The Peace Corps

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

1
Travel Books Nominated for 2016 Peace Corps Book Awards
2
Early Termination Rates of Response Volunteers Compared – RPCVs to Non-RPCVs
3
RPCV NYC Announces 5th Annual Story Slam Returned Peace Corps Volunteers take the stage to share true stories of service abroad
4
Palma de Mallorca inspires another poem by John Coyne (Ethiopia)
5
Famous RPCV Journalists: The China Gang
6
A set back for RPCVs in North Carolina — maybe temporarily.
7
Advice for the graduate who wants to work in International Affairs
8
New Logo at Peace Corps Explained June 2nd
9
Vietnam and the Peace Corps: Remarks at Signing Ceremony
10
Obama to Announce Peace Corps will be Invited to Vietnam

Travel Books Nominated for 2016 Peace Corps Book Awards

The Keys to the Congo: and Further Travels: Memoir of a 2x Peace Corps Volunteer Irene Brammertz (Zaire 1988–90; Malawi 2011–12) October 2015 A House in Trausse Leita  Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) December 2015 Ethiopian Vignettes: Seeing is Believing James Murren (Honduras 1997-99) November 2015 Travel Tales of a Feisty Fifty-something: All Roads Lead Home Joanne  Nussbaum (Mongolia 2010–12) January 2015 Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads Paul Thexoux (Malawi 1963-65) September 2015 Crocodile Love: Travel Tales from an Extended Honeymoon by Joshua Berman (Nicaragua 1998–2000) December 2015 Circling Sicily Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) December 2015

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Early Termination Rates of Response Volunteers Compared – RPCVs to Non-RPCVs

One of the major changes made by Peace Corps in 2010 was to include non-RPCVs in the Peace Corps Response Program. The decision to include non-RPCVs was announced in the 2010 Peace Corps Comprehensive Agency Assessment Report. (https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/opengov/PC_Comprehensive_Agency_Assessment.pdf) Peace Corps Response had begun in 1995 as the Crisis Corps. It was designed to utilize the unique experience of RPCVs by deploying them to help in emergencies, almost always in foreign countries. Later, the name was changed to Peace Corps Response and the mandate was expanded to send RPCVS  on short term technical or professional  assignments. Today, Peace Corps Response is open to returned Volunteers or those with significant professional and technical experience willing to serve usually three to twelve months in host countries. The Response Volunteers do not receive the extensive 12 week cultural and language training that “traditional” Volunteers have received. The Responsive program has a week’s orientation program.  It . . .

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RPCV NYC Announces 5th Annual Story Slam Returned Peace Corps Volunteers take the stage to share true stories of service abroad

Join the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of New York City (RPCV NYC) on Saturday, June 25, 2016 when returned volunteers take the stage to tell stories of mischief, mayhem, and misadventure around the world. Doors open at 7 pm and the show begins at 7:30 pm at Hostelling International ­ NY located at 891 Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper Westside in Manhattan. Entry is donation based (suggested $5)  with refreshments also available by donation. Proceeds from the event will go towards an underfunded project through the Peace Corps Partnership Program which allows current volunteers  to fundraise for community led projects where they   serve. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) have the unique experience of having lived and served  abroad for 27 months while integrating into the culture of their host communities. Far from the comforts and convenience of their lives in the U.S. and established family and friends they work at . . .

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Palma de Mallorca inspires another poem by John Coyne (Ethiopia)

  More than twice the size of my small island of Minorca is the island of  Majorca or Mallorca, the largest island in the Balearic Islands archipelago that also includes Ibiza and Formentera. I have been to all of them, and you should travel there as well. Here’s a poem that came out of one of my visits to the big island. Palma De Mallorca The woman in the hotel pool swam in steady lengths, mindless of the Mediterranean, the yellow sun on harbor walls, the dance of docked white yachts. Mindless as well of my gin and tonic, or Robert Graves, buried in the thick crust of Deya. Her blond hair combed the turquoise water. Beyond the high tips of palm trees, Palma de Mallorca rushed by, while she kept pace in her wet world. Swimmers know nothing but their breath, the pull of muscles, and coolness of flesh. She did not know us, watching her slight body, tan limbs . . .

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Famous RPCV Journalists: The China Gang

Although the Peace Corps has given a start to many well-known writers—Paul Theroux, Maria Thomas, Philip Margolin, Bob Shacochis, among them—it has fostered relatively few journalists and editors. One of the first journalist was Al Kamen, a Volunteer in the Dominican Republic during the early 1960s.Recently retired after 35 years at the Washington Post, Kamen wrote a column, “In the Loop,” and also covered the State Department and local and federal courts. He assisted his Post colleague Bob Woodward with reporting for The Final Days and The Brethren. Other Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) of the 1960s who became well-known journalists include Vanity Fair’s special correspondent Maureen Orth, an urban community development volunteer in Colombia, and one of the first women writers at Newsweek, and MSNBC HardBall host Chris Matthews, who served in Swaziland. There are more, of course, with that kind of media power who went into film and the arts . . .

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A set back for RPCVs in North Carolina — maybe temporarily.

The Washington Times published the following AP report from the North Carolina legislature.  Associated Press, Wednesday, June 1, 2016 RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Bipartisan legislation allowing North Carolina public school teachers and government employees with previous Peace Corps service to improve their pensions has been side-tracked in the House after a strong majority originally supported the legislation. The House initially voted 94-14 Tuesday for the bill, which would require workers to pay both their personal contribution and the government’s share to “buy” retirement credits for up to five years in the Peace Corps. But several Republican lawmakers asked Speaker Tim Moore to have their “yes” votes changed to “no,” setting the stage for procedural motions to cancel the previous approval. Some legislators then criticized the bill, saying Peace Corps veterans shouldn’t be treated the same as military veterans, which have a similar option. The bill was then returned to a committee.” . . .

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Advice for the graduate who wants to work in International Affairs

Morgan Courtney is a “Design thinker + foreign policy/international development practitioner working for social impact” who wrote an article for the Huffington Post.  She offers  ten points of advice for the “Graduate Who Wants to Work in International Affairs.” Of interest to the Peace Corps community and prospective applicants is #2 from Courtney. Get field experience. Many field jobs in international development require prior field experience. It’s a Catch-22. How do you get field experience if jobs require you to already have field experience? There are a couple of different ways. Firstly, your summer or semester in South Africa doesn’t count as much as you think it does. Sorry. What employers are looking for is real work experience, not classroom time, in another country. (What IS good is language proficiency from your time abroad!) So what can you do after college to get field experience? In my estimation, the very best . . .

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New Logo at Peace Corps Explained June 2nd

Peace Corps has a new logo and a new website. “Peace Corps’ Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and Creative Director Juan Carlos Polanco, will discuss the new brand and our efforts to showcase the Volunteer experience. Attend the event for a chance to ask questions or, if you can’t make it, watch the recording after the event.” This is the link for more information: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USPC/bulletins/14c8d44

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Vietnam and the Peace Corps: Remarks at Signing Ceremony

Remarks at a Peace Corps Signing Ceremony Remarks John Kerry Secretary of State Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Minh and Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet Government House Hanoi, Vietnam May 24, 2016   MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) On the occasion of the official visit to Vietnam by the Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, and (inaudible) between His Excellency Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and His Excellency John Kerry, Secretary of State, the two sides will sign the framework agreement concerning the program of the Peace Corps in Vietnam. Allow me the pleasure to introduce and invite His Excellency Secretary of State John Kerry and His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh to witness the signing of the framework agreement. Now I’d like to invite Madame Carolyn Hessler-Radelet, Director of the Peace Corps, to have some remarks. . . .

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Obama to Announce Peace Corps will be Invited to Vietnam

  President Barack Obama is expected to announce Monday during his visit to Vietnam that the Peace Corps will be invited to establish operations in that country, the volunteer organization said. The volunteers will focus on teaching English to students, and training Vietnamese colleagues to teach English. It’s a striking turnaround from the years when some young men joined the Peace Corps in an effort to avoid serving in the military during the Vietnam conflict. The Peace Corps has been working on gaining entry to Vietnam for years. In 2012, then-Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams made a three-day visit to the country to explore the possibility of an invitation to establish a program there. The Peace Corps was established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy to promote world peace and friendship. Since then, more than 220,000 Americans have served in 141 host countries. Currently, volunteers work in 63 countries. . . .

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