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 (Nigeria) # 1
2
What JFK Had To Say To Us On The White House Lawn
3
Review: A HUNDRED VEILS by Rea Keach (Iran)
4
John F. Kennedy Service Award & Franklin H. Williams Award (2016)
5
Lisa Einstein Featured in Scientific American Magazine Site (Guinea)
6
Peace Corps Task Force, 2008 New Obama Administration
7
Patrick O’Leary (Sierra Leone) publishes FROM FREEBORN TO FREETOWN & BACK
8
Remembering “Shriverized” and Shriver
9
An RPCV remembers Peace Corps staff member Bob Blackburn (Somalia)
10
Former RPCV Says Clinton’s National Service Plan is Great (Poland)

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 . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

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/    

Read More

Peace Corps Task Force, 2008 New Obama Administration

It is that time again….a new administration in January, and a “new” direction for the Peace Corps. This is the document written in the fall of 2008, shortly before President Obama took office. It is fascinating to see how few of these recommendations from the Task Force (not surprising, I’d say) were adopted by the Obama Administration. I have ‘pulled’ one of those suggestions out and highlighted it. How often have we heard about the increasing of PCVs?  This is a Word Document taken from a PDF.  (John Coyne) During the Presidential campaign, President-elect Obama made the following comment in a speech at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa when introducing Senator Harris Wofford, a person with a close association to the Peace Corps since the days of John Kennedy: “It is an honor to be introduced by Harris Wofford – one of America’s greatest advocates for public service. Starting with . . .

Read More

Patrick O’Leary (Sierra Leone) publishes FROM FREEBORN TO FREETOWN & BACK

  Read about Patrick O’Leary’s long history with Sierra Leone in his newly published memoir From Freeborn to Freetown & Back. Patrick was a Minnesota farm kid who grew up in Freeborn County, Minnesota, when he became  a Peace Corp trainee at Syracuse University in 1966 for the Tanzania XIII program. But once training was completed the program was cancelled, and many of the trainees were sent to Sierra Leone, West Africa — including Patrick. He became a agricultural advisor and worked with farmers in an upcountry chiefdom. As a Volunteer Patrick had a number of adventures including being bitten by a poisonous snake, driving over and killing a pregnant cow, and raising chickens that were quickly killed by driver ants. During Patrick’s Peace Corps service he developed a relationship with the village chief that lasted 40 years. He accompanied the chief to Sierra Leone’s diamond mining area, and later was the guest of the chief’ — then a member of Parliament— at the . . .

Read More

Remembering “Shriverized” and Shriver

In the Peace Corps world of the early Sixties, the noun “Shriverized” meant “to enlarge, to speed up, to apply greater imagination.”  As an English major I had never heard of the word, but in the linqua franca world of the new Peace Corps, this ‘noun’ changed my life. I had come of age with the Presidency of John F. Kennedy, and was a small part of the New Frontier as a PCV. I was ‘Shriverized” by the man himself, R. Sargent Shriver. It was as a Trainee for the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1962, when I first met President Kennedy, and when I first met Sargent Shriver. I was a “Kennedy’s Kid’ and, yes, I was, like hundreds, and then thousands, of others going to change the world forever in the New Frontier. And, yes, we really, really believed we would. We believed because . . .

Read More

An RPCV remembers Peace Corps staff member Bob Blackburn (Somalia)

  Living a Life by Don Beil (Somalia 1964–66) Robert (“Bob”) W. Blackburn (Deputy Director/Somalia 1964–66), 81, died Saturday, September 10, 2016. For several weeks before his death he knew his heart was giving out, and he spoke openly of the wonderful life he had enjoyed, and the realization that it was coming to an end. On Friday evening he felt it was imminent and all of his immediate family gathered to spend that evening talking warmly with him until past midnight. In the early morning they found that Bob had died peacefully in his sleep. Those of use who knew him can take comfort in his open acceptance of the inevitable and repeated assurances of his appreciation for the life he enjoyed with each of us. Bob spoke to those near him in his last days in such a calm manner that he was comforting us, thinking of others as he . . .

Read More

Former RPCV Says Clinton’s National Service Plan is Great (Poland)

Clinton’s national service plan is great Mark Lenzi in USA Today Mark Lenzi, a former spokesman for the New Hampshire Republican Party, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kielce, Poland. He owns a steel sheet piling company based in New Hampshire. During my Peace Corps service, I would sometimes be asked by genuinely inquisitive students whether Americans were as shallow as reality TV shows and Hollywood movies seemed to indicate. Was it true that the average American could name three pro wrestling stars (“And you do understand it is fake, right?”) yet have no idea millions were being killed in places like Congo? Could a typical person in New Hampshire find a country such as France let alone Sudan on a blank map? Though I would often find myself getting defensive with questions like these and tried my best to refute or at least deflect them, I now find myself faced with the irony of a . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2019. Peace Corps Worldwide.