The Peace Corps

Agency history, current news and stories of the people who are/were both on staff and Volunteers.

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New York RPCVs Create Art
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Peace Corps funded at $410,500,000!
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Peace Corps supports Women’s Global Development and Prosperity
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RPCVs needed in El Paso
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So much for what Colombia RPCVs think of this film — from Vulture
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Encounters with Harris Wofford by Neil Boyer (Ethiopia)
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How narco movie BIRDS OF PASSAGE “tramples the truth” (Colombia)
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“The Man Who Defined National Service” by Steven Waldman
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PCVs in Colombian Film–But Not Our Story (Colombia)
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PC/HQ Celebrates Black History Month—But Where’s Franklin Williams?

New York RPCVs Create Art

Art Show NY RPCV The 5th Art Show, at the 14th St Y, in Manhattan will have it opening reception on March 7th. The reception (and show) is free and open to the public. Venue address: 344 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003 (between 1st and 2nd ave) Nearest subway: L train at 14th Street and 1st ave. · Event dates and times: March 7th, 7pm – 9pm · Event prices: Free and open to the public · Telephone number(s): (212) 780-0800 · Website: https://www.facebook.com/events/246447406231683/ · Your contact information: info@peacecorpsnyc.org Peace Corps is based on community and connecting. As Peace Corps Volunteers, we serve abroad in very different places than where we grew up, but end up embedded in the fabric of our surroundings. These experiences have shaped us as not only people, but as artists. Whether it’s as a profession, a hobby, or an expression we want to be able to highlight . . .

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Peace Corps funded at $410,500,000!

    H.J.Res.31 – Consolidated Appropriations Act 2019 • For the Peace Corps (including transfer of funds) For necessary expenses to carry out the provisions of the Peace Corps Act (22 U.S.C. 2501 et seq.), including the purchase of not to exceed five passenger motor vehicles for administrative purposes for use outside of the United States, $410,500,000, of which $6,000,000 is for the Office of Inspector General, to remain available until September 30, 2020: Provided, That the Director of the Peace Corps may transfer to the Foreign Currency Fluctuations Account, as authorized by section 16 of the Peace Corps Act (22 U.S.C. 2515), an amount not to exceed $5,000,000: Provided further, That funds transferred pursuant to the previous proviso may not be derived from amounts made available for Peace Corps overseas operations: Provided further, That of the funds appropriated under this heading, not to exceed $104,000 may be available for . . .

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Peace Corps supports Women’s Global Development and Prosperity

    February 7, 2019 WASHINGTON – Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen released the following statement on the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative introduced today during a launch event at the White House with President Donald J. Trump, Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, leaders from across the U.S. government, and global stakeholders. “Since its formation in 1961, the Peace Corps has advanced the empowerment of women as a pillar of development, recognizing that expanding opportunities for women can transform their futures and the futures of their families. Having served the Peace Corps in various capacities, I am especially honored to reaffirm this commitment through the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative, a whole-of-government approach to advancing workforce development, promoting women’s entrepreneurship and access to capital, and removing barriers that prevent women from fully participating in the economy.   “I want to thank Ella Zande for joining us . . .

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RPCVs needed in El Paso

    Office of the Bishop Diocese of El Paso Catholic Pastoral Center February 16, 2019   Dear former Peace Corps Volunteers: My cousin, Patricia Silke Edmisten, a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru 1962-64),  suggested I write you. I presently serve as the Catholic Bishop of El Paso in Texas. Without doubt you have been attuned in recent months to news about the large number of asylum-seekers we are witnessing presently seeking refuge in the United States. It seems that the El Paso region has become a major crossing point along the 2,000 mile border our country shares with Mexico. El Paso has always been a place of encounter and of passage as our very name suggests, but the numbers of families, many with young children, we are witnessing are considerably higher than in the past. The majority are fleeing unendurable levels of violence, instability and the resulting economic collapse . . .

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So much for what Colombia RPCVs think of this film — from Vulture

Birds of Passage Is a Knockout By David Edelstein Photo: Orchard The Colombian-born director Ciro Guerra makes films about the brutal corruption of what First Worlders call the Third World but Guerra would call the essential one: of indigenous peoples who can recognize their ancient origins in the families and objects and landscape around them and then — suddenly, dizzyingly, catastrophically — can’t. His new film (co-directed by Cristina Gallego), Birds of Passage, is part ethnographic documentary, part The Godfather. People who seem (to us) strange and primitive metamorphose into a familiar breed of gangster — the kind that pop culture (American, Mexican, Chinese, you name it) gives undue stature. As in Guerra’s last film, Embrace of the Serpent, the disjunction between enduring ways and modern, ephemeral fashions and equipment and stuff is not just jarring but toxic, a shock to the system that will almost certainly kill the host. Guerra and Gallego frame Birds of Passage with the breathy . . .

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Encounters with Harris Wofford by Neil Boyer (Ethiopia)

Encounters with Harris Wofford By Neil Boyer My first encounter with Harris came in the spring of 1962, when I was a third-year student at New York University School of Law. I stopped in the dormitory where I lived (Hayden Hall) and found in my mailbox a message asking me to call Harris Wofford. I had no idea who he was, and there was no return phone number or any other reference to anyone of that name. So I began a search of the white pages in the Manhattan phone directory, found a listing for a Harris Wofford and called the number. The man who answered was pleasant but as puzzled about this call as I was. I guessed that this had something to do with the Peace Corps since I had applied but not heard anything in return.  Aha, the man said, “I think you want my son. He’s . . .

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How narco movie BIRDS OF PASSAGE “tramples the truth” (Colombia)

  How Narco Movie BIRDS OF PASSAGE “tramples the truth” (Guest Column) The Hollywood Reporter 2/14/2019 by Maureen Orth (Colombia 1964–66), Abby Wasserman (Colombia 1963–65) and Arleen Chesto (Colombia 1964–66)   The critically lauded film falsely accuses the Peace Corps for starting the drug trade in Colombia and misappropriates a long suffering indigenous tribe, write three former Peace Corp Volunteers. Birds of Passage, Colombia’s short listed entry for best foreign film in the upcoming Academy Awards that received a U.S. release on Feb. 13, has garnered praise for its truth and beauty. In reality, it is a movie that distorts history, truth and honesty in storytelling. It’s one thing to enhance history, exaggerate the facts and take artistic license for cinematic effect while honoring the essential spirit of a story. It’s quite another to trample the truth. Birds of Passage falsely accuses the Peace Corps for starting the drug trade in Colombia in 1968, and aggressively . . .

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“The Man Who Defined National Service” by Steven Waldman

    The Man Who Defined National Service by Steven Waldman, Washington Monthly contributing editor January 23, 2019 • When I went to work for Harris Wofford in 1995, I knew him only as a legend. By that point, he had already achieved more in his career than all but a tiny fraction of senators or governors in the last century. Wofford, who died over the weekend, had mentored Martin Luther King on the art of non-violent civil disobedience; he marched in Selma; he prodded John F. Kennedy to call Coretta Scott King when the civil rights leader had been imprisoned, probably tipping the election to JFK; he helped create the Peace Corps and ran its Africa program; he was elected senator from Pennsylvania in a campaign that convinced the Democrats, for the first time in decades, that universal health care was a winning issue; and as a senator, he was a . . .

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PCVs in Colombian Film–But Not Our Story (Colombia)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Bob Arias (Colombia 1964-66) Review: “Birds of Passage,” the Tragic Story of an Indigenous Colombian Family’s Involvement in the Drug War By Richard Brody New Yorker February 11, 2019 The cultural richness of “Birds of Passage” is overwhelming, its sense of detail piercingly perceptive, and its sense of drama rigorously yet organically integrated with its documentary elements. Photograph Courtesy The Orchard The Colombian film “Birds of Passage,” directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, is an ethnographic thriller—a drama set in rural northern Colombia, centered on one indigenous group, the Wayuu, and based on the true story of a drug war that, from the late nineteen-sixties through the early nineteen-eighties, inflamed the region and engulfed a Wayuu family. It’s a movie involving a wide spectrum of experience, but its elements are nonetheless profoundly integrated. It’s not a thriller with some local color adorning the action or . . .

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PC/HQ Celebrates Black History Month—But Where’s Franklin Williams?

WASHINGTON– In honor of Black History Month, today the Peace Corps recognizes the important contributions African-American Volunteers and staff have made to the agency’s mission and promoting cross-cultural understanding around the globe with a Press Release. The news release published today, February 11, 2019, honors African-American Volunteers and a number of noted staff members, including, of course, Carolyn R. Payton, the first female Director of Peace Corps, as well as the first African-American Director, and writes about a few other African-American staff members. (By the way, the Peace Corps Press Release  has a type with Carolyn’s first name under her photograph.) However, the Press Release never mentions the most recognized African-Americans on the first Peace Corps staff, Franklin Williams, who began his ‘international’ career at the Peace Corps in 1961, and was at HQ as Chief of the Division of Private Organizations, and then head of the African Region. In 1965 . . .

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