Armenia

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LEAP by Brent Love (Armenia)
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President of Armenia receives US Ambassador Kevin Kristina and Carol Spahn
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From inner-city Detroit to the Air Force and finally the Peace Corps! — Karen Hunt (Armenia, Ethiopia, Kenya)
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Review: PAPER MOUNTAINS by Jonathan Maiullo (Armenia)
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Armenia RPCVs Still Making A Difference
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Review of Matthew A.Hamilton’s (Armenia 2006-08; Philippines 2008-10) The Land of the Four Rivers

LEAP by Brent Love (Armenia)

   A new book —  Leap A Memoir by Brent Love (Armenia 2009-11) Manuscripts Press June 2024 452 pages $14.99 (paperback); 14.99 (Kindle); $37.99 (Hardcover) • • •  In a small Texas town, Brent comes out to his parents, and on that night his place in the world cracks wide open. Unmoored from his family but unwilling to give up on his dream, Brent enters the Peace Corps with the incredible task of navigating an unfamiliar land, a new language, and a new identity as a gay man in post-Soviet Armenia. As he grapples with a religious past and a queer future, Brent finds himself immersed in a culture he’d never imagined. He moves in with Armenian families, celebrates his first Nor Tari, hunts mushrooms in the mountain mists, and dances in Yerevan at his first gay bar, all while hoping for and trying to find romance, even love. When his Peace . . .

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President of Armenia receives US Ambassador Kevin Kristina and Carol Spahn

Peace Corps — 22 May, 11:38   Welcoming the guests, the President of the Republic highly appreciated the activities of the US Peace Corps in Armenia for nearly three decades. “I am confident that this visit will also have positive results and contribute to expanding Peace Corps initiatives and programs in various fields. Of course, the activities carried out by the Corps in different regions of Armenia, particularly in education, which is a priority field for the Armenian government, are also appreciated. I think you are well aware of our problems and challenges in the education field; in this regard, your support and jointly implemented programs are precious. Are important,” the president said. Expressing gratitude for the reception, the guests noted that they are happy for the opportunity to be represented in Armenia and support the country’s development. During the meeting, issues related to youth education, leadership training, volunteering, and . . .

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From inner-city Detroit to the Air Force and finally the Peace Corps! — Karen Hunt (Armenia, Ethiopia, Kenya)

  My journey from inner-city Detroit to military service and the Peace Corps   by Karen Jean Hunt First Published on Peace Corps.gov I was a 7 year old in Detroit when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I can still remember my teacher screaming and crying after hearing the news.   The news coverage in Detroit also featured the moment JFK announced the Peace Corps at the University of Michigan. After Kennedy’s death, the idea of serving in the Peace Corps stuck with me. I spent most of my childhood in libraries, a safe space for a young girl in inner-city Detroit. I would often skip school, take public transportation downtown, and spend the day in the public library. It was easy to walk in with a group of school children and go unnoticed. Once inside, I could ditch the group and make my way to the card catalog. . . .

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Review: PAPER MOUNTAINS by Jonathan Maiullo (Armenia)

  Paper Mountains: An Armenian Diary (Peace Corps memoir) Jonathan Maiullo (Armenia 2008–10) Gomidas May 2016 164 pages $22.00 (paperback) Review by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) • My Armenia is not a country. . . . It is a place without a physical form. It is a collection of events shaped by external pressures. Jonathan Maiullo was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia from 2008 to 2010. He taught English classes in Yeghegnadzor when he wasn’t exploring the country on foot. After his service, he taught English in Paraguay, among other places, and hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2016. He was an actor, and he studied veterinary medicine. He changed his name in 2001 from Dickerson to his grandparents’ real name that was changed upon immigration to the U.S. (I love that, being of Italian descent also.) What struck me most about this writer is his ultra-keen observations. He’s a verbal camera. He . . .

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Armenia RPCVs Still Making A Difference

[Thanks to Ken Hill (Turkey 1965-67) I heard about  a short video done by a group of RPCVs who still are making a difference.  They are a perfect example of how RPCVs continue to serve their countries, years after their tours.] Natalie Bryant-Rizzieri (Armenia 2003-05) is the Founder and Executive Director of Friends of Warm Hearth, Inc. It is a special group home for orphans with disabilities in Armenia, set up by Natalie and other RPCV. Natalie wrote me recently how all of this came about. “Near the close of my service,” she said, “I found out that the children with disabilities were going to be sent to a psychiatric institution.  I thought I could find another alternative for them — but was unable to do so.  I spent the last few months of my service feverishly trying to come up with something.  In the end, friends and family (worldwide) . . .

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Review of Matthew A.Hamilton’s (Armenia 2006-08; Philippines 2008-10) The Land of the Four Rivers

The Land of the Four Rivers: My Experience as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia (2006-2008) by Matthew A. Hamilton (Armenia 2006-08; Philippines 2008-10) Červená Barva Press $7.00 42 pages 2012 Reviewed by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93) • As Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, we all, I feel confident saying, have at least a couple of photographs documenting our service.  (Some of us doubtless have crates-or iPhones-full of them.) Because we were there, because we know the people and the settings in the photographs, we have a particular attachment to them. They call up full and rich and even complicated memories and associations. To us, each photograph is worth more than a thousand words. Each is a mini-novella, a long poem. But anyone who didn’t have the experiences we had and is seeing the photographs cold knows only what is in front of their eyes. A photo of the family we . . .

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