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 Peace Corps John F. Kennedy Service Awards
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Telling the world our story: Time to support A TOWERING TASK: A PEACE CORPS DOCUMENTARY
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Sargent Shriver and Richard Lipez (Ethiopia) on the Peace Corps
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Peace Corps mourns the loss of Volunteer Andrew Farr
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Wish Senator Wofford a Happy 90th Birthday – Shhhhhh… this part is a surprise
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Interim update on status of 2015 Peace Corps applications
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From HuffPost Impact: Interview with A TOWERING TASK film director, Alana DeJoseph (Mali)
8
Restructuring The Peace Corps
9
THE TOWERING TASK — A Film by Alana DeJoseph (Mali)
10
The Peace Corps in the Time of ISIS
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Donate to Peace Corps Projects
12
Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps 10 Final Blog
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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 9
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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 8
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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 7

The Peace Corps John F. Kennedy Service Awards

The Peace Corps presents the John F. Kennedy Service Awards once every five years to six individuals who have given outstanding service to the Peace Corps, both at home and abroad. Established in 2006, the awards recognize two currently serving Peace Corps Volunteers, two Peace Corps staff members, one Returned Peace Corps Response Volunteer and one Returned Peace Corps Volunteer for contributions beyond their duties to the Agency and the nation. Award recipients must demonstrate exceptional service and leadership and further the Peace Corps’ mission and it’s three goals: to help the people of interested countries meet their needs for trained men and women; to help promote a better understanding of American on the part of the people served; and, to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans. Each member of the Peace Corps family contributes to the agency’s success. The John F. Kennedy . . .

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Telling the world our story: Time to support A TOWERING TASK: A PEACE CORPS DOCUMENTARY

36 Hours Left To Help Help fund a once-in-a-generation documentary about the Peace Corps for wide release in 2017! We surpassed 435 donors in honor of Sargent Shriver and received an anonymous $5,000 donation! Now we’re over $77,000 closer to our $100,000 goal. It’s time we are able to capture 55 years worth of history, trials and triumphs told from these remarkable individuals all in A Towering Task: A Peace Corps Documentary. THANK YOU for Your Story of the Peace Corps! Many Peace Corps documentaries tell the story of a single volunteer and how their experience changes their life and the lives of others. Our documentary is a rallying call for the Peace Corps Community to UNITE and tell its story. The real version—not the echo chamber. Time is of the essence. Memories fade. The architects and pioneering volunteers of Peace Corps pass away. $5 $25? $50? $100? What’s Peace Corps worth . . .

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Sargent Shriver and Richard Lipez (Ethiopia) on the Peace Corps

I spent the weekend going through files to find documents on the history of the Peace Corps that I might donate to American University and their collection of Peace Corps material. In the process I came across the address made by Sargent Shriver, first Director of the Peace Corps, at the One Hundred Sixty-fifth Annual Commencement of Georgetown University on June 8, 1964. I want to quote from the opening of Sarge’s talk as it focuses on two items that are important: one is on Ethiopia One PCVs in Ethiopia, and two is on Sarge’s vision of why the Peace Corps is important to all of us. • It is embarrassing for me today to confess that I remember only one quotatin from St. Ignatius. Fortunately it is only one word: “magis!“— “more.” The watchword of the Jesuit order has always been: Ad majorem Dei gloriam. But Ignatius was a man of action. . . .

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Peace Corps mourns the loss of Volunteer Andrew Farr

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 25, 2016 – Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet is saddened to confirm the death of Peace Corps volunteer Andrew Jennings Farr. Andrew, 25, passed away in an automobile accident in Mozambique on March 25, 2016. “Andrew was passionate about learning as much as possible from his Mozambican community members and dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others,” Director Hessler-Radelet said. “He was respected by his fellow teachers and a wonderful role model for his students. We are devastated by this tragic loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Farr family during this difficult time.” A native of Irmo, South Carolina, Andrew served as an education volunteer in Mozambique, where he taught secondary school physics in the village of Chitima, Tete Province. In his Peace Corps application, Andrew wrote that in order to adapt to the Mozambican culture, he planned to “simply listen, . . .

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Wish Senator Wofford a Happy 90th Birthday – Shhhhhh… this part is a surprise

While most people know Harris Wofford for his work on civil rights and his time as a U.S. Senator (D-PA), he is known best in the Peace Corps as a special assistant to President John F. Kennedy, close friend of Sargent Shriver, and a key person with Shriver in creating the Peace Corps.  Harris will celebrate his 90th birthday on April 9 and the NPCA is preparing a proclamation from the Peace Corps community to honor  to honor Senator Wofford on his birthday. The NPCA is inviting all RPCVs to send along letters, cards, and gifts which they will deliver to Harris along with the proclamation. Please send along anything you’d like to include to their office to arrive no later than Friday, April 8.  Address cards,letters and gifts to: Senator Harris Wofford c/o National Peace Corps Association 1900 L Street NW, Suite 610 Washington, DC 20036  

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Interim update on status of 2015 Peace Corps applications

  In 2014, the Peace Corps modified its application process to make it more efficient. The first full year of the new process was 2015. The fiscal year for Peace Corps ends on September 30. The applications received during 2015 could still be in the “pipeline” on the September 30th fiscal deadline. So the following statistics are just a snapshot of the status of these applications as of that date. I made a Freedom of Information request to receive these statistics. I will submit a new request for further information asking about the final determination of all the applicants received during 2015, specifically, how many invitations were finally issued to those who had submitted applications in 2015 and of those, how many accepted. Finally, I will ask how many host country requests could not be filled because Peace Corps did not have funding for those Volunteer positions. Here are the statistics, as of September 30, 2015 APP: number of candidates who reached . . .

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From HuffPost Impact: Interview with A TOWERING TASK film director, Alana DeJoseph (Mali)

Alana DeJoseph (Mali 1992–94), director of the film “A Towering Task” was recently interviewed by Ann Paisley Chandler for HuffPost Impact. The interview, entitled “A Towering Task: A Peace Corps Documentary.” The Peace Corps is more relevant today than it ever was, but it’s not the same Peace Corps of the 60s. There is a fascinating story that has never been told. Please consider supporting this campaign today. • Ann Paisley Chandler: What inspired you to start A Towering Task? Alana DeJoseph: One in every 1,450 Americans is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. As Americans we care about how we show up in the world, and I think lately people are frustrated rather than proud about our interactions with the rest of the world. The foreign aid budget is less than 1% of the entire US budget, and of that 1%, the Peace Corps’ budget is about 1%. The Peace Corps has had incredible ripple . . .

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Restructuring The Peace Corps

  Emphasize the Peace Corps’s Third Goal Most people are aware of the Peace Corps’s first two goals—contribute to the developing of critical countries and regions, and promote international cooperation and goodwill—but few have ever heard of the Third Goal, which many RPCVs view as the most important. The Third Goal states that RPCVs should help to educate Americans about the world beyond its borders, enabling citizens to participate in foreign affairs with greater sophistication and sensitivity. The agency could continue the service of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers by establishing opportunities for RPCVs to tell their stories through public schools and a variety of national organizations, including the Library Association, Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, League of Women Voters, National Council of La Raza, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Organization for Women. While today there is a Third Goal Office in the agency it should be . . .

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THE TOWERING TASK — A Film by Alana DeJoseph (Mali)

It isn’t until you lose something that you realize how important it was. For several years now, I have appreciated John Coyne and Marian Beil’s amazing website on so many levels. I have used it for research, to keep up-to-date on everything Peace Corps, for historical information, to fritter away many an hour, and to learn of the next great Peace Corps book. It made me feel good to know this incredible body of work was at my fingertips anytime I needed a dose of Peace Corps in my life. And then the website went down. To be revamped, John assured me. It would be back up soon, he said. Days went by without John’s familiar emails in my inbox, enticing me to spend another few educational minutes on one of the great articles at peacecorpsworldwide.org. When just weeks before I had filed away several of John’s updates, knowing that I would . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of ISIS

                                                                                                            In 21st century campaigns we’ve become accustomed to candidates stating their priorities by saying what they’ll do on Day One. On that day, he or she will end Obamacare or defund Planned Parenthood. What John F. Kennedy did, on the first day of the second month of his administration—March 1, 1961—was sign an executive order creating The Peace Corps.  This grass-roots, volunteer approach to the social and economic development of Third World countries, Peace Corps “symbolized what America wanted to be, and what much of the world wanted America to be: superhero, protector of the disenfranchised, defender of the democratic faith,” wrote Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman in her 1998 book, All You Need Is Love. In the U.S., in 1961, a new generation of citizens took it as a challenge and a gift when Kennedy called on Americans to “ask what you can do for your country.” Mostly young volunteers . . .

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Donate to Peace Corps Projects

The Peace Corps has added a new link to its official Home page. At the bottom of the page, the last section is “Donate”. Each link describes Peace Corps  programs for which Peace Corps can accept tax deductible donations. The projects include Volunteer Projects, Special Funds, and Country Projects. Here is the link for more information: https://donate.peacecorps.gov/donate/projects-funds/#issue Peace Corps has also created Memorial Funds for Fallen Volunteers, at the request of the families. These funds support project that honor these Volunteers.  For more information, go to: https://donate.peacecorps.gov/donate/projects-funds/memorial/ All of the contributions go to fund the projects. The administrative costs are included in the Peace Corps budget and do not come from the donations. The web pages are comprehensive and also ask for feedback on the new site.

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps 10 Final Blog

Gary May’s chapter on the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, the final essay in this collection about JFK’s foreign policies, was also meant to “tell the story of the Peace Corps world wide” and it summed up with two final points. May writes:  “Despite their difficulties, the volunteers considered their Peace Corps service personally invaluable.” He quotes Carol Miller Reynolds, “I still think the Peace Corps is one of the most valuable forms of foreign aid, despite its inadequacies….I still think it’s a good basic way to approach problems-at the grass roots level-unlike the policy makers who never understand things at the grass roots.” And Ron Kazarian told him in 1987, “I learned a lot about people, life, myself. Where I live [in central California] I’m an authority on one part of Africa. Every day, someone asks me about Ethiopia.” May then quotes Arthur M. Schlesinger’s book Robert Kennedy and His . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 9

Ethiopia I Volunteers were as hard on each other as they were on the Ethiopians. At the Completion of Service Conference the Final Report filed in the Peace Corps Office read: “Many (PCVs) spoke openly about volunteers who they thought should have been sent home: the males who lived with prostitutes; the woman who was “obviously mentally disturbed; the “opportunist” who was unable to teach so was given a sinecure in the Ministry of Education. The Peace Corps,” one volunteer stated, “is not a goddamn rehabilitation center. ” Carol Miller Reynolds, who was a PCV in Debre Berhan, where students in early 1963 went on strike, would tell May-and May would tell me-that her comment was the most insightful of all he heard from PCVs. May interviewed Carol in 1987 and she told him, “The basic issues were deep seated and antagonistic to easy resolution. It had to do with . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 8

The end of the Ethiopia 1 tour began with the Completion of Service Conference in April, 1964. The conference was conducted by Dr. Joseph English, chief Peace Corps Psychiatrist, and Jane Campbell of the Division of Volunteer Support. (Jane the following year would return to Ethiopia as an APCD.) May reports in his article that at the time the PCVs were uncertain about their future careers. He quotes John Rex writing to his parents in early ’64, “Can’t I write a book or travel, or do something different?” Most planned to spend the first few months following termination traveling through Europe. Some looked back and felt discouragement about what they had achieved in Ethiopia. Rex observed. “I certainly have benefited from the experience, but I ask myself if anyone else really has.” One of the PCVs interviewed by Gary May was Mary Lou Linman, who was a PCV in Debre . . .

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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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