Miscellany

As it says!

1
Don Schlenger (Ethiopia 1966-68) Speaks His (and Our) Minds
2
RPCVs from Morocco in Opposition to Islamophobia
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Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone 1964-66) Reviewed In NYTIMES
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Washington Post: After their return, some Peace Corps volunteers find byzantine health system neglects them
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RPCV Artists in NYC
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Meet Senator Harris Wofford at New York Public Library on January 13, 2016
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Harris Wofford & George Stephanopoulos: A Conversation
8
Peace Corps Seeking a RPCV Portal
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More on the "Less" Medical Help for RPCVs
10
Here's a Comment from Andrew Herman We All Should Read on Peace Corps Fantasies

Don Schlenger (Ethiopia 1966-68) Speaks His (and Our) Minds

“Have you no sense of decency, sir?” was the question asked of Senator Joseph McCarthy by army lawyer Joseph N. Welch during the infamous Army-McCarthy Hearing of 1954. A question most Americans might asked today of that loathsome and insufferable Republican candidate Donald John Trump. It is not a question, however, that will be asked by the news media or 24/7 cable networks. They see Trump’s raging’s as an easy and quick way to increase ratings and revenue. The pundits say Trump speak of the ‘rage’ in blue collar America, but, in truth, Trump represents nothing and nobody.  Like the Wizard of Oz, there’s nothing behind the curtain. Donald Trump is an empty suit.  He will not win a primary or collect more than a handful of delegates in this campaign season of 2016.  He will, however, try and leverage the ‘support’ he allegedly has to ‘make a deal’ with . . .

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RPCVs from Morocco in Opposition to Islamophobia

I received this Petition from Sharon Keld (Morocco 2006-08) and Ann Eisenberg (Morocco 2006-08) who wrote me “Many of my RPCV colleagues were individually speaking out against Islamophobia and in support of Syrian refugees on social media, drawing from their Peace Corps service in Morocco.  A few of us agreed that the RPCV perspective could have a more powerful impact if we spoke out together, so we drafted the open letter and are circulating it in petition form.  We felt we had an important point of view and a unique duty to speak out as members of a very small group of Americans who have lived and engaged in public service in majority-Muslim countries for non-military reasons. Here is the link to the petition that I have copied below:https://www.change.org/p/the-american-public-statement-in-support-of-syrian-refugees-and-in-opposition-to-islamophobia?recruiter=452278202&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink Petitioning The American Public Statement in Support of Syrian Refugees and in Opposition to Islamophobia Concerned Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Secretary . . .

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Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone 1964-66) Reviewed In NYTIMES

In the New York Times, on Friday, December 25, 2015, there was an article about Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone 1964-66) and his current art exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum. It was written by Jason Farago. Puryear’s exhibition entitled, “Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions” continues through January 10, 2016 at the Morgan. The exhibition will then travel to Chicago where it was first organized by the Art Institute of Chicago. Later, it will go to Washington and the Smithsonian. Puryear is from Washington, graduated from Catholic University of America, then joined the Peace Corps. In West Africa he drew proficient sketches of local architecture, palm trees and cactuses, and a few Sierra Leoneans he met while teaching English, French and biology. After his tour, he studied printmaking in Sweden and then attended Yale, where he turned to doing sculptures. Puryear is our most famous of RPCV artist and I did . . .

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Washington Post: After their return, some Peace Corps volunteers find byzantine health system neglects them

After their return, some Peace Corps volunteers find byzantine health system neglects them By Lisa Rein Washington Post, December 23 at 11:08 AM Returned Peace Corps Volunteer William Harless with his students in Thailand. (Courtesy William Harless) The Peace Corps says its top priorities are the health, safety and the security of its volunteers. But a new internal report acknowledges that some Volunteers who come home sick or injured have been waiting years – even decades – for adequate medical care and have fallen deeply through the cracks of a federal insurance bureaucracy. The report, by a task force set up by the agency in March, is a particularly candid assessment by top Peace Corps officials of government failure to provide top-notch health-care access to thousands of young people who serve in far-flung developing countries. “A wide variety” of returned volunteers “shared their experiences not only about the health issues that impact the quality of their lives but the . . .

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RPCV Artists in NYC

I heard recently from Dan Ingala, Public Affairs Specialist at the Peace Corps Northeast Office in New York, about the Peace Corps Art Show that has been organized for the last three years by the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of New York. Dan connected me to Sarah Porter (Macedonia 2005-07) president of the group and vice president Nicole Ethier (Indonesia 2011-13) Sarah wrote me in an email that the show started in Brooklyn at the co-working space called BrooklynWorks 159, saying, “Some of the art is based on or shaped by the Peace Corps experience – there have been several pieces that were made during the volunteer’s experience – but many pieces are independent of that.” BrooklynWork 159 is owned by an RPCV, Vic Puri (Samoa 2002-04), and as Sarah says, “it is not only beautiful and conducive to becoming an art gallery for an evening, having the exhibition at an RPCV-owned . . .

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Meet Senator Harris Wofford at New York Public Library on January 13, 2016

On January 13th at the New York Public Library (5:45 pm) there will be an evening to celebrate Harris Wofford.  Harris helped Sargent Shriver start the Peace Corps and organized the Ethiopia program, serving as Peace Corps Director for Sub-Saharan Africa.  He later become a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and was president of two colleges, an advisor to President Kennedy and to Martin Luther King.  On the evening of January 13th, he’ll be interviewed live by George Stephanopoulos and we will see an exclusive preview from the upcoming documentary on Harris’s life, including his return to Ann Arbor 50 years after John Kennedy’s 2 am speech where he first proposed the Peace Corps. This event is being organized to raise the funding needed to complete the documentary by Harris’s 90th birthday next April.  It normally costs $150 to attend; however, a limited number of $50 tickets are available here: wofforddocny.eventbrite.com RSVP today. Act fast. . . .

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Harris Wofford & George Stephanopoulos: A Conversation

Support the upcoming documentary film on Harris Wofford and join George Stephanopoulos as he interviews Senator Wofford live at the New York Public Library. The evening will feature an exclusive preview of the upcoming documentary on Harris Wofford, including interviews with Senator Ted Kennedy, Rep. John Lewis, James Carville, Bill Moyers, and others. George Stephanopoulos will interview Harris about the stories of eight decades, including advancing Civil Rights with Martin Luther King and President Kennedy, helping to start the Peace Corps, fighting for national health care in the U.S. Senate, and growing national service. Wednesday, January 13, 2016 NYPL: THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street Sponsored by Corporation for Civic Documentaries As a special web offer, a very limited number of tickets at $50 (normally $150) to enjoy the event and the reception afterwards, hosted by New York Public Library CEO Anthony Marx. Go to:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/george-stephanopoulos-and-harris-wofford-a-conversation-tickets-19997099864

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Peace Corps Seeking a RPCV Portal

The Office of the Third Goal at the agency has requested of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to create a “Portal” that will allow RPCVs to update their contact information, share stories, request official documentation, view their service history, and enroll in outreach and marketing campaigns. The official title will be: Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Portal (RPCV Portal). They say the general description of collection would be “To build a robust alumni network it is essential that Peace Corps maintains accurate and up-to-date contact information for RPCVs. By logging into the RPCV Portal, RPVCs access their record in the database directly, and are able to make changes and submit requests at their convenience. The updated contact information collected in the RPCV Portal will be used for outreach and support purposes, along with managing subscriptions for Peace Corps newsletters.”  (Do we even have a newsletter from the agency?) RPCVs . . .

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More on the "Less" Medical Help for RPCVs

(Thanks to Nancy Tongue(Chile 1980-82) founder of Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers (HJPCV) for Leading this fight for better health for RPCV.) CBS NEWS December 14, 2015, 7:43 AM Ex-volunteers accuse Peace Corps of health care neglect The Peace Corps says 91 percent of volunteers are satisfied with their medical care, but government reports as far as 1991 found problems with that care. Some returned volunteers tell CBS News they’ve fallen through the cracks both during and after their service — in some cases, for decades, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave. In 1965, Nancy Minadeo Flanigan was a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia. She was raped by local men and impregnated with a daughter, who died at birth. “I started having depression and nightmares and flashbacks,” Flanigan said. In 2012 she got word she would be reimbursed for 50 years of medical bills, but she needed receipts. “Well, . . .

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Here's a Comment from Andrew Herman We All Should Read on Peace Corps Fantasies

“Talking with Dr. Molly Geidel about her Provocative Cultural History of the 1960s’ Peace Corps” Comment: Thank you John for facilitating this discussion and giving it quite a rocket engine of a start. First of all, I neither have time nor energy to expose all of the logical fallacies upholding this many-headed argument accusing 50 years of goodwill by Peace Corps volunteers of committing more harm than good. However, I will attack the most egregious of them here. For starters her entire argument assumes the Peace Corps must be guilty by association with the US federal government and never once attempts to quantify how exactly this argument should be upheld. As a scientist I was taught, “if it cannot be measured, it does not exist.” How exactly does Geidel intend to measure Peace Corps’ negative effects on indigenous cultures around the Third World? And even if it were proven fact, . . .

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