Author - John Coyne

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Review–Race across America by Charles B. Kastner (Seychelles)
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Chicago RPCVs Survey For Better Health Support
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Letter From Former Peace Corps Directors to the Senate–NPCA DAYS OF ACTION
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#1 Next Generation of PCVs
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#2 Next Generation of PCVs
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#3 Next Generation of PCVs
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Next Generation of PCVs Start Training
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Stephen Gottlieb (Iran) — “What’s Wrong With Trump’s Approach To Iran?”
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The Non-Matrixed Wife by Susan O’Neill (Venezuela)
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Review–Love Began in Laos by Penelope Khounta (Thailand)

Review–Race across America by Charles B. Kastner (Seychelles)

Race across America Eddie Gardner and the Great Bunion Derbies By Charles B. Kastner (Seychelles 1980-82) Syracuse University Press 329 pages December 2012 $75.00 (hardcover); paper ($29.95) Reviewed by Thomas E. Coyne This is a book worth reading!  And well-illustrated, besides! Actually, it is three books in one, drawing on Charles Kastner’s previous histories of the, now largely forgotten, 1928 and 1929 C. C. Pyle’s International-Trans-Continental Foot Races.  The two races are covered but this is, equally, a focused look at race relations in the United States in the 1920s and the efforts of African Americans to achieve full integration into white America. Author Kastner uses the story of Edward  “Eddie” Gardner to tell his tale.  Gardner, born in Alabama, was a respected African American distance runner in the greater Seattle, Washington community. In 1928 he participated in the trans-continental race planned by the Route 66 Highway Association to draw . . .

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Chicago RPCVs Survey For Better Health Support

My name is Griffin Marie Francis Smith, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda from 2011-2013, currently serve on the board of the Chicago Area Peace Corps Association and am a proud member of the RPCV Health Crusade!  RPCV Health Crusade is a newly formed volunteer group of RPCVs who came together to focus on the health and well-being of PCVs and RPCVs. In the spirit that drew us to service, we came together to see how we can make a difference within our own RPCV community.  We believe that there are volunteers currently serving in the Peace Corps that could have better health experiences and also believe there is very little in place to support the health of RPCVs after service. We created a health survey (https://surveys.rpcvhealthcrusade.org/682425) with the following goals in mind: to give the PCV and RPCV community a voice in identifying our own health needs; . . .

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Letter From Former Peace Corps Directors to the Senate–NPCA DAYS OF ACTION

A bi-partisan group of ten former Peace Corps directors are unified in their opposition to Senate legislation that would place #PeaceCorps operations under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of State, ending the agency’s independent status. Their letter, addressed to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, aims to keep the #international perception of Peace Corps’ independence and ensure the agency’s non-political status in order for its continued success. As part of NPCA’s upcoming National Days of Action, advocates will meet with lawmakers to take action on this legislation. Learn more and read the full letter: January 7, 2020 Chairman James Risch Senate Foreign Relations Committee 423 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Ranking Member Bob Menendez Senate Foreign Relations Committee 423 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Dear Chairman Risch and Ranking Member Menendez, As former directors of Peace Corps, we are writing to respectfully request that . . .

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Stephen Gottlieb (Iran) — “What’s Wrong With Trump’s Approach To Iran?”

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974–77)     What’s Wrong With Trump’s Approach To Iran? by Stephen Gottlieb (Iran 1965-67) WAMC Northeast Report • What’s wrong with Trump’s approach to Iran? Let me count the ways. First, Trump’s claims about stopping Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s plans make little sense. What had been planned can take place with or without him. Iranian strikes are more, not less, likely now.  This is too similar to the prelude to the war in Iraq except that Trump isn’t taking the time to try to convince anyone. We just have unsubstantiable and probably false claims as a basis for very costly decisions. Second, the timing is suspicious. War threats blew impeachment out of the news. In other words, everything is PR. Third, Trump’s stated policy is tit for tat. But where does it end? If we need the last strike, why don’t they? Most . . .

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The Non-Matrixed Wife by Susan O’Neill (Venezuela)

When Joseph Blatchford was appointed director of the Peace Corps in May of 1969 he brought with him a set of “New Directions” to improve the agency. Whether these directors were new or not is endlessly argued, but what was clear was this: Blatchford wanted skilled Volunteers, i.e. “blue-collar workers, experienced teachers, businessman and farmers.” While the Peace Corps has always found it difficult to recruit large numbers of such “skilled” Volunteers, Blatchford and his staff came up with the novel idea of recruiting married couples with children. One of the couples would be a Volunteer and the other (usually the wife) would be — in Peace Corps jargon — the “non-matrixed” spouse. The kids would just be kids. It would be in this way, Blatchford thought, that the Peace Corps could recruit older, more mature, experienced, and skilled PCVs. And the Peace Corps would stop being just “BA generalists” . . .

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Review–Love Began in Laos by Penelope Khounta (Thailand)

Love Began in Laos The Story of an Extraordinary Life by Penelope Khounta (Thailand 1989-91) PBK Press 338 pages August 2017 $16.95 (paperback); $5.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Jim Jouppi (Thailand 1971-73) Before the Air Force arrived in Thailand, before the unimproved road to Nakhon Phanom was replaced with a two-lane highway which ran all the way to Bangkok, and before Royal Thai Air Base had been built, two female Peace Corps TEFL volunteers were sent to teach at a boy’s secondary school in town.  They liked their teaching job as far as they went, but there wasn’t much to do for entertainment.  They could have visited volunteers stationed in other provinces of Thailand, but, as author Penelope Khounta writes in Chapter 2 of her memoir Love Began in Laos, the Story of an Extraordinary Life, a chapter she calls “The Starting Point: 1962”, that wasn’t something they really liked . . .

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