Peace Corps Volunteers

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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
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Barry Rosen (Iran), who was held hostage by Iranian militants 1979–81, went on hunger strike in January
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The inspiring life of the hero of the 1998 Nairobi bomb blast who died recently
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LIFTING EVERY VOICE by William Robertson (CD/Kenya)
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Ruth Bass: Remembering Richard Lipez (Ethiopia)
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David Jaroch (Ghana) in Ubly, Michigan — “I’m something of a professional student.”

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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Barry Rosen (Iran), who was held hostage by Iranian militants 1979–81, went on hunger strike in January

As a hostage held for 444 days in Iran I know Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s joyful family reunion is complex   Barry Rosen (Iran 1967-69) was held in appallingly brutal conditions by Iranian militants, subjected to mock executions. He tells Kasia Delgado about the reality of returning to his wife and children, and why he feels such anger at Boris Johnson. By Kasia Delgado,  inews.com March 31, 2022 • The joyful photographs of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe  being reunited with her husband, Richard, and daughter, Gabriella, showed a family back together, her horrendous six years being held hostage in Iran finally over. Yet those gleeful images of a homecoming are not the end of the story. For hostages, resuming ordinary life after the homecoming can be an immense challenge. Learning how to live with his hostage experience has been a long, difficult process for Barry Rosen, who was one of 66 Americans seized inside the US embassy . . .

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The inspiring life of the hero of the 1998 Nairobi bomb blast who died recently

   UK Time News March 27, 2022   On Friday, August 7, 1998, Kenya woke up to horrific scenes after terrorists linked to the Al-Qaeda network struck the United States Embassy in Nairobi. A hero, who was caught in the chaos, refused to let the thugs win and did everything he could to save and help those trapped inside the building to safety. Joseph Martin (Guatemala 1977-79), an American national, who had survived the explosion, returned to the building three times to try to help those trapped. Martin had officially moved to Nairobi in 1996 to head the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) office based in Kenya. At the time, he was responsible for conducting interviews with refugees across Africa to help with their resettlement. From 1996 to 2002, he headed the INS office in Nairobi, Kenya, from where he traveled across Africa to interview refugees for resettlement in the United . . .

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LIFTING EVERY VOICE by William Robertson (CD/Kenya)

  Bill Robertson (staff: Kenya 1976-77) was one of our greatest pioneers and a tireless advocate for racial justice. One of his final acts was the completion of his memoirs. Lifting Every Voice reveals how the advances made during his lifetime were no foregone conclusion; without the passionate efforts of real people, our present could have been very different. The survivor of a traumatic childhood in the Green Book South, and the witness to his father’s rage over racial inequity, Robertson rose above an oppressive environment to find a place within the system and, against extreme odds, effect change. He was the first Black man to run for the Virginia General Assembly, and as a teacher, the first to help integrate a white school in Roanoke. He became the first Black decision-maker in any southern governor’s office, appointed by Virginia governor Linwood Holton in 1970. In a state controlled by . . .

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Ruth Bass: Remembering Richard Lipez (Ethiopia)

  Richard Lipez is shown in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the family of Worku Sharew, second from right, a student Lipez and his wife brought to the United States to attend school.   RICHMOND — The Berkshires lost a remarkable man this month, whose life was lived below celebrity radar but who had impact on a wide circle of people, friends and people he never met. Dick Lipez. College-educated, Peace Corps volunteer, community activist and novelist, Dick had a special, multi-faceted view of life. He wrote a column that was both intellectual and hilarious, emanating from a mind that produced deep thoughts in a readable way, often injected with his unique twists of humor. He could make a reader think and laugh out loud. Very tall and deep-voiced, Dick was always worth seeking out in a group, just to hear what he had to say about anything on a given . . .

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David Jaroch (Ghana) in Ubly, Michigan — “I’m something of a professional student.”

  By Connor Veenstra, staff writer, Huron Daily Tribune March 18, 2022 • UBLY, MICHIGAN: David Jaroch of Ubly describes himself as “a spent in the village, he learned valuable lessons in poverty, since he was paid very little; how to experience other cultures, since each tribe had their own; and it sharpened his problem solving skills, which he would carry the rest of his life. “When you go to a city where nobody speaks English and you’re hungry, you’ve got to figure it out,” he said. After returning to the Thumb and settling in Ubly, Jaroch and his wife, also a teacher, began a teaching career that led them to schools in Port Huron, Parisville, Port Hope, and Ubly. Jaroch taught every subject as a problem-solving exercise, even subjects like English, which at first glance have no problems to solve. “If there’s a message you’ve got to get across, how do you . . .

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