Profile in Citizenship

1
The Volunteer Who is One of the Most Thought-provoking Analysts of Our Time — George Packer (Togo)
2
The Volunteer Who Lived Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Dennis Grubb (Colombia)
3
The Volunteer Who Became the Co-founder and CEO of Netflix — Reed Hastings (Swaziland)
4
The Volunteer Who as a Superior Court Judge Threw Out California’s Lethal Injection Procedure — Faye Hooker D’Opal (Colombia)
5
The Volunteer Who Was Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize — Chic Dambach (Colombia)
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The Volunteer Who Was at the Epicenter of Contemporary National Events — Ben Bradlee, Jr. (Afghanistan)
7
The Volunteer Exemplar for the Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Pat Wand (Colombia)
8
The Volunteer Who Became “One of the Most Influential Observers of American Politics”*— Chris Matthews (Swaziland)
9
The Volunteer Who Was a Pioneer in the Peaceful and Practical Uses of Outer Space — T. Stephen Cheston (Colombia)
10
The Volunteer who became the founding Director of the National Afro-American Museum and Culture Center — Dr. John Fleming (Malawi)

The Volunteer Who is One of the Most Thought-provoking Analysts of Our Time — George Packer (Togo)

 by Jeremiah Norris  (Colombia, 1963-65)   Since serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, 1982-83, George Packer went on to write for The Atlantic Monthly where he wrote the article “We Are Living in a Failed State,” and two books: Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century, and Last Best Hope: America in Decline and Renewal, both reviewed below. Taken together, the overriding themes constituted a refrain to Mark Twain’s famous comment: “the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century George Packer has a thoroughly beguiling style of writing in which the reader is being told a story rather than reading one, as with the opening line in Moby Dick: “Call me Ishmael.” With George in Our Man “you have heard that he [Holbrooke] is a monstrous egotist. It’s true. It’s even worse . . .

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The Volunteer Who Lived Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Dennis Grubb (Colombia)

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) Dennis Grubb was an Eagle Scout when he joined the Peace Corps as a Volunteer in 1961, going on to write the first chapter of its history. He was the youngest Volunteer in one of the first groups ever to be sent abroad, serving in Colombia. He worked in a rural village at the 8,700 elevation of the Andean mountains, a place with no running water or sewers, scant access to electricity, and few paved roads. Illiteracy, malnutrition, dysentery, and TB were rampant. Along with Peace Corps colleagues, Dennis formed a liaison between his village and government officials and secured assistance to build the first cooperative food store, a small medical center, three schools, roads, and a water supply pipeline. Dennis worked with Colombians at all levels, from farmers to national officials to achieve his overall goal which was to convince the community that . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became the Co-founder and CEO of Netflix — Reed Hastings (Swaziland)

A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)   In Reed Hastings gap year before college he sold vacuum cleaners door to door, then went on to graduate from Bowdoin College with a degree in Mathematics. He spent his college summers in a Marine Corps training program, including a stint at the Officers Candidate School in the summer of 1981. He was never commissioned, choosing instead to become a Peace Corps Volunteer. He went to teach math at a high school of 800 in rural Swaziland, Africa, from 1983-85.  Reed credits part of his entrepreneurial spirit to his time in Peace Corps, remarking that “Once you have hitch-hiked across Africa with ten bucks in your pocket, starting a business doesn’t seem too intimidating”. After returning from Peace Corps, Reed went on to attend Stanford University, earning a Master’s in Computer Science. His first job was at Adaptive Technology where . . .

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The Volunteer Who as a Superior Court Judge Threw Out California’s Lethal Injection Procedure — Faye Hooker D’Opal (Colombia)

  Faye Hooker D’Opal earned a bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College in Arkansas and a Doctorate in Jurisprudence from New College of California, San Francisco. Faye commented that a motivating factor in deciding to earn a law degree was based on her earlier experience of racial discrimination while growing up in rural Arkansas. This is where her legacy of community service began where she participated in the historic efforts to desegregate Little Rock’s public schools. Peace Corps In 1963–65, she became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia, one among the first women to serve in that capacity. In her first year, she worked in health/community development programs, based in a local health center serving an area of 9,000 people. Its primary goal was to develop an extensive program in preventive medicine. Faye also participated in various development activities in four other nearby communities. She and her colleagues were successful in . . .

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The Volunteer Who Was Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize — Chic Dambach (Colombia)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)   How does one write about the career of Charles “Chic” Dambach –and still do justice to it in 1.5 pages! Let me try, though my effort may prove to be a poor candle in bringing it to light. Chic, to his global friends and associates, began his journey after graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1967, which he attended on a football scholarship as an outstanding college prospect. According to a review of his memoir Exhaust the Limits, the Life and Times of a Global Peacebuilder by another Volunteer, Bob Arias, Chic came upon racism on the playing fields of his school — and met it head on. It just wasn’t another game for Chic, fighting racist attitudes was his first challenge and he reached out to make a difference, an attitude that infused his professional life thereafter. Chic . . .

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The Volunteer Who Was at the Epicenter of Contemporary National Events — Ben Bradlee, Jr. (Afghanistan)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65) • BEN BRADLEE, JR.* WAS A copy boy at the Boston Globe during summers before graduating from Colby College in Maine with a major in Political Science. He then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan from 1970 to 1972, where he reported for an English-language newspaper in Kabul. Returning home, Ben went into a journalistic career which placed him at the center of several national events, beginning by working for several years at the Riverside Press in California. He then spent most of his journalistic career at the Boston Globe. There he was successively State House reporter, investigative reporter, national correspondent, political editor, and metropolitan editor. In 1993, he was promoted to Assistant Managing Editor responsible for investigations and projects. In that role, Ben edited the Globe’s reportage that uncovered the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston’s repeated cover-ups of . . .

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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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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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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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