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Carol Spahn — New Peace Corps Chief Executive Officer — i.e. temporary director
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Carol Spahn, former Country Director in Malawi, PCV in Romania, will be Peace Corps Chief Executive Officer
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Our Woman in Havana — A Profile of Citizenship
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Talking With Paul Aertker (Mauritania)
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Peace Corps Gets 1 Country in NYTIMES Annual List of Cherish Places
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NPCA E-Newsletter: This Violence Cannot Stand
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Ex-PCV Tried To Assist Woman Who Was Killed At Capitol–And Also Participated in Mob Action
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“A Profile in Citizenship” by Jerry Norris (Colombia)
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Are you a college or high school teacher? Heres how to teach the story of the Peace Corps!
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Review — ME RAMBLINS ’CROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI by David S. Smits (Guatemala)

Carol Spahn — New Peace Corps Chief Executive Officer — i.e. temporary director

  Editors note: Before her recent years with the Peace Corps in DC and Malawi, Carol Spahn was Executive Director of Accordia Global Health Foundation (Accordia) responsible for implementing new strategies and forging new partnerships to expand the impact of healthcare capacity building efforts in Africa undertaken by the organization. Carol previously served Accordia as its Director of Finance and Administration. Prior to joining Accordia, she was Vice-President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Small Enterprise Assistance Funds, a non-profit private equity fund manager that invests in small and medium-sized companies in developing countries. Carol was a PCV as a Small Business Advisor in Romania shortly after the fall of communism and has also held several positions with financial service institutions, including GE Capital and KPMG Peat Marwick. She holds an M.A. in International Development from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs and was an undergraduate in . . .

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Carol Spahn, former Country Director in Malawi, PCV in Romania, will be Peace Corps Chief Executive Officer

  I wrote to Director Olsen about the transition planning and who would be “in charge” at Peace Corps until the new Director is confirmed.  Here is her response: Thank you for reaching out. The transition from one Executive branch administration to the next is a hallmark of our constitutional democracy. We have a succession plan in place to ensure a smooth and effective transition for the incoming administration. Our plan was shared previously with the General Services Administration (GSA), in accordance with government-wide guidance, and members of our Agency Review Team (ART). I can now share with you the name of the staff member who will be stepping in as our Acting Director pending an appointment by the new Administration. I am pleased to say that our ART members have been working effectively and diligently to identify new appointees and I am very confident that new leadership will begin . . .

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Our Woman in Havana — A Profile of Citizenship

By Jeremiah Norris Colombia (1963-65)  • The author of Our Woman in Havana, Vicki Huddleston, was raised in Hungry Horse, Montana. She graduated from the University of Montana, entered the Peace Corps as a Volunteer in Peru, 1964-65. After Peace Corps, she attended graduate school at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, followed by becoming a Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. Afterward, she went on to a distinguished career with the Department of State, serving as Ambassador to Madagascar, then under Presidents Bush and Clinton, as the Chief of the U. S. Interests Section in Havana, finally as Ambassador in Mali. In her book, Vicki chronicles several compelling memories of her official interventions with Fidel Castro, as well as some risky initiatives she undertook to allow Cubans an opportunity to bridge the differences between what their government was telling them and external events in the outside world. All . . .

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Talking With Paul Aertker (Mauritania)

  Paul Aertker (ETT Kerr) is a children’s book writer, teacher, and a frequent speaker at elementary and middle schools. He began his teaching career in West Africa with the Peace Corps where he helped establish the town’s first public library. His first series, Crime Travelers, consistently ranks in the top spot in multiple Amazon categories. His newest book, Posthumous, has won the 2018 Foreword Reviews Indie Book of the Year Bronze Award, and the 2018 SCBWI Spark Award for “excellence in independent publishing for children.” The Crime Travelers series has sold more than 25,000 copies per year for the last three years and has been optioned for TV/Film. • Paul, where are you from? I grew up in Louisiana, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of African and Cajun cultures, and went to Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. Why did you decide to join the Peace Corps? As cliché as it might seem, I wanted . . .

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Peace Corps Gets 1 Country in NYTIMES Annual List of Cherish Places

Note from the editor: At this time of year, The New York Times’ Travel desk usually publishes its lavish 52 Places to Go list, a compendium of suggestions for the destinations that are especially worth visiting in the coming year, accompanied by show-stopping photography. But this year, that was out of the question. Instead of its traditional list of destinations, the Travel desk asked readers about locales with special meaning to them. This is what Teresa Gotlin-Sheehan (Burkina Faso 2012-14) had to say.     Burkina Faso is a West African country of desert and baobab trees, where more than 60 languages are spoken. I had heard rumors of an abandoned cliff village, like Mesa Verde in the United States, not far from my host community. When a friend came to visit, we set off on a three-day bike tour to visit and view the Niansogoni Cliffs and the Sindou . . .

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NPCA E-Newsletter: This Violence Cannot Stand

  Please read the entire E-Newsletter, published Thursday, January 7, 2021. This violence cannot stand. Yesterday was a horrific day for our country. A violent mob stormed the United States Capitol, smashing windows and looting offices. They sent members of Congress and their staffs scrambling for their lives, barricading into offices and chambers, and huddling beneath chairs. Explosive devices were found. One of the extremists who stormed the building was fatally shot. Three other people died in related incidents. And today a Capitol Hill police officer who was assaulted by extremists died. We condemn these acts of violence and chaos in the strongest possible terms. The Peace Corps community is committed to building peace and friendship. When we are sworn in as Volunteers, we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. This was an attempted coup by domestic terrorists. Symbolically . . .

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Ex-PCV Tried To Assist Woman Who Was Killed At Capitol–And Also Participated in Mob Action

The man in a widely circulated news video from Wednesday’s ambush on the United States Capitol is Thomas Baranyi, a 28-year-old from New Jersey who served in the Peace Corps as recently as last year. In the video interview with a reporter from WKRG, a CBS affiliate, Baranyi holds up… The video has been taken down!  

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“A Profile in Citizenship” by Jerry Norris (Colombia)

  Note from the editor: In the past four years, one would have to have been an expert in the forensic sciences to find any article in the press or social media on the Peace Corps. Then, in March of 2020, a virus resurrected it to public awareness when the Peace Corps withdrew all of its 7,000+ Volunteers from their overseas posts out of an abundance of caution for their health. If Volunteers in active service aren’t perceived as still a viable representation of the Peace Corps’ raison d’etre, then perhaps it can be found in the dividends that returned Volunteers continue to invest in our society as responsible citizens of the world. They are emblematic of the Peace Corps’ Third Goal: “Help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.” Since its founding in 1961, some 285,000 Volunteers have served around the world. After returning . . .

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Are you a college or high school teacher? Heres how to teach the story of the Peace Corps!

Alana DeJoseph has made her award-winning documentary about the Peace Corps available for college and secondary school teachers. RPCV teachers, this is a great opportunity for you to tell your Peace Corps story to your students and also, with the film, tell the story of the agency. • Director of the film, Alana DeJoseph, writes: The feature documentary A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps is going to school! We are developing lesson plans for middle schools, high schools, and universities to teach the history of the Peace Corps through the lens of various fields of study. And we would love to take advantage of the expertise so many RPCVs have. So, we are asking RPCV professors (current and retired) from the following fields of study to connect with us at info@peacecorpsdocumentary.com to help us make these lesson plans the best they can be! Areas of study: – International Studies . . .

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Review — ME RAMBLINS ’CROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI by David S. Smits (Guatemala)

  Me Ramblins ‘Cross the Wide Missouri: The Adventures of a Wayfarin Man in the Ol’ West by David S. Smits (Guatemala 1963–65) Peace Corps Writers 2017 500 pages   Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974-76; Costa Rica 1976-77) • If most of what you believe you know about American frontier life in the pre-Civil War years is from movies and TV shows, you should definitely read this book. Author David Smitts was a professor of American history, specializing in U.S. westward expansion and the evolving frontier region for 38 years before retiring. He had often assigned his students to create a fictitious character and insert him or her into authentic events in history based on what primary sources they could find. The character, acting as chronicler, would interact with actual individuals of the time period who should behave in accordance with the historical record. The completed project would take . . .

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