Panel Discussion of John Fleming’s new book Mission to Malawi

The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience
Virtual event, July 31 at 7:00pm EDT


Join us for the launch and panel discussion of John Fleming’s new book Mission to Malawi: Memoir of an African American Peace Corps Volunteer 1967-1969 (McFarland 2024), featuring Reginald Hodges (RPCV Sierra Leone 68-71), J. Henry (Hank) Ambrose (RPCV Kenya 71-73), and John Fleming (RPCV Malawi 67-69).  The event will be hosted by MPCE Board Member Nicole Banister and MPCE Director Zack Klim.

Unlike the vast majority of Peace Corps volunteers in the 1960s, John Fleming was a young Black man who was assigned to an all-white agricultural project in Malawi, an emerging African country surrounded by White-ruled Southern Rhodesia, Mozambique, and South Africa. John wanted to be a missionary in Africa, but was put off by his encounters with self-serving White missionaries. The Civil Rights and Black Power movements influenced his world view while navigating life in an African country still controlled or greatly influenced by racist Whites.

The author and featured guests will discuss their experiences navigating the Peace Corps experience as African American men serving in African nations in the late 60s and early 70s.

John Fleming

John Fleming, Ph.D. is Director Emeritus of the Cincinnati Museum Center, Former Director in Residence of the National Museum of African American Music, Former Chair of the American Association of State and Local History, and the Former President of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.  After graduating from Howard University with a Ph.D. in American History in 1974, Fleming was invited to join the Ohio Historical Society as Project Director for the Development of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberfoce, Ohio.  Since then, he has been a transformational leader in the American museum landscape, published four books, and authored more than 45 articles and book chapters.  John was an agricultural program advisor with Peace Corps Malawi from 1967-1969.

J. Henry (Hank) Ambrose

J. Henry (Hank) Ambrose is a retired telecommunications executive.  He earned a B.S. in mathematics in the Peace Corps/College Degree Program at State University of New York at Brockport, and holds an M.S. in statistics from University of Cincinnati and an M.B.A. from George Washington University.  He is a former statistics lecturer at Temple University and former adjunct mathematics professor at Strayer University. Hank is a member of the Dean’s Encore Circle, Board of Advisors for The George Washington University School of Business.  He was a member of the board of the National Peace Corps Association for six years, including one year as Board Chair.  He served as a lecturer in the Mathematics Department at Kenyatta College in Nairobi with Peace Corps Kenya, from 1971-1973.

Reginald Hidges

Reginald Hodges has worked on development initiatives throughout Africa in education and post-war recovery.  In 2014 he retired as Executive Director of the Durham Literacy Center and began volunteering as a construction advisor for the North Carolina Freedom Park.  He also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Ackland Museum at UNC Chapel Hill.  Reggie and his wife Celeste (RPCV Sierra Leone 69-72) have collected substantial African art and textiles.  They have worked to fulfill the third goal of Peace Corps by donating their collection to museums including the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience.  Reggie served as an education volunteer in Peace Corps Sierra Leone from 1968 until 1971.


Zack Klim joined MPCE as Director in January of 2023.  He is a Sociologist by training and a scholar-practitioner in international education with over 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership.  Prior to the Museum, Zack served as Executive Director of Global Affairs at New York University’s school of education.  There he collaborated with faculty to launch dozens of academic programs worldwide, and forged hundreds of partnerships with schools, healthcare providers, INGOs and other organizations to deliver internships and service learning.  Zack was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Bangladesh, public school teacher in New York City, human rights educator in Burma/Myanmar, and a teacher trainer in Costa Rica and Honduras.

Nicole Banister is an award-winning TV show host, presenter, and international changemaker. She is the host of the celebrity interview series NIKKI BANZ LIVE and Start It Up–the Waterbear series showcasing one of the world’s most prestigious social entrepreneurship competitions. Nicole has traveled to 50+ countries and is a United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Fellow, a Georgetown University Hoya, and winner of Peace Corps’ 2023 Franklin H. Williams Emerging Leader Award. With expertise in strategic global partnerships, social media, and mass communication, Nicole is on the leadership committee of the Friends of South Africa RPCV Association and joined MPCE the Board of Directors in 2023.

Buy the Book

Author John Fleming has generously donated royalties from the memoir to the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience and The Malawi Children Village.  Available at:

Barnes & Noble

The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience envisions connecting people around the world to inspire service and peace, showing that our common humanity is more fundamental than the cultures and ideas that separate us.

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