Author - Marian Haley Beil

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The Volunteer Exemplar for the Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Pat Wand (Colombia)
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The Volunteer Who Became “One of the Most Influential Observers of American Politics”*— Chris Matthews (Swaziland)
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Review — AFGHANISTAN AT A TIME OF PEACE by Robin Varnum
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Talking with Robin Varnum (Afghanistan)
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The Volunteer Who Was a Pioneer in the Peaceful and Practical Uses of Outer Space — T. Stephen Cheston (Colombia)
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AFGHANISTAN AT A TIME OF PEACE by Robin Varnum
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Reviews: THE INNOCENCE OF EDUCATION & IN THE CORAL REEF OF THE MARKET by Earl Carlton Huband (Oman)
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The Volunteer who became the founding Director of the National Afro-American Museum and Culture Center — Dr. John Fleming (Malawi)
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RPCVs partnering with Rotary International
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The Volunteer who was Chairman of the Chicago Bears — Mike McCaskey (Ethiopia)

The Volunteer Exemplar for the Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Pat Wand (Colombia)

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • Patricia A. Wand, Pat to her hosts of friends and associates across planet earth, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia from 1963 to 1965 after graduating cum laude in history from Seattle University’s Honors Program. As a rural community development and health education volunteer she taught nutrition, sewing, knitting, and public health and worked with local juntas to build three schools and a bridge. In 1969, she was on Peace Corps staff in the Eastern Caribbean. Thereafter, writing about and detailing her professional career at home and abroad is an exhausting task—as Pat somehow discovered how to get more than 24 hours out of a work day and seven days out of a week! In Pat’s own words, this is how she described her Peace Corps experience. A half century ago, service as a Peace Corps Volunteer introduced me to a . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became “One of the Most Influential Observers of American Politics”*— Chris Matthews (Swaziland)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris — Colombia, 1963-65 •   Chris Matthews (Swaziland 1968–70) recently published a book entitled: This Country: My Life in Politics and History (2021) As one reviewer commented: Chris “shares the many stories that show us the greatness of our nation and her people.” And another stating: “. . . a must read for all, no matter where you self-identify on the current political spectrum.”. So, who is this former Volunteer that was so instrumental in green-lighting Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal while providing ‘friend and foe’ alike some great insights into the cultural values that have informed his public commentary and world view”? After graduating from Holy Cross College in Massachusetts, Chris pursued a Ph. D. in Economics at the University of North Carolina. Then, after completing his graduate studies, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland. There his two years of service as a . . .

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Review — AFGHANISTAN AT A TIME OF PEACE by Robin Varnum

  Afghanistan at a Time of Peace by Robin Varnum (Afghanistan 1971–73) Peace Corps Writers June, 2021 201 pages $25.00 (paperback), $10.00 (Kindle) Reviewed by Will Irwin (Afghanistan 1966–67) • Robin Varnum tells the story of serving as a PCV in Ghazni, Afghanistan in 1972–73 with her husband Mark and another PCV, Juri Zagarins, fluidly and with engaging detail, from beginning to end. Afghanistan at a Time of Peace (Peace Corps Writers, 2021) is a nicely-designed volume, liberally illustrated with color photos taken by Juri when she was in her early 20s and newly married. Robin tells her story chronologically, from the invitation she and Mark received to go to Afghanistan in December 1971 as TEFLers through training, their assignment to teach in Ghazni, and the quotidian and unusual experiences they had living and teaching there until their departure in December 1973. A sampling of each: Bouts with amoebic dysentery for . . .

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Talking with Robin Varnum (Afghanistan)

  In June, Robin Varnum published her Peace Corps memoir Afghanistan at a Time of Peace. Peace Corps Worldwide asked Robin about her service, and about the writing and promoting of her book. • Robin, where and when did you serve with the Peace Corps: I served in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan (1971-1973), and  taught English (grades 8-12) in a girls school. Where did you live and work? I lived in Ghazni, a small city around 85 miles southwest of Kabul. I taught at Lycée Jahan Malika, the only girls school in either the city or the province of Ghazni. At the time, it served around 400 girls from kindergarten through 12thgrade. What kind of work did you do? I taught English. Although I did not understand initially why my students needed to learn English, I soon saw that a knowledge of English could open doors for students with serious ambitions. It was necessary, for example, for those who wished . . .

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The Volunteer Who Was a Pioneer in the Peaceful and Practical Uses of Outer Space — T. Stephen Cheston (Colombia)

A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris — Colombia, 1963-65 • Following his graduation from Clark University in 1963, T. Stephen Cheston, Steve to his friends, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia through 1965 where he developed agricultural cooperatives. He worked in a small village with often illiterate campesinos. But with his superb command of Spanish since childhood when he lived in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico where his father worked for U. S. Steel, Steve’s easy and outgoing personality led him to use his Volunteer time for the accomplishment of mutual goals in a productive manner. After his return from Colombia, he began graduate studies at Georgetown University in 1966, while concurrently working as a volunteer in the Senate Office of Robert F. Kennedy. In 1972, he was awarded a Ph. D. in Russian and Latin American History. In the period from 1972 to 1983, he held consecutive posts . . .

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AFGHANISTAN AT A TIME OF PEACE by Robin Varnum

  It is now difficult to imagine Afghanistan any otherwise than at war. In the early 1970s, however, when Robin Varnum  was serving there as a Peace Corps volunteer (1971–73), the country was enjoying an interlude of peace. Varnum was teaching English in a girls’ school, and since some girls were able to go to school in Afghanistan in those days, she hoped to help her students gain access to the kinds of opportunities that were available to other girls in other parts of the world. She admired the bravery of her students, and she took inspiration from the work of Dr. Khadija Akbar, the Afghan woman doctor who was running her community’s family planning clinic. Afghanistan at a Time of Peace is a memoir of Varnum’s Peace Corps experience. She was stationed in Ghazni, a small city some 85 miles southwest of Kabul, and she served there alongside Mark, . . .

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Reviews: THE INNOCENCE OF EDUCATION & IN THE CORAL REEF OF THE MARKET by Earl Carlton Huband (Oman)

  Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador (1974–76), Costa Rica (1976–77) • The Innocence of Education by  Earl Carlton Huband (Oman 1975–78) (Peace Corps poetry) 31 pages Longleaf Press November 2018 $10.00 (paperback) • The author was a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in the Sultanate of Oman from 1975 to 1978. He taught English in the remote fishing village of Bukha located in a then-restricted military zone at the mouth of the Persian Gulf for two years. During his third year, he worked in Salalah, the capital of Oman’s southern district, splitting his time between teaching English and serving as assistant to that region’s Chief English Inspector. This book of poems is based on Huband’s time in Bukha. The poems are compact gems of sly humor and universal humanity with an underpinning wisdom. An alternate title for the book might be The Education of Earl Huband. Like myself and many other PCVs, . . .

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The Volunteer who became the founding Director of the National Afro-American Museum and Culture Center — Dr. John Fleming (Malawi)

  A Profile in Citizenship — Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) Dr. John Fleming graduated from Berea College, Berea, Kentucky, in 1966 and attended the University of Kentucky, then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi from 1967 to 1969. While a volunteer, he attended the University of Malawi. Returning home, he attended Howard University graduating with a Ph. D. in American history in 1974. Prior to Peace Corps service, Dr. Fleming had wanted to become a missionary and thought that his Peace Corps experience would prepare him for work in Africa. Dr. Fleming was greatly disappointed to learn how missionaries of various religious persuasion treated Africans — and of how he as an African American, received the same treatment from them. Such treatment changed his mind about being a missionary. He recalled one incident when he was traveling to a friend’s village. He arrived late one evening when it . . .

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RPCVs partnering with Rotary International

  I think that Peace Corps Worldwide will be interested to learn about our RPCV Gulf Coast Florida recent meeting with several representatives of Rotary on June 5.  We learned a lot about Rotary activities and the program of partnering with Peace Corps Volunteers and RPCVs.  Attached is a report of our exhilarating conversation. Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) Recipient Lillian Carter Award 2017 • Partnering for Peace:  Peace Corps / Rotary Partnership Did you know that the U.S. Peace Corps is an official partner of Rotary International?  Most do not, which is why the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) of Gulf Coast Florida hosted a Zoom meeting on June 5, 2021 (click to view).  Rotary and Peace Corps members were present, along with board members from Partnering for Peace, an organization that emerged to find and implement projects to strengthen the partnership. Rotarians Vana Prewitt and Kelsey Mitchell, both from Rotary District 6960 in . . .

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The Volunteer who was Chairman of the Chicago Bears — Mike McCaskey (Ethiopia)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–64)   In an article published in the Chicago Tribune on May 26, 2020, John Coyne recalls how he met Mike McCaskey — not at Soldier Field but rather in Fiche (fee CHĀ), Ethiopia, a small village perched high on the escarpment above the Blue Nile river, far from the shores of Lake Michigan. Mike was a Peace Corps Volunteer assigned to teach in an elementary school. He would live for two years in a tin-roofed, whitewashed house made of dirt and dung and teach in a two-room school. Those two years, he later told John, gave Mike an entirely new perspective on the world, one in which he was profoundly grateful. After Mike’s Volunteer days were over, he went on and earned a doctorate, spending the next decade teaching at UCLA and Harvard Business School. Then, as John explained, his . . .

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