Archive - July 2024

1
Looking East: Short Histories and More 2004 – 2023
2
The Volunteer Who Was Elected to Five Consecutive Terms in the U. S. Senate | Christopher Dodd (Dominican Republic)
3
Review — WALKING WITH EVARISTO by Christian Nill (Guatemala)
4
Bye Bye Peace Corps?
5
Old DC Peace Corps Office now “Elle”
6
THE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BOOK OF QUOTES by Travis Hellstrom (Mongolia)
7
New solo exhibit celebrates the art of cartography — Michael Reagan (Ivory Coast)
8
New PCVs to the Philippines
9
Lori Hartmann (Niger) | Scholar
10
Tourism Redux by Joyce McClure (Yap)
11
Dan Campbell (El Salvador) shares some essays
12
Microsoft hack affected Veterans Affairs and State Departments, government says
13
8 SONGS from EDWARD MYCUE (Ghana)
14
Celeb Williams taking his skills to the Peace Corps (Cambodia)
15
Paul Theroux on necessary solitude, risks and the joy of writing (Malawi)

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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Lori Hartmann (Niger) | Scholar

  LORI HARTMANN (Niger 1988-90) Professor of International Studies International StudiesPoliticsAfrican & African American Studies PhD, The University of Denver   Lori Hartmann joined the Centre College in Danville, Kentucky faculty in 1999. She was named director of the Center for Global Citizenship (CGC) in 2020, returning to the classroom and her program as a full-time faculty member in 2022. She was awarded the “Rookie of the Year” teaching award in 2000, and a Kirk Teaching Award in 2003. Since 2009 she has held the Frank B. and Virginia B. Hower endowed chair in international studies. During the CentreTerms of 2004, 2009, 2011, and 2015 she took groups of students to Cameroon to study politics and civil society in that Central African country. From 2006-07 and 2012, she was the director of Centre College’s program in Strasbourg, France. Hartmann’s scholarly interests have focused on African politics, women, and development in . . .

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Tourism Redux by Joyce McClure (Yap)

Inside the Reef Doing the same thing, expecting a different result By Joyce McClure   A few years before Covid slammed the door shut on tourism, I was working with the Yap Visitors Bureau and researched ways that Yap might promote the island to more than divers. The marketing director began to explore opportunities to attract special-interest groups interested in World War II. The result was a visit by a tour company that focuses on war buffs. It’s not a huge market, but big enough to warrant getting Yap on their schedule for visits by travelers who have never heard of the island where the Japanese surrendered and the wreckage of planes that were downed in dogfights during the last year of the war are memorials. Reading the stories about Guam and CNMI and their struggles to recapture the tourism market, I am struck by the effort being put toward . . .

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Dan Campbell (El Salvador) shares some essays

Essays —   Dear friends I hope your week is going well and i wanted to share some of my latest essays with you at the link below and i welcome your comments and suggestions for improvement. Take care and keep in touch! https://essaysbydan.wordpress.com/ Dan • • •  •   June 26, 2024 An essay on selling Bibles door to door As a student at N.C. State University many years ago, I embarked on a summer adventure that whisked me away to the picturesque and historic town of New Bern, North Carolina. My mission was to sell Bibles door-to-door. Little did I know, this venture would lead me down a path of unexpected lessons and memorable… Read more June 23, 2024 An essay on random acts of kindness Random Acts of Kindness: Nurturing Compassion and Connectivity Random acts of kindness are spontaneous, unplanned actions aimed at bringing joy or assistance to others without expecting . . .

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Microsoft hack affected Veterans Affairs and State Departments, government says

  The US Department of Veterans Affairs and an arm of the US State Department are among a growing list of Microsoft Corp. customers that have acknowledged they were impacted by a breach of the technology giant that was blamed on Russian state-sponsored hackers. The US Agency for Global Media, part of the State Department that provides news and information in countries where the press is restricted, was notified “a couple months ago” by Microsoft that some of its data may have been stolen, a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. No security or personally identifiable sensitive data was compromised, the spokesperson said. The agency is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security on the incident, the spokesperson said, declining to answer additional questions. A State Department spokesperson said, “We are aware that Microsoft is reaching out to agencies, both affected and unaffected, in the spirit of transparency.” Microsoft disclosed in January that a . . .

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8 SONGS from EDWARD MYCUE (Ghana)

Songs — — from experiences knowing the languages of flowers and waves under which great ships sailed, floundered, and sank at San Francisco shores and the Golden Gates at the rocks there where the seals would bark in the nights — Van Rijn, Obidiah, Doug, Margaret Back Time Comes Forward Sea Songs Slumber In A Morning At Sea Acceptance Speech Back Even Before The Time Of Set To The San Francisco Mint On A Lonely Road Peace Corps History Drifts Word Thumb • • • l. VAN RIJN, OBIDIAH, DOUG, MARGARET Cats may have no intentions. Except for her eyes, Obidiah is white as the commode bowl. Van Rijn, smaller than Doug’s boot, is black.  That boot has great intentions. When Margaret sees Van Rijn she’ll say she ‘loves’ him. Large word: ‘love’. Margaret’s no mapmaker. She wanders that country. Doug ‘digs’ the oceans. Margaret will come back, pass out of range, . . .

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Celeb Williams taking his skills to the Peace Corps (Cambodia)

  Caleb Williams has spent the last two years teaching ninth graders in Richardson, Texas Independent School District. But this August, he will be traveling to Cambodia to teach English as part of The Peace Corps. Williams is originally from Oklahoma, but said he was drawn to Texas schools by better pay and more diverse schools. In his time at Richardson ISD, he’s taught students from all over the world, including Nigeria, Iraq and Burma. He’s also had experience teaching across different achievement levels, having taught on-level, special education inclusion and AP English classes. “It has been great getting to teach the full range of freshman students,” Williams said. “Different kinds of students use different parts of your energy, so it doesn’t feel like doing the same thing over and over again each period.” Of course, finishing out this past school year was bittersweet for Williams after committing to the . . .

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Paul Theroux on necessary solitude, risks and the joy of writing (Malawi)

After 60 years and almost as many books, the novelist and travel writer, 83, will stop when he falls out of his chair. Interview by Guy Trebay July 3, 2024 The Unstoppables is a series about people whose ambition is undimmed by time. Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) explains, in his own words, what continues to motivate him. After 60 years of writing and publishing — and almost 60 books — I feel ordering my thoughts on paper to be not a job but a process of my life. You always hear writers complain about the hellish difficulty of writing, but it’s a dishonest complaint. So many people have it much harder — soldiers, firefighters, field workers, truckers. The writer’s profession is a life of self-indulgence. With luck and effort, you make a living. The only difficulty is its necessity for solitude. Writing is not compatible with anything — its utter . . .

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