Miscellany

As it says!

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RPCV Stacy Jupiter (Gabon) receives a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award
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“Breaking U.S. immigration laws saved lives in 1975. It gets you arrested today.”
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Martin Puryear will represent the U.S. at the Venice Biennale (Sierra Leone)
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PERCEPTION AND DECEPTION — Joe Lurie (Kenya)
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Bill Owens (Jamaica) at Altamont . . . Read and remember the ’60s
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Concetta Anne Bencivenga (Thailand), Director of the Transit Museum of New York Subway
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Good News for northern CA Peace Corps Volunteers
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Where Did the Schizophrenics Go?
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Richard Lipez (Ethiopia): Fond memories of a good airline
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RPCVs needed in El Paso

RPCV Stacy Jupiter (Gabon) receives a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award

    The National Peace Corps Association announces this important award.   ” Stacy Jupiter (Gabon 1997–99) is one of 26 MacArthur Foundation Fellows for 2019, citing her efforts to save lives and coral reefs as well as build on traditional practices to figure out when, where, and how long to close off fishing areas to best manage natural resources. The honor comes with a grant totaling $625,000. Stacy directs the Wildlife Conservation Society‘s Melanesia Program Fulbright scholarship.”   Here is the information from the MacArthur Foundation. “Stacy Jupiter is a marine scientist integrating local cultural practices with field research to develop conservation solutions that protect both the biodiversity of coastal ecosystems and the well-being of communities dependent on them. Working in concert with local communities, Jupiter is establishing and applying new approaches to natural resource management based on traditional ecological knowledge and practices that take into account the livelihoods and . . .

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“Breaking U.S. immigration laws saved lives in 1975. It gets you arrested today.”

    Breaking U.S. immigration laws saved lives in 1975. It gets you arrested today by THURSTON CLARKE (Tunisia 1960) JUL 15, 2019 | 3:05 AM Op-Ed Los Angeles Times    As the Vietnam War caromed to an end, Sister Marie Therese LeBlanc, a middle-aged American nun serving at Friends of the Children of Vietnam orphanage in Saigon, signed one affidavit after another attesting to sons and daughters she never had. It was April 23, 1975, one week before the city fell to the communists. The 36 people LeBlanc claimed as her children were the adult employees of her orphanage and their families. Nevertheless, State Department officials at the evacuation processing center at Tan Son Nhut air base affixed their consular seals to her affidavits, and American airmen added the names she provided to the flight manifests of the Air Force transports flying out of Saigon. They collaborated with her because they . . .

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Martin Puryear will represent the U.S. at the Venice Biennale (Sierra Leone)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Gerry Schwinn (Nigeria 1963-65)   On the eve of the Venice Biennale, the artist’s shaping hand frames a view of his troubled, and troubling, homeland.   Martin Puryear, Citizen Sculptor By Holland Cotter May 3, 2019 New York Times “This moment has caught me being as much a citizen as an artist,” said the sculptor Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone 1964-66) on an afternoon in his studio in New York’s Hudson River Valley early in April. In two days he would leave for Venice to begin installing a solo exhibition at the 58th Venice Biennale in which he will officially represent the United States. Rising to that responsibility can’t be easy in an American “moment” tense with divisive politics, resurgent racism, and gun violence. Yet anyone who has followed this artist’s 50-year career, knows he is more than up to the task. Now 77, he is . . .

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PERCEPTION AND DECEPTION — Joe Lurie (Kenya)

    Joe Lurie (Kenya 1967-68) is the Executive Director Emeritus of UC Berkeley’s International House, and author of Perception and Deception: A Mind-Opening Journey Across Cultures (Nipporica Associates, 2018). C-Span just aired a book  talk in which Joe references discoveries he made while he was a PCV in Kenya that opened his eyes in profound ways, and were the seeds of his book, now in its second expanded edition.  In case the program is of interest, it’s likely to be aired again , but in case you miss it, here it is. A former director of semester and summer programs abroad for the School for International Training in France, Kenya, and Ghana, Joe lived in Europe for four years, and lectures widely for Cal Discoveries in Africa, Asia and Europe. He is fluent in French as well as Swahili. The Joe Lurie Returning Peace Corps Volunteer Gateway Fellow for entering Ph.D . . .

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Bill Owens (Jamaica) at Altamont . . . Read and remember the ’60s

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Marian Haley Beil (Ethiopia 1962-64)     Bill Owens (Jamaica 1964–66), is our most famous RPCV photographer. Back in 1972 Bill published a collection of photographs on suburbia entitled Suburbia. In this cult classic book, photographer Owens acted as an anthropologist objectively documenting suburban inhabitants, their native environs, and their daily rituals. By pairing the images with quotes made by the subjects, Owens created a hilarious and absurd account of life in the suburbs. A life that included Tupperware parties, backyard barbecues, and going to the hairdresser. In 2004 the fourth and final volume in his landmark Suburbia series — Suburbia (1973; 1999); Our Kind Of People (1975); Working — I Do It For The Money (1977) — Leisure (2004) was published. In his introduction to Leisure, photographer Gregory Crewdson writes: Owens’ photographs belong to an American aesthetic tradition of art that explores the intersection of everyday life . . .

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Concetta Anne Bencivenga (Thailand), Director of the Transit Museum of New York Subway

    Concetta Anne Bencivenga (Thailand 1992-94) is Director of the New York Transit Museum, the largest museum in the United States devoted to urban public transportation history and one of the premier institutions of its kind in the world. The New York’s first subway station opened in 1904 under City Hall with luxuries that today’s subway riders can hardly imagine. Here’s a look at the station today. • Failing New York Subway? Not Always — Once There Were Chandeliers by Winnie Hu New York Times April 11, 2019 New Yorkers once waited for the subway by the glow of chandeliers. Really. When the city’s first subway station opened in 1904 underneath City Hall in Lower Manhattan, it was a testament to New York’s arrival as a world-class city on par with London, Paris or Rome. The ornate station featured chandeliers, ornamental skylights and soaring archways with zigzagging patterns of terra-cotta . . .

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Good News for northern CA Peace Corps Volunteers

      The Northern California Returned Peace Corps Association knows how valuable Hesperian books are to Peace Corps Volunteers — many used Where There Is No Doctor or our other health resources during their service overseas. But the Peace Corps does not provide every Volunteer with Hesperian’s lifesaving resources. The NorCal RPCV Association wants to remedy that, so they have awarded us a grant to send free books to Peace Corps Volunteers whose US home is in Northern California. This program is brand new, but we have already sent 26 books to PCVs serving in Ecuador, Ghana, Liberia and Lesotho. This grant provides the resources to send 50 more books that support not just the work of PCVs, but also will be left in the host community to ensure that our health information makes a lasting impact. If you are a PCV from Northern California, you can apply on our website. And if you are part . . .

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Where Did the Schizophrenics Go?

    The number drops to 750,000 from 2.8 million, and spending per patient soars.   by Fuller Torrey and Wendy Simmons March 26, 2019 6:56 p.m. ET Wall Street Journal Wondrous are the ways of Washington. In a single day, the federal government officially reduced the number of people with schizophrenia in the United States from 2.8 million to 750,000. With a change of the National Institute of Mental Health website in 2017, two million people with schizophrenia simply disappeared. The 2.8 million estimate, or 1.1% of the adult population, had been the official standard for the U.S. since the 1980s, when the last major prevalence survey was carried out. The figure was provided to Congress in 1993 and used for national estimates such as the cost of schizophrenia. NIMH Director Joshua Gordon wrote in the Psychiatric Times that “the 1.1% figure is no longer scientifically defensible” in view . . .

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Richard Lipez (Ethiopia): Fond memories of a good airline

  Posted Friday, March 22, 2019 10:57 am By Richard Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64)   BANGKOK — Most of the parties in the aftermath of the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash, in which 157 died, came out looking bad. The FAA for three days of dithering, Boeing for pushing through certification of a plane with an apparent dangerous flaw, and pretend aviation expert Donald Trump, who privately told officials Boeing’s 737 Max “sucks” before grounding the model because doing so was important “psychologically and a lot of other ways.” Amtrak, anyone? Sadly, Ethiopian Airlines may also have gone down in the estimation of the flying public, and it should not have. The airline has long enjoyed a good safety record. But since Boeing raised no alarms, EAL’s pilots did not receive training for dealing with the new 737 computer software that twice seems to have fatally turned against cockpit crews, in Indonesia in October . . .

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RPCVs needed in El Paso

    Office of the Bishop Diocese of El Paso Catholic Pastoral Center February 16, 2019   Dear former Peace Corps Volunteers: My cousin, Patricia Silke Edmisten, a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru 1962-64),  suggested I write you. I presently serve as the Catholic Bishop of El Paso in Texas. Without doubt you have been attuned in recent months to news about the large number of asylum-seekers we are witnessing presently seeking refuge in the United States. It seems that the El Paso region has become a major crossing point along the 2,000 mile border our country shares with Mexico. El Paso has always been a place of encounter and of passage as our very name suggests, but the numbers of families, many with young children, we are witnessing are considerably higher than in the past. The majority are fleeing unendurable levels of violence, instability and the resulting economic collapse . . .

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