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  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    Updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country and around the world see more

    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff.

     

    By Peter V. Deekle (Iran 1968–70)

     

    Kit Evans-Ford (pictured), who served as a Volunteer in St. Kitts & Nevis 2007–08, was awarded the 2022 Tom Locke Innovative Leader Award for her efforts to provide refuge and support for women healing from sexual violence. Hoang Thai Tao (Mozambique 2011–13) spoke at the 2022 Peace Corps Thought Leaders Forum in July, sharing his perspective on harnessing emerging technology trends to maximize social impact and economic development. Internationally acclaimed photographer Alissa Everett (Senegal 1995–97) has produced a digital catalog of her latest exhibition, Covering Beauty, which seeks to capture “moments of unexpected beauty” within places of conflict. We share news about more awards, honors, books, and new roles from the White House to The New York Times.

    Have news to share with the Peace Corps community? Let us know.

     


    ANTIGUA

    Jennifer Rochon (1992–94) was confirmed to a seat in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She is the first judge nominated by President Biden to the district to be confirmed and fits with his track record of appointing judges with varied professional backgrounds. Prior to her nomination, Rochon had served as the Girl Scouts of America general counsel since 2013. She brings to the new role 13 years of experience as a litigation partner for Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, where she handled antitrust cases and false advertising disputes. When describing how her previous work has prepared her, Rochan says, “Judges have an important role in society in terms of making sure people get a full and fair process. As a litigator, I experienced that in advocating for my clients, but I always thought it would be fantastic to be able to be in a position to make sure people receive that type of process.”  

     

     

    BOTSWANA

    Hoor Qureshi (2019–20) was promoted from staff assistant to Chief of Staff for the White House’s Office of Digital Strategy — a department that manages the President’s online communications across social media, digital influencers, and creative production. Being a 2019 Mercer University graduate who double-majored in global health studies and global development studies, Qureshi joined the Peace Corps, where she taught life skills and career guidance to Botswana’s youth. When it comes to her preparation for the Peace Corps, she credits her professors in the Department of International and Global Studies with whom she took many trips abroad to South Africa, Dubai, and Japan. That international travel during her undergraduate experience shaped her perspective of the world. Prior to working with the Office of Digital Strategy, Qureshi was an online community organizer for a couple political campaigns — including President Biden’s 2020 campaign — cultivating relationships with and distributing information to online communities. 

     

      

    EL SALVADOR

    John Thorndike (1967–68) recently published his biographical novel, The World Against Her Skin: A Son’s Novel. The book tells the story of Thorndike’s mother, exploring her life, struggles, and marriages while taking on delicate subjects such as addiction and sexual abuse. This book follows the heels of his award-winning memoir The Last of His Mind, in which he discusses the heart-wrenching fight his father — former managing editor of Life magazine — fought against Alzheimer’s, losing his ability to think, speak, and write.

     

     

     

     

    MICRONESIA

    Megan McCrea (2007–09) has been hired by The New York Times as senior staff editor of its Special Sections wing of the Print Hub. A Brooklyn-based journalist, she has worked as an editor at Via and Sunset magazines and has written about travel, people, arts and culture, and food and drink for more than a decade. As an editor, she has shaped written pieces exploring topics such as the evolution of Oakland and the best-kept secrets in Yellowstone. McCrea’s Peace Corps experience informed her writing, motivating her to co-author Other Places Publishing’s guidebook to her country of service, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. Her stories have appeared in publications such as Better Homes & Gardens, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Condé Nast Traveler.

     

     

     

    MOROCCO

    Justin Bibee (2012–14) is among the forty 2022 honorees celebrated by the Providence Business News, which select based on career success and involvement within their communities. Bibee is a refugee resettlement case manager.

     

     

     

     

     

    Liz Fanning (1993–95) received the 2022 John F. Kennedy Service Awards in May. Every five years, Peace Corps presents the JFK Service Awards to honor members of the Peace Corps network whose contributions go above and beyond for the agency and America every day. Fanning is the Founder and Executive Director of CorpsAfrica, which she launched in 2011 to give emerging leaders in Africa the same opportunities she had to learn, grow, and make an impact. She has worked for a wide range of nonprofit organizations during her career, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Schoolhouse Supplies, and the Near East Foundation.

     

     

     

     

    MOZAMBIQUE

    Hoang Thai Tao (2011–13) spoke at the 2022 Peace Corps Thought Leaders Forum — among professionals in the fields of international development and technology who shared their perspectives on leveraging emerging technology trends to maximize social impact and economic development. The panel also discussed how Peace Corps Volunteers can contribute to this endeavor.

     

     

     

     

     

    NEPAL

    Ron Ranson (1964–66), a lecturer in the University of California San Diego’s theatre and dance department for more than two decades, produced the documentary Tattooed Trucks of Nepal — Horn Please. Ranson’s 40-minute documentary pays tribute to the quirky tradition that finds Nepali truckers going to great, creative lengths to turn their vehicles into rolling pieces of uplifting art. His exploration began after he was intrigued by an article in a Nepali newspaper about truck and bus painting. He worked with Nepali filmmakers Sudarson Karki and Dhawa Gyanjen Tsumba, who also collaborated with him on an earlier film project, The Prayer Flags of NepalTattooed Trucks of Nepal has won numerous awards, including for Ranson’s voice-over narration as well as the film’s editing, cinematography, and music. In 2021, the film won Best Documentary honors at multiple festivals, including the Cannes World Film Festival and the New Wave Film Festival in London.

     

     

    NICARAGUA

    Jenn Rowley (2014–16) and Joe Daniels (2013–15) recently trained Nicaraguan contractors to make the famous Peace Corps improved wood ovens with Sister Communities of San Ramon, Nicaragua. Vented to the outside, these eco-friendly ovens keep smoke and other residue from polluting the air inside buildings. Rowley and Daniels met during their Volunteer service, both assigned to the department of Matagalpa. Five years later, Daniels called Rowley inviting her to help train contractors on how to make these wooden stoves, to which she immediately agreed. With previous experience building 18 eco-friendly stoves as an environmental Volunteer, Daniels was familiar with these projects, through which families would purchase 20 percent of the materials while volunteers helped procure the rest of the locally sourced materials. By the end of their stay in Nicaragua, Rowley and Daniels worked with local contractors to build six ovens with 14 additional ovens in the process of being completed.

     

     

    PANAMA

    Karla SierraKarla Yvette Sierra (2010–12, Response 2012–13) received the 2022 John F. Kennedy Service Awards in May. Born in El Paso, Texas, to Mexican American parents, Sierra graduated from Colorado Christian University with a bachelor’s in business administration and a minor in computer information systems. Elected by her peers and professors, Sierra was appointed to serve as the Chi Beta Sigma president as well as the secretary for the student government association. Sierra volunteered with Westside Ministries as a youth counselor in inner city Denver. Shortly after completing her Master of Business Administration at the University of Texas at El Paso, she started working for Media News Group’s El Paso Times before being promoted to The Gazette in Colorado. Sierra served as a Volunteer in Panama for three years as a community economic development consultant focused on efforts to reduce poverty, increase awareness of HIV and AIDS, and assist in the implementation of sustainable projects that would benefit her Panamanian counterparts. Her Peace Corps experience serving the Hispanic community fuels her on-going work and civic engagement with Hispanic communities in the United States.

     

    THE PHILIPPINES

    Roberto YangcoRoberto. M. “Ambet” Yangco, who has worked with Peace Corps staff in the Philippines since 2002, is a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Service Award. A social worker by training, he started his career as an HIV/AIDS outreach worker for Children’s Laboratory Foundation. He then served as a street educator in a shelter for street children and worked for World Vision as a community development officer. Twenty years ago, Yangco joined Peace Corps Philippines as a youth sector technical trainer. It wasn’t long before he moved up to regional program manager; then sector manager for Peace Corps’ Community, Youth, and Family Program; and now associate director for programming and training during the pandemic.

     

     

     

    ROMANIA

    Carol Spahn (1994–96) was officially nominated by President Biden for the position of Director of the Peace Corps in April. She began serving as acting director in January 2021 and has led the agency since, during one of the most challenging periods in Peace Corps history. Prior to serving as acting director and now CEO of the Peace Corps, Spahn served as chief of operations in the Africa Region covering Eastern and Southern Africa, and before that, served a five-year term as country director of Peace Corps Malawi. Her Peace Corps roots extend back to her service as a small business advisor in Romania 1994–96. She has more than 25 years of experience in international development, business, health, and women’s empowerment including work with Women for Women International — which supports female survivors of war — and Accordia Global Health Foundation — which helps fight infectious disease in Africa. A date for a confirmation hearing on her nomination has not yet been scheduled.

     

     

    ST. KITTS AND NEVIS

    Kit Evans-Ford (2007–08) was awarded the 2022 Tom Locke Innovative Leader Award from the Wesleyan Investive — a national nonprofit that has invested in innovative spiritual leadership for 50 years. Evans-Ford is an adjunct professor in the department of theology at St. Ambrose University and an action outreach organizer for Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, which specializes in nonviolence training. As a survivor of and witness to sexual violence with 14 years of experience in nonviolence education, Evans-Ford also founded Argrow’s House of Healing and Hope, a social enterprise supporting the healing journey of female survivors of domestic abuse or sexual violence. “This work is not easy. It is a lifetime commitment that takes a lot of energy and personal resources,” Evans-Ford said, after becoming one of four spiritual leaders to receive this year’s award. “To be blessed by this award is very affirming and lets me know this work is not in vain.”

     

     

    SENEGAL

    Dr. Momadou DiawDr. Mamadou Diaw, who served with Peace Corps staff in Senegal 1993–2019, is a recipient of the 2022 John F. Kennedy Service Award. Born in Dakar, he studied abroad and graduated in forestry sciences and natural resource management from the University of Florence and the Overseas Agronomic Institute of Florence. He joined the Peace Corps in 1993 as Associate Peace Corps Director (APCD) for Natural Resource Management. In that capacity, he managed agroforestry, environmental education, park and wildlife, and ecotourism projects. From 1996 to 2001, he served as the coordinator of the USAID funded Community Training Center Program. In 2008, he switched sectors, becoming Senior APCD Health and Environmental Education. He received a master’s degree in environmental health in 2014 from the University of Versailles, and a doctorate in community health from the University of Paris Saclay, at the age of 62. Dr. Diaw coached more than 1,000 Volunteers and several APCDs from the Africa region, notably supporting Peace Corps initiatives in the field of malaria and maternal and child health. He retired from Peace Corps toward the end of 2019 and is currently working as an independent consultant.

     

    Alissa Everett (1995–97), a critically acclaimed photographer, has produced a digital catalog of her latest exhibition, Covering Beauty, which is on display for the 59th Venice Biennale as part of Personal Structures at the European Cultural Centre until November 2022. Covering Beauty draws upon work spanning Everett’s entire career — from the war in Iraq to the latest conflict in Ukraine, traveling with the International Organisation for Migration to capture humanitarian response efforts. “I would describe myself as a documentary photographer rather than conflict photographer,” Everett says. “What speaks to me the most are moments of unexpected beauty that happen in our daily lives, in both conflict and non-conflict zones.”

     

     

     

     

    ZAMBIA

    Genevieve de los Santos Evenhouse (2007–08; Guyana, 200809; Uganda, 201516,) was one of the five recipients of the 2022 John F. Kennedy Service Awards for tirelessly embodying the spirit of service to help advance world peace and friendship. She grew up in the Philippines, then emigrated to the United States in 1997. Evenhouse pursued a career at the intersection of nursing, public service, and volunteerism, earning her doctor of nursing practice in 2020 — while continuing to serve as a full-time school nurse for the San Francisco Unified School District, where she has served since 2009.

     

     

     

     

    Holly Rendle (1996–97) co-founded Books 4 Zambia, leveraging the connections made during her Peace Corps tour in the country to provide books to communities lacking these educational materials. She and her husband have sent supplies to the African country several times over the last two decades under the name Project Zambia.

     

     

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    Updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country and around the world see more

    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff.

     

    By Peter V. Deekle (Iran 1968–70)

     

    Jamie Hopkins, who served as a Volunteer in Ukraine 1996–98, leads the Eagan Community Foundation in Minnesota and spearheaded a three-day film festival in support of Ukraine in April and May. Krista Kinnard (Ecuador 2010–21) has been named a 2022 finalist for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, for her work spearheading new, efficiency-boosting and cost effective technologies for the Department of Labor (DOL). Rob Schmitz (China 1996–98) had a stint as guest host of NPR’s All Things Considered radio show. Tommy Vinh Bui (Kazakhstan 2011) was nominated as Local Hero of the Week for his good deeds and unwavering commitment to serving his Los Angeles community during the COVID-19 pandemic. We share news about more awards, medals, and director roles.

    Have news to share with the Peace Corps community? Let us know.

     

    CHINA

    Rob Schmitz (1996–98) became a guest host of NPR’s All Things Considered radio show in late April. As NPR’s Central Europe Correspondent, Schmitz covers the human stories of a vast region, such as Germany’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic, rise of right-wing nationalist politics in Poland and creeping Chinese government influence inside the Czech Republic. Before reporting on Europe, Schmitz worked as a foreign correspondent covering China and its economic rise and increasing global influence for a decade. He also authored the award-winning book Street of Eternal Happiness: Big City Dreams Along a Shanghai Road which profiles the lives of individuals residing along a single street in the heart of Shanghai. During his first week as guest host, Schmitz talked with a Shanghai resident who discussed her experience with Shanghai’s zero-COVID strategy and the recent pandemic restrictions. Listen here.

     

     

    COSTA RICA

    Lane Bunkers (1989–91) took on responsibilities as of Peace Corps Country Director of Costa Rica in March. Bunkers steps into this new position a year before Peace Corps Costa Rica’s 60th anniversary and amidst the first wave of Volunteers returning to service overseas. In his director’s welcome, Bunkers wrote, “In Costa Rica, the pandemic impacted the social, economic, and political environment, as it did throughout the world. The country’s recovery will take time, and Peace Corps is well-positioned to support the communities where our Volunteers serve.” He brings an extensive career in leadership and international development, including three years serving as Peace Corps program and training officer in Romania and in the Eastern Caribbean. Prior to his new role, Bunkers worked for Catholic Relief Services for more than two decades. While there he oversaw a $25 million annual budget invested in initiatives ranging from water and food aid for drought-stricken regions to improving educational outcomes for malnourished children.

     

      

    ECUADOR

    Krista Kinnard (2010–2012) was named a 2022 finalist for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, for her work spearheading new, efficiency-boosting and cost effective technologies for the Department of Labor (DOL). Since starting her role as DOL’s chief of emerging technologies in 2021, Kinnard has focused on ways to use artificial intelligence, automation, and machine learning to reduce the time employees spend on repetitive tasks. She also collaborated with the department to establish a technology incubator, inviting DOL staff to propose ideas that could benefit agencies and the public. Before working at DOL, Kinnard was the director of the U.S. General Service Administration’s Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence. Her data-driven expertise sharpened during her Peace Corps service where she was able to apply her quantitative skills to real-world problems. Afterward, she pursued a master’s in data analytics and public policy before building AI and machine learning tools for federal clients as a data scientist at IBM.

       

     

    GUYANA

    Nadine RogersDr. Nadine Rogers, who serves as country director for Peace Corps Guyana, is a 2022 recipient of the Global Achievement Award from the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association. “This well-deserved and extraordinary accomplishment highlights her incredible contributions in the international arena," says Peace Corps CEO Carol Spahn. Dr. Rogers has almost 30 years of experience in management, health policy implementation, science administration, and education and communications across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. She has previously served as a foreign service officer at the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator under the U.S. State Department, and for 10 years she worked at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, handling scientific review of multi-million dollar research grant applications focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and services in populations at risk-for or addicted to drugs, both domestically and internationally. She has served the U.S. government across the globe, including in Vietnam, Cambodia, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia, and in the Caribbean.

       

     

    KAZAKHSTAN

    Tommy Vinh Bui (2011) was nominated as Local Hero of the Week in April for his good deeds and unwavering commitment to serving his community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bui was working as a Los Angeles Teen and Adult Services Librarian when the pandemic shut down libraries. With a love for his community and a penchant for service, he sprang into action seeking ways to help such as donating blood to the Red Cross to help with the blood shortage; delivering convalescent plasma to hospitals around and outside of Los Angeles; assisting Project Roomkey — an initiative started by the California Department of Social Services, providing shelter for unhoused people recovering from or exposed to COVID-19 — in its efforts to help vulnerable people get off the streets and find resources. As part of the last cohort to serve in Kazakhstan, Bui’s Peace Corps service began in March 2011. He served as a community development and education Volunteer until he was evacuated in November of that same year and credits his experience as a major contributor to his personal and professional growth.
     

     

    KENYA

    Josh Josa (2010–12) is a 2022 finalist for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, an honor reserved for the most innovative and exceptional federal workers. As a member of the Deaf community and a first-generation Hungarian-American, Josa’s commitment to equity and inclusion in education is fueled by his first-hand experience with the stigma, barriers, and lack of resources students with disabilities face in school. While working as an inclusive education specialist at the U.S. Agency for International Development, Josa has sought to design and implement programs delivering quality, equitable, and inclusive education to all children and youth. He has worked tirelessly to advance educational inclusivity for students with disabilities, whether it be in Morocco, Kenya, or the United States.

     

     

     

    LESOTHO

    Travis Wohlrab (2013–15) received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for developing a livestream production capability and supporting agency communications programs. This medal recognizes those who significantly improve NASA’s day-to-day operations. Wohlrab is the engagement officer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where he has worked since the end of his Peace Corps service. During the onset of COVID-19, Wohlrab used his video production expertise to produce livestream events — such as Town Halls and public outreach events — which were crucial to helping the center continue to disseminate information and operate as it had before the pandemic.

     

     

     

    NEPAL

    Lowell Hurst (1976–78) received the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award, along with his wife Wendy, from the Pajaro Valley Chamber Of Commerce and Agriculture. Hurst has dedicated his life to education, public service, and volunteerism starting with his Peace Corps service — followed by the more than three decades he spent teaching science and horticulture at Watsonville High School. In 1989, he was elected to the Watsonville City Council, served on the body for three stints over three decades, and served three mayoral terms, retiring from the political arena after his final term.

     

     

     

     

    NICARAGUA

    Heather Laird was appointed the new medical director of Volunteers in Medicine Clinic of the Cascades (VIM) in April. She first got involved with VIM by serving as a volunteer nurse practitioner in 2013, while working at her full-time job in telemedicine. Laird shifted away from telemedicine to work with patients in person at Mosaic Medical — a community-founded health center focused on making high-quality healthcare available to Central Oregonians, regardless of life circumstances. Inspired by her Peace Corps experience, which allowed her to learn technical skills that would help her community, Laird pursued a master’s in environmental and occupational health sciences at University of Washington before attending University of California, San Francisco, and obtaining a degree to become an adult nurse practitioner. “I am looking forward to harnessing my experience and education to help the underserved in Central Oregon through my role at Volunteers in Medicine,” Laird said.

     

     

    UKRAINE

    Jamie HopkinsIn April and May, Jamie Hopkins (1996–98), who serves as executive director of the Eagan Community Foundation, spearheaded the Twin Cities Ukrainian Film Series. “It’s important for me to tell people about Ukraine,” Hopkins said. “I’ve been trying to do that for 25 years, and for the first time people are really anxious to learn.” Together with the Emagine Theaters, the foundation put on a three-day film fundraiser to benefit a variety of needs in Ukraine, including funding for filmmakers documenting the current war and community foundations in the areas hardest hit. “I want to make sure that opportunity exists today to do that (make Ukrainian films) in the future,” Hopkins said. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, Hopkins served as a teacher trainer in the town of Ukrainka in the Kyiv Region — something she describes as “most rewarding experience of my life.” Hopkins has served as the Eagan Community Foundation’s executive director since 2016. She originally joined the foundation as a board member in 2013. 

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    Updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country and around the world see more

    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff.

     

    By Peter V. Deekle (Iran 1968–70)

     

    Carrie Hessler-Radelet (pictured left), a former Peace Corps director, begins a new position as president and CEO of Global Communities — an organization whose recent efforts include working in partnership with communities in Ukraine to provide essential non-food items, mental health support, and assistance to internally displaced persons. President Biden appoints Lisa E. Delplace as a member of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts to help oversee the cultural and historic preservation of the District of Columbia. A new director of operations for a Panama-based tour company. Two RPCVs receive awards for their commitment to leadership and global citizenship.

    Have news to share with the Peace Corps community? Let us know.

     

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

    Ryan Stock (2007–09), a political ecologist, is the 2021–22 recipient of the Faculty Emerging Leadership Award at Northern Michigan University. He is an assistant professor in the Earth, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences Department. With an extensive list of published works, Stock has several ongoing research projects including environmental injustices of solar PV life cycle, climate adaptation and vulnerability of farmers in India, gendered livelihoods and solar development in Ghana, and climate policy in South Asia. Stock has held many leadership roles promoting environmental sustainability, gender inclusion, student involvement, and anti-racism. He was the impetus for the NMU Carbon Neutrality Task Force which aims to create a carbon neutral campus by 2050 by improving waste and recycling, protecting freshwater resources, promoting education and awareness, and building local partnerships. Stock is a member of the Sustainability Advisory Council. Off-campus, he serves as a member of the Marquette County Climate Action Task Force and advocates for the City of Marquette to commit to carbon neutrality through its Climate Action Resolution.

     

    KENYA

    Lisa E. Delplace (1982–84) was appointed as the newest member of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts by President Biden. She is principal and CEO of the Washington, D.C.–based landscape architecture firm Oehme, van Sweden (OvS). In this new position, Delplace will represent landscape architects, a role which was previously missing from the commission. She is tasked with preserving and enhancing the District of Columbia’s visual and cultural character as well as helping to plan for public spaces, monuments, climate change–related issues, and security matters. Her previous work ranges from sculpture parks to urban redevelopments and examines the compelling structural relationship between architecture and landscape. She is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects Council of Fellows — one of the highest honors ASLA bestows upon members — and she is a visiting critic and lecturer at various universities and organizations. In addition to her Peace Corps service in Kenya, she has international experience working in Europe and the Middle East.

     
     

    LESOTHO

    Madeline Uraneck (2006–09), a long-term contributor to international education and service, has received the 2022 Global Citizenship Award from the Wisconsin Council of Social Studies. The recipient of this award exemplifies social studies principles by improving the quality of life for others and promoting the common good. Uraneck has traveled to more than 60 countries, studied six languages, and willingly self-identifies as a “global citizen”. As a well-respected educator, Uraneck values the connections she makes within other cultures, learning languages from children and meeting kind strangers. She has won several awards including DPI by Goldman Sachs Foundation Award for State Leadership and Council of Chief State School Officers for International Education. She is a professional member, presenter, and key-note speaker for Wisconsin Council for Social Studies and has authored Planning Curriculum in International Education and How to Make a Life, a story of her interactions with a Tibetan refugee family in Madison, Wisconsin.

     

    NIGERIA

    Mary Johnson has been selected as a 2022 GenEd Teacher Fellow and will embark on a ten-day intensive professional development program in July. The fellowship, which is based at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, offers professional development workshops about human rights and genocide with a closer look at the Armenian experience. Johnson is an affiliate and adjunct professor for Stockton University’s Holocaust and Genocide Studies, a program that prepares its graduates for careers in education, museums, and organizations that aim to stop and prevent mass atrocities. For more than three decades, Johnson was the senior historian for Facing History and Ourselves, an organization that challenges students and teachers to confront racism and prejudice, where she facilitated seminars and workshops, wrote curricula, and conducted research.

      

     

    PANAMA

    Megan Thompson (2018–19) is the newly appointed director of operations for Retire in Panama, a full-service relocation tour company known for its innovative approach to supporting expatriate residents with their relocation and resettlement needs. Retire in Panama also shares educational resources to connect prospective clients and current clients with housing, financial planning assistance, and access to Panama’s history and culture. Thompson brings to the new roles a strong leadership foundation gained during the two-year advisory position she held with the company, and she brings a unique cultural understanding of Panama gained from her experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer who worked on environmental conservation, recycling and trash services, and sexual wellness education. In her new role, Thompson will oversee all aspects of operations, including personnel and contractor management, client services, tours and logistics.
     

     

    SIERRA LEONE/NIGER

    Mary Alice Serafini (1969–72) retired in March 2022 from her position as assistant vice chancellor for student affairs and executive director of the Pat Walker Health Center at the University of Arkansas. As a Volunteer in Sierra Leone and Niger, she served as a teacher before starting her employment at the University of Arkansas in 1991 as the assistant director of administration for the Health Center. Recognized for her support and advocacy for international students and scholars, Serafini has been committed in her leadership programs focused on student diversity and inclusion. She is a longtime member of the NASPA, the professional association of student affairs, and helps inspire undergraduates to see student affairs as a viable career path through the NUFP Mentor Program. During her time with the university, Serafini championed for the counseling center’s expansion, which included the addition of mental health and wellness promotion, the growth of counseling staff, and the creation of designated, welcoming space within the Pat Walker Health Center. Her compassionate leadership and service to others earned Serafini the respect and love of her colleagues and students. During her retirement, she plans to continue volunteering and engaging in public policy.

     

    SOUTH AFRICA

    Juhi Desai (2018–20) has been elected president of the Student Bar Association at the University of Virginia Law School. Before entering law school, she served as an elementary school teacher in South Africa with the Peace Corps and was evacuated in March 2020 because of COVID-19. Prior to serving with the Peace Corps, she taught civics and economics, AP U.S. history, and world history at a high school outside Boston. As an attorney she plans to work as a public defender and notes that “the United States is the most incarcerated nation in the world.” 

     

     

     

    WESTERN SAMOA

    Carrie Hessler-Radelet (1981–83) will assume the role of president and CEO of Global Communities on October 1, 2022. She has been serving as president of the organization since September 2021. Last year Global Communities also completed a merger with Project Concern International, where Hessler-Radelet had been serving as president and CEO. Global Communities is devoted to providing a more equitable future through humanitarian assistance, sustainable development, and financial solutions. Currently, the organization is working in partnership with communities in Ukraine to provide physical and mental health support and to assist internally displaced persons. Hessler-Radelet has worked in previous global leadership positions as director, acting director, and deputy director of the Peace Corps. Before being appointed as Director of the Peace Corps by President Obama, Hessler-Radelet oversaw public health programs in 85 countries as the vice president and director of John Snow, Inc., a public health management consulting and research organization. Hessler-Radelet brings to her new role decades of global health experience which includes serving as the lead consultant on the first Five Year Global HIV/AIDS Strategy for the President George W. Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), working with USAID in Indonesia on maternal and child health and HIV programming, founding the Special Olympics in The Gambia, and being the third generation in her family to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    Updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country and around the world see more

    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff.

     

    By Peter V. Deekle (Iran 1968–70)

     

    Park Ranger Shelton Johnson (pictured) who received the 2022 American Park Experience Award for his lifelong efforts advocating for diversity in U.S. national parks. Kathleen Chafey, the founder of a Montana State University program to support nursing students from Indigenous communities, has endowed a professorship to ensure the program continues to thrive. An RPCV is appointed to finish a term in the North Carolina State House. New leadership roles supporting efforts in sustainability as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

    Have news to share with the Peace Corps community? Let us know.

     

     

    CHAD

    Jim Diamond (1971–73) received the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s 2021 Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award. The award is presented to an individual whose dedicated work and service have significantly contributed to the advancement of Pennsylvania agriculture. With nearly 60 years of experience teaching agriculture in Pennsylvania and around the world, Diamond has made vast contributions to agriculture working as an assistant professor of agricultural education at Penn State University, an international agricultural and extension education consultant for the United Nations, and a vocational agriculture instructor at Upper Bucks County Area Vocational Technical School. For nearly a decade, Diamond served as the Dean of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley University.

     

     

      

     

    COLOMBIA

    Kathleen Chafey (1963–65), a retired director of a Montana State University program supporting Indigenous students pursuing nursing degrees, established an educational endowment in support of the program in years ahead. The fund is named the Kathleen Chafey Nursing Professorship to honor Chafey’s efforts to found and establish the Caring for Our Own Program (CO-OP) in 1999 to help improve the quality of health care in Native American and Alaska Native communities. Since its inception, CO-OP has nurtured more than 100 Native American students, most of whom have gone on to serve tribal communities as licensed nurses working in Montana or to pursue a doctoral nursing program.

     

     

     

     

     

    EL SALVADOR

    Kiva Wilson (2004–06) has been promoted to Chief Culture Officer at Material, a modern marketing services company. Wilson joined Material in 2021 as Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I). Wilson brings to the role over 16 years of DE&I strategy and implementation experience, having worked on DE&I initiatives at Paradigm Strategy and Facebook as well as the Peace Corps as Head of Diversity and National Outreach. In her new role, Wilson will continue to lead Material’s DE&I efforts and develop a strategy for nurturing meaningful, collaborative, work relationships both remotely and face to face.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    THE GAMBIA

    Sabrina T. Cherry (2001–03) has been nominated for the 36th YMCA Annual Women of Achievement Award, which celebrates the accomplishments of women and young leaders in the southeastern North Carolina community. Dr. Cherry is an assistant professor of Public Health at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) and serves as Interim Director and Architect for the UNCW’s Equity Institute. She attributes her understanding of the importance of community-based health education and culturally relevant, public health initiatives to her Peace Corps service in The Gambia, and she has spent nearly two decades working in the public health field.

     

     

     

     

     

    GHANA

    Kayla Canne (2018–20), an Asbury Park Press reporter, has won a National Press Foundation award for her work investigating deplorable living conditions and discrimination in taxpayer-funded rental housing in New Jersey. Honoring journalism covering poverty and inequality in the United States, the award recognizes Canne’s 2021 series titled, “We don’t take that,” which exposed the barriers that exist for low-income tenants in their search for clean, safe and affordable housing. Listen to Canne discuss her series on WNYC's Morning Edition.

     

     

     

      

     

     

    LIBERIA

    Shelton Johnson (1982–83) received the 2022 American Park Experience Award. The award recognizes Johnson’s extraordinary, lifelong efforts advocating for diversity in national parks and helping more families and youth feel welcome by seeing their stories told in parks as well as cultural and historic sites alike. Johnson has worked for the past 35 years as a park ranger with the National Park Service at Yellowstone and now Yosemite National Park. His storytelling talents landed him a prominent role in the Ken Burns film: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. In 2010, Johnson hosted Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King on a multi-day camping trip which was captured on national television and broadcast around the globe. He credits his work with Oprah as a significant breakthrough in introducing Black Americans to the wonders of America’s national parks, which has been Johnson’s passion throughout his career.

     

     

     

     

     

    MALAWI 

    Cameron Beach (2016–18) is both a COVID-19 evacuated Peace Corps Volunteer and a 2022 recipient of the Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship, looking forward to beginning graduate studies in the fall. This fellowship helps fund the costs of her education and provides a pathway into a career as a USAID Foreign Service Officer beginning in June 2024.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Danielle Lee (2001–03) has been named Mountain View's first Chief Sustainability and Resiliency Officer. In her new role, which starts in early March 2022, Lee will be responsible for lead the upcoming sustainability and climate resiliency efforts in Mountain View, California; advising the city on sustainability and resiliency goals; develop programs to achieve carbon neutrality, resiliency, adaptability and equity; and promote community, city and private sector participation in these sustainability efforts, among other tasks. Since 2005, she has worked for the County of San Mateo in a number of sustainability-related roles and as an analyst, having spent the past six years as assistant director in the county's Office of Sustainability.

     

     

     

     

     

    ROMANIA

    Marc Rand (2000–02) has been included among the 2022 Nonprofit Leaders Who Will Impact the World. He is the Founder and Managing Director of Community Capital Advisors, a national consultancy focused on community investment. He also manages several nonprofit loan funds, including American Nonprofits and the Nonprofit Insurance Alliance of California’s member loan fund. Marc is the former Program Director for Loans and Affordable Housing at Marin Community Foundation.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    SOUTH AFRICA

    Kelsey McMahon (2014–16) took part in the Peace Corps’ Virtual Service Pilot (launched in October 2020 as a virtual service that provided Returned Peace Corps Volunteers with the opportunity to serve while in the United States through virtual engagements with community-based partners overseas). Using her marketing experience and creative writing skills, she was able to help a South African nonprofit improve its online presence.

     

     

     

    TONGA

    Sarah Bair (2019–20) has been selected as a 2022 Presidential Management Fellow Finalist at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, where Bair is pursuing a master’s in public health. Directed by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the PMF program is the federal government’s flagship leadership development program at the entry level, offering exceptional men and women from various careers direct pathways into federal services.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Patricia Delaney (2002–05) became Dean of the School of Liberal Studies & the Arts and Academic Coordinator for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Landmark College in Vermont. As a social anthropologist, Delaney has worked in international development promoting social equity with organizations such as the Peace Corps, the United Nations, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and various partners in countries all over the world.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    TURKMENISTAN

    Andrea Armstrong (1996–98) has received Loyola University New Orleans College of Law's 2022 Dux Academicus award for her unwavering commitment to social justice and passion for knowledge. As the highest honor a Loyola faculty member, the Dux Academicus recognizes a faculty member who imparts the knowledge and wisdom of liberal arts, sciences, or professions to students in a way that truly embodies Jesuit values and philosophy.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Nathan Truitt (2000–03) has been promoted to senior vice president of business development at the American Forest Foundation (AFF). In his new role, Truitt will lead the AFF’s partnership and philanthropy strategy for all programs and products, with a strong emphasis on the rapidly expanding Family Forest Carbon Program. Prior to the promotion, Truitt worked as AFF's Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. He brings to the position international education and development experience within the nonprofit sector.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ZAMBIA

    Caleb Rudow (2012–14) has been appointed to serve out the remainder of Representative Susan Fisher’s term for the District 114 seat in the North Carolina State House. He intends to run for a full two-year term, beginning with the primary set for May 17, 2022. Prior to his confirmation, Rudow worked as a research and data analyst at Open Data Watch in Washington, D.C., where he conducted research on open data funding, patterns of data use, and technical issues around open data policy.

     

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    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff

     

    By Peter Deekle (Iran 1968–70)

     

    Carol Anne “Aziza” Reid (Moldova and Eswatini, pictured) honored with the Lillian Carter Award. Writer George Packer (Togo) serves up a stark and compelling analysis of the state of American politics. Doris Rubenstein (Ecuador) tells a remarkable tale of a Jewish family’s flight to Latin America to escape the Nazis. Kim Mansaray, country director for Peace Corps Mongolia, is presented with that nation’s highest honor, the Order of Polar Star. Honors for a librarian, a sustainable kids clothing line, and a new beat for a journalist — and much more.

    Have news to share with the Peace Corps community? Let us know.

     

    BURKINA FASO

    Tyler LeClear Vachta (2009–11) has been recently appointed Human Resources Systems and Data Analyst at Augsburg University (Minneapolis).

     

     

     

     

     

      

    ECUADOR

    Moses Manning (2016–18) has been appointed a policy intern at the World Resources Institute (June 2021). He is a graduate student in Duke University’s Master of Public Policy, Energy and Environmental Policy program.

     

     

     

     

    Doris Rubenstein (1971–73) is an author and journalist who recently published The Boy with Four Names (iUniverse, 2021). The book is the story of one Jewish family who left Europe and what was an almost certain death by the Nazis to find freedom and safety in Ecuador.

     

     

     

     

     

    ETHIOPIA

    Janet Lee (1974–76) has been named the 2021 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) International Relations Committee’s John Ames Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award, presented to a librarian or person who has made significant contributions to international librarianship. The award consists of $1,000 and a plaque presented at the ALA 2021 Annual Conference. Following her tenure as dean at Regis University, Lee received a Fulbright Scholarship (2017–18) to study in Ethiopia.

     

     

     

     

    GHANA

    Kayla Canne (2018–20) has taken on a new beat with the Asbury Park Press, covering the affordable housing shortage at the Jersey Shore and the Garden State. 

     

     

     

     

    GUATEMALA

    Chris Jage (1993–96) joined the staff of the Adirondack Land Trust in July 2021 as conservation program director, overseeing its land protection and land stewardship teams. Since 2016, he has worked as land protection manager with the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.
     

     

     

     

     

    HONDURAS

    Raymond Limon is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Capital and Diversity, and Chief Human Capital Officer with the U.S. Department of the Interior. He has been recently nominated for vice chair of the Merit Systems Protection Board of Directors.
     

     

     

     

     

    HUNGARY

    Cordes Lindow (1991–93) has been selected as one of five participants in C-SPAN’s 2021 Teacher Fellowship Program. She will collaborate with C-SPAN's Education Relations team for four weeks to create content for C-SPAN Classroom, a free online teaching resource for educators. She is piloting International Relations Honors at Allen D. Nease High School (Ponte Vedra, Florida) in the upcoming school year.

     

     

      

     

    MOLDOVA

    Carol Anne “Aziza” Reid (2016–18) was recognized with the 2021 Lillian Carter Award. The Lillian Carter Award honors outstanding returned Peace Corps Volunteers who served at age 50 or older. Reid served as a  community organizational development volunteer in Moldova from 2016 to 2018, and later as youth education volunteer in Eswatini from 2018 to 2020. Her projects centered on organizing community programs to empower women and youth through both African dance classes and social justice. She is now starting a new position as a Peace Corps Recruiter.
     

     

     

     

    MONGOLIA

    Kimberly Mansaray (2018–present) is Peace Corps Mongolia Country Director. On June 24, 2021 she was presented the Order of Polar Star, the highest state honor. This honor was awarded by Mongolia’s president to Peace Corps and its leadership, including Kim Mansaray, for their invaluable contribution to advancing the friendly relations and cooperation between Mongolia and the United States.

     

     

     

     

    Katie Murray (2003–05) is the executive director of the nonprofit food and fiber trade organization Oregonians for Food and Shelter. She has led the organization since December 2020. 

     

     

     

     

     

    NIGER

    Gordon Brown (1996–98) was appointed in July 2021 to serve as director of legislative affairs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. He served as a Peace Corps Country Director in Ghana (2018–21) and Benin (2015–18).

     

     

     

     

     

    PARAGUAY

    Brian Washburn (1998–2000) has published What’s Your Formula? Combine Learning Elements for Impactful Training. His new publication offers a “periodic table of learning elements” modeled on the original periodic table of chemical properties providing metaphors for the tools and strategies of the field of learning design. Brian is the co-founder and CEO of Endurance Learning, a boutique instructional design company.

     

     

      

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Kya O’Donnell (2019–20) is a legislative aide at the Connecticut State Capitol. She was recently hired as head coach of field hockey at Cheshire High School.

     

     

      

     

     

     

    RWANDA

    Nicholas Sung (2016–18) published a research paper exploring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the U.S. Ambassador Corps for the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School. He graduated with a master’s degree in public policy from the school this year. With Peace Corps, he served as an education coordinator in Rwanda 2016–18 and a food security specialist in Nepal 2012–14.

     

     

     

     

    TOGO

    George Packer (1982–83) published Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal in summer 2021, recognized as an editor’s choice by the New York Times Book Review. As a journalist, novelist, and playwright, Packer has covered a broad range of of U.S. foreign and domestic policies through his work. Last Best Hope offers an examination of the conflicting interests that define contemporary American politics, free agency, morality, meritocracy, and justice. 

     

     

     

     

    TONGA

    Seth Hershberger (2004–06) was appointed in July 2021 as executive director of Wicomico Public Libraries in Maryland. He previously served as public diplomacy professional associate and community liaison office coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana.

     

     

     

     

     

    UKRAINE

    Emmery Brakke (2017–20) is a candidate at Brown University for a master of public affairs degree. Her career focus has been refined by the domestic challenges associated with COVID-19.

     

     

     

     

     

    UZBEKISTAN

    John Mark King (2001) is the co-founder of Muse Threads, a bamboo children’s clothing line based in Washington, D.C. Alongside his wife and co-founder, he has turned what started as a pandemic passion project inspired by his newborn daughter into a successful, sustainable kids’ clothing line with a growing cult following. He is also a professional voice actor and music producer/songwriter.

     

     

     

      

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    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff.

    By Peter Deekle (Iran 1968–70)

     

    Photo courtesy CARE

     

    Diane Carazas is the new director for CARE in Latin America and the Caribbean, where efforts include supporting thousands of Haitians like Natacha (pictured) who lost her home in a devastating earthquake last year. Ruth Rosas is the first-ever dedicated, bilingual Latine Communities Reporter for a sustainable transportation news source in Chicago. Peter Riley was sworn in as the first Mission Director for USAID in Tajikistan. RPCVs appointed to leadership positions in local and international nonprofit organizations — and seeking to empower a diverse, inclusive, and effective generation of public servants in Congress. Recently published books. Specialists making an impact in herbal medicine and agronomy.

    Have news to share with the Peace Corps community? Let us know.

     

     

    ARGENTINA

    Kate Hammond (1992–94) will step into the interim superintendent position of Glacier National Park this month, amid new regulations during peak hours for visitors due to COVID-19, and she is prepared for a busy summer. Prior to her new role, Hammond served as the deputy director and chief of staff for the National Park Service's Intermountain Region in Denver since 2016.
     

     

      

     

    BOLIVIA

    Michael Mulvaney (1995–97) is the new Edgar E. and Winifred B. Hartwig Endowed Chair in Soybean Agronomy at Mississippi State University. Two of Mulvaney’s goals as chair include identifying inefficiencies and designing research to improve soybean production. His interest in and aptitude for agronomy originated in Peace Corps, where he served as an agricultural extension Volunteer. Mulvaney brings to his new role international agronomy experience, and he worked as a certified crop advisor conducting research with the Global Conservation Agriculture Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico.
     

     

     

    BOTSWANA

    Diane Carazas (198385) recently started as the new regional director for CARE’s Latin America and Caribbean region. She worked with the Peace Corps for eight years, including her most recent role as the Botswana Country Director. For over 20 years she worked with several international humanitarian organizations – specializing in poverty reduction, international development, humanitarian relief, and public health programs in six Latin American countries.

     

     

     

     

    CHILE

    Kat Maier (1978–79) currently works as director of Sacred Plant Traditions in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she offers a three-year clinical and community herbalist training program. She began studying plants in Chile during her time as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and she is a founding member of Botanica Mobile Clinic, a nonprofit dedicated to providing accessible herbal medicine to local communities.

     

     

     

     

    CHINA

    David Wertime (2001–03) has been selected as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow for 2022–23. Since 2018 he has served as the executive director of Protocol and is also a research associate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Contemporary China. Wertime held senior positions as a writer for different newsrooms and served as senior editor for China at Foreign Policy magazine, where he introduced the publication’s first Chinese-language articles.

     

     

     

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

    Dominique Thurmond (2017–20) is a newly appointed paralegal associate at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, focusing on worker’s rights.

     

     

     

     

     

    FIJI

    Ruth Rosas (201518) was appointed Streetsblog Chicago’s first-ever dedicated bilingual Latine Communities Reporter. Rosas’ voice will help Streetsblog expand its coverage of livable streets relevant to Spanish-speaking communities. Rosas is an advocate for active transportation and co-founded a community bike shop for at-risk youth while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji. Rosas also works at the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children at Lurie Children’s Hospital, where she addresses pedestrian and walkability issues, focusing on vulnerable communities.

     

     

     

     

    LESOTHO

    Marc Sabin (198890) is the City of San Raphael’s new manager for its homelessness program. One of Sabin’s first tasks include spearheading a grant proposal to support mental health services and identifying opportunities for temporary shelter to get more people into supportive housing. He brings to the role more than 30 years of experience in social services for other California nonprofits and initiatives. 

     

     
     

     

    MALI

    Justin Bakule (200406) is the vice president of advisory and corporate engagement for Social Finance, a pioneering impact investing nonprofit organization. Recently he was the founder of Tidepath, a new company strategically centered on improving freelance careers through income stability and long-term wealth creation.

     

     

     

     

    MOROCCO

    Kiana Graves (201719) is the Program Director for College to Congress, a non-profit organization that seeks to systemically change Congress by empowering a diverse, inclusive, and effective generation of public servants, located in Washington D.C.

     

     

     

     

    NICARAGUA

    Martin do Nascimento (201012) began his new assignment this month as the Assistant Photo Editor at CalMatters, a nonpartisan nonprofit newsroom committed to explaining California politics and policy, Nascimento is an award-winning documentary photographer and filmmaker, who is based in Oakland, CA. He is a trilingual RPCV with work featured in various publications ranging from The New York Times, The Washington PostForbes, and National Public Radio. 

     

     
     

     

    NIGER

    Peter RileyPeter Riley (1983–85) was sworn in as the first Mission Director for USAID in Tajikistan in December 2021. He is a career USAID Foreign Service Officer with over 30 years of international development experience, which includes serving as Director of USAID in Tunisia, Senior Stabilization Advisor for USAID in Afghanistan, and Senior Regional Advisor for Africa for the US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in Nairobi, Kenya.

     

     

     

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Deborah Francisco Douglas (201114) published her memoir, Somewhere in the Middle, which documents her three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer and the connections made to her culture as a Filipino American while serving in the Philippines. She also started a blog called Halo-Halo, Mix-Mix as a way of further cataloging her journey to discover her cultural roots and share her love of her culture. 

     

     

     

     

    VENEZUELA

    Daniel Robinson (196668), a retired lawyer from California, published a new book in October 2021 by Atmosphere Press. Hitchhiking Across America: 1963 is a fictional version of the author’s August 1963 cross country trip from Lake Tahoe to Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, D.C., New York City, and back to Los Angeles. The book examines the ways life in America is changing through brief encounters with strangers — exploring war stories, new social issues, and political views that deepen his understanding of America.

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    Updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country and around the world see more

    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff.

     

    By Peter Deekle (Iran 1968–70)

     

    Katrina Fotovat is appointed Senior Official to the Secretary of State in the Office of Global Women’s Issues. Dr. Patrick Gonzalez, Assistant Director for Climate and Biodiversity by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), helps lead efforts to combat climate change. Newly published books, such as Elana Hohl’s (pictured) collection of letters documenting her Peace Corps service. Recognizing gender equity public health initiatives. Expanding research on ocean sustainability.

    Have news to share with the Peace Corps community? Let us know.

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    Elana Hohl (1971–73, pictured) wrote A Few Minor Adjustments, a collection of letters sent home to friends and family, started over 40 years ago. Published in May, the book is a way of preserving memories from her time volunteering at 21 years old with her new husband Michael. The Hohls can now share those memories with their five children and ten grandchildren.

     

    BANGLADESH

    Mike Kiess (2002–06) and Cambodia (2006–08), Workforce Housing Coordinator in Vermont, is relocating to Kampala, Uganda, in December 2021 to work as the Operations and Management Director for the Peace Corps.

     

     

     

     

    BENIN

    Anne Rimoin (1993–95) was named the new Gordon-Levin Chair in Infectious Diseases and Public Health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in November. Dr. Rimoin is an internationally recognized expert on emerging infections, global health, infectious disease surveillance systems and vaccinations. She has been engaged in pandemic preparedness and response work for more than two decades. Read more about Dr. Rimoin in “A Matter of Life and Death” in WorldView magazine.

     

     

     

    BOTSWANA

    Lucy Ruderman (2016–18) is an FHI 360 Research Fellow and Master of Public Health candidate at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is a gender equity and public health professional with a focus on women’s health.

     

     

     

     

    COSTA RICA

    XiNomara Velazquez Yehuda (1993–95) became the Chief of Staff of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation in June. She has held many professional leadership positions since her Peace Corps service, including over eight years as Executive Director, Chief of Staff at The Hispanic Institute in Washington, D.C. In September, she became a member of the National Peace Corps Associations Board of Directors.

     

     

     

     

    GHANA

    Brian Arbic (1990–93), a professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Michigan, recently founded the Global Ocean Corps and Conveyor, a program he hopes will foster sustained, long-term ocean science education and research collaborations among countries around the world.

     

     

     

     

    GUATEMALA

    Bennett VanOudenallen (1999–2000) received the 2021 Jane Ortner Education Award, which is given to K–12 teachers who use music as an academic tool in the classroom. VanOudenallen teaches social studies at Mount Notre Dame High School in Cincinnati, where he is also the Academic Teach Coach, Province Leader, and member of the Professional Development team. In addition to his service with the Peace Corps, VanOudenallen volunteered with AmeriCorps and the National Park Service.

     

     

     

     

    IRAN

    James F. Goode (1968–71) recently published his book Living, Loving Iran: A Memoir in which he shares his reflections from his time serving in Tuyserkan in western Iran. Goode also writes about his wife, Virginia, whom he met in Tehran, and their experiences in a country that shaped their personal and academic pursuits. Goode’s memoir highlights the discrimination of Iranians and attempts to share his insight with Americans through his writing. He is also emeritus professor of history at Grand Valley State University and the former director of its Middle East Studies program.

     

     

     

    MOLDOVA

    Katrina Fotovat (2000–02) is the Senior Official to the Secretary of State in the Office of Global Women’s Issues, where she leads a team of gender experts promoting gender equality efforts including support of women, peace, and security to counter violent extremism, promote women’s economic empowerment, and combat gender-based violence.

     

     

     

    NICARAGUA

    Renee Wizig-Barrios (1993–95) has recently been appointed as president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. She previously worked as the senior vice president and chief philanthropy officer for the Greater Houston Community Foundation where she led initiatives in community engagement and philanthropy.

     

     

     

     

    PARAGUAY

    Hannah Baysinger (2019–20) was among the RPCVs evacuated during the pandemic. In the spring, she enrolled at the University of Iowa to purse a master’s of teaching in world language education with endorsements in Spanish and English as a Second Language (ESL). She is the 2021 Obermann Spelman Rockefeller Community Scholar.

     

     

     

    SENEGAL

    Patrick Gonzalez (1988–90) has been appointed Assistant Director for Climate and Biodiversity by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Gonzalez is a scientist at the University of California, Berkeley and will participate in a thought leaders and influencers panel discussion hosted by the Peace Corps on December 9, 2021.

     

     

     

     

     

    ZAIRE

    Craig Sholley (1973–75) is Vice President at the African Wildlife Foundation, a conservation nonprofit focused exclusively on Africa's wildlife and wild lands. His mentor, Diane Fossey, motivated his long-term study of mountain gorillas. 

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    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff.

    By Peter V. Deekle (Iran 1968–70)
     

    Ambassador Donald Lu (pictured) confirmed as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. Gary M. Restaino nominated to be U.S. Attorney for Arizona. Women advancing in medicine and business. New books. Honoring an early Volunteer for outstanding contributions to the community. Nonprofit leaders research clean energy and financial empowerment.

    Have news to share with the Peace Corps community? Let us know.

     

    BOLIVIA

    Ken Culver (1965–67) has been inducted into the Central Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, which recognizes persons over 60 who have made special contributions to their communities. In addition to his time on city council in Lancaster, Ohio, he works with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fairfield County.  He is a founding member of the Lancaster Playhouse and served on the Fairfield Medical Center board, and has also worked with the Maywood Mission, Habitat for Humanity, the Lancaster Public Education Foundation, the Salvation Army, and the First Presbyterian Church Elder Mission.

     

     

     

    DOMINICA

    Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel (1999–01) is a photo editor at National Geographic. She serves as a judge for the Ocean Storytelling Grant and has edited stories in the magazine’s 2019–20 series highlighting women. She also contributed to the 2018 series on race and diversity. 

     

     

     

     

    ETHIOPIA

    Melvin Foote (1973–75) was recognized as one of the Top 500+ Annual Powerlist Influential Africans in the World by Tropics Magazine. He was honored with the Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mali—the Knight of the Order of Mali, for a foreign national. Foote is the founder and CEO of the Constituency for Africa. 

     

     

     

     

    FIJI

    Charles Blomquist (1988–90) has been appointed to the Baltimore City Circuit Court by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. He has spent his entire legal career as a prosecutor and is currently a deputy state prosecutor in the Office of State Prosecutor.

     

     

     

     

    GUATEMALA

    Chris Roesel (1973–75) is the founder and president of P2P, Inc. It is a nonprofit organization providing water, sanitation, hygiene, malaria-elimination, and income improvement in Uganda. The organization was named a 2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit. In August, his new book, How to Improve the World Quickly, was published by Peace Corps Writers. “After the Peace Corps, how to help those most in need was the question that drove me,” he noted. “So I searched out the best projects in the world, analyzed them, and then tested what and how to do it in more than 20 countries of Africa, Asia, and the Americas.”

     

     

     

    GUINEA

    Margaret Chell (2018–20) was more than a year into her service as a Volunteer when COVID-19 struck. Now she is completing medical school at Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine in Pasadena, California.

     

     

     

     

    GUINEA-BISSAU

    Adam Browning, co-founder and longtime executive director of Vote Solar, is leaving the organization that he began 20 years ago. Vote Solar was founded in 2002 and advocates for clean energy in legislative and regulatory arenas at the state level, where most decisions about electricity are made.

     

     

     

     

     

    Jessica Collins (1996–98) is executive director of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts. Her wide-ranging professional leadership in building coalitions to tackle the pressing community issues has been recognized through her selection as a 2021 Woman of Impact by Business West.

     

     

     

     

    REPUBLIC OF KIRIBATI

    David Brummel (1998–2000) has been appointed (October 2021) Director of Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment in Minnesota. He served as deputy director beginning in 2014. 

     

     

     

     

    KOREA

    Clifford Garstang (197677) practiced international law before becoming an active writer of fiction. He recently published Oliver’s Travels (Regal House Publishing), a novel exploring the “folly of memory and life’s meaning” through Ollie Tucker, a recent college graduate and student of philosophy, who invents an alter ego, Oliver, who lives the adventurous and exotic existence Ollie cannot. 

     

     

     

    MICRONESIA

    Roland Merullo (1979–80) has published Driving Jesus to Little Rock (PFP Publishers), a quirky travelogue about a driver who picks up a passenger who claims to be Jesus. 

     

     

     

     

    NEPAL

    Lawrence Leamer (1965–67) has published Capote’s Women, which depicts Truman Capote’s relationship with notable women during his lifetime and is just out from Putnam. Leamer is the author of 18 books including five New York Times bestsellers and one off-Broadway play.

     

     

     

     

    NIGER

    Mike Mitchell (1983–85), founder of Project Play, was awarded Alumnus of the Year by De La Salle High School in Concord, California. The nonprofit organization provides universal access to basic social services; empowering people living in poverty and their organizations; progressively developing social protection systems to support those who cannot support themselves; addressing the disproportionate impact of poverty on women; intensifying international cooperation for poverty eradication.

     

     

     

    PARAGUAY

    Gary M. Restaino (1991–93) was appointed in October to be the United States Attorney for Arizona — the top federal law enforcement officer in the state. Restaino has been a federal prosecutor in Arizona since 2003 and was previously the chief of the criminal division and the white collar crime section. Restaino has also worked as a trial attorney for the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section and worked on some of the highest profile cases of the past decade in Arizona. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Restaino was a civil rights lawyer for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and represented farmworkers for a Phoenix-based legal aid service. 

     

     

     

    SIERRA LEONE

    Donald Lu (1988–90) became Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs on September 15, 2021, after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Prior to this assignment, Assistant Secretary Lu served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic from 2018 to 2021 and the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Albania from 201518. Before his posting in Albania, Assistant Secretary Lu worked on the Ebola crisis in West Africa as the Deputy Coordinator for Ebola Response in the Department of State. Lu is a Foreign Service Officer with more than 30 years of U.S. government service. 

     

     

     

    SWAZILAND

    Lauren North (2010–12) is the newly-appointed staff attorney for the Jefferson County Family Court (KY) and the first recipient of Earlham College’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award (October 2021). 

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    Updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country and around the world see more

    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff.


    By Peter Deekle (Iran 1968–70)

     

    Lisa Woodson (pictured) is working with Indigenous populations in the Amazon basin on health research. A new film produced by Bryn Mooser on the 2021 Refugee Olympic Team. Entrepreneurial success. Honoring an advocate for the land.

    Have news to share with the Peace Corps community? Let us know.

     

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    Dancing with Angels book coverW. Brunhofer has recently released Dancing with Angels: Songs and Poems from the Millennium. The exploration of poetry is produced by Christian Faith Publishing. From Shakespeare to Yeats, Brunhofer explores favorite poems of inspiration and presents a series of personal writing dating back to the 1970s.

     

     

     

     

     

    CHINA

    Andy Dieckhoff (2017–19) has joined the staff of the Madras Pioneer in Madras, Oregon, as its new sports editor. He is a lifelong Oregonian and was raised in Corvallis. 

     

     

     

     

     

    COLOMBIA

    Douglas and Cheryl Hunt were honored on September 1, 2021 by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship with the Barstow Driver Award for Excellence in Nonviolent Direct Action in Retirement. They are both retired educators who have been peacemakers for most of their lives. They have devoted themselves to gun violence prevention, climate change, and efforts to support communities in Colombia.

     

     

     

     

    ETHIOPIA

    Stephen Foehr (1964–66) has published Warrior Love in July 2021. The novel is a murder mystery.

     

     

     

     

     

    Asian Trail Mix book coverEric Madeen has published Asian Trail Mix: True Tales from Borneo to Japan. He is an associate professor of modern literature at Tokyo City University and an adjunct professor at Keio University.

     

     

     

     

     

    THE GAMBIA

    Bryn MooserBryan Mooser (2001–04), an Oscar-nominated producer who founded the nonfiction film and television studio XTR in 2019, will produce with Waad Al-Kateab a documentary film on the 2021 Refugee Olympic Team. Al-Kateab is the director of the documentary. Mooser is also part of the inaugural NPCA “40 Under 40” cohort.

     

     

     

     

    GUINEA-BISSAU / CAPE VERDE

    Estela Divino (1988–90) is a McKnight Senior Living 2021 Women of Distinction honoree. She is the Palliative Care Coordinator at Flushing Hospital Medical Center in Queens County, New York.

     

     

     

     

     

    IRAN

    Harry Conklin (1968–71) died in 2021 and, in addition to a long career in law, served on the board of the Community Land Trust (BCLT) in the Southern Berkshires for more than four decades. The BCLT will honor his legacy through the establishment of the Harry Conklin Fund for Farmsteads. The purpose of the Fund is to support secure, long-term access to land for farmsteads for small-scale farmers, while retaining ownership of the land in a community organization.

     

     

     

     

    JORDAN

    Allison Monroe (2002) is the CEO at Language Learning Market (LLM) – Educational Resources in All Languages. LLM joined nonprofit accelerator Impact Ventures’ Spring 2021 cohort, later receiving a $10,000 prize at its 2021 showcase pitch competition. LLM comprises a marketplace to buy educational resources from businesses large and small and micro-entrepreneurs worldwide, a directory of resources and places to learn, and an education-focused media network.

     

     

     

     

    MACEDONIA

    Mary O’Connor (2006–08) is an architect, educator, and writer. She is the recent author of Free Rose Light (University of Akron Press, 2021), a story of Akron’s South Street Ministries and its founders Duane and Lisa Crabbs. Duane Crabbs was a Cuyahoga Falls firefighter disturbed by the lack of diversity in the department.

     

     

     

     

    NEPAL

    Ron Ryanson (1964–66) has produced “'Tattooed Trucks of Nepal – Horn Please” — a documentary film that draws on his own experience of traveling on the back of a truck from Kathmandu to villages 57 years ago. He was 23 years old at that time, and the film has knit together the varied stories of road travel in Nepal as well as the multi-dimensional cultural aspects of Nepal. 

     

     

     

     

    Lisa Woodson has received a Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship toward a year in Peru where she will conduct research among an Indigenous population within the Amazon basin. Her research focuses on perceptions of health seeking behaviors and changes to those behaviors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences, as experienced by Indigenous Amazonian peoples.

     

     

     

     

    NICARAGUA

    Robert Frisch (2007–09) was awarded Cornell University’s Stein Family Prize in 2013 in the Cornell Hospitality Business Plan MBA Competition. He is the founder of Firelight Camps — inspiring adventure and getting more people outside by means of stylish, social, eco-friendly, and rejuvenating upscale campgrounds.

     

     

     

     

    PARAGUAY

    Laura Johnson, a board member of the Vermont Beekeepers Association, has been appointed University of Vermont’s new extension pollinator support specialist with the Applied Research and Education Pollinator Program. She started with the Migrant Education Program in 2017 before moving to an agronomy outreach role with the UVM Extension Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

     

     

     

     

    VANUATU

    Santiago Pardo Sanchez (2017–18) is now completing an MBA at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, focusing on sustainability and entrepreneurship. He is a managing editor of Harvard Mapping Past Societies, a digital atlas project within the Initiative for the Science of the Human Past at Harvard, where he focuses on climate change, and on economic and political projects.

     

     

     

     

    ZAIRE

    Charles Kosak photoCharles Kosak is presently the Department Of Energy Faculty Chair at the National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs. In this role, he helps prepare U.S. and partner-nation national security professionals and future leaders to better understand emerging threats to peace and security and develop innovative approaches to strengthen U.S. and partner-nation capabilities and capacities.

     

     

     

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    For the first time women lead the Poetry Foundation and the YMCA of the USA see more

    Meet the new presidents of the Poetry Foundation and the YMCA of the USA. For the first time at both of these venerable institutions, there’s a woman at the helm.

     

    Michelle Boone

    President of the Poetry Foundation

    CHAD | 1994–96

    Photo courtesy the Poetry Foundation

     

    Named in April as the new president of the Poetry Foundation, Michelle Boone is the first woman of color to lead the storied Chicago-based institution, which publishes the century-old journal Poetry, one of the most prominent literary journals in the United States. Along with her Peace Corps service, Boone brings over 20 years of experience to the new role, including prominent positions at the Navy Pier; the Joyce Foundation; and Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

    During her tenure at DCASE, she helped facilitate the Chicago Cultural Plan and also championed the Chicago Architectural Biennial in 2015. Boone told The New York Times that she was heavily influenced by poetry while growing up in Chicago in the 1970s, when the Black Arts Movement saw the emergence of poets like Gwendolyn Brooks and Oscar Brown Jr. 

     

     

    Suzanne McCormickSuzanne McCormick 

    President and CEO, YMCA of the USA

    THAILAND | 1989–91

    Photo courtesy YMCA

     

    The YMCA of the USA announced its new president and CEO in August: Suzanne McCormick, who becomes the first woman to lead the Y in the United States. McCormick brings more than 27 years of experience as a senior and executive leader, most recently serving as U.S. President of United Way Worldwide. She has been responsible for helping the 1,100 local United Ways across the U.S. address communities’ most pressing challenges.

    Prior to assuming this national role, she spent five years as president and CEO for United Way Suncoast and 13 years at United Way of Greater Portland in Maine — including four as president and CEO — during which she set strategic direction for Let’s Go, a preventative childhood obesity project, and three school district community-based partnerships focused on school success. McCormick was just recognized by The NonProfit Times as one of 2021’s NPT Power & Influence Top 50.

  • Steven Saum posted an article
    News and updates from the Peace Corps community see more

    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff

    By Peter Deekle (Iran 1968–70)

     

    Pictured: Children’s Literature Legacy Award Winner — author Mildred Taylor 

     

     

     

    BENIN

    Marieme Foote (2018–20) has been awarded a Payne International Development Fellowship for graduate study. In Benin, she served as a Sustainable Agricultural Systems Agent until evacuated due to COVID-19. Upon her return to the United States she accepted a position with the National Peace Corps Association where she has worked on advocacy and issues pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Peace Corps Agency and community.

     

     

     

     

    CAMEROON

    Natalie Obaldia (2019–20) is the Southern California Regional Volunteer Coordinator for California Volunteers, the governor’s and State Legislature’s continued investment in service and volunteering. 

     

     

     

     

     

    CHINA

    Jerome Siangco (2019-2020) taught News Listening and Spoken English to first-year, sophomore, and junior English majors at Liupanshui Normal University until his pandemic-impacted evacuation. He now serves as COVID-19 contact tracer with the National Peace Corps Association’s Emergency Response Network. 

     

     

     

     

    ETHIOPIA

    Mildred (Milly) D. Taylor (1965–67) is the winner of the 2021 Children’s Literature Legacy Award honoring an author or illustrator, published in the United States, whose books have made a significant and lasting contribution to literature for children. Her award-winning works include “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry,” which won the 1977 Newberry Medal and the Coretta Scott King Honor Award; “The Friendship,” “Road to Memphis,” and “The Land,” all recipients of the Coretta Scott King Award. Her most recent work is “All the Days Past, All the Days to Come” (Dial, 2020). In addition to numerous awards for individual books, Mildred Taylor is the 2020 recipient of the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

      

     

     

    GHANA

    Meghan McCormick (2011–13) co-launched OZÉ, a Ghana-based financial tech startup that helps small to medium enterprises to record their daily activities ranging from expenses to sales. And in January 2021 news stories noted that OZÉ had raised $700,000 for micro, small, and medium enterprises in Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa. The startup then combines these data to offer insights useful for recommendations. She also co-founded of Dare to Innovate. McCormick is committed to ending unemployment in West Africa through investments in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

     

     

     

    GUATEMALA

    Norma Royale Wilder is the author of “The Longer I Live the Wilder it Gets: A Memoir of Adventure.” Wilder’s adventures have taken her around the world. She was interviewed on the radio about her book and life experiences on February 10, 2021. 

     

     

     

     

     

    LESOTHO

    Sandra Adounvo has been awarded a Payne International Development Fellowship for graduate study. She will pursue a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Global Health and Humanitarian Assistance. She intends to join the USAID Foreign Service as a Health, Population, and Nutrition Officer. 

     

     

     

     

     

    MALAWI

    John Fleming (1967–69) has a lengthy career in museum management. He has served as president of the Ohio Museums Association and the Association of African American Museums. He is currently writing a book about his Peace Corps service in Malawi.

     

     

     

     

     

    Austin Fraley (2017–20) has been awarded a Payne International Development Fellowship. He will attend the University of Wisconsin to pursue a master’s degree in international public affairs in preparation to join USAID as a crisis, stabilization, and governance officer. Prior to his experience in Malawi, Austin worked with Kentucky Refugee Ministries as an ESL intern and a driver. He also worked at Quest Farm, a Kentucky non-profit that works with people with intellectual disabilities. 

     

     

     

    Vishakha Wavde (2018–20) is currently a physical therapist in Illinois. With a health services career in progress, she sought a two-year assignment in Malawi, focused on HIV and Malaria prevention, youth capacity building and working with HIV support groups. 

     

     

     

     

     

    MALI

    Molly Mattessick (2002–04) is Managing Director of Project Delivery at Forum One, an organization that amplifies the impact of mission-driven organizations through transformational digital solutions. In fall 2020 she led the team at Forum One to collaborate with National Peace Corps Association to launch and publicize the NPCA Emergency Response Network.

     

     

     

     

    MICRONESIA (Chuuk)

    Aydin Nazmi (1999–2001) since early 2020, has served as the Cal Poly Presidential Faculty Fellow for COVID-19 Response and Preparedness. He is a professor in Cal Poly’s Food Science and Nutrition Department and is one of four faculty members from across the California State University (CSU) system to earn the Wang Family Excellence Award. He earned the award in the Outstanding Faculty Service category in recognition of his achievements and contributions to the CSU.

     

     

     

    MOROCCO 

    Paige Beiler (2018–20) has served since November 2020 as a COVID-19 contact tracer with National Peace Corps Association’s Emergency Response Network. During her Peace Corps service she started a library at the local youth center through a USAID funded grant.

     

     

     

     

     

    MOZAMBIQUE

    Emily Wood (2019–20) has been awarded a Payne International Development Fellowship for graduate study. She will use her fellowship to continue her education and foster her dedication to public service as a Foreign Service Officer. She hopes to work with indigenous communities, helping them regain their self-reliance after centuries of marginalization.

     

     

     

     

    NEPAL

    Leala Rosen (2014–15) is a program officer at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Conservation Leadership Programme.

     

     

     

     

     

    SAINT LUCIA

    Jennifer Leshnower (2007–09) is volunteer director for California Volunteers — a statewide organization building critical connections and partnerships between public, private, and community-based organizations in order to mobilize human and social capital to eradicate California's most pressing social and economic injustices. 

     

     

     

     

    SENEGAL

    Carolee and Art Buck (1968–70) have been invited by the president of Senegal, their original Peace Corps host country, to return for a visit, which they both anticipate occurring later in 2021. The invitation resulted from Carolee’s pandemic writing project (a record with photos) documenting their years in Senegal. The self-published book impressed the Senegalese president so much that he extended an invitation 

     

     

     

     

    UKRAINE AND GUINEA, BURKINA FASO, SENEGAL, SIERRA LEONE, MORROCO

    Doug Teschner (1971–73; 2008–17) is the president of Growing Leadership LLC, which supports nonprofits, governments, and businesses by partnering to strengthen their capacity to achieve the highest level of performance. Services include leadership training, coaching and mentoring; public speaking; organizational development and strategic planning; public policy support and legislative advocacy; resource development, communications and public relations.

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world see more

    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff

     

    By Peter Deekle (Iran 1968–70)

     

    The latest from renowned writer Paul Theroux and a World War II thriller from Mark Sullivan. Former “Hardball” host Chris Matthews pens a memoir. Honors for journalist Maureen Orth and public health leader Peter Kilmarx. An ongoing project involving the personal stories of Peace Corps Volunteers impacted by COVID-19. Running for mayor in Anchorage. The memorialization of historic moments by the founder of JUSTUS Kitchen. World Gin Awards gold medalists. Cheers!

    Have news to share with the Peace Corps community? Let us know.

     

     

    COLOMBIA

    Maureen OrthMaureen Orth (1964–66) received a 2021 Campanile Excellence in Achievement Award from the Cal Alumni Association, in partnership with the UC Berkeley Foundation, for pushing boundaries whenever possible. She is an award-winning journalist, best-selling author, and founder of the Marina Orth Foundation.

     

     

     

     

      

    DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

    Peter KilmarxPeter Kilmarx (1984–86) has been presented with the 2021 Daniel Webster Award for Distinguished Public Service by the Dartmouth Club of Washington, D.C. for his work with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Public Health Service, and Peace Corps (among other accomplishments). He is deputy director at Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health.

     

     

     

     

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

    Tiffani JarniganTiffani Jarnigan (2012–14) has been named a 2021 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Women of Excellence award winner. She is manager of environmental, social, and governance process and innovation with the company.

     

     

     

     

     

    ESWATINI

    Chris MatthewsChris Matthews (1968–70), who served as a Volunteer in the country when it was known as Swaziland, has published a memoir titled This Country: My Life in Politics and History. It chronicles his life and career in post-World War II America and includes discussion of his Peace Corps service. He hosted the show “Hardball with Chris Matthews” from 1997 to March 2020.
     

     

     

     

     

    ETHIOPIA

    Kyle HenningKyle Henning is publishing a book entitled From Afar about his journey in 2013 from Lake Assal in Djibouti to Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise funds and public awareness for The New Day Children’s Centre in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. He also has 11 YouTube videos of his journey from Djibouti, through Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania.

     

     

     

     

    GABON

    Erick Guerra Erick Guerra (2002–04) is an associate professor and the associate chair of city and regional planning in the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. He has received the G. Holmes Perkins Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award for Outstanding Faculty.


     

     

     

     

    THE GAMBIA

    Mark DonahueMark Donahue (2017–19) has enrolled in the University of Georgia Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership to help propel his career and impact as a nonprofit leader. Having grown up in Zimbabwe to parents who worked in the international development sector, he witnessed his father serve an important role in one of the largest international nonprofits in the world.
     

     

     

     

     

    GHANA

    Molly MattesonMolly Matteson (2017–19) is program administrator for the Yale Young African Scholars Program and is completing her master’s at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She was recently interviewed by Borgen magazine about her experience as a Volunteer. While serving she was also known as Adwoa Serwaa, the name given to her during her welcome ceremony. She had the title of Community and Youth Development Advisor. Through community-focused projects, her primary task was bettering education, involving a “school building project, developing a school health curriculum and engaging students in empowerment and academic capacity building activities.”

     

     

     

    GUATEMALA

    Rush HarrisRush Harris (2002–04) now serves as the executive director of the Marshall Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO). He was appointed to the position in October 2020 after serving with the company for nearly six years total, including 2011–13 and then again from 2016 onward.
     

     

     

     

     

    KAZAKHSTAN

    Forrest DunbarForrest Dunbar (2006–08) represents East Anchorage in the Anchorage Assembly. He is running for mayor of the city in 2021. 

     

     

     

     

     

    MALAWI

    Paul TherouxThe most recent novel by renowned writer Paul Theroux (1963–65) is Under the Wave at Waimea, published in April. A “full-fat epic,” in the words of The Guardian, it tells the tale of Joe Sharkey, a big-wave surfer who experiences tragedy on an island paradise. Theroux turned 80 this year. In April The New York Times Book Review carried an interview with him under the headline “Would the Pandemic Stop Paul Theroux From Traveling? No. Of course not.” It was the meeting of Peace Corps writerly generations: a conversation with Gal Beckerman, editor at large with the Book Review, who himself served as a Volunteer in Cameroon. Earlier this year Theroux’s 1981 novel The Mosquito Coast premiered as a series on Apple TV+ with Theroux’s nephew, Justin Theroux, in the starring role as Allie Fox, “a ‘radical idealist’ and inventor who uproots his family and heads to Mexico, where they suddenly find themselves on the run from the government,” as The Hollywood Reporter puts it. The series has just been renewed for a second season. 

     

     

    MALI

    Jocelyn JacksonJocelyn Jackson (2005–06) the founder of JUSTUS Kitchen and co-founder of People’s Kitchen Collective, regularly gathers people together for community meals. By bringing together artists and chefs, they memorialize historic moments such as the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the Great Migration of African Americans from the South in the early 20th century, and the so-called Muslim ban of 2017. “Social justice and food and art can intersect in a way that is so powerful and compelling,” Jackson recently told Nonprofit Quarterly. “It really invites people to step into their power.”

     

     

     

     

    NICARAGUA

    Juanita LimasJuanita Limas (2000–02) received the Boka W. Hadzija Award for Distinguished University Service by a Graduate or Professional Student. The award recognizes the graduate or professional student at the University of North Carolina who has been judged most outstanding in character, scholarship, and leadership.

     

     

     

     

     

    NIGER

    Mark SullivanMark Sullivan (1980–82) has published The Last Green Valley, a historical novel inspired by the Martel family’s true story of daring and survival in 1944. Ethnic Germans whose ancestors had lived in Ukraine for more than a century, they had seen family members sent to the gulag by the Soviets. With two boys aged 4 and 6, they fled toward Poland before the advancing Red Army. Sullivan lives in Bozeman, Montana, and is the author of the 2017 bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky as well as the “Private” series co-written with James Patterson.
     

      

     

     

    THE PHILIPPINES

    Matthew WestfallMatthew Westfall (1983–85) and Laurie Westfall, founders of Full Circle Craft Distillers, have won two gold medals at the World Gin Awards in London. They were among those recognized in 2021 by Tatler Asia as the most influential individuals in the food and beverage industry in Asia: The Tastemakers list.
     

     

     

     

     

    ROMANIA

    Carol SpahnCarol Spahn (1994–96), Acting Director of the Peace Corps since January 2021, announced on March 31, 2021 that the Peace Corps and FEMA have struck a historic partnership to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. For the second time in the agency’s history, Peace Corps volunteers will serve a domestic deployment, at FEMA’s request — the first following Hurricane Katrina and now at federally supported Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) across the country. Spahn has also served as Country Director for Peace Corps Malawi (2014–19) and Chief of Operations, Africa Region (2019–21).
     

     

     

     

    SIERRA LEONE

    Ruth KauffmanRuth Kauffman received Bucknell University’s 2020 Service to Humanity award in recognition of her 30-year career in international women’s health and midwifery.
     

     

     

     

     

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world see more

    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff

    By Peter Deekle (Iran 1968–70)

    A newly appointed Assistant Secretary for the Department of State. Two non-profit success stories. An award winning art professor. Peace Corps writers write. And a Peace Corps themed photographic exhibition in Las Vegas.

     

    COLOMBIA

    Ron DizonRon Dizon (1971–1973) is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Peace Corps with a three-month photographic exhibition at the City of Las Vegas Library Art Gallery. The exhibit entitled “Afghanistan Black and White 2021” highlights Peace Corps Afghanistan’s “War on Hunger 1971-1973.”  August 10 – October 12, 2021.

     

     

     

     

    CAMEROON

    Matt Kuhn was promoted to the position of Aspen, Colorado’s Director of Parks and Open Space. He had been serving as interim director since June 2020, and previously served as the business services director, operations manager and trails manager for parks and open space.

     

     

     

     

    CHAD

    Michelle T. BooneMichelle Boone (1994–96) was named in April as the new president of the Poetry Foundation. She is the first woman of color to lead the storied Chicago-based institution, which publishes the century-old journal Poetry. Boone offers over 20 years of experience following prominent positions at the Navy Pier; the Joyce Foundation; and Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. During her tenure at the DCASE, she helped facilitate the Chicago Cultural Plan and also championed the Chicago Architectural Biennial in 2015. Boone told The New York Times that she was heavily influenced by poetry while growing up in Chicago in the 1970s, when the Black Arts Movement saw the emergence of poets like Gwendolyn Brooks and Oscar Brown, Jr. 

     

     

    Audrey ZibelmanAudrey Zibelman (1977–79) recently took up a new post as Vice President at X, the Moonshot Factory, where she works to develop tools and capabilities as a systems operator, to decarbonize the electrical system. In April she was invited by the Biden administration to join the Leaders Summit on Climate to present ways in which steps can be taken to counter the detrimental impacts of the climate crisis. During the Summit, Zibelman announced that the United States and the United Kingdom would be joining the Global Power System Transformation Consortium, an organization she helped create during her time as CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator. 

     

     

     

    CHINA

    Peter HesslerFor three stories published last year on China, Peter Hessler (1996–98) garnered for The New Yorker a nomination for best reporting as part of the 2021 National Magazine Awards. The stories: “Life on Lockdown,” “How China Controlled the Virus” and “The Sealed City.”Hessler has been a staff writer at the magazine since the year 2000 and has covered events in China and Egypt. He is also the author of five books, with some of the most prominent being “Oracle Bones,” which was a National Book Award finalist; and “The Buried,” which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Hessler was also named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011. 

     

     

     

    GUATEMALA

    Javier ValdésJavier Valdés (1999–2001) has been named U.S. Director of Civic Engagement and Government for the Ford Foundation. Valdés was previously the co-executive director at Make the Road New York, the state’s largest immigration advocacy organization. In his work Valdés has been instrumental in increasing affordable housing, expanding translation services in government offices, and reducing bias in policing. His professional initiatives and résumé of promoting social change will make him pivotal in the Ford Foundation’s ambitions on strengthening representation, participation, and leadership in U.S. democracy. 


     

     

     

    INDONESIA

    Rayna RogersRayna Rogers (2014–16) is an upcoming graduate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, where she has pursued her master’s degree in nonproliferation and terrorism studies. She was recently selected by her fellow students to be this year’s student speaker as a result of her exemplary academic performance and professional work. Rogers also has experience in teaching, having been an English Second Language Instructor for five years in South Korea, and having served in the Peace Corps as an education Volunteer in Indonesia. During her time as a graduate student, Rogers has written about nuclear safeguards implementation at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and also served as content director for the West Coast Chapter of Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformations (WCAPS). She has also rendered three-dimensional models of ballistic missiles for use by the University’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
     

     

    IRAN

    Tom KlobeTom Klobe has been awarded the Preis Honor from the Hawai 'i Arts Alliance. He is a professor of art at the University of Hawaii. He is the author of Exhibitions: Concept, Planning and Design.

     

     

     

     

    MALI

    Kathi Seiden-Thomas (1996–98) is the co-founder and editor of Whose Stories Will We Hear?, a website and storytelling project uplifting stories of Black Africans in Africa. Series I: The Lives of Africans during the COVID-19 Pandemic has published 28 stories from 16 African countries on the website. “We believe that every story is worthy of being listened to and being heard,” she says. “In our attempt to understand and tell African stories, we also recognize that our role is not limited to compiling these stories but is also extended to prioritizing the narrative of the communities that have given us the privilege of collaborating with them.”
     

     

     

    MOLDOVA

    Kelly King HorneKelly King Horne (1995–97) is the executive director of Homeward, Virginia’s regional coordinating agency for homeless services, including the development and implementation of a regional strategic plan, board relationships, development, organizational management, and research and analysis.

     

     

     

     

    SENEGAL

    Amy MaglioAmy Maglio (1996–99), following her Peace Corps service, founded the Women’s Global Education Project, a global nonprofit organization with a goal of helping young girls across the world. In March 2021 the organization received a $750,000 grant from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey through his #StartSmall initiative. “This all really came from my experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal,” Maglio told the Chicago Tribune. “I helped my host sister go to school for the first time. I saw firsthand the impact school can have on a girl’s confidence and her future.”

     

     

     

    Katie SpeicherKatie Speicher (2016–18) has published The Giant Tangerine Sunball, her first collection of poems that spring from her Peace Corps service. (Peace Corps Writers, March 2021). She is also the farm manager at Common Ground Farm in Beacon, New York — a nonprofit with a mission of food access and food education.

     

     

     

     

    SIERRA LEONE

    Donald Lu (1988–90) was nominated on April 23, 2021 as Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State. He has been U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic since 2018. The portfolio of the region’s assistant secretary of state consists of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In his three decades as a diplomat, Lu has been the ambassador to Albania, charge d'affaires at the embassy in Azerbaijan, and deputy director of the State Department's Office of Central Asian and South Caucasus Affairs. He also has experience of handling a health emergency having worked on the Ebola crisis in West Africa as Deputy Coordinator for Ebola Response in the State Department.

     

     

    SOMALIA

    Martin GanzglassMartin Ganzglass (1966–68) has published Goats: And Other Stories (Peace Corps Writers, March 2021). His collection of short stories merges the mundane and the supernatural. 

     

     

     

     

     

    SOUTH AFRICA

    C.D. GlinC.D. Glin (1997–99) has been appointed the Vice President, Global Head of Philanthropy for The PepsiCo Foundation. He begins his new role on May 17. Glin will be responsible for the daily management of the Foundation, and will oversee the Foundation's strategic direction and continued focus on driving progress towards a more sustainable food system. Glin has been serving as president and CEO of the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), an Africa-focused philanthropic organization established by Congress to invest grant capital, build capacity, and scale locally-owned, sustainable solutions for underserved and agricultural-dependent populations. He also previously served as associate director in Nairobi, Kenya, at The Rockefeller Foundation and before that was the first director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Global Partnerships at the Peace Corps. He was part of the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers to serve in South Africa. Read and watch his remarks from the 2020 panel “African Americans and the Future of the Peace Corps” here.
     

      

    TUNISIA

    Jody OlsenFormer Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen (1966–68) received the University of Maryland Alumni Association’s President award on April 23, 2021. She is one of six recipients of the Maryland Awards, which celebrate and honor the achievements of outstanding alumni. The award cites her lifelong championing of service, learning, and international opportunities for Americans of all backgrounds. Olsen served as Peace Corps director from March 2018 through January 2021.
     

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across generations and around the world see more

    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff

    By Peter Deekle (Iran 1968–70)

    A mayoral candidate for Boston. A recipient of American Institute of Architects’ highest award. Peace Corps writers write. And a big winner on “Wheel of Fortune”! 

    Photo: A Twitter moment with Jon Santiago, a member of the Massachusetts State Legislature and ER phyiscian — and now candidate for mayor of Boston. 

     

    AZERBAIJAN

    Patrick Newman wearing shirt and tiePatrick Newman will become CEO and president of Fort Worth Botanic Garden and Botanical Research Institute of Texas effective May 1, 2021. He has been serving as executive director of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin since 2016, with more than 14 years in public gardens. At the Lady Bird, he oversaw a $5 million annual budget and supervised a staff of 60 employees and 800 volunteers.

     

     

     

     

    CAMBODIA

    MelanyMelany Danielson smiling Danielson (2015–18) is a recipient of the Priscilla Perry Memorial Scholarship. She is enrolled at the University of Miami Law School and plans to pursue a career in public interest law fighting for marginalized groups.

     

     

     

     

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

    Jon Santiago posing on rooftopIn February, Massachusetts State Representative Jon Santiago (2006–08) declared his candidacy for mayor of Boston. His launch video, titled “Our Boston Story,” tells how his early years in Boston led to a life of service – in the Peace Corps, as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve deploying overseas, an emergency room physician, and as a state representative. Santiago is currently serving his second term as the State Representative for the 9th Suffolk District representing the South End, Roxbury, Back Bay, and Fenway neighborhoods of Boston. He is an emergency room physician employed at Boston Medical Center, the city’s safety net hospital. 
     

     

     

    FIJI

    Carissa Wills-DeMello posing in front of a treeCarissa Wills-DeMello (2014–16) is co-founder and CEO of Town Farm Tonics, along with her partner and fiancé Adam Davenport. Their herbal medicines business is located in Rhode Island.


     

     

     

    GHANA

    Melissa FischerMelissa Fischer is the author of “The Advocacy,” a novel focusing on the gold-mining region in Ghana, and on a village whose drinking water supply is a river, which is ruined by the construction of a dam by the local gold mine. 
     

     

     

     

     

    Rahama WrightRahama Wright (2002–04) was recently featured by Nasdaq.com in an interview, “The Poverty-Alleviating Power of Shea Butter: Rahama Wright's Mission of Empowerment.” After her Peace Corps service, Wright launched Shea Yeleen, a social impact company that creates living wage jobs for women-owned shea butter cooperatives in Ghana. “As a first generation Ghanaian American,” she says, “the lives of women in rural Ghana reflect the life of my mother who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s to give her kids a better future. I grew up in a household where my father, an American, had a master’s degree and my mother had a sixth-grade education. I was acutely aware of the inequalities in the world simply from seeing our family dynamics, and my passion for women’s economic empowerment developed at a young age. As a result of my heritage, I identify deeply with African women and I know how economic opportunities can transform their lives.”

     

    GUATEMALA

    Liat Perlin with basket of fruitLiat Perlin joins the Tulane University’s Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies to continue her Food Studies research by conducting ethnographic work with Guatemalan farmers.  She is also the recipient of a Mellon Fellowship in community engaged scholarship.

     

     

     

     

    LESOTHO

    David Chard wearing a suitDavid Chard has been appointed permanent Dean of Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education and Human Development and Professor of Special Education. He had been serving as interim dean. Dr. Chard previously served as President of Wheelock College until the 2018 merger with Boston University. Prior to that, he was Dean of Southern Methodist University’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development for nine years. He holds a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Oregon and a B.S. in mathematics and chemistry education from Central Michigan University.

     

     

     

     

    Thomas SouciaThomas Soucia (1981–84) is seeking election to a vacant seat on the Franklin County Court bench in New York State. He has worked as a public defender since 2007 and was a child support attorney for the Department of Social Services in Franklin County from 2000 to 2007. In addition to his work in Franklin County, Soucia worked as a public defender in Micronesia, an island nation in the western Pacific, from 1997 to 2000, was in the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Crops from 1989 to 1995, and served on the USS Cape Cod during Operation Desert Storm.

     

     

     

    LIBERIA

    Shelton Johnson in park ranger's uniformShelton Johnson (1982–83) has worked as a park ranger in Yosemite National Park for over 20 years. He recognized the disconnect experienced between Black Americans and natural spaces, saying “one of the great losses to African culture from slavery was the loss of kinship with the earth.” Johnson advocates for representation and inclusion in National parks and still works as a park ranger at the age of 63. He was recently featured by University of Wisconsin-Madison among Black Leaders in Environmentalism. Johnson grew up in Detroit, but discovered his love for nature while living in Germany, where his father was stationed in the army. He received his B.A in English Literature from the University of Michigan and served with the Peace Corps after graduation. Johnson then began working as a park ranger and was soon inspired by the work done by the Buffalo Soldiers at Yosemite in the early 1900s. Johnson thought of his own upbringing in Detroit and decided to focus his efforts on bringing people of color to the great outdoors.  

      

    LITHUANIA

    Patrick ChuraPatrick Chura (1992–94) is the author of “Michael Gold: The People’s Writer,” published by SUNY Press in December 2020. It is an authoritative biography of the dean of American proletarian writers during the interwar years. Jewish American Communist writer and cultural figure Michael Gold (1893–1967) was a key progressive author of his generation, yet today his work is too often forgotten. His acclaimed autobiographical novel Jews without Money (1930) is a vivid account of early twentieth-century immigrant life in the tenements of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. 

    Chura is Professor of English at the University of Akron. He is the author of “Thoreau the Land Surveyor” and “Vital Contact: Downclassing Journeys in American Literature from Herman Melville to Richard Wright.”

     

     

    MICRONESIA

    Tim Cureton in his coffee shopTim Cureton, along with Abby West, opened the first Rise Up Coffee in St. Michaels, Maryland. And what started as one small coffee trailer in a parking lot has evolved into five iconic locations.


     

     

     

    MONGOLIA

    Jeffrey ReevesJeffrey Reeves (2001–03) is vice president of research for the Asia Pacific Foundation (APF) of Canada. Prior to joining APF Canada, Reeves was the director of Asian studies at the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. 
     

     

     

     

    MOROCCO

    Robert K. MillerRobert K. Miller was appointed to the Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) Foundation Board of Directors in December 2020. He joined the SBCC District Board of Trustees in March 2018.
     

     

     

     

    PARAGUAY

    Miriam Welderufael posing outsideD-M-H-A ... and what words begin to appear? Miriam Welderufael served as a Volunteer in Paraguay 2013–16. And here’s a moment of true delight for her in a bonus round on “Wheel of Fortune” in February 2021. Welderufael is a portfolio manager at AmeriCorps in Los Angeles. For those who want to know how things turned out on the show, be sure to watch the video in the link. (Here’s a clue: Her winnings include over $57,000 and a Mustang convertible.)
     

     

     

     

    PERU

    Edward MazriaThe American Institute of Architects (AIA) has awarded Edward Mazria (1963–65) the 2021 annual gold medal, AIA’s highest honor. As the founder of Architecture 2030, Mazria is attempting to transform the built environment from the major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central solution to the climate crisis.
     

     

     

     

    UZBEKISTAN

    Tom BissellThe latest from writer Tom Bissell (1996) is a collection of short stories, “Creative Types and Other Stories,” published by Pantheon Press (March 2021). As Publishers Weekly notes, “The seven stories in Bissell’s droll, thoughtful collection (after the travelogue Apostle) portray artistic people in the midst of unfortunate circumstances, often due to their own actions.” There’s a confrontation with a Roman tour guide during a honeymoon trip that goes awry; a married couple who’s hiring of a female escort leads to more serious problems revealed, and comeuppances for both a schoolyard bully-turned-magazine editor and for a former lawyer for the Justice Department who is accused of war crimes overseas for his advocacy of torture during the Iraq War.

    Many readers know Bissell’s work through the film adaptation of “The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room,” made into a film by James Franco. In the new collection, “The Hack” follows an assistant for Franco navigating the actors’ demands during an appearance on Saturday Night Live. 

    Bissell’s books include “Chasing the Sea: Lost Among the Ghosts of Empire in Central Asia,” “The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam,” and “Magic Hours: Essays On Creators and Creation.”

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    Achievements in the Peace Corps community from across the country -- and around the world see more

    News and updates from the Peace Corps community — across the country, around the world, and spanning generations of returned Volunteers and staff

    By Peter Deekle (Iran 1968–70)

     

    Pioneering Black women in leadership roles with the Department of Labor and Department of State. Bringing expertise to work on the National Security Council and in the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador. Recognition for work toward equity in health and forest stewardship. And a new role in journalism. 

    Photo: A Twitter moment with Janelle Jones, the new chief economist for the Department of Labor. She’s the first Black woman to serve in that role. 

     

    CAMEROON

    Erin Swiader took on responsibilities in January 2021 as Acting Forest Supervisor for the Santa Fe National Forest in northern New Mexico. She will oversee the management, protection, and productivity of the 1.6 million acres of the national forest. Swiader comes to this role from the Northern Region for the Forest Service, where she serves as chief of staff. The Northern Region is headquartered in Missoula, Montana, and encompasses nine national forests and the Dakota Prairie Grasslands across five states.

     

     

     

    CAMBODIA

    Jalina Porter (2009-2011) was appointed in January 2021 to serve as deputy spokesperson for the U.S. State Department. She is the first Black woman in history to serve in that role. She was formerly communications director for Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA), who has been appointed a senior advisor to the Biden Administration. Learn more about Porter and read her interview with civil rights attorney Elaine Jones in the new edition of WorldView magazine.

     

     

     

    ECUADOR

    Maurice Lee has received the Fifth Annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity. The award, presented by the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, began in 2016. Dr. Lee is Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director of St. Vincent de Paul’s Virginia G. Piper Medical and Dental Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2016 Dr. Lee founded the Arizona Safety Net, collaboration among 40+ Phoenix-area free and low-cost clinics aimed at improving health equity for Arizona’s uninsured. 

     

     

     

    ETHIOPIA

    Topaz Smith is the founder and CEO of EN-NOBEL, with a vision to improve global peacefulness and sustainable socioeconomics in culturally rich communities.

     

     

     

     

    THE GAMBIA

    Megan Vigil was recently appointed by the Lake County Commissioners as the county’s new Public Health Officer. She is a family practice physician with St. Luke Community Healthcare in Ronan, Montana. 

     

     

     

     

    GUATEMALA

    Juan Gonzalez (2001–04) has taken on responsibilities as Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere. He previously served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs during the Obama administration. 

     

     

     

     

    JAMAICA

    Steven Lawrence is an adjunct professor of American government at Walters State Community College. He has been appointed as a Hamblen County Election Commissioner by the Tennessee State Election Commission.

     

     

     

     

    KOSOVO

    Michaela Washington (2018–20) was sworn in in December 2020 as an Equal Opportunity Specialist with the Chicago’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.

     

     

     

     

    MOLDOVA

    Robert Allen Jr. (2019–20) has been selected as a 2021 Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow. The fellowship is funded by the U.S. Department of State, administered by Howard University, attracting and preparing outstanding young people for Foreign Service careers in the U.S. Department of State. It welcomes the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the State Department.

     

     

     

    MOZAMBIQUE

    Ethan Fogg (2017–19) has begun an 11-month internship to bolster community and economic development efforts undertaken by Grow Gillespie, the local volunteer group focused on the economic growth of Gillespie, Illinois.

     

     

     

     

    NIGER

    Stacie Haines (1997–2000) is the development director at Maine Conservation Voters, and has been appointed by the governor as an expert in the delivery of environmental services to communities and individuals.

     

     

     

     

    John D. Mann (1988–91) has been reappointed by Californiia Governor Gavin Newsom as Deputy Director of Legislation at the California Department of Technology, where he has served since 2017. He served as communications director in the Office of California State Senator Tony Mendoza from 2014 to 2017, and as communications director on the Alex Padilla for Secretary of State Campaign from 2013 to 2014, and in the Office of California State Senator Alex Padilla from 2011 to 2014. 

     

    Robin Martz (1993-1995) is the director of the USAID Rwanda Health Office. She has worked on maternal and child health in Laos, polio in Afghanistan, HIV in Haiti, and emerging pandemic threats in Thailand and Cambodia.

     

     

     

     

    PARAGUAY

    Brendan O’Brien assumed the position of the Charge d’Affaires of the United States Embassy in San Salvador in January. Previously, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission (2019–21), Consul General at the United States Embassy in San Salvador (2017–19), and at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires. Aires, Argentina (2014–17). 

     

     

     

    PERU

    Janelle Jones has taken on the role of Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Labor — the first Black woman to serve in this top post. Previously, she has worked for the Economic Policy Institute (2016–18) and the Center for Economic and Policy Research (2011–14). One place to start to learn more about her work and ideas: a piece she co-authored last summer for the Washington Post, “The Federal Reserve could help make the job market fairer for Black workers.”

     

     

     

    SENEGAL

    Rajiv Joseph’s play, “Red Folder,” is the opening production for the new year by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. It is the third of six productions debuting on its Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage.

     

     

     

     

    TOGO

    E. Scott Osborne (1980–82) is the president of the board of the Gulf Coast chapter of UN Women USA. She leads seminars on gender equality and speaks often to young people in the Sarasota, Florida, area. She has also raised the profile of the nonprofit organization’s Through Women’s Eyes film festival, an annual event that screens films by women directors from around the world. The festival is now in its 22nd year.

     

     

    UGANDA

    James Wilterding was appointed in January to serve as executive director of University of New Mexico Student Health and Counseling (SHAC). The pandemic has emphasized the essential role healthy campus communities have on student success.

     

     

     

      

    ZAMBIA

    Andy Blye (2017-2018) was hired by the Phoenix Business Journal to cover financial services and technology. Previously, he was a reporting intern at Dow Jones News Fund. He was also a graduate assistant at Arizona State University and has served as a market intelligence specialist at bChannels.