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Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

  • Steven Saum posted an article
    Help shape this special 60th anniversary conference for the Peace Corps community see more

    An invitation for individuals and groups alike: Help shape this special 60th anniversary conference. Produce a video. Tell your story. Lead a discussion group. 

    By Evelyn Ganzglass


    The 2021 Peace Corps Connect Conference Program Planning Committee is seeking affiliate group and individual member participation in this year’s conference program. As we mark six decades since the founding of the Peace Corps, we’re putting together a conference that reflects the place of Peace Corps amid these unprecedented times.

    The conference will focus on four key themes:

    • Racial justice and how we can foster equity, diversity, and inclusion
    • Climate change and its impact
    • Refugees and forced migration 
    • Continuing service by Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers more broadly. 

    Read more about the conference here. And read on for how you can help guide the conversations at Peace Corps Connect 2021.

     

    Counterparts in the Community

    Who can speak to the impact of the Peace Corps better than Peace Corps counterparts in communities around the world? We are gathering five-minute videos made by returned Volunteers and their partners in communities that highlight the work they have done together — and the impact of these partnerships. If you’re interested in submitting a short video to be shown at the conference, please express your interest here.

     

    Evacuated Volunteers: Tell Your Story

    Are you an evacuated Peace Corps Volunteer who would like to share your story of service — and how you were part of the unprecedented global evacuation? We’re looking for participants to be part of a moderated panel with other evacuated Volunteers. We’ll discuss the work by Volunteers, how evacuation has affected you and your community, and how you are continuing to be involved in service.  Express your interest in being part of the evacuated Volunteer panel here.

     
    From Peace Corps to Black Lives Matter: Striving for Allyship at Home and Abroad

    Racial justice and a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is one of the key themes of the conference. For a session on “From Peace Corps to Black Lives Matter: Striving for Allyship at Home and Abroad,” conference attendees will have an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences of racism, unconscious bias, and allyship, both during and after their Peace Corps service. We are seeking Volunteers to act as small group facilitators during the session. These facilitators will receive training from a DEI professional prior to the conference — and they will meet with conference organizers and other facilitators for planning. The total time required to act as a DEI break-out facilitator will be 4 to 5 hours.  Express your interest in serving as a facilitator during this session here.

     

    Service Projects: Stories of Impact

    During the conference (and beyond!), we'll be highlighting affiliate group service projects and the stories of their impact on individuals and communities worldwide. Have a service project to highlight? Contact Affiliate Group Network Coordinator Hannah Wishart.


    Evelyn Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68) serves on the Board of Directors for National Peace Corps Association, is on the leadership team of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Archives Project, and is a member of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. 

  • Molly O'Brien posted an article
    We remember those within our Peace Corps community who recently passed away. see more

     

    As we mourn the loss of members of the Peace Corps community, we celebrate the lives they led with a commitment to service.

    By Molly O’Brien and Caitlin Nemeth

     

    Photo: Jan Knippers Black — scholar and activist whose work influenced generations of students. Photo courtesy Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

     

    Our tributes include a prominent scholar and a foreign correspondent. An award-winning research ecologist and a lifelong educator. A former medical director of Peace Corps and a dedicated physician who delivered over one thousand babies. A notable chemist and a civil rights lawyer. Several civil servants and many teachers.


    We honor the wide range of contributions made by members of the Peace Corps community who recently passed away.

     

    Jan Knippers Black, Ph.D. (1940–2021), professor emerita, world traveler, most beloved role model and mentor to thousands of students, singer and songwriter, advocate and ally: these are just some of the many terms one could use to describe Black, a prominent scholar and human rights activist. She wrote the definitive book on U.S. interference in post-colonial Brazil—some years after she was invited to play piano in Elvis Presley’s bandBlack was well known for her expertise on political dynamics within Latin America, specifically about the intersection of American affairs in the region and the relationships between America and several of the Latin American countries. Black's first degree was a B.A. in art and Spanish from the University of Tennessee. She then served among the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers in Chile in 1961. When she returned stateside, Black earned her M.A. in Latin American studies from American University’s School of International Service, as well as her Ph.D. in international studies. Black's career took her all over the United States, as she went on to work as a public administration research professor at the University of New Mexico, an editor for American University's Foreign Area Studies division, and as part of the faculty for University of Pittsburgh's Semester-at-Sea Program. In addition to her research and teaching, Black held many grants and fellowships, including Fulbright and Mellon, which led her to visit and hold honorary faculty positions in countries within the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as India and England. In 1991, Black became a professor of the Monterey Institute of International Studies (now known as the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey), and she would continue to teach and mentor students at MIIS until she retired in 2018. Black was well known for organizing and facilitating immersive overseas programs for her students all over, including Cuba, Chile, Bhutan, Iran, and the Balkans. Upon her retirement at the school, Black established the Jan Knippers Black Fund for Human Rights in order to financially support student work and speakers within the human rights field. In addition to Black's work in education, she was elected to the National Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA in 2011, one of over 20 advisory and governing positions she took on throughout her life. She carried on her father’s commitment to politics; she served on the Monterey County Democratic Central Committee and as an elected member of the executive board of the California Democratic Party for over 20 years. Black had an incredible life that touched many people; her wit and wisdom will be missed.

     

    Paulette L. Ford, Ph.D. (1965–2021) was an award-winning research ecologist, humanitarian, and lifelong volunteer. Ford attended the University of New Mexico for her undergraduate degrees in biology and psychology; there she discovered her interest in field biology, and would go on to seize every opportunity to work on mammalogy and marine biology field trips, including the notable all-female field crew in charge of trapping mammals for the Museum of Southwestern Biology in Bolivia. In 1989, Ford served in Peace Corps Paraguay before returning to stateside for her master's in biology. Ford briefly worked with the Partners in Flight exchange program before she began her nearly 30-year long career with the U.S. Forest Service within the cooperative education program at Rocky Mountain Research Station. In addition to her work with the the forest service, she co-led the Southern Plains USDA Climate Hub, served on the Natural Inquirer Board of Directors and The Wildlife Society's Technical Review, edited the journals BioScience and Rangeland Ecology and Management, and mentored students for the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the University of New Mexico. Ford’s volunteer work included assisting with Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts; working with local sponsors to host conservation events and provide educational supplies to underserved communities; volunteering for Habitat for Humanity; and participating in long-distance cycling fundraisers for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. After completing her doctorate in 2000 at the University of Arizona, Ford became a full-time research ecologist focused on climate and climate variability. Ford’s dedication to mentoring students went beyond her official position; she hosted and mentored dozens of undergraduate students from numerous Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Colleges and Universities, including the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, as well as graduate students from the University of New Mexico, Highlands University, New Mexico State University, and Northern Arizona University. Other notable moments from Ford’s illustrious career include her 25 awards for merit, achievement, and civil rights from the Rocky Mountain Research Station; two accolades for her work on grasslands and drought for the forest service; and her undergraduate research on eight new species of parasites – one of which was named in her honor, Eimeria paulettefordae.

     

    Richard B. Vierling, Ph.D. (1945–2021) had an adventurous and active spirit. As a young man, he worked in a hardware store and was a drummer in a band before deciding to pursue a teaching degree from California State University, Fullerton. After a few years of teaching, Vierling decided to join the Peace Corps and served in St. Kitts, Eastern Caribbean 1969–71. As a Volunteer, Vierling wrote original plays for his students to act out and built the first library on the island. Upon his return to the U.S., he taught grades four through 12 in California and Arizona. Vierling earned his doctorate in education from Arizona State University, driving long distances to attend school while teaching. A passionate educator, Vierling strongly believed in education for everyone. One of his greatest achievements was spearheading the creation of the Globe Alternative School for at-risk students in Globe, Arizona. Vierling's career in education included being principal of Globe High School and assistant superintendent for the Globe Unified School District. Even in retirement, Vierling was active in education. He was a consultant to the Gila County School Superintendent’s Office as associate superintendent and director of Juvenile Detention and Jail Education. Vierling was a remarkable educator who will be remembered by his many students.

     

    Steven M. Weinberg, M.D. (1942–2021) had a knack for learning from a young age and was considered to be a renaissance man with various interests and talents. Weinberg began his studies at the University of Oklahoma, then earned his M.D. from the University of Iowa. He trained at UT Southwestern Medical center and practiced as a general surgeon for several years. Later, Weinberg began a second career as an attorney, studying at Oxford and earning his law degree from SMU. His interests were varied, and Weinberg spent time teaching at Tarrant County College; working in real estate development, oil and gas, ranching, and private equity. He was the Associate Director and Medical Director of Peace Corps, the Chief of Surgical Services at Ramey AFB in the U.S. Air Force, and was part of the TX Alcohol and Beverage Commission. Outside of work, Weinberg was a long-time church member, making several mission trips. He also was a Rotarian and served as the President of the Hurst, Euless, and Bedford Rotary Club. When not working or volunteering, Weinberg loved spending time with his family, being active through activities like golfing, hunting and fishing, skiing, piloting, and getting behind a microphone.


    Judith A. Hofrichter, M.D. (1946–2021) was a phenomenal physician who delivered over 1,000 babies over the course of her career. Hofrichter grew up in North Madison, Connecticut where she was the valedictorian of Daniel Hand High School class of ’64. She continued her education at Pembroke College at Brown University and earned her degree in English. After graduating, Hofrichter became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Turkey 1968–69. After her return to the U.S., she assisted in the birth of a friend’s son and realized that she wanted to be a physician. To be able to enroll in medical school, Hofrichter had to take all of the pre-med courses she hadn’t taken in college, but that did not deter her. In 1985, she enrolled in Wesleyan University’s graduate liberal studies program, completing her required courses. Then she joined the University of Connecticut Medical School as the oldest person to be accepted at that time. After graduation, she completed her residency in OB-GYN at SUNY Health Science Center in Syracuse, New York. Hofrichter became board certified and joined the Women’s Health Group of Manchester, where she would work until she retired in 2016. In retirement, she enjoyed producing award-winning country wines and spending time with her husband.

     

    Ronald C. Burger (1948–2021) led a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention into ground zero at the World Trade Center on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001. He spent 88 days working in the remains of the towers, watching first responders for signs of secondary diseases that may have come from the dust and smoke of the wreckage. Burger’s career in public health was inspired by his Peace Corps service in Ghana. After obtaining a teaching certificate in biology from Millersville University, Burger taught science for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer. At the end of his service, there was a severe outbreak of a gastrointestinal disease. This crisis prompted Burger to become a field leader for the Ghanian Ministry of Health team that was trying to contain the outbreak. Upon his return from service, Burger took on a variety of roles at the New York City Department of Health, the Florida Department of Health, the Department of Homeland Security, and the CDC. His work saw him traveling to work in large-scale disasters, including the smallpox outbreak in Southeast Asia in the 1970s, Deepwater Horizon, the Flint water crisis, and several hurricanes. Burger’s dedication to serving his country will not be forgotten by the many he helped.

     

    Matthew J. Briggs (1989–2021) was an engaging teacher, prolific poet, loving husband, playful uncle, and caring friend. Briggs graduated from East Longmeadow High School, and he received both his B.A. in English literature and his M.A. in education with a concentration in urban education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While Briggs loved literature, his true passion was connecting with his students and helping them understand the material, learning from them just as much as they learned from him. His path to becoming a teacher began when he was student teaching at Chestnut Middle School in Massachusetts, eventually working full time at various schools including the Commonwealth Academy in Virginia and Archbishop Carroll High School in D.C. In 2011, Briggs met his future wife Victoria during their college tenure. After they married in 2015, they went on to serve in Peace Corps Uganda for the next two years within the education sector. Just a few years after their return stateside, Briggs was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. Until his death, he kept making connections and learning from others, sharing and accepting love and strength from so many people around him. Briggs leaves behind a legacy of radical acceptance and humility.

     

    Curtis B. Stuckey (1946–2021) was a civil rights lawyer, a supportive family man, and a loyal and accepting person. He graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 1967, and then served in Peace Corps Venezuela 1967–69. Following his return to the U.S., Stuckey went to law school at his alma mater in Bloomington. He would go on to teach at the University of Tennessee College of Law, where in 1975 he met his wife Brenda. Stuckey led a notable career as a civil rights lawyer, winning several major cases, including the first jury trial victory related to the Fair Housing Act in East Texas and Kendall v. True, the class action suit in Kentucky that struck down involuntary commitment of individuals to mental hospitals without proof of dangerous intent. In 1982, Stuckey founded the civil rights firm now called Stuckey & Garrigan Law Offices, PPC, representing community members who were discriminated against because of their race; individuals whose rights had been violated by police; and people who suffered under cruel conditions within the prison system. Stuckey retired in 2014 which allowed more time for him to enjoy watching ball games and old movies, as well as spending time with his family.

     

    Virginia “Ginger” C. Greene, Ph.D. (1934–2021) graduated from Sweet Briar College in 1955 with high honors in chemistry. She continued her education in chemistry, earning a M.S. from Tulane University in 1957 and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1963. Greene began a career in chemistry, supervising a clinical laboratory at the University of Virginia and teaching at Longwood College. In 1969, she accepted a position as a research chemist with the FBI laboratory in Washington, D.C. She was the first member of their newly-established research department and was instrumental in organizing and overseeing the unit. Greene finished out her illustrious career as an intelligence analyst with the Foreign Science and Technology Center (now the National Ground Intelligence Center) before retiring in 1994. However, she remained active in retirement, bringing her expertise in chemistry to her Peace Corps service in South Africa. From 2007–09, she served as a high school teacher where she organized and supervised a chemistry lab and trained teachers how to perform and teach laboratory experiments. Greene was involved in her community throughout retirement, volunteering in many places, including at Charlottesville Area Riding Therapy stable.

     

    Scott Smith (1971–2021) was a dedicated journalist, even working until he passed away, planning for future jobs while still sick in the hospital. After graduating from California State University Chico with a master’s in literature, Smith volunteered for the Peace Corps and served in Uzbekistan 1996–98. He taught English and facilitated a training for Uzbek journalists on gathering information and news without government interference. Smith returned to the U.S. and spent over 10 years at The Record in Stockton, California. His reporting was instrumental in uncovering facts about the “Speed Freak” serial killer. In 2014, Smith joined the Associated Press and began reporting from Fresno, California on farmers and neighbors battling drought and its impact on local communities. In 2017, Smith moved to Caracas as a foreign correspondent for AP. His curiosity and drive won over Venezuelan government supporters and opponents alike. Smith’s dedication to hearing from many different people led to his coverage of fishermen working in a polluted lake, street gangsters hurting from rising bullet prices, and families of the victims of a prison fire. Smith’s humor, bravery, and devotion will be sorely missed.

     

    Edwon G. Yedlik (1945–2021) was a man with many skills and passions. Yedlik pursued a degree in radio technology from Brown Institute in Minneapolis. He began a career as a radio announcer, engineer, newsman, and program consultant for various radio stations in Colorado. In 1972, Yedlik joined Peace Corps and served as a Volunteer in Afghanistan. After his service, he returned to Colorado and worked for the U.S. Postal Service and also served as a director and actor for the Leadville Civic Theater and Crystal Comedy Theater. Later, Yedlik returned to Iowa and continued working as an actor and director in the local theater. He also spent time as an organic agriculture and environmental design consultant. Yedlik loved working with students as a substitute teacher, encouraging them to become “addicted to learning” much like he was. Yedlik didn’t pause his pursuit of learning over the course of his life, earning several more degrees from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science; Permaculture Institute in Australia; and Iowa State University. Outside of his active career, Yedlik was a master gardener, clerk of Maplewood Cemetery, and a member of the Iowa Pyrotechnics Association.

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    Marilyn R. (Medley) Long (Founding staff member of Peace Corps), 8/11/21 

    Steven M. Weinberg (Associate Director and Medical Director of Peace Corps), 8/20/21

    George Zeidenstein (Nepal Country Director from 1965–68), 8/21/21

     

    MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

    Timothy A. Burr (Nigeria 1962–64, U.S. Staff 1965), 9/8/21

    Willie M. Donovan (Samoa 1978–80, Yemen 1982–84), 8/19/21

    Laurence E. Eubank (India 1970–72, Russia), 9/1/21

    Homer M. Hayes III (Ethiopia 1966–69, U.S. Staff, Volunteer Placement Officer, Ethiopia/Uganda Desk Officer 1969–75), 9/12/21

    Joshua L. Johnson (Romania 2007–09, Ukraine 2011–12), 6/21/21

    John M. Schwartzbauer (Azerbaijan 2005–09, Moldova 2010–14), 8/21/21

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    Barbara “Barb” B. Hammes (1972), 8/12/21

    Edwon G. Yedlik (1972–74), 8/27/21

     

    BRAZIL

    Adele L. (Maechling) Alsop (1968–70), 9/2/21

     

    CAMEROON

    Thomas M. Donnellan (1962–64), 9/3/21

    Gerard “Jerry” Gorman (1969–71), 8/12/21

     

    CHILE

    Jan C. (Knippers) Black, Ph.D. (1962–64), 8/15/21

     

    COLOMBIA

    Leila G. (Goldfinch) Bass (1964–66), 9/9/21

    Steve L. Burgess (1964–66), 8/10/21

     

    COTE D'IVOIRE

    John W. Ainsworth (1963–64), 8/30/12

    Terrence “Terry” M. McGovern (1970–72), 8/24/21

     

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

    Luther Wilson (1966), 8/5/21

     

    EASTERN CARIBBEAN

    Thomas W. Hobbs (1978–79), 8/17/21

    Robert “Rob” D. Skelley II (1974), 7/4/21

    Richard B. Vierling, Ph.D. (1969–71), 8/4/21

     

    ECUADOR

    Joseph “Jay” H. Casey (1971–75), 8/13/21

     

    ETHIOPIA

    David L. Withers (1972), 8/21/21

     

    GHANA

    Ronald C. Burger (1970–71), 8/21/21

    Newell Flather (1961–63), 8/30/21

    Jeanne G. Wisner (1977), 8/28/21

     

    HONDURAS

    Jeff M. Benik (1975–77), 8/26/21

     

    HUNGARY

    Carol A. Baker (1993–95), 8/2021

     

    INDIA

    Mary “Fran” F. Kennedy (1966–68), 8/31/21

     

    IRAN

    Donna J. (Zimmerman) Patterson (1968–69), 8/28/21

     

    LESOTHO

    Luke Pfeiffer (2020 Invitee), 8/25/21

     

    MALAWI

    Laird A. Scott Jr. (1965–68), 8/29/21

     

    MALAYSIA

    Marcella A. (Fallon) Jenkins (1974–75), 8/30/21

     

    NAMIBIA

    Marie P. Shockley (2002–04), 5/10/21

     

    NIGER

    Theodore W. Clarke (1974–79), 8/29/21

     

    PARAGUAY

    Paulette L. Ford, Ph.D. (1989), 8/28/21

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Steven T. Queen (1973–75), 8/26/21

     

    POLAND

    Jeanne M. (Ford) Poliachik Cross (1999–2001), 8/16/21

     

    SIERRA LEONE

    Joy E. Marburger (1969–72), 7/19/21

     

    SOUTH AFRICA

    Virginia “Ginger” C. Greene (2007–09), 8/12/21

     

    SOUTH KOREA

    Ross N. Wiggins (1967–69), 7/31/21

     

    THAILAND

    Jean “Dee” B. (Ficken) Smith (1965–67), 8/25/21

     

    TURKEY

    Judith A. Hofrichter, Ph.D. (1969–70), 8/23/21

    James W. Pritchard (1962–64), 8/6/21

     

    UGANDA

    Matthew J. Briggs (2015–17), 8/25/21

     

    UZBEKISTAN

    Scott Smith (1996–98), 8/19/21

     

    VENEZUELA

    Gerald “Jerry” R. Shaye (1966–70), 8/22/21

    Curtis B. Stuckey (1967–69), 8/10/21

     

    COUNTRY OF SERVICE NOT SPECIFIED

    Lenore M. Frey, 8/24/21

     

     

     

    If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, please reach out to us at obituary@peacecorpsconnect.org

     

     September 16, 2021
  • 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.

  • Molly O'Brien posted an article
    We remember those within our Peace Corps community who recently passed away. see more

    As we mourn the loss of members of the Peace Corps community, we celebrate the lives they led with a commitment to service.

    By Molly O’Brien and Caitlin Nemeth

     

    Photo: William B. Robertson — Peace Corps country director and the first Black senior decision-maker in any governor’s office in the South. By John Frischkorn, Virginia Department of Highways. Courtesy of the William B. Robertson Library, Bluefield State College, West Virginia.

     

    Our tributes include a lifelong nurse and teacher. A talented architect and public servant devoted to education. One of the founders of the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience and a strong Peace Corps supporter.  A well-traveled teacher-scholar and veteran.

    We honor the wide range of contributions made by members of the Peace Corps community who recently passed away.

     

    William B. Robertson (1933–2021) was the first Black American to serve as an aide to a Virginia governor and went on to serve presidents in international affairs. Before his passing, he was finishing work on his memoir, Lifting Every Voice: My Journey from Segregated Roanoke to the Corridors of Power, to be published in spring 2022 by the University of Virginia Press. One historian notes that his book, like his life, serves as a rallying cry for continued activism to bring about justice and equity for all. He was born in 1933 in Roanoke, Virginia. He earned two degrees in education from Bluefield State College, a historically Black college in West Virginia. In the 1960s he became well-known as an educational leader and active in civic affairs. He was then approached by a Republican candidate for governor, Linwood Holton, to run for office — and help defeat the segregationist, conservative Democrat “Byrd Machine” that had dominated Virginia politics for decades. Robertson initially demurred; but in 1969 he switched his party to Republican and ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. He lost, but Holton won — and Holton asked Robertson to serve on his staff. Robertson broke ground as the first Black man to serve as a senior advisor to any governor in the South. He was a man of courage and compassion; when a mental patient took one of his guards hostage — this, shortly after 43 prisoners and guards died in the Attica prison rebellion in New York — Robertson offered himself as a hostage to replace the guard and negotiated a settlement. He went on to serve presidents — from Ford to Carter to Reagan to Bush I: as country director for the Peace Corps in Kenya and the Seychelles, as assistant secretary of state for African affairs, as co-chair of a task force. When he retired, he returned to the classroom to teach in an inner city school in Tampa, Florida. For many years he brought groups of young students to visit his alma mater and encourage them to pursue a college education. “Only in recent years,” noted one remembrance, “did the racialization of the GOP and Robertson’s passionate support for Black Lives Matter drive him out of the Party of Lincoln.” He died on June 23. He was 88 years old.

     

    Sally F. Fitch (1940–2021) grew up in Washington and was an active member of her high school as a teen. She was the salutatorian and part of the first class to graduate from Davis High School in 1958. She remained active in social life during college at the University of Washington and participated in many clubs while earning her bachelor’s degree in history and language. Fitch was married after graduation and joined Peace Corps with her husband in 1966. They served in Chile, where Fitch taught villagers how to use sewing machines and her husband, Jim, taught them to better their wine grape production. They deeply loved their Peace Corps experience and it influenced their lives for many years. Fitch’s main passions were travel, textiles, and teaching. Fitch was awarded a Rockefeller fellowship to study Mayan culture in Guatemala and later to study the Aymara and Quechua in Bolivia. She also received a Fulbright fellowship to study Pakistani culture. It was a great honor for her to experience other cultures and share them with those back home. She would often bring home textiles from the places she traveled and created wearable art to share with her friends and family. Not only did Fitch get to experience much of the world, but she shared it with her students as a teacher of 30 years. She taught various subjects, but particularly enjoyed Spanish and world history. She was recognized with a National Endowment for the Humanities Award as Washington State’s Outstanding Teacher-Scholar. Her stories and impact will live on through her students, friends, and family.

     

    T. James “Jim” Truby (1942–2021) was a community leader and talented architect. He attended Carnegie Mellon University where he received a bachelor of architecture degree. Truby continued his education and pursued a M.A. in social anthropology from the American University in Washington, D.C. In 1965, Truby left to serve in Tunisia as a Peace Corps volunteer. He applied his background in architecture to improve housing in his country of service. His passion for architecture would continue on after service. Truby joined the Maryland Aviation Administration in 1972 and helped plan the expansion of Baltimore’s airport into Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI). Later he would continue his work at BWI as he planned and opened an Amtrak station at the airport. In 1994, Truby founded a consulting firm that helped nonprofits develop buildings for their use. The firm managed development of buildings for education and senior housing, arts programs, medical practices, and museums. Many of the projects have won awards for design, construction, and historic preservation. Some examples of projects and clients include: the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Phillip Merrill Environmental Center (the first building in the United States to receive LEED Platinum Certification), the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Maryland Science Center. Truby also served on various community boards in the formative years of his town, New Town of Colombia, MD. His commitment to his community made a lasting impact on the town and its organizations. Outside of work, Truby loved to spend time with his family and stay active through travel and his many hobbies, though he never lost his passion for his community.

     

    Tammy J. Lind (1966–2021) was inspired by her Peace Corps service to pursue a long career in healthcare. Lind grew up in a very large family in Minnesota. She was the valedictorian of Rush City High School class of 1984 and attended St. Olaf College, where she earned a degree in chemistry. After graduation, she joined Peace Corps and served as a Volunteer in Samoa. Lind was inspired by her service to help others and become a nurse. She decided to go back to school and received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Winona State. As a nurse, Lind worked for several years at Mayo Clinic Hospitals in Rochester, Minnesota. Still wanting to help others, Lind decided to pursue missionary work. She went back to school again to pursue biblical studies at Columbia International University. She then served as a nurse in Cambodia for three years through Overseas Missionaries Fellowship International (OMF). When she returned to the United States, Lind worked as a hospice nurse, before finishing her career as a home health nurse. Lind cared passionately for others as a nurse and as a friend. She loved to travel and spend time with family and friends. Gone too soon, she passed away after a long battle with an autoimmune disease. She will be remembered for her kind spirit and love for others.

     

    Martin L. Kaplan (1935–2021) was a passionate supporter of Peace Corps his entire life. Kaplan was born in New York City and attended City College of New York. He graduated in 1956 with a degree in chemistry. He obtained his master’s from Florida State University where he also met his future wife. Kaplan joined Peace Corps in 1962 and served for two years in the Somali Republic. It was a powerfully formative experience, and he remained active in the Peace Corps community for the rest of his life. Upon his return from service, Kaplan started what would be a 53 year marriage. After his Peace Corps service, he worked as a research chemist for Bell Laboratories in New Jersey for 30 years. In his spare time, he also earned a Juris Doctorate and practiced law. He co-founded the organization working to create the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience. In retirement, Kaplan moved to Oregon and became a teacher once again, teaching chemistry at a community college. He will be remembered through his many scientific publications and the lives he touched, including those in the Peace Corps community.

     

    Nancy R. Jiracek (1945–2021) was a lifelong public servant devoted to helping her community. Jiracek grew up in Wisconsin and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After her graduation, she joined Peace Corps and served as a volunteer in Honduras. This began a life of travel and working in other countries. Jiracek moved to Tasmania in Australia, where she would remain for the next 50 years. Her career in public service involved managing family and social planning with adult education at Technical and Further Education (TAFE), which is similar to community colleges in the U.S. In retirement, Jiracek accepted a two-year position with UNICEF to assist with unexploded ordnance issues in Cambodia and Laos. Jiracek also cared deeply about Native American issues and the arts. She and her partner had a summer residence in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they were actively engaged in supporting native culture. Jiracek told her story in the book Building Up: Tales from Below, which described her early life growing up in a basement-house in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

     

    Peter J. Cryan (1944–2021) was a dedicated servicemember, family man, volunteer, coach. After completing his B.S. from Boston College and MBA from Suffolk University, he went on to join the Peace Corps and serve in Puerto Montt in southern Chile. He returned to the U.S. and joined the U.S. Army in 1968. He fought in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division and earned a Bronze Star; he was discharged with the rank of captain. Cryan began his professional career in healthcare administration at Children’s Hospital Boston. Later on he and his wife co-founded and co-led Cryan Associates, a small organization managing professional associations. After retirement Cryan continued to do consulting work as a trade show manager. Cryan participated in many organizations throughout his life, including Rotary International through the Sudbury chapter and a Paul Harris fellowship; he coached many sports teams; led several mission trips to Honduras; volunteered with Mobile Ministries; and was a proud member of the Padanaram Wharf Rats, the local men’s group.

     

    Delores A. (Primus) Orman (1943–2021) grew up in Iowa and was active in her community from a young age. She was involved in 4-H, her church youth group, helping at her parents’ appliance store, and worked as a lifeguard as a teen. Orman earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics and interior design from Iowa State University Ames in 1965. After graduation, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger. During her service she met and married her husband, Paul. Upon their return home, Orman began teaching art and home economics in Nome, Alaska. They remained there for 18 years, raising their family. Orman was an active member of her church and volunteer with 4-H. She was also a talented gardener and would frequently share her produce with friends and neighbors. In 1985, Orman and her family moved to Nebraska, where she continued to make a great impact in her community through teaching and volunteer work.

     

    Edward J. Budi (1955–2021) was a devout family man who loved traveling the world. Budi was born and raised in Illinois and graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a B.A. in accounting. He was known for believing the journey was always the destination. He enjoyed his time in Fiji as a Peace Corps Volunteer immensely, and he passed on his passion for adventure to the next generation, encouraging his children to experience the world. Budi and his wife met in Fiji and they eventually settled down as a family in Glen Allen, Virginia, where Budi worked as an international tax specialist with the IRS and was a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was also very involved with Friends of Fiji, and his dedication to service continued throughout his life.

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    Walter Cuskey (Trainer in Puerto Rico), 5/10/21

    Nancy K. (Henney) Elsea (Sierra Leone), 7/22/21

    Jerry A. Harrold (Malawi), 7/18/21

    William B. Robertson (Country Director of Kenya and Seychelles), 6/23/21

     

    MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

    Sally A. DeCicco (Ghana 1978—80, Philippines 1989—90), 8/4/21

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    Helen M. (Herrick) Michoud (196365), 7/24/21

     

    BOLIVIA

    George "Don" Donald Beck (1967—69)

     

    CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

    Rev. Thomas G. Schaefer (1974—77), 7/3/21

     

    CHILE

    Peter J. Cryan (1965—67), 8/4/21

    Sally F. Fitch (1965—67), 7/7/21

     

    CHINA

    Robert Joseph Eller (1999—2001), 8/4/21

     

    COSTA RICA

    Michael James Parcher (1980—83), 6/16/21

     

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

    Ernest C. Conry (1989—91), 6/8/21

    Mary "Gail Marie" Gail (McDonough) Forte (1979—82), 7/21/21

    Helena E. (Mokray) Reed (1964—66), 7/8/21

    Danny "Dan" M. Thibault (1973—74), 7/21

     

    EASTERN CARIBBEAN

    Rolfe A. Leary, PhD (1961—63), 7/20/21

     

    ECUADOR

    Joseph J. Aquino (1964—66), 8/1/21

    Samuel F. McPhetres (1962—64), 7/24/21

     

    EL SALVADOR

    John P. Spare (1966—68), 8/1/21

     

    FIJI

    Edward J. Budi (1986—88), 7/29/21

     

    GABON

    Melinda R. Bauman (1994—96), 7/15/21

     

    GUATEMALA

    Stephen (Clark) Issa (1988—90), 3/15/21

     

    HAITI

    Ellen Ruth (Harris) Daiber (1992—93), 7/5/21

     

    HONDURAS

    Kathleen T. Durning (1982—85), 7/10/21

    Nancy R. Jiracek (1968—69), 7/10/21

     

    IRAN

    Harry E. Conklin (1968—71), 7/8/21

    Edward W. Davis (1964—66), 5/8/21

    Arthur "Steve" S. Evans (1967—69), 4/1/21

    Ray Alan Frieden (1969—71), 4/27/21

    Robert A. Friedman (1966—67), 6/6/21

    James H. Reed (1964—66), 3/6/21

     

    JORDAN

    Sandra "Sandi" K. (Wheelhouse) Sauvage (2006—08), 7/21/21

     

    KAZAKHSTAN

    Linda L. Bradshaw (2002—04), 7/10/21 

     

    LESOTHO

    Willa Lemken (1997—99), 7/22/21

     

    LIBERIA

    Robert "Kent" K. Fisher (1963—65), 7/8/21

    Anita L. (Sowell) Terry (1972), 8/5/21

     

    MALAWI

    John Martin Geraghty (1965—67), 7/29/21

     

    MOLDOVA

    Frank L. Mays (2000), 1/7/21

     

    MONGOLIA

    Michael K. Jerryson (1997), 7/9/21

     

    NEPAL

    James W. Morris (1967—70), 7/18/21

     

    NIGER

    Delores A. (Primus) Orman (1965—67), 8/7/21

     

    NIGERIA

    Beverly J. Granger (1962—64), 6/14/21 

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Kyle J. Rickert (2004—06), 7/25/21

    Luke E. Williams (1984—87), 7/27/21

     

    SAMOA

    Virgina A. (Blake) Clark (1978—80), 7/14/21

    Tammy J. Lind (1988—90), 7/19/21

     

    SENEGAL

    Betty C. Harding (1986—88), 6/21/21

     

    SOMALIA

    Martin L. Kaplan (1962—64), 6/20/21

     

    THAILAND

    Arlene A. (Schwalben) Darick (1973—76), 7/24/21

     

    TUNISIA

    Edward S. Bright (1983—85), 2/21

    T. James "Jim" Truby (1965—67), 1/21/21

     

    VENEZUELA

    Aubrey Parsons Owen, 7/8/21

     

    COUNTRY OF SERVICE NOT SPECIFIED

    Kate Edwards, 7/28/21

    Michael Graham, 7/11/21

     

     

     

    If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, please reach out to us at obituary@peacecorpsconnect.org

  • Communications Intern 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)

     

    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) wos 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.

     

     

     

      

  • Brian Sekelsky 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)

     

    Brookings fellow Michael O’Hanlon sizes up U.S. foreign policy strategies in his latest book. Samantha Maltais (pictured) makes history as the first member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe to attend Harvard Law. Honors for CDC scientist Jennifer Giovanni for her contributions in fighting COVID-19 while serving as an ICU nurse. Global collaboration on the latest tracks from musician mjanja. 

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

     

    ALBANIA

    Anna Brugman (2018–20) is a graduate student at American University studying journalism and public affairs. In addition, she is currently an Editorial Intern with Current, a nonprofit news organization.

     

     

     

     

      

    DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

    Michael O'Hanlon (1982–84) has published The Art of War in an Age of Peace: U.S. Grand Strategy and Resolute Restraint (Yale University Press, May 2021), a “modern plan for post-2020 American foreign policy.” He is a senior fellow and the director of research in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.

     

     

     

     

    GUINEA

    Bruce BentonBruce Benton (1964–66) is the author of Riverblindness in Africa: Taming the Lion’s Stare (Johns Hopkins, 2020). He tells the story of how a large public-private partnership collaborated to control and defeat riverblindness, which had devastated rural communities and impeded socioeconomic development throughout much of Sub-Saharan Africa for generations.

     

     

     

     

    HONDURAS

    Jennifer FitzgeraldJennifer Fitzgerald (2001–03) is the co-founder and CEO of Policygenius Inc. It is a leading online commercial insurance marketplace in the United States. She was recently featured on the NPR program “How I Built This” with host Guy Raz.
     

     

     

     

     

     

    KENYA

    grover jacksonGrover Jackson (1967–69) and his two co-authors have produced “Back to Kenya,” a presentation described as “a multimedia tale of American Black history told by those who lived it.” The presentation includes written background details and personal stories from Jackson and his Kenya traveling companions related to his transformative journey to the African country as a Peace Corps volunteer. Jackson’s memoir, A Journey of Love, Faith, Strength, and Determination, is available online. It chronicles the lives of 14 siblings raised by poor but loving sharecropper parents who directly descended from slaves.

     

     

     

    LIBERIA

    bruce hamakerBruce Hamaker (1977–79) was awarded the 2021 Lowell S. Hardin Award for Excellence in International Agriculture for his collaboration with entrepreneurs and food processors in West Africa. He is the director of Purdue University’s Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research.


     

     

     

     

    MOROCCO

    Courtney BlankenshipCourtney Blankenship (2018–20) has received a 2021 Boren Fellowship from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs (Syracuse University). She is a first-year master’s degree student in international relations (Peace, Security and Conflict track), also pursuing certificates of advanced study in security studies and Middle Eastern affairs, studying Tarifit in Morocco. She plans on returning to Morocco on behalf of the National Security Education Program in 2022.
     

     

     

     

    NICARAGUA

    penny gagePenny Gage (2009–11) was named a 2019 recipient of the Alaska Journal of Commerce’s Top 40 Under 40 award. She has joined McKinley Alaska Private Investment, LLC as a private equity associate working from the Anchorage office.

     

     

     

     

     

    NIGER

    Jennifer GiovanniJennifer Giovanni (1995–97) is a scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2020 she also served as a COVID-19 ICU nurse at a hospital in Brooklyn. She received the CURE Media Group’s Finest Hour Award, which recognizes the selfless achievements of a nurse caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
     

     

     

     

     

    TANZANIA

    David GilmoreMusician David Gilmore (2016–18), a.k.a. mjanja, has released a number of music singles in 2021, with his most recent collaboration with New Delhi-bred visual artist OQLRR, a.k.a. Sparsh Narang, on the recording entitled “Reflection.”

     

     

     

     

    TIMOR-LESTE

    Sinead Hickey Sinead Hickey (2016–18) is a multimedia reporter and master’s degree candidate working with the Cronkite Health Disparities team from Arizona State University. The focus of this team is to cover health stories on underrepresented communities.

     

     

     

     

     

    TONGA

    Samantha MaltaisSamantha Maltais (2018–20) has been awarded American Indian College Fund’s second three-year American Indian Law School Scholarship for study at Harvard Law School. She becomes the first member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe to attend Harvard Law — though more than 350 years ago,  Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, an Aquinnah Wampanoag man, became the first Native American to graduate from the Cambridge, Massachusetts, university — the product of its 1650 charter calling for the education of “English and Indian youth of this country.” It’s a “full-circle moment” for the university and the Martha’s Vineyard tribe, Maltais says. The scholarship covers all costs of attendance, including tuition, for the three-year course of study at Harvard University.

     

     

     

     

    PEACE CORPS HEADQUARTERS

    helen lowmanHelen Lowman gave the commencement address at Austin College (Texas) in June 2021. From 2010 to 2015, she served as Regional Director — Europe, Middle East, and Asia, Peace Corps’ largest geographic region. She has been president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful since 2017, offering leadership in areas of international diplomacy and development, youth engagement, environmental education, disaster resilience, global leadership, volunteerism, social justice, and human rights.

     

     

      

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    A Volunteer-led project now serves communities in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. see more

    A Volunteer-led project now serves communities in the Americas, Asia, and Africa — and just hit a big milestone.

    Olla Milagrosa (Fundacion, Magdalena, Colombia), which has benefited from earnings through TCP Global, has distributed food and facemasks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy TCP Global

     

    Two decades ago, when 25,000 families were displaced annually by violence in Colombia, a group of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers started The Colombia Project, a loan program to help families reestablish financial independence. The program quickly grew to include communities in Niger, Guatemala, and Peru. It now serves 14 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. In October 2020, this volunteer effort reached a milestone: $1 million in microloans. 

    “The goal is to create opportunities so migration becomes a choice rather than a necessity,” says co-founder Helene Dudley, who served as a Volunteer in Colombia 1968–70. “We expect to reach the next million by 2025.”

    Last year, six Volunteers who were evacuated because of the pandemic joined the TCP Global team, bringing energy and creativity. The program added 30 new sites, including five introduced by evacuated Volunteers who worked with their counterparts virtually to introduce microloan programs.

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    Thanks to the groups and individuals who have supported evacuated Volunteers and their projects see more

    Thank you to the groups and individuals who have supported evacuated Volunteers and their communities around the world during this time of crisis.

    By Bethany Leech
    International Programs Coordinator, National Peace Corps Association

     

    In the months since the unprecedented global evacuation of Peace Corps Volunteers, National Peace Corps Association Affiliate Groups across the country have been generous with time and support they have shown evacuated Volunteers. They have provided service and assistance here in the United States during the COVID pandemic.

    A number of affiliate groups have also made generous donations to enable NPCA to provide vital transition support and services to the 7,300 recently evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers. This crucial support amplifies our community’s global social impact by providing small grants for the projects of evacuated Volunteers. And it sustains important connections with communities around the world during a time of crisis. Find out more and make a gift here.

    To all who have given support to NPCA’s Community Fund, the RPCV Benevolent Fund, and to to the Global Reentry Program: Thank you! We give special thanks to these NPCA Affiliate Groups for their generous donations: 

     

    • Atlanta Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

    • Friends of Colombia

    • Friends of Jordan

    • Friends of Nepal

    • Heart of Texas Peace Corps Association 

    • Peace Corps Iran Association

    • North Carolina Peace Corps Association

    • Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of New Jersey

    • RPCVs of Northeastern New York

    • RPCVs of North Florida

    • Southeast Michigan Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

    • Tennessee Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

     

     

    A place to stay: Schoolgirls at Enukweni Community Day Secondary School in Malawi. A safe place means access to education. Volunteer Lydia Babcock was working with community members to obtain grant funds to renovate the hostel where they live during school terms. Then Babcock was evacuated. NPCA groups and members stepped up and funded this project and others. Photo by Lydia Babcock.

     


    This story was first published in WorldView magazine’s Fall 2020 issue. Read the entire magazine for free now in the WorldView app. Here’s how:

    STEP 1 - Create an account: Click here and create a login name and password. Use the code DIGITAL2020 to get it free.

    STEP 2 - Get the app: For viewing the magazine on a phone or tablet, go to the App Store/Google Play and search for “WorldView magazine” and download the app. Or view the magazine on a laptop/desktop here.

  • Molly O'Brien posted an article
    We remember those within the Peace Corps community who recently passed away. see more

    As we mourn the loss of members of the Peace Corps community, we celebrate the lives they led with a commitment to service.  

    By Molly O'Brien & Caitlin Nemeth

    Photo: Tommy Schultz III, talented writer and photographer, gone too soon. His service with the Peace Corps in the Philippines taught him the importance of marine conservation.

     

    Our tributes include an innovative playground designer and play expert. A talented travel writer and photographer. A scholar and expert on African Literature. Several lifelong educators and a social worker. Servicemen who continued their devotion to their communities. 

    We honor the wide range of contributions made by members of the Peace Corps community who recently passed away.

     

    Paul Hogan (1928 – 2021) was the innovative founder of the “Playgrounds for Free” movement. Growing up in Philadelphia, Hogan often accompanied his father, a building developer, to building sites. He earned his B.A. from Goddard College and served the United States in both the Merchant Marine and in the Eleventh Airborne Division. From 1965 to 1967, Hogan served as the Regional Director of Peace Corps in Colombia in what was a life-changing experience for him and his family. The concept for his playground career was inspired in 1958, when he volunteered at Charlestown Playschool. At the time, he was the Director of Construction for the Neighborhood Renewal Corps of Philadelphia, and organized his community to build a playground. This was the first “playground for free” that started a national movement and inspired Paul to write his first book. Later, he would publish PlayPlans magazine as part of the International Play Association (IPA) and publish more books on playground construction and safety. Over the years, Hogan would travel globally, consulting and promoting safe play. He co-invented the Triax 2000 portable surface impact testing device, which allows municipalities globally to create safe surfaces for play. President Jimmy Carter appointed him as Honorary Commissioner of the U.S. National Commission for the International Year of the Child in 1979, a great honor for Paul. His passion for his community and play will be long remembered.

     

    Charles R. Larson, Ph.D. (1938 – 2021), was a pioneering educator in comparative literature and profoundly influenced the growth of scholarship on African Literature in the United States. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature, Larson considered himself just a budding researcher of literature when he joined Peace Corps Nigeria in 1962. According to Larson, his time in West Africa altered his world view, leading him to understand the limits of his own schooling and to pursue a broader education through a doctorate in African literature. However, he was unable to find a program, and decided to pursue a degree in African American literature at Howard University. After transferring to Indiana University, he received his Ph.D. in comparative literature. Starting in 1970, he joined American University’s faculty as a professor of African literature, and taught students for over 40 years until his retirement in 2011. Dr. Larson’s first major critical work was The Emergence of African Fiction, a piece notable for challenging readers to consider African literature within the context of African oral tradition, rather than judging based on American or Western ideals of character and plot. His other works include anthologies of African writers, highlighting novelists and authors China Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Amos Tutuola, Ben Okri, Nuruddin Farah, Camara Laye, and Grace Ogot, among others; a retelling of The Scarlet Letter called “Arthur Dimmesdale”; a scholarly work on Native American literature; a biography of two noted Harlem Renaissance writers, Jean Toomer and Nella Larsen; and several works of fiction.

     

    Stella Martinez See (1927 – 2021) was a passionate educator. In 1950, Stella married Robert See, moving from Nevada to become a Midwestern farm wife. She and Robert had three daughters and later moved the family to Fort Collins, Colorado. When her children were older, Stella resumed her education, earning her B.A. in 1969 from Colorado State University and a M.A. in 1971 from University of Northern Colorado. Later, she would earn a public school administrator’s certificate from University of Colorado. Stella See loved teaching. She taught everything from Spanish to junior and senior high students, to reading to elementary students, to ESL and GED classes. She was a teacher trainer for those changing careers and for professionals working with diverse populations. Outside of classroom teaching, See recorded textbooks for blind students, translated for Crossroads Safehouse, and worked with Spanish-speaking clients at the Homeless Prevention program. From 1993 to 1994, See served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras, working with teachers to improve teaching standards and methods. See received awards such as Woman of the Year by the YWCA and Volunteer of the Year from Front Range Community College. When not giving her time to others, See loved to travel, read, and spend time with her family.

     

    Thomas A. Schultz III (1975 – 2021), known as Tommy, was a talented writer and photographer, gone too soon. Schultz graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Environmental Science in 1998. After graduation, he worked as a fly fishing instructor and guide. This led him to be hired by Trout Unlimited, a national nonprofit conservation organization. He became the director of marketing, discovering an interest in outdoor photography. In 2004, Schultz made the life-changing decision to join the Peace Corps and served in the Philippines as a coastal resource management Volunteer. His time there taught him the importance of marine conservation. After his service, Schultz engaged in writing and photography full time, traveling extensively in Asia, eventually settling in Bali, Indonesia. There, he worked on an innovative National Geographic–sponsored project called Photovoices, which involved sharing stories from remote communities through photography. Schultz remained in Bali for over 14 years, working on various stories which appeared in publications for National Geographic, Patagonia, and World Wildlife Fund, as well as travel and airline flight magazines. He was a strong advocate for the health and protection of the ocean, having made so many lasting memories in and around it. 

     

    Richard C. Andresen (1939 – 2021), known by his nickname Dick, was an entrepreneur and involved business owner. Following his graduation from Ferris State University in Michigan, Andresen joined the Peace Corps, developing co-ops for farmers in Malawi. Out of his Peace Corps experience came two of the most meaningful things in his life. The first was the realization that he wanted to be self-employed, which would lead to several successful business ventures over the next few decades. The second was meeting his wife, Lynn, on his way home from Africa. They were married in 1968 and shared a nearly 53-year marriage. After his return from Peace Corps service, Andresen developed 29 Burger King restaurants throughout Michigan, established “Alibi” Nightclubs in several cities, and became the president of eight corporations. Never one to rest, he also bought and remodeled an inn and founded Mt. Pleasant Oil and Gas. In 1984, Andresen was named alumnus of the year from Ferris State University. When he was ready to retire, Andresen sold his Burger King Restaurants to four of his key employees. At the time, his company had over 2,300 employees. In his retirement years, Andresen enjoyed boating and fishing, as well as piloting his plane, but was also happiest as PaPa to his three granddaughters. 

      

    Wiley R. Carmack (1935 – 2021) was a dedicated serviceman, worker, and volunteer throughout his life. He joined the United States Air Force right out of high school, and upon returning stateside he attended UCLA and later earned his master of science in geology. In 1963, he served in Peace Corps Sierra Leone, an experience that would inspire him to travel throughout his life, as well as work in central and northern Mexico. Carmack had earlier established himself in Silverton, Colorado, and he would spend the next 60 years in his community, with a few notable exceptions for his world travels. While he lived in Silverton, he owned and operated several retail businesses throughout the years, and during the winter months he worked as a hard-rock miner and mill operator. Carmack was essential in the founding of Silverton’s first volunteer ambulance service, and he went on to serve as an EMT for 15 years. His continual devotion to his community was evident throughout his life, as he served his community in many capacities including town council member, municipal judge, theater board member, Chamber of Commerce president, town deputy, and member of Blair Street Gunfighters, Silverton’s very own community group that assists with the filming of Western movies and television shows.

     

    Lelia E. Johnson (1922 – 2021) was an exemplary teacher and dedicated missionary. Johnson and her family moved to France when she was just five years old. Becoming fluent in French, she would later have to relearn English when they moved back to the U.S. She was one of the first Black students to graduate from Dorsey High School in California, and would go on to be instrumental in the integration of West Coast military base housing and local schooling after her marriage to Lt. Colonel Rupert Johnson, a WWII Tuskegee Airman. Her activism work would lead her and her young children to meet Martin Luther King, Jr. In her mid-40s, Lelia Johnson attended California State University, Northridge, for both her B.A. and M.A. in French. After graduation, Johnson served in Dakar, Senegal as an English teacher, and would go on to also serve as a Catholic Missionary in American Samoa. After she received her teaching credentials in 1985, she spent many years as an elementary school teacher and CCD instructor.

     

    Simon A. St. Laurent (1941 – 2021) graduated from the University of Notre Dame’s general program of liberal studies and NROTC. Following graduation, he served in the U.S. Navy until returning stateside to attend University of Chicago’s business school for his MBA. He and his wife, Mary, served in Peru to assist locals with business development. After their service, Simon St. Laurent worked in the accounting department for Corning Glass Works for many years, working in several cities in Pennsylvania and Seoul, Korea, as well as traveling to assist on Corning projects in India, Mexico, Germany, Malaysia, and China. After St. Laurent retired in 2001, he focused his time on volunteering as the president of the advisory board of the Steuben County Office for the Aging, and he continued to travel and fish until his death.

     

    Maureen A. Sweeney (1969 – 2021) was a persevering and dedicated social worker. She received her B.S. in liberal studies and completed a certificate program in child welfare studies. She worked for the Pennsylvania State Division of Nursing Care Facilities as a Health Facility Quality Examiner. Maureen was an avid advocate for nursing home residents, and this passion and dedication led to her involvement with many other community-driven programs, including joining Peace Corps Namibia in 2015. She also volunteered as secretary on the Helping Hands Board in Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania, a program dedicated to facilitating enrichment programs for individuals with disabilities; and participated in the Youth Aid Panel, an innovative program for providing second chances to youth in the criminal justice system.

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    Nona L. Bailey (Peace Corps Recruiter), 5/21/21

    Jon K. Groteluschen (Puerto Rico), 6/2/21

    Paul Hogan (Colombia 1965–67), 2/19/21

    Charles T. O’Connor, M.D. (Deputy Chief Psychiatrist of Peace Corps), 5/16/21

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    Alice M. Roddy (1963–65), 5/20/21

     

    BELIZE

    Frank Phelan (2001–03), 6/1/21

     

    BOTSWANA

    Marilyn A. Conger (1989–91), 5/9/21

     

    BRAZIL

    Thomas J. Brock (1976–79), 5/23/21

    Katia (Buchler) Lund (1968–70), 6/14/21

    Douglas L. Toews (1962–64), 5/25/21

     

    CHILE

    Collier N. Smith (1966–69), 2/11/21

     

    COLOMBIA

    Charles "Tony" Christy (1968), 6/8/21

    Carl Mallory (1963–65), 6/14/21

     

    COSTA RICA

    Laura “Betty” Deavours (1966–68), 6/8/21

     

    EASTERN CARIBBEAN

    Fern E. Jackson (1971–72), 5/30/21

    Noel F. Sabine (1970–72), 5/30/21

     

    ECUADOR

    John A. A. Meyer (1964–66), 12/17/20

    Karl A. Stadler (1967–69), 6/15/21

     

    ESWATINI

    Kenneth L. Alvey (1992–95), 5/16/21

     

    FIJI

    Mark R. Schiffer (1969–71), 6/8/21

     

    GUATEMALA

    John H. Dolan (1993), 6/13/21

     

    HONDURAS

    Stella (Martinez) See (1993–94), 5/21/21

     

    LIBERIA

    Mary Katherine “Kathy” Poese (1977–79), 6/11/21

     

    MALAWI

    Richard “Dick” C. Andresen (1964–66), 5/30/21

     

    NAMIBIA

    Maureen A. Sweeney (2015), 5/14/21

     

    NICARAGUA

    Richard Domingo Uberuaga (1973–76), 6/4/21

     

    NIGERIA

    Charles R. Larson (1962–64), 5/22/21

    Lawrence “Larry” H. Shafer (1965–67), 6/9/21

     

    PAPUA NEW GUINEA

    Margel “Lee“ Parker Craig (1985–88), 5/25/21

     

    PERU

    Simon A. St. Laurent (1967–70), 6/12/21

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Kenneth R. Rashid (1961–63), 6/6/21

    Thomas A. Schultz III (2004–06), 6/4/21

     

    SENEGAL

    Lelia E. Johnson (1972–75), 5/26/21

     

    SIERRA LEONE

    Wiley R. Carmack (1963–64), 6/2/21

     

    THAILAND

    William Dennis Haden (1968–69), 5/12/21

    David Michaels (1961–63), 5/26/21

     

    TUNISIA

    Nancy (Townsend) MacDonald (1969–71), 6/4/21

     

     

     

     

    If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, please reach out to us at obituary@peacecorpsconnect.org

  • Molly O'Brien posted an article
    We remember those within our Peace Corps community who recently passed away. see more

    As we mourn the loss of members of the Peace Corps community, we celebrate the lives they led with a commitment to service.

    By Molly O’Brien & Caitlin Nemeth

     

    Our tributes include former U.S. Ambassador Larry L. Palmer, left, and an award-winning musician. A decorated State Department diplomat and a public health official specializing in infectious diseases. Educators with a lifelong commitment to their students. A dedicated physical therapist and a doctor who served as an instrumental member of the NPCA Board of Directors.

    We honor the wide range of contributions made by members of the Peace Corps community who recently passed away.

     

    Ambassador Larry L. Palmer, Ph.D. (1949 – 2021) was a dedicated civil servant and diplomat. He earned a bachelor’s in history from Emory University, a master’s of education from Texas Southern University, and a doctorate in higher education and African Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington. Palmer served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia from 1970 to 1972, which inspired him to join the Foreign Service. That led to postings in multiple U.S. Embassies around the world as part of the Senior Foreign Service. He served in the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Ecuador before being appointed U.S. Ambassador to Honduras (2002–05) by President Bush. During his tenure in Honduras, he oversaw more than $250 million in development programming from USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Upon completing his term as ambassador, he became the president and CEO of the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) from 2005–10. He was energetic and focused on generating economic impact during his time at IAF. He helped IAF expand their approach to funding and supporting underserved groups, including African descendants. After his time with IAF, Ambassador Palmer served as the U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean under President Obama (2012–16), where he concurrently served as the ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Ambassador Palmer was a wonderful connector and diplomat, working tirelessly in many roles to forge prosperous relationships between the U.S. and many parts of the world.

     

    Mary L. Walker (1926 – 2021) was a musician, but her professional career began as a research assistant with the Wright Patterson Aeromedical Laboratories. This preliminary research was a precursor to the U.S. space program; Walker participated in trials to determine the effect of decreased oxygen levels on humans at high altitudes. Her career took a creative turn when, at 48, Walker taught herself how to play guitar; she would go on to complete eight albums. Her music can be described as entertaining and informational, and her inspiring impact was felt by the Catholic church and her local community, with songs such as “Advent Song” and “Everybody Has a Song.” Mary was awarded the Popular Award every year from 1984 to 1994 by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. From 1990 to 1992, Walker served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji, where she presented a weekly children’s radio program called “Shared The Sunlight.” Over the years, she went on to receive the Arts Partnership Award from the Chemung Valley Arts Council and was recognized as a Woman of Excellence Today by Girl Scouts of the USA. In addition to “Shared The Sunlight,” other shows Walker hosted and performed on include PBS programs “Weekend Radio” and “Woody’s Children,” ITV’s “Saints Alive,” and the musical “Children of the Earth,” a production by Mary and Serge Banyevitch. Her extensive work over the years as a creative performer cemented Walker’s dedication to promoting fairness, love, and inclusion for the community's future — children.

     

    David C. McGaffey, Ph.D. (1941 – 2021) was an incredibly smart and talented man with many interests. At the age of 15, he enrolled at the University of Detroit and completed his education with majors in theater, folklore, psychology, and math. During his time at U of D, he met his future wife, Elizabeth. Together, they joined Peace Corps after their wedding, serving in Afghanistan 1964–66. Upon their return, McGaffey joined the State Department, traveling the world and representing the United States in various capacities. His storied career involved managing the safe evacuation of 2,500 Americans from Iran during the 1979 revolution, serving as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Guyana, and holding a position as the U.S. representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. He managed to find time to publish four non-fiction books about diplomacy and write a children’s book. While working for the State Department, McGaffey received his master’s in systems analysis at Harvard University, then furthered his education in retirement, completing a Ph.D. in international relations at Johns Hopkins University. He did not slow down, returning to teaching at several universities abroad in the U.S. He was passionate about teaching and assisted in the development of many programs at various international universities. David was an incredible civil servant and made a positive impact upon everyone he met. 

     

    David B. Wolf, Ph.D. (1942 – 2021) was a leader in higher education in California. Wolf attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he also earned his master’s in economics. After marrying in 1965, David and Ruth Wolf served in the Peace Corps in Malaysia 1966–68. Upon their return, David pursued his doctorate in organization and education at Stanford University. He began his career in education in earnest; he was hired as the dean of Los Angeles Mission College, then later took on administrative roles at other colleges. He taught for many years and was later promoted to accrediter for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Wolf was passionate about his students and wanted every student in California to receive access to higher education. His retirement from teaching did not last long before he went back to work. He co-founded the Campaign for College Opportunity advocacy group in 2002, which has since grown into one of the only statewide nonprofits to focus exclusively on public higher education. Due to his work in his organization, hundreds of thousands of students in California have been able to achieve access to higher education and brighter futures.

     

    H. David Hibbard, M.D. (1937 – 2021) followed JFK’s call to service, joining the very first Peace Corps group in Nigeria, then later serving as a Peace Corps doctor in India 1967–69. An Oberlin College graduate, Hibbard continued his education at Case Western Reserve Medical School and the University of North Carolina, where he earned his public health degree. Remembered by patients as a kind and compassionate doctor, Hibbard contributed to the medical community in a variety of ways. He created the Advanced Medical Directive forms that are used nationwide, served on the Boulder Community Hospital Integrated task force, and co-founded the Malaria and Health Care Project with his wife, Chris, in Uganda. He remained active in the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer community, serving on the NPCA Board of Directors, making a lasting impact on NPCA’s advocacy efforts. 

     

    Michael J. Bangs, Ph.D. (1956 – 2021) was a dedicated public health agent to the communities he served, working across the globe in southeast Asia, Central America, and Africa. Inspired by his three years working on malaria prevention as a Peace Corps Volunteer in northern Borneo, Bangs obtained his master’s in medical entomology and infectious disease epidemiology. He spent 21 years as a U.S. Navy public health entomologist in the capacity of a preventive medicine officer in Indonesia, during which time he was sponsored as a Ph.D. candidate in medical entomology. Following his retirement from military service in 2006, he continued working overseas as director of vector-borne disease control programs for a private medical assistance company. Throughout his years as a public health worker, he authored over 250 articles that analyzed his research on vector-borne disease epidemiology. Bangs also consulted with major foundations on malaria prevention initiatives, and he taught as an adjunct professor and advisor to many students at world-renowned institutions such as the Universities of Oxford and Notre Dame.

     

    Marian B. Rowe (1939 – 2021) was a three-time Peace Corps Volunteer. From a young age she was involved in the organization 4-H, owning a horse and sheep that participated in 4-H competitions. Rowe’s devotion to animals led her to obtain her bachelor’s in zoology from the University of California Davis, and later on to pursue her master’s in wildlife biology through the University of Idaho. Her other passions included travel and education, and in 1962 she was part of the first Peace Corps group to arrive in Venezuela, where she worked in community development. She would go on to serve twice more in Peace Corps, but during the intervening years, she dedicated herself to working as an educator, teaching Spanish to high schoolers in California schools and teaching ESL to immigrants in local communities. In 1992, she served in Peace Corps Morocco as a large animal husbandry expert. She served for a third time as an English educator in Paraguay from 2009 to 2011. Her love for traveling, education, and animals continued for the rest of her life, and she passed on a deep appreciation for these to her children and grandchildren.

     

    Francisco A. Sisneros (1948 – 2021) was a respected education administrator, researcher, and author. He spent several years in his late teens and early 20s independently in Latin America, studying and working, and by 1971 served as a Volunteer in Honduras. Following his Peace Corps service, Sisneros worked at the Bilingual Institute and the University of New Mexico, and conducted bilingual materials research at the University of Arizona in Tucson until 1981. He then switched gears and spent 20 years as a school administrator within the Socorro, New Mexico school district. In his spare time, Sisneros enjoyed researching his Hispanic ancestors, tracing his family ties to the mid-1660s in New Mexico. He helped establish the Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico, and was a senior research associate at the center. He was also a well-known writer and researcher in the field of New Mexico Hispanic history.

     

    Hugh T. Compton, Ph.D. (1944 – 2021) served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica, working as a teacher and job counselor. Upon his return from service in 1969, he earned his doctorate in literature from the University of South Carolina. Compton joined the university faculty, inspiring thousands of students over the course of three decades. He served in many leadership positions at the university and contributed to a wide range of topics such as 18th-century literature, censorship, theatre history, Southern literature, and African American theatre and literature. Hugh was also the recipient of many University honors and awards, including the University of South Carolina Educational Foundation Award for Faculty Service and the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Distinguished Teaching, Research and Service in Furtherance of Social Justice.

     

    Gwendolyn K. Forbes-Kirby (1953 – 2021) was a dedicated physical therapist for over 35 years. After she graduated from the University of California, Davis, she joined the Peace Corps in 1976 and served in South Korea, where she met her future husband. After marriage, they traveled together and spent time in Switzerland, Japan, Hawai'i, and the state of Georgia. During her time in Atlanta, she used her extensive experience working as a certified lymphedema therapist to join the Board of Directors for the Lighthouse Lymphedema Network.

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    Mercer Gilmore (US Staff), 4/5/21

    Paul L. Guise, M.D. (West Africa 1961–64), 5/5/21

    John L. Kuehn, M.D. (US Staff 1966), 4/25/21

    Tobe Johnson, Ph.D. (US Staff), 5/7/21

    Walter O. VomLehn, M.D. (Dominican Republic), 3/8/21

     

    MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

    Kathryn I. Chase (Hungary 1995–97, Eastern Caribbean 1998), 4/6/21

    Marian B. Rowe (Venezuela 1962–64, Morocco 1992–94, Paraguay 2009–11), 5/8/21

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    John M. Flynn (1965–67), 5/18/21

    David C. McGaffey (1964–66), 4/14/21

    Sandra J. McNeilly (1971–73), 4/12/21

     

    BANGLADESH

    Michael B. Backus (2003–04), 5/12/21

     

    BENIN

    Monica M. Justice (1989–91), 1/15/21

     

    BOTSWANA

    Gary M. Bean (1968–69), 5/18/21

     

    BRAZIL

    Michael B. Fero (1965–67), 10/28/20

    Rodolfo Ramirez (1966–69), 5/1/21

     

    BURKINA FASO

    Peter Brostrom (1985–86), 3/30/21

     

    COLOMBIA

    M. Dickey Drysdale (1966), 5/9/21

    Michael S. Owen (1966–68), 4/13/21

    Donald R. Torrence (1962–64), 4/25/21

     

    EASTERN CARIBBEAN

    Jake M. Beddoe (201819), 5/27/20

     

    ECUADOR

    Robert Donner (1966–68), 4/27/21

     

    ETHIOPIA

    Charles L. Clark (1963–65), 4/27/21

    Elizabeth J. Hamm (196465), 4/11/21

    Lois S. Mirkin (1962–64), 12/22/20

    Gwendolyn S. Smith (197374), 5/4/21

     

    FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA

    Esther M. Gray (1987–89), 4/28/21

    Sharon N. Ruzumna (196769), 4/24/21

     

    FIJI

    Mary L. Walker (1990–92), 4/29/21

     

    GUYANA

    Frank X. McGough (1966–68), 4/24/21

     

    HONDURAS

    Francisco A. Sisneros (1971–73), 5/1/21

    Jackson E. Tegarden (1977), 5/14/21

     

    INDIA

    Grant B. Anderson (1963), 5/18/21

    Ruth Benziger Cahill (1968–70), 4/17/20

    Conrad F. Fingerson (196365), 4/30/21

    Bill A. Hetzner (1965–67), 4/15/21

    James “Jamie” Oates (196871), 4/14/21

    Roland M. Poirier (1968–69), 3/9/21

     

    IRAN

    Jeffrey D. Shorn (1966–68), 4/20/21

     

    JAMAICA

    Marvin A. Cochran (196567), 4/27/21

    Hugh T. Compton, Ph.D. (1967–69), 4/28/21

     

    KENYA

    James R. Linville (197073), 4/19/21

     

    LIBERIA

    Amb. Larry L. Palmer, Ph.D. (197072), 4/22/21

    Frank A. Peterson, Jr. (1963–65), 4/10/21

    Marie L. Woodward (1977–80), 4/7/21
     

    MALAWI

    John A. Turnbull (1963–65), 4/13/21

     

    MALAYSIA

    Michael J. Bangs, Ph.D. (1979–82), 3/9/21

    David B. Wolf (196668), 4/9/21

     

    NIGER

    Kent M. Helmer (1979–81), 4/21/21

     

    NIGERIA

    Eric E. Goodale (1964–67), 4/25/21

    H. David Hibbard, M.D. (196163), 4/7/21

    Gwendolyn E. Skeoch (196567), 5/2/21

    Carl White (1964–66), 5/8/21

     

    PANAMA

    William A. LeMaire (1967–69), 3/29/21

     

    PARAGUAY

    Richard Headen Inman, Sr. (1968–70), 3/13/21

     

    PERU

    Carl S. Ebert (1966–68), 4/21/21

    Frederick P. Romero (196466), 3/26/21

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Bruce C. Campbell (1961–63), 5/10/21

    Veronica D. Casale (1966–68), 1/6/21

    Ernest N. Way (1965–67), 5/21/21

     

    SAINT LUCIA

    Jane O. Mohney (1982–83), 5/7/21

     

    SIERRA LEONE

    Jeffrey N. Phillips (1973–75), 4/14/21

    Diane Williams (1987–90), 4/5/21

    Brenda Wilson (1973–76), 4/15/21

     

    SOUTH KOREA

    Peter Bartholomew (1967–71), 5/11/12

    Gwendolyn K. Forbes-Kirby (1976–78), 4/9/21

     

    TANZANIA

    Noel C. Hankamer (196568), 4/6/21

     

    COUNTRY OF SERVICE NOT SPECIFIED

    Jerry D. Nash, 4/12/21

    Ann Neuenschwander, 4/20/21

     

     

     

     


     

    If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, please reach out to us at obituary@peacecorpsconnect.org

  • 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
    From Peace Corps to the house, senate, and more — at the state level see more

    From Peace Corps to the house, senate, and more — at the state level

    By Jake Arce and Jordana Comiter

    New to the New York State Senate: Samra Brouk, who served as a Volunteer in Guatemala. Photo courtesy Samra Brouk.

     

    John Garamendi (D-CA) is currently the sole Returned Peace Corps Volunteer in the U.S. Congress. What about at the state level? After recent elections, here’s where you’ll find a few in state houses, senates, and assemblies — as well as a secretary of state and governor.

     


    ALABAMA

    Arthur Orr (Nepal 1989–91) was reelected to the State Senate in 2018. He has served since 2006 and chairs the $17 billion Senate Budget Committee for Education. With Peace Corps he served in a Himalayan village and established a college scholarship program for girls.

     

     

     

     


    COLORADO

    Jeni Arndt (Morocco 1990–92) was in her third term in the state’s House of Representatives but departs this spring; in April she was elected mayor of Fort Collins with 63 percent of the vote.

     

     

     

      


    HAWAI‘I

    Gene Ward (Malaysia 1965–67; Country Director, East Timor 2005–06) was reelected in November to represent the 17th district in the state’s House of Representatives. Altogether he has served East Honolulu in the House more than 20 years.

     

     

     

     


     MAINE

    Shenna Bellows (Panama 2000–02) was elected by the Legislature to be Maine’s secretary of state—the first woman elected to serve in the role. Served 2016–20 in the State Senate. At her swearing-in in January, she noted that her grandmother, who celebrated her 101st birthday days prior, was born in the year that saw final ratification of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.

     

     

     


     MARYLAND

    Robbyn Lewis (Niger 1990–91) serves in the Maryland House of Delegates, representing District 46 in Baltimore. A public health professional who has worked with the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere, she sponsored House Bill 28 to help address health concerns in communities of color.

     

     

     


     MASSACHUSETTS

    Jon Santiago (Dominican Republic 2006–08) was reelected to the state’s House of Representatives in November. With Peace Corps he was a community health specialist. Now he is an ER physician at Boston Medical Center, the city’s safety net hospital; and a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve who has deployed overseas. In February he declared his candidacy for mayor of Boston.

     

     

     


     NEW HAMPSHIRE

    Rebecca Perkins Kwoka (Senegal 2004–06) was elected in November to the State Senate. Former council member for the city of Portsmouth, she is the first openly gay woman in the New Hampshire Senate, and is also a wife and mother.

     

     

     

     

     

    Richard AmesRichard Ames (The Philippines 1968–70) was reelected to the state’s House of Representatives. He is vice chair of the Jaffrey Energy Committee and has served in the House since 2012. 

     

     

     

     


     NEW YORK

    Samra Brouk (Guatemala 2009–11) was elected to the State Senate to represent the 55th District in Rochester. The daughter of immigrants, her father fled Ethiopia during its civil war. As a college student, she volunteered with cleanup efforts after Hurricane Katrina; as a Peace Corps Volunteer she worked in health education.

     

     

     


     PENNSYLVANIA

    Tom Wolf (India 1968–70) has served as governor since 2015; he was reelected in 2018. To recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, in February Wolf announced a $3 billion “Back to Work PA” plan.

     

     

     

     


     WASHINGTON

    Mary Dye (Thailand 1984–86) won reelection in November to the House of Representatives for the 9th legislative district in southeastern Washington. She was first appointed to the House in 2015.

     

     

     

     


     WISCONSIN

    Sara Rodriguez (Samoa 1997–99) was elected in November as Wisconsin State Representative for Assembly District 13, which includes Brookfield, Elm Grove, Wauwatosa, West Allis, and Milwaukee. She is a registered nurse and healthcare executive, and she has had various leadership positions with public health departments at the local, state and federal level, serving as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the CDC.

     

     

  • Communications Intern 2 posted an article
    RPCVs bring forward their rewarding experiences following Worldview see more

    Letters, emails, LinkedIn and Instagram comments, Facebook posts, tweets, and other missives: Readers respond to the stories in words and images in the winter 2021 edition of WorldView. We’re happy to continue the conversation here and on all those nifty social media platforms. One way to write us: worldview@peacecorpsconnect.org

     

    Retool, then reengage

    The pandemic offers a unique opportunity for Peace Corps to critically evaluate programs. It’s tempting to just send back returned Volunteers to previous assignments—and probably easiest from utilizing appropriated funding. But I hope there will be a pause, and a rethinking about how best to use the skills and idealism of some of America’s best.

    Jerry Wager

    Guyana 1967–69

     

    WorldView is spectacular! I just received the winter issue. Wow! I get a lot of magazines, but WorldView is just head and shoulders above all of them.

    Dennis Lucey

    Country Director, Liberia 1976–77

     

    Important connections — the NPCA email newsletter, WorldView. Connections make a difference! My Peace Corps experience 55 years ago has strengthened in my perspectives and actions over the years. Always learning, always valuable.

    Judy Lippman

    Morocco 1966–68

     

    After perusing the latest WorldView, I was wondering if you had considered a letter to the editor campaign in which returned PCVs would highlight Peace Corps’ 60th anniversary and explain the current status of the program and plans to return Volunteers to the field.

    In addition, have you considered contacting current and past presidents and their spouses, inviting them to become patrons of the Peace Corps and advocates of its work, while requesting their support with Congress and the public at large? Many thanks for your great efforts in keeping alive and well the ideals of the Peace Corps that inspired me and so many others to serve.

    Fred Kalhammer

    Dominican Republic (1962–64)

     

     


    “Ask not…” Annotating JFK’s Inaugural address

     

     

    I watched and heard the words while working as a nurse aide in January ’62. In April I sent an inquiry, sent in the application, trained that summer, and was in country by fall. Still the best thing I ever did. Would do it again, but I’m 77! 

    Edith O’Neil-Page

    Ecuador 1962

     

    I am dumbfounded why you did not include this paragraph from the inaugural in your article:

    To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required — not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

    Within an inaugural address that people would parse as if it were the Gettysburg address, it would be difficult not to read Kennedy’s pledge as a statement to the world of why he would be creating a “Peace Corps” … which he did by executive order about 45 days later. Within the confines of two sentences, Kennedy spoke directly to what many then called the “Third World” and set out the principles of the pledge he was making and what would govern a Peace Corps: We would come not as “helpers” but as equals, “to help them help themselves,” not limited by an arbitrary time requirement, but “for whatever period is required”… and most important we come not out of some self-interest but out of the moral responsibility that comes from being a citizen of the world … because it is right.

    Gordon Radley

    Malawi 1968–70; Training program director, Western Samoa 1979

     

    Excellent point and taken. Check out the full address here, along with more annotations by Gordon Radley, Editor Emeritus David Arnold, and others. —Ed.

     


     

    How Peace Corps inspired Linda Thomas-Greenfield 

    Read the story here.

     

    Love her: She swore in our L4 group in Peace Corps Response Liberia! She will be a fantastic U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., bringing compassion, intelligence, experience, down-to-earth warmth, talent, and a diverse perspective.

    Alyssa Moy

    Staff and consultant; associate director in Nicaragua 2014–19

     

    I served in Somalia 9. We did our initial training at Leland College in Baker, Louisiana — probably when Linda was a little girl. I’d like to think we might have left an impression on her about Peace Corps.

    Denis Viri

    Somalia 1969–70

     

    She was Chief of Mission in Liberia when I was there serving as director of management and operations for Peace Corps reopening the post. She is an extraordinary person and I am glad she is in the position she is in now.

    Darren D. Defendeifer

    Peace Corps HQ Staff

     

    I worked for her at State and she is one of the most incredible human beings I’ve ever met.

    Victoria Sturdivant

    Ghana 1997–99

     

     


    Anne Rimoin: “A matter of life and death”

    Read the story here.

     

    Thank you, Anne, for your informative and thoughtful article. Thank you for articulating so eloquently not only the significance of learning to listen to our community, but also how the Peace Corps experience teaches us that vital lesson.

    Meredith McCartney

    Benin 1989–91

       


    Peace Corps Connect to the Future

    Read the report here.

     

    After reading the section of the report focused on “Reexamining the Peace Corps’ Second and Third Goals,” I find myself in complete and enthusiastic agreement. I’ve served three complete 27-month tours as a PCV. Being an educator by profession and assigned to the education sector, the First Goal was for me pretty much routine. I loved it — but the real excitement and life-changing experiences were reflected in the Second and Third Goals, which profoundly reflect the humanitarian values of our society.

    I have an everlasting love for the language, the culture, and the people of Colombia. Why? The Second and Third Goals of the Peace Corps and the friendships I made. My two-plus years in Morocco gave me an even deeper awareness of our human commonalities. And living in Quito, Ecuador, opened up new perspectives for me on what it means to be human, thanks to lasting friendships with many Ecuadorian Indigenous people, organic farmers, and vegan restaurant owners.

    I can’t emphasize enough the immense value of the Peace Corps as a human endeavor, especially in light of the technological dehumanization which we all are having to deal with.

    At the present time, I’m waiting and hoping for a clearance from the Office of Medical Services and another assignment. I know we’re all in a sort of limbo until COVID subsides.

    Robert Onstine

    Colombia 1966–68; Morocco 2000–02; Ecuador 2017–19

     


    These comments appear in the spring 2021 edition of WorldView magazine. Sign up for a print subscription by joining National Peace Corps Association. You can also download the WorldView App for free here: worldviewmagazine.org