Profile in Citizenship

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The Volunteer Exemplar for the Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Pat Wand (Colombia)
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The Volunteer Who Became “One of the Most Influential Observers of American Politics”*— Chris Matthews (Swaziland)
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The Volunteer Who Was a Pioneer in the Peaceful and Practical Uses of Outer Space — T. Stephen Cheston (Colombia)
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The Volunteer who became the founding Director of the National Afro-American Museum and Culture Center — Dr. John Fleming (Malawi)
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The Volunteer who was Chairman of the Chicago Bears — Mike McCaskey (Ethiopia)
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The Volunteer Who Had a Life-changing Lunch in Thailand — Paul Strasburg (Thailand)
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The Volunteer Who Became the Voice of Peace Corps — John Coyne (Ethiopia)
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The Volunteer Who Became an Ambassador to Five Countries — Chris Hill (Cameroon)
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The Volunteer Who Became a Ten-term Congressman — Sam Farr (Colombia)
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The Volunteer Whose Achievements Keep on Giving — Peter McPherson (Peru)

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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The Volunteer who was Chairman of the Chicago Bears — Mike McCaskey (Ethiopia)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–64)   In an article published in the Chicago Tribune on May 26, 2020, John Coyne recalls how he met Mike McCaskey — not at Soldier Field but rather in Fiche (fee CHĀ), Ethiopia, a small village perched high on the escarpment above the Blue Nile river, far from the shores of Lake Michigan. Mike was a Peace Corps Volunteer assigned to teach in an elementary school. He would live for two years in a tin-roofed, whitewashed house made of dirt and dung and teach in a two-room school. Those two years, he later told John, gave Mike an entirely new perspective on the world, one in which he was profoundly grateful. After Mike’s Volunteer days were over, he went on and earned a doctorate, spending the next decade teaching at UCLA and Harvard Business School. Then, as John explained, his . . .

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The Volunteer Who Had a Life-changing Lunch in Thailand — Paul Strasburg (Thailand)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–64) A back story to that luncheon Paul Strasburg graduated magna cum laude in History from Stanford University in 1964. He then went on to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand from 1964 to 1966. Upon returning home, he attended Yale Law School before moving on to Princeton University where he earned an MPA in 1969. Afterwards, Paul worked for the Ford Foundation in New York City as a Program Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean where he monitored grants in Education, Agriculture, and Rural Development, initiating the Foundation’s first program of grants in human nutrition. From 1974 to 1979, he worked with the Vera Institute of Justice in NYC, establishing a job development program for ex-addicts and ex-offenders. He also directed Vera’s Paris office, coordinating research in conjunction with the French Ministry of Justice and was awarded the . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became the Voice of Peace Corps — John Coyne (Ethiopia)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-64) It is often commented upon in literary circles that April is the cruelest month. But that has now been challenged by John Coyne’s announcement that he will close his Worldwide web site by the end of March. As one RPCV stated upon hearing this unwelcome news: “You have provided connections, exposure, renewed friendships and endless reminders to all of us of the breadth and depth of our two years living in foreign lands as locals”. John was one of Peace Corps’ earliest Volunteers, serving in Ethiopia from 1962 to 1964, teaching English at the Commercial School in Addis Ababa. His Country Director was the revered Harris Wofford, one of the founding fathers of Peace Corps itself. After graduating from St. Louis University, John earned a master’s in English at Western Michigan University, then served in the U. S. Air National . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became an Ambassador to Five Countries — Chris Hill (Cameroon)

by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65) • After graduating from Bowdoin College with a degree in Economics, Christopher R. Hill then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon from 1974 to 1976. He credited his work with Peace Corps for teaching him his first lesson in diplomacy. As a Volunteer, Chris worked with credit unions. When he discovered that one Board of Directors had stolen 60% of their members’ money, he reported on the malfeasance to their members — who promptly re-elected the board because they had reflected the carefully balanced tribal interests, and it really did not matter to the members if the Board Directors ran a good credit union or not. Chris commented: “When something’s happened, it’s happened for a reason and you do your best to understand that reason. But don’t necessarily think you can change it.” Chris joined the State Department in 1977, serving as Secretary . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became a Ten-term Congressman — Sam Farr (Colombia)

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • Sam Farr joined the Peace Corps in 1964 and served for two years as a Volunteer in Colombia. He was assigned to a poor mountain barrio near Medellin, teaching residents basic rural community development skills. Once back home, his public service began in the California Assembly where he worked as a staffer on budget issues for a decade. In 1975, he ran for and won a seat on the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. In 1980, he was elected to the California State Assembly, where he became a champion for the organics industry and wrote one of the country’s strictest oil spill liability laws. He served in the Assembly until his election to the Congress in 1993. It was a Special Election when former Congressman Leon Panetta resigned to become then-President Clinton’s budget director. Sam was then re-elected to his first full term . . .

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The Volunteer Whose Achievements Keep on Giving — Peter McPherson (Peru)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65)   Peter McPherson public service career began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru, where during 1964-65, he spent 18 months in Lima running a food distribution program and setting up Credit Unions. In an interview with “The State News,” he called the experience a defining moment and said his experience in the Peace Corps helped him learn how to adapt. He found out that when a Volunteer, he was in a different culture, wherein he couldn’t be a gringo and be effective. It was just a matter of asking people what they want to get done, finding out what the formal and informal rules were and figuring out ways to do things differently, while doing practical work in that environment. And … that process was a challenge. After completing law school in the late 1960s, Peter worked for the Internal . . .

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