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Worldview | Special Books Edition

April 2022


President’s Letter: Time of Hope, Time of Crisis

Volunteers have begun to return to service. Yet millions in Ukraine are now in harm’s way. 

By Glenn Blumhorst



Peace Corps Volunteers Have Begun Returning to Service Overseas

After a send-off from First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House, Volunteers headed for Zambia and the Dominican Republic in March. Here are the 24 countries they will be returning to first. More are being added this spring.


President Nominates Carol Spahn to Serve as Peace Corps Director

Carol Spahn has led the agency during a challenging time in Peace Corps history. Earlier this month President Biden announced that he would nominate her to serve as the 21st Director of the Peace Corps. He sent the nomination to the Senate on April 25.

By Jonathan Pearson

Ukraine: Helping Those in Harm’s Way


The Future Is Unwritten

Peace, friendship, and a people whose anthem is “Ukraine Has Not Perished Yet.” 

By Steven Boyd Saum





Refugees From the War

Two young children and their mother on a train prepare to leave L’viv, Ukraine. Some 10 million people have fled their homes since the nation was invaded by Russia on February 24. Four million are now refugees beyond Ukraine’s borders. Two million are children. Not since World War II has the world seen a humanitarian crisis escalate so quickly. The devastation in cities like Kharkiv and Chernihiv and Mariupol is cruel and horrific. Amid this war, members of the Peace Corps community have been rallying to help those in harm’s way. There is one responsibility we all share: Do not look away. Read more.


Listen & Watch: Conversations and Podcasts on Ukraine from the Peace Corps Community 

TERRELL J. STARR, host of the “Black Diplomats” podcast. Politico correspondent CHRISTOPHER J. MILLER.
OLENA SERGEEVA on “The Invasion of Ukraine: Standing with Those in Harm’s Way.” Cambridge scholar RORY FINNIN on “Vladimir Putin’s Abuses of History.” TIMOTHY SNYDER, ARNE WESTAD, and NELLIE PETLICK on “War in Ukraine.” Listen and watch. 


The War of Aggression Against Ukraine Must Stop

We in the Peace Corps community stand in solidarity with the people and communities in Ukraine who are now in harm’s way. 

By Steven Boyd Saum, Jeffrey Janis, and Gretchen Upholt




“Serving steadfast during these unprecedented times, the Peace Corps has continued to encourage deeper understanding and appreciation between Americans from all walks of life, and nations far and wide.”

     —U.S. Senator Robert Menendez

In video remarks at the NPCA National Days of Advocacy kickoff on March 3, 2022, announcing that he would soon be introducing the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act in the Senate.


The Book Locker Returns

Recent writing from and about the Peace Corps community


The Book Locker Returns

AS A SPECIES, WE ARE NURTURED BY STORIES. Yet since the evacuation of Peace Corps Volunteers from around the world in March 2020, we’ve had to put on hold some of the regular fare in the digital and print pages of WorldView. That includes the latest books. So we have some catching up to do. From the realm of words and ideas, here’s a look at recent writing across a range of genres — from leading journalists, key policy analysts, and writers of history, as well as photographers and illustrators who shape stories through images. From the trove of memoirs published by members of the Peace Corps community — staff, Volunteers, and former students alike — we offer a sampling of recent work, tracing stories across the decades.

Wait, you say. What about poetry, fiction, essays, and biography, not to mention books for young readers and volumes of art and illustration? Fear not: They’re coming your way in our next books installment. As are some new true stories from around the globe. 




Find a Way for Americans to Talk with Each Other Again

Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal | By  George Packer

Reviewed by Marnie Mueller




For Years, Sarah Chayes Told U.S. Leaders in Afghanistan Truths They Did Not Want to Hear About Corruption. Now She Looks at What Is Corroding Democracy at Home.

On Corruption in America: And What Is at Stake | By Sarah Chayes

Reviewed by Steven Boyd Saum



Michael E. O’Hanlon Has Counseled ‘Resolute Restraint’ in an Age of Peace. But Has That Age Come to an End?

The Art of War in an Age of Peace | By Michael E. O’Hanlon

Reviewed by Steven Boyd Saum





A Tenth Anniversary Edition of Voices from the Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers

Voices from the Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers | By Jack Wilson and Angene Wilson




Some 2,000 Peace Corps Volunteers Served in Korea. They Have Also Helped Shape the Study of That Nation in the United States.

Peace Corps Volunteers and the Making of Korean Studies in the United States | Edited by Seung-kyung Kim and Michael Robinson



How People Experience Idealism, Why It Dies, and Why That Matters

The Death of Idealism: Development and Anti-Politics in the Peace Corps | By Meghan Elizabeth Kallman 






When Martin Luther King Jr. Was Arrested for Taking Part in a Student-Led Sit-In in Atlanta, It Could Have Cost Him His Life.

Nine Days: The Race to Save Martin Luther King Jr.’s Life and Win the 1960 Election | By Stephen Kendrick and Paul Kendrick



Understanding New Diasporas and Transnationality Through the Voices of African Immigrants to Kentucky

Voices of African Immigrants in Kentucky: Migration, Identity, and Transnationality | By  Francis Musoni, Iddah Otieno, Angene Wilson, and Jack Wilson



How the May 1980 Democratic Uprising in South Korea Was Met with Brute Force: A First-Person Account

Witnessing Gwangju | By Paul Courtright. Photographs by Robyn Moyer




What Happens When Diplomats Fail to Understand the History of Nations Where They Serve — from the Perspective of the People in Those Nations?

History Shock: When History Collides with Foreign Relations | By John Dickson

Reviewed by Nathalie Vadnais


Ken Rutherford Played a Key Role with the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines. Now He Looks at How Mines Were First Widely Deployed.

America’s Buried History: Landmines in the Civil War | By Kenneth Rutherford 

Reviewed by Nathalie Vadnais and Steven Boyd Saum




On the Plain of Snakes 

In the mountains near Oaxaca, tales of El Norte: among weavers and migrant workers who left family and home for work across the border — and returned. Conversations from a time before COVID. An excerpt from the book On the Plain of Snakes.

By Paul Theroux


Voices of Hope and Awakening

Call to Unite: Voices of Hope and Awakening | By Tim Shriver and Tom Rosshirt





A Guide to Help Teachers Shift the Framework for Understanding the Corps of Discovery Expedition Through Indigenous Perspectives and Contemporary Issues

Teaching Critically About Lewis and Clark: Challenging Dominant Narratives in K–12 Curriculum | By Alison Schmitke, Leilani Sabzalian, Jeff Edmundson



He Started Out Selling Soap. And Went On to Found the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Good Business: The Talk, Fight, Win Way to Change the World | By Bill Novelli




Applying Lessons Learned from Decades in Development

How to Improve the World Quickly | By Chris Roesel




More Nonfiction from the Book Locker

Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work | By Robert H. Frank
Touching the Jaguar | By John Perkins
Nonprofits in Advocacy Policy | By Sheldon Gen and Amy Conley Wright





An Audience with the King

For 30 years Ambika Joshee worked for the Peace Corps in Nepal. His memoir, The Life of a Nepali Village Boy, is a candid account of a country being transformed — and traces a personal quest for knowledge, justice, and understanding. Here is an excerpt.

By Ambika Mohan Joshee 



For “Hardball” Host Chris Matthews, a Life in Politics Began with the Nixon-Kennedy Battle in 1960

This Country: My Life in Politics and History | By Chris Matthews  

Reviewed by Steven Boyd Saum



Peanut Flour, Peace Corps, and the President

In 1967, Jack Allison wrote and recorded a song that went on to be the No. 1 hit in Malawi for two years running. Then the president kicked him out of the country. Chic Dambach reviews his memoir, The Warm Heart of Africa: An Outrageous Adventure of Love, Music, and Mishaps in Malawi. And Jake Arce joins Jack Allison for a conversation about his journey through music and public health — and the calls for him to return when AIDS hit Malawi.


Personal Discovery and Historical Clashes

An Indian Among los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir | By Ursula Pike





Ursula Pike portrait‘You probably shouldn’t tell anyone about being Indian; people can’t tell by looking at you.’

An excerpt from An Indian Among los Indígenas 

By Ursula Pike



In Papua New Guinea, Seeking to Understand Community — and an Act of Horrific Violence

The Tin Can Crucible: A Firsthand Account of Modern-day Sorcery Violence | By Christopher Davenport

Reviewed by Leo Cecchini



A Collective Memoir of Peace Corps Libya

101 Arabian Tales: How We All Persevered in Peace Corps Libya | Edited by Randolph W. Hobler 

Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson




A Humble Man Who Believes There Is Good in Humanity and Is Committed to Justice

American Dreamer: Memoirs of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Central America and Beyond | By David Taylor Ives

Reviewed by Jim Skelton



A Memoir of a Journey from a Farming Village in Togo to Study in the U.S. And a Tribute to a Father Who Was Orphaned Before the Age of Two.

 From Orphan to Greatness: An African Story | By Pierre Komi T. Adade



An Affectionate Portrait of a Town in Senegal from Half a Century Ago — and an Invitation from the President to Return

Peace Corps Senegal 1968–70 | By Carolee and Art Buck




Understanding a New Meaning of Home

Tales of Togo: A Young Woman’s Search for Home in West Africa | By Meredith Pike-Baky

by Bill Preston




As a Child, She Fled Nazi Germany with Her Family. Two Decades After the War, She was a Chemist Teaching at a University in Lagos with the Peace Corps.

My Years in the Early Peace Corps: Nigeria, 1964–1965 (Volume 1) and Ethiopia, 1965–1966 (Volume 2) | By Sonja Krause Goodwin


News and Updates


Budget News: President Proposes Increase in Peace Corps Funding in Newest Proposal to Congress

Two weeks after finally signing a Fiscal Year 2022 spending package into law, President Biden sent his Fiscal Year 2023 budget to Capitol Hill. His proposal requests a $20 million increase for the Peace Corps

By Jonathan Pearson


Fixing Loan Forgiveness for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

Rep. John Garamendi joined Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona asking for returned Volunteers to be included in Public Service Loan Forgiveness reforms.

By Jonathan Pearson


Good News from Maryland: Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Will Now Get In-State Tuition

It’s a change long overdue. Advocacy from NPCA and dozens of returned Volunteers ensured support for the bipartisan legislation, signed into law in April.

By Jonathan Pearson


Dear Editor: Why Peace Corps Matters

Here’s what the Peace Corps community in one state has to say about it. Some lessons and inspiration from New Mexico.

By Jonathan Pearson



The Tragedy That Occurred with the Killing of Rabia Issa in Tanzania Must Not Be the End of the Story.

An investigative story by USA Today chronicles the killing of Rabia Issa, a mother of three in Tanzania, who was struck by a car driven by a Peace Corps staff member in August 2019. Members of the Peace Corps community have begun working to try to bring justice for her family. 

By Glenn Blumhorst


Relief for Tonga

In the aftermath of disaster, raising awareness and funds to support community-driven response to help people in the island kingdom.


By Michael Hassett and Chiara Collette



Peace Corps Introduces an Ethical Storytelling Toolkit

A video and workbook to help Volunteers — and those who served years ago — think about storytelling. That includes intercultural dialogue and consideration of whose voices are at the center of a story.




What’s Your Story?

The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience and the Peace Corps Oral History Project want to share your Peace Corps story with the world.  




Peace Corps Writers Awards


Stories of Racism — Confronted by a Family with Courage and Love

A tribute to decades of work by children’s author Mildred D. Taylor. This year, Peace Corps Writers recognized her with the Writer of the Year Award. 

By John Coyne


Experience and Empathy

The most recent Peace Corps Writers Awards: love in Peru, the world’s biggest owl, a murder trial in Tanzania, and the lifetime contributions of a novelist whose characters meet racism with courage and love.




GALLERY: The Face of Iran Before… 

Dennis Briskin has published a collection of 60 photographs from the city of Arak and central Iran, where he  served as a Peace Corps Volunteer 1967–69. Here is a gallery of images from that book — which was honored with the Rowland Scherman Award for Best Photography Book by Peace Corps Writers.





People and Ideas


Stories of the Human Heart

Sandra Clark is the new CEO of StoryCorps.





Return to Mogadishu

Meet the new U.S. ambassador to Somalia, Larry André.





Peace Corps in Mongolia Honored with the Polar Star

Mongolia’s highest award given to foreign citizens was presented to Country Director Kim Mansaray. And Mongolia issued a commemorative Peace Corps postage stamp to celebrate 30 years of Volunteers serving in Mongolia.




Park Experience, Antarctic Service, a National Press Foundation Award — and a Recently Appointed Rep in Raleigh

Recognition for three members of the Peace Corps Community. And an RPCV appointed to the North Carolina Legislature.



Peace Corps ‘Jeopardy!’

Four recent contestants — and one champion





WATCH: Connecting Youth in South Africa and the U.S.

Meisha Lerato Robinson (Benin 2000–02, South Africa 2012) is founder of I Am, We Are (IAWA), an NGO supporting youth in South Africa and the U.S. Here’s how an NPCA Community Fund Grant helped IAWA pivot to fostering virtual connections for youth in the time of COVID. 

Edited by Orrin Luc



WATCH: COVID-19 Put Diego Romero’s Peace Corps Service on Hold. Now Volunteers Are Returning to Service. So Will He.

In February 2020, Diego Romero received his invitation to serve in the Peace Corps as a youth development specialist in Morocco. The following month, all Volunteers were evacuated from around the world because of COVID-19. Now that Volunteers are returning to service overseas, here’s why Romero is still ready to serve.

Edited by Orrin Luc


WATCH: Chicas de Transformación

Elyse Magen worked with a women-run farming collective in Colombia, where she served as a Volunteer 2018–20. With the support of an NPCA community fund grant, they were able to make necessary upgrades and launch a new line of chocolate products they were unable to produce before, increasing profit margins.

Edited by Orrin Luc




Reader comments: Thanks from two Volunteers returning to service. The Peace Corps at Sixty. “We Can Do It! Again!” Fix public service loan forgiveness. Peace Corps progenitors. Safety and security.





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WorldView magazine brings you stories from and about the greater Peace Corps community, with connections to the wider world. We feature news, profiles, commentary and analysis, politics, arts, and ideas with a global perspective. We publish quarterly in print, with digital features throughout the year.


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About the Editor

Steven Boyd Saum is editor of WorldView. For more than two decades he has edited award-winning magazines in the San Francisco Bay Area. His journalism, essays, and fiction have appeared in OrionThe BelieverCreative NonfictionThe Kenyon ReviewChristian Science Monitor, on KQED FM, and in other magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and internationally. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine, where he also directed the Fulbright program and hosted a radio show. Send a letter to the editor:



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