Author - John Coyne

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Peace Corps Virtual Symposium at American University
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Tacoma-to-Liberia Peace Corps Journey — Kathleen Corey
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Would the pandemic stop Paul Theroux (Malawi) from traveling? No. Of course not.
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The Peace Corps and Us (Ethiopia)
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Mrs. Hemingway and Peace Corps Volunteers in Tanzania
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“Predatory Elite” also bear the blame for migrant crisis, RPCV Juan Gonzalez (Guatemala) says
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Eric Torgersen (Ethiopia) — Honorary Chancellor of the Poetry Society of Michigan
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Review — UNDER THE WAVE AT WAIMEA by Paul Theroux (Malawi)
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A Conversation with Senator Chris Coons: National Service and the Biden Agenda
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A Journey of Love, Faith, Strength, and Determination by Grover Jackson (Kenya)

Peace Corps Virtual Symposium at American University

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Steve Kafein (Russia 1994-96) Peace Corps 2.0: A Symposium March 31 | 4:00-7:00 p.m. ET | Online Event Co-sponsored by the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience, the American University Museum, and the National Peace Corps Association Sixty years ago, in March 1961, students held a conference at American University to advise Sargent Shriver on how the Peace Corps should take shape. During this milestone anniversary, we commemorate student leadership with a virtual symposium and an exhibit at the American University Museum. Learn more and RSVP

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Tacoma-to-Liberia Peace Corps Journey — Kathleen Corey

    My Tacoma-to-Liberia Peace Corps journey proved to me I could tackle anything anywhere By Kathleen M. Corey (Liberia 1975–79) March 26, 2021   “I got a C?! I’ve never gotten a C in my life!” It was 1969. I was a senior at the University of Washington, preparing to become a high school English teacher. “You have an A+ for subject matter knowledge,” said my mentor teacher, Roy Feldstadt, “but a C in classroom management.” Depressed that I’d chosen a career for which I was clearly unsuited, I decided to go skiing in Sun Valley. After five fun but somewhat meaningless years, I decided to try teaching again and applied to the Peace Corps. Assigned to Liberia in Western Africa, I called my old mentor and told him the news. “Liberia!” he said. “I was in Group 2 in Liberia! Ask for Zorzor Central High — you’ll get . . .

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Would the pandemic stop Paul Theroux (Malawi) from traveling? No. Of course not.

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Andy Trincia (Romania 2002-04)   By Gal Beckerman New York Times March 28, 2021 • For five days, Paul Theroux, the famous American travel writer, dined on hard-boiled eggs, microwaved dal and wine. He had set out cross-country in a rented Jeep Compass on the day before Thanksgiving, driving from Cape Cod, where he has a house, to Los Angeles, where he delivered boxes of his papers to his archives at Huntington Library, and then flying on to Hawaii, his other home. Theroux said he observed a landscape largely emptied out by the coronavirus pandemic, from deserted motels in Sallisaw, Okla., and Tucumcari, N.M., where he stopped to sleep, to a rest area in Tennessee where he had his solitary Thanksgiving meal, and the In-N-Out Burger in Kingman, Ariz., on his last day on the road. Every night, as is his habit, he wrote out . . .

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The Peace Corps and Us (Ethiopia)

    Wayne and Laurie Kessler (Ethiopia 1964-66) • We first learned what impact we had on students when we made a quick unannounced return visit in 1969 to the Eritrean village where we taught three years prior as Peace Corps teachers.   On our way to the  “Peace Corps house” we surprised a small group of students who started to run away. They thought we were ghosts.  After our Tigrinya greetings settled them down, we asked them what they remembered about our teaching. To our surprise and dismay, they remembered how we dealt with small clouds of flies buzzing around our heads in stuffy classrooms stuffed with 40 to 60 students. They demonstrated how Mrs. Laurie blew at them out of the side of her month and Mr. Wayne waved his hand like a car window wiper.  Laughingly, we asked, “Is that all you remember?”  No, they said in . . .

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Mrs. Hemingway and Peace Corps Volunteers in Tanzania

by Geri Critchley Senegal 1971-72   A year after I wrote an article in “Peace Corps Worldwide” about finding Hemingway in Tanzania, E Africa, I received an email: “Finding Mrs. Hemingway — a 60-year mystery” from Hussein Issa. Hussein wrote, “Your article, “A Writer Writes: Hemingway in Africa” helped me narrow my search and finally solve a 60-year old mystery. Who was Mrs. Hemingway? — my first-grade teacher in Arusha, Tanzania. My previous searches were centered on Ernest Hemingway’s wives, but their timelines didn’t seem to fit the period I met her. As soon as I finished reading your article, I started to focus on Patrick Hemingway’s wives.” Hussein went on to say that at the age of 7, he was brought from Kenya to Tanzania to live with his stepmother to attend the Aga Khan Elementary School in Arusha. He was angry that he was taken from his mother, . . .

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“Predatory Elite” also bear the blame for migrant crisis, RPCV Juan Gonzalez (Guatemala) says

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65)   March 26, 20219: BILL CHAPPELL • Many migrants who come to the U.S. border from Central America are doing so because of “a predatory elite” who are tied to a host of problems in their home countries — not because of President Biden’s easing of Trump-era immigration policies, according to Juan Gonzalez, a top aide to Biden on immigration. “You have, frankly, a predatory elite that benefits from the status quo, which is to not pay any taxes or invest in social programs,” said Gonzalez, the National Security Council’s senior director for the Western Hemisphere and a special assistant to President Biden. “Migration is essentially a social release valve for migrants,” he said, adding that remittances from their earnings in the U.S. drive more consumption in their home countries. When parents and young people look around in countries that lack paved . . .

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Eric Torgersen (Ethiopia) — Honorary Chancellor of the Poetry Society of Michigan

  With IN WHICH WE SEE OUR SELVES, Eric Torgersen begins with the formal structure of the ghazal as popularized by Agha Shahid Ali and unapologetically makes a more American thing of it, arguing in his Afterword that this transformation is as inevitable as what happens when the children of immigrant parents pass through an American junior high school: not everyone is pleased with the result.“I’ve tried to avoid faux- Eastern themes and tones,” he writes. Fluently metrical and effortlessly rhymed, at times in short, hard-hitting lines with refrains as brief as a single word, these poems leap off the page with speech as American as this: My gang all quit when I didn’t split the take right. We crashed and burned when I didn’t hit the brake right. Following the common practice of “signing” the poems in the final couplet, Torgersen allows a chorus of voices — selves? — . . .

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Review — UNDER THE WAVE AT WAIMEA by Paul Theroux (Malawi)

  Under the Wave at Waimea by Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 416 pages April 2021 $15.99 (Kindle); $$24.21l (Hardback); $28.00 (Audio CD) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971-73) • I’ve read and reviewed the last six books from the iconic travel writer, Paul Theroux, and was fortunate enough to snag a copy of the uncorrected proof of his next book, which will be available in mid-April. Initially, I was unenthusiastic about reading about the life of an aging surfer in Hawaii, but after reading On the Plain of Snakes about Mexico, I felt sure he’d manage to turn Hawaii into one of his ebullient tomes—and I was not disappointed. After all, the author has lived there for over 30 years, during which time he’s been gathering stories and materials about this unique 50th State. Although he’s traveled the world, he lived the longest in Hawaii, whose . . .

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A Conversation with Senator Chris Coons: National Service and the Biden Agenda

    A Conversation with Senator Chris Coons: National Service and the Biden Agenda Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 6:00pm Virtual As the Peace Corps celebrates 60 years of volunteer service, the JFK Jr. Forum welcomes U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), the lead Senate sponsor of major national service legislation and co-chair of the National Service Caucus. What is the role of national service both domestically and internationally? Do the needs of the pandemic response offer opportunities for more Americans to make a difference? How does national service contribute to President Biden’s call to ‘restore the soul of America’? Join the Institute of Politics for a discussion with Delaware’s Senator Chris Coons, a leading voice in the national service movement; member of the Senate Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, and Small Business Committees; and chair of the Senate Ethics Committee. IOP Director and former Director of the Peace Corps 1995 to 1999, Mark D. Gearan, will . . .

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A Journey of Love, Faith, Strength, and Determination by Grover Jackson (Kenya)

  Grover Jackson, co-author of a generation-spanning memoir which details the life of a Black Southern sharecropper family in America, announces a multimedia event — “Back to Kenya”  • A Journey of Love, Faith, Strength, and Determination by Grover Jackson (Kenya 1967-69, Mary Fullard and E. Christine Jackson Newman Springs Press 422 pages September 2020 $8.99 (Kindle); $24.95 (Paperback); $36.95 (Hardback) STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga., March 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Grover Jackson, Mary Fullard, and E. Christine Jackson announced the upcoming release of a multimedia presentation and lecture to pair with their recently published co-authored memoir, A Journey of Love, Faith, Strength, and Determination. As part of the epic family journey detailed in the book, Grover’s powerful and transformative two-year Peace Corps deployment to Kenya in 1967 is reexamined as a legacy journey of personal understanding. Grover returned to Kenya in January of 2020 to revisit the places and people that touched and changed him as a young man . . .

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