1
A Worrisome Possibility: The Candidacy Of James Arena-DeRosa
2
The Fabulous Peace Corps Book Locker, Part III
3
RPCV Writer Wins 2008 Interzone Reader Poll
4
The Fabulous Peace Corps Book Locker, Part II
5
The Fabulous Peace Corps Book Locker, Part I
6
In, Up and Out!
7
Wofford Welcomes Specter into the Democratic Fold With Peace Corps Tidbit
8
RPCV New Assistant Secretary Of State For Africa
9
No peace at the Peace Corps
10
Let Them Eat Junk Food!

A Worrisome Possibility: The Candidacy Of James Arena-DeRosa

I met David Searles back in the mid-nineties in PC/HQ. He had just written his book about the Peace Corps and was visiting the agency and come to see me as I was then editing Peace Corps Writers & Readers in those pre-internet years. David has had careers in international business, government service and education. He was with the Peace Corps for five  years, 1969-71–three years as the country director in the Philippines, and two years at headquarters as a Regional Director for North Africa, Near East, Asia, and Pacific (NANEAP), and as Deputy Director under John Dellenback. He went onto earn a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky and published two books: A College For Appalachia (1995) and The Peace Corps Experience  (1997), both by The University Press of Kentucky. He lives now with his wife in Owensboro, Kentucky. David wrote me after seeing the news about the possible appointment of James Arena-DeRosa. Here is what he had . . .

Read More

The Fabulous Peace Corps Book Locker, Part III

The Peace Corps dropped the ‘book locker’ in the mid-sixties because of the expense of the books and shipping overseas and perhaps they decided that books weren’t needed in Peace Corps countries. It is true that in some post-colonial African nations book stores are better than what you find in most towns in America. In Ethiopia, for example, when we arrived in 1962, there was a wonderful bookstore, Giannopoulos, located on Churchill Road off the Piazza, and when I was in Ibadan, Nigeria in 1968, I found a great book store there that was connected to the university. Nevertheless, I still hear from PCVs longing for books. If we were reinventing the Peace Corps today, (and it seems that everyone want to do that), I’d say equip all PCVs with laptops for their schools and villages. Giving laptop to the developing world is already being done, of course. And it . . .

Read More

RPCV Writer Wins 2008 Interzone Reader Poll

Jason Sanford ( Thailand 1994-96) has won the 2008 Interzone Readers Poll for his short story “When Thorns Are the Tips of Trees.” The award is voted on by readers of the British speculative fiction magazine Interzone. A second Interzone story by Jason, “The Ships Like Clouds, Risen by Their Rain,” placed #4 in the Readers’ Poll and will be reprinted a few weeks from now in the anthology Year’s Best SF 14.  Interzone has also accepted a 20,000-word novella from Jason for publication later in the year. For more information check out Jason’s web site.

Read More

The Fabulous Peace Corps Book Locker, Part II

In the summer of 1964, Jack Prebis (Ethiopia 1962-64) returned from overseas and was responsible for putting the books together for the 3rd edition of the Peace Corps locker. Here is Jack’s recollection of that job and his collection of books for the famous Peace Corps book locker. Developing the Peace Corps booklocker was the best job I ever had. As sometimes happens with fun jobs, this one fell in my lap. Returning in 1964 from my secondary school teaching stint in Ethiopia, I headed to Our Nation’s Capital, hoping to land stateside Peace Corps work. Back in those days, the Peace Corps was fresh, free-wheeling and unbureaucratic, shot through with idealists. (Thanks in part to the five-year rule, it remains staffed with idealists.) To my good fortune, as I was being interviewed-was it by fifteen people?-the person who had begun work on “the booklocker” was heading back to Chile on staff. . . .

Read More

The Fabulous Peace Corps Book Locker, Part I

For a short period of time in the very first years of the Peace Corps all Volunteers were given book lockers by the agency. The lockers were to be left behind in schools, villages, and towns where PCVs served as seeds for future libraries. There is some mystery of who first thought to give PCVs these lockers and one rumor has it that the idea came from Sarge Shriver’s wife, Eunice. The first locker was put together by a young foreign service officer who left the agency in the very early days of the agency to teach at Claremont College in California. In a letter that Shriver wrote to the early PCVs about the locker, he said, “We know you need books. This Booklocker of paperbacks and inexpensive publications is designed to meet that need. It includes classics and contemporary writing by both American and foreign authors, as well as . . .

Read More

In, Up and Out!

One of the unique and special policies from the very early days of the Peace Corps was the principle of  “In, Up and Out” that was outlined in a December 11, 1961 memo to Franklin H. Williams, then chairman of the Talent Search Panel for the agency. It was written by young consultant named Robert B. Textor. Textor was an anthropologist at Stanford University working at PC/HQ and his memo put into words a plan to keep the Peace Corps “Permanently Young, Creative, and Dynamic.” His memo did not originate the idea; it simply gave the idea a name, formulated it in actionable terms, and provided it with a specific rationale.” The memo grew out of the talk around 806 Connecticut Avenue that reflected Shriver’s opinions about bureaucratic tendencies toward sluggishness and complacency. The memo is reprinted in full as Appendix 3  in the book Textor edited in 1966 entitled, Cultural Frontiers of the Peace Corps. This . . .

Read More

Wofford Welcomes Specter into the Democratic Fold With Peace Corps Tidbit

In today’s (May 12, 2009) issue of Roll Call, Harris Wofford–architect of the Peace Corps and Senator from Pennsylvania from 1991-95– has an open letter to Sen. Arlen Specter welcoming him into the Democratic fold. “Over the yers I’ve appreciated your advice,” Wofford writes Spector, then adds with his typical humor, “even when I didn’t take it.” Wofford then goes onto link Arlen’s shifting political parties to an old Peace Corps story. Harris recalls: “The current preoccupation with motives reminds me of a moment in the shaping of the Peace Corps in 1961 when Sargent Shriver assembled an eminent group of psychologists to develop a selection process for Peace Corps volunteers. We added respected Harvard University sociologist David Riesman. “After listening to the experts propose tests designed to weed out volunteers who were not dedicated altruists and select only those whose motive was purely service, Riesman spoke up. “Stop it, you are . . .

Read More

RPCV New Assistant Secretary Of State For Africa

Johnnie Carson was officially sworn in as assistant secretary of state for African affairs this month, making him the Obama administration’s top official charged with directing U.S. policy toward Africa. Carson is a career diplomat, and a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania (1965-68), and a lifelong friend of Africa. His 37-year Foreign Service career includes ambassadorships to Kenya (1999-2003), Zimbabwe (1995-1997), and Uganda (1991-1994); and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs (1997-1999). Earlier in his career he had assignments in Portugal (1982-1986), Botswana (1986-1990), Mozambique (1975-1978), and Nigeria (1969-1971). He has also served as desk officer in the Africa section at State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1971-1974); Staff Officer for the Secretary of State (1978-1979), and Staff Director for the Africa Subcommittee of the US House of Representatives (1979-1982). In the mid-nineties in the Clinton Administration Carson was offered the deputy slot for the . . .

Read More

No peace at the Peace Corps

This was in the Al Kamen’s Washington Post column, In The Loop, this morning. Kamen was a PCV in the Dominican Republic  in the early Sixties. What with President Obama’s emphasis on volunteerism domestically and internationally, it seemed odd that there has been no announcement of a new Peace Corps director. One name circulating as a top contender for the post is James Arena–DeRosa, now New England regional manager for the Peace Corps in Boston. Arena-DeRosa also teaches developmental research and advocacy at Brandeis University and worked with the aid organization Oxfam International. “Some folks in the returned-volunteer community, a powerful and active lobby, may be less than delighted about this. There’s a strong feeling among some former volunteers — not shared by all of us — that service overseas is a prerequisite for the job, especially with so many former volunteers available. Arena-DeRosa reportedly enjoys strong support from Massachusetts . . .

Read More

Let Them Eat Junk Food!

Robert Albritton (Ethiopia 1963-65) teaches at a university in Canada and has a book coming out this month that might interest you. It is entitled, Let Them Eat Junk: How Capitalism Creates Hunger and Obesity. From the book jacket, “Capitalism may promise cheap, nutritious food for all, but it has failed to deliver on that promise.” The book explores the economics of our food system, and it explains why a quarter of the world’s population go hungry despite the fact that enough food is produced worldwide to feed us all. Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved, says about the book, “Marx understood the dynamics of the current food crisis over a century ago. Robert Albritton has written a fine primer, bridging the best thinking of the nineteenth century to the urgent needs of the twenty-first.” And Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, author . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2019. Peace Corps Worldwide.