Author - John Coyne

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David Wertime (China) new Editorial Director for China for POLITICO
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The Mike McCaskey most didn’t know — far away from Soldier Field
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Volunteers’ Days: Stories from 11 Countries
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“THE PEACE CORPS NEEDS A MEDIA LITERACY PROGRAM“ – Monika Bochert (Mongolia)
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George Packer (Togo) on PBS News Hour talking about Trump Administration
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EVERY HILL A BURIAL PLACE by Peter Reid (Tanzania)
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RPCV Michael McCaskey, former Chicago Bears chairman, dies at 76
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Mary-Ann Tirone Smith Remembers Jerry Stiller & Cameroon
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Early Peace Corps Staff Richard Paul Thornell Dies from Covid-19
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New Responsibility for the Peace Corps

David Wertime (China) new Editorial Director for China for POLITICO

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Steven Boyd Saum (Ukraine 1994-96)   David Wertime is POLITICO’s inaugural Editorial Director for China, and the author of China Watcher, its newsletter about the U.S.-China relationship. He is an honors graduate of Harvard Law School and Yale College who speaks and reads advanced Chinese (Mandarin) and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in China from 2001-03. Co-founder of Tea Leaf Nation, a website that tracked Chinese social media, David served as Senior Editor for China at Foreign Policy magazine, where he launched the first Chinese-language articles in the publication’s history. He was also Entrepreneur in Residence at the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, which owns the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2019, David joined POLITICO’s parent company to launch its China service. David’s work has appeared in the Financial Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, POLITICO, and Slate.  

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The Mike McCaskey most didn’t know — far away from Soldier Field

The Mike McCaskey most didn’t know — far away from Soldier Field By JOHN COYNE CHICAGO TRIBUNE | MAY 26, 2020 | 5:23 PM Mike McCaskey with children in his Peace Corps village in Ethiopia. (Associated Press) I met Mike McCaskey in the fall of 1965, not at Soldier Field but in Fiche, Ethiopia, a small village perched high on the escarpment above the Blue Nile River, far from the shores of Lake Michigan. Mike was a Peace Corps volunteer assigned to teach in an elementary school. He would live for two years in a tin-roofed, whitewashed house made of dirt and dung and teach in a two-room school. Those two years, he later told me, gave him an entirely new perspective on the world, one for which he was profoundly grateful. At first, that change wasn’t obvious. After the Peace Corps, he returned to the U.S. and earned a doctorate, spending the next . . .

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Volunteers’ Days: Stories from 11 Countries

These 11 short essays — funny, touching, insightful — unique glimpses into the overseas experiences that in many ways shaped the lives and careers of these talented writers. Now that everyone has plenty of time to stay inside and sit in front of their computers I thought I would republish them so you might read them again, or for the first time. Read what RPCVs writers have to say from Guyana, Mongolia, Senegal, Cameroon, Mali, Ghana, Malawi, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Zaire, and Eastern Caribbean.n — JCoyne, ed. • Telling Time Katherine Jamieson (Guyana 1996–98) For two years I lived in a country with no seasons. We measured time by other means than falling leaves or snow, new buds on trees. There was a fresh breeze in the air, the ash of burned sugar cane floating in the window. There were times to go to work, times to stay home, an election, . . .

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“THE PEACE CORPS NEEDS A MEDIA LITERACY PROGRAM“ – Monika Bochert (Mongolia)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Arnold Zeitlin (Ghana 1961-63)   As rural classrooms become more connected, students have to understand how to evaluate the content they consume Monika Bochert (Mongolia 2017-19) May 19, 2020 Inkstick publication • Last month, a hoax circulated online that people wearing shoes indoors led to a spike in coronavirus cases in Italy. Worldwide, rapidly spreading misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 is negatively affecting people’s behaviors towards the virus. Action must be taken to curb the spread of false information on a global stage, and the Peace Corps has the capacity to do it. Media literacy, or the ability to critically evaluate media, is an integral tool that can be used to combat false information online. Despite the need for this skill to discern COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation, there is no formal program geared toward teaching digital skills and media literacy internationally. We need to implement a program to stymie . . .

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George Packer (Togo) on PBS News Hour talking about Trump Administration

  Thanks for the ‘heads-up’ from Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965-67) — This is from Wednesday, May 20th PBS News Hour, which featured Judy Woodruff and William Brangham, of the PBS NewsHour talk with George Packer (Togo 1982-83). As Mary-Ann wrote to me about Packer’s presentation, “Brilliant indictment of the Trump administration.” — J Coyne, ed. • Judy Woodruff: Throughout this entire crisis, questions continue to be raised about why the U.S. government was not better prepared for such a challenge. As William Brangham tells us, those questions include how the Trump administration views the role of government and civil service broadly. William Brangham: That’s right, Judy. Most people would agree that the scale and speed of this pandemic would have taxed the resources and abilities of any administration and of any president. But the Trump administration’s response has certainly come under some intense scrutiny. Let’s turn now to two writers who . . .

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EVERY HILL A BURIAL PLACE by Peter Reid (Tanzania)

  On March 28, 1966, Peace Corps personnel in Tanzania received word that volunteer Peppy Kinsey had fallen to her death while rock climbing during a picnic. Local authorities arrested Kinsey’s husband, Bill, and charged him with murder as witnesses came forward claiming to have seen the pair engaged in a struggle. The incident had the potential to be disastrous for both the Peace Corps and the newly independent nation of Tanzania. To this day, the high stakes surrounding the trial raise questions as to whether there was more behind the final “not-guilty” verdict than was apparent on the surface. Peter H. Reid, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania at the time of the Kinsey murder trial, draws upon his considerable legal experience to expose inconsistencies and biases in the case. He carefully scrutinizes the collection of evidence and the ensuing investigation, providing insight into the motives . . .

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RPCV Michael McCaskey, former Chicago Bears chairman, dies at 76

  By BRAD BIGGS CHICAGO TRIBUNE | MAY 16, 2020 | 6:51 PM Former Bears President Michael McCaskey, shown in this January 1999 photo, has died at 76.(JOSE MORE / CHICAGO TRIBUNE) Michael McCaskey, who took over the reins of the Chicago Bears from his grandfather George Halas in 1983 before the team achieved its greatest moment two years later, died Saturday. He was 76. McCaskey became the president and CEO of the Bears in 1983 and remained at the helm of the organization in a long run, serving as the chairman of the board from 1999 until 2011, when he stepped down and was replaced by his brother George. McCaskey battled cancer for a considerable time. The oldest of Ed and Virginia McCaskey’s 11 children, McCaskey is survived by two children, John and Kathryn, and one grandson, Jackson. “Mike was already successful in every sense of the word when he took over for . . .

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Mary-Ann Tirone Smith Remembers Jerry Stiller & Cameroon

  With the passing of the most wonderful actor and comedian, Jerry Stiller, I’m reminded of a day back in 1994. I’m hustling down Broadway to get to the West Side Barnes & Noble, where I am one of three contributors to Going Up Country: Travel Essays by Peace Corps Writers to read that night at the bookstore. I looked up and spotted Jerry Stiller coming toward me and as a great fan, I immediately stopped and asked him for his autograph. I was already late, but so what. Jerry was happy to do it, but neither of us had any paper available. So I held out my copy of Going Up Country and told him about the signing. He was full of congratulations. He said that he’d wished he’d joined the Peace Corps and then signed the front endpaper, ‘To Mary Ann. Good thoughts. Love, Jerry Stiller.’ Then he said he was hurrying somewhere or . . .

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Early Peace Corps Staff Richard Paul Thornell Dies from Covid-19

Thanks for the ‘head-up’ from Matt Losak (Lesothe 1985-88) Carolyn and Richard Paul Thornell were married for nearly 50 years. (Family photo) By Tara Bahrampour In the 1970s and ’80s, when Richard Paul Thornell would go with his sons to the grocery store and return late, his wife would teasingly ask, “Did you run into someone from the Peace Corps?” Usually, the answer was yes. In the early days of President John F. Kennedy’s administration, Thornell had worked under Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver and future senator Harris Wofford, negotiating and setting up the first Peace Corps program in the world. In May 1961, the 24-year-old Thornell traveled to Ghana as director of the Peace Corps Africa Regional Office to help design educational, agricultural and job-training programs there. Although he had to return to the United States that summer after contracting tuberculosis, the experience marked him. “For him, it was . . .

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New Responsibility for the Peace Corps

Scott Galloway predicts a handful of elite cyborg universities will soon monopolize higher education by James D. Walsh New York Post, May 11,2020 In 2017, Scott Galloway anticipated Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods a month before it was announced. Last year, he called WeWork on its “seriously loco” $47 billion valuation a month before the company’s IPO imploded. Now, Galloway, a Silicon Valley runaway who teaches marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, believes the pandemic has greased the wheels for big tech’s entrée into higher education. The post-pandemic future, he says,  will entail partnerships between the largest tech companies in the world and elite universities. MIT@Google. iStanford. HarvardxFacebook. According to Galloway, these partnerships will allow universities to expand enrollment dramatically by offering hybrid online-offline degrees, the affordability and value of which will seismically alter the landscape of higher education. Galloway, who also founded his own virtual classroom start-up, predicts hundreds, . . .

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