The Peace Corps

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

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PCV Credits His Teacher for His Dedication to Service (Colombia)
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KNOCK OFF THE HAT by Richard Stevenson aka Richard Lipez (Ethiopia)
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Peace Corps JFK Service Awards — 2022
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Museum of the Peace Corps Experience Makes Announcement on Peace Corps Books
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A Person of Interest in Death of Wendy & Steve Reid (Niger)
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New List of Peace Corps Writers–May 2022
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The Volunteer Who Documented the Emergence of Philanthropy in America
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Feed the Future — Innovation Lab for Horticulture-Graduate Student Researcher, Siobhan Rubsam (Guinea)
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Provincetown Art Association Features First Peace Corps Photographer: Rowland Scherman
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Peter Hessler: A Teacher in China Learns the Limits of Free Expression
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PROJECT MANAHANA by John Teschner (Kenya)
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Peace Corps Press Release on Advancing Rights of LGBTQI+
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Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn Statement on USA Today Article
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The Peace Corps Third Goal by Kathleen Coskran (Ethiopia)
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A long-overdue change in benefits for returned Volunteers.

PCV Credits His Teacher for His Dedication to Service (Colombia)

Peace Corps Volunteer credits Wilmette teachers for his dedication to service work     After a two-year wait, Wilmette resident Robert “Bobby” Richards is one of the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency suspended global operations in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Richards is serving in Colombia in the education sector of the Peace Corps, an international service network from the US government that pairs volunteers with communities seeking support in education, health, environment, agriculture, economic development and youth development. Richards will work in the school system alongside teachers and educators, focusing on curriculum and lesson-planning techniques and strategies. He was expecting to start with the Peace Corps in September 2020, but the pandemic upended those plans before he could even leave the country. “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since 2019,” Richards said in a phone call from . . .

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KNOCK OFF THE HAT by Richard Stevenson aka Richard Lipez (Ethiopia)

  NPR Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan selects Dick Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) writing as Richard Stevenson’s last novel—Knock Off the Hat: A Clifford Waterman Gay Philly Mystery The circumstances of this last recommendation are unusual. Richard Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) who wrote under the penname Richard Stevenson, was a groundbreaking author of gay detective novels featuring private eye Donald Strachey. Decades ago, I reviewed one of those Strachey books, and Dick and I became fast friends. He died in March, but one of the things he left behind was the first novel in what would have been a new series about a gay private eye in 1940s Philadelphia. Knock Off The Hat may be the best novel Dick ever wrote. Its main character, Clifford Waterman, is a former police detective dishonorably discharged from the Army during World War II for an “indecent act.” Cliff gets drawn into helping a man who’s nabbed in . . .

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Peace Corps JFK Service Awards — 2022

   Written by NPCA Staff • On May 19, at a ceremony at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., the Peace Corps presented The John F. Kennedy Service Awards for 2022. Every five years, the Peace Corps presents the JFK Service Award to recognize members from the Peace Corps community whose contributions go above and beyond their duties to the agency and the nation. The ceremony as also live-streamed around the world — since this is a truly global award, with honorees from Senegal, the Philippines, and the United States. Join us in congratulating this year’s awardees for tirelessly embodying the spirit of service to help advance world peace and friendship: Liz Fanning (Morocco 1993–95), Genevieve de los Santos Evenhouse (PCV: Guinea 2006–07, Zambia 2007–08; Response: Guyana 2008–09, and Uganda 2015–16), Karla Sierra (PCV: Panama 2010–12; Response: Panama 2012–13), Dr. Mamadou Diaw (Peace Corps Senegal 1993–2019), Roberto M. Yangco (Peace Corps Philippines 2002–Present).   RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER Liz Fanning . . .

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Museum of the Peace Corps Experience Makes Announcement on Peace Corps Books

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience announced today the release of a new tool for researchers and readers of books written by Peace Corps volunteers over the past 60 years. Information about 3,300 books authored by past and present Peace Corps volunteers is now contained in a central database and available on the Museum’s website under its Exploration tab. This bibliography is available free of charge. The list can be searched by author, title, publication date and other terms. “Our goal in compiling the database is to make it as comprehensive as possible,” said Debbie Manget (St. Lucia 1978-79) chair of the Museum’s collections team, who spearheaded the effort. Authors whose books are not listed should notify the Museum using the collections link. The bibliography was developed over many months, building on work by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) and Marian Haley Beil (Ethiopia 1962-64), founders of Peace Corps Writers and mentors to many . . .

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A Person of Interest in Death of Wendy & Steve Reid (Niger)

Person of Interest New Hampshire Department of Justice (CONCORD, N.H.) — A person of interest is being sought in the slayings of a retired New Hampshire couple found shot to death last month on a hiking trail near their Concord home, authorities announced on Tuesday. The New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella and Concord Chief of Police Bradley Osgood said in a joint statement that the man investigators want to speak with was seen in Concord on April 18 in the vicinity of where the bodies of Stephen Reid, 67, and his wife, Djeswende “Wendy” Reid, 66, were found three days later. The person of interest is described as a white male in his late 20s or early 30s, authorities said. He’s about 5-foot-10, has a medium build, has short brown hair and is clean-shaven. He was seen wearing a dark blue jacket, possibly with a hood; khaki-colored pants and . . .

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New List of Peace Corps Writers–May 2022

Here is our May 2022 list of RPCV & staff authors who have published two or more books of any type. Currently, the count is 454. If you know of someone who has and their name is not on this list, then please email: jcoyneone@gmail.com. We know we don’t have all such writers who have served over these past 60 years. Thank you.’ • Jerome R. Adams (Colombia 1963–65) Tom Adams (Togo 1974-76) Thomas “Taj” Ainlay, Jr. (Malaysia 1973–75) Elizabeth (Letts) Alalou (Morocco 1983–86) Jane Albritton (India 1967-69) Robert Albritton (Ethiopia 1962-65) Usha Alexander (Vanuatu 1996–97) James G. Alinder (Somalia 1964-66) Richard Alleman (Morocco 1968-70) Hayward Allen (Ethiopia 1962-64) Diane Demuth Allensworth (Panama 1964–66) Paul E. Allaire (Ethiopia 1964–66) Allman (Nepal 1966-68) Nancy Amidei (Nigeria 1964–65) Gary Amo (Malawi 1962–64) David C. Anderson (Costa Rica 1964-66) Lauri Anderson (Nigeria 1963-65) Peggy Anderson (Togo 1962-64) James Archambeault (Philippines 1965-67) Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) . . .

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The Volunteer Who Documented the Emergence of Philanthropy in America

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • Michael Meyer, who served as a Volunteer in China 1995-97, has published Benjamin Franklin’s Last Bet: The Favorite Founder’s Divisive Death, Enduring Afterlife, and Blueprint for American Prosperity. In it, he documented how Franklin, at the end of his life, made a “deathbed wager” on the survival of the United States: a gift totaling two thousand pounds to Boston and Philadelphia, to be lent out to tradesmen, over the next two centuries to jump start their careers. Each loan would be repaid with interest over ten years. If all went according to Franklin’s inventive scheme, the final payout in 1991 would be a windfall. The concept that Franklin set in place can easily be seen as the institutional basis for the subsequent emergence of foundations in America, emerging from a seed grant that in its time was considered as a ‘charitable’ donation, then . . .

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Feed the Future — Innovation Lab for Horticulture-Graduate Student Researcher, Siobhan Rubsam (Guinea)

  Siobhan Rubsam (Guinea 2016-18) is a first-year graduate student in the UC Davis International Agricultural Development Masters program. She developed her interest in this during her Peace Corps service in Guinea, which is where she first ran into the Horticulture Innovation Lab in 2018. She is particularly passionate about working with smallholder farmers, vulnerable groups such as women and youth, and promoting agroecological practices, all three of which align with the goals of the Horticulture Innovation Lab. This is why she is so excited to be working with them as a Graduate Student Researcher! Besides Peace Corps, she has worked on farms and school gardens in the United States which has cemented her love for growing food.  

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Provincetown Art Association Features First Peace Corps Photographer: Rowland Scherman

Award-winning photographer Rowland Scherman’s work from ’60s exhibited in Provincetown Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) began its 2022 Summer Program of exhibitions, lectures and workshops with an exhibition of photographs by Rowland Scherman. “Rowland Scherman: Spirit of the 60s,” curated by Jane Paradise and Andy Wentz, is on view through June 26 with a public celebratory reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday, May 13. A Fredi Schiff Levin Lecture featuring Scherman, Paradise, and Wentz is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, June 16. Lectures will occur in-person at PAAM and broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube. Scherman was a pivotal figure in documenting life in the 1960s. He photographed many of the iconic musical, cultural and political events of the decade, including the 1963 Newport Folk Festival, the March on Washington, the Beatles’ first US concert, and Woodstock. He traveled with Bobby Kennedy on his campaign for the presidency, went on tour with Judy . . .

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Peter Hessler: A Teacher in China Learns the Limits of Free Expression

Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) was teaching writing at Sichuan University, in southwestern China, when he was reported for political wrongdoing, accused on the social-media site Weibo of browbeating his students with criticism of the Chinese government. One commenter wrote that he had “spoke w/o restraint only b/c he considered himself a big writer; I think he’s gonna die soon.” Hessler recounts the episode in a gripping and deeply empathetic story in this week’s issue, in which he examines the ways that surveillance cameras, censored Internet, and rigorously enforced taboos have shaped the experience of higher education in China—for both teachers and students. Recalling the tension he felt in the classroom, he writes, “The Party had created a climate so intense that the political became physical.” —Ian Crouch, newsletter editor New Peter Hessler story https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/16/a-teacher-in-china-learns-the-limits-of-free-expression

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PROJECT MANAHANA by John Teschner (Kenya)

  Two men, unified by a string of disappearances and deaths, search for answers — and salvation — in the jungles of Kaua‘i, Hawaii. Together, they must navigate the overlapping and complicated lines between a close-knit community and the hated, but economically-necessary corporate farms — and the decades old secrets that bind them. Project Namahana takes you from Midwestern, glass-walled, corporate offices over the Pacific and across the island of Kaua‘i; from seemingly idyllic beaches and mountainous inland jungles to the face of Mount Namahana; all the while, exploring the question of how corporate executives could be responsible for evil things without, presumably, being evil themselves. Project Namahana by John Teschner (Kenya 2003-05) Forge Books 304 pages June 2022 $14,99 (Kindle); $27.99 (Hardback); $17.86 (audiobook) • John Teschner (Kenya  2003-05) was born in Rhode Island and grew up in southern Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, professional mover, teacher, . . .

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Peace Corps Press Release on Advancing Rights of LGBTQI+

The Peace Corps Releases Progress Report on Advancing Rights of LGBTQI+ People through its Mission Peace Corps Headquarters One Constitution Square Today, the Peace Corps, in conjunction with the State Department and agencies across the U.S. government,  released a first-of-its-kind report on the implementation of President Joseph R. Biden’s  Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World. The progress shared by the Peace Corps highlights the agency’s policies and programming to promote the human rights of LGBTQI+ volunteers, staff and counterparts across the world. “The Peace Corps is incredibly proud of and thankful for the meaningful and unique contributions the LGBTQI+ community has made in service of world peace and friendship,” said Peace Corps Chief Executive Officer Carol Spahn. “We will continue to intentionally foster equity and inclusion for the LGBTQI+ community with policies and work centered on our shared dignity, humanity and connection.” The Peace Corps continues . . .

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Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn Statement on USA Today Article

Video: Volunteers say Peace Corps failed them when reporting sexual assaults April 22, 2021 “USA Today recently published an article on sexual assault experienced by volunteers during their service. To those volunteers who have told their stories about sexual assault in the Peace Corps: I am so very sorry for the trauma you have experienced. You have each shown tremendous courage, and I am grateful that you have come forward. “These are devastating stories, and the agency is working to get to the root of the very serious issues that were raised. “As we approach the return to service of volunteers, we are intensifying and cementing our commitment to mitigating risk, wherever possible, and providing victim-centered and trauma-informed support to sexual assault survivors. We must always be an agency that empowers survivors and tears down barriers to reporting, services and care. “As the new Acting Director of the agency and a . . .

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The Peace Corps Third Goal by Kathleen Coskran (Ethiopia)

The Third Goal by Kathleen Coskran (Ethiopia 1965-67) I left for Peace Corps training the week I graduated from college, equipped with uninformed idealism and a BA in English. In other words my few skills included the ability to write a decent sentence and the habit of losing myself in the sentences and paragraphs written by others. Four years earlier I had taken the memorable words of President Kennedy’s inaugural address to heart: “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country” and used that sentence as the first line of the essay on citizenship assigned by my English teacher. I don’t remember if she told the class that our essays would be entered in a county-wide contest sponsored by local Civitan Clubs. I do remember my surprise in winning first place in Hall County, getting my picture in the Gainesville Times, and . . .

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A long-overdue change in benefits for returned Volunteers.

  A long-overdue change in benefits for returned Volunteers. And a deadline tomorrow in the House of Representatives.   As we wrap up National Volunteer Week, here’s some news we’re delighted to share: Volunteers who serve in the Peace Corps and return home to Maryland will now be eligible for in-state tuition at public universities and colleges. Gov. Larry Hogan signed that into law earlier this month. We at NPCA played a key role in supporting this long-overdue legislation. Dozens of returned Volunteers submitted written testimony, and I joined former Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen in testifying before legislators. This is just one reminder of how we can make an impact when we work together. Right now, with Volunteers returning to service overseas, they need your support in the U.S. House of Representatives: RPCV Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) are circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter calling for $450 million for the Peace Corps . . .

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