The Peace Corps

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

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Peace Corps Volunteers flee ‘ISIS’ vagrant (Guyana)
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Marian Beil Announces the Peace Corps Writer Awards for 2016 at the NPCA Conference
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Writers From The Peace Corps Workshop
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Spotted on the shelf (already!) at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon
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RPCV Joe Kennedy III Talks About His Peace Corps Experience
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Larry Leamer’s (Nepal 1965-67) Novel Inspired by watching Donald Trump Eat a Hamburger
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RPCV Jim Turner Created Hobbit House (Philippines)
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RPCVs talk about writing and publishing at Peace Corps Beyond
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Peace Corps Writers Sessions at NPCA Conference
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Talking with Clinton Etheridge (Gambia)

Peace Corps Volunteers flee ‘ISIS’ vagrant (Guyana)

Peace Corps volunteers flee ‘ISIS’ vagrant By Vanessa Braithwaite,  Guyana Chronicle September 26, 2016 Thanks for the “heads up” from Alana DeJoseph (Mali 1992–94)       THE mining town of Linden is now short of four US Peace Corps volunteers in the health and education sectors after they received death threats from a vagrant known as “Killer”. According to reports, the man is known in the community as being mentally unstable. He would oftentimes make public threats, claiming to be a member of the terrorist organization Islamic State and would kill any American national if given the chance.      The man would normally stand at the corner of Republic Avenue and Green Heart Street Mackenzie and verbally abuse passersby, using expletives and other threatening language.      At one time he used to physically assault persons who on many occasion had to be defended by others nearby. While the Linden . . .

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Writers From The Peace Corps Workshop

On Wednesday, September 21, 2016, Marian Haley Beil and I spoke to RPCVs attending the opening Workshops of the National Peace Corps Association Conference in Washington, D.C. Publisher Marian Beil’s Workshop was on the mechanics of self-publishing a book and I spoke about writing a Peace Corps memoir, novel, or collection of stories. Here are my comments to approximately 100 RPCVs who attend our sessions. I focused first on the history of Peace Corps books and their importance to American literature and then I had suggestions on how one might write their book. John Coyne, Editor Writers From The Peace Corps  One of the most important books of the late 1950 was The Ugly American by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick. The book’s hero was a skilled technician committed to helping in developing countries at a grassroots level by building water pumps, digging roads, building bridges. He was called the . . .

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Spotted on the shelf (already!) at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon

Maria Thomas Fiction Award This Award is named after the novelist Maria Thomas [Roberta Worrick (Ethiopia 1971–73)] who was the author of a well-reviewed novel and two collections of short stories all set in Africa. She lost her life in August, 1989, while working in Ethiopia for a relief agency. She went down in the plane crash that killed Congressman Mickey Leland of Texas. Winner for 2016 for the novel Landfall  is Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-92) Also this: Notes from The Oregonian/OregonLive’s books desk. “Landfall” wins prize: West Linn author Ellen Urbani’s 2015 novel “Landfall,” about the intertwined stories of two teenage girls in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, has won the Peace Corps’ 2016 Maria Thomas Fiction Award, given to Peace Corps alumni  (Urbani served with the Peace Corps in Guatemala from 1991 to 1992). “Landfall,” which The Oregonian/OregonLive’s reviewer called “a book to be savored,” was published by . . .

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RPCV Joe Kennedy III Talks About His Peace Corps Experience

By U.S. News Staff Sept. 23, 2016, at 5:13 p.m. Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass (Dominican Republic 2004-06), is among the most well-known Peace Corps volunteers. He served in the Dominican Republic from 2004-2006, and is an outspoken proponent of the organization founded in 1961 by his great-uncle, John F. Kennedy, and first led by another great-uncle, Sargent Shriver. Along with other current and returned Peace Corps volunteers, he told U.S. News via email about his Peace Corps experiences. What’s your best memory of serving in the Peace Corps? Would you encourage others to do it now? During my service in the DR, I was riding a bus on my own one day when an older gentleman tapped me on the shoulder. “Corpo de Paz?” he asked. I nodded. Then he leaned forward and thanked me. “For what?” I asked. He explained that years ago, a young man came to his town as a Peace Corps volunteer and helped . . .

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Larry Leamer’s (Nepal 1965-67) Novel Inspired by watching Donald Trump Eat a Hamburger

By Barbara Marshall – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer  Sunday September 18 Stop us if this sounds familiar: Vincent Victor, a pugnacious businessman, playboy and bombastic developer of discount shopping malls called “Victor’s Golden Castle” creates a Miss Universe-like pageant called The Great American Breast Contest which leads to a starring role in a reality TV show called The Vigilantes, which he parlays into a run at the presidency. If that reminds you of Donald Trump, it’s meant to, says author and historian Laurence Leamer, author of “The President’s Butler,” a new satiric novel. Related by Victor’s butler, Billy Baxter, the story portrays Victor as a proudly anti-intellectual attention junkie who spews conspiracy theories and Twitter put-downs. After pummeling his mainstream political opponents to grab the GOP nomination for president, he faces a Democratic opponent he belittles as Blundering Belinda Ball. Any doubts about the object of Leamer’s lampooning are . . .

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RPCV Jim Turner Created Hobbit House (Philippines)

(Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Barry Hillenbrand (Ethiopia 1963-65) In the Philippines, Jim Turner’s heartbroken ‘hobbits’ mourn the loss of their patron by William Branigin (c) 2016, The Washington Post. All over Manila, the “little people” are in mourning. Jim Turner (Philippines 1961-63), a former Peace Corps volunteer from Iowa who established the renowned Hobbit House, died on Steptember 8, 2016, at 77 of heart and lung ailments, leaving generations of Philippine dwarfs bereft. The Hobbit House was founded in 1973 as a theme bar and restaurant – a tribute of sorts to Turner’s favorite author, J.R.R. Tolkien – and it soon became a haven for the dwarfs he rescued from the capital’s streets and from carnivals and variety shows that demeaned them. He employed dwarfs as waiters, bartenders, cashiers, entertainers, even bouncers. Eventually, they became managers and owners. Over the years, children and grandchildren of the original staff . . .

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RPCVs talk about writing and publishing at Peace Corps Beyond

  On Wednesday, September 21st from 3:15–4:15 pm and then repeated from 4:30 pm–5:30 pm, RPCV authors whose books were influenced by their Peace Corps experience and have been published by the Peace Corps Writers imprint, will participate in panels talking about writing and producing their books. The panels will be moderated by Marian Haley Beil. The panelists are: Emily Creigh (Paraguay 1975–77), who co-authored with and Dr. Martin Amada, Journey to the Heart of the Condor: Love, Loss and Survival in a South American Dictatorship. (Emily will participate only in the second panel.) Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia 1962—64), author of the the memoir Wanderlust Satisfied Marty Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68), author of The Orange Tree, a novel set in Somalia, and Somalia – a collection of short fiction. (Marty will participate only in the first panel.) Jay Hersch (Colombia 1964–66), whose Peace Corps memoir is Time Passages Catherine Onyemelukwe (Nigeria 1962–64), whose memoir is Nigeria Revisited: My Life and Loves Abroad. The panels will be presented at: Floyd Heck . . .

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Peace Corps Writers Sessions at NPCA Conference

Marvin Center Room 407: Wednesday!, September 21, 2016 3:15 – 4:15 pm: Stories of Peace: Panel Discussion with Marian Haley Beil and Published Peace Corps Authors 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm: Stories of Peace: Panel Discussion with Marian Haley Beil and Published Peace Corps Authors   Marvin Center Room 403 3:15 – 4:15 pm: Writing Your Peace Corps Story Workshop with John Coyne 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm: Writing Your Peace Corps Story Workshop with John Coyne Venue Address: Marvin Center – Fourth Floor George Washington University 800 21st St NW Washington, DC 20052 (Later that evening we’ll be meeting again for a chat and a drink at Tonic (2036 G Street NW)

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Talking with Clinton Etheridge (Gambia)

   An Interview with Clinton Etheridge Clinton Etheridge served in the Peace Corps in Gambia from 1970-72. A July 2011 trip back to West Africa with his family inspired him to write a reflection piece, “What is Africa to Me?” for the Swarthmore College Bulletin. Tell us a little about your background and where you served I was a secondary school math teacher in Peace Corps Gambia from 1970-1972. I grew up in Harlem, came of age during the civil rights movement, and was a black student leader at Swarthmore College in the late 60s. Like many young blacks of that generation, I wore an afro and dashiki and was “black and proud” and fascinated with Africa. I joined Peace Corps Gambia seeking the answer to the question “What is Africa to me?” posed by Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen in his 1925 Heritage. What was it like to be . . .

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