Profile in Citizenship

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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)
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The Volunteer Who Adopted Her Host Country — Margarita Sorock (Colombia)
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First Asian-American PCV to become Ambassador — Julia Chang Block (Malaysia)
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Volunteer Couple: Model for the 3rd Goal — Marty & Evelyn Ganzglass (Somalia)
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The Volunteer Who Stamped “Done” on Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Donna Shalala (Iran)
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The Volunteer Who Was the Once and Future President of the U. S. — Paul Tsongas (Ethiopia)
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The Volunteer Who Opened Doors to a Wider World of Opportunities — Maureen Orth (Colombia)
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The Volunteer who was “Our Woman in Havana” — Vicki Huddleston (Peru)
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A Volunteer Who Answered the Call “Ask not . . . ” — Hal Hardin (Colombia)
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The Volunteer Who Has lived the Third Goal — Ben Moyer (Colombia)

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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The Volunteer Who Adopted Her Host Country — Margarita Sorock (Colombia)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • In her own words, a woman then named Margery, lived in New York City, mainly in Brooklyn, for the first 21 years of her life. Her three most frequent sentiments were boredom, frustration, and anger, although she was undoubtedly considered ”normal and well-adjusted.”  She was a good student.  School, far from great, was a welcome escape from home— which was a welcome escape from school. She attended Barnard College, a long subway ride from Brooklyn and an even longer journey from the sameness of her childhood to the discovery, albeit theoretical, of multiple universes — past and present. It was a glimpse into the “escapes” she longed for. Margery was strong on imagination and weak on finance.  Then, President Kennedy read her mind and felt the beat of her heart. The Peace Corps was already in operation, so after . . .

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First Asian-American PCV to become Ambassador — Julia Chang Block (Malaysia)

A Profile in Citizenship Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) Julia Chang Bloch, a Peace Corps Volunteer English Teacher in Sabah, Malaysia (North Borneo) from 1964-1966, is an exceptional human being with her humanitarian and leadership accomplishments in positions too numerous to name here. Her inclusion in 2017 as only 1 of 147 women from U.S. history to make the list in Langston’s “A to Z of American Women Leaders and Activists” is almost as significant as being the First Asian-American Ambassador. Julia has maintained the highest professional standards in her leadership positions at USAID, USIA, Department of State, U.S. Senate, and other private, philanthropic and educational organizations in the U.S. and China among other countries for the last 50+ years. Julia learned from her Father and Mother in Shandong Province in China where she was born that a person can always do better, challenging yourself, pushing boundaries, creating new paths and . . .

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Volunteer Couple: Model for the 3rd Goal — Marty & Evelyn Ganzglass (Somalia)

  A Profil in Citizenship By Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)  • Marty and Evelyn Ganzglass served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Somalia from 1966-68: she was a primary school English teacher and assistant director of the National Museum, and he was a legal advisor to the Somali National Police Force. In that role, he wrote a case book, titled: The Penal Code of the Somali Democratic Republic: Cases, Commentary and Examples. Published by Rutgers University Press in 1971. They joined the Peace Corps having worked several years after Evelyn graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Marty from Harvard Law School. Upon returning home in 1968, Evelyn renewed her professional career in workforce development and education policy and Marty in labor law. She returned to the US Department of Labor and then moved on to increasingly senior positions in the non-profit sector promoting policies to help low-income youth, adults, and . . .

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The Volunteer Who Stamped “Done” on Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Donna Shalala (Iran)

  A Profile in Citizenship By Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)    And … that would be Donna Shalala, a Volunteer that catapulted herself from a field assignment in Iran to the august halls of the U. S. Congress — after being a Cabinet Secretary and president of several universities along the way! Donna received a degree in 1962 from Ohio’s Western College for Women. In that year and through 1964, she was among the first Volunteers to serve in the Peace Corps. Her placement was in Iran where she worked with other Volunteers to develop an agricultural college. In 1970, she earned a Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. In 1970, Donna began her academic career as a political science professor at Baruch College. In 1972, Donna became a Professor of Politics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, a post she held . . .

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The Volunteer Who Was the Once and Future President of the U. S. — Paul Tsongas (Ethiopia)

  By Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)  • In 1962, when Paul Tsongas was in training at Georgetown University to become a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia, on that first night as trainees were beginning to know each other, they were all asking “why did you join?” He answered: “I am going to run for office and the Peace Corps would be to my credit.”  At that time, it was a distant dream. Yet, it set him on a path that would subsequently propel him to be a viable candidate for the presidency of the United States. After his Volunteer days in Ethiopia, that dream was in process of fulfilment had not that cruel master — fate — tragically intervened. After earning a BA Degree from Dartmouth College in 1962, Paul became one of the earliest Volunteers at a time when JFK’s signature on the Executive Order that authorized a Peace Corps was . . .

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The Volunteer Who Opened Doors to a Wider World of Opportunities — Maureen Orth (Colombia)

  The Volunteer Who Opened Doors to a Wider World of Opportunities By Jeremiah Norris Colombia (1963-65)  • Maureen Orth attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1964, then became a Peace Corps Volunteer in a rural site outside of Medellin, Colombia, 1964-66. After Colombia, she became a Peace Corps recruiter in the Midwest and then headed the Peace Corps west coast Office of Public Affairs, then earned a graduate degree in journalism at the University of California, Los Angeles. In an essay titled as “Twice in My Life,” she recorded an early experience as a Volunteer when on one memorable Sunday afternoon a dramatic posse of five men on horseback, dressed in black fedoras and wearing traditional ruanas galloped up to her front door in the barrio. They were leading an extra horse for her. They rode straight up into the mountains for about three miles to meet an isolated . . .

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The Volunteer who was “Our Woman in Havana” — Vicki Huddleston (Peru)

  A Profile of Citizenship By Jeremiah Norris Colombia (1963-65)  • The author of Our Woman in Havana, Vicki Huddleston, was raised in Hungry Horse, Montana. She graduated from the University of Montana, entered the Peace Corps as a Volunteer in Peru, 1964-65. After Peace Corps, she attended graduate school at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, followed by becoming a Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. Afterward, she went on to a distinguished career with the Department of State, serving as Ambassador to Madagascar, then under Presidents Bush and Clinton, as the Chief of the U. S. Interests Section in Havana, finally as Ambassador in Mali. In her book, Vicki chronicles several compelling memories of her official interventions with Fidel Castro, as well as some risky initiatives she undertook to allow Cubans an opportunity to bridge the differences between what their government was telling them and external events . . .

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A Volunteer Who Answered the Call “Ask not . . . ” — Hal Hardin (Colombia)

  Note from the editor: In the past four years, one would have to have been an expert in the forensic sciences to find any article in the press or social media on the Peace Corps. Then, in March of 2020, a virus resurrected it to public awareness when the Peace Corps withdrew all of its 7,000+ Volunteers from their overseas posts out of an abundance of caution for their health. If Volunteers in active service aren’t perceived as still a viable representation of the Peace Corps’ raison d’etre, then perhaps it can be found in the dividends that returned Volunteers continue to invest in our society as responsible citizens of the world. They are emblematic of the Peace Corps’ Third Goal: “Help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.” Since its founding in 1961, some 285,000 Volunteers have served around the world. After returning . . .

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The Volunteer Who Has lived the Third Goal — Ben Moyer (Colombia)

A Profile in Citizenship By Jerry Norris (Colombia 1963-64) • In my time as a country director for a Cooperative Development Group in Colombia, one of the Volunteers in that group was posted to the country’s poorest and most under-resourced area: the Choco. It is on Colombia’s west coast, has a rainfall of some 400 inches a year, is largely jungle, thinly populated — mostly by indigenous native tribal groups and decedents of former African slaves, and it has few schools beyond the primary level. It is probable that in the Peace Corps long history of having thousands of Volunteers in Colombia, not more than 5 were ever posted in the Choco. Yet, into this unpromising site with two Volunteers, Ben Moyer (1965-67), a recent graduate of Yale University, was posted as their replacement. Those early Volunteers had teed-up the El Valle Agricultural Cooperative in its formative stages, such as securing its Legal Charter . . .

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