Author - John Coyne

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AMERICAN WAY, 3/2021 – “The Peace Corps turns 60”
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CHICAGO TRIBUNE Op-ed: “Abolishing the Peace Corps would be a mistake”
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Peace Corps at 60: “Service changed lives of Valley Volunteers in Sunbury, PA”
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Ghana News Agency — “US Peace Corps is Sixty Years in Ghana Today”
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The Peace Corps at 60 — Bonnie Black (Gabon)
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Ghana I — The First Peace Corps Volunteers
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Review — THE JOURNEY OF MAX BRAVERMAN by Chris Honore (Colombia)
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FOR THE LOVE OF THE STRUGGLE by Andres [Drew] McKinley (El Salvador)
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HISTORICAL BELGIUM by Steve Kaffen (Russia)
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Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE Op-ed: “Abolishing the Peace Corps would be a mistake”

    By LARA WEBER (Zambia 2000-02) CHICAGO TRIBUNE | FEB 28, 2021   “Why should you, a white woman, go work in Africa?” The question was from an African American newsroom colleague, and it knocked me back. It was the late 1990s, and I had just announced that I was joining the Peace Corps, assigned to a remote public health post in Zambia, in southern Africa. I’d applied to the Peace Corps primarily to set aside my journalist’s notebook and experience life beyond my own bubble, to better understand the world by immersing myself in hands-on work. I liked the Peace Corps’ grassroots approach to development work — that we would be working as partners with local community members, not as “experts” or advisers. My colleague caught whiffs of neocolonialism. Neither of us used the terms “white savior” or “white privilege,” but that’s what we were talking about. Now, the . . .

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Peace Corps at 60: “Service changed lives of Valley Volunteers in Sunbury, PA”

  By Rick Dandes The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa. Feb. 28—At a time when the Peace Corps has suspended all operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recalled 7,300 volunteers from 60 countries — a first for the six-decade-old program — six former volunteers with Valley connections recall the value of their “life-changing” experiences and praised the virtues of the far-off locations where they served. Whether assigned to primitive villages in Africa in the 1980s, emerging democracies in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, or more recently to South America, they all joined the Peace Corps out of a desire to serve their country and to help people in need, using skills they already had or acquired in college. The Peace Corps will celebrate its 60th anniversary on Monday. Signed into existence by President John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961, the Peace Corps is a service organization with volunteers usually . . .

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Ghana News Agency — “US Peace Corps is Sixty Years in Ghana Today”

  By  Ghana News Agency  Feb 28, 2021   To say that the activities of US Peace Corps have made a tremendous impact in many communities across Ghana is an understatement. Ever since the first group of volunteers touched the soil of Ghana some six decades ago, many lives have been positively impacted and destinies changed for the good of society. The little things that make life better when done wholeheartedly in the midst of lack of resources and difficulties, leave indelible sweet memories on the minds of beneficiaries as their lives are touched in a very different but special way. So is the story of a large number of people who have had the opportunity to be served as United States Peace Corps Volunteers in Ghana. HISTORY The Peace Corps is an independent agency and volunteer programme run by the United States Government to provide International social and economic development . . .

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The Peace Corps at 60 — Bonnie Black (Gabon)

    A Peace Corps Memory by Bonnie Black (Gabon 1996-98)   Sixty years ago, on March 1, 1961, President Kennedy — heartthrob to me and all of my fellow teenage girlfriends at the time — established the United States Peace Corps. I was not among the thousands of idealistic young people who flocked to answer JFK’s call to “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country” and sign up for Peace Corps service. No. In characteristic glacial fashion, I took a lot longer. I was fifty years old when I joined. Looking back now, I can see it was a risky decision, for which I was rightly criticized by some friends and family. For one thing, if I hadn’t dropped out of the workforce for two years to become a Peace Corps volunteer in Gabon, Central Africa, from 1996-98 — and . . .

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Ghana I — The First Peace Corps Volunteers

  by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64), editor • In mid-August 1961, Ghana I was ready for Ghana. Nobody was more pleasantly surprised than the Africanists, who at the outset had believed that it would take nearly two years to prepare the Volunteers adequately, given the fact of their youth, inexperience, Kennedy connection, and accompanying media hype. Too much, it was felt, hung on their performance. The Ghana I group, numbering fifty, had become “one”; there was an unspoken sense of being special due to their having been so closely associated with America’s top four people in African studies and the ever-attentive point man from Washington headquarters, Pat Kennedy, first Director of the Office of Peace Corps Volunteers. They hadn’t paused to absorb the daunting fact that they would be absolutely the first Volunteers (Tanganyika I had started and finished its training program earlier but would trail Ghana I to Africa . . .

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Review — THE JOURNEY OF MAX BRAVERMAN by Chris Honore (Colombia)

  The Journey of Max Braverman by Chris Honoré (Colombia 1967-69) Independent Publishing 424 pages January 2018 $16.oo (paperback Reviewed by David Arnold (Ethiopia 1964-66) • If a novel can be a re-imagined life of an observant writer, which would be more difficult for one of us whose published work is reviewed in The Peace Corps Worldwide blog: the characters and events that we recall from a long-ago life in Colombia, or fiction we create from a more familiar American adolescence? The Journey of Max Braverman is the debut novel of freelance writer, journalist and former California high school English teacher Chris Honoré. In his case, Honoré–who served in Colombia in the late 60s and now lives in the small university town of Ashland, Oregon—chose to write about the innocence of teenagers coming of age that eventually encounters the social reality of America’s struggle with White supremacy. The Journey of . . .

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FOR THE LOVE OF THE STRUGGLE by Andres [Drew] McKinley (El Salvador)

  From his home in El Salvador, the author shares an intimate personal and political memoir that follows his remarkable journey from the comfort and security of a picturesque New England town to a stirring and heroic engagement in common cause with the struggle for peace and justice in El Salvador. After four years as a Peace Corp worker in northern Liberia beginning in the late 1960s, followed by a stretch back in the United States as a street worker in the ghettos of North Philadelphia, McKinley finds himself in Central America as an aid worker in 1978. He quickly becomes engulfed by the political violence of the region and engaged with the people and their struggles against five decades of military dictatorship, centuries of poverty and exploitation. The story is marked by terror, adventure and courage, by trials and tragedy redeemed by the beauty and transcendence of people in . . .

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HISTORICAL BELGIUM by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

  Belgium’s long and rich history is on display in its cities and towns. Join author Steve Kaffen on a photographic journey to historical Belgium. The capital Brussels is home to the magnificent Grand Place, a medieval square and open-air marketplace from the 11th century. It is surrounded by historic buildings, notably the Town Hall, the square’s centerpiece; King’s House, home of the Brussels City Museum and its fine tapestries; and ancient guild houses of artisans and merchants. Steve visits at a unique time when, on even years in mid-August, it is covered with begonias. The floral presentation, called the Flower Carpet, is created by volunteers using pre-determined designs. The adjacent pedestrian zone of cobblestone streets contains buildings of earlier eras, and street-level shops strive to outdo each other with elaborate window displays and inviting interiors. On a side street is an old Theatre de Vaudeville that is rentable for . . .

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Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience 

March 3th at 7 pm ET Virtual Opening   We are pleased to announce the exhibition Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience with links to register for the virtual opening event on Wed. March. 3 at 7 pm ET. We invite you to enjoy the exhibition catalog and attend the virtual opening. Read the exhibition catalog here.  Register for Wednesday, March 3, 7 pm ET virtual opening here. Numerous Volunteers in the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience partnered with Jack Rasmussen, Director of American University Museum and AU Museum staff to create this exhibit. Now available virtually, the physical exhibit is installed until August 2021 and will be viewable at American University Museum, Washington DC, when the pandemic situation allows the campus to open publicly. — Pat Wand (Colombia 1963-1965) — Nicola Dino (Ecuador 1994-1997)

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