Author - John Coyne

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So Much What Colombia RPCVs Think Of This Film —From Vulture
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Encounters with Harris Wofford by Neil Boyer (Ethiopia)
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How narco movie BIRDS OF PASSAGE “tramples the truth” (Colombia)
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Earl Carlton Huband (Oman) wins Longleaf Press 2018 Poetry Chapbook Contest
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“The Man Who Defined National Service” by Steven Waldman
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PCVs in Colombian Film–But Not Our Story (Colombia)
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PC/HQ Celebrates Black History Month—But Where’s Franklin Williams?
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A Writer Writes “Dervishes” by Steve Horowitz (Iran)
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Washington Post review and comments on Larry Leamer’s (Nepal) book MAR-A-LAGO
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RSVP Harris Wofford Memorial

So Much What Colombia RPCVs Think Of This Film —From Vulture

Birds of Passage Is a Knockout By David Edelstein Photo: Orchard The Colombian-born director Ciro Guerra makes films about the brutal corruption of what First Worlders call the Third World but Guerra would call the essential one: of indigenous peoples who can recognize their ancient origins in the families and objects and landscape around them and then — suddenly, dizzyingly, catastrophically — can’t. His new film (co-directed by Cristina Gallego), Birds of Passage, is part ethnographic documentary, part The Godfather. People who seem (to us) strange and primitive metamorphose into a familiar breed of gangster — the kind that pop culture (American, Mexican, Chinese, you name it) gives undue stature. As in Guerra’s last film, Embrace of the Serpent, the disjunction between enduring ways and modern, ephemeral fashions and equipment and stuff is not just jarring but toxic, a shock to the system that will almost certainly kill the host. Guerra and Gallego frame Birds of Passage with the breathy . . .

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Encounters with Harris Wofford by Neil Boyer (Ethiopia)

Encounters with Harris Wofford By Neil Boyer My first encounter with Harris came in the spring of 1962, when I was a third-year student at New York University School of Law. I stopped in the dormitory where I lived (Hayden Hall) and found in my mailbox a message asking me to call Harris Wofford. I had no idea who he was, and there was no return phone number or any other reference to anyone of that name. So I began a search of the white pages in the Manhattan phone directory, found a listing for a Harris Wofford and called the number. The man who answered was pleasant but as puzzled about this call as I was. I guessed that this had something to do with the Peace Corps since I had applied but not heard anything in return.  Aha, the man said, “I think you want my son. He’s . . .

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How narco movie BIRDS OF PASSAGE “tramples the truth” (Colombia)

  How Narco Movie BIRDS OF PASSAGE “tramples the truth” (Guest Column) The Hollywood Reporter 2/14/2019 by Maureen Orth (Colombia 1964–66), Abby Wasserman (Colombia 1963–65) and Arleen Chesto (Colombia 1964–66)   The critically lauded film falsely accuses the Peace Corps for starting the drug trade in Colombia and misappropriates a long suffering indigenous tribe, write three former Peace Corp Volunteers. Birds of Passage, Colombia’s short listed entry for best foreign film in the upcoming Academy Awards that received a U.S. release on Feb. 13, has garnered praise for its truth and beauty. In reality, it is a movie that distorts history, truth and honesty in storytelling. It’s one thing to enhance history, exaggerate the facts and take artistic license for cinematic effect while honoring the essential spirit of a story. It’s quite another to trample the truth. Birds of Passage falsely accuses the Peace Corps for starting the drug trade in Colombia in 1968, and aggressively . . .

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Earl Carlton Huband (Oman) wins Longleaf Press 2018 Poetry Chapbook Contest

  Earl Carlton Huband (Oman 1975-78) poetry chapbook The Innocence of Education based on his experiences in the Sultanate of Oman is the winner of the Longleaf Press 2018 Poetry Award sponsored by Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC. The Innocence of Education features twenty-seven syllabic and autobiographical poems based on the author’s experience as a PCV. Earl was a teacher in a remote fishing village located in a then-restricted military zone near the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Earl, who is from Wilmington, North Carolina, is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and a resident of Durham. His poems have appeared in America, The Lyric, The Main Street Rag, The Road Not Taken, and Visions International; in anthologies such as Earth and Soul, Heron Clan, Kakalak, and Pinesong; and in the textbook Unlocking the Poem. • TODAY – Thursday 2/14, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (informal get-together next door at The Root Cellar, 6 p.m.) Flyleaf Second Thursday Poetry Series & Open . . .

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“The Man Who Defined National Service” by Steven Waldman

    The Man Who Defined National Service by Steven Waldman, Washington Monthly contributing editor January 23, 2019 • When I went to work for Harris Wofford in 1995, I knew him only as a legend. By that point, he had already achieved more in his career than all but a tiny fraction of senators or governors in the last century. Wofford, who died over the weekend, had mentored Martin Luther King on the art of non-violent civil disobedience; he marched in Selma; he prodded John F. Kennedy to call Coretta Scott King when the civil rights leader had been imprisoned, probably tipping the election to JFK; he helped create the Peace Corps and ran its Africa program; he was elected senator from Pennsylvania in a campaign that convinced the Democrats, for the first time in decades, that universal health care was a winning issue; and as a senator, he was a . . .

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PCVs in Colombian Film–But Not Our Story (Colombia)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Bob Arias (Colombia 1964-66) Review: “Birds of Passage,” the Tragic Story of an Indigenous Colombian Family’s Involvement in the Drug War By Richard Brody New Yorker February 11, 2019 The cultural richness of “Birds of Passage” is overwhelming, its sense of detail piercingly perceptive, and its sense of drama rigorously yet organically integrated with its documentary elements. Photograph Courtesy The Orchard The Colombian film “Birds of Passage,” directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, is an ethnographic thriller—a drama set in rural northern Colombia, centered on one indigenous group, the Wayuu, and based on the true story of a drug war that, from the late nineteen-sixties through the early nineteen-eighties, inflamed the region and engulfed a Wayuu family. It’s a movie involving a wide spectrum of experience, but its elements are nonetheless profoundly integrated. It’s not a thriller with some local color adorning the action or . . .

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PC/HQ Celebrates Black History Month—But Where’s Franklin Williams?

WASHINGTON– In honor of Black History Month, today the Peace Corps recognizes the important contributions African-American Volunteers and staff have made to the agency’s mission and promoting cross-cultural understanding around the globe with a Press Release. The news release published today, February 11, 2019, honors African-American Volunteers and a number of noted staff members, including, of course, Carolyn R. Payton, the first female Director of Peace Corps, as well as the first African-American Director, and writes about a few other African-American staff members. (By the way, the Peace Corps Press Release  has a type with Carolyn’s first name under her photograph.) However, the Press Release never mentions the most recognized African-Americans on the first Peace Corps staff, Franklin Williams, who began his ‘international’ career at the Peace Corps in 1961, and was at HQ as Chief of the Division of Private Organizations, and then head of the African Region. In 1965 . . .

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A Writer Writes “Dervishes” by Steve Horowitz (Iran)

DERVISHES By Steve Horowitz  (Iran 1968-71) It was a long walk from the Workman’s house to this other part of town, where the monthly meetings and rituals took place.  Early evening but already dark , through the maze of winding high-walled alleys; few people were outside and all the mud walls seemed to look the same. Three of us -John, myself and Mustapha, John’s friend who had set everything up for us- made our way slowly with Mustapha following the directions someone had provided him. What they did at these ritual gatherings was private, secretive and pretty bizarre to outsiders, so there was no interest in encouraging visitors- especially foreigners- to attend, but if there was an intermediary to make contact and the patience to wait for permission to be granted, it could be arranged John and his wife were English teachers in this Kurdish city not far from the . . .

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Washington Post review and comments on Larry Leamer’s (Nepal) book MAR-A-LAGO

    Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Dick Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) Article and review of Laurence Leamer’s (Nepal 1965-67) Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace. • How Mar-a-Lago’s denizens nurtured Donald Trump’s ego By Robin Givhan Washington Post February 7   Palm Beach is a horrible place. According to Laurence Leamer “Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace,” the Florida enclave is populated by snooty old-timers and egotistical arrivistes, social climbers and brown-nosers — all of whom are willing to tolerate and even reward the most egregious behavior if it means basking in the nuclear glow of the latest buzzy power player. It’s a town where wealthy husbands fight petty battles in court and middle-aged wives fight wrinkles and weight gain as if their marriages depend on it, because they so often do. It’s a wretched village filled with grotesque anti-Semitism . . .

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RSVP Harris Wofford Memorial

Harris Wofford Memorial Please join us to celebrate the remarkable life of Harris Wofford. Saturday, March 2, 2019 2:00pm Cramton Auditorium – Howard University 2455 6th Street NW, Washington, DC 20059   RSVP at: https://voicesforservice.org/rsvp-harris-wofford-memorial/

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