The Peace Corps

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

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The Life of An African Peace Corps Child (Cameroon)
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More About Peace Corps Books at the Library of Congress
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Writers At Work: MFA in Creative Writing for PCVs and RPCVs
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The Murder of Deborah Gardner (Tonga)
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Last Day, August 1st. to Vote in Peace Corps Story Telling Contest
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New Madrid Call For Submissions
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Tonight on TV: ‘PASSPORT TO MURDER’ looks back at 1976 Peace Corps murder in Tonga by jealous, obsessed man
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Talking to Executive Editor Jocelyn Zuckerman (Kenya)
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Tony D’Souza Wins More Journalism Awards (Cote d’Ivoire)
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RPCV Averill Strasser (Bolivia) co-founder of water charity

The Life of An African Peace Corps Child (Cameroon)

 Chia Alphonse Tasah is a team-building and cultural-diversity consultant at All World Languages and Cultures, Inc., in Kansas City, Missouri, where he makes presentations at conferences, seminars, churches, and schools. Chia was born and received his early education in Cameroon. During his secondary school years there, he was supported by Peace Corps Volunteers. Later he earned his master of education (MEd) in human resource development at the University of Minnesota. He recently publish a memoir The Life of An African Peace Corps Child: The Life and Experiences of a Peace Corps Child of Kom, Cameroon that is obtainable at www.chiatasah.com or iuniverse.com, (but not Amazon). I asked Chia if he would write a short essay about how three PCVs impacted his education and helped him in his career. He was nice enough to send me this account. — JC •  The Impact of Peace Corps Volunteers in My Life by Chia Alphonse Tasah The Peace Corps program brought three . . .

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More About Peace Corps Books at the Library of Congress

Reference: New: Annotated Bibliography of Peace Corps Writers’ Books in the Library of Congress Filed by Gary Price on September 22, 2011 From the Bibliography Web Site: The Library of Congress celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps with this annotated bibliography of selected books in the Library of Congress collections authored by returned Peace Corps volunteers and a few former staff members. It contains a listing of 284 books published between 1964 and 2011. Each entry links to a Library of Congress Online Catalog record, which contains more information about the book. Although far from comprehensive, this selected bibliography is representative of the creativity, scholarship, and knowledge of the developing world of more than 1,000 Peace Corps writers. About 70 percent of the cited books are nonfiction and 30 percent, fiction. Less than a quarter are memoirs of the Peace Corps experience. The 233 authors served in the Peace Corps in 83 . . .

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Writers At Work: MFA in Creative Writing for PCVs and RPCVs

Writer At Work As you know from the announcements from the NPCA and emails from me, the Peace Corps cohort is comprised of current or returned PCVs, employees of the NPCA, or other members of the NPCA that have been closely involved with the Peace Corps. All members of the cohort must also be members of the NPCA to receive the 15% tuition discount for the program. The cohort is a unique opportunity. As a student you would be in a small cohort with other Peace Corps volunteers (current or former) who all want to pursue an MFA degree and write about their experiences in the Peace Corps or things inspired by that experience. The cohort will share three classes all instructed by me. But the program isn’t just about the Peace Corps experience. National University has had a long-standing MFA program that has produced hundreds of graduates in poetry, fiction, . . .

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The Murder of Deborah Gardner (Tonga)

The murder of Deborah Gardner in 1976 in Tonga still haunts the Peace Corps agency and particularly those who were in Tonga during this terrible time when the agency did not do justice to one of their own. I have written about this murder several times over the years and Jan Worth Nelson (Tonga 1976-78) wrote the 2006 novel Night Blind based on the murder. She alerted me to the recent documentary. It is part of a series called “Passport to Murder” produced for Discovery ID TV. The  segment on Deborah Gardner was entitled “The Devil in Paradise.” It was aired on July 29, 2016. Jan, who was interviewed for the segment wrote me after it aired, “I have come to believe there probably isn’t any closure to be had.  But unlike Emile Hons (Tonga 1974-76), I didn’t really know her AND, most importantly, I didn’t walk into that cursed hut to . . .

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Last Day, August 1st. to Vote in Peace Corps Story Telling Contest

The Peace Corps Office of the Third Goal is sponsoring a Story Telling Video Contest.  RPCVs from many decades are represented.  Here is how to view the videos and vote: Go to the Facebook link:https://www.facebook.com/pcthirdgoal/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1067581646663436 Click on the picture of your choice and it will bring you to the video.  If you wish to vote for that video, return to the Facebook page and hit “like”. You may vote for as many videos as you like. Thank you to Katie (RPCV Mali and DR) for these instructions.  There are real people actually answering the phone at the Office of the Third Goal!!

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New Madrid Call For Submissions

RPCV Editor Ann Neelon (Senegal 1978-79)  is the author of Easter Vigil, which won both the Anhinga Prize for Poetry and the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Writers and Readers Award. After over six years of directing the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at Murray State University, she just stepped down and is looking forward to having more time to write. She is currently editing an issue of New Madrid journal on the theme of “Imaging Peace.”–JC CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS NEW MADRID, Winter 2017 Issue:  World Peace New Madrid, the official journal of the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at Murray State University, will dedicate its Winter 2017 issue to the theme of imagining peace. As George Bernard Shaw has written, “Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.” We are looking for work in all literary genres that speaks to this arduousness and that defines . . .

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Tonight on TV: ‘PASSPORT TO MURDER’ looks back at 1976 Peace Corps murder in Tonga by jealous, obsessed man

JULY 29, 2016 DEBORAH GARDNER, DENNIS PRIVEN: ‘PASSPORT TO MURDER’ LOOKS BACK AT 1976 PEACE CORPS MURDER IN TONGA BY JEALOUS, OBSESSED MAN Deborah Gardner, the young teacher and Peace Corps volunteer who was stabbed to death by a jealous suitor on the island of Tonga 40 years ago, will be the next story to be documented on Passport To Murder on ID. Passport To Murder has done an excellent job of taking Investigation Discovery viewers across the globe to the most exotic locations, where American tourists end up murdered in paradise. Deborah Gardner’s story will air on the episode titled, “The Devil In Paradise.” The murder, which has been covered on CBS’ 48 Hours, will trace the steps of a beloved volunteer worker who was found stabbed dozens of times by another volunteer. Tune into Passport To Murder tonight, Friday, July 29, 2016 at 10/9 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery. A Find A Grave entry for Deborah Gardner describes . . .

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Talking to Executive Editor Jocelyn Zuckerman (Kenya)

Jocelyn Zuckerman is the Executive Editor of Modern Farmer. She is also the former executive editor of Whole Living, deputy editor of Gourmet, and articles editor of On Earth. She is also a recipient of a James Beard Award for feature writing and of fellowships from the Peter Jennings Project and The Carter Center….as well, she is a former PCV in Kenya. She is also the mother of two lovely daughters and lives with her husband in Brooklyn. What more would anyone want? Well, we decided she needed to be interviewed for our site. What is this all about, Jocelyn…. in your bio from Modern Farming As a teacher in Kenya, Jocelyn once opened her door to find a particularly grateful student bearing a live chicken in a plastic bag. Oh, the mag wanted some little anecdote involving farming. I had a student I was very close to when I . . .

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Tony D’Souza Wins More Journalism Awards (Cote d’Ivoire)

Tony D’Souza (Cote d’Ivoire  2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) widely lauded for his  novels Whiteman (a New York Times Editor’s Pick) and Mule  (optioned for film by Warner Bros.) has been based in  Sarasota, FL, the past few years, where he is raising his  two young children and is a contributing editor at Sarasota Magazine. He’s regularly been winning Florida magazine and  journalism prizes, and this past Saturday in Miami, he took  home three more awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. This year, he took first prizes in Public Service Reporting and Investigative Reporting, as well as a  second prize in Investigative Reporting. His long form feature stories which were recognized by the SPJ include “Going Nowhere,” a months-long investigation of  the homeless and their treatment by the affluent communities of southwest Florida. https://www.sarasotamagazine.com/articles/2014/12/31/41465 “Going Nowhere” also received the 2015 Florida Magazine Award for Best Public Service Coverage and has been featured  on long form magazine websites and public radio. Another is “The Sky is . . .

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RPCV Averill Strasser (Bolivia) co-founder of water charity

Averill Strasser (Bolivia 1966–68), who lives in Mount Shasta, CA, is co-founder (with fellow Mount Shasta resident JahSun) and Chief Operating Officer of Water Charity. As a PCV Strasser taught engineering at the University of San Andres in La Paz. Averill received a JD degree in Law from University of West Los Angeles, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Systems Engineering from UCLA.  He worked as a lawyer in Beverly Hills for many years, before embarking on a new career as a businessman and philanthropist. As he says today, “The Peace Corps experience has had a profound influence on every aspect of my life, including educational and career pursuits. It continues to drive me today.” The following story is from MountShastaNews.com and quotes JahSun who teamed up with Strasser to create the non-profit, Water Charity. Thanks to Tony DeSouza for the “heads up” on the article — JC •     Mount Shastan’s . . .

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