Inaugural Issue of the RPCV Oral History Project

 Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Archive Project 

January 2022 Newsletter 

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the RPCV Oral History Archive Project (OHAP) newsletter. We plan to use the newsletter to keep you informed on OHAP developments. We will let you know about important ways in which you can help us achieve our mission to preserve Peace Corps experiences through in-depth oral interviews of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), evacuated volunteers, Peace Corps staff and, we hope soon, host country counterparts. 

2021 recap 

Our numbers are soaring! As of the end of 2021, OHAP volunteers have conducted over 1300 oral history interviews with RPCVs and Peace Corps staff. Of these, about 800 audio interviews, conducted from 1990 through 2019, are archived at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives and Records Administration. 

Since June 2020, more than 550 video interviews have been conducted remotely using a web-based digital platform. These are archived at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History. The exponential increase in the number of interviews conducted and archived since 2020 would not have been possible without the incredible work of our team of volunteer interviewers and indexers and Nunn Center staff. Thank you! 

Goodbye Backlog! When we started conducting interviews remotely, we had a backlog of over 250 people who had signed up to be interviewed. As of this writing, all but 10 have either been interviewed, or are assigned to an interviewer who is in the process of scheduling them. That means we can encourage more RPCVs to sign up without worrying about long delays. Use this link to sign up, if you haven’t already – SIGN UP (Note: Please use the link for the Oral HistoryProject:OralHistoryProject@peacecorpsconnect.org

We’re expanding our reach! Thanks to TheirStory, the digital platform we’re using for interviews, we no longer have geographic limitations for interviewing. The web based app allows us to interview people throughout the world. 

We’re making a difference! 2021 kicked off with a very important collaboration between OHAP and the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience to create the Many Faces of Peace Corps video and discussion guide. This video, which includes clips from interviews of PCVs and staff from groups under-represented in Peace Corps has been used to stimulate discussion about issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. In March, the video was included in the exhibition “Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience”, hosted by Museum of the Peace Corps Experience and installed at American University Museum at the Katzen Art Center. In September, it was used during the 2021 Peace Corps Connect Conference to anchor the session “Peace Corps to Black Lives Matter: Striving for Allyship at Home and Abroad”. In addition, several NPCA affiliate groups have shown the video and hosted discussions about diversity, equity, and inclusion in Peace Corps. 

We need your help. 

As the number of interviews grows, so does the volume of work in making those interviews easily accessible to the public. A very important step in the process is indexing. Indexing enhances access for researchers by noting and time stamping key topics. The process entails listening to the interview and entering notes into an online application. If you are interested in helping out with indexing, and listening to some very interesting interviews in the process, please email us.

OralHistoryProject@peacecorpsconnect.org

Links: 

Listen to interviews – 

– JFK Library

Nunn Center RPCV collection 

https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/catalog/xt7m3775x79d

Many Faces of Peace Corps, 60th Anniversary 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOmARu6oDnA 

Many Faces discussion activity 

https://www.peacecorpsoralhistory.org/cpages/many-faces 

Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience 

https://www.american.edu/cas/museum/2021/peace-corps-at-60.cfm 

Save Your Place in History: The Oral History Project, Museum of the Peace Corps Experience, and the Peace Corps Community Archives at American University 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUkKHsVmSB0 

From Peace Corps to Black Lives Matter: Striving for Allyship at Home and Abroad 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnMmuqGqL6M 

Becoming an Indexer 

https://www.peacecorpsoralhistory.org/cpages/indexing 

 

 

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