What we want to do with our Website

What I know is that RPCVs return home and tell their Peace Corps tales to family and friends and then move onto grad schools, marriage, children and careers. We want RPCVs to do just that. And we want our Peace Corps history to be told and retold. It is what we all did as Americans to help developing nations. We made friends, learned a new language and culture, and for a short period of time lived a life that was special to us and the people we came to help.

Marian Beil and I want our website to be a place where RPCVs can tell their stories as they remember what they did to help people of another culture enhanced their lives.

Peace Corps service is our contribution to the developing world. It was two years away from the U.S. where we met strangers with a smile and a hand shake, and lived a life that not only changed the lives of host country nationals, but also changed how we would live our lives.


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  • John — Thanks to you and Marian for creating this website and sustaining it for all these years. Your words beautifully capture the impact the Peace Corps had on my family — the two years my siblings and I spent in Ethiopia were transformative; and we were just children of staff, on the sidelines, looking up to the PCV’s, who were our heroes. And you still are!

    Thanks again.
    Dan Wofford

  • Full marks for you two. Thank you.

    The PC policy inhibiting Volunteers from involvement in local politics was wise and has had, in my view, positive, unintended consequences. Many volunteers became friends of people across local political landscapes. Diverse viewpoints came to us, not to persuade as much to try out arguments with trusted people. These interactions helped countless volunteers become more discerning and understanding of others’ ideas and values. Perhaps this is one reason so few PCV stories, articles, or books are judgmental. This web site pays forward volunteer experiences, welds in concert a wonderfully diverse group of Americans, and joyfully advertises epic, important, and fascinating sagas about human development. Thank you again.

  • Thanks so much John & Marion. Your website is a national treasure. Reading the RPCV stories you post is a daily reminder of my own PCV experience even though it occurred more than sixty years ago. I am reminded of all that I learned in Ethiopia so long ago, & draw so much inspiration for my life now from reading the stories of other RPCVs. Your website strengthens the bonds we all share as RPCVs, & reminds us to be grateful for this unique experience in our lives. So, please, please don’t give up the website.

  • Right, Marian & John, and just who will tell their stories if you don’t! When is the last time you heard anything from PC/W? When Covid-19 hit, who was it that kept the flames lit in that darkness, informing the world that PC remained alive? Who would ever had heard that RPCVs have published more than 500 books? That one RPCV had become the co-founder of Netflix, providing a portal for millions of users around the world? That at one time or another, five presidents in various African countries were former students of RPCVs? That one RPCV was voted as “the most powerful woman on Wall Street”.
    Since its inception in March 1961, only some 265,000 Volunteers have served. It is probable that in total on any given year, RPCVs pay more in federal, state and local taxes than the funds required from the Congress for the Agency’s annual budget! What other federal agency has that kind of a Return on Investment!

  • Thank you Marian & John, Your website is a daily must read for me. Reading about outer PCV experiences is enlightening and entertaining. In addition your website will be a treasure-trove for future researchers wanting to learn about the crazy experiment of sending young people to a foreign country to live and work with the local people for two years. Be well, Jim w

  • For a long time, my two tours in the Peace Corps (Ethiopia and Korea) were something on my CV but generally almost forgotten as I moved on in my career. Nevertheless, I had always felt the Peace Corps was one of the best foreign policy initiatives of the US and largely unappreciated by most people I knew. This was further reinforced as I finally started writing on my experiences in Ethiopia working in the smallpox program and wanting to share that experience with others. This led me to Peace Corps Worldwide where I started reading about all the other experiences of people like me, many of whom served decades ago. I am proud to be part of this amazing group of people.

    I published Needle in a Haystack back in October 2023 as one more documentation of the Peace Corps experience. These stories are all unique and personal, but I wanted to share my experience even if only to a few family, friends, and colleagues. I appreciate having Peace Corps Worldwide as a place for compiling and documenting these stories. I do read what gets posted on the website and get a sense of the diverse experience people have had during and since serving in the Peace Corps.

    Thank you ever so much for providing such a wonderful resource to the Peace Corps community of active and returned volunteers!

  • Hi John,

    I have more than enjoyed and appreciated this website and the community it promotes over the years. I think your transition plan makes perfect sense, and I like how it will provide a welcoming platform for new and seasoned RPCVs alike to share their stories while the same or others develop concepts for their books.

    Thanks to both you and Marian for your two years of service overseas, and your nearly five decades of service back home.

    Warm regards,

  • John and Marian,

    Thank you both for all you have done over the years for fellow RPCVs with your website. You have provided a helpful format for those of us who have written about our service and for the wider audience wanting to read what RPCVs have written.

    Mary Lou Shefsky
    Paraguay 1974-1976
    Health Education and Environmental Sanitation

  • I have been reading each entry ever since I discovered this site several years ago. For some reason, the writing doesn’t appear automatically this year like it did in the past. I have to go to the site and read all the notices from the last several days and weeks. How can I get Peacecorpsworldwide.org to appear automatically like it once did? I enjoy everyone’s writing. Thanks for this wonderful website Marian & John.

  • John & Marian, you deserve every accolade. You are tireless. I’m not sure if you struggle with the same issues as E& ERPCV. We feel that we need younger members. I know that those of us who are retired have more time but we are also running down. I hope you are thinking of mentoring others. Your shoes are difficult to fill and I would be very sad to see this and the projects disappear

  • Hello Folks,
    It looks to me as though you have your answer about the worthwhile value of this website. In fact, your almost daily messages are doing more to keep RPCVs connected than anything that comes out of PC/Washington. This is a badly needed website for posting of news about real people and their stories that can link us all together.
    I only hope that more recently RPCV’s can be recruited to help shoulder the task of carrying this effort forward.
    Paul Rodell

  • This is a wonderful resource for the Peace Corps community and beyond. Kudos to you and Marian.
    Ada Jo Mann Chad ‘67

  • You posted your article yesterday, and today have 16 positive responses. You can assume that readers will continue to check out PCW because there is no better source – not NPCA, not the Peace Corps agency, not the JFK library, not Peace Corps Oral History, not even the non-profit organization that I chair, the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience. The breadth of your coverage and the energy required to keep it going is simply amazing. If it all becomes too tiring, don’t quit. Ask other volunteers to pick up the baton. We need Peace Corps Worldwise (misspelling is intentional).

  • Since discovering Peace Corps Worldwide in the late ’90s or early ’00s, it has remained my essential source and resource for maintaining contact with PC, particularly PC writers. Through this site, I was introduced to novels by former PCVs Kent Harif, Bob Shacochis, P.F. Kluge, John Coyne, to name a few, as well as stories and articles by Paul Theroux, Norman Rush, George Packer, Maureen Orth, and Peter Hessler, among many others. I’ve enjoyed learning about the many works published each year by Peace Corps Writers and other imprints. Without Peace Corps Worldwide, I would likely never have been made aware of these writers and their work. It is always inspiring to learn, via Peace Corps Worldwide, the impressive lives of continued service performed by many former PCVs, especially in our current troubled times. Thank you, again, John and Marian, for your decades of dedication to and advocacy for the goals and values of the Peace Corps!

  • Not only does this website serve as a constant reminder to the three most formative years of my life (Ghana, 1968-71), but it allows me to be part of a distinguished group of former Volunteers. I am also grateful that PC Worldwide recognized a memoir I wrote about my time in Ghana so many years ago. Not many people may have read TURQUOISE, but John and Marian were kind enough to add a plaque to my wall. Thank you for all you’ve done to keep our spirit alive.

  • A simple and profound Thank You. As those before me have said in many ways, you have created–are creating–something important and unique. Important for us and the important times in our lives, a way for us to meet each other, if only on the screen or page, and, we hope, to a country that maybe, one day, will look on a PEACE Corps that is as crucial to our country and world’s survival as all of the armies in the world. Would that all the small peace-making groups in Israel and Gaza had such a way to share their stories with each other, and across the armies and governments that seem to have forgotten that the end of war must be peace. Thank you..

  • John and Marian, you have contributed immensely to the Third Goal through Peace Corps Worldwide, and your deep commitment to support aspiring Peace Corps writers will be your legacy. Your lifetime of service to the Peace Corps community toward a more peaceful world is commendable. Thank you for all you do.

  • Please continue this site. It’s my connection to Peace Corps and to RPCVs worldwide and it allows me (and presumably many others) to continue to feel a part of an incredible organization, its history, and its future. Jeanne Paul, Brazil ’64-’66, PC HQ ’66-’69

  • John, I read or skim the site every day, and enjoy it. Like that morning cup of coffee, I gotta do it. I expect a lot of us have taken it for granted over the years, and of course we shouldn’t–the amount of time and effort you and Marian put into it and into other tasks is enormous. These Peace Corps stories and perspectives are unique, there is nowhere else online or elsewhere that reflects and chronicles the unique nature of our experiences in the Peace Corps. I know for me the Peace Corps was life-changing, possibly the most powerful influence in my universe. So my take on the site is, yes, please do keep it. Maybe scale back to once a week, twice a month, something more manageable?

  • John and Marian, 22 comments essentially saying the same thing is your answer. It’s a site for writers and stories, and it is also a site for clarity. When the NPCA (Glenn’s status) and when the agency (Tanzania) were not forthcoming and cut off dialogue, PCW became the place to learn and to share. It’s the glue that holds us together and helps keep us informed and involved, and reminds us that we’re a part of something truly great. Thank you!

  • Thank you for all of your hard work. I have enjoyed it on a daily basis and loving hearing stories from volunteers from around the world and across decades.

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