Peace Corps Volunteers

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RPCV Film maker Ron Ranson’s ‘Tattooed Trucks of Nepal – Horn Please’
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RPCV Colin Rule CEO of Mediate.com and Arbitrate.com (Eritrea)
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Poet Ann Neelon (Senegal) Professor of English Murray State University Retires
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Brian Norris (Bolivia) Fulbright Global Scholar
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THE MARTHA STEWART OF GABON by Bonnie Black (Gabon)
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Listen to Rob Schmitz (China) on NPR
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FBI JOINS INVESTIGATION INTO SLAIN COUPLE AS FEAR GRIPS NEW HAMPSHIRE TOWN
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President Duque granted Colombian citizenship to journalist Maureen Orth
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RPCV Steve Reid (Niger) and his Togolese wife Murdered in New Hampshire
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Three RPCV women in the news today
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RPCV Samantha Croffut on DART team helping Ukraine
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RPCV–made beer to help Ukraine
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“The Mad Man and Me at the Commercial School in Addis Ababa”
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President Biden has nominated Carol Spahn to be Director of the Peace Corps
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Fletcher Eurasia Club organizes humanitarian aid drive for Ukraine

RPCV Film maker Ron Ranson’s ‘Tattooed Trucks of Nepal – Horn Please’

San Diego filmmaker Ron Ranson, right, is shown with truck painter Kunil Kumar Choudary on location in Nepal during the filming of Ranson’s documentary, “Tattooed Trucks of Nepal – Horn Please.” (Sudarson Karki)   UC San Diego’s Ron Ranson documents Nepal’s arty trucks in the award-winning documentary ‘Tattooed Trucks of Nepal – Horn Please’ BY KARLA PETERSON SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE MAY 12, 2022 10:39 AM PT Before he fell in love with the elaborately decorated, philosophically minded freight trucks of Nepal, filmmaker and UC San Diego lecturer emeritus Ron Ranson fell in love with the delightful, resilient and inspirational people of Nepal. It was the spring of 1964, and Ranson was beginning his two-year stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Nepalese town of Narayangarh. He was the first Peace Corps volunteer the locals had ever seen, and they were like no one he had ever met. It was delight at . . .

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RPCV Colin Rule CEO of Mediate.com and Arbitrate.com (Eritrea)

    Colin Rule is CEO of Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc. (“RIS”), home of Mediate.com, MediateUniversity.com, Arbitrate.com, CaseloadManager.com and a number of additional leading online dispute resolution initiatives.  From 2017 to 2020, Colin was Vice President for Online Dispute Resolution at Tyler Technologies. Tyler acquired Modria.com, an ODR provider that Colin co-founded, in 2017.  Previously, from 2003 to 2011, Colin was Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal.  Further, Colin co-founded Online Resolution in 1999, one of the first online dispute resolution (ODR) providers, and served as its CEO and President.  Colin also worked for several years with the National Institute for Dispute Resolution in Washington, D.C. and the Consensus Building Institute in Cambridge, MA. Colin is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass in September 2002, and co-author of The New Handshake: Online Dispute Resolution and the Future of Consumer Protection, published by the ABA in 2017. . . .

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Poet Ann Neelon (Senegal) Professor of English Murray State University Retires

Ann Neelon (Senegal 1978-79) received her BA from College of the Holy Cross and her MFA from the University of Massachusetts. She was also a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She joined the Department of English and Philosophy at Murray State University in 1992. Professor Neelon is the author of the poetry collection, Easter Vigil, which was chosen by Joy Harjo as the winner of the 1995 Anhinga Prize for Poetry. The poet Denise Levertov wrote of Easter Vigil, “Ann Neelon brings a unique voice to her first book. Her range of personal concerns include the tragedies of the Gulf War, a sojourn in Nicaragua, the Rwandan War, and other episodes of what are called world events, as well as her father’s death, domestic love and the birth of her first child. Throughout, she successfully ignores the current obsession with the confessional. Her long lines, interspersed with very short ones, have . . .

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Brian Norris (Bolivia) Fulbright Global Scholar

  Brian Norris (Bolivia 1997-00), an associate political science professor at Lincoln University, won a Fulbright Global Scholar Award from the U.S. State Department and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, and will begin researching rural local governments in Colombia and Mozambique this summer. The three-year grant will take Norris, who has worked in foreign countries for more than 25 years, to Colombia in 2022 and 2024, and to Mozambique in 2023. Norris will spend the next three summers conducting research and documenting how successful rural governments are at providing basic services and infrastructure to their communities. “The governments of Colombia and Mozambique have granted more power and autonomy to rural local governments that are often in a better position to provide services than the national government,” Norris said in a university news release. “In practice, though, it is very difficult to decentralize power in geographically large and sprawling countries of . . .

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THE MARTHA STEWART OF GABON by Bonnie Black (Gabon)

  by Bonnie Black (Gabon 1996-98) May 6, 2022 • Martha Stewart and I go back aways. We’ve never met, but our lives have followed somewhat parallel paths. We’re about the same age (she’s three years older); both from New Jersey; both were models when young, then later became caterers in New York; we were both about the same size, shape, and coloring; both gave birth to one child, daughters, born within days of each other in 1965; both love cooking, homemaking, gardening… The list goes on and on. She’s uber-famous, of course, and I am not. But that’s quite all right with me. There was a time, though, when I achieved a modicum of Martha Stewart-like fame: when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in my early fifties in Gabon, Central Africa. This experience struck me as funny at the time, so I wrote about it humorously in my . . .

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Listen to Rob Schmitz (China) on NPR

  Rob Schmitz (China 1996-98) is NPR’s international correspondent based in Berlin, where he covers the human stories of a vast region reckoning with its past while it tries to guide the world toward a brighter future. From his base in the heart of Europe, Schmitz has covered Germany’s levelheaded management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of right-wing nationalist politics in Poland and creeping Chinese government influence inside the Czech Republic. Prior to covering Europe, Schmitz provided award-winning coverage of China for a decade, reporting on the country’s economic rise and increasing global influence. His reporting on China’s impact beyond its borders took him to countries such as Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand. Inside China, he’s interviewed elderly revolutionaries, young rappers, and live-streaming celebrity farmers who make up the diverse tapestry of one of the most fascinating countries on the planet. He is the author of . . .

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FBI JOINS INVESTIGATION INTO SLAIN COUPLE AS FEAR GRIPS NEW HAMPSHIRE TOWN

  April 29, 2022 The FBI has joined the investigation into the fatal shootings of a retired couple whose bodies were found last week on a hiking trail near their New Hampshire home, leaving residents in their town fearful for their own safety, authorities said. No suspects have yet been identified and police have released little information on the mysterious double homicide in Concord, New Hampshire, of retired international humanitarian worker Stephen Reid, 67, and Djeswende “Wendy” Reid, 66. “We’ve been able to provide the information that we have, which is that we have no specific information that there’s any danger to the public in general at this point in time, but be vigilant, and those families are going to have to make those decisions for themselves as to what’s best for their family and what they’re most comfortable with,” Geoffrey Ward, a senior assistant state attorney general, said on . . .

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President Duque granted Colombian citizenship to journalist Maureen Orth

    From Bogotá, President Iván Duque swore in as a new Colombian to the American journalist and philanthropist, citizenship that was granted to her for her contributions to the country. Maureen Orth (Colombia 1964-66) is a journalist, writer, and special correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine. She also founded the organization Marina Orth Foundation with which she established a model of technology-based education, English learning and leadership in Colombia. The now Colombian has a school in Medellín from which she teaches thousands of children in 22 schools concepts related to technology and English.  

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RPCV Steve Reid (Niger) and his Togolese wife Murdered in New Hampshire

The Concord, N.H., couple Djeswende Reid and Stephen Reid (Niger 1979-81) were murdered while walking along a hiking trail last week. The Marsh Loop Trail, a 1.5-mile hike within the wetlands of the Broken Ground trail system in Concord. Stephen and Djeswende, who went by Steve and Wendy, were reported missing before their bodies were discovered near the Broken Ground trails on April 21. Autopsies showed that both died from multiple gunshot wounds. No arrests have been made. Stephen Reid was a native of Concord, but his humanitarian work brought him to several corners of the world. He joined the Peace Corps after graduating from Notre Dame, spending four years in West Africa teaching English to middle-schoolers. But it was in Washington, D.C. that he met Djeswende where she was attending college on an athletic scholarship. “They bonded over their mutual love of adventure and fitness,’’ the family statement said. . . .

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Three RPCV women in the news today

  Fanshen Cox (Cape Verde 1993-95) Award-winning playwright, actor, producer & educator, Fanshen Cox is the writer/producer/performer of One Drop of Love, which traveled across the U.S. and internationally from 2013-2020. Fanshen is also a Producer and Development Executive at Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Pearl Street Films. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde, West Africa, and holds a BA in Spanish & Education, an MA in TESOL, and an MFA in TV, Film & Theatre. She has been honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards from CSULA and from Teachers College, Columbia University. She serves on the board of The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and on the Kennedy Center’s Turnaround Arts Equity Advisory Committee. Fanshen is also a co-author of the Inclusion Rider which was announced at the 2018 Oscar awards by Frances McDormand. Julia Chang Bloch (Malaysia 1964-66) Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch is founding president of the . . .

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RPCV Samantha Croffut on DART team helping Ukraine

  On February 24, 2022, USAID immediately deployed an elite Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to address growing needs stemming from Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine.     The DART, made up of more than 30 disaster experts from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, has worked in five countries to lead the U.S. humanitarian response to the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. For the past seven weeks, the DART has been identifying critical needs, conducting up-to-the minute humanitarian assessments, and quickly ramping up aid for affected communities.   • In the second of a two-part series, we wanted to introduce you to three additional members of our DART, who have put their own lives on hold to save others thousands of miles away from home. One of the women is RPCV Samantha Croffut, a Seattle native, spends much of her days working with humanitarian . . .

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RPCV–made beer to help Ukraine

  ABQ brewery providing a ReSource for Ukraine by Elaine D. Briseño / Albuquerque Journal staff writer PUBLISHED: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6TH, 2022 AT 1:46PM     Sipping on beer might seem like an unremarkable activity but one brewery is hoping that simple pleasure will help people on the other side of the world. The owners of ReSource Brewing Co., Stephanie and Shawn Wright, are releasing “Our Lady of Immaculate Fermentation” and categorizing what is usually called a Russian Imperial Stout as a Ukrainian Imperial Stout. The beer will be released Friday, April 8. Stephanie Wright said the brewery will donate 100% of the proceeds to help the people in Ukraine. “Eastern Europeans are known for their love of strong drink,” Stephanie Wright (Moldova 1999-01) said. “Vodka and imperial beers among the top picks. Shawn and I thought it would be fun to take the Imperial Stout moniker away from Russia . . .

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“The Mad Man and Me at the Commercial School in Addis Ababa”

  by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) • We 275 PCVs, the first to be assigned to Ethiopia, arrived in-country in early September of 1962. Addis Ababa, the capital, was at an altitude of 7,726 feet. It has one of the finest climates to be found in the world. It was once a ramshackle city, which years before the travel writer John Gunther described as looking as if someone had tossed scraps of metal onto the slopes of Entoto mountain. I was assigned to live and teach in Addis, and lived my first year in a large stone house on Churchill Road, a main artery of the city that led uphill to the center of the city — the Piazza, with four other PCVs. That house, like most in Addis, had a tin roof and it was pleasant to wake early on school days during the rainy season and hear the heavy, . . .

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President Biden has nominated Carol Spahn to be Director of the Peace Corps

  Carol Spahn has been serving as Chief Executive Officer of the Peace Corps, and was officially Acting Director from January 20, 2021 until November 16, 2021. Under her leadership, the agency is returning Volunteers to overseas service after being evacuated for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the agency created a domestic service initiative for only the second time in Peace Corps’ history, working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support vaccination campaigns across the United States, and launched a new strategic plan which focuses on re-imagining service, advancing equity, and delivering quality. Prior to serving as Acting Director, Spahn served as Chief of Operations in the Africa Region covering Eastern and Southern Africa, and before that, served a five-year term as Country Director of Peace Corps/Malawi. Her Peace Corps roots extend back to her service, with her husband, as a Volunteer from 1994 to . . .

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Fletcher Eurasia Club organizes humanitarian aid drive for Ukraine

  By Alex Thomas The Fletcher School  April 4, 2022   On Wednesday, March 2, 2022, The Fletcher Eurasia Club began organizing a campus-wide humanitarian drive to assist Ukrainians impacted by Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine. Spearheaded by Eurasia Club co-presidents Nastia Kukunova and Karl Afrikian (Ukraine 2018-20), the drive intended to provide physical material goods for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine. While it began as an email sent out on the campus-wide “Social List” listserv, the efforts quickly transformed into a community-driven initiative. “We asked the Fletcher community for help, and we were completely blown away at the support we got,” Kukunova said. “We were expecting people to drop off some of the spare supplies they had lying around the house, but we ended up getting Costco-sized supplies in bulk.” Over the week, package after package was dropped off at the Fletcher School’s campus and then . . .

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