The Peace Corps

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

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 7
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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 6
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The Cold Hand of History, Part 5
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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps 4
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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps, Part 3
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RPCVs Speaking Up For Their Host Country Families and Friends
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Peace Corps and IBM Corporate Service Corps Team Up
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Cold Hand of History,The Peace Corps Part 2
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Cold Hand of History: The Peace Corps, Part I
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Katherine Russell Tsarnaev Wanted to be a PCV

Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 7

This essay on the Peace Corps is entitled, “Passing the Torch and Lighting Fires: The Peace Corps.” And as I said it was written by Gary May. The essay is based on interviews he had with Ethiopian PCVs in the 1980s, as well as one Evaluation Report and a Close of Service report done in 1964. It is the last chapter in a scholar text entitled, Kennedy’s Quest For Victory: American Foreign Policy, 1961-63, published by Oxford Press. It would appear to suggest that this is the story of the Peace Corps during the first decade.  It is meant to ‘sum up’ the work of Peace Corps Volunteers, to explain what the Peace Corps was all about  under Kennedy, Shriver, and Wofford, the driving force in the creation of the agency. This is not true, of course, It is one partial description of the work of PCVs in one country. . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 6

In Late October,1962, Sargent Shriver visited Ethiopia. He was determined to meet all 278 Volunteers recalled Donovan McClure, who accompanied Shriver from Washington. “He raced around in a jeep from sun-up to sunset shattering the poise of countless Volunteers by suddenly appearing in their classroom or at the doors of their houses, hand extended, “Hi! I’m Sarge Shriver. Greatameecha…President Kennedy is behind you all the way.” As Gary May reports. I was teaching English at the Commercial School when Shriver burst into my classroom, followed by Wofford and several Ethiopian officials from the Ministry of Education and our Headmaster. He came across the front of the classroom right at me, hand outstretched, just that, “Hi! I’m Sarge Shriver. Greatameecha.” I remember blurting out, “No kidding.” My tenth grade class was so stunned they didn’t jump to their feet as all Ethiopia students would do when an adult opened the classroom . . .

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The Cold Hand of History, Part 5

The Volunteers arrived in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa,” Gary May continues, “on September 7. (They had finished Training on August 20, 1962, when 278 were inducted into the Peace Corps. Training had started with 340 eight weeks earlier. While some had left Training on their own, most others were De-Selected in the final days.) As the PCVs arrived in Addis they were greeted by a gathering of American USAID and Embassy types. They disembarked, carrying musical instruments, cameras, and piles of luggage, and the sun appeared-“most unusual in this period of heavy Ethiopian rain,” one official remarked, as May quotes a cable from Addis to the Secretary of State, “conspired to make their arrival a festive occasion.” The volunteer passed quickly through customs. May quotes from John Coyne’s Ethiopia novel A Cool Breeze For Evening on how the new PCVS spoke to every Ethiopian that moved. “We were all trying . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps 4

The following week The New Yorker would quote Wofford’s line to the Trainees that they as PCVs in Ethiopia were the new frontier, and on July 9, 1962, the Washington Evening Star, in an article entitled, “Peace Corpsmen Trek West” APCD Bascom Story, as detailed by Gary May, explained the educational situation in Ethiopia to the Trainees where only 5 % of the children attended school, and “it was a tremendous responsibility when you consider that one half of all secondary school education will be carried on by Americans within four or five years.” The Peace Corps Staff expected that with the Volunteers the number of students enrolled in Ethiopia’s secondary schools would double. Getting ready to teach in Ethiopia, and double the number of students, the Trainees got up the next morning at 5:45 at Georgetown University and did forty minutes of physical training: push-ups, jogging, bending, turning, leaping…etc. . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps, Part 3

Contrary to what the Peace Corps Evaluators wrote in their 1967 Evaluation of the Ethiopia project, that Wofford and the agency had “chosen the incorrect “institutional” answer-the secondary schools-to the problems of Ethiopia,” the Empire in 1962 had a serious “educational emergency,” which threatened to retard permanently its economic development. According to Gary May, out of a secondary school-age population estimated at approximately one million, only six thousand were enrolled in 1960, and there were few college-trained Ethiopians qualified to teach them. This crisis had its origins during the Italian occupation (1935-1941), when the Italians killed nearly 20,000 Ethiopians, “reportedly concentrating on the professional, educational, and political leaders.” When Selassie returned to Ethiopia in 1941 he found “almost no educated people left in the country.” Over the next two-decades he attempted to fill this gap by importing teachers from abroad. The Emperor considered education so important to the modernization of . . .

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RPCVs Speaking Up For Their Host Country Families and Friends

We are the Board Members of Arkadaşlar, “Friends of Turkey,” representing over 800 returned PCVs. As Peace Corps Volunteers in Turkey in the 1960s and early 1970s, we learned, and lived, the value of understanding and respecting other cultures and religions, specifically Muslims and Islam.  Many of us formed life-long friendships with our colleagues and neighbors, who were more like us than not.  Accordingly, we endorse the Minnesota RPCV message as reflective of our views and experience. The Minnesota Message: We, 99 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers from Minnesota, have written this letter to counter the recent increase in anti-Muslim, anti-Islam, and anti-immigrant rhetoric that is sweeping across America and our state. We served for two years as Peace Corps Volunteers in various countries around the world. Although we all had very different experiences in different cultures, one thing that binds us together is an understanding that the more you know about . . .

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Peace Corps and IBM Corporate Service Corps Team Up

Melinda Tabler-Stone, Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana (left), and Louise Hemond-Wilson, IBM Corporate Service Corps Member, are all smiles after Louise is sworn in as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer. On Janaury 15, Louise Hemond-Wilson became the first IBM Corporate Service Corps member to be sworn in for duty as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer through a recent partnership between Peace Corps and IBM. Louise will support girls’ empowerment and gender equity projects. Her work will focus on connecting girls to electronic resources that reinforce school curriculums so that they can stay connected to their studies if they miss school for economic or other reasons. Additionally, her work aims to engage males in girls’ empowerment and gender equity practices within communities. WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2015 – The Peace Corps and IBM (NYSE: IBM) are launching an innovative public-private partnership to allow highly skilled corporate professionals to serve . . .

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Cold Hand of History,The Peace Corps Part 2

As we know the Peace Corps was crafted by 20-24 men in two rooms of the Mayflower Hotel in thirty days following Kennedy’s inauguration. Using Warren Wiggins and Bill Josephson’s “The Towering Task” as the blueprint, the agency was established by Executive Order on March 1, 1961. Shriver and a half dozen staffers then left on a round-the-world tour to get nations to take PCVs, now that we had an agency. When they reached India, Shriver received word from Wiggins that a draft of Kennedy’s Special Message to the Congress on Foreign Aid indicated that the President believed the Peace Corps should be part of the new Agency for International Development (AID). It should not be an independent agency. Shriver called Wiggins and Moyers to get to Lyndon Johnson, who supported the Peace Corps, and have him “plead their case” to Kennedy. Johnson did corner the President, and Kennedy is . . .

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Cold Hand of History: The Peace Corps, Part I

In 1989, Thomas G. Paterson, a Professor of History at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, put together the first major reassessment of JFK’s foreign policies. It was a collection of essays on everything from the covert war against Fidel Castro to the Peace Corps. The essay on the Peace Corps is entitled “Passing the Torch and Lighting Fires: The Peace Corps.” It was written by Gary May, then and now, a Professor of History at …the University of Delaware. The essay is based mostly on a series of interviews he had with Ethiopian PCVs in the 1980s. Reading that essay on the Peace Corps–the 11th and final chapter of the book entitled Kennedy’s Quest For Victory: American Foreign Policy, 1961-63, published by Oxford Press– it is striking how negative, harsh, and also realistic we were twenty plus years after our tour. Well, as reported by Gary May and based on . . .

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Katherine Russell Tsarnaev Wanted to be a PCV

Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, Wife Of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Wanted By Feds For Interview Katherine Russell was a talented artist, a good student who grew up Christian, the daughter of a suburban doctor. Then she went off to college in Boston. A few years later, she had dropped out of school, converted to Islam and was Katherine Tsarnaeva, wife of a man who would become a suspect in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings and a subject of one of the biggest manhunts in American history. Tsarnaeva attended North Kingstown High School, graduating in 2007. Her yearbook entry lists her plans as college and the Peace Corps. Her art teacher for four years, Amos Trout Paine, remembered her talent in painting and drawing and said she was at the top of her class. MORE AT: Several sources. huffingtonpost.com is one. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/22/katherine-russell-tsarnaev-feds-interview_n_3131242.html also People at http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20694041,00.html

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