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Less Not MorePeaceCorps
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RPCV Roland Merullo On The Shores of Lake Como
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The Ying And Yang Of The Peace Corps
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George May At Tam O'Shanter
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The Three Goals Of The Peace Corps
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Another RPCV Joins The China Gang of Writers
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Who Were Brudick And Lederer, And Why The Ugly American?
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An RPCV & A Good Bet To Be The Next Peace Corps Director
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RPCV Maureen Orth On Morning Joe
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All Those Sad Goodbyes

Less Not MorePeaceCorps

President Obama released a detailed version of his Fiscal Year 2010 budget to Congress which includes a funding request of $373.5 Million for the Peace Corps.  This request represents a ten percent increase in spending above the current $340 Million funding level for Peace Corps. According to Kevin Quigley, President and CEO of the NPCA, “President Obama’s Peace Corps funding request is a step in the right direction, but it is only a step.” This budget does not call for MorePeaceCorps. It simply means an increase in the number of PCVs to 9,000. And that means approximately 13% increase by the time of the 50th Anniversary. There is no doubling of the agency! This budget now goes up on the Hill and to the appropriations  committees of the House and Senate, but don’t expect miracles from that crowd. Regardless of what Obama said during the campaign, regardless of what members of Congress say, the Peace Corps ain’t getting much bigger during this administration. The . . .

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RPCV Roland Merullo On The Shores of Lake Como

Roland Merullo (Micronesia 1979-80) has written a number of fine novels (Leaving Losapas, his Peace Corps novel), and since then novels on a wide range of topics, including golf (Golfing with God: A Novel of Heaven and Earth.) He is back with a new one, this on golf, travel, Italy and a lot more: The Italian Summer. Last year Roland took a long summer vacation with his wife and two daughters in northern Italy. Of the trip, Roland writes in his introduction, “Just the story of a slice of time in a beautiful place, where I had a lesson in living more slowly.” (Hey, Roland, you spent two years in Micronesia! Could anything possibly move slower than those islands?) There is a lot in this book, from writing about golf to long and leisurely dinners. You can get a great meal out of these beautifully written pages. Touchstone Books published The Italian Summer this spring. As they . . .

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The Ying And Yang Of The Peace Corps

The Ying and Yang of the Peace Corps has always been whether a PCV is an expert technical advisor (written small), or an American just off on a Third World Walk About. The three goals of the Peace Corps give a mixed metaphor to the real reason of being a PCV. Many HCNs see us as CIA agents, and back home in Americans we’re thought of as missionaries without a religion. PCVs for the most part just want a job, want to feel wanted, and need to believe they are getting the job done. So, on the macro side there is this grand design of the whole agency encouraging peace by sending Volunteers into the world and on the micro side there are just men and women-mostly young and inexperienced–hoping that at the end of the tour they will have been somewhat successful. These competing goals are not necessarily bad. . . .

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George May At Tam O'Shanter

In his history of the PGA, Gerald Astor tells how Fred Corcoran first met George May behind the 18th green during the USGA amateur championship at Winged Foot. Then at a banquet celebrating the 1940 Chicago Open played at the Tam O’Shanter Club, May, the president and principal owner of the club, announced the prize money for the following year would be bumped from $5000 to $11,000, settling it a notch above the $10,000 offered by Los Angeles and Miami for their Opens. May further surprised the audience by declaring admission prices would be slashed to the level of grandstand seats at the ballpark, $1.10. May did much more to cause excitement at his tournaments. He had pros shoot from the front tees; lower scores, he reasoned, would impress people. His first four-day tournament drew 41,000, including 23,000 on the final day. May was also ahead of his time – . . .

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The Three Goals Of The Peace Corps

When I last worked for the Peace Corps (back in the mid-’90s) there was a lot of talk about the Three Goals of the Peace Corps, but no one seem to know too much about how they came about, or why. Even the few books on the early history of the agency are vague about the who, what, when and how of the Peace Corps goals. Harris Wofford in his 1980 book Of Kennedys And Kings does write about how decisions were made by the Mayfloor Gang who invented the Peace Corps. And since Wofford was with Shriver from the very beginning days of planning the agency, his words are worth reading. Harris writes, “A clear statement of purpose was also required. From the first sessions several purposes had been articulated and some discareded, and Shriver welcomed hard argument among the contending viewpoints. Providing trained manpower for development? Promoting mutual international understanding? . . .

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Another RPCV Joins The China Gang of Writers

Michael Levy (China 2005-07) joins the expanding ‘China Gang’ of writers (Mike Meyer, Peter Hessler, and all) with a humorous memoir of serving in rural China. His account of being far from the high-rises of Beijing and his discovery of a Chinese adoration–and often–of all things Jewish, has just been sold to Holt. The memoir is entitled, Kosher Dog Meat. Holt has published a number of RPCVs, including Sarah Erdman’s Nine Hills To Nambonkaha(Ivory Coast 1998-2000); Maureen Orth’s (Colombia 1964-66) The Importance of Being Famous; and Thurston Clarke (Tunisia 1968) The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America.

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Who Were Brudick And Lederer, And Why The Ugly American?

Eugene Burdick and Bill Lederer met at the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference in Middlebury, Vermont. This would have been about 1948. They then went their separate ways, each establishing himself as a writer. Lederer had a Navy background and was the special assistant to the commander of the military forces of the Pacific Area for over six years. He wrote two books based on his career, one entitled All the Ship’s at Sea, the other, Ensign O’Toole and Me.   By the time he met up again with Burdick in 1957 he had made twenty-six trips to Asiatic Pacific countries. He was famous for escaping official functions and going off to meet local journalists and shopkeepers and visiting the homes of the poor. Eugene Burdick was a teacher of political theory at the University of California and consultant to the Fund for the Republic. He had also been a truck driver, bean hoer, ditch digger, . . .

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An RPCV & A Good Bet To Be The Next Peace Corps Director

Aaron Williams is Vice President for International Business Development and responsible for representing RTI’s international consulting practice in the Washington DC office. He leads the representational efforts, working with RTI’s senior management team and other staff in expanding RTI’s involvement in the international development community’s dialogue regarding policy and programs concerning the USG and other multilateral donor assistance programs. Related to these efforts, he provides leadership in the development of strategic partnerships with other international organizations and global corporations involved in international development activities. Mr. Williams has over 25 years of experience in policy formulation, strategic planning, and the design and implementation of development assistance programs. Mr. Williams has directed a broad range of development assistance programs in the areas of economic policy development and economic growth, trade and investment promotion, banking and finance, democracy and governance, education, housing and urban development, and public health. In his role as a . . .

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RPCV Maureen Orth On Morning Joe

Maureen Orth (Colombia 1964-66) was on Morning Joe this morning talking about the Peace Corps and the school she started as a PCV in Colombia. Years ago we were talking about these inexpensive laptops, as a new version of the famous booklockers that were given to PCVs to leave behind in their villages, and/or to be the first books in the first library of their schools. A number of RPCVs said giving PCVs laptops was a terrible idea. Well, Maureen has made it work in her  bilingual public school, using the technology from the program “One Laptop per Child.”  Check out:www.K12wired.com. Maureen also made a pitch for more Peace Corps, saying we need to increase the budget and the number of Volunteers serving overseas. Nicely done, Orth!

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All Those Sad Goodbyes

The 25th Anniversary Conference mostly took place on the Washington D.C. Mall where 5,000 + gathered under the largest tent ever raised at the foot of the Capitol Dome and adjacent to the Air and Space Museum. The Mall was the brainchild of Bill Carey (India 1968-69) the executive director of the conference. The late talented writer David Schickele (Nigeria 1961-63) wrote, “The tent was like the Peace Corps I was part of. Its muggy windless flaps said something about heat and hard work and improvisation, its massive nonchalance the perfect protection for the ideas being hatched beneath it.” Over 70% of those at the conference had served in the first 10 years of the Peace Corps. Almost 45% had served in just 10 of the 82 countries represented at the conference. Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Liberia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Philippines, Thailand and Turkey. People had come from all 50 states and 12 other countries. Doug . . .

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