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Establishing The Peace Corps: Making It International, Post 14
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RPCV Conlon's First Novel Nominated For Literary Award
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Establishing The Peace Corps:Yoo-hoo, yoo-hoo, Post 12
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Establishing The Peace Corps: What Were Those Guys Smoking In The Mayflower Hotel? Post 11
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The Passion of RPCV Sean Killeen
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Benin APCD Arrested In Connection With Murder of Katie Puzey
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George May: The P.T. Barnum of Professional Golf
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Establishing The Peace Corps: A Proposal For The President, Post 10
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RPCV Charles Larson Gives His African Literature Collection to U of Texas
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Establishing The Peace Corps: A Towering Task, Post 9

Establishing The Peace Corps: Making It International, Post 14

What Shriver also said in his original memo to Kennedy was that other countries should establish programs like the Peace Corps. He wanted Kennedy to send a letter to all heads of state at the United Nation “to avoid as best we can the possibility of misunderstanding in the rest of the world about the Peace Corps’ function and purpose and irritation with an appearance of arrogance in assuming that young Americans automatically can teach everybody…” Shriver suggested that Kennedy “invite other countries to form their own Peace Corps units and propose that this become a truly international project through UN coordination.”      Other nations did create programs like the Peace Corps. In fact, Great Britain had their version of a ‘peace corps’ in operation before the U.S. and soon France, Germany, etc., and Japan, were sending volunteers into the Third World.      Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman’s All You Need Is . . .

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RPCV Conlon's First Novel Nominated For Literary Award

Christopher Conlon (Botswana 1988-90) novel Midnight on Mourn Street published by Earthling Publications in May 2008 has been nominated for The Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association of America. It was nominated in the  category of Superior Achievement in a First Novel. The award will be presented in June, in Burbank, California. Paul Shovlin (Moldova 1996-98) in his PeaceCorpsWriters review compared Conlon to Poe, saying, “[its], an apt comparison, especially in terms of atmosphere, which Conlon is adept at establishing. The feeling of gloom and dark brooding that pervades the novel is one of its strongest points.”

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Establishing The Peace Corps:Yoo-hoo, yoo-hoo, Post 12

At the time of Shriver’s February 22, 1961 memorandum to President Kennedy–stating that the Peace Corps should be established as a semi-autonomous agency–there was a lot of professional resistance to the whole idea of sending young Americans overseas to do good. Career diplomat like Elliot O. Briggs described the Peace Corps’ team cry as “Yoo-hoo, yoo-hoo. Let’s go out and wreak some good on the natives,” as Wofford reports in his book, Of Kennedys & Kings.      Throughout the State Department diplomats were indifferent to hostile to the whole idea of a Peace Corps. But not Dean Rusk, Kennedy’s new Secretary of State.  Rusk told Shriver that he thought the Peace Corps idea was “first-class.” (Rusk’s sister, during my time as an APCD in Ethiopia, would also work as an APCD in the Empire.)      Henry Labouisse, who was appointed in 1961 as head of International Cooperation Administration (ICA), Eisenhower’s foreign aid agency, had . . .

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Establishing The Peace Corps: What Were Those Guys Smoking In The Mayflower Hotel? Post 11

In Shriver’s memo to Kennedy, Sarge had written, “We have submitted to your Special Counsel legal memoranda showing how the Peace Corps can be created as a program agency in the State Department within the existing Mutual Security framework….Congress can consider the program fully when it deals with the requests for specific legislation and funds for FY 1962.”      Shriver and the others who had drafted this memo and come up with the “idea of a Peace Corps” saw the new agency as being within the State Department so that it “can work closely with State and ICA, drawing on their personnel, services and facilities, particularly pending reorganization of the whole foreign aid program. But the Peace Corps should be a semi-autonomous entity with its own public face. This new wine should not be poured into the old ICA bottle.”      While the Band of Boys in the Mayflower Hotel . . .

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The Passion of RPCV Sean Killeen

A year or so ago I received in the mail a letter and a large (11.9 x 9.2), and thick, (1.1 inches) coffee table book from a man named John Reynolds. The book was entitled, Lead Belly: A Life in Pictures, published by the very fine book company, Steidl. The note from Reynolds was short and to the point. “Here is a copy of my published book on Lead Belly. It is dedicated to Sean Killeen who served with his wife in Turkey as a Peace Corps volunteer. Sean founded the Lead Belly Society and published its award-winning Lead Belly Letter. He did much to spread the gospel of Lead Belly here and abroad.” That was all. Like most everyone else, I am a fan of Lead Belly’s music, but what made me curious was why would John Reynolds go out of his way to tell me about  Sean Killeen? We all have our passions. Sean Killeen obvious . . .

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Benin APCD Arrested In Connection With Murder of Katie Puzey

Our PeaceCorpsWorldwide reporter in Benin emailed this Wednesday morning that 4 suspects have been apprehended and brought before the court for further questions relating to the murder of 24-year-old PCV Catherine “Katie” Puzey. The suspects are 1 Nigerian and 3 Beninese. Katie, a Georgia native and a graduate of William and Mary College, had been teaching English since July 2007 in the village of Badjoude, approximately six hours north of the capital city of Cotonou. As of today, there have been no official changes. The newspaper reported on Tuesday that 4 suspects have been apprehended and brought before the court for further questioning in connection with the murder. Of the three Beninese, two are part time trainers for the Peace Corps and the third is one of Peace Corps Benin’s Associat Peace Corps Directors (APCDs). The APCD and one of the trainers are brothers, and one also taught with Katie Puzey at her school. On . . .

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George May: The P.T. Barnum of Professional Golf

In Illinois, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the tournament every caddie wanted to loop in was George S. May’s two weeks at Tam O’Shanter Country Club in Niles, Illinois, on the northwest side of Chicago. George May, a one-time revival-tent Bible salesman who earned millions as an efficiency expert teaching big corporations how to work better and smarter, bought Tam O’Shanter in 1936 and rebuilt it.  The Tam O’Shanter clubhouse was a vast concrete-and-glass, triple-decker building with a sprawling dining room overlooking the course and a one-hundred-foot high water tank in the form of a golf ball atop a red tee. You could see it for miles. At the height of its operation, the club had thirteen bars and telephones on every tee for the convenience of the members.  Noted golf historian, Al Barkow, former Golf Magazine editor and author of Golf’s Golden Grind, about the PGA, grew up as a caddie . . .

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Establishing The Peace Corps: A Proposal For The President, Post 10

Shriver introduced Wiggins and Josephson at the February 6th meeting and distributed copies of “A Towering Task.” From this point on, Wiggins and Josephson became the engine room of the Peace Corps. Shriver describes Wiggins as “the figure most responsible” for the planning and organization that brought the Peace Corps into being.      Twice more in February Kennedy telephoned Shriver to ask about progress on the Peace Corps. The final draft of the report was done with Charles Nelson sitting in one room writing basic copy, Josephson sitting in another room rewriting it, Wofford sitting in yet another room doing the final rewrite, and Wiggins running back and forth carrying pieces of paper. Shriver then made the final edits. On the morning of Friday, February 24, 1961, Shriver delivered to Kennedy what was, in effect, the Peace Corps Magna Carta. He told Kennedy: “If you decide to go ahead, we can . . .

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RPCV Charles Larson Gives His African Literature Collection to U of Texas

The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has acquired Charles Larson’s (Nigeria 1962-64) collection of African, African-American and Native-American literature.  Larson, a professor at American University, is well known as an authority on African and Third World writers.      This collection includes signed and inscribed books, rare publications and unique manuscripts and letters. There are more than 1,100 books by African writers, 250 books by African-American and Caribbean writers, and 60 books by Native-American writers.      “I began reading African writers in 1962 when I was a Peace Corps volunteer,” said Larson.  “It was immediately apparent to me that a rich and exciting literature was emerging across the continent.  My interests expanded when I returned to the United States and discovered similarly important (though sadly overlooked) writing by African-American and American Indian writers.  I feel as if I’ve been in a privileged position to . . .

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Establishing The Peace Corps: A Towering Task, Post 9

The day after the inauguration, Kennedy telephoned Shriver and asked him to form a presidential Task Force “to report how the Peace Corps should be organized and then to organize it.” When he heard from Kennedy, Shriver immediately called Harris Wofford.      At the time, Shriver was 44; Wofford was 34. They had become good friends during the campaign. Wofford had worked as Kennedy’s adviser on civil rights, and together they had worked on the talent hunt for staffing for the new administration.      Initially, the Task Force consisted solely of Shriver and Wofford, sitting in a suite they had rented at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Most of their time was spent making calls to personal friends they thought might be helpful. One name led to another: Gordon Boyce, president of the Experiment in International Living; Albert Sims of the Institute of International Education; Adam Yarmolinsky, a foundation executive; Father Theodore . . .

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