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  • Tiffany James posted an article
    Four recent contestants — and one champion see more

    Four recent contestants — and one champion

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    Geographer Charles Fogelman. Photo courtesy “Jeopardy!”

     

    Here’s your clue: This University of Illinois geographer served with the Peace Corps in Lesotho 2003–05, once hosted Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso for dinner in Harlem, nailed questions in the category “The Equator” … and became champion on “Jeopardy!” on February 16.

    Answer: Who is Charles Fogelman?

    The one-day winner on the show was one of four recent RPCV contestants. The day before, Jimmy Rollins (Albania 2005–07), an international economic development consultant with Deloitte, leaned on his knowledge of Hemingway to finish second on the show.

    In November, Taylor Mills (Kyrgyzstan 2009–11), a development finance manager originally from Texas, went up against a formidable new champion, Amy Schneider — who was just beginning an epic 40-game winning streak — and took third. It so happened that Maria Krasinski (Georgia 2017–18) came up against Amy Schneider on the penultimate game in Schneider’s streak. Krasinski, an artist and illustrator who also serves as managing editor for News Decoder, tapped into her knowledge of coral (“What is the Great Barrier Reef?”) to finish second.

     

    Ken Jennings and Maria Krasinski on the Jeopardy set

    “What is the Great Barrier Reef?” Maria Krasinski, right, with “Jeopardy!” host Ken Jennings. Photo courtesy “Jeopardy!”

     

    Just Got Real

    While we’re catching up on Peace Corps trivia: May 2021 brought a double hit. The category “Outlaws & In-Laws” led with the clue “JFK’s brother-in-law Sargent Shriver was president of this intl. sports program for people with intellectual disabilities.” (“What are the Special Olympics?”)

    The category “Just Got Real” served this softball for WorldView readers: “This government program got off the ground when a group of volunteer teachers landed in Ghana Aug. 30, 1961.”

    Answer: What is the Peace Corps?

     


    This story appears in the special 2022 Books Edition of WorldView magazine. Story updated May 6, 2022.

  • Tiffany James posted an article
    Larry André is the new U.S. Ambassador to Somalia. see more

    Larry André is the new U.S. ambassador to Somalia.

     

    Photo courtesy the U.S. Secretary of Defense

     

    Larry André, who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal 1983–85, is the new U.S. ambassador to Somalia. A career foreign service officer, he arrived in Mogadishu in January. It wasn’t his first visit.

    Back in 2007, André developed the U.S. mission in Somalia. In his current post, he will seek to foster peace and democracy in the country — at a time when Somalia is facing its worst drought in a decade.

    André previously served as U.S. ambassador to Djibouti and Mauritania and worked with USAID, assisting in the reconstruction of post-war Chad. After service as a Peace Corps Volunteer, he worked at agency HQ as regional environment officer for East Africa, overseeing work in 14 countries, including Somalia.

     


    This story appears in the special 2022 Books Edition of WorldView magazine. Story updated May 6, 2022.

  • Tiffany James posted an article
    Recognition for three members of the Peace Corps Community. Plus a new legislator. see more

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

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    Photo: Shelton Johnson, recipient of the 2022 American Park Experience Award. Courtesy National Park Service

     

     

    Shelton Johnson | Liberia 1982–83

    Shelton Johnson received the 2022 American Park Experience Award for his years of advocating for diversity in national parks and helping families and youth feel welcome by seeing their stories told there. Johnson has worked for the past 35 years as a ranger with the National Park Service at Yellowstone and now Yosemite National Park. His storytelling talents landed him a prominent role in Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. In 2010, Johnson hosted Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King on a multi-day camping trip that 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.

     

    Antarctic Service MedalLawson Scott Glasergreen | Guatemala 1994–96

    Peace Corps Volunteers have never served in Antarctica — but Lawson Scott Glasergreen, currently a FEMA contractor, celebrated what he believes to be the first Peace Corps Week there in 2015. Last year he was awarded the Antarctica Service Medal by the Secretary of Defense for his work at the South Pole in 2014 and 2015, during the continent’s summer months. Glasergreen worked as a preventative maintenance coordinator and supervisor for on-site infrastructure and operation management practice and program management leadership on a Pacific Architects and Engineers contract with Lockheed Martin.

    Inspired by his experience in Antarctica, Glasergreen is publishing a volume of writings and photographs. That follows on a previous book of journal entries and artworks, SPIRITO America, about the gifts of personal and social service. Glasergreen is also a visual artist and has Cherokee roots. He was among a dozen Indigenous artists featured in Native Reflections: Visual Art by American Indians of Kentucky, a traveling exhibition that completed a two-year tour of the state in Louisville in March 2022.

     

     

     

    Kayla Canne newspaper headline

     

    Kayla Canne | Ghana 2018–20

    Journalist Kayla Canne won a National Press Foundation award for her work with the Asbury Park Press investigating deplorable living conditions and discrimination in taxpayer-funded rental housing in New Jersey. In the series “We Don’t Take That,” Canne exposed the barriers that exist for low-income tenants in their search for clean, safe, and affordable housing.

     

     

     

     

     

    Caleb Rudow | Zambia 2012–14

    Caleb Rudow was appointed by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to the state legislature on February 1. He is serving out the remainder of the term for Rep. Susan Fisher, who represented District 114 and stepped down December 31. The term Rudow now serves ends in January 2023. Redrawn electoral maps were unveiled February 23. The new boundaries have Rudow running for reelection next year in neighboring District 116 — in the Asheville area, like his current district. Prior to this role, 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.

     

    This story appears in the special 2022 Books Edition of WorldView magazine. Story updated May 3, 2022.

  • Tiffany James posted an article
    The highest award given to foreign citizens was presented to Country Director Kim Mansaray see more

    The highest award given to foreign citizens was presented to Country Director Kim Mansaray.

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    Photos courtesy the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia 

     

    For the 30th anniversary of the Peace Corps in Mongolia, last summer Country Director Kim Mansaray  who served as a Volunteer herself in Sierra Leone 1983–85 — was presented with the highest award given to foreign citizens: the Order of the Polar Star. In a ceremony with Deputy Foreign Minister Munkhjin Batsumber of Mongolia, the award was bestowed on Peace Corps Mongolia and its leadership for peace-building efforts in the country.

    Nearly 1,500 Volunteers have served in Mongolia since 1991, contributing their skills to the social development and well-being of its citizens.

     

    Kim Mansaray and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia

    Presentation of the Polar Star: Deputy Foreign Minister Munkhjin Batsumber of Mongolia, right, with Peace Corps Mongolia Country Director Kim Mansaray

     

     

    Three Decades of Service

    December 2021 saw more special recognition for Peace Corps Mongolia: the release of a commemorative stamp to celebrate three decades since the first Volunteers arrived. The stamp features the Peace Corps logo; a Volunteer teaching young children; and Mongolian landmarks.

     

    Mongolia Peace Corps Stamp

     

  • Tiffany James posted an article
    Veteran journalist Sandra Clark is the new CEO of StoryCorps see more

    Founded in 2003, StoryCorps shares stories to deepen connections between people and create a just, compassionate world. Sandra Clark is the first woman of color to lead the nonprofit as StoryCorps CEO.

     

    By Tiffany James

     

    Photo courtesy StoryCorps

     

    In February Sandra Clark (Guinea-Bissau 1990–94) took on a new role as CEO of StoryCorps — the nonprofit organization that, through stories, has sought to deepen connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world since its founding in 2003. Clark is the second person and first woman of color to serve as StoryCorps CEO.

    During a panel discussion at NPCA’s 2022 Shriver Leadership Summit in March, Clark spoke about how Peace Corps shaped her as a journalist, how StoryCorps’ archive is full of various Volunteer experiences, and how storytelling has the power to connect humanity. “StoryCorps is the thing that makes me believe there are way more people out there who want change, way more people who want to find a space where they can actually problem-solve together and connect with each other,” Clark said. “It’s those basic connections and that empathy that give us some hope. If we have more ways to connect in this kind of way, maybe we can come together and solve the really big problems — because democracy is under siege right now.”

     

    “StoryCorps is the thing that makes me believe there are way more people out there who want change, way more people who want to find a space where they can actually problem-solve together and connect with each other.”

     

    Prior to StoryCorps, Clark was the vice president for news and civic dialogue at WHYY — the leading PBS and NPR affiliate in Philadelphia — where she managed news operations across multiple media platforms and oversaw the station’s diversity, cultural competency, community engagement, and trust-building initiatives. Clark also brings to the new role years of experience as the managing editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where her leadership led to the paper’s most successful reader engagement initiative and a Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2014. She is a longtime DEI advocate who seeks to close the knowledge, power, and trust gap between journalists and communities of color. The Philadelphia Tribune named her one of the Most Influential African American Leaders in 2021.

     

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    Valdés has been instrumental in increasing affordable housing and reducing bias in policing. see more

    Javier Valdés takes on responsibilities as U.S. Director of Civic Engagement and Government for the Ford Foundation

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    Javier Valdés (Guatemala 1999–2001) took on responsibilities as U.S. Director of Civic Engagement and Government for the Ford Foundation in August. Valdés was previously co-executive director at Make the Road New York, the state’s largest immigration advocacy organization. Valdés has been instrumental in increasing affordable housing, expanding translation services in government offices, and reducing bias in policing.

    Among his goals now: play a pivotal role in the Ford Foundation’s ambitions to strengthen representation, participation, and leadership in U.S. democracy.

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    C.D. Glin is the vice president, global head of philanthropy for the PepsiCo Foundation. see more

    C.D. Glin takes on responsibilities as vice president, global head of philanthropy for the PepsiCo Foundation 

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    C.D. Glin (South Africa 1997–99) took on responsibilities as vice president, global head of philanthropy for the PepsiCo Foundation in May. He oversees daily management of the foundation and focuses work toward a more sustainable food system. Glin had been president and CEO of the U.S. African Development Foundation, 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 was the first director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Peace Corps and served as associate director for the Rockefeller Foundation in Kenya. He was also part of the first cohort of Peace Corps Volunteers to serve in South Africa, a major milestone after the end of apartheid.

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    The U.S. government has put forward a national strategy on gender equity and equality. see more

    For the first time, the U.S. government has put forward a national strategy on gender equity and equality. A top priority: end gender-based violence at home and globally.

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    This fall the White House released the first-ever U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality. Among the priorities: “elimination of gender-based violence at home and globally,” noted Katrina Fotovat (Moldova 2000–02) in a conversation with journalists on World AIDS Day, December 1.

    Fotovat is the Senior Official to the Secretary of State in the Office of Global Women’s Issues, a role she has held since January 2021. She has over 20 years of experience advocating for gender and human rights globally, particularly in conflict and post-conflict settings.

    “Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than one in three women experienced gender-based violence during their lifetimes,” Fotovat says. To end that domestically and abroad requires support for “comprehensive trauma-informed services that address multifaceted and systematic barriers that survivors often face” and to “increase access to justice for survivors. We hear the voices of the survivors that are requesting and requiring reducing impunity for perpetrators.” Ensuring prevention efforts are accessible to all is key, “including access to education for girls, which can be protective against violence.”

    Read more about Katrina Fotovat here.

     

    This story appears in the 60th-anniversary edition of WorldView magazine. 

    Story updated January 17, 2022.

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    In Lu’s toolbox for his new role: diplomacy, advocacy, assistance, and learning from the past. see more

    In the toolbox for Donald Lu in his new role in South and Central Asian Affairs at the State Department: diplomacy, advocacy, assistance, and learning from the past.

     

    Photo by RFE/L

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    In September, Donald Lu (Sierra Leone 1988–90) was confirmed as assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. He’s the first diplomat to hold that post in four years — it sat vacant during the previous administration — and the first ever to arrive with significant experience in Central Asia.

    Lu had been serving as U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic since 2018. His new portfolio includes that nation as well as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Key topics for the bureau range from a large-scale Indo-Pacific vision to air quality.

    Lu has been ambassador to the Republic of 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. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, he helped to restore hand-dug water wells and taught health education and latrine construction. During the Ebola crisis in West Africa, he served as deputy coordinator for Ebola response in the State Department. Languages he speaks and reads include Albanian, Russian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, West African Krio, Hindi, and Urdu.

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    Emergency room physician Megan Ranney is working on research-based solutions. see more

    The CDC is again funding research on gun violence. Emergency room physician Megan Ranney is working on research-based solutions.

     

    Photo by Anthony Ricci/Shutterstock

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    After years of gun violence declining in the U.S., it is again on the rise. Offering some hope of understanding — and ameliorating — it is this: Last year, after 25 years of Congress refusing to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to back research on gun violence, funding was authorized.

    Emergency room physician Megan Ranney (Côte d’Ivoire 1998–2000) leads the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health in Rhode Island. She was among the first wave of researchers whose work was funded by the CDC.

    She brings a public health approach to gun violence. “We figure out, what are the risk factors?” she told NPR. “What protects people, all other things being equal, from getting hurt? And then we design and test interventions … We don’t put things in place just because they resonate with us emotionally. We do them because there’s science behind it.”

    One place that worked before, she notes: getting three-point seat belts into cars.

     

    This story appears in the 2021 Anniversary edition of WorldView magazine.

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    Gonzalez has been appointed assistant director for climate and biodiversity. see more

    Patrick Gonzalez takes on responsibilities tackling climate and biodiversity with the White House.

     

    Photography by Al Golub

    By Steven Boyd Saum

     

    “Contributing science for solutions to global problems is one of the most important contributions that we can make as scientists,” Patrick Gonzalez (Senegal 1988–90) declared earlier this year at the Ecological Society of America’s annual conference. Now he has the opportunity to walk the talk in a new way: He has been appointed assistant director for climate and biodiversity by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

    A forest ecologist and climate change scientist, he has brought his expertise for years to the U.S. National Park Service as principal climate change scientist, and to research at U.C. Berkeley. But as High Country News noted several years ago, “The first unmistakable sign of climate change Patrick Gonzalez ever saw in the field was in Senegal.”

    As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, Gonzalez heard village elders lament that the yir trees were dying. He set out to find out why — and do something about it. He returned as a researcher and, walking 1,200 miles as he collected data, he documented that “since 1945, one out of three tree species in Senegal had disappeared, and one out of every five big trees had died.”

     

    Measure, learn, act: Patrick Gonzalez at work in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Al Golub

     

    The research and insight on climate change, ecosystems, wildfire, and carbon solutions he has done over the decades has informed new actions and policies. Credit him as lead author on four reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the science panel awarded a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He has also served on three U.S. delegations to the United Nations and on the roster of experts of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

  • 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.

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    New role diplomat Juan Gonzalez. And recognition for architect Edward Mazria. see more

    A new role in the Americas for an experienced diplomat. And recognition for a veteran architect whose career has been devoted to changing the way we build — with the goal of making new buildings and renovations carbon neutral by 2030.

     

    Photo: Architect Edward Mazria from ArchDaily

     

     

    National Security Council Policy Lead for the Western Hemisphere

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

    A native of Cartagena, Colombia, he served with Peace Corps in the west-central Guatemalan city of Huehuetenango. In March he was back in Guatemala, and in Mexico, to meet with officials to discuss ways to stem the flow of migrants from the region to the United States. Bolstering opportunities in migrants’ home countries is crucial to that, as is holding accountable those Gonzalez described as “predatory elites.”

     

    Juan Gonzalez in meeting

    In the room: Juan Gonzalez, center with hands raised, in his previous role conferring with President Obama’s team.

     

     

    Buildings of the Earth 

    Edward Mazria (Peru 1964–66) is the recipient of the 2021 AIA Gold Medal—the highest honor presented by the American Institute of Architects. Mazria is a Santa Fe, New Mexico–based architect, the founder of the nonprofit Architecture 2030, and a researcher, educator, author, and environmental advocate. 

    Honoring him with the medal sends a powerful signal: “We’re transitioning toward an ‘Architecture of the Earth,’” Mazria said in an interview recently, “not just as a style, but also as substance and actions—integrating existing and new architecture with the Earth’s systems, renewable resources, and energy, while protecting the planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity.” 

     

     

    Architecture 2030 webpage

    The 2030 Challenge: Read about it at Architecture 2030.

     

    Mazria published The Passive Solar Energy Book in 1979. In the 1990s he helped found AIA’s Committee on the Environment. He has drawn attention to the carbon impact of building—and the enormous effect that the built environment has had in creating our current climate crisis. He issued the global 2030 Challenge; his work helped inform the 2015 Paris Agreement. 

    Mazria also holds a rare distinction among architects and in Peace Corps annals: In the early 1960s he was drafted by the New York Knicks but turned down the offer to serve as a Volunteer in Peru.