Author - John Coyne

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2024 Peace Corps Writers Paul Cowan Non-fiction Award Winner!
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University Of Michigan’s Africa Oceanography School
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Harris Wofford Service Award, June 2024
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Leader in Arts and Entertainment: Kevin Giglinto (Romania)
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SILENT LIGHT | A new novel by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)
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Meet RPCV Marco Werman (Togo and Burkina Faso)
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“Rethinking Wellbeing for Today and Tomorrow” by Deb Friedman (Guinea)
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Helping people in underserved areas live their healthiest lives
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George Packer (Togo) writes cover story for July/August ATLANTIC
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LEAP by Brent Love (Armenia)
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STICKY RICE MAGAZINE (Thailand)
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CorpsAfrica Expands to South Africa
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Top Legal Post in Virgin Islands Goes to Ethiopian RPCV!
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BACKYARD RACE HORSE by Janet Del Castillo (Colombia)
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New Peace Corps Team Lands in Moldova

2024 Peace Corps Writers Paul Cowan Non-fiction Award Winner!

  The Showgirl and the Writer: A Friendship Forged in the Aftermath of the Japanese American Incarceration by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65)   The Showgirl and the Writer, A Friendship Forged in the Aftermath of the Japanese American Incarceration, by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65), is a hybrid memoir/biography. It encompasses Mueller’s own story, beginning at her birth to Caucasian parents in the Tule Lake Japanese American High-Security Camp in Northern California, and tells the tale of her long friendship with Mary Mon Toy, a Nisei performer who was incarcerated in the Minidoka Japanese American Camp in Idaho during WWII. The two met by chance in 1994. By then, Mueller was a published author, and Mary Mon Toy, by necessity of old age, had retired from an unusually successful career on stage and television, for an Asian American actor of her time. After Ms. Mon Toy’s death, Mueller penned the previously . . .

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University Of Michigan’s Africa Oceanography School

In the news —   Oceanography School Receives Funding From Schmidt Sciences By Iednewsdesk Jun 14, 2024 A University of Michigan-led summer school for oceanographers in Ghana and Nigeria is part of a project to receive funding from Schmidt Sciences, a philanthropic organization started by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Wendy Schmidt. The Coastal Ocean Environment Summer School In Nigeria and Ghana, or COESSING, was founded by Brian Arbic, a physical oceanographer and U-M professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The summer school, which is endorsed by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), is set to receive $125,000 each year from 2025-2028 and split between U-M and the University of Ghana. The school funding is included in a larger project called Ocean Margins Initiative. OMI is one of five projects that are part of the Ocean Biogeochemistry Virtual Institute, an initiative funded by Schmidt Sciences. OBVI has . . .

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Harris Wofford Service Award, June 2024

  WASHINGTON, DC— AmeriCorps and Peace Corps awarded the first Harris Wofford Joint Service Award to more than 200 individuals in Houston, Texas at the annual Points of Light Conference. Honoring the legacy of the late Senator Harris Wofford, who helped establish both the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, the award recognizes individuals who have already chosen to serve their country at home and abroad through both programs, as well as the thousands more who make that same commitment in the future. WATCH: Harris Wofford Award Ceremony “As we commemorate the inaugural Harris Wofford Joint Service Awards, I am proud and grateful for the more than 200 changemakers who have served their country at home and abroad through AmeriCorps and Peace Corps” said Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO. “These awards serve as a call to action in remembrance of Harris Wofford’s remarkable life and legacy, to find ways big and small to give . . .

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Leader in Arts and Entertainment: Kevin Giglinto (Romania)

In the news — Kevin Giglinto (Romania 1994-96) joined the Marcus Performing Arts Center in Milwaukee  in July 2023 as its new president and chief executive officer, with more than 25 years of experience. Over the past nine months, Giglinto’s initiatives have led to a 32% increase in venue attendance, the launch of a new series, and an investment in tools to broaden MPAC’s digital reach, according to Lori Craig, senior vice president, market leader for PNC Private Bank and chair of the Marcus Center board. “He was instrumental in creating MPAC’s latest performance lineup, the Culture Collective, designed to celebrate and elevate the contributions of artists of color across a spectrum of artistic disciplines. This new series aligns with MPAC’s commitment to racial equity, diversity and inclusion,” Craig said. Giglinto also launched a new internship program at the Marcus Center, providing young people a chance to explore a career . . .

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SILENT LIGHT | A new novel by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

  Silent Light by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) OB Books June 2024 340 pages $18.95 (paperback)   At the start of Mark Jacob’s remarkable new novel ― his first book in thirteen years ― thirty-seven-year-old Smith wins a “stash” of diamonds in a poker game. The only catch: he has to find them. A Louisiana native, Smith is currently employed on an oil platform off the west coast of Africa, while the diamonds are somewhere in the immense, war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo. But Smith’s grown tired of the platform and he hates the idea of wasting a full house. One last adventure, he tells himself, and then, diamonds or no diamonds, he’s heading home to Louisiana. In Kinshasa, Smith meets a young woman named Béatrice, who hails from a village on the other side of the country. But this village, she tells Smith, is where his diamonds are . . .

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Meet RPCV Marco Werman (Togo and Burkina Faso)

June 12, 2024 GBH • • •  Marco Werman, co-host of station GBH’s The World, public radio’s longest-running daily global news program, has worked in journalism since he was a 16-year-old copy boy at the News and Observer in Raleigh, N.C. After graduating from Duke University in 1984, he joined the Peace Corps and went to Togo and Burkina Faso. While in Africa, he started freelancing for the BBC World Service, where he produced Network Africa. He has worked all over the world, joining GBH in 1995 to start The World, which is now heard on 377 public radio stations nationwide — a record number for the program.    An interview with Marco What are you reading or listening to now? I read a lot of current affairs and global news — daily reporting from multiple sources to long-form magazine articles — so I’ve been lately creating space to read more fiction. That’s recently included American Spy by . . .

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“Rethinking Wellbeing for Today and Tomorrow” by Deb Friedman (Guinea)

    By Deb Friedman (Guinea 2002-04) 12 June 2024 ••• My client had recently taken the helm of a mid-sized travel business when I started coaching her. She had stepped into the role infused with positive energy, hopefulness, and sharp leadership instincts; she quickly developed an ambitious plan to transform her organization. She had inherited a team suffering from low-morale, high stress, and uneven performance. The goal she set for herself was to build an engaged and high-performing team, achieving sustainable growth and impact within 18 months. My client had already moved her family across the country for the job; now, she quickly found herself waking up early and working late into the evening. Hobbies were set aside and she regularly missed dinner with her husband and kids. Even when she was home with them, she was often lost in her phone – absorbed in emails and texts. When I . . .

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Helping people in underserved areas live their healthiest lives

Meet Samuel Edwards  June 10, 2024  By Ashley Bell David Geffen School of Medicine   Medical student Samuel Edwards remembers little from his early childhood in Accra, Ghana. When he hears the word “home,” he pictures Toledo, Ohio — where his parents eventually settled after moving to the United States. He counts his mother among his strongest motivations for pursuing a medical career. After she became sick in 2017, Samuel developed a more serious interest in learning as much about health and healthcare as possible. He’d thought about going to medical school previously, but her sickness anchored his future plans in a deeper sense of purpose. He began seeing medicine as more than something to study at school. “I realized medicine is what I’m called to do with my life.” After earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Medicine, Health, and Society from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, Samuel joined . . .

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George Packer (Togo) writes cover story for July/August ATLANTIC

In the news —   For its July/August issue, The Atlantic has made climate change its focus, leading with today’s cover story by staff writer George Packer  on the rise and possible fall of Phoenix, Arizona. In his cover story, “The Valley”— the second-longest that The Atlantic has published in the past 40 years — Packer provides a sweeping, kaleidoscopic look at the precarious political and physical ecology of Phoenix, demonstrating that the country’s fastest-growing and most dynamic region contains, in microcosm, all of America’s most contentious and dangerous issues: climate change and election denialism, education and immigration, homelessness and zoning, the future of the working class and of a multiethnic democracy. Phoenix’s contradictions are so great — explosive population and economic growth paired with existential political and environmental challenges — they raise questions about the city’s sustainability, and about the sustainability of the American political project. Phoenix, Packer argues, makes . . .

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LEAP by Brent Love (Armenia)

   A new book —  Leap A Memoir by Brent Love (Armenia 2009-11) Manuscripts Press June 2024 452 pages $14.99 (paperback); 14.99 (Kindle); $37.99 (Hardcover) • • •  In a small Texas town, Brent comes out to his parents, and on that night his place in the world cracks wide open. Unmoored from his family but unwilling to give up on his dream, Brent enters the Peace Corps with the incredible task of navigating an unfamiliar land, a new language, and a new identity as a gay man in post-Soviet Armenia. As he grapples with a religious past and a queer future, Brent finds himself immersed in a culture he’d never imagined. He moves in with Armenian families, celebrates his first Nor Tari, hunts mushrooms in the mountain mists, and dances in Yerevan at his first gay bar, all while hoping for and trying to find romance, even love. When his Peace . . .

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STICKY RICE MAGAZINE (Thailand)

STICKY RICE Chaa Thai is a podcast spilling the tea on Peace Corps volunteer life in Thailand! Each episode, hosts Dano Nissen and Morgan Shupsky interview a current Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand and do a deep dive on their experience at their host site. The tea is that there are as many examples of what service is like for a volunteer in Thailand as there are volunteers — join us as we get a taste! Coming off our long and lazy summer break we’ve got a chaotic episode with a chaotic volunteer – Kaleb! When he’s not in Bangkok, Kaleb is teaching English in Nakhon Si Thammarat and this is actually his second go around in Thailand, as he was also a victim of group 132’s COVID evacuation. We cover how volunteers spend all the free time and days off we have, Thai standardized testing, managing a 6-month long . . .

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CorpsAfrica Expands to South Africa

RPCVs in the news — WASHINGTON, DC, USA, June 5, 2024  CorpsAfrica is expanding its global presence by launching volunteer programs in South Africa, the organization announced this week. Founded in 2011 by former Peace Corps Volunteer Liz Fanning (Morocco 1993-95) CorpsAfrica recruits and trains educated African youth as volunteers to live and work in rural, under-resourced communities in their own countries. Operating on the core belief that African youth are the Continent’s greatest resource, the organization places volunteers in remote communities for up to one year, to facilitate small-scale, high-impact projects that are identified by the local community, many of which are related to health, economic empowerment, and climate change. Currently, CorpsAfrica has over 900 volunteers in ten African countries, with plans to eventually expand to all 54 African nations. Kelo Kubu, curator of TEDx Johannesburg, has been appointed as CorpsAfrica’s Country Director in South Africa. Kubu served as . . .

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Top Legal Post in Virgin Islands Goes to Ethiopian RPCV!

  RPCVS IN THE NEWS     ST. THOMAS — Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. announced Monday that he has nominated attorney Gordon Rhea (Ethiopia 1968-69) to serve as the next V.I. attorney general. Virgin Islands as we continue to strengthen our justice system. His lifelong dedication to public service and legal excellence is exactly what we need in an Attorney General,” Bryan said.Rhea is a 40-year member of the Virgin Islands Bar, and was recently recognized with the Winston Hodge Award for his contributions to law and justice in the community. “I’m very excited about working as your Attorney General. I’ve got quite a background in prosecution, and civil matters and appellate matters, and so I feel like I was almost made for this job. And I also have a deep love for the Virgin Islands,” Rhea said. “I’m looking forward to helping hone the Justice Department and making it . . .

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BACKYARD RACE HORSE by Janet Del Castillo (Colombia)

  Backyard Race Horse by Janet Del Castillo (Colombia 1964-66) Prediction Publication 520 pages April 2013 $40.00 (Paperback) From training horses at the farm to hauling livestock and equipment to the race track, this hands-on manual covers everything a competent horse owner needs to know to get involved in horse racing. Extensive discussions examine how to exercise horses, keep a horse sound, and prepare for the race. Specifics on monitoring horses’ legs, dispensing medication, and track personnel round out this in-depth manual. Included is a directory of thoroughbred racetracks and organizations.              • • •  Still practicing the Peace Corps Interviewed by Thomas R. Oldt   Amidst our dreadful political morass, when we can’t even seem to agree on what it means to be an American, the whole notion of idealism is seen by many as naïve if not downright suspect. That is one of the many . . .

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New Peace Corps Team Lands in Moldova

New Peace Corps Team Lands in Moldova to Boost English Education The 36th group of Peace Corps volunteers from the United States has arrived in Moldova. Twenty-three volunteers landed today at Chișinău International Airport. Prior to commencing their service, the volunteers will undergo a ten-week training program. This program will focus on Romanian language acquisition, Moldovan culture immersion, and technical skill development. Following the training, the volunteers will be deployed to schools, town halls, and community centres throughout Moldova. The Peace Corps program was first established in Moldova by the Chișinău government in 1993. The program’s primary objective is to enhance the English language teaching capabilities of Moldovan educators within the existing educational framework.

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