (Not Written by an RPCV)
9
U of Illinois Graduate Ajai Rajeev begins life after college with Peace Corps service
10
Former Peace Corps Director Slams Trump for Racist Remarks on Asian Americans
11
Retired architectural photographer RPCV Tom Crane (Nigeria) dies
12
Essays In Honor of Professor Stephen T. Zamora by James W. Skelton, Jr. (Ethiopia)
13
Netflix founder RPCV Reed Hastings (Swaziland) is giving up his CEO role
14
Bob Poole — Recovery of Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park
15
The enduring legacy of Sargent Shriver

RPCV Awarded Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship

RPCV Brittney Nadler awarded Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Illinois Univealumna Brittney Nadler (Sierra Leone 2019-20) was recently awarded a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. Funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Howard University, the Pickering Fellowship supports individuals who seek careers in the State Department’s Foreign Service. Nadler was among 45 awardees selected from nearly 900 applicants. The fellowship will fund a two-year master’s degree in an area of relevance to the Foreign Service. It also will provide extensive professional development opportunities including internships, mentoring and skills training. Nadler will complete a summer internship at the State Department in 2024 and an overseas internship at a U.S. embassy or consulate in summer 2025. Upon successful completion of the program, Nadler will become a U.S. diplomat. Born in Park Ridge, Illinois, and raised in South Elgin, Nadler served as a Fulbright English Teacher in Thailand from 2017-18, . . .

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Joe Acaba–First RPCV in Space (Dominican Republic)

NASA Veteran (and RPCV) Joe Acaba to Serve as Agency’s Chief Astronaut at Johnson Space Center By NASA information center  //  February 3, 2023 A decorated veteran of multiple spaceflights, as well as a former U.S. Marine and former educator, Acaba is the first person of Hispanic heritage selected to lead the office. Acaba takes the place of NASA astronaut Drew Feustel, who spent two years as deputy chief and has been acting chief of the office since NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman left the post late last year. “Congratulations to Joe Acaba on being named the new chief of the astronaut office! Joe is an experienced space flyer and a proven leader, and he will undoubtedly inspire the next generation of NASA astronauts.” “As we build on the International Space Station’s unparalleled success in low-Earth orbit with our eyes on the Moon and then Mars, Joe will play an integral role in . . .

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John Clark (Ecuador) joins Sarasota’s Selby Gardens

John L. Clark PhD Joins Botany Staff at Selby Gardens TUESDAY JAN 31, 2023 |     Marie Selby Botanical Gardens [in Sarasota, Florida] recently welcomed Dr. John L. Clark to its staff as a full-time research botanist. Affiliated with Selby Gardens as a research associate since 2009, Clark has spent his professional career discovering and documenting plant diversity. His work concentrates on the plant family Gesneriaceae, or gesneriads, an important focus of Selby Gardens’ botanical research and a notable component of its living plant collection. An evolutionary biologist as well as a botanist, Clark studies plant systematics, evolution, and biodiversity, focusing on the identification, classification, phylogeny, and taxonomy of neotropical gesneriads. Gesneriads serve as scientific models for understanding broad patterns in the evolution, pollination, and diversification of plants. About a third of gesneriads are epiphytes (a type of plant that grows on another plant without harming it), and Clark’s . . .

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PCVs to Solomon Islands to counter China

  US opens embassy in Solomon Islands to counter China By NICK PERRY Seattle Times February 01, 2023        WELLINGTON, New Zealand — (AP) — The United States opened an embassy in the Solomon Islands on Thursday in its latest move to counter China’s push into the Pacific. The embassy in the capital, Honiara, is starting small, with a chargé d’affaires, a couple of State Department staff and a handful of local employees. The U.S. previously operated an embassy in the Solomon Islands for five years before closing it in 1993 as part of a global reduction in diplomatic posts after the end of the Cold War. But China’s bold moves in the region have the U.S. seeking to increase its engagement in a number of ways, such as by donating COVID-19 vaccines, bringing back Peace Corps volunteers to several island nations, and investing in forestry and tourism projects. “The opening . . .

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Peace Corps Evacuates Its Volunteers From Peru

As Political Crisis Worsens Natalia Ningthoujam / Feb 01 2023, Peru’s President Dina Boluarte called for a “national truce” as thousands of protesters continued to call for her to resign. Photo by: AFP/Ernesto Benavides   Peru has been facing a political crisis that has included deadly crackdowns by its government on its citizens. Now, the Peace Corps has evacuated its volunteers from the South American country. The relocation was confirmed by Troy Blackwell, who is a spokesperson for the Peace Corps, reported Politico. Without revealing the destination, he said that Peace Corps/Peru has “temporarily evacuated all volunteers to another Peace Corps post.” He shared that the safety, as well as well-being of Peace Corps volunteers, is their “top priority.” They are closely monitoring the “security situation with local partners on the ground and the U.S. Embassy in Lima.” A source said that the volunteers are headed to the Peace Corps post in Ecuador. This . . .

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The Peace Corps pulls out of Peru

January 30 2023  The Peace Corps has evacuated its Volunteers from Peru amid a political crisis that has included deadly crackdowns by the government on its citizens. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-ID) released the following statement regarding the ongoing political violence in Peru. The decision comes after weeks of popular unrest against a government that has taken over following a failed December coup attempt by a Peruvian president facing impeachment. The South American country has had a politically tumultuous few years, cycling through several presidents amid various corruption and other scandals. Peace Corps volunteers often work in areas far from national capitals and with less immediate protections than U.S. diplomats — meaning they are sometimes the first group of U.S. workers to be evacuated when unrest hits.

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The Peace Corps staff member who became the first Peace Corps photographer | Rowland Scherman

This Profile benefited greatly from a Peace Corps WorldWide publication. by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • Rowland Scherman writes: Like so many others, I was thrilled by JFKs inaugural speech. Although I wasn’t a professional photographer, I made a few dollars doing portraits out of a makeshift studio or ‘on location’ on the streets of New York City. I shared a crappy little darkroom with a friend. But JFKs words made me think that I could do something more, and could reach a higher potential if I volunteered my work, and myself to the betterment of my country, instead of simply chasing a buck. I thought my services just might somehow be useful to the new administration.” Rowland took a bus to Washington, D. C. to seek work with the Peace Corps, announcing his potential availability as an official photographer. He went to Peace Corps headquarters, then a jumble of . . .

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LOVING HIM PEACEFULLY – 1, 2 & 3 | A Spicy Romance (Not Written by an RPCV)

  Katherine is living her dream of working as a business executive for a large company. That is until her bosses ask her to sign her name to something legal, but very unethical. Katherine quits because her good name is worth more to her than a cushy salary. With savings to hold her over for a while, Katherine takes a leap of faith and joins the Peace Corps. On the way to her assignment, she meets a very handsome man traveling abroad as well. They have an instant connection and things quickly heat up. Katherine wants to stay focused on her task, but that is easier said than done. Follow Katherine as she embarks on the journey of her life. Will she find love, happiness, or misery, in the deepest parts of the jungle? Loving Him Peacefully 3 Books Box Set by Lisa Martin 102 pages July 2014 $3.99 (Kindle); . . .

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U of Illinois Graduate Ajai Rajeev begins life after college with Peace Corps service

The Grainger College of Engineering, University of Illinois Aerospace Engineering 1/24/2023 by Debra Levey Larson   Ajai Rajeev, BS ’22 Ajai Rajeev (Morocco 2022-24) received his B.S. in ’22 with a major in aerospace engineering and a minor in political science. After graduating, he decided to join the Peace Corps, and is currently serving in Morocco for two years. Learn more about his experiences in Morocco, what he enjoyed while at Illinois, and his plans for the future.     • AE: What influenced your decision to join the Peace Corps? AR: When I first entered UIUC, I fully intended to work in the space sector, and I still do, but in a different capacity than what I originally intended after using my time in undergraduate studies to fully understand my best skills and my interests. I want to go into law for the space sector. I felt that going to the Peace . . .

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Former Peace Corps Director Slams Trump for Racist Remarks on Asian Americans

Elaine Chao responds to Trump’s racist attacks on her Asian American heritage Azi Paybarah, The Washington Post Jan. 25, 2023 Elaine Chao (PC Director 1991-92) served as transportation secretary under President Donald Trump for four years before resigning a day after the 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.Washington. WASHINGTON – Former transportation secretary Elaine Chao issued a rare public comment about former president Donald Trump – whose Cabinet she served in – and criticized his string of racist attacks aimed at her and other Asian Americans. The most recent missive from the former president attempted to link Chao and her husband, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), to the classified documents found in President Biden’s office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington. “Does Coco Chow have anything to do with Joe Biden’s Classified Documents being sent and stored in Chinatown?” Trump posted on Truth Social on Monday. “Her husband, the . . .

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Retired architectural photographer RPCV Tom Crane (Nigeria) dies

Tom Crane, retired architectural photographer, Peace Corps volunteer, and ‘obsessive handyman,’ has died at 82   He collaborated with writer Roger W. Moss to publish three books about historic Philadelphia architecture, and reviewers called his photographs “excellent,” “fabulous,” and “beyond superlative.”   by Gary Miles Philadelphia Inquirer  Jan 23, 2023 • Ralph Thompson Crane III, 82, of Bryn Mawr, retired prolific architectural and interior photographer, Peace Corps volunteer, and self-described “obsessive handyman,” died Jan. 9, of multiple system atrophy at St. Francis Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Darby. Known professionally and by his family and friends as Tom, Mr. Crane’s photographs were published in many publications, including The Inquirer, for decades. His work is also found in books, online, and elsewhere, and he teamed with writer Roger W. Moss to publish Historic Houses of Philadelphia in 1998, Historic Sacred Places of Philadelphia in 2004, and Historic Landmarks of Philadelphia in . . .

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Essays In Honor of Professor Stephen T. Zamora by James W. Skelton, Jr. (Ethiopia)

Essays in Honor of Professor Stephen T. Zamora A Life Between Mexico and the United States Alfonso Lopez de la Osa Escribano and James W. Skelton, Jr.(Ethiopia 1970-72) Arte Publico Press (University of Houston) 616 pages December 2022 $ 8.49 (Kindle); $27.95 (Paperback)     Soon after James Skelton sent the final draft of the anthology Eradicating Smallpox in Ethiopia to the publisher, he began a new writing project. That’s when he joined Professor Alfonso Lopez de la Osa Escribano as a coauthor and the lead editor of this collection of scholarly essays that became a Festschrift (book designed to commemorate an excellent scholar who has retired or passed away). The book is written in honor and memory of Professor Stephen T. Zamora (1944-2016), who taught many courses at the University of Houston Law Center, served as the Dean for six years, and created and served as the Director of the . . .

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Netflix founder RPCV Reed Hastings (Swaziland) is giving up his CEO role

Netflix founder Reed Hastings (Swaziland 1983-85) is giving up his CEO role but will stay on as chairman, the company announced alongside its earnings report Thursday. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos will remain in his position. Greg Peters, most recently chief operating officer, will assume the post of co-CEO in Hastings’ place. Peters will also join the company’s board. “I want to thank Reed for his visionary leadership, mentorship and friendship over the last 20 years. We’ve all learned so much from his intellectual rigor, honesty and willingness to take big bets — and we look forward to working with him for many more years to come,” said Sarandos in a written statement. Hastings co-founded Netflix in 1997. Sarandos was promoted to co-CEO alongside Hastings in July 2020, the same time that Peters was appointed to his COO role. The company did not specify whether it would backfill the role of COO. Hastings tweeted . . .

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Bob Poole — Recovery of Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park

January 26 at McClaren Hall, Flathead Valley Community College, Paul D. Wachholz College Center will bring Emmy-winning filmmaker Bob Poole to Kalispell, MT • BY MIKE KORDENBROCK January 21,2023 An elephant calf. Photo by Gina Poole   An upcoming “National Geographic Live” event at Flathead Valley Community College’s new Wachholz College Center will bring to Kalispell an award-winning filmmaker, with Montana ties, to discuss the story of a national park in Mozambique that has continued to rebound after a prolonged civil war that left the local wildlife population decimated. It’s been a long time since Bob Poole has been to the Flathead Valley’s stretch of northwest Montana, but for the cinematographer and National Geographic speaker, any visit to the state is a reminder of the early years of his career. Poole had an unusual upbringing for an American citizen, in that he grew up abroad. His youth was spent in . . .

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The enduring legacy of Sargent Shriver

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Chris Hedrick (Senegal 1988-90)   by Steve Schmidt at The Warning January 19, 2023     Martin Luther King lived a dangerous life. He was hunted and threatened because he believed in freedom, and like all true freedom fighters, he was a revolutionary. Like all revolutionaries, he was impatient for the completion of his work. He was the rarest type of revolutionary. King didn’t seek power, wealth, revenge, riches or land. He sought justice, and his weapon was love. Like all men, he was a sinner. Yet, within him was a singularity of wisdom that would topple mountains and carve valleys of hope like glaciers receding from their furthest reaches. Politicians like Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy are cautious and incrementalist by nature. They understand that no victories can be won without first attaining power through an election. Both men feared weakening the country and . . .

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