Author - John Coyne

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RPCV Rob Schmitz (China) — NPR’s International Correspondent
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What is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Peace Corps connection?
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US Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s Remembers the Peace Corps on 30th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations with Georgia
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Legendary Peace Corps General Counsel Weighs In on Tanzania Car Accident
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FROM KALAMAZOO TO TIMBUKTU by Paul Guenette (Senegal)
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“Climate Change & Wildlife Crime” — Jessica Kahler (Vanuatu) on ZOOM 1/27
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RPCV who served in Zaire joins U.S. Mission in Dutch Caribbean as Consul General
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NH Vote Fraud Trial Postponed for RPCV/Country Director (Honduras)
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Mother cut off from PCV daughter after Tonga volcanic eruption
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Review — HISTORY SHOCK: When History Collides with Foreign Relations by John Dickson (Gabon)

RPCV Rob Schmitz (China) — NPR’s International Correspondent

  Rob Schmitz is NPR’s international correspondent based in Berlin, where he covers the human stories of a vast region reckoning with its past while it tries to guide the world toward a brighter future. From his base in the heart of Europe, Schmitz has covered Germany’s levelheaded management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of right-wing nationalist politics in Poland and creeping Chinese government influence inside the Czech Republic. Prior to covering Europe, Schmitz provided award-winning coverage of China for a decade, reporting on the country’s economic rise and increasing global influence. His reporting on China’s impact beyond its borders took him to countries such as Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand. Inside China, he’s interviewed elderly revolutionaries, young rappers, and live-streaming celebrity farmers who make up the diverse tapestry of one of the most fascinating countries on the planet. He is the author of the critically . . .

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What is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Peace Corps connection?

  What Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a top contender for Biden Supreme Court pick, has revealed about her personal side. She has recounted in a 2017 speech that her parents, wanting to show pride in their African ancestry, asked her aunt, who was then in the Peace Corps in Africa, for a list of African girl names. Taking one of her suggestions, Jackson’s parents named her Ketanji Onyika, which she said they were told translates to”lovely one.”  

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US Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s Remembers the Peace Corps on 30th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations with Georgia

  US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan has released a statement on the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Georgia. In her statement, Ambassador Degnan talks about the relations between the two countries during this period and explains why Georgia is important to the United States. And she speaks about the contribution the Peace Corps has made in Georgia since 2001. Her remarks about the Peace Corps and Georgia reads as follows: Embassy Tbilisi currently implements one of the largest exchange programs in the region, with nearly 20 different programs a year, sending around 200 people to the United States who contribute to an incredibly rich exchange of ideas and culture. And of course, our wonderful Peace Corps Volunteers have played an important role in connecting America and Georgia for years. Since 2001, more than 500 Peace Corps volunteers who learned Georgian and have lived in communities throughout Georgia, making . . .

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Legendary Peace Corps General Counsel Weighs In on Tanzania Car Accident

by William Josephson (Peace Corps staff 1961–1966) • Anyone who has read Tricia L. Nadolny, Donovan Slack, Nick Penzenstadler, and Kizito Makoye’s multi-page December 21, 2021, USA Today story about the Tanzanian Peace Corps staffer who killed a Tanzanian while dangerously driving his car in Dar es Salaam, has to have a sense of outrage not only at the staffer’s behavior the night before and the morning of the killing but at the Peace Corps’ apparent complicity in obtaining his release and getting him out of the country. If leaving the scene of a crime is a crime in Tanzania, the Peace Corps staffer committed that crime in addition to how Tanzania prescribes vehicular homicide. If aiding and abetting is a crime in Tanzania, then probably the Peace Corps staffers, including the Peace Corps country director, were aiders and abettors. Original and long-standing Peace Corps policy reflected in the Peace . . .

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FROM KALAMAZOO TO TIMBUKTU by Paul Guenette (Senegal)

  A young boy waves at passing cars on a dusty rural road in Upper Michigan, and dreams of the wide world. Then step by step he follows his dream, becoming his family’s first college graduate, and studies in Europe help him realize the excitement and diversity of the wide world. Peace Corps service brings him to Senegal on the edge of Africa’s Sahara Desert where he experiences first-hand the hardships of the world’s poorest people – who teach him important lessons about generosity, sufficiency and luxury. In Africa, he finds love and discovers a career that opens the world to him, eventually visiting 90 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, working to make the world a better place. His adventures lead him to ride wild stallions, camels, and elephants. He gets into and barely out of trouble in the Grand Canyon. He climbs mountains and . . .

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“Climate Change & Wildlife Crime” — Jessica Kahler (Vanuatu) on ZOOM 1/27

  Two of the greatest threats to biodiversity and sustainable development are climate change and wildlife crime. It has recently become apparent that these two threats are interrelated in complex ways with implications for human and wildlife security. However, the mechanisms driving these complex interactions are not well understood because the relevant bodies of literature are largely disparate. To address this gap, we propose a new conceptual framework for understanding complex interactions between climate change and wildlife crime that explicitly draws on climate change research in criminology, geography, sociology, and wildlife conservation.   Jessica Kahler (Vanuatu 2004-07) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law at the University of Florida, and affiliate faculty for the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, Center for African Studies, and the Tropical Conservation and Development Program. Prior to joining the university Dr. Kahler consulted on the Wildlife Crime . . .

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RPCV who served in Zaire joins U.S. Mission in Dutch Caribbean as Consul General

Press release: WILLEMSTAD Jan 21, 2022   The United States Consulate General in Curacao is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Margy Horan Bond (Zaire 1988-90) as the U.S. Consul General to Curacao and Chief of Mission to Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten. Margy Bond is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with over 25 years of experience in the State Department, both at home and abroad.  She assumed her duties as U.S. Chief of Mission to the Dutch Caribbean and Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate General in Curaçao on January 21, 2022. Most recently, Margy served as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central African Affairs after having been Director of Central African Affairs since July 2020.  She was the Director of the Office of Economic and Development Assistance in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs from 2018-2020 where she focused on advancing sustainable development, . . .

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NH Vote Fraud Trial Postponed for RPCV/Country Director (Honduras)

  Tony Schinella, Patch, CONCORD, NH, 1/20/22 • — A former PCV and Country Director, accused of illegally registering to vote in New Hampshire and voting, has chosen to fight the charges in court.   MaryKate Lowndes (Honduras 1989-91 & PC/W Staff of Hyannis, Massachusetts, faces four voter fraud charges in Rockingham County Superior Court — a single felony count of wrongful voting as well as two counts of misdemeanor wrongful voting and a single count of misusing an absentee ballot. She was indicted in September 2020, when she was living in Washington, D.C., and was a Peace Corps director. Originally, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office filed seven charges against Lowndes including a felony voter fraud charge as well as two misusing absentee ballots and four voter fraud misdemeanor counts. On Sept. 18, 2020, one absentee ballot and two voter fraud charges were nolle prossed. The charges stem from incidents . . .

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Mother cut off from PCV daughter after Tonga volcanic eruption

  WAVERLY, Iowa (KWWL) – Eastern Iowa and the Island Kingdom of Tonga are 7,000 miles apart. This week, it feels even farther for one family. “It’s been kind of hard not having that connection right now,” Barb Corson of Waverly said. After graduating from Central College in 2016, Barb’s daughter Carolyn joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to Tonga. She began teaching at a Christian boy’s school. “She amazes me all the time,” Barb said. Carolyn stayed in Tonga until March 2020, when the Peace Corps brought all of its people back stateside because of the pandemic. However, in June 2021, she was allowed to return to Tonga because of her status as a teacher. She quarantined in New Zealand for three weeks and then rejoined her boyfriend Fine (pronounced “Fin-a”), who is from Tonga. The two got married soon after. “We were able to watch a livestream . . .

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Review — HISTORY SHOCK: When History Collides with Foreign Relations by John Dickson (Gabon)

  History Shock: When History Collides with Foreign Relations by John Dickson (Gabon 1976-1979) University Press of Kansas 248 pages June 2021 $26.49 (Kindle); $34.95 (Hardcover) Review by Eric Madeen (Gabon 1981-83) • John Dickson’s recently released book History Shock: When History Collides with Foreign Relations is ambitious and makes good on its ambitions: to delineate where and when America’s foreign policy “spills across national boundaries.” Indeed: how this book spills across the world map! As he notes, recently no other country blundered as much and easily as the United States, resulting in countless faux pas, cross-cultural insensitivities, outright missteps and innumerable aggressions, all adding up to obstructions of cooperative efforts on mutual interests. There’s much ground covered with chapters on Mexico and Canada (both partly concern “Forgotten Wars” there and the shocking reminder that the United States seized half of Mexico’s territory as a result of wars instigated by . . .

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