The Peace Corps

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

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WSJ Review of Paul Theroux’s New Book (Malawi)
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First RPCV Writers Workshop Held in Royal Oak, Maryland
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In The Times: “Paul Theroux’s Mexican Journey” (Malawi)
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Full-Time Freedom To Write (Paraguay 2008-10)
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58 Years after Congressional Authorization, The Peace Corps Continues to build better Americans
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A Full Moon Night on Friday the 13th was not the only auspicious convergence for Denver’s RPCV community.
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Towering Task screening — Sunday September 22nd — Kennedy Center
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THE HONOLULU DRAGON, fourth in the Robert Louis Stevenson Series by Joseph Theroux (Samoa)
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NPR takes a critical look at the overseas short term Volunteering industry
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Face to Face With the Global Economy by Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia)

WSJ Review of Paul Theroux’s New Book (Malawi)

‘On the Plain of Snakes’ Review: Why María Left Oaxa After a visit to the Mexican border, Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65), resolved to return by car and find out why so many risk crossing furtively into the U.S. The author, near the Mexican border, talks to a man who had been deported after working for 12 years in the U.S. PHOTO: STEVE MCCURRY By Andrew R. Graybill Wall Street Journal Sept. 25, 2019 7:10 pm ET A couple of years ago, the novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux visited the U.S.-Mexico border. South of the line he interviewed several people at a shelter serving migrants and deportees, and his memory of an encounter with a woman named María stalked him thereafter “like an apparition.” She wept as she told Mr. Theroux how she had left her three young children with their grandmother in Oaxaca, deep in the Mexican interior, so that she . . .

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First RPCV Writers Workshop Held in Royal Oak, Maryland

This last week, writers from the Peace Corps went to the Shore Retreats on Broad Creek, on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland to talk about their prose and poetry. Five published RPCV writers led them in a series of discussions, readings, and one-on-one reviews focused on what they are writing today. The faculty included four award winning Peace Corps writers. They were Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) author of three novels and recipient of an American Book Award, the Maria Thomas Award for Outstanding Fiction, Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, New York Public Library Best Books for the Teenage, a New York Times Book Review New and Noteworthy in Paperback, and a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” choice. Jeanne D’Haem (Somalia 1968-70) an emeritus professor at William Paterson University who has published two prize-winning books and numerous journal articles. The Last Camel won the Paul Cowan prize for non-fiction. Desert Dawn, with Waris Dirie, has been translated into over twenty languages . . .

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In The Times: “Paul Theroux’s Mexican Journey” (Malawi)

  In his 70s, the writer embarks on one of the great adventures of a traveling life, a solo road trip from Reynosa to Chiapas and back. • Paul Theroux’s Mexican Journey By Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963–65) Photographs by Cesar Rodriguez New York Times Sept. 23, 2019   In the casual opinion of most Americans, I am an old man, and therefore of little account, past my best, fading in a pathetic diminuendo while flashing his AARP card, a gringo in his degringolade. Naturally, I am insulted by this, but out of pride I don’t let my indignation show. My work is my reply, my travel is my defiance. Sometimes, a single person, met casually on a journey, can be a powerful inspiration. I happened to be in Nogales, Mexico, to talk to migrants — and on that visit I saw a middle-aged woman praying before her meal in a shelter. She was Zapotec, . . .

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Full-Time Freedom To Write (Paraguay 2008-10)

Paulette Perhach (Paraguay 2008-10) has an online coaching course for writers. A 12 weeks course begins this week on September 26th. Check it out and/or contact Paulette. Full-time to Freedom to Write 12 weeks starting Sept. 26 Meeting Thursdays at 8 EST/5 PST. Outside, it was a rare sunny day in Seattle. I pressed my face against the glass window of my boss’s office, and realized I wasn’t allowed to leave the building. I realized I wasn’t allowed to shift my work day to Saturday, when the rain would roll back in. I realized I wanted to be a freelancer. How do you think you would feel if you got to create the life you want as a full-time writer? You wake up at the time that’s right for your body, wear whatever you feel comfortable in, and work with people you like and respect. When you need to be around . . .

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58 Years after Congressional Authorization, The Peace Corps Continues to build better Americans

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Rich Buxton (Congo 1977-79) Published in THE HILL BY REPS. JOE KENNEDY III (D-MASS.) AND JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CALIF.) © Getty Images On Sept. 22, 1961, Congress approved legislation signed into law by President John F. Kennedy creating an organization whose goal was to promote world peace and friendship. The Peace Corps has been doing that and more ever since. Nearly six decades later, more than 230,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers in 141 countries. We are proud to count ourselves among them and to serve as co-chairs of the Congressional Peace Corps Caucus. Every year, Peace Corps volunteers arrive in communities around the globe where our presence has rarely been felt. As soon as they step on that soil, they begin to build homes, trust and relationships that will help us make the world a safer and better place. This is something we learned firsthand . . .

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A Full Moon Night on Friday the 13th was not the only auspicious convergence for Denver’s RPCV community.

Former Peace Corps Carrie Hessler Radelet happened to be  in town.  She joined Former Peace Corps Director Nick Craw (1973-1974), and Former Peace Corps Director Richard Celeste (1979-1981) in an informal panel. Over 90 RPCVs listened  to the trio discuss their time as Directors and their hopes for the future of Peace Corps.  Peace Corps had lost its independent status in 1971 when Nixon placed  all Volunteer agencies under one umbrella agency, ACTION. Peace Corps lost its logo and its formal name and became officially  Division of Overseas Operations. Nick Craw was Director during this regime.  However, he reported, during the intense Watergate affair, 1973 -74, Washington was so occupied with the scandal on the Hill that Peace Corps was basically left alone.  Nick named the Country Management Plans as his best achievement. He wanted to give In-Country staff more say-so in planning and budgeting.  Carrie said the plan was . . .

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Towering Task screening — Sunday September 22nd — Kennedy Center

    Media Advisory Contact: Documentary Team Joe Shaffner, Communications Director Alana DeJoseph, Director & Producer info@peacecorpsdocumentary.com National Peace Corps Association and In the Cause of Peace Productions host screenings of new documentary on the Peace Corps On September 22nd, 2019, the National Peace Corps Association and In the Cause of Peace Productions are premiering a new documentary on the Peace Corps. The film will be screened at The Kennedy Center’s new living theater, The REACH, in Washington, DC. Following the September 22nd premiere of the documentary on the history of the agency, the production team will be hosting screenings of A Towering Task around the country. A Towering Task is the first documentary to chronicle the remarkable history of the agency. After initial widespread support, the agency struggled to remain relevant as the world changed. With government agency budgets under fire and increased nationalistic tendencies in America, the agency is . . .

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THE HONOLULU DRAGON, fourth in the Robert Louis Stevenson Series by Joseph Theroux (Samoa)

    The Honolulu Dragon by Joseph Theroux (Samoa 1975-78) 346 pages Kilauea Publications August 2019 $2.99 (Kindle), $12.00 (paperback)   Following the success of their detective work in the cases of The Devil’s Throat and The White Kahuna, Lloyd Osbourne and his step-father Robert Louis Stevenson find themselves in a world of murder and intrigue in Hawaii. Osbourne discovers a coded message, hinting at the survival of his father, Samuel Osbourne, who has been thought long dead. Once deciphered, it leads him and Stevenson on a dangerous adventure involving torture, murder, opium smuggling, a scandal involving the late King Kalakaua, baseball gambling, and uncover assassination threats against President Sanford Dole – set to occur on July 4, 1894 — the day Dole is to announce the new Republic of Hawaii. There are snipers on the rooftops of the Iolani Palace and the Opera House, and several men have already . . .

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NPR takes a critical look at the overseas short term Volunteering industry

Thank you to RPCV Alan Toth  for highlighting on his Facebook page, Posh Corps : A Peace Corps Documentary, NPR’s Opinion piece about overseas volunteering. The focus is on the industry in which people pay to volunteer overseas on a short term basis. Peace Corps in not included in the critique.  Here should be the link for the article: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2019/09/12/754347433/volunteering-abroad-is-popular-and-problematic-lets-fix-it   OPINION: Volunteering Abroad Is Popular And Problematic. Let’s Fix It Have you ever volunteered abroad? From students and young professionals to retirees, nowadays everyone seems to be trying to make a difference in communities around the world. But what are these efforts really achieving? Do they help — and if so, who benefits?And if they cause harm, what can we do to make things better? All important questions, as volunteering abroad has grown tremendously. Estimates suggest the industry is now worth at least $173 billion. The industry is also . . .

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Face to Face With the Global Economy by Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia)

Face to Face with the Global Economy Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia 1962–64) Self-published September 2019 137 pages $5.00 (Kindle)     Leo writes: My book, Face To Face With The Global Economy, is published.  You can buy it at Amazon for $5. Only in ebook form for now. I take the reader on an insider’s tour of the global economy through a collection of personal experiences, tales if you will, often whimsical, covering the various facets of the subject.  Reading it will give one a better understanding of this phenomenon that touches every soul on the planet. The global economy, a phrase that conjures up an image of a one world, albeit in economic terms. We all are intrigued by this structure that touches every person on the planet. What is it and how does it work? This collection of my personal experiences, tales if you will, offers a direct insight . . .

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