The Peace Corps

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

1
Marjorie Michelmore Peace Corps Postcard, Part IV (Nigeria)
2
Richard Wiley Publishes New Novel (Korea)
3
Marjorie Michelmore Peace Corps Postcard, Part III (Nigeria)
4
Marjorie Michelmore Peace Corps Postcard, Part II (Nigeria)
5
Thailand I Celebrates Its 55th Anniversary In Portland, Oregon and Visits Thirsters
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Marjorie Michelmore Peace Corps Postcard (Nigeria) # 1
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What JFK Had To Say To Us On The White House Lawn
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Review: A HUNDRED VEILS by Rea Keach (Iran)
9
John F. Kennedy Service Award & Franklin H. Williams Award (2016)
10
Lisa Einstein Featured in Scientific American Magazine Site (Guinea)

Marjorie Michelmore Peace Corps Postcard, Part IV (Nigeria)

Meanwhile back at Murray Frank’s home, the PCVs had assembled and were trying to understand the intense reaction of the Nigerians. Nigeria, newly independent, was surrounded, as Murray put it, “with the visages of the colonial period, including and especially white people who symbolized a colonial past.”   What had quickly emerged in Nigeria was a self-image based on their new freedom, especially among the young intellectuals. These students and others were asking: how could the Americans help us if they were writing letters home about them?   While many of the new PCVs had experienced student protests in the U.S. they were still unprepared for what was directed at them. Could they survive the postcard? They didn’t know. They began to ask themselves: why stay when so many students wanted them to leave?   Other PCVs said. We know Nigeria needs teachers. We can teach. We are not imperialists, . . .

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Richard Wiley Publishes New Novel (Korea)

Richard Wiley (Korea 1967-69) is the author of several novels including Soldiers in Hiding, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and Ahmed’s Revenge, winner of Peace Corps Writers Maria Thomas Fiction Award. He is professor emeritus at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and now lives in Tacoma, Washington. His new book–just published–is entitled Bob Stevenson and has just been published by Bellevue Literary Press. It is the story of a Dr. Ruby Okada who meets a charming man with a Scottish accent in the elevator of her psychiatric hospital. Unaware that he is an escaping patient, she falls under his spell, and her life and his are changed forever by the time they get to the street. Who is the mysterious man? Is he Archie B. Billingsly, suffering from dissociative identity disorder and subject to brilliant flights of fancy and bizarre, violent fits? Or is he the reincarnation of Robert . . .

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Marjorie Michelmore Peace Corps Postcard, Part III (Nigeria)

One of the early staff  of the Peace Corps that I spoke to about the post card incident was Warren Wiggins, then the Associate Director for the Office of Program Development and Operations, and later to be the Deputy Director. Wiggins told me that the staff in 1961 were waiting for something to happen overseas with the Volunteers. Too many young people were overseas, he said, and there “had to be” an incident of some kind. On the afternoon of October 15, 1961, they got their incident when word reached Washington about Marjorie Michelmore and her postcard. Gathering at HQ on that October Sunday afternoon, the senior staff was initially worried about Marjorie’s life, as well as the lives of the other Volunteers. Wiggins also realized that “The Peace Corps could be thrown out at any moment. It could be the domino theory–first we’re kicked out of Nigeria, then out of Ghana, . . .

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Marjorie Michelmore Peace Corps Postcard, Part II (Nigeria)

In the Fall, 1999 issue of the Friends of Nigeria Newsletter, Frank recalls the incident and those early tense days in Ibadan, Nigeria. Murray writes: The Postcard Affair began October 14, 1961. That was the day Peace Corps Nigeria almost came to an end . . . before it started. And I was in the middle of it all. Nigeria I had arrived in Ibadan early in October. Volunteers were settling into dormitories at the University of Ibadan (then a part of the University of London and called University College of Ibadan) where they would continue the training started at Harvard. I was the Western Region Peace Corps Representative. My family and I arrived in September, ahead of any other Regional Representatives and their families. Brent Ashabranner, who left AID to become Nigeria’s first Peace Corps Director, helped us get settled. We had a house in Bodija, a middle-class development between the center of . . .

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Thailand I Celebrates Its 55th Anniversary In Portland, Oregon and Visits Thirsters

  Thanks to John Dougherty, Co-Coordinator, Thirsters, for this notice. * VISIT FROM PEACE CORPS THAILAND GROUP 1 – OCTOBER 20th 2016 Dear Thirsters in Residence: On Thursday, October 20th, some of the folks from Peace Corps Thailand Group 1 will visit with us at McMenamin’s. They are in Portland to celebrate their 55th anniversary on October 17-21. Bob Textor was one of their teachers and a friend until his death, and Bob attended the 50th reunion in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit the Friends of Thailand website: http://www.friendsofthailand.org/thailandrpcvs/groups/thai01/Thai01.html On the website, take a look at Sumner Sharpe’s Recollections, the 1972 January Graduation: Thai I Group and the 50th Anniversary. Sumner talks about Bob Textor in his recollections. At the 1972 graduation and the 50thAnniversary in Washington, DC, there are pictures of Bob. UPCOMING PRESENTATIONS AND DISCUSSION TOPICS: November 3rd: What users want from smart phones – Zara Logue November 10th: . . .

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Marjorie Michelmore Peace Corps Postcard (Nigeria) # 1

[A number of people have emailed me to ask about my mentioning of the “Marjorie Michelmore Peace Corps Postcard.” It is a story that they never heard before. What was that, they ask. Well, here’s the full story again (I first blogged it back in 2009), in ten short blogs.] Marjorie Michelmore was a twenty-three-year-old magna cum laude graduate of Smith College when she became one of the first people to apply to the new Peace Corps in 1961. She was an attractive, funny, and smart woman who was selected to go to Nigeria. After seven weeks of training at Harvard, her group flew to Nigeria. There she was to complete the second phase of teacher training at University College at Ibadan, fifty miles north of the capital of Lagos. By all accounts, she was an outstanding Trainee. Then on the evening of October 13, 1961, she wrote a postcard to a . . .

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What JFK Had To Say To Us On The White House Lawn

 From the archives  What JFK Had To Say To Us On The White House Lawn APRIL 8, 1993 BY JOHN COYNE A police escort with sirens blaring led our dozen Peace Corps buses in one long continuous caravan through every downtown light in Washington, D.C. It was high noon in the District the summer of 1962, less than a year after the famous postcard dropped by a PCV had been found on the Ibadan campus that almost doomed the Peace Corps and we–the 300 Ethiopia-bound Peace Corps Trainees at Georgetown University–were on our way to meet John F. Kennedy at the White House. There were other Peace Corps Trainees as well meeting the President that afternoon. Peace Corps Trainees at Howard, American, Catholic, George Washington universities, and the University of Maryland, over 600 in all, gathered in the August heat and humidity on the great lawn below the Truman Balcony. Arriving at the White . . .

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Review: A HUNDRED VEILS by Rea Keach (Iran)

  A Hundred Veils Rea  Keech (Iran 1967–69) Real Nice Books 2015 310 pages $9.99 (paperback), $27.99 (hardcover), $2.00 (Kindle) Reviewed by Darcy Munson Meijer (Gabon 1982–84) • Rea Keech has written a novel that informs, inspires and delights. A Hundred Veils is a love story that takes place in 1968 Iran. The protagonist is Marco, a young American teaching English at the University of Tehran for the International Teachers Association. As Keech served with the Peace Corps in Iran at the same time, his novel necessarily draws much of its verisimilitude from his experiences there. Of all the books Peace Corps Worldwide’s editor offered me to review, I immediately chose this book. My family and I have just left the United Arab Emirates after 7 years of contented living, and I am eager to read anything about the Middle East. I miss the Emiratis’ generosity, their keen sense of . . .

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John F. Kennedy Service Award & Franklin H. Williams Award (2016)

 John F. Kennedy Service Award Each member of the Peace Corps family contributes to the agency’s success. The John F. Kennedy Service Award honors just a few of these individuals who go above and beyond for the Peace Corps and America every day. The Peace Corps established the John F. Kennedy Award in 2006 to honor the hard work and sacrifice of six individuals who have given outstanding service to the Peace Corps at home and abroad. The award is presented every five years to two current Peace Corps Volunteers, one returned Peace Corps Volunteer, one returned Peace Corps Response Volunteer and two Peace Corps staff members. Award recipients demonstrate exceptional service and leadership and further the Peace Corps mission and its three goals: To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained Volunteers To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of . . .

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Lisa Einstein Featured in Scientific American Magazine Site (Guinea)

Lisa Einstein (Guinea 2016-18) is currently working as a physics teacher in the Let Girls Learn initiative. She studied physics and dance at Princeton, and her goal is to combine her artistic and scientific passions to address social issues, especially through girls’ education. Yesterday, on the International Day of the Girl, Scientific American Magazine published Lisa’s music video on its site. Take a look at her amazing blog to see how she is achieving her goal….teaching science and math to young girls in Guinea, and changing minds about girls’ education! https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/girls-can-t-do-math-or-science/    

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