Author - John Coyne

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Leahy At Peace Corps Crossroad
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Our RPCV Reporter in Honduras
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It Is Time To Call Senator Leahy's Office (Again!)
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Sarah Palin For Peace Corps Director?
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RPCV Dick Lipez Is Back With New Don Strachey Mystery
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New Version of Larry Leamer's Blog on HuffingtonPost
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Step # 9 Ten Steps For The Next Peace Corps Director To Take To Improve The Agency, Save Money, And Make All PCVs & RPCV Happy!
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Four New Books By RPCV Writers
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RPCV in Deep Space
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Step # 8 Ten Steps For The Next Peace Corps Director To Take To Improve The Agency, Save Money, And Make All PCVs & RPCV Happy!

Leahy At Peace Corps Crossroad

Leahy at Peace Corps Crossroad is a “My Turn’ column in the Burlington Free Press written by Scott Skinner (Nepal 1964-66). Scott writes: “Sen. Patrick Leahy has frequently provided courageous leadership in the Senate. But he is now faced with a major challenge, and it is not clear that he is going to step up to meet it. “Sen. Leahy is the chairman of a key Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittee that funds the Peace Corps. On Thursday, this subcommittee is scheduled to meet to allocate approximately $49 billion for a large variety of foreign projects. Funding for the Peace Corps is a tiny part of this sum. As chairman, Sen. Leahy can basically decide himself how much funding goes to the Peace Corps. “The Obama administration had proposed a Peace Corps budget of $373 million, an amount that would effectively reduce the number of the Peace Corps volunteers despite the president’s . . .

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Our RPCV Reporter in Honduras

More than 6,000 U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers have served Hondurans since 1963 in every facet of development, in every state of that nation. This uninterrupted service bridged seventeen years of military rule, the Soccer War (1969), two serious hurricanes (1974, 1998), and sporadic flooding exacerbated by deforestation. Since 1981, Honduras has participated in civilian rule. On June 28th, the president elect, his family, and foreign minister were forced at gun point to leave. Below is an electronic message from Joe Arcoleo (Honduras 1977-80) who reports from that country. I was in Tegucigalpa while attending a funeral of a family member and travelled outside of the capital area during the events June 25 through 30 of this year.  I audited an organizing committee meeting that a group of ordinary citizens held during my visit.  These citizens considered the Honduran military’s actions to remove the President illegal.  They brave men and women . . .

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It Is Time To Call Senator Leahy's Office (Again!)

The vote is this week on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State/Foreign Operations. We really have one more day to call. Senator Leahy is the key person.  If you are from his state call 802.863.2525 and tell him you vote! Otherwise, call the Washington, D.C. number (and tell them you are moving to Leahy’s hometown) and that you vote.  Tell the Senator’s office to vote to increase the Peace Corps budget; tell the person who answers the phone that America needs a bold Peace Corps world wide. Thank you. p.s. If you have called, call again. It won’t hurt!

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Sarah Palin For Peace Corps Director?

Here’s a thought….what if the President, in a show of bipartisanship, picks Sarah Palin as our next Peace Corps Director? Obama has a habit of taking ‘potential’ Republican candidates and liberal Republicans into his Administration. [Well, she is not liberal, but she has potential to run against him]. Also, she is versed in international affairs…not only can she see Russia from her  home, she recently got her first passport. Sarah has about as much experience as some past Directors….Nick Craw (1973-74) raced sports cars and had a trust fund; Loret Ruppe (1981-89) had been to Europe (after college) before she was appointed, but she had never been a Governor; Dick Celeste (1979-81) was a Governor and an Ambassador, but only after he was Peace Corps Director; he was, however, a Rhodes Scholar; Coverdell (1989-91) was a state senator; Gearan(1995-990) had a passport (I think) and did work on the Hill; Elane Chao (1991-92) was born in Taiwan, but hadn’t done anything internatonal until she took over the Peace Corps; Gaddi Vasquez (2002-06)was . . .

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RPCV Dick Lipez Is Back With New Don Strachey Mystery

Dick Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) who uses the pen name Richard Stevenson has a new Donald Strachey novel coming out in September. This one is titled, The 38 Million  Dollar Smile. Lipez, who has written for such publications as The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Newsweek and The Washington Post, and more importantly, was a Peace Corps evaluator in the early days when Charlie Peters ran that division, writes now in western Massachusetts  and lives with his spouse, sculptor Joe Wheaton. Lipez has written ten titles in this Strachey series, and this novel is based on Dick’s recent trip to Asia. The plot centers on Gary Griswold, the hapless gadfly scion of Albany old money, late of Key West, who goes missing, and his ex-wife, now married to Gary’s brother, wants to know what’s happened to him–not to mention his 38 million dollars in cash. She calls Don Strachey, Albany’s only gay PI.  The rest, as they say, . . .

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New Version of Larry Leamer's Blog on HuffingtonPost

Senator Patrick Leahy has done much to advance American democracy. When it comes to issues of civil liberties or governmental abuse, he has been there standing stalwart and often alone. That is something that all 195,000 returned Peace Corps volunteers and all Americans concerned with their country’s role in the world must remember, as in the next few days, with the Senate Mark-Up scheduled for Thursday, July 9th, the Senator will have the power to give birth to a bold new Peace Corps or possibly to destroy that dream forever. As Chairman of the State Foreign Operations and Related Programs subcommittee , Senator Leahy has enormous power, and usually what he says goes. Thursday, he can vote for the robust funding of $450 million that will send young Americans out to the most remote archipelagos of Indonesia, carrying a message that Americans are the children of freedom, not of empire. . . .

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Step # 9 Ten Steps For The Next Peace Corps Director To Take To Improve The Agency, Save Money, And Make All PCVs & RPCV Happy!

Step # 9 Toughest Job You’ll Ever Have! Since 1988 Country Directors have not been political positions, but during the Gaddi Vasquez and Jody Olsen tenures, they let non-merit Republicans grab these GS-1 and GS-2 $100,000 plus positions that are the key appointments in the Peace Corps.  True, hiring these mostly unqualified appointments as CDs was not Jody’s fault.  Jody will be the first to admit that as the Deputy,  she had no real authority in the agency; she was nothing more than a totem female RPCV doing the bidding of other Republican hacks. The real power within the Peace Corps was Lloyd Pierson who was a CD in Kenya. His wife worked in the Republican White House and Pierson believed that the Peace Corps should be under USAID. He told Gaddi and his good friend, Jody Olsen, what to do. That said, as the recent Transition Team report states, “Country director selection must be . . .

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Four New Books By RPCV Writers

To order any of these books click on their title or cover. Mosquito Conversations: More Stories from the Upper Peninsula by Lauri Anderson (Nigeria 1965–67) North Star Press of St. Cloud, June 2009 $14.95 Tunakumbuka (We Remember): Our Time in Tanzania as Peace Corps Volunteers by Harlan Bengtson (Tanzania 1965–67) PublishAmerica, March 2009 64 pages $16.95 Bread, Salt & Plum Brandy: A True Story of Love and Adventure in a Foreign Land by Lisa Fisher Cazacu (Romania 2002–04) and Rosemary Colgrove Aventine Press April 2009 224 pages $14.95 On My Own Now: Straight Talk from the Proverbs for Young Christian Women who Want to Remain Pure, Debt-free and Regret-free by Donna Lee Schillinger (Ecuador 1989-91) Quilldriver April Fool’s Day 2009 288 pages $14.95, audio book $9.95, e-book $4.95

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RPCV in Deep Space

Dan Curry (Thailand 1969-73) who is a seven-time Emmy Award winner for his visionary work on the various STAR TREK television series: ENTERPRISE; DEEP SPACE NINE; VOYAGER; and THE NEXT GENERATION started out in the Peace Corps building small dams and bridges in rural Northeast Thailand. Wait! Is Tom Hanks’ Volunteer really based on Dan’s Peace Corps tour? Dan, who is from New York City, majored in Fine Arts at Middlebury College, then joined the Peace Corps and stayed on in Thailand after his tour to work freelance in art and film production. It was during these years that he was awarded a commission from the King of Thailand as production designer for the Royal Ball. Coming home, he worked next as a bio-medical illustrator, taught fine arts at a New England college, and got his Master of Fine Arts degree in Film and Theatre at Humboldt State University. Then . . .

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Step # 8 Ten Steps For The Next Peace Corps Director To Take To Improve The Agency, Save Money, And Make All PCVs & RPCV Happy!

Step #8 A GI Bill for RPCVs The President’s Transition Team highlighted the fact that the Peace Corps never has fulfilled the promise of the Third Goal. This problem lies within the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps looks overseas. It doesn’t have the mind set to understand, as the Transition Team reported, “the power of returned Volunteer cultural and linguistic skills in the new multi-cultural America; show that Peace Corps service abroad helps solve problems here at home-completing the loop for Peace Corps; and create a re-employment stream for returned Volunteers. Taxpayers will see an impact at home (as teachers, public health workers and more). Over time, this grows into more support, first for overseas mission, and then for the domestic goal.” So what does the Director have to get the White House and Congress to do? 1.) Raise the Readjustment Allowance for RPCVs from $6,000 to $10,000. It has been at . . .

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