The Peace Corps

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

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Dear Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers —
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Peace Corps milestone to feature historic gathering
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In The Peace Corps — They Dated Every Sunday Night on the Phone. Here’s How They Got to Marriage.
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WAITING FOR THE SNOW by Tom Scanlon (Chile)
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We All Need an Editor — Jane Albriton (India)
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Acting Director Carol Spahn’s Letter to the Peace Corps Community
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The Peace Corps in the post-Trump era
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Global Connections TV interview with Alana de Joseph: A Towering Task”
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The Infamous Peace Corps Streaking Incident (Costa Rica)
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More new appointments to the Peace Corps staff

Dear Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers —

On March 15th, 2020 your plans, your service, your connection to another culture were interrupted. That comes with challenges that all of you had to face and may continue to face as the pandemic has kept us all in limbo. My name is Shana Horrigan, and while I am not an RPCV (my sister is!) I am a coach who supports people who are dedicated to the change they wish to see in the world. I would like to help you carry that energy forward while you navigate this difficult transition. Click here to contact me for a free exploratory session to address topics such as reverse culture shock, finding vision upon evacuation, making the most of the ‘limbo’ experience, keeping your goals and dreams on track in these uncertain times, using limited resources effectively and anything else that emerges as a result of our conversation. As part of the . . .

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Peace Corps milestone to feature historic gathering

  UW-Madison will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Peace Corps with a panel discussion featuring former directors of the global organization on March 1. On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order that established the Peace Corps. That order has led to more than 240,000 Americans serving worldwide, including over 6,400 Wisconsinites, nearly 3,300 of which attended UW–Madison. In celebration of the 60th anniversary of Peace Corps, UW–Madison will be hosting a gathering of past directors in a live panel discussion. The event, which will take place online on March 1 at 6 p.m. Central, will include heads of Peace Corps, from the 1970s to 2021. Participating former directors include: Jody Olsen, Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Aaron Williams, Ron Tschetter, Gaddi Vasquez, Mark Schneider, Mark Gearan, Carol Bellamy, Elaine Chao, and Dick Celeste. Former UW–Madison Chancellor Donna Shalala, one of the first to serve in Peace Corps (Iran, . . .

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In The Peace Corps — They Dated Every Sunday Night on the Phone. Here’s How They Got to Marriage.

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65)   This couple met as Peace Corps Volunteers, and built their relationship mostly remotely, while working on different islands in Fiji.   By Gabe Cohn NY Times Feb. 12, 2021   On a handful of days in 2017 and 2018, when the humidity was low and the sky was free of smoke from burning sugar cane, Benjamin Hampton Ewing was able to look out from a ridgeline on Viti Levu, the main island in Fiji, and see something special. At 6 a.m., Mr. Ewing would board a bus in the mountains of Viti Levu, where he was living. The bus would lumber toward Suva, Fiji’s capital, zigzagging through switchbacks woven into the mountains. About 15 minutes into the trip, the riders would reach a ridgeline that looked out over peaks and valleys, and into the ocean beyond. Most of the time, . . .

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WAITING FOR THE SNOW by Tom Scanlon (Chile)

  In 1962 Father Hesburgh, President of Notre Dame University, went to Chile to visit the Volunteers who had trained at Notre Dame. One of them was Tom Scanlon, a recent ND graduate. Tom told Father Hesburgh a story about his job so far as a PCV. Hesburgh would write a letter to Sarge Shriver, a good friend, and tell Sarge what Scanlon said.  Shriver would write Hesburgh back and say, “I am delighted to hear it….In fact, all the people here at Peace Corps Headquarters liked it so much we’re using it as the opening section of our presentation to the United States Congress.” Shriver also would pass on what Father Hesburgh told him to his brother-in-law, John F. Kennedy. In the early days of the Peace Corps, President Kennedy greeted the first Peace Corps Trainees on the White House lawn and even invited the first Volunteers to Colombia . . .

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We All Need an Editor — Jane Albriton (India)

  An RPCV Editor for Your Memoir, Fiction or Non-Fiction Book   Jane Albriton (India 1967-69) is an award-winning journalis,t and the president of Tiger Enterprises Writing Consultants. She is the creator and series editor of four books of Peace Corps stories published in 2011 on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps. In 2011 the series won the Peace Corps Collection Award from Peace Corps Worldwide. As a business journal writer, her beats have been the hospitality industry and food. Among other publications, she has written for Edible Front Range Magazine, The O&P Edge (orthotics and prosthetics), Southwest Art, and the Colorado Business Report. As the editor of other writers’ book length manuscripts, her goal is to improve the manuscript without leaving any fingerprints, to let the editing vanish into the writer’s style, language, and rhythms. For that reason, she only works on complete manuscripts that have . . .

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Acting Director Carol Spahn’s Letter to the Peace Corps Community

“February 5, 2021 The following is an open letter to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers from Acting Director Carol Spahn (Romania 1994-96)   To the Peace Corps community, It’s been just over two weeks since I stepped in as Acting Director of the Peace Corps in the middle of a tumultuous January. As the ground continues to shift under our feet here at home and overseas, I am reminded of the importance of our shared experiences as ambassadors of peace and friendship. Our primary goal during this critical time is returning Peace Corps Volunteers back to the countries we know and love. We are also committed to taking on the work necessary to return to service in a way that promotes racial equity and justice. Peace Corps is in the process of reviewing our structures, programs and policies to identify how we can best recruit and support a diverse cohort of . . .

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The Peace Corps in the post-Trump era

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from  Alana de Joseph (Mali 1992–94)   Here are three arguments for why a Biden-Harris administration should prioritize this federal agency — and key steps to get there.   by William G. Moseley (Mali 1987–89) MinnPost Feb. 3, 2021   Americans suffer from a tendency to look inward, an affliction exacerbated by isolationist political winds as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, the United States needs the Peace Corps, the brainchild of the late Minnesota Sen. and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, to help our citizens engage with the rest of the world; cultivate future foreign service leaders, and foster a more climate-friendly international development approach. Here are three arguments for why a Biden-Harris administration should prioritize this federal agency — and key steps to get there. First, the Peace Corps could help the U.S. emerge from four years of isolationism by rebuilding . . .

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The Infamous Peace Corps Streaking Incident (Costa Rica)

  Recounted by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador & Costa Rica 1974–77) • The following qualifies as hearsay, though I did hear it from a person directly involved, Skip Baker, a former Colombia PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer) and co–owner of Basico, the company in charge of my Peace Corps group’s training in Costa Rica in the fall of 1974. It seems that about six months prior (say February 1974) there was a training group which, on their last day as trainees, was giving a presentation (possibly in the form of a play) to their host families at the Basico training center. Some or all of the trainees got the idea of ending the presentation by streaking across the stage. Explanatory Note: Streaking had become popular on US college campuses a few years earlier. The practice consisted of taking off all of one’s clothes, except for shoes (typically tennis shoes) and running . . .

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More new appointments to the Peace Corps staff

  The National Peace Corps Association has announced, on their website, three new staff members for the Peace Corps Washington office.  Scott Beale’s appointment was published earlier by John Coyne, here on Peace Corps Worldwide. Of the three new staff, only one is an RPCV, Sarah Dietch, Georgia, 2017-2019. https://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/articles/carol-spahn-named-acting-director-of-peace-corps Dave Noble has been named chief of staff for Peace Corps. He had been serving as executive director of the ACLU of Michigan. Under the Obama administration, he served as a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Presidential Personnel Office, and prior to that as deputy chief of staff and White House liaison for NASA. Scott Beale has been appointed Associate Director of Global Operations for Peace Corps. In 2006 Beale founded Atlas Corps, a volunteer program to connect and empower global leaders through service in the United States. Over the past 15 years, Atlas Corps has brought more . . .

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