The Peace Corps

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

1
RPCV Selected as China Schwarzman Scholar
2
Peter Hessler Writes About China’s Covid 19 in Current New Yorker
3
RPCV Ken Winkler–The Winter Line: A Memoir and Observation of Asia
4
U.S. Ambassador Swears in 49 new Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco
5
Remembering RPCV Gary Strieker (Swaziland)
6
Carol Spahn (Romania) New Peace Corps Director
7
Two Visits to the Daejeon Theater (Korea)
8
New Executive Officer of the Peace Corps: Thomas Peng (Philippines)
9
Peace Corps Gambia Swears In 22 New Volunteers
10
NPCA Urges RPCV Community to Take Action and Contact Congress
11
RPCV Writers Who Have Published 2 Books or More
12
RPCV Author Lucinda Jackson (Palau)
13
“Chic” Dambach (Colombia) School of Global Studies Fellowship
14
Here’s a story I never told anyone — Richard Wiley (Korea)
15
Appointment of Chris Dodd as Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas

RPCV Selected as China Schwarzman Scholar

J.P. Gairhan, a 2019 U of A honors graduate, was recently named a Schwarzman Scholar, making him one of only 151 students out of nearly 3,000 candidates worldwide who will receive a full scholarship for graduate study in global affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s premiere universities.  Originally from Cabot, Gairhan graduated cum laude in 2019 with a degree in history, political science, and African and African American studies from the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. “I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to further my education at Tsinghua University. My admission into the Schwarzman Scholars program is only possible through the mentorship and guidance of many University of Arkansas faculty and staff. Specifically, I want to thank Dr. Noah Pittman, Dr. Todd Cleveland, Dr. Mary Skinner, Jonathan Langley and Dr. Suzanne McCray.” Gairhan is a member of the eighth class of Schwarzman Scholars. The master’s . . .

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Peter Hessler Writes About China’s Covid 19 in Current New Yorker

Illustration by Anson Chan Do you personally know anybody who has been infected with covid-19? In most parts of the world, the question is absurd—it makes more sense to ask, “Do you know anybody who has not been infected?” But, recently, on a survey that I sent to former students in China, this was one of my questions. I taught these students from 1996 to 1998, when I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in southwestern China, and since then we’ve stayed in close touch. For nearly a decade, I’ve sent them annual surveys, and this year I was curious to know more about their pandemic experiences. Of forty respondents, none had been infected. Nobody had had a case in his or her household, and there were also no infections among close relatives—parents, spouses, children, or siblings. Only six personally knew anybody who had tested positive for covid. For three of these respondents, the . . .

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RPCV Ken Winkler–The Winter Line: A Memoir and Observation of Asia

The Winter Line: A Memoir and Observation of Asia by Ken Winkler (India 1964-66) Author House 304 pages March 2010 $4.99 (Kindle); $15.49 (Paperback); Imagine a book born from the tendrils of a cloudy monsoon afternoon on a sheer drop overlooking the northern plains of India. Ken Winkler watched the “winter line” develop below him from the Kumaon Himalaya and knew that the book of his life was presenting itself. The author has spent over 40 years writing and studying about, traveling to or working in Asia, or listening to teachers, lamas, soldiers and travelers present their versions of what they saw. Not everything was as it appeared, and many of his experiences reflected a direct spiritual lesson. All of this started on a bird farm in San Diego—or was it from the stories of a smooth-talking Irishman, or an Oxford Don, or a collection of Buddhist masters passing through? . . .

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U.S. Ambassador Swears in 49 new Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco

    U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Puneet Talwar led  swearing-in ceremony today for 49 Peace Corps Volunteers in Beni Mellal, marking the completion of the Volunteers’ 11 weeks of intensive language and cultural training.  The Volunteers will now move to host towns and villages across the country where they will perform service to promote peace, friendship, and support the Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Communication’s youth development strategy.  “Thank you to all 49 of you, who have made the bold decision to volunteer the next two years of your lives, immersing yourselves in a local community in Morocco and deepening the already strong people-to-people ties between our two countries,” Ambassador Talwar said during his remarks. “Many of you have waited two years through the pandemic to come here and begin your service. Thank you for your patience and dedication.”  Ambassador Talwar also thanked the Wali of Beni Mellal- Khenifra region, . . .

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Remembering RPCV Gary Strieker (Swaziland)

Remembering Gary Strieker who helped establish CNN’s presence in Africa By PAPA LINC December 3, 2022 Gary Strieker (Swaziland 1968-70) had every reason to be a pessimist. People dying of hunger, brutal killings and many other horrific events that he covered as an international reporter unfolded right before his eyes. Yet Strieker never lost his optimistic spirit or his passion to shed light on critically important but often underreported stories on the environment and global health. Strieker — who passed away in July of this year at age 78 — was CNN’s first Nairobi bureau chief, helping the network open its reporting hub in the Kenyan capital in 1985. Colleagues say he covered the entire African continent — sometimes as a one-man band — during the network’s early years when news gathering budgets were lean. Strieker won an Emmy award in 1992 for his role in CNN’s coverage of Somalia’s civil war . . .

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Carol Spahn (Romania) New Peace Corps Director

  Just this week, Carol Spahn (Romania 2994-96) had her Senate confirmation hearing to become the next Peace Corps Director. During the hearing, Carol spoke about the importance of the safety and security protocols in place to protect the hundreds of Volunteers currently serving on the ground in 45 countries as well as the agency’s priority to ensure Peace Corps service is an option considered by broader and more diverse communities in America. Carol’s opening statement expressed deep gratitude for her “Peace Corps family — including the staff, Volunteers, host families, and counterparts for the heart and soul with which they carry out our mission everyday.” We at NPCA are thrilled to finally see Carol’s must-deserved nomination move forward toward final confirmation. We have been honored to work with Carol and her strong leadership team over the past year on collaborative efforts to navigate this difficult period of planning for . . .

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Two Visits to the Daejeon Theater (Korea)

Two Visits to the Daejeon Theater Richard Wiley (Korea 1967-69) In 1968, when I was living in Daejeon, Korea, the movie My Fair Lady had a one-week run in at the Daejeon Theater, and I, being a sometimes-homesick Peace Corps volunteer, went to see it. I had seen My Fair Lady in 1964, when it came out.  Like half of the other nineteen-year-old boys in America, I loved Audrey Hepburn, whose matchless face launched a lot more than 1000 ships, I’m sure.   Helen of Troy had nothing on Audrey. I also remember wondering, in 1964, how Rex Harrison, debonaire though he was, got away with not singing, but talking his way through all those songs.  I mean, he made, “I’ve grown accustomed to the tune, That she whistles night and noon, Her smiles, her frowns, Her ups, her downs…” sound like the musings of a lone old man going up and down by in an elevator.  He . . .

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New Executive Officer of the Peace Corps: Thomas Peng (Philippines)

Thomas Peng Chief Executive Officer Peace Corps Thomas Peng is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Peace Corps. He brings more than 20 years of public and private sector experience and has led, managed, and supported teams in the technology and non-profit sectors. Most recently, Thomas served as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Peace Corps where he oversaw internal operations, human resources, and strategic information, research, and planning. Previously, he served the Peace Corps as Chief Information Officer, where he strengthened operations and promoted a culture of transparency and inclusion. Thomas’ Peace Corps roots extend back to his service as a Volunteer in the Philippines from 2006-2008, where he trained teachers to use technology in the classroom. Throughout his career, Thomas has championed diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives by sponsoring employee resource groups and facilitating safe spaces for all employees to have brave conversations. Thomas holds a bachelor’s . . .

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Peace Corps Gambia Swears In 22 New Volunteers

By Oumie Mendy Peace Corps – The Gambia has Wednesday sworn in 22 agriculture and health volunteers from America in a ceremony held in the Lower River Region settlement of Massembeh training center. The oath taking followed an 8 weeks pre-service training in languages, cross-culture, medical, safety and security professionals. Kelleah B. Young, Peace Corps Country Director said Peace Corps’ founding mission of promoting world peace and friendship among all counties remains relevant, even after 55 years of service in the Gambia under the global COVID-19 pandemic. “Peace Corps have returned to the Gambia in a big  way this year, adding to global total today, over 950 volunteers are back in 41 countries and we are still aiming to return to our pre evacuation number of 7000 volunteers worldwide, even adding a few new counties to the mix. Our strength is to build on individual relationships, one connection and one . . .

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NPCA Urges RPCV Community to Take Action and Contact Congress

 NPCA is Advocating for YOU! URGENT ACTION ALERT FOR THE PEACE CORPS COMMUNITY With only a few weeks remaining in the current Congress, we need all members and friends of the Peace Corps community to mobilize and rally to make sure key National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) legislative priorities are approved this year. Our top priority is to pass the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act (S. 4466; H.R. 1456). As more than 900 volunteers have returned to Peace Corps service, this is the moment to pass this once-in-a-generation legislation. Write to Republican Senators NOW: We need the bipartisan Senate bill (S. 4466) to be passed, and key to that is building further support of Republican Senators. If you are represented by one (or two) Republican Senators, please take this action now, and share it with others from your state. Other Senate Action: If you are represented by Democrats in the Senate, . . .

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RPCV Writers Who Have Published 2 Books or More

Here is our new list of RPCV & staff authors we know of who have published two or more books of any type. Currently, the count is 467. If you know of someone who has and their name is not on this list, then please email: jcoyneone@gmail.com. We know we don’t have all such writers who have served over these past 60 years. Thank you.’ Jerome R. Adams (Colombia 1963–65) Tom Adams (Togo 1974-76) Thomas “Taj” Ainlay, Jr. (Malaysia 1973–75) Elizabeth (Letts) Alalou (Morocco 1983–86) Jane Albritton (India 1967-69) Robert Albritton (Ethiopia 1962-65) Usha Alexander (Vanuatu 1996–97) James G. Alinder (Somalia 1964-66) Richard Alleman (Morocco 1968-70) Hayward Allen (Ethiopia 1962-64) Diane Demuth Allensworth (Panama 1964–66) Paul E. Allaire (Ethiopia 1964–66) Allman (Nepal 1966-68) Nancy Amidei (Nigeria 1964–65) Gary Amo (Malawi 1962–64) David C. Anderson (Costa Rica 1964-66) Lauri Anderson (Nigeria 1963-65) Peggy Anderson (Togo 1962-64) James Archambeault (Philippines 1965-67) Ron Arias (Peru . . .

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RPCV Author Lucinda Jackson (Palau)

Author Interview—Lucinda Jackson by Heili Eliason Lucinda Jackson (Palau 2016) is the author of two memoirs: Just a Girl: Growing Up Female and Ambitious, about her struggles to succeed in the male-dominated work world, and Project Escape: Lessons for an Unscripted Life, an exploration of freedom after leaving a structured career. Jackson is a PhD scientist and global corporate executive who features on podcasts and radio and has published articles, book chapters, magazine columns, and patents. She is the founder of LJ Ventures, where she speaks and consults on energy, the environment, and empowering women in the workplace and in our Next Act. Connect with Jackson or find her books at: www.lucindajackson.com. Interview Who or what inspires you to write? I get inspired by having something to say. I feel this burning concept or thought inside me and I just have to get it out! It is this need to express myself, to make sense . . .

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“Chic” Dambach (Colombia) School of Global Studies Fellowship

Monday, November 21, 2022   The School of Global Studies at Oklahoma State University has introduced a prestigious fellowship program for college kids with a profession curiosity in international peace. The Fellowship, named after OSU alumni Charles “Chic” Dambach (Colombia 1963-65), will present funding for college kids in the graduate program of Global Studies and allow a brand new technology of peacemakers to graduate from OSU. Dambach started his tutorial profession at Oklahoma State University in 1962, when he got here to OSU on a soccer scholarship. After a shoulder damage rendered him unable to proceed enjoying soccer, Dambach had the alternative to discover different pursuits past the classroom, and interact in social, cultural and political points. He labored with different college students at OSU to deliver points of political and cultural significance to campus, typically placing them at odds with OSU directors. Inspired by the activism he skilled throughout . . .

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Here’s a story I never told anyone — Richard Wiley (Korea)

Raw Potato Bridge by Richard Wiley (Korea 1967-69)   Here’s a story I never told anyone. One evening in August of 1967 I was walking to our Peace Corps training’s makeshift bar with my roommate, Tom, when he asked me in the kind of shaky voice that signaled deep naiveté back then, “Look, don’t laugh, but do you have to be circumcised to have sex with Jewish girls?” We were strolling along with our hands in our pockets, both our brows furrowed. “I don’t think so,” I said, but did Tom have a particular girl in mind? Someone in our group? I tried to think, but I hardly knew who was Jewish and who wasn’t, and Tom had never mentioned anyone. Tom was from Birmingham, Alabama. He was big (6’2”, 270 pounds), and he’d lost his father to a fire his father started himself, in an alcoholic stupor, in, of . . .

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Appointment of Chris Dodd as Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas

Senator Chris Dodd will serve as Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas, following up on his role as Special Advisor for the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles in June.  Senator Dodd will help advance the implementation of key initiatives President Biden announced at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, spanning economic cooperation, migration, health, human rights, food security, as well as other priorities. He will also support the work currently being done by Vice President Harris, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, USAID, and others. Additionally, he will support preparations for the upcoming Cities Summit of the Americas in Denver in April 2023. In his decades as a dedicated public servant, starting as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic and through his time on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Senator Dodd has built trust with many . . .

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