Archive - 2024

1
Alana DeJoseph’s (Mali) film A TOWERING TASK wins regional Emmy Award
2
23 youths empowered by “Sports Peace Corps Volunteers” (Belize)
3
FLASHPOINTS OF AWARENESS by Tarra Judson Stariell (Colombia)
4
Review | Peace Corps beginnings in AN UNFINISHED LOVE STORY by Doris Kearns Goodwin
5
Review | SHIPS IN THE DESERT by Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan)
6
RPCV Peter Navarro the MAGA Martyr Who Went to Prison for You (Thailand)
7
Foreign Agents by Casey Michel (Kazakhstan)
8
Looking East: Short Histories and More 2004 – 2023
9
The Volunteer Who Was Elected to Five Consecutive Terms in the U. S. Senate | Christopher Dodd (Dominican Republic)
10
Review — WALKING WITH EVARISTO by Christian Nill (Guatemala)
11
Bye Bye Peace Corps?
12
Old DC Peace Corps Office now “Elle”
13
THE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BOOK OF QUOTES by Travis Hellstrom (Mongolia)
14
New solo exhibit celebrates the art of cartography — Michael Reagan (Ivory Coast)
15
New PCVs to the Philippines

Alana DeJoseph’s (Mali) film A TOWERING TASK wins regional Emmy Award

  Alana DeJoseph is a documentary filmmaker who directed A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps in 2019. The documentary premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and is available to stream on PBS. DeJoseph served in Mali from 1992–1994 and has also worked on other documentaries, including The Greatest Good: A Forest Service Centennial Film and Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land. A Towering Task explores the history of the Peace Corps. The documentary features interviews with Harry Belafonte, Annette Bening, Jimmy Carter, and Chris Dodd, among others. Last night, July 20, 2024, her film  A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps won the regional Emmy for  best historical documentary! The Heartland Emmy Awards Winners An incredible team of filmmakers (special shout-out to screenwriter Shana Kelly and editor Brian De Herrera-Schnering), 100s of volunteers, the most amazing Peace Corps community of PCVs, host . . .

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23 youths empowered by “Sports Peace Corps Volunteers” (Belize)

PCVs in the news —    July 19, 2024   A team of twenty-three Peace Corps/Belize volunteers were sworn in today to serve as youth development volunteers with the National Sports Council. The group recently completed several weeks of rigorous training in Belize to better understand the country’s needs, and how best they can contribute. Today, that group officially began their twenty-four months of service to Belize under a program called Youths Empowered by Sports, or the YES Project. A swearing-in ceremony was held in Belmopan where we heard from Marvin Ottley, the Deputy Director of the National Sports Council and Nadine Rogers, the Country Director for Peace Corps/Belize.     Marvin Ottley, Deputy Director, of the Belize National Sports Council “We know they hit the ground running right away. But they have been training for a period of time to familiarize themselves with what Belize has to offer, and . . .

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FLASHPOINTS OF AWARENESS by Tarra Judson Stariell (Colombia)

  Flashpoints of Awareness: Lessons Learned from a Life  by Tarra Judson Stariell (Colombia 1973-74) Ranch House Press November 2023 69 pages $10.99 (Paperback), $4.99 (Kindle) . . . Escondido, CA – Trauma is an aspect of life few of us escape. From psychology to pharmaceuticals to spirituality, many therapies are available for healing and yet, healing from intense trauma remains elusive. Author Tarra Judson Stariell (Colombia 1973-74) knows all too well the challenges and benefits healing from trauma can bring. After joining the Peace Corps she returned to her native California to share a paranormal message she had received, asking her to “return home and share with your family and others that life as you know it on Planet Earth will end if humans do not change the way they are living.” After having desperately sought a way to impart this message from various disciplines, philosophies, religions, and modalities, she ended . . .

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Review | Peace Corps beginnings in AN UNFINISHED LOVE STORY by Doris Kearns Goodwin

John writes —   I have been reading author Doris Kearns Goodwin’s An Unfinished Love Story and I strongly recommend this “personal history of the 1960s” by her. First Doris Kearns Goodwin is a wonderful writer, and has stories to tell about the first days of the Kennedy administration, and the start of the Peace Corps — JFK’s famous introduction of the agency at 2 a.m. in the morning, for example, on the campus of the University of Michigan. Kennedy spoke for 3 minutes, Doris Kearns writes, “Yet something extraordinary transpired: The students took up the challenge he posed. They organized, they held meetings, they sent letters and telegrams to the campaign asking Kennedy to develop plans for a volunteer Peace Corps (it was not then called ‘Peace Corps’). They signed petitions pledging to give not two but three years of their lives to help people in developing countries.” During that . . .

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Review | SHIPS IN THE DESERT by Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan)

  Ships In The Desert by Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan 2002–04) Santa Fe Writer’s Project 136 pages August, 2022 $14.95 (paperback), $8.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Eugénie de Rosier (Philippines 2006-08) • • • Out of the massive spread of Central Asia — from the Caspian Sea moving east to northwest China — is the region’s “stan” countries: Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and the Uyghur (WEE-gur) autonomous region of Xinjiang, China. Historically, the area was known as “Land of the Turks” or Turkestan. It’s unrelated to Turkey. Jeff Fearnside’s slim volume of essays assesses his four years as guest educator and fellowship program manager for post-graduate study abroad. Most of his living happened on the Great Silk Road mainly in Kazakhstan. He addresses a stirring call to action about our responsibility to save our precious water resource globally after the Aral Sea disaster. He outpours his view of Kazakh people, their culture, . . .

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RPCV Peter Navarro the MAGA Martyr Who Went to Prison for You (Thailand)

Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times Peter Navarro (Thailand 1965-68) walked out of federal prison Wednesday morning and walked into the Republican convention Wednesday evening to deliver a law-defying, teeth-baring, knife-wielding speech that was one of the more bizarre convention moments I’ve ever seen. Navarro, who was the trade representative in the Trump administration, spent the last four months in the Federal Correction Institute in Miami, having been convicted by a Washington jury in September of contempt of Congress for failing to respond to a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee. To the audience here in Milwaukee, there is no badge of honor more awesome than a conviction for the sacred MAGA cause, and a prison term elevates that conviction to martyrdom, which is why the party instantly capitalized on his timely release. To the cheering crowd, Navarro milked every moment of suffering in the low-security tropical prison (where you can buy butter-pecan ice cream, . . .

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Foreign Agents by Casey Michel (Kazakhstan)

Foreign Agents: How American Lobbyists and Lawmakers Threaten Democracy Around the World by Casey Michel (Kazakstan 2011) St. Martins Press August 2024 $14.99 (Kindle); $17.71 (Audiobook); $27.90 (Hardcover)       For years, one group of Americans has worked as foot-soldiers for the most authoritarian regimes around the planet. In the process, they’ve not only entrenched dictatorships and spread kleptocratic networks, but they’ve secretly guided U.S. policy without the rest of America even being aware. And now, some of them have begun turning their sights on American democracy itself. These Americans are known as foreign lobbyists, and many of them spent years ushering dictatorships directly into the halls of Washington, all while laundering the reputations of the most heinous, repressive regimes in the process. These foreign lobbyists include figures like Ivy Lee, the inventor of the public relations industry—a man who whitewashed Mussolini, opened doors to the Soviets, and advised the . . .

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Looking East: Short Histories and More 2004 – 2023

Looking East: Short Histories and More 2004-2023 by Walter McClennen (Brazil 1967-69) Damianos Publishing June 2024 122 pages $19.95 (Paperback) Walter McClennen uses a “Short History” model to set forth a collection of his ideas reflecting on the deep past, and our more recent history, as well as the history we are making as we live our lives today. Looking East – Short Histories and More, 2004-2023, is a compact and thought-provoking read. From a ten page “Short History of the World,” to Peace Corps and Vietnam War impacts as felt five decades later, to the dual genius of the famous author, Harper Lee, and to some little-known history of his hometown, Holliston, Massachusetts, McClennen shares candid opinions and raises interesting questions that will challenge the reader. After graduating from Harvard in 1967 and serving in the Peace Corps in Brazil, Walter McClennen raised a family of four boys with his . . .

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The Volunteer Who Was Elected to Five Consecutive Terms in the U. S. Senate | Christopher Dodd (Dominican Republic)

Profile in Citizenship   by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65)   Christopher Dodd served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominion Republic 1968-71, after graduating from Providence College. Thereafter, he was elected to the first of three terms as a U. S. Representative in 1974. Following his father’s career path, Chris ran and was elected to the U. S. Senate in 1980. He was reelected in 1986, 1992, 1998, and 2004—the first Connecticut senator to be elected to five consecutive terms. Chris’s time in Congress was marked by an interest in child welfare, fiscal reform, and education. He served on the Senate’s committees on banking, housing, and urban affairs (Chair from 2007), foreign relations, health, education, labor and pensions and rules and administration (Chair 2001-2003 In 1995-97, he served as General Chair of the Democratic National Committee. In January 2007, Chris announced that he planned to pursue the 2008 Democratic . . .

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Review — WALKING WITH EVARISTO by Christian Nill (Guatemala)

  Walking with Evaristo: A Memoir of Celebration and Tragedy in the Land of the AchÍ Maya Christian Nill (Guatemala 1978–82) Peace Corps Writers May 2024 383 pages $17.99 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mark Walker (Guatemala) • • • Fellow Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Christian Nill has written an engaging story about the impact and consequences of his experience as a volunteer in the highlands of Guatemala. He’s also made a timely contribution to our understanding of the devastating ten-year period of violence there. Although I was a volunteer five years before Nill, the similarities were amazing. I worked on a study for CARE identifying some of the management and conservation practices used for the Food-for-Work program implemented in conjunction with the group Nill worked with, INAFOR (National Forestry Institute). My second site was also in Baja Verapaz, where I found my bride. I raised money for the program in the . . .

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Bye Bye Peace Corps?

What’s Happening to the Peace Corps? As of July 8, 2024 there were roughly 2,840 Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) in service overseas. This figure includes Peace Corps Trainees (PCTs) and Peace Corps Response Volunteers (PCRVs). Those Volunteers are currently in 58 countries. What I’ve been hearing is that the agency is laying off host country staff as the Peace Corps cuts back on overseas employees. The agency doesn’t need staff. Fewer and fewer Volunteers are joining our Peace Corps. According to Lawrence Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77) informative book: Peace Corps Chronology 1961-2010 the last time we were as ‘close’ to these recent PCVs numbers was in June 1962 when there were even more PCVs– 2,940 in 27 countries. In the mid-sixties we had these numbers: 1966–15,556 1967–14,968 1968–13,823 By the year 2000 the number of PCVs grew to 7,164. The most PCVs for 10 countries back in the Sixties looked like this: . . .

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Old DC Peace Corps Office now “Elle”

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) joined developer Gary Cohen to cut the ribbon at the Elle, which was formerly home to the U.S. Peace Corps. By Meagan Flynn July 11, 2024  The building had three lives, and Gary Cohen’s family had engineered all of them. His grandfather developed it into The Vanguard in 1965 — one of the first high-rise office buildings in the downtown neighborhood now known as the Golden Triangle. It housed the U.S. Department of Labor and then, until recently, the U.S. Peace Corps. On Thursday, Cohen ushered in its third life: a new 163-unit apartment building called the Elle — the first office-to-housing conversion project to be completed in the District. He joined Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) to cut the ribbon on the apartment building, which also comes with 8,000 square feet of retail space. A Canadian-based restaurant called Moxies is slated to move in, he . . .

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THE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BOOK OF QUOTES by Travis Hellstrom (Mongolia)

a new book — The Benjamin Franklin Book of Quotes: A collection of the best quotes, speeches, and advice from one of the most influential founders of the United States of America. Edited by Travis Hellstrom (Mongolia 2008-11) 160 pages July 2024 $8.99 (Kindle); $15.00 (Hardback) • • • Benjamin Franklin is a towering figure not just in American history, but history in general. A true Renaissance man adept in politics, science, writing and more, his words have been a source of wisdom and inspiration for a long time. The Benjamin Franklin Book of Quotes compiles his best quotes, speeches, and advice in one place and reaches out to an America, and a world, which needs them more than ever. • • •  Travis Hellstrom is a writer and consultant helping social entrepreneurs and nonprofitleaders dream big and expand their influence. Travis was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mongolia from 2008–2011 working in the eastern . . .

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New solo exhibit celebrates the art of cartography — Michael Reagan (Ivory Coast)

by Lucas Britt Posted on July 10, 2024 by Xpress Contributor     Local artist Michael Francis Reagan (Ivory Coast 1977-78)  is a member of a small and dwindling group of cartographers. Just don’t call him that. “I think of myself as a map artist,” he says. “My goal is to create a work of art, first and foremost, and then second is to render an accurate delineation of geography.” Time and place On Saturday, July 13, 2-5 p.m., Grovewood Village, North Carolina will host the opening of Reagan’s latest exhibit, The Last Mapmaker. The show, which features works from across the internationally recognized artist’s career, will run through Sunday, Sept. 15. “The maps in this Grovewood exhibit are maps that I’ve held back in my own private collection. I felt it was time to offer them to the public and to collectors,” says Reagan, whose creations have appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Harper’s . . .

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New PCVs to the Philippines

The US Peace Corps has deployed 48 new volunteers who will collaborate with Filipino community members on local projects aimed at fostering relationships and exchanging knowledge and skills. Donald James Gawe, Executive Director of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency, extended a warm welcome to the 281st batch of US Peace Corps volunteers and expressed his optimism that they will “continue to serve as builders of hope and catalysts of change.” “U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers come from all over the United States and represent the diversity of the American people. They come with a variety of skills and experience to contribute during their service in the Philippines,” U.S. Ambassador MaryKay Carlson said.  

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