Bolivia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Korea, Malaysia, Mauritania, Romania, Tanzania
By JoAnna Haugen on Friday, February 5th, 2010
Matt Hayek (92-94) has been elected as the newest mayor of Iowa City. A partner at Hayek, Brown, Moreland & Smith, LLP, since 2004, Hayek is still in his first term on the council after winning a seat in 2007. Though he has no more power than any other council member, he will be tasked with running the meetings and working with city staff to map out work session topics and agendas. Hayek earned bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Michigan.
Dianne Twete has been gardening for the last 33 years. She was certified as a Master Gardener by the OSU/Lane County Extension Service in 2006 and was chosen as the Lane County Master Gardener of the Year in 2009. Twete recently applied to volunteer through CNFA, a non-profit organization committed to empowering people and enterprises in the developing world. Last year she spent 19 days in the Babati region of Central Tanzania training locals on harvesting, grading and storage techniques for the pigeon pea. She has plans to travel to Moldova in April of this year for a CNFA Farmer-to-Farmer program focused on strawberry production.
Karen Blanchard (66-68), Randolph Marcus (66-68), Jennifer Joyce Solomon and Cathy Toner Tucker (65-67) recently returned to Ethiopia to visit Chilalo Terera Secondary School in Asella, where they all taught as Peace Corps volunteers. Prior to visiting the area, the RPCVs initiated a project to raise $9,000 to send books to the Chilalo Terera library as well as $4,000 from the Oak Foundation for shipment. Corporate donations of a laptop, projector and soccer balls were presented to the schools and neighborhood children. The volunteers also raised funds, which they presented as a cash donation to the school. While in Ethiopia, the RPCVs worked with local school and municipal officials to possibly expand the library project to other schools in Asella and potentially build an inventory of books for a public library in the town. Blanchard, Marcus, Solomon and Tucker also visited five other schools and a women’s cooperative to see how they could help them in providing books and other resources. The group of former volunteers was organized and led by Dr. Abebe Kebede, who was a young student at the time the students taught in Asella.
Kevin Thompson (96-98) has been named a First Mover Fellow through the Aspen Institute, which recognizes people who work inside business systems to achieve social change. Thompson is a senior program manager for Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs at IBM. He founded and runs the company’s Corporate Service Corps program, which synthesizes the 21st-century context for business—emerging markets, diverse cultures, global teaming, complex policy environments, cross-functional collaboration and increasing societal expectations—into a leadership development program involving projects in developing countries working on core societal challenges.
Ambassador John W. Limbert (64-66), Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran, recently published his book Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts of the Past. Limbert has a long history in Iran. In addition to his Peace Corps service, he worked as an English instructor at the Shiraz University from 1969-1972. He speaks fluent Farsi and Arabic, has written two other books on Iran and serves as the State Department’s point person on Iran policy.
David MaCann (66-68) is the Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature at Harvard University and also director of the Korea Institute. All of the courses he teaches are about Korean literature, and several of his former Ph.D. students now also teach Korean literature. After serving in the Peace Corps, MaCann returned to Korea with his wife and daughter as part of the Fulbright Program, where he worked on his dissertation research.
Amy Johnston (80-81) recently became the owner of Massage Envy in Williston, Vermont. In her business, she manages the day-to-day operations for 15 employees and more than 1,000 regular clients. Prior to owning her own business, Johnston was a construction manager (about which she wrote a book) and worked for the United Nations.
Ken Rutherford (87-89) recently left this teaching post at Missouri State University to join the staff at James Madison University, where he will be the director of its Center for International Stabilization and Recovery, which helps post-conflict countries and regions to rebuild. In his new position, Rutherford expects to work with the U.S. government and the United Nations to make post-conflict areas safe while rebuilding infrastructure. In 2005, Rutherford served on a State Department Fulbright Fellowship in Jordan. He has consulted for the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Defense and the United Nations. At Missouri State, Rutherford served on the committee for the first Public Affairs Conference, co-chaired the second conference and chaired the third one. He was awarded a public affairs professorship in recognition of his work in support of the school’s public affairs mission in April 2009.
Attorney general Eric Holder and assistant attorney general Tony West recently awarded Jonathan Rolbin (06-08) with a special commendation for his work with representing the Department of State in litigation. Rolbin worked in private law practice for 12 years before joining the Peace Corps. Upon returning from his service, he became a Department of Justice trial attorney in the Office of Immigration Litigation. Rolbin just recently joined the State Department, where he works as the director of legal affairs and law enforcement liaison in the Bureau of Consular Affairs/Passport Services.
Leslie Hawke (00-02) is founder of The Alex Fund, which is dedicated to helping children and their mothers in Romania. It promotes self-sufficiency among marginalized people through education, job training and community development. The Alex Fund has directly impacted more than 5,000 disadvantaged children with its services. In February, proceeds from the performance of A Lie Of The Mind at The New Group in New York City will benefit The Alex Fund.
Judy Martin is helping to distribute low-cost solar ovens through a nonprofit organization called Solar Circle. Villagers in Tanzania are donating their time by digging latrines, building homes and providing care for those who are HIV-positive in exchange for ovens. Solar ovens save women time because they don’t have to collect firewood, and it keeps women and their babies healthy because they don’t have to breathe in wood smoke all day. Approximately 1,100 solar ovens have been distributed since the program began.