Archive - 2024

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P. F. Kluge Writer of the Year (Micronesia)
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ABOUT DAKAR 2000 — a play by Rajiv Joseph (Senegal)
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Shay Youngblood (Dominica) — influential author and playwright, dies at 64
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Ambassador William Roebuck (Cote d’Ivoire)
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2024 Peace Corps Writers Special Book Award Winner!
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Panel Discussion of John Fleming’s new book Mission to Malawi
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New books by Peace Corps writers | May — June 2024
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Hog Farmer Paul Willis (Nigeria)
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A JEW IN GAZA: HUMANITARIAN HEARTBREAK, HUBRIS AND HORRORS by Alonzo Wind (Ecuador)
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Larry Kaplow (Guatemala) at NPR
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Local teacher is taking his skills to the Peace Corps — Caleb Williams (Cambodia)
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RPCV Kinky Friedman, singer and novelist who fronted The Texas Jewboys, dies at 79 (BORNEO)
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Inaugural Recipient: Harris Wofford Joint Service Award
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MISSION TO MALAWI by John E. Fleming (Malawi)
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RPCV Courtney Bower joins the Ukraine Case Studies

P. F. Kluge Writer of the Year (Micronesia)

2024 Peace Corps Writer of the Year    P.F. Kluge (Micronesia 1967-69) Writer-in-Residence at Kenyon College, is the author of fourteen books and scores of magazines, newspaper and academic journal articles. The films Dog Day Afternoon and Eddie and the Cruisers are based on his writing. In 1975, Kluge returned to Micronesia as a director of the Constitutional Convention that created the Federated States of Micronesia. He is the author of the Preamble to the Constitution. For his book, The Edge of Paradise: America in Micronesia, initially published by Random House and currently in paperback from the University of Hawaii Press, Kluge was awarded the Paul Cowan Prize for the best nonfiction book by a returned Peace Corps Volunteer.   P. F. Kluge’s Books The Day That I Die (1976) “A thriller set in the Pacific islands I saw as a Peace Corps Volunteers.  The novel was suggested by a . . .

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ABOUT DAKAR 2000 — a play by Rajiv Joseph (Senegal)

  About DAKAR 2000 In Senegal on the eve of Y2K, an idealistic Peace Corps Volunteer survives a mysterious car accident. An imposing State Department operative arrives at his hospital where she immediately takes command of the situation and his safety. Though they couldn’t be more different, they form an unlikely relationship. But when it becomes clear that they both have secrets, the volunteer is roped into a darker side of public service–one he can’t come back from. Unpredictable at every turn, this world-premiere thriller was commissioned by Manhattan Theatre Club. About Rajiv Joseph (Senegal 1996-98) Rajiv Joseph’s play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama. He has twice won the Obie Award for Best New American Play, first in 2016 with Guards at the Taj (also a 2016 Lortel Winner for Best Play),  and then in 2018 with Describe the Night.  Other . . .

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Shay Youngblood (Dominica) — influential author and playwright, dies at 64

DNYUZ July 3, 2024   Shay Youngblood (Dominica 1981-83), a novelist and playwright whose works about her upbringing by a churchgoing cohort of “Big Mamas” and her adventures in Paris as a young aspiring writer inspired a generation of young Black women, died on June 11 at the home of a friend, Kelley Alexander, in Peachtree City, Ga. She was 64. Ms. Alexander said the cause was ovarian cancer. Ms. Youngblood, whose mother died when she was 2 years old and whose father was not in her life, grew up in a housing project in Columbus, Ga., where she raised by her maternal grandmother and great-grandmother, along with a close circle of eccentric and adoring maternal stand-ins. The Big Mamas — stoic, arthritic and wise — had much to impart to the young Shay: their dim view of most men; their love of music, dancing and church; their often bawdy . . .

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Ambassador William Roebuck (Cote d’Ivoire)

RPCVs in the news —   Ambassador William “Bill” Roebuck (Cote d’Ivoire 1978-81) is the executive vice president of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. He most recently served as the deputy special envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and a senior advisor to the Special Representative for Syria Engagement Ambassador James Jeffrey. Prior to his appointment, Roebuck served as a senior advisor to Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk from January to December 2018. Roebuck served as ambassador to Bahrain from 2015-17. He was appointed deputy assistant secretary for Maghreb Affairs in January 2013 and assumed additional responsibility for Egypt Affairs in January 2014. He served as Chargé d’Affaires in Tripoli, Libya from January to June 2013, earning the Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Leadership in Expeditionary Diplomacy. From September 2010 to December 2012, he served as director for the Office of Maghreb Affairs in the . . .

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2024 Peace Corps Writers Special Book Award Winner!

    HUSTLE The Making of a Freelance Writer by Lawrence Grobel (Ghana) In my career as a freelance writer, I’ve had moments of doubt. I’ve suffered rejections and cancellations. But there were crossroads along the way that allowed me to continue pursuing my dream of working for myself, doing what I wanted to do, and figuring out how to survive. Freelancing is a lifestyle. In preparing this book, I marvel at how I somehow managed to avoid all the pitfalls and not drown in pessimism. When Alfred Hitchcock, Leonard Bernstein, and Fred Astaire all backed down from interviews they had agreed to, I had to learn how to bite the bullet and move on, how to move forward, and not backward, and that’s what this book is about. It begins with my first byline for an essay I wrote when I was just 15. It continues with articles I . . .

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Panel Discussion of John Fleming’s new book Mission to Malawi

The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience Virtual event, July 31 at 7:00pm EDT   Join us for the launch and panel discussion of John Fleming’s new book Mission to Malawi: Memoir of an African American Peace Corps Volunteer 1967-1969 (McFarland 2024), featuring Reginald Hodges (RPCV Sierra Leone 68-71), J. Henry (Hank) Ambrose (RPCV Kenya 71-73), and John Fleming (RPCV Malawi 67-69).  The event will be hosted by MPCE Board Member Nicole Banister and MPCE Director Zack Klim. Unlike the vast majority of Peace Corps volunteers in the 1960s, John Fleming was a young Black man who was assigned to an all-white agricultural project in Malawi, an emerging African country surrounded by White-ruled Southern Rhodesia, Mozambique, and South Africa. John wanted to be a missionary in Africa, but was put off by his encounters with self-serving White missionaries. The Civil Rights and Black Power movements influenced his world view while navigating life in an African country still controlled or greatly influenced . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers | May — June 2024

To purchase any of these books from Amazon.com — CLICK on the book cover, the bold book title, or the publishing format you would like — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance from your purchase that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards. We include a brief description for each of the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  to order a book and maybe  VOLUNTEER TO REVIEW IT.  See a book you’d like to review for Peace Corps Worldwide? Send a note to Marian at marian@haleybeil.com, and she will send you a free copy along with a few instructions. PLEASE, PLEASE  join in our Third Goal effort and volunteer to review a book or books!!! When Coronavirus Unmapped The Peace Corps Journey by Jeffrey W. Aubuchon (Morocco 2007-08) & Peace Corps Response Nepal 92252 Press 142 pages $2.99 (Kindle).$7.00 (Paperback) This book . . .

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Hog Farmer Paul Willis (Nigeria)

  RPCV in the news —  Fancy Food Show honors Niman Ranch Founding Hog Farmer Founding Hog Farmer grows Niman Ranch from a one-family farm to a network of over 600 Certified Humane independent family farmers and ranchers. By Industry News   At the Fancy Food Show, Niman Ranch’s Founding Hog Farmer Paul Willis (Nigeria 1973-75) received the Specialty Food Association Leadership Award for Sustainability. Willis grew Niman Ranch from his one-family farm to a network of over 600 Certified Humane independent family farmers and ranchers raising pork, beef and lamb sustainably and with no antibiotics, hormones or crates. Niman Ranch meats are served at many of the country’s fine restaurants, at values-driven fast-casual chains and in specialty grocers nationwide. “Paul Willis shows how the specialty food industry can drive change and build a better, more sustainable food system,” said Phil Robinson, SVP, member development at the Specialty Food Association. “Thanks . . .

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A JEW IN GAZA: HUMANITARIAN HEARTBREAK, HUBRIS AND HORRORS by Alonzo Wind (Ecuador)

A new book —   A Jew in Gaza: Humanitarian Heartbreak, Hubris and Horror Allan “Alonzo” J. Wind (Ecuador 1980–82) Enable  & Ennoble June 2024 296 pages $24.88 (hardcover), $9.99 (Kindle), 1 credit (Audiobook) • • • This is the unique story of how A.J. “Alonzo” Wind, retired Foreign Service Officer and international development executive, assumed the position of Mission Director for International Medical Corps in the occupied Palestinian territories, living in Gaza and East Jerusalem during 2022 and 2023. It offers a view into Gaza few have had, as an American Jew, as a Baha’i, as a humanitarian living under the threats of the interminable conflicts between Israel and Gaza. Mr. Wind lived through multiple escalations and Israeli counterstrikes, and negotiated a fine line of diplomacy and international humanitarian law between Israeli civil and military authorities and the de facto authority in Gaza represented by Hamas. A JEW IN GAZA: Humanitarian . . .

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Larry Kaplow (Guatemala) at NPR

 RPCVs in the news —   Larry Kaplow (Guatemala 1988-91) edits the work of NPR’s correspondents in the Middle East and helps direct coverage about the region. That has included NPR’s work on the Syrian civil war, the Trump administration’s reduction in refugee admissions, the Iran nuclear deal, the US-backed fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. He has been at NPR since 2013, starting as an overnight news editor. He moved to the International Desk in 2014. He won NPR’s Newcomer Award and was part of teams that won an Overseas Press Club Award and an NPR Content Excellence Award. Prior to joining NPR, Kaplow reported from the Middle East for 12 years. He was the Cox Newspapers‘ Mideast correspondent from 1997 to 2003, reporting from Jerusalem during the Second Intifada as well as from Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. He . . .

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Local teacher is taking his skills to the Peace Corps — Caleb Williams (Cambodia)

PCVs in the news   MELISSA WHITLER | NBCU Fellow Melissa@DallasVoice.com • • •  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 . . .

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RPCV Kinky Friedman, singer and novelist who fronted The Texas Jewboys, dies at 79 (BORNEO)

By Andrew Silow-Carroll  Kinky Friedman (Borneo 1967-69), the cigar-chomping, mustachioed Texan country singer and mystery novelist whose body of work often seemed like the un-kosher marriage of the Borscht Belt and the Bible Belt, died June 27 from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 79. As frontman for the flamboyant 1970s country group Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys, he was notorious for satirical songs such as “They Don’t Make Jews Like Jesus Anymore,” a raucous sendup of racism, and “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed,” which poked fun at feminism. He could also turn serious, with songs dealing with social issues such as abortion and commercialism. His 1973 song “Ride ’em Jewboy” is a haunting elegy on the Holocaust, recorded by Willie Nelson and sung in concert by Bob Dylan. The lyrics transform cowboy cliches into a rumination on Hitler’s victims: Now the smoke . . .

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Inaugural Recipient: Harris Wofford Joint Service Award

JUNE 26, 2024 Inaugural Recipient: Harris Wofford Joint Service Award Peace Corps and AmeriCorps! Published by ghettogirltravels Welcome to GhettoGirlTravels.com KJ Hunt, aka “GhettoGirlTravels,” was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. A former sergeant in the United States Air Force and Peace Corps Volunteer in East Africa, Armenia and Ethiopia GGT longs for the open road, a hot cup of tea, and free Internet service. Instagram @Ghettogirltravels TikTok @GhettoGirlTravels Facebook @GhettoGirlTravels View all posts by ghettogirltravels   Harris Wofford served as an advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr. Wofford also helped to launch the United States Peace Corps and served as its Associate Director. While a member of the US Senate, Harris led the effort to establish the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) which created the AmeriCorps program. The Harris Wofford award is given to individuals who have successfully completed full-time service in both AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps (including . . .

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MISSION TO MALAWI by John E. Fleming (Malawi)

  A new book — Mission to Malawi — Memoir of an African American Peace Corps Volunteer by John Fleming (Malawi 1967-69) McFarland Publisher May 2024 227 pages $19.99 (Kindle); $29.99 (Paperback) • • •  Unlike the vast majority of Peace Corps volunteers in the 1960s, John Fleming was a young Black man who was assigned to an all-white agricultural project in Malawi, an emerging African country surrounded by White-ruled Southern Rhodesia, Mozambique, and South Africa. John wanted to be a missionary in Africa, but was put off by his encounters with self-serving White missionaries. The Civil Rights and Black Power movements influenced his world view while navigating life in an African country still controlled or greatly influenced by racist Whites. This memoir is a moving story of coming “home” to Africa, where the author developed deep friendships with his Malawian neighbors and colleagues. The author relates his first Christmas spent with . . .

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RPCV Courtney Bower joins the Ukraine Case Studies

RPCVs in the news —   The Ukraine Case Studies Team is delighted to be joined by Courtney Bower, a Ph.D. candidate in regional science at Cornell University and a Senior Fellow at the Portulans Institute. Courtney’s research examines technological resilience and regional innovation systems. Related topics of his research include the circular economy, post-war reconstruction, infrastructure policy, and Black Sea spatial imaginaries. Before attending Cornell, Courtney completed a tour of service as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in western Ukraine. Courtney joins the research team for the Ukraine Case Studies project to investigate technological resilience from a regional perspective. His work seeks to understand how Ukrainian regions will bounce back or bounce forward in response to wartime shocks across four dimensions: innovation, human capital, digital access, and ICT infrastructure. His study of technological resilience in Ukraine will be one of the embedded case studies of our larger project, and . . .

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