We’ve just launched our new website! Some features may still be in the works – thank you for your patience as we fine-tune your experience.


April 20, 2022

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

Witnessing Gwangju By Paul Courtright Hollym Publishers   Reviewed by Steven Boyd Saum   Paul Courtright arrived in South Korea in 1979 to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer, based in a community near the southern tip of the Korean peninsula. He worked with patients afflicted with Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy. On May 19, 1980, on his way through the bus terminal in the provincial capital of Gwangju, he saw a young man being beaten by military special forces. A phone call to another Volunteer confirmed: “Something big” was going down in the city — part of a mass...

April 18, 2022

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 Center for Korea Studies, University of Washington   Reviewed by Steven Boyd Saum   The Peace Corps sent more than 2,000 Volunteers to South Korea 1966–81, to teach English and advise on healthcare. “Their experiences affected their worldview, individual politics, aesthetic sensibilities, and views on gender discrimination,” notes the introduction to this anthology. Those experiences also fueled scholarship on Korea in the States. A small yet significant number of the Volunteers returned to the U.S. and entered academia, forming the core of...

September 27, 2021

Here Are Three Outstanding Leaders in the Peace Corps Community Honored with 2021 Awards by the Women of Peace Corps Legacy

Nancy Kelly of Health Volunteers Overseas and Amy Maglio of the Women’s Global Education Project are recognized with the Deborah Harding Women of Achievement Award. Estee Katcoff, founder of the Superkids Foundation, is recognized with the Kate Raftery Emerging Leaders Award.   By NPCA Staff   As part of the global virtual conference Peace Corps Connect 2021, Women of Peace Corps Legacy presented awards to three outstanding leaders in the Peace Corps community. Nancy Kelly and Amy Maglio were each honored with the Deborah Harding Women of Achievement Award. And Estee Katcoff was presented with the Kate Raftery Emerging Leader Award. The awards were presented by Kathleen Corey, president of...

January 29, 2021

Pandemic Lessons

On the nature of a virus. On community. And on systems — how they function and how they break. By Steven Boyd Saum Illustration by Maria Carluccio    The toll of the COVID-19 pandemic hit a sobering milestone in the United States last spring when we marked the death of 100,000 Americans. By September, that number had doubled. The year 2020 concluded with some 350,000 dead in the United States alone, and 1.82 million lives lost worldwide. The pandemic has driven home some crucial lessons — if we pay attention. Not lessons we wanted to learn. But many of them...

January 25, 2021

She Helped South Korea in Its Time of Need. In the Pandemic, It Repaid Her.

Decades ago, a young American woman served an impoverished South Korea as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Now the country is an economic powerhouse, and it decided to send her a token of its gratitude. By Choe Sang-Hun Photo: Sandra Nathan teaching in South Korea. Courtesy Sandra Nathan Sandra Nathan spent 1966 to 1968 in a South Korean town as a young Peace Corps Volunteer, teaching English to high school girls. Fifty-two years later, Nathan, now back in the United States, received a care package from South Korea that nearly brought her to tears. Nathan, 75, had been feeling increasingly isolated...

January 25, 2021

More to This Story: The COVID-19 Survival Box from Korea

How service as Volunteers shaped careers in public health, teaching, and more — for Americans and Koreans alike By NPCA Staff Photo: Survival box, delivered to Gary Krzic, President of Friends of Korea. Photo courtesy Gary Krzic   The gifts of more than 500 COVID-19 survival boxes to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who served in South Korea inspired news stories across the country. Here are a few. As some note, the Korea Foundation, which sent the boxes, coordinated with Friends of Korea, the group of returned Volunteers, to find and thank them. The Korea Foundation also created a video. A story...

September 26, 2020

Meet the 2020 winners of the Loret Miller Ruppe Award: Friends of Korea and Friends of Tonga

Recognizing contributions to community service by two groups founded by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers By NPCA Staff   National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Loret Miller Ruppe Award for Outstanding Community Service: Friends of Korea and Friends of Tonga. The awards were presented on September 25 at the annual meeting of NPCA. Named for the widely admired 10th Director of the Peace Corps, the annual Loret Miller Ruppe Award is presented by NPCA to outstanding affiliate groups for projects that promote the Third Goal of Peace Corps — “strengthen Americans’ understanding about the world and its peoples” — or continue...

Skip to content