The Peace Corps

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

1
Review–Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal by George Packer (Togo)
2
RPCV JEREMY BLACK 1968 – 2021 (Comoros)
3
A Peace Corps worker was on a date in D.C. with his wife. Then came a stray bullet.
4
Nominations Open for Peace Corps Prestigious John F. Kennedy Service Awards
5
Peter Hessler (China) in The New Yorker, June 21, 2021
6
Mary-Ann Tirone Smith’s memoir (Cameroon) inspires Connecticut Congress to help young woman
7
Barry Hillenbrand (Ethiopia) Celebrates Peace Corps Anniversary on Arlington Connection
8
Solomon’s Net by Lew Mermelstein (Ethiopia) Reading at Gallery Bookshop
9
Peace Corps May Be Returning Volunteers to Service
10
Chuck Woodard Passes—Early PC/W Staff

Review–Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal by George Packer (Togo)

  Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal by George Packer (Togo 1982-83) 240 pages Farrar, Straus and Giroux June 2021 $27.00 (Hardback); $13.99 (Kindle); $7.95 (Audiobook)     Reviewed by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) I immediately said yes when I was asked to review George Packer’s new book, Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal, a self-described political pamphlet in a long-form essay, not unlike Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and other such books, written in a period of change, about that very change. Written for the moment, the authors’ hopes are that they will lead us out of our urgent predicament and tell us something we can use in the future. I remembered that Packer had been a signee of the famous or some would say infamous “Harper’s Magazine Letter,” in which established writers and artists wrote A Letter on Justice and Open Debate, decrying the fact . . .

Read More

RPCV JEREMY BLACK 1968 – 2021 (Comoros)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Matt Losak (Lesotho 1985-87) Washington Post Jeremy M. Black (Comoros 1992-94) Jeremy M. Black, 53, beloved husband, father, son, brother, nephew, and uncle, passed away needlessly from gun violence on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. Jeremy is the husband of Cathy Feingold and father of two sons, Myles, 17, and Alex, 15. He dedicated his professional life to international development. After earning an undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis, he served as a volunteer for the Peace Corps in the Comoros Islands, leading to a lifelong passion of promoting a deeper understanding between people across and within borders. Jerry went on to receive his graduate degree from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, along with his wife, Cathy Feingold. Jerry and Cathy worked together at the Ford Foundation before moving to Washington, DC, where Jerry worked at the Aspen Institute . . .

Read More

A Peace Corps worker was on a date in D.C. with his wife. Then came a stray bullet.

A Peace Corps worker was on a date in D.C. with his wife. Then came a stray bullet. Jeremy “Jerry” Black, a Peace Corps worker, was fatally shot on 14th Street NW on June 29, 2021. By Theresa Vargas Columnist Cathy Feingold doesn’t know who the women were or what lives they had led. All she knows is that they appeared during one of her darkest moments and knew exactly what to do as her husband lay on a busy Northwest D.C. sidewalk, dying from a gunshot wound. That night in June, as Feingold tells it, she and her husband, Jeremy Black, a Peace Corps worker who had dedicated his life to helping others, had been on a date. They had enjoyed dinner with two friends at a 14th Street restaurant and, because the weather was welcoming, decided to take a walk. The four made it only a few blocks . . .

Read More

Nominations Open for Peace Corps Prestigious John F. Kennedy Service Awards

July 20, 2021 From July 19 to August 13, the Peace Corps will accept nominations for awards to honor exceptional returned volunteers and staff WASHINGTON – Today, nominations for the Peace Corps’ John F. Kennedy Service Awards will open and be accepted until 11:59 p.m., Friday, August 13, 2021. The award, presented every five years, honors President John F. Kennedy’s vision, leadership, and commitment to public service by recognizing members of the Peace Corps community who have made exceptional contributions toward realizing the mission and goals of the agency. “The Peace Corps community is made up of incredibly dedicated people who share a passion for service above self,” said Acting Director Carol Spahn. “I am inspired every day by the fierce commitment of our staff and volunteers and it will certainly be a challenge to select the winners.” John F. Kennedy Service Award candidates must demonstrate outstanding service and leadership . . .

Read More

Peter Hessler (China) in The New Yorker, June 21, 2021

  Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) has a long, long essay in the issue entitled “Year of the Bunny Hill” As China prepares to host the Winter Olympics, the country gets on skis The article is on a trip Peter and his family took to Wanlong, site of the 2022 Winter Olympics. Peter, who is teaching in Chengdu, will be leaving China soon, I’m told. His visa wasn’t renewed. Peter who has been in China with his wife and twin daughters for several years might have ‘run-up against’ the government because of his New Yorkers articles. Peter began to write for the magazine in 2000. His most recent book, based on his years in Egypt is entitled, The Buried. Peter and his family, I presume, will be returning to Colorado where they own a home in a small town an hour from Telluride. While Peter’s wife Leslie and their two girls . . .

Read More

Mary-Ann Tirone Smith’s memoir (Cameroon) inspires Connecticut Congress to help young woman

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dick Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64).   The following is an interview with Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965-66) on NBC-CT, after the bill passed the House with a unanimous vote. • Bill Passes That Could Give Hartford Woman a Reward She Was Denied in 1953 A 2008 memoir Girls of Tender Age written by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith documenting the murder of an 11-year old girl and efforts to arrest her killer inspired the bill passed by the Connecticut Congress. Lawmakers in the House recently voted to approve a bill to provide a reward to a woman in her 80s, who as a teen, helped get a murderer and sexual predator off the streets of Hartford. Connecticut’s General Assembly unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that could give a woman a reward she earned nearly 70 years ago. House Bill 5088 was introduced to recognize and compensate Ms. Patricia . . .

Read More

Barry Hillenbrand (Ethiopia) Celebrates Peace Corps Anniversary on Arlington Connection

    Peace Corps celebrates 60th anniversary, Tuesday, July 20, 1:30 p.m. Program presented by Barry Hillenbrand (Ethiopia 1963-65), former TIME magazine correspondent. Registration # 914400-17. On the program will be a discussion of:“Peace Corps Volunteers End Smallpox In the 1970s – 73 Peace Corps volunteers helped the World Health Organization eradicate smallpox in Ethiopia and ultimately the world. The story has important parallels to today’s battle against Covid-19. To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Peace Corps, Barry Hillenbrand, former Time magazine correspondent, will share the experiences of these remarkable volunteers, as memorialized in Eradicating Smallpox in Ethiopia. • July 20 Tuesday 1:30-2:30 p.m. Virtual #914400-17 1 session” Flourishing After 55 in Arlington: 55+ Programs are virtual and outdoors. A 55+ Membership is required to participate ($20 annual fee). To join or register, go to registration.arlingtonva.us or call 703-228-4747. Local Media Connection LLC Independent, locally owned publishers of the Connection Newspapers, 15 . . .

Read More

Solomon’s Net by Lew Mermelstein (Ethiopia) Reading at Gallery Bookshop

  Please join Lew (and other writers) on Thursday, July 15 at 6 PM (PDT) as he reads from his new novel Solomon’s Net. Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, California, requests that you register at their website:  https://www.gallerybookshop.com/event/authors-night-online-0 Solomon’s Net – A Tale Of Madness It’s the summer of 1973. Steve Williams, recently terminated Peace Corps Volunteer is being treated for paranoid schizophrenia by his doctors in Iowa. But Steve knows the real problem is evil Zar demons and only his Ethiopian lover Abebech can help. However, they’d never let Steve back into Ethiopia, not after what he did. Based on real events, through Steve, we explore how delusional disorders were treated by Western psychiatry in the early 1970s. Through Abebech we learn how traditional Ethiopian healers treated madness. • Solomon’s Net: A Tale Of Madness by Lew  Mermelstein (Ethiopia 1970 – 73) Does Not Apply, publisher January 2020 398 pages

Read More

Peace Corps May Be Returning Volunteers to Service

https://www.peacecorps.gov/news/library/peace-corps-takes-steps-return-service-overseas/   “June 30, 2021 Agency will resume inviting volunteers to serve in countries that have met rigorous health, security and safety standards Today, the Peace Corps announced that it is a step closer to returning volunteers to overseas service. The agency will resume inviting volunteers to serve at posts that have met a comprehensive set of health, safety and security criteria. “Following 15 months of global isolation, tireless work by our staff around the world and incredible patience from our applicants and host country partners, the Peace Corps is moving forward in the process of returning to our overseas posts,” said Acting Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn. “The Peace Corps is advancing with an abundance of caution, flexibility and pragmatism, but also with so much hope about all the important work that is ahead of us.” While the COVID-19 pandemic remains a dynamic challenge, the agency has developed a . . .

Read More

Chuck Woodard Passes—Early PC/W Staff

Charles C. Woodard, Jr., “Chuck” of Medford, NJ and formerly of Hastings-on-Hudson, NY passed away on June 11, 2021. He was 97. Chuck Woodard was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1923. He enrolled at UCLA in 1941 and subsequently joined Army ROTC after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. While still at UCLA he renewed an acquaintance with Margaret McHaffie, his future wife. He famously asked her out and when she said she was interested in another man and asked why he would want a date he replied “you’re better than a blind date”. In January 1944 he was ordered to Fort Benning, Georgia for infantry officer training. While there he and Margaret became engaged and set a wedding date in June 1944. Chuck was unable to get enough leave to get back to Los Angeles for the planned wedding so they instead met in New Orleans, where they married . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2019. Peace Corps Worldwide.