The Peace Corps

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

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A TOWERING TASK will be screened at Yale University, November 9
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A Writer Writes — “House Building On Rapa Nui” by Michael Beede (Peru)
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Peru Potatoes — Cornell University & The Peace Corps in the Andes (Peru)
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Talking Tlayudas and Traffic With Paul Theroux (Malawi)
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Review–On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey by Paul Theroux (Malawi)
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National Service Commission: More information
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Hello, Tanzania RPCVs….An African Scholar Wants To Talk To You!
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The Peace Corps Re-Establishes Program in Solomon Islands
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RPCVs of North Carolina and of Colorado have scheduled showings of “A Towering Task”
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How to get A TOWERING TASK shown on your local PBS station

A TOWERING TASK will be screened at Yale University, November 9

    A Towering Task is the  documentary of the history of the Peace Corps. Sargent Shriver was the architect of the iconic organization.  On November 9th, the 104th Anniversary of Shriver’s birthday, Yale University, Shriver’s Alma Mater, will screen “A Towering Task”. Yale University Screening When: Saturday, November 9, 2019 3:30 PM – 6:00 PM Where:Edward P. Evans Hall – School of Management Zhang Auditorium, 165 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511 Description: A screening of the film that tells the story of Peace Corps – A Towering Task! Directed by Alana DeJoseph with Associate Producer Dave Steinke, the film is narrated by Annette Bening. Founded during the Cold War, the Peace Corps stands as an icon of American idealism. From the beginning its mission of world peace and friendship proved to be a towering task. Imbued with the unbounded energy and vision of its charismatic leader, Sargent Shriver, and thousands . . .

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A Writer Writes — “House Building On Rapa Nui” by Michael Beede (Peru)

  House Building On Rapa Nui By Michael Beede (Peru 1963–65; Venezuela (1968–70) • Rapa Nui, Te Pito Te Henua,The Navel of The World, Isla de Pascua, Easter Island. These are a few of the names of this enigmatic 65 square mile speck of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. For centuries it has irresistibly drawn the imaginations and souls of adventurers and dreamers to its rocky shores. I was one who fell under the magical spell of Rapa Nui. When Noemi, my partner, her four-year-old son, Ali, and I returned to Rapa Nui in 1974, the Islanders greeted us as rich and conquering heroes. When that did not turn out to be the case, the welcome began to wear thin. Locals then saw us as poor Pascuenses, bums, creatures lower than homeless beggars. In Hanga Roa, the Island’s only village, we shuffled from relatives and friends to . . .

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Peru Potatoes — Cornell University & The Peace Corps in the Andes (Peru)

  Cornell University describes their mission in Peru: “More than 50 years ago, a Cornell mission to a small village in the Andes introduced social changes that made a profound improvement in the life of the village. Today, echoes of that mission are still visible and may help the community again. From 1952 to 1966 Cornell had an active presence in Vicos (pronounced “vee-kos”), a peasant community in northern Peru…” In 2005, at the request of the Vicos community, Cornell  returned to evaluate the impact of those changes. Read the Cornell report here: http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2009/07/cornell-returns-small-village-andes From 1962  to 1974 ,Peace Corps also worked in Peru, including  in Andean communities.  Peace Corps returned in 2002 and is there, today. Evelyn LaTorre (Peru 1964-66)) described one incidence in her village in the Andes, in 1965.  Her observations are wonderfully accurate and relate to the findings of Cornell so many years later.  Read her . . .

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Talking Tlayudas and Traffic With Paul Theroux (Malawi)

Grub Street By Joshua David Stein “I’m writing now because through the weird journey of my life I’ve gotten to know Paul and Sheila Theroux.” That’s how writer Joshua David Stein told me that he wanted to interview Paul, the famed travel author. When I reminded Stein that Grub Street is a food site, he assured me that wouldn’t be a problem. In the end, he was right, because the conversation that the two had, over lunch at the very good Mexican restaurant Oxomoco, was not only about food, but also about its ability to, with surprising efficiency, reveal something deeper about the people eating it. — Alan Sytsma, editor, Grub Street Talking Tlayudas and Traffic With Paul Theroux By Joshua David Stein It’s a blustery October day in Greenpoint, and when Paul Theroux — traveler of great repute, climber of mountains and dweller of plains — steps out from his . . .

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Review–On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey by Paul Theroux (Malawi)

On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey By Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 448 pages October  2019     Reviewed by Mark D. Walker  (Guatemala 1971-73) I’ve travelled much of the world over the last forty years, thanks to Paul Theroux’s many books, which now number 56. I was especially eager to read this book since I’ve made the journey through Mexico several times with my wife in a car (VW bug) and a pickup truck, so I was familiar with some of the challenges and dangers, not to mention adventures the author would encounter. The “Godfather of Travel Writing” follows his own critique for what makes a superior travel book, “not just a report of a journey, but a memoir, an autobiography, a confession, a foray in South America, a topography and history, a travel narrative, with observations of books, music, and life in general; in . . .

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National Service Commission: More information

National service: Rebuilding America’s civic fabric The Brookings Institution hosted a panel discussion among the member of the National Commission on Military Service, National Service, and Public service.  The video should be able to be viewed by clicking on the phrase” Continue reading” in the announcement or https://www.brookings.edu/events/national-service-rebuilding-americas-civic-fabric/   The wide ranging discussion included strong opinions in favor of making a year of “service” mandatory for graduating high school seniors.  If there was also discussion on how the government would pay for such a mandate, let alone enforce it, I missed it. Mark Gearan, former Peace Corps Director, is Vice Chair of the Commission and  spoke about the efforts of the Commission for National Peace Corps Association, here:  https://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/articles/national-service-an-interim-report-on-the-commission-hearings See also: https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/?s=National+Commission+on+Military%2C+National+and+Public+Service  

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Hello, Tanzania RPCVs….An African Scholar Wants To Talk To You!

A Tanzania national and professor of African history at William Paterson of New Jersey is doing research for purposes of publishing a book on the history of the Peace Corps Volunteers in Tanzania. This endeavor is both personal and scholarly. He was taught by a Peace Corps teacher in middle school at Chilonwa in Dodoma, Tanzania. He says that his Peace Corps teacher, Mr. Thomas Houlihan, made a great difference in his schooling experience and motivated him to do the best he could. Also, as the first American that he met Houlihan impressed him as an amiable representation of American friendliness. That being said, his scholarly interest in the history of the Peace Corps Volunteers in Tanzania is due to the fact that their contribution to Tanzania’s development has eluded the attention of students of Tanzania history, with the exception of a few memoirs by returned PCVs. He would like . . .

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The Peace Corps Re-Establishes Program in Solomon Islands

Almost 20 years after departing Solomon Islands, the Peace Corps announced it will re-establish operations in the South Pacific nation. Peace Corps’ efforts in Solomon Islands will initially focus on education and will recruit short-term Volunteers with experience in Peace Corps’ education sector to help re-establish the program. This first group of Volunteers is scheduled to arrive mid-2021. In late 2021, the second group of Volunteers is slated to arrive. They will undergo three months of comprehensive cultural, language and technical training before they are given their two-year assignments. From 1971 to 2000, more than 700 Peace Corps Volunteers served in Solomon Islands.

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RPCVs of North Carolina and of Colorado have scheduled showings of “A Towering Task”

10/14/10 Update for Colorado:  The 50 tickets obtained by RPCV of Colorado were sold out, almost immediately.  They may have additional tickets, contact them at rpcvcolorado.org If no tickets are available via RPCVs of Colorado, tickets for  A Towering Task go on sale at 12:30 pm, today Monday, October 14, 720.381.0813  for non-members of Denver the Film Festival. __________________________________________________________   RPCVs of North Carolina will sponser the first SE showing of “A Towering Task”.The film will be shown on October 22, 2019, 6pm to 9pm EDT.  Here is the link for more information: https://www.ncpeacecorps.org/events/a-towering-task-the-story-of-the-peace-corps-film-screening-happy-hour From the website: “Meet us at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Raleigh for a movie night: the first southeast U.S. showing of “A Towering Task, The Story of the Peace Corps,” with a reception preceding the film from 6pm – 7pm. The screening starts promptly at 7, with no late admittance. This event is sponsored as a community service by . . .

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How to get A TOWERING TASK shown on your local PBS station

    If you were fortunate enough to see the new and brilliant documentary about the Peace Corps entitled A Tower Task that had its World Premiere at the Kennedy Center last weekend (or if you have just heard about it from other RPCVs) then you can drum up interest in having it shown on your local PBS station simply by calling the station. Your interest will nudge the station into realizing that there is ‘local interest’ in our great government agency and they might contact PBS back in Washington. If there is enough interest ‘out there” then the PBS folks would contact producer and director Alana De Joseph (Mali 1992-94) and ask her to let them show the documentary on all their stations. A little phone call from you can’t hurt and it might help bring the Peace Corps–and what you did as a PCV– into the living rooms . . .

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