community

  • Ana Victoria Cruz posted an article
    We are listening, and we stand in solidarity with all who are actively driving efforts for change. see more

    Ideas and actions — and the principles that guide us

    By Maricarmen Smith-Martinez and Glenn Blumhorst
     

    As Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, current and former staff, host country nationals, family, and friends, we uphold a commitment to creating a better world, one that promotes world peace and friendship. In this spirit, National Peace Corps Association envisions a united and vibrant Peace Corps community. We Stand Against Racial Injustice and affirm our commitment to empathy and justice — around the world, and here at home.

    Yet in the midst of national unrest ignited by systemic injustice, a vision of unity and vibrance is not enough. We must take more concrete steps to ensure a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture for all RPCVs and members of our community. 

    Evidence of racial inequity exists in many forms, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed deep systemic problems in our country. Continued violence and police brutality against the Black community has ignited protests from coast to coast — and in scores of other countries. Economic insecurity, impacting tens of millions of Americans, disproportionately impacts people of color. Black Americans are dying at higher rates due to health disparities rooted in a problematic healthcare system. And while the ongoing struggle for racial equity and social justice resonates strongly with core Peace Corps values, Volunteers of color continue to share challenges of racism, bias, and exclusivity, describing experiences during recruitment, in service, and after returning home. 

    It is humbling to acknowledge shortcomings, and it is difficult to change a system — but we will not succeed if we do not try. Inherent in this effort is the need for change within NPCA itself. Our staff and Board of Directors must consistently reflect the diversity we champion. Our programming must proactively incorporate values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

     

    Roadmap for the Future

    To that end, the NPCA Board of Directors is charting a course for progress toward a more diverse and inclusive culture within our Board of Directors, our staff, and our Peace Corps community. We are developing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Framework with cross-cutting priorities across our strategic plan, addressing the need for systemic change not only within our organization but also within Peace Corps, in our membership and Affiliate Group Network, and in our global social impact. 

    As a starting point, the policy will serve to:

    • Ensure diversity and inclusion within the NPCA staff and Board.

    • Ensure training to improve the organization and the workplace, such as training to better understand unconscious bias.

    • Support efforts to help the Peace Corps be the best it can be and address racism and inequity within the institution.

    • Support efforts to empower members and affiliate groups to thrive by ensuring opportunity for diversity and inclusion at NPCA events such as Peace Corps Connect; enhancing outreach efforts to RPCVs and affiliate groups of color; and building capacity for the Affiliate Group Network to facilitate conversations about social justice and to mobilize members to take action.

    • Support efforts to amplify the Peace Corps community’s global social impact by proactively seeking applications for projects that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion — bolstering work with minority-owned startup enterprises and leveraging our new home at Peace Corps Place in the Truxton Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C., to engage in activities that address systemic racism.
       

     

    Join Us in this Work

    Our board and staff have taken the first steps to demonstrate NPCA’s proactive and deliberate leadership reflected on our new We Stand Together For Change web page. NPCA has also adapted existing tools to contact Congressional representatives, leveraging opportunities for RPCVs to advocate for racial equity and social justice legislation. We facilitated a Group Leaders Discussion: Affiliate Group Stand for Racial Justice. Our staff has formed a DEI Working Group with dedicated hours and budget. And we have more work to undertake together. 

    We understand that RPCVs are ready to support this cause. We recognize the difficulty of sharing experiences with racism and bias — from decades past or just last week. And we applaud those who are able to speak out and voice their experiences. We also acknowledge the discomfort of approaching conversations about race from a point of privilege. We commend the RPCVs and affiliate groups that have facilitated events, such as the RPCV/W Town Hall for Racial Justice, to not only advance the conversation but also take action. 

    We are listening, and we stand in solidarity with all who are actively driving efforts for change. On behalf of the NPCA Board and leadership, we seek your feedback, encourage your recommendations, and invite your ideas. And we welcome your shared commitment to this crucial work now — and for the long haul. 

     Visit Page


     Maricarmen Smith-Martinez is Chair of the Board of Directors for National Peace Corps Association. She served as a Volunteer in Costa Rica 2006–08.

    Glenn Blumhorst is President and CEO of National Peace Corps Association. He served as a Volunteer in Guatemala 1988–91.

     

  • Steven Saum posted an article
    Food for thought — and life — in a time of crisis see more

    Food for thought — and for life — in a time of crisis

    By NPCA Staff
    Photo: Ackeem Evans, left, with a volunteer for World Central Kitchen. Courtesy Ackeem Evans. 

     

    Here are two stories that inspired us in the past two days: Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who have carried their sense of community and commitment to the critical work they’re doing at a time of a global pandemic, and when people across the United States and around the world have taken to the streets to protest racial injustice.

     

     

     

    Ackeem Evans was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Albania when an earthquake struck, killing scores and injuring thousands. In the aftermath, he worked with World Central Kitchen (WCK) to provide meals to those affected by the earthquake. When he was evacuated in March, he connected with WCK in his home town of Atlanta. He’s now leading operations for WCK in Georgia, ensuring tens of thousands of free meals get to the needy and underserved.
     

    Thanks to Henri Hollis with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for this story.

     




    Jocelyn Jackson served as a natural resources Volunteer in Mali 2005-06. “To spend two years in a small village, with less than 500 people, in the Sahel area was all the sadness and it was all the beauty, it was all the joy and it was all the sorrow,” she writes. “And being able to hold those things simultaneously was one of the biggest gifts of that experience.”

    She has written an essay for Eater of her remarkable journey to this point in time. One moment: Her parents’ families came from the South. “In my mom’s case, it was a three o’clock in the morning train escaping Mississippi in order to survive, in the face of family members and friends of the family being lynched.”

    She also earned an M.S. in environmental education and cofounded People’s Kitchen Collective in Oakland, California to serve the community. And that’s what makes her story so powerful now. Amid the pandemic and protests against racial injustice she asks:
     

    “It is so heartbreaking that in a moment of pandemic, so much racialized violence is happening that we will die in order to prevent our deaths. We will die in order to prevent our deaths. And I don’t know if that has sunk in for the broader community yet. But that is the difficult non-choice at this moment. If not now, when? Our black and brown community is risking their lives.”

  • Ana Victoria Cruz posted an article
    Share your story—whether it’s video, pictures, text. This is just a beginning. see more

    On March 15 more than 7,300 Peace Corps Volunteers were told they needed to leave the communities they had called home—an unprecedented global evacuation. They were uprooted from the lives and work they had come to know, sometimes without the opportunity to even say goodbye. They are returning to a country in crisis.

    National Peace Corps Association is working to ensure they have the resources they need during these uncertain and difficult times. We also want to make sure the world hears their stories.

    We are gathering here first-person videos and stories, as well as interviews with evacuated Volunteers from around the world.

    We invite you to participate, too. We want to share your story—whether it’s video, pictures, text, or you’d like to talk to one of our writers. This is just a beginning.

     

    Stories


    Daniel Lang
    Mongolia
    Home: Originally the Midwest — now North Las Vegas, Nevada

    English Education and Community Development Volunteer

    “To me, Peace Corps wasn’t just about teaching languages. It was about promoting equity.”

    Learn More

     

    Meg Holladay
    Ghana
    Home: Amherst, Massachusetts

    Peace Corps Health Extension Volunteer

    “Peace Corps work is so powerful because it’s work we do together with our communities, based on their priorities. It’s work that can become sustainable as we share knowledge and learn together.”

    Learn More

     

    Danielle Shulkin
    Panama

    Home: Sharon, Massachusetts

    Teaching English, Leadership, and Life Skills (TELLS) Volunteer helping teachers improve their skills and develop new teaching methodologies. She had one hour to pack before evacuating. Now she is a contact tracer with Partners In Health.

    "I'm still hoping to go back to Panama one way or another, mostly because I feel very indebted to the whole country and I really want to pay that back...I can only hope that we have the opportunity to do that moving forward."

    Learn More

     

    Chelsea Bajek
    Vanuatu

    Home: Rochester, New York by way of Arlington, Virginia

    Community health Volunteer in a rural community, focusing on water, sanitation, and nutrition.

    “Even though I am back in the United States, I continue to work with the women’s group on this project, believing it could provide real change for these women.”

    Learn More

     

    Charles Castillo
    Namibia
    Home: Medford, New Jersey

    Teaching information communication technology and art classes to deaf students in northern Namibia.

    “I would also like for Peace Corps Volunteers to help empower deaf and hard-of-hearing people to let them know that they are just as capable as hearing people in achieving their dreams, and to not let anything hold them back.”

    Learn More

     

    Elyse Magen
    Colombia
    Home: San Francisco, California
    Working on economic empowerment of women in Colombia — helping women who harvest cacao and turn that into chocolate products*

    “These women [entrepreneurs] have been fighting really hard … a lot of people telling them they can’t.”

    Learn More

     

    *Through NPCA's Community Fund, Elyse's project was fully funded!

     

    Danielle Montecalvo
    Madagascar
    Home: Rochester, New York
    Post-secondary English educator at the University of Mahajanga

    “I left behind the most extraordinary community … If it is not possible to personally reinstate or return to Metangula, I hope that Peace Corps is able to reinstate its programs in Mozambique so that Metangula will receive another volunteer in the future.”

    Learn More

     

    Kevin Lawson
    Ukraine
    Home: Greensboro, North Carolina

    Youth Development Volunteer in Apostolove, Dnipropetrovs'ka oblast

    “Ukrainians and I are asking the same question: When will I come back? And more important: When will Peace Corps come back?”

    Learn More

     

    Jim Damico
    Nepal
    Home: Kansas City, Missouri

    Three-time Peace Corps Volunteer teaching English — and had hoped to extend to three years of service in Nepal. Previously served in Thailand and Mongolia.

    “I left students behind — many that were lower level students that most teachers had written off. … Many of them have begun to be excited about learning … I want to return as soon as possible.”

    Learn More

     

    Stacie Scott
    Mozambique
    Home: Louisville, Kentucky

    Serving as a community health services promoter

    “I left behind the most extraordinary community … If it is not possible to personally reinstate or return to Metangula, I hope that Peace Corps is able to reinstate its programs in Mozambique so that Metangula will receive another volunteer in the future.”

    Learn More

     

    Ryan Blackwell
    Togo
    Home: Greater Washington, DC Area

    Serving as an English teaching and gender education Volunteer

    “We need to get the Peace Corps opened up again as soon as possible. … [They’re] doing incredible work, especially supporting girls’ education.”

    Learn More

     

    Sierra Drummond
    Thailand
    Home: Thousand Oaks, California

    Working as part of Teaching Empowerment for Student Success (TESS) program, teaching alongside a Thai teacher.

    “Peace Corps really provides an outlet for creating a global community, and I think there always be a need for that.”

    Learn More

     

    Lucy Baker
    Mongolia
    Home: San Francisco, California

    Working as a Public Health Education Volunteer

    “Mongolia loves Peace Corps! … I really hope that—in enough time—Peace Corps will send Volunteers back and be able to continue the work going on in the country.”

     Learn More

     

    Benjamin Rietmann
    Dominican Republic
    Home: Condon, Oregon

    Working with dairy farmers on economic development and entrepreneurship.

    “Much of what I was doing seemed like it would soon have promising results.” 

    Learn More

     

    Jae Cho
    Kyrgyz Republic
    Home: Gloucester, Virginia

    Teaching English as a foreign language in a school in a small village. Unfinished business: building a resource center for learning English to help students, faculty, and staff.

    “I hope everyone stays safe, and I will be back as soon as possible.”

    Learn More

     


    Steven Boyd Saum served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine 1994–96 and is the editor of WorldView magazine. Reach him at worldview@peacecorpsconnect.org.

  • Ana Victoria Cruz posted an article
    An ideas summit to ask some big questions about the Peace Corps community in a changed world. see more

    We’re convening for an ideas summit to ask some big questions about the Peace Corps community in a changed world. 


    In the next few weeks, we’re also bringing together members of the Peace Corps community around issues of racial injustice and climate change — to help shape our agenda for the future.

    In March 2020, Peace Corps Volunteers were evacuated globally because of a global pandemic still taking its toll. That created an unprecedented and enormous challenge on its own.

    We want to help reignite the work of Peace Corps around the world. So how do we do that, and make sure that Peace Corps — and our community — is the best that it can be?

    Join us to help answer these questions — and take action.

     

    Learn More & Register

  • Amanda Silva posted an article
    Becoming a mission partner is more than a financial contribution, it's a continuation of service. see more

    By Maricarmen Smith-Martinez (Costa Rica 2006-2008)  

    As Peace Corps Volunteers, our desire to impact our communities and effect positive change drives us to invest our time, our skills, and our passion. Providing guidance as a community leader, as a mentor, and as a friend, I impacted my community in Costa Rica in many ways. Back at home, the investment continues as the community grows. You can “close the service” of a Volunteer, but you can never take away our passion to serve.

    As a Mission Partner of the NPCA, I know that my contributions support our larger Peace Corps community and allow us to increase our impact both at home and abroad. As a Shriver Circle member, I contribute my financial support, providing NPCA with the flexibility to employ it where it’s needed most. As an advocate, I share my Volunteer experience, encouraging Congress to build a bigger, better Peace Corps.

    As the Coordinator of the Affiliate Group Network (AGN) on the NPCA Board, I partner with staff to enable our affiliate groups to thrive. Working with AGN leaders at the grassroots level, we identified necessary resources and developed a platform to provide better methods for groups to engage and connect. Our nearly 160 affiliate groups are always looking for tools to engage their membership, expand their reach, and increase their impact. As a result, we launched the Purpose-driven Group webinar series, enabling groups to build their capacity through best-practices on topics such as legal considerations or how to host a Story Slam. The webinar series also provides the opportunity to learn about NPCA benefits like SilkStart, the Community Builder platform that offers comprehensive technology for website and membership database management.

    As a proud member of the Peace Corps community, I make an impact by continuing to serve.

    Make your impact. Become a Mission Partner of the NPCA.

  • Ana Victoria Cruz posted an article
    Community news highlighting achievements of RPCVs see more

    Community News - Achievements of RPCVs

    Author: Peter Deekle
    February 2020

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    Tony Agnello is preparing a presentation in 2020 for a sermon at a local Unitarian Church entitled Afghanistan - Where Empires Go To Die. The sermon will address the fate of Iran and Khorasan which have been linked throughout history.

     
     

    CHILE

    Jesse Dubin (1964-1966) reported in 2020 that a Peace Corps Volunteer Scholarship Award at SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, Syracuse, NY has been funded by RPCV graduates of the College. It is presented annually. Interested parties may contact S. Scott Shannon, Dean of the Graduate School at sshannon@esf.edu.

     

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

    Lisa Peña (2003-2006) is Manager for the Hispanic Initiative for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri, and founder of Urban Hikes (Kansas City).

     


     

    MOROCCO

    Liz Fanning (1993-1995) is the founder and executive director of CorpsAfrica, modeled on Peace Corps and AmeriCorps programs. Started in 2011, the organization recruits individuals from African countries to work and live in high-poverty communities within their own country for one year, creating small-scale, high-impact projects that address barriers for economic growth and prosperity.


     

    PHILIPPINES

    Kristina Engstrom (1962-1964) is the author of the memoir I Had Servants Once: Peace Corps Volunteer Tell All, published in October 2019 by Levellers Press. The book recounts the author’s experiences at educational improvement and disease prevention in various countries.

     

    RWANDA

    Mary Rose Rutikanga (2009-2011) served for the past five years as Senior Administrative Analyst in Calaveras County, CA. She was appointed Sonora City Administrator in February 2020. Her Peace Corps tenure included health services and community development.


     
     

    SIERRA LEONE

    Mary Onken (1964-1966) has been selected to referee the upcoming Olympic trials for track and field.

     

     


    UKRAINE

    Steven Boyd Saum (1994-1996) was appointed editor of NPCA’s WorldView magazine. He will lead the editorial focus, solicit content from the Peace Corps community, write feature articles, incorporate advertising, and supervise the art director in developing and producing WorldView

     


    Please share your news with us! Email Peter Deekle.

  • Ana Victoria Cruz posted an article
    We want to hear from you! see more

    What global issues do you care most about? What global issues do you think the Peace Corps Community nationwide is in the best position to address and affect real change? 

    These are among the critical questions we are asking in a short survey that represents proactive leadership by National Peace Corps Association. The results will likely shape our future efforts in helping our members pursue the Third Goal of the Peace Corps. Your input will help us identify the global issues our community cares about most and the actions we might take together to address them. By completing the survey, you also will be eligible to win a FREE conference registration, plus coverage of lodging and domestic travel costs to attend the Peace Corps Connect conference in Seattle on July 16-18, 2020. You don’t have to be an NPCA member to take part in the survey.

     

    Complete the Survey

  • As we reflect on an amazing 40th anniversary year, we are grateful for our community of supporters. see more

    From our 15th annual National Days of Action and our interactive Peace Corps Connect Conference to our continuing and renewed partnerships, this year National Peace Corps Association mobilized the Peace Corps community like never before: we advocated for Peace Corps at all levels, advanced Third Goal efforts, and empowered our affiliate groups to thrive. 

     

    Learn More About Our Work in 2019

     

    As we reflect on an amazing 40th anniversary year, we are grateful for our community of supporters that help us achieve our mission. This giving season, we exceeded our $10,000 Giving Tuesday goal to advance advocacy efforts to protect Peace Corps and received donations from thousands of individuals who contributed to support NPCA affiliate groups, our Community Fund, and our cause-related initiatives. 

    There is still time to make a year-end gift! Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support NPCA’s work. We truly cannot do what we do without support from people like you! 

    Thank you in advance for your support.

    In service,

    Glenn Blumhorst
    President & CEO

    Donate Now

  • Community news highlighting achievements of RPCVs see more

    Community News - Achievements of RPCVs

    Author: Peter Deekle
    January 2020

     

    BELIZE

    Nancy Heil Knor (1989-1991) has published WOVEN, a book filled with letters, journal entries, and spiritual reflections from her two years in Belize.

     

     

    GHANA

    Zack Moore received a month-long Fulbright international exchange award, teaching science and technology at Ghana-Lebanon Islamic School.

     

      

    Caitlin Wilson (2017-2019) recently completed her Peace Corps service as an agricultural extension agent and is now pursuing a Masters of Science degree at West Virginia University.  She plans to work in the field of natural resource management upon graduation.

     

     

    KENYA

    Terry Severson (1984-1986) is the forest fire management officer at the Hoosier National Forest (Indiana). He has managed fires for three federal agencies: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. National Parks Service, and the U.S. Forest Service. International opportunities facilitated by the Forest Service have taken him to the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent years.

     

    MOROCCO

    Robert Cochrane (1981-1983) released the novel, Sayonara Sacrifice in November 2019. The 320-page baseball fiction mystery was published by Xpat Fiction.  

     

      

    NICARAGUA

    Kurt Krahn (2003-2005) became executive director of the Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity on Jan. 1, 2020. His Spanish fluency and his interest in Habitat’s commitment to installing solar power in their homes were motivating factors for his appointment.

     

     

    RWANDA

    Markey Culver (2010-2012) is the founder and CEO of The Women’s Bakery (Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and United States), which teaches women to build businesses that nourish communities and support families.

     

     

    SOUTH KOREA

    Linda and Gordon Gidlund (1977-1979) recently traveled to South Korea as guests of the Korea Foundation, an organization that fosters global understanding. Their week-long stay included visits to museums, schools, historical sites, and, most rewardingly, the headquarters of the Korea Overseas International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), an equivalent of the Peace Corps in annually sending thousands of Korean aid workers to 56 developing countries. 

     

    UKRAINE

    Mathew Corliss (2017-2019) discussed in a talk in mid-December Ukraine’s history since independence in 1991, including the Ukrainian revolution, language politics, corruption, and the wars in the eastern region of Ukraine and Crimea. Ukrainian-Russian relations and relations with the United States was a central focus of his remarks. Corliss also discussed the significance of the election of President Zelensky and provided explanations of who’s who in Ukrainian politics.

     


    Please share your news with us! Email Peter Deekle.

  • Ana Victoria Cruz posted an article
    Community news highlighting achievements of RPCVs see more

    Community News - Achievements of RPCVs

    Author: Peter Deekle
    December 2019

     

    ARMENIA

    Liz Barron (2017-2019) has been chronicling her experiences and observations pertaining to her Peace Corps service through her blog marigoldmoment.com. Read her everyday adventures in Armenia and elsewhere.


     

    COLOMBIA

    Vicky Ramakka (1972-1974) is a a published academic writer who is now writing for popular publications. She recently published her first novel, The Cactus Plot, through Artemesia Publishing. This environmental mystery is set in northwest New Mexico, featuring a botanist dealing with conflicting uses of public land.  

     
     

    ECUADOR

    Andrea Erickson-Quiroz (1988-1990) is currently the managing director for water security at The Nature Conservancy, a charitable environmental organization. She has been with the organization for more than 21 years. She leads a team of freshwater scientists, policy experts, economists, and conservation practitioners to identify, test, and deploy strategies to secure and protect water sources.

     

    HONDURAS

    Jerry Bauer (1975-1977) is the director and program manager for international cooperation with the USDA Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is among the RPCVs interviewed in the new Peace Corps documentary, A Towering Task, and had a role in helping the filmmakers in the early stages of the production.

     

    PARAGUAY

    Mark Jacobs (1978-1980), a former Foreign Service officer, has contributed a new short story, “Wild Turkey,” to Maple Tree Literary Supplement. He has published more than 140 stories in magazines, including The Atlantic, Playboy, The Baffler, The Hudson Review, and The Iowa Review.  He is fluent in Spanish and Turkish.

     
     

    SIERRA LEONE

    Allen Mondell (1963-1965), an East Dallas filmmaker, has produced a new documentary film that recounts the experiences of Peace Corps Volunteers. Waging Peace: The Peace Corps Experience aired on November 28, 2019 on PBS affiliate KERA. The documentary is told almost entirely through letters, journals, emails, and blogs of former Volunteers.

     

    WEST INDES

    Vicky Hausman is the co-founder of Forward Majority, an organization focused on winning state legislative power to address the gerrymandering and voter suppression that undermines democracy.

     

     

    ZAMBIA

    Katerina Paone (2018-2019) witnessed firsthand during her Peace Corps service how climate change has caused food and economic insecurity decreased educational attainment, prompting her to write an editorial, The Poor are Hurt Most by Climate Change: The people who are hurt have contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions in the November 15, 2019 issue of the Flathead Beacon (Montana).

     


    Please share your news with us! Email Peter Deekle.

  • Ana Victoria Cruz posted an article
    Community news highlighting achievements of RPCVs see more

    Community News - Achievements of RPCVs

    Author: Peter Deekle
    November 2019

     

    BENIN

    Molloy Sheehan (2016-2018) recently received a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research on preventing diseases in Togo. Her scholarship will study four main behavioral risk factors: nutrition, exercise, alcohol, and tobacco use.

     

    ECUADOR

    Amanda Sliva (2017-2019) shared her Peace Corps story and experience with the local Ashland Rotary Club (NE) in October 2019. Sliva is planning a six-month return to her Peace Country, Ecuador, offering English tutoring.

     
     

    GEORGIA

    Paul Stephens (2005-2007) is co-founder and executive director of the Transcaucasian Trail project, creating a long distance hiking trail in the Caucasus Mountains. The project began in 2015. For more information visit https://transcaucasiantrail.org.

     

    IRAN

    Randy Gibson (1972-1973) presented reflections on his Peace Corps service and the changing nature of that organization over the decades as part of the 25th anniversary of the Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development at Illinois State University. Randy was the first Peace Corps Fellow recruited at the University.   

     

    MALAWI

    Paul Theroux (1963-1965) is the author of On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in October 2019. The book mixes a visitor’s reportage and political commitment, while also providing a prescription for improving U.S.-Mexico relations.


     

    PHILIPPINES

    John Gorman (1982-1985) was reappointed as Federal Public Defender of the District of Guam in October 2019. He was first appointed to the office in 2003 and is supported by two assistant federal public defenders and three office staff.

     

     


    Please share your news with us! Email Peter Deekle.

  • Ana Victoria Cruz posted an article
    Community news highlighting achievements of RPCVs see more

    Community News - Achievements of RPCVs

    Author: Peter Deekle
    October 2019

     

    CHILE

    Diane Bammel (1967-1969) worked part time during her Peace Corps service in an orphanage for girls and part time in a small Baptist kindergarten in the major slum of Concepcion.  One of the orphans became her foster daughter. In October 2018, Diane sold her home and car, and moved to Chile to live with her foster daughter Anita and her husband Carlos, where she became involved in the same slum of Concepcion, called Aguita de la Perdiz.

     

    COSTA RICA

    Kirti Mathura (1984-1986) is a popular and frequent public speaker and horticultural consultant. She recently shared her expertise in early October about “Landscaping for Birds” at the Desert Rivers Monthly Speaker Series in Arizona. She provided information on native and desert-adapted plants that provide food, shelter, and nesting opportunities for birds year-round while also beautifying your home garden.

     

    GABON

    Stacy Jupiter (1997-1999) received was name one of 26 MacArthur Foundation Fellows for 2019, citing her efforts to save lives and coral reefs as well as build on traditional practices to figure out when, where, and how long to close off fishing areas to best manage natural resources. The honor comes with a grant totaling $625,000. Stacy directs the Wildlife Conservation Society's Melanesia Program Fulbright scholarship.

     

    GHANA

    Zack Moore (1997-1999) is Laguna Blanca’s (CA) STEM coordinator and science instructor.  He received the Fulbright Distinguished Teacher Award and will travel in November to Ghana to facilitate STEM integration in the Ghana-Lebanon Islamic School. Laguna Blanca is a not-for-profit EK-12 co-educational, college preparatory day school. The Fulbright award will support Zack’s pursuit of female inclusion in STEM fields.

     

    GRENADA

    Rachel Passmore (2015-2017) served in Peace Corps as a literacy and health specialist following a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Delhi, India. Since June 2019, she is Project Director of 24-Month Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

     

     

    GUYANA

    Travis Hill-Weber (2011-2013) has been appointed the director of the Pepperdine University Buenos Aires International Program; he oversees all of the program operations, including student affairs, academic programs, and educational field trips. He and his wife live in Buenos Aires.

     

     

    IRAN

    Donna Shalala (1962-1964) was elected in 2019 as the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 27th District. She formerly held several academic leadership positions and was the 18th U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (1993-2001). Donna has also served on the National Peace Corps Association Advisory Council.

     

     

    LESOTHO

    David Gorman (1989-1992) is the founder of Bikes for Lesotho. Following his Peace Corps service, he began collecting used bikes to ship overseas to the people of Lesotho. Since 2012, Bikes for Lesotho has shipped thousands of bikes, with the help of Working Bikes Cooperative.

     

    Michelle Wilcox (2013-2015) having played varsity soccer prior to her graduation in 2012, was inducted in September 2019 into the Lyndon State College Athletic Hall of Fame. During Peace Corps service she was an English teacher at the primary level. There were many people with AIDS and she taught disease prevention and life skills, working with vulnerable young women. 

     

    LIBYA

    Randolph Hobler (1968-1969) is completing 101 Arabian Tales: How We All Persevered in Peace Corps Libya. In the course of research and writing, he interviewed 101 RPCVs from Libya, distinguishing it among other Peace Corps memoirs. While marketing for the book, he noted that many RPCVs beyond professional career pursuits are also deeply involved in community service activities, both locally and abroad.

     

    MALAYSIA

    Roni Lerner Love (1965-1967) reported that Malaysia 13 held its 54th reunion in Seattle on September 5-8, 2019. This group began training at Northern Illinois University in September 1965, completing it in Hilo, Hawaii. Volunteers from this group were assigned in-country at the end of December until December of 1967.  Wendy Grimes O’Leary and MaryAnn MacKay coordinated the reunion. The group's last two reunions have been 2 years apart while previous ones were about every 5 years. They plan on continuing to meet biennially.

     

    MOLDOVA

    John Lewis (1997-1999) returned to his Peace Corps country of service after 20 years to shoot a web series on the highs and lows of country living abroad. Lost in Moldova, written by scriptwriter John Lewis and produced by an American-Moldovan team of filmmakers, navigates the cultural divides between both nations with lighthearted humor.

     

    NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS

    Catherine “Kit” Porter Van Meter (1967-1969) reports that the RPCV community that served in the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI) and Micronesia in the late 1960's and early 1970's is collecting  pictures and stories from Peace Corps Volunteers and Staff who lived and served in the region. They are working with the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience to preserve and make accessible content related to their service. They are also in communication with the CNMI Official Archives and Northern Marianas Humanities Council (NMHC) about content sharing. The NMHC has funded a matching grant to facilitate community involvement and development of this project. 

     

    PARAGUAY

    Mark Jacobs (1978-80) has recently published his short story, Wild Turkey, in Maple Tree Literary Supplement. He has published more than 140 stories in magazines, and among his five books are A Handful of Kings, published by Simon and Shuster, and Stone Cowboy, by Soho Press. He is also a former Foreign Service officer and speaks fluent Spanish and Turkish, along with some Guaraní.

     

    SENEGAL

    Amy Maglio (1996-1999) is the founder of the Oak Park-Chicago based nonprofit Women’s Global Education Project, which helps girls in Africa stay in school and thereby reduces female genital mutilation and early marriage.

     

     

    TURKEY

    William Brockhaus' (1967-1969) memoir, Letters from Turkey—A Peace Corps Volunteer’s Story, was published by Outskirts Press in August 2019. William witnessed the events described in this book, and in spite of the many hardships recounted, continued to teach and to care deeply for Turkey. He returned to Turkey in 1972 on a Fulbright Grant to study at the University of Istanbul. He presently resides in Orange County, CA with his wife.

     

    ZAIRE

    Robert Zeigler (1973-75) was selected to present the prestigious Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Headquarters. Dr. Zeigler is the Director General Emeritus of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), serving as IRRI’s Director General for more than 10 years and has been a global leader on food security issues his entire career.

     


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  • Ana Victoria Cruz posted an article
    Community news highlighting achievements of RPCVs see more

    Community News - Achievements of RPCVs

    Author: Peter Deekle
    September 2019

     

    CAMEROON

    Daniel Martin Moore's new album Never Look Away is due out on October 4. In its title track which he co-produced, the Kentucky singer-songwriter tries to convince himself, and listeners, that all hope is not lost: "I hear that song as a way of accepting that it is still possible to be peaceful in our obsessive and hectic cultures." Moore has released seven albums since 2008 and will be touring this fall and into next year.

     

    CHILE

    Juana Bordas (1964-1966) is the president of Mestiza Leadership International, a company focused on leadership, diversity, and organizational change. The first Latina to serve as a faculty for the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), she taught in the Leadership Development Program. She will receive the International Leadership Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award at its October 2019 annual conference.

     

    COSTA RICA

    David Ives (1980-1983), the executive director emeritus of the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, an adjunct professor of international relations, political Science, philosophy, and Latin American studies, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Nominated three times for this prize, he was last nominated in 2016 for his peace initiatives in Central America.

     

    JAMAICA

    Carrie Dolan (2002-2003) is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Sciences at the College of William & Mary. She began her scientific explorations as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica, working with the Ministry of Health. Her investigation of health care issues in the world’s remote locations from Jamaica to Kenya resulted in her selection as a Fellow of the Explorers Club, founded in 1904 to promote “the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences.”

     

    MALAYSIA

    Paul Thompson (1970-1973) started his work as an environmental advocate and volunteer in a group known as the Citizens Climate Lobby in 2007. Thompson was a fulltime teacher until his retirement in 2008. After his retirement, he has spent the past 11 years working on programs alerting the world of the current climate change issues. He has been carrying out his mission alongside his wife, Mindy. 

     

    NIGER

    Lisa Curtis (2010-2011) is the co-founder of Kuli Kuli, the first brand to introduce the green superfood moringa to the U.S. market. She gained a first-hand understanding of the common nutritional challenges faced in West African villages during her Peace Corps service.

     

     

    UKRAINE

    Ed Riehl (2006-2008) founded the Delaware Valley Fairness Project, a nonprofit that supports Philadelphia schools and families. Since 2016, it has invested more than $500,000 on staff to support schools and on projects large and small, from launching and maintaining food pantries inside four city schools to buying furniture for a family getting back on its feet after homelessness.

     


    Please share your news with us! Email Peter Deekle.

  • News from the Peace Corps Community - November 2018. see more

    Community News – Achievements of RPCVs

    Author: Peter Deekle

    November 2018

     

    CHINA

    Peter Hessler (1996-1998) was one of the eight Missouri Honor Medal recipients in 2018 for his distinguished service in journalism.  His life and work in China generated four acclaimed books on that country’s culture. 

     

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

    Scott Coppa (2015-2017) teamed up with friends in Indiana after his Peace Corps service and founded Puente – a nonprofit organization making it easier for volunteer groups to pick a target area to work in and know exactly what that community is lacking, allowing them to preplan their projects.

     

    THE GAMBIA

    Malcolm Velasco (2013-2015), a second-year medical student at Mercer University, received a Benjamin H. Kean Travel Fellowship in Tropical Medicine to conduct research in The Gambia in West Africa in summer 2018. He was one of 21 fellows selected this year from medical schools across the country. The Kean Travel Fellowship in Tropical Medicine is awarded annually by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) to support medical students involved in clinical or research electives in tropical areas.

     

    GUATEMALA

    Matthew (Mateo) Peters (1999-2001), director of the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, met on October 10 at the Talbot County Free Library to discuss historical migration trends.  ChesMRC strives to break down cultural barriers that arise from differences in language, appearance or ethnic traditions. It has assisted more than 2,000 immigrants and families.

     

    JAMAICA

    Cymone Wilson (2016-2018) is continuing her in-country service through shipments of books to Jamaican libraries.  She now works for Elevate K-12, an education technology company with a mission to make online learning accessible to students, regardless of socioeconomic status. She wants to help recruit more Peace Corps volunteers, especially minorities.

     

    LIBERIA

    Sometimes the legacy of Peace Corps service inspires action long after that service has ended.  Such is the case in a Liberian community of Gbamga where, in October 2018, the Garden School opened, sponsored by the family of an RPCV who served in the 1960s.  Stephanie Vickers (1971-1973) said the donors were motivated to sponsor the construction of a local school following a training the U.S.-based group called the Friends of Liberia conducted for Liberian educators in early childhood education.

    Beverly Sweet (1978-1983), Wellsville (NY) High School teacher of American History and Government, has been selected by the NYS Organization of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution as the statewide winner of the Outstanding Teacher of American History Award.  She received her award on September 22, 2018.

     

    MALI/SENEGAL

    Roy Cole (1975-1979) Last September, Cole, a professor of Geography and Sustainable Planning at GVSU, and his wife, Mary, were finalists in Michigan for the Governor’s Energy Excellence Award. This award honors organizations and individuals statewide for their commitment to responsible energy production and consumption. The Coles were nominated for the “Best Residential Projects” category in acknowledgement of the extensive work they have taken to conserve energy at home.

     

    NEPAL

    Kevin Bubriski (1975-1978) is a documentary photographer who recently published a new book, Mustang: In Black and White, inspired by a new collaboration with Sienna Craig (a Dartmouth associate professor) on Nepalese photography, culture and history.

     

    NIGER

    Cornell College (Iowa) presented its Leadership and Service Award to Ken Patterson (1992-1995) in recognition of his global efforts to address extreme poverty and disease.  Ken is the director of grassroots advocacy at RESULTS (an international organization working to end poverty across the globe).

    Lisa Curtis (2010-2011) is founder of Kuli Kuli Foods, an energy bar, shot, and nutrition powder company made from the local moringa plant.   In late summer 2018 the company earned a federal grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a foreign aid agency that focuses on helping countries find homegrown economic ways to fight poverty, in part to battle terrorism.

     

    TOGO

    Maggie Fleming (2002-2004) was recognized with the Dr. Kenneth K Bateman Outstanding Alumni Award by Pittsburg State University in October 2018 for her international service.  Following her Peace Corps service, she became a senior disaster operations specialist with the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance within the U.S. Agency for International Development and later on took on the role of deputy director of emergency response. Her current primary focus is an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.