Honoring RPCV Ambassador Chris Stevens
Tino Calabia studied at Georgetown, Columbia, and the University of Munich, was a Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru, 1963-65), then headed a Bronx antipoverty agency. He directed planning projects with residents of New York’s poverty neighborhoods, and authored numerous federal studies with topics ranging from the rights of female offenders to bias on college campuses. He has served on national Asian American boards, and presented seminars in former Eastern bloc countries for exchange students he had mentored while they lived in the U.S.
Tino wrote Marian and me this note, and responding to it, Marian has established a petition at SignOn.org that we hope you will sign.
This is what Tino had to say:
Last month’s tragic deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens (Morocco 1982–85) and three American colleagues in Libya have been turned into fuel for the firestorm of partisan attacks during the closing national campaigns to win the White House and Congress. After the first shocking days following the heavy weapons destruction of the U.S. compounds in the coastal city of Benghazi, the media’s focus seized on questions suddenly raised by one side in the campaigns: What really happened in Benghazi on September 11th? Who knew what and when? And who must pay the price for the outcome?
Lost in that babble is the story of the exemplary life of Chris Stevens who worked for peace throughout his career. Thirty years ago he effectively brought his natural talents and skills to his work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. He then built on that experience to become a highly respected U.S. diplomat specializing in U.S./Mid-East affairs serving in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Israel and Libya. During the time of the Libyan uprising against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Chris served as the American Envoy to the Libyan Transitions National Council in Benghazi — he was our man in Libya during that dangerous time. In May of this year, Chris was named U.S. Ambassador to Libya.
Fortunately, the “gotcha” gamesmanship confronting us every day ends in less than three weeks, and the partisan wrangling will fade away like the horrible dream it is. Perhaps as time goes on, the lessons to be learned from Chris’s wonderful career can be shared for more to admire.
Meanwhile, I call on members of the Peace Corps community — the 200,000 of us who have served and are serving around the world — to join together in a call for a lasting way to honor our fallen fellow Volunteer. Much as I would like, it would take an act of Congress to change the name of the Peace Corps building, so I am suggesting that within HQ, a space of significance be named after Ambassador Chris Stevens. Would you be in favor of naming the senior staff conference room or the lobby of the Peace Corps building in Washington in Chris Stevens’ name?
If you agree that doing so might lead to one enduring way of honoring the model RPCV that Chris was, please sign this petition “Honor RPCV Ambassador Chris Stevens“, and also urge your fellow RPCVs and PCVs to consider doing so as well. Thanks for considering the idea.
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See: “Ambassador Stevens Memorial” page – http://www.facebook.com/ChristopherStephensMemorial?fref=ts
16 CommentsLeave a comment
I signed this morning in Iraq.
Ditto…signed on because he was right! Carrie, this would be a great move for you to honor our fallen RPCV! Bob
Colombia, 1964-65, 2011-2013
A beautiful gesture, thanks for sharing it with us. I’ve been thinking of him, wanting to know more about him, and just wanting to know more. I appreciate this avenue toward that end, thanks again.
My daughter is a Foreign Service officer in Asia and we worry every day about her safety. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia from ’61 to ’63 and our daughter was a volunteer in Costa Rica in ’96 before joining the Foreign Service. JFK hoped that many of the volunteers would join the Foreign Service and Ambassador Stevens did just that. Naming a space at HQ is the least PC could do and naming the building would even be better.
It’s an honor to know Ambassador Stevens was one of us, the loyal army of former Peace Corps Volunteers still having an impact. He served in Morocco and learned the language according to news reports. Still working for peace when he was murdered. Thanks for remembering him like this.
He was so good for the region, and the USA, they took him out. Peace Corps set the stage for the rest of his very worthwhile life. A real tragic loss. (Colombia I 1961-63)
Ambassador Stevens died doing what Peace Corps volunteers do so well. He reached out to local inhabitants in a special way, by providing them with a place to learn first hand what democracy means by providing an “American Space” in the Bengazhi consulate.
Dan Wemhoff (Colombia I, 1961-63)
I would like to second all the above comments.
Ambassador Chris Stevens exemplified the goal of creating a cadre of Americans who are prepared through Peace Corps service to understand the people of the world and the ways in which we as Americans can better relate to the needs and hopes of people in other lands. When JFK and Sarge Shriver founded the Peace Corps, they hoped we would have several hundreds of thousands, maybe even more than a million Returned Peace Corps Volunteers by now who would, by the weight of their numbers and presence in our country, have an affect on how America deals with the world. Although we have not achieved the numbers envisioned by JFK and Shriver, there are nonetheless many high quality RPCVs serving in our Foreign Service who are having an effect on our foreign policy. Chris was one of those people, and we owe him a debt of gratitude.
Tino, you’ve really touched the heart of the Peace Corps community with this gesture. Thanks for giving us this opportunity.
Please add my name to the memorial for Chris, who was an outstanding example of importance of the Peace Corps in today’s world. We Ex-PCVs send our Best Wishes and Regards to his family over their loss.
What an appropriate gesture for Peace Corps a man who lived and died to make peace in a violent land.
‘HONOR CHRIS STEVENS PETITION’ is up to 636 signatures. As the campaigning goes on, RPCV Ambassador Chris Stevens’ death is still a partisan political football, sad to say. So for now it’s up to RPCVs to try to illuminate Stevens’ service as a model Peace Corps Volunteer, charismatic diplomat, and our fallen US Ambassador to Libya.
Honoring Stevens by dedicating space in his name at PC HQ may mark only a start, but let’s start. Already 636 signatures are on the petition. When a plaque is unveiled at HQ, you may want to have your name shown on the program or in some other way on record as having supported the idea of memorializing his noble life and sacrifice.
To sign the petition, click-on “Honor RPCV Ambassador Chris Stevens” above. Thanks.
Rest in Peace Ambassador Stevens
A conference room seems too small…