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  • Communications Intern posted an article
    A tribute to decades of work by children’s author Mildred D. Taylor. see more

    A tribute to decades of work by children’s author Mildred D. Taylor. This year, Peace Corps Writers recognized her with the Writer of the Year Award.

     

    By John Coyne

    Illustration by Montse Bernal

     

    Mildred Delois Taylor is a critically acclaimed author of children’s novels. In 1977, she won the Newbery Medal, the most prestigious award in children’s literature, for her historical novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. It was the second book in a series of ten novels focusing on the Logan family, and portraying the effects of racism counterbalanced with courage and love. Her latest book, All the Days Past, All the Days to Come, published last year, is the final novel in the series. 

    Since receiving the Newbery Medal, she has won four Coretta Scott King Awards, a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN Award for Children’s Literature. In 2021 she received the Children’s Literature Legacy Award, honoring an author whose books have made a significant and lasting contribution to literature for children. In presenting the award, Dr. Junko Yokota said of Taylor’s storytelling, “It shows how courage, dignity, and family love endure amidst racial injustice and continues to enlighten hearts and minds of readers through the decades.”

    Mildred Taylor was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1943. Her paternal great-grandfather, the son of a white Alabama plantation owner and a Black woman forced to serve him as a slave, became a successful farmer in Mississippi. His large extended family thrived despite the racism they encountered. 

    Her parents, Wilbert and Deletha, wanted their daughters to grow up in a less racist society. Mildred was only four months old when they, like thousands of other African American families, boarded a segregated train bound for the North. 

    Arriving in Toledo, Ohio, the Taylors stayed with friends until they earned enough money to buy a large duplex on a busy commercial street. This house soon became home to aunts, uncles, and cousins, all moving away from Mississippi in search of a better life.

     

    “I learned a history not then written in books but passed from generation to generation on moonlit porches and beside dying fires in one-room houses, a history of great-grandparents and of slavery and the days following slavery; of those who lived still not free, yet who would not let their spirits be enslaved.”

    Mildred stored in her memory the tales she heard as a child at family gatherings. Many of these stories would later become plots in her novels. In her author’s note to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Taylor acknowledged her debt to this family who generously shared stories of their history, and to her father in particular. “By the fireside in our northern home and in the South where I was born, I learned a history not then written in books but one passed from generation to generation on the steps of moonlit porches and beside dying fires in one-room houses, a history of great-grandparents and of slavery and of the days following slavery; of those who lived still not free, yet who would not let their spirits be enslaved. From my father the storyteller I learned to respect the past, to respect my own heritage and myself.”

     

    Illustration of Mildred Taylor

    Illustration by Montse Bernal. Originally commissioned for O The Oprah Magazine

     

     

    In addition to the oral stories, books also played an important role in Taylor’s life from an early age. 

    “I can’t remember when I received the very first book of my own,” she says today, “but reading, at times, caused trouble. At night I would sit in the closet when I was supposed to have long been asleep. And I got into trouble during the daytime, too, when I would be reading in hiding when I was supposed to be doing my chores.”

    In 1965, Mildred Taylor applied to be a Peace Corps Volunteer. Milly, as she was always known in-country, was sent to teach secondary school in the town of Yirgalem in southern Ethiopia. She was one of a large group of new PCVs to that rural location 260 kilometers south of Addis Ababa. She lived with another Volunteer; a woman older than herself who had previously taught overseas at a U.S. Army base. The two women became the best of friends.

     

    “Reading, at times, caused trouble. At night I would sit in the closet when I was supposed to have long been asleep. And I got into trouble during the daytime, too, when I would be reading in hiding when I was supposed to be doing my chores.”

     

    It was in Yirgalem that I first met Milly, when I was serving as associate Peace Corps director for Ethiopia. I remember her as someone who caused no trouble, made no demands, and was a silent observer of other Volunteers, some of whom in her town were real “characters” — but she never wrote about them in her novels.

    What none of us knew was that Milly was already an accomplished writer. By the time she arrived in Ethiopia, she had completed her first novel. At the age of 19, she wrote Dark People, Dark World, the story of a blind white man in Chicago’s Black ghetto, told in the first person. Publishers were interested in the book, but Milly disagreed with the revisions they wanted, and the novel was never published.

    Returning home from Ethiopia, she worked as a Peace Corps recruiter, and she also trained new Volunteers for Ethiopia. She then enrolled at the University of Colorado School of Journalism and earned a master of arts. While a graduate student, she worked with university officials and fellow students and structured a Black Studies program at the university.

    In 1971, she moved to Los Angeles to write full time, and she supported herself by doing temporary editing and proofreading. She also married and gave birth to a little girl. Her life and career, however, were about to change. When she was offered a position to work as a reporter for CBS, she declined it, knowing her future was in writing novels, not reporting news. In 1973, she entered a contest sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books for Children. Her book, Song of the Trees, won first prize in the contest’s African American category and was published by Dial Books in 1975. The New York Times listed it as an outstanding book of the year.

    This book, about the Logan family, was to be the first in a series of ten novels based on stories from Milly’s own family history. One of her best-known books, Let the Circle Be Unbroken, was nominated for the 1982 National Book Award and received the Coretta Scott King Award in 1983.

    Having grown up immersed in family stories, Milly often revisited her great-grandfather’s house, built at the turn of the past century and without running water or electricity. Memories of those visits found their way into her Logan family stories, most notably Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, the 1977 Newbery Medal winner. Taylor’s stories reveal struggles, racial tension, and tragedy, as well as triumph, pride, and family honor.

    In an interview published in Book Links, Milly talks about her family and the novels she has written about growing up in a Black family in the South. 

    “All of my books are based on something that happened to a family member or a story told by a family member, or they are based on something that happened to me when I was growing up,” she says. 

    “I write about history because I was very affected by it as a child. When I was in school, many people did not know about the true history of Black people in America. I wanted to tell the truth about what life was like before the civil rights movement.”

    Milly Taylor is an example of someone who has made a difference overseas as a Peace Corps Volunteer and also here at home as a novelist. 

    Recently she wrote me that it was an honor to be included with so many fine writers who are former Peace Corps Volunteers. “Being in the Peace Corps was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I cherish the memories of my days in Ethiopia. So many times now I find myself wishing I could relive it all.”

    Don’t we all, Milly. Don’t we all.


     

    TOO REAL  

     

    3 covers of books by mildred taylor

    Mildred Taylor’s honest depictions of racial injustice have inspired many readers over the years. Some who lived through the eras she writes of extol how the stories echoed their firsthand experience; others comment on how the books opened their eyes for the first time to the horrors of racism. Not surprisingly, that honesty has also brought a different kind of scrutiny. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry made the American Library Association’s top 100 list of banned and challenged books for 2000–2009. It came in at No. 66, a few below Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and a few above Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. 

     

     

    This essay appears in the special 2022 Books Edition of WorldView magazine.


    John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64) is the author of more than 25 fiction and nonfiction books and is the co-founder of Peace Corps Worldwide.

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    The editorial and creative teams who put together the special books edition of WorldView see more

    The editorial and creative teams who put together the special 2022 Books Edition of WorldView magazine for digital and print

     

     

     

     

     

    PUBLISHER  Glenn Blumhorst

    EDITOR | Steven Boyd Saum

    EDITOR EMERITUS | David Arnold

    ART DIRECTOR Pamela Fogg

    ASSOCIATE EDITOR, GLOBAL STORIES | Tiffany James

    DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER | Orrin Luc

    WORLDVIEW INTERN | Nathalie Vadnais

     

     

    CONTRIBUTORS
     

    COVER AND BOOKS FEATURE PACKAGE

    Design by Pamela Fogg. Photography by Brett Simison

     

    ILLUSTRATION

    Montse Bernal, George Mkumbula, Mark Smith

     

    PHOTOGRAPHY

    Thomas F. Aleto, Dennis Briskin, Art Buck, Lisa Ferdinando, Drew Havea, Ambika Mohan Joshee, Robin Moyer, Kai Pfaffenbach, Erin Scott, Lev Shevchenko, Brett Simison, Jonathan Slaght, Terrell Starr

     

    WRITING

    Jake Arce, Glenn Blumhorst, Leo Cecchini, Chiara Collette, John Coyne, Chic Dambach, Michael Hassett, Tiffany James, D.W. Jefferson, Ambika Mohan Joshee, Marnie Mueller, Jonathan Pearson, Ursula Pike, Bill Preston, John Ratigan, Paul Theroux, Nathalie Vadnais, Rich Wandschneider

     

    SPEAKERS AT EVENTS FEATURED IN THIS EDITION

    Jeffrey Janis, Olena Sergeeva

     

    COPY EDITING

    Allison Dubinsky, Tiffany James, Nathalie Vadnais

     

    RESEARCH

    Jake Arce, Tiffany James, Orrin Luc, Jonathan Pearson, Nathalie Vadnais

     

    EDITOR, PEACE CORPS COMMUNITY ACHIEVEMENTS

    Peter Deekle

     

     

     


    WorldView magazine is published by National Peace Corps Association, a national network of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, former staff, and friends, to provide news and comment about communities and issues of the world of serving and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Diverse views published in the magazine are not intended to reflect the views of the Peace Corps or those of National Peace Corps Association. 

    NPCA is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational and service organization which is independent of the federal agency, Peace Corps. 

    WorldView (ISSN 1047-5338) is published four times per year (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter) by National Peace Corps Association (1825 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20009-5708). Periodicals postage paid at Washington, D.C., and additional mailing offices. 

     


    Submissions and Correspondence 

    Write us: worldview@peacecorpsconnect.org. We consider proposals and submissions. We welcome letters on specific articles. Guidelines here. 

     

    Digital and Print Subscriptions 

    To receive WorldView, visit peacecorpsconnect.org and click on Join Now. Gift subscriptions available. Questions? 202-293-7728 | worldview@peacecorpsconnect.org

     

    Advertise with Us 

    In WorldView, on the NPCA website, and in email newsletters. Download our media kit. And contact Scott Oser | 301-279-0468 advertising@peacecorpsconnect.org

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

    Four recent contestants — and one champion

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    Geographer Charles Fogelman. Photo courtesy “Jeopardy!”

     

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

    Answer: Who is Charles Fogelman?

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

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

     

    Ken Jennings and Maria Krasinski on the Jeopardy set

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

     

    Just Got Real

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

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

    Answer: What is the Peace Corps?

     


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

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

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

     

    Photo courtesy the U.S. Secretary of Defense

     

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

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

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

     


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

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    Stories of Peace Corps' influence on Korean studies in the United States see more

    Peace Corps Volunteers and the Making of Korean Studies in the United States

    Edited by Seung-kyung Kim and Michael Robinson

    Center for Korea Studies, University of Washington

     

    Reviewed by Steven Boyd Saum

     

    The Peace Corps sent more than 2,000 Volunteers to South Korea 1966–81, to teach English and advise on healthcare. “Their experiences affected their worldview, individual politics, aesthetic sensibilities, and views on gender discrimination,” notes the introduction to this anthology. Those experiences also fueled scholarship on Korea in the States. A small yet significant number of the Volunteers returned to the U.S. and entered academia, forming the core of a second wave of Korean studies scholars.

    This volume includes essays by 11 individuals, nine of them returned Volunteers. Years in an impoverished nation still recovering from war — and in which authoritarian regimes sometimes brutally oppressed democratic uprisings — influenced their work: from studies in history, culture, and politics to literary translations and work with Amnesty International and as part of congressional staff.

    Carter Eckert (1968–71) describes life in Korea under the dictatorship of Chung-hee Park, a time of censorship, curfews, and surveillance. Laurel Kendall (1970–71) recounts gender discrimination and asks, “Did Women Have a Peace Corps–Korea Experience?” Don Baker (1971–74) writes about traveling to the city of Gwangju just after an uprising there was brutally put down. Other contributors who served in the Peace Corps include Edward J. Baker (1971–73), Donald Clark (1967–69), Bruce Fulton (1978–79), Linda S. Lewis (1970–72), Michael Robinson (1968–71), and Edward Schultz (1966–67). Co-editor Seung-kyung Kim and scholars Okpyo Moon and Clark W. Sorensen make it clear this project is far more than collective cheerleading.

    Kathleen Stephens, who served as a Volunteer in South Korea 1975–77, provides the afterword; a career diplomat, she returned to Korea as U.S. ambassador 2008–11, the first woman — and the first Korean speaker — to serve in that role.

     

    This review appears in the special 2022 Books Edition of WorldView magazine.


    Steven Boyd Saum is the editor of WorldView.

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

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

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

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

     

     

    Shelton Johnson | Liberia 1982–83

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

     

    Antarctic Service MedalLawson Scott Glasergreen | Guatemala 1994–96

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

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

     

     

     

    Kayla Canne newspaper headline

     

    Kayla Canne | Ghana 2018–20

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

     

     

     

     

     

    Caleb Rudow | Zambia 2012–14

    Caleb Rudow was appointed by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to the state legislature on February 1. He is serving out the remainder of the term for Rep. Susan Fisher, who represented District 114 and stepped down December 31. The term Rudow now serves ends in January 2023. Redrawn electoral maps were unveiled February 23. The new boundaries have Rudow running for reelection next year in neighboring District 116 — in the Asheville area, like his current district. Prior to this role, Rudow worked as a research and data analyst at Open Data Watch in Washington, D.C., where he conducted research on open data funding, patterns of data use, and technical issues around open data policy.

     

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

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    Letters, emails, comments on social media, and more see more

    Letters, emails, LinkedIn and Instagram comments, Facebook posts, tweets, and other missives. We’re happy to continue the conversation here and on all those nifty social media platforms. One way to write us: worldview@peacecorpsconnect.org

     


    Thanks to NPCA as We Return to Service

    As we prepare to return to Zambia in May 2022, we want to say thank you to each of you (and all of the NPCA staff/interns) for your continued support of us — first, as many of you are RPCVs yourself, and then advocates for Peace Corps even before our service, and throughout our first service, and then as evacuees, and through COVID, and then other important issues of the day these past two years, all really showing that this organization makes an effort to care about and hear the voices of (R)PCVs and country counterparts. We are going back to Zambia appreciative of all the people like you who’ve got our backs while we’re there — and for RPCVs everywhere. Thank you.

    Adam Greenberg and Lianne Bronzo

    Zambia 2018–20, returning to Zambia in May 2022

     

     


    The Peace Corps at Sixty

    Magnificent! Fabulous! Great! Superb! I hope to use the 60th anniversary edition of WorldView whenever I have a chance to let people know of our current situation as well as our historic and triumphant past.

    Patt Behler

    Peru 1962–64


    Congratulations on a spectacular special 60th anniversary edition. Your coverage of the 2021 Peace Corps Connect Conference captured the core of key sessions. The article about the “I-We-I” trend tracked by Shaylyn Romney Garrett knocked my socks off. It was consoling to see our current social and political situation in an historical context. I’m still pondering — and talking about — her plausible explanation for what we experience now in the midst of deeply entrenched racism, impotent partisan politics, and staggering numbers of impoverished people. Can we push this insightful article out to a wider audience? Every service organization committed to social and economic justice would find its long view encouraging. The data is there, visible for all to see. I hope we don’t have to wait another half century to pull ourselves out of the trench.

    Pat Wand

    Colombia 1963–65

    President, Museum of the Peace Corps Experience

     

     


    We Can Do It! Again!

    The special anniversary edition was a powerful invitation to discuss, debate, and create a better Peace Corps by those who know it best. I disagree, however, with Shaylyn Romney Garrett’s recommendation that our government sponsor millions of national service jobs which somehow would lessen economic inequality, cultural narcissism, and social fragmentation by creating a spirit of solidarity. There is no research suggesting national service would accomplish such goals. Our government does not have the authority to create programs to change citizens’ values and political orientations. Garrett is absolutely right, however, when she says there is much work to be done. Let us continue.

    Joanne Roll

    Colombia 1963–65

     

    Highly pronounced trends in urban areas around the country — a commitment to green architecture, expand renewable energy, green public and private transportation, recover recyclable materials from the waste stream, expand parks and open space, democratize food security, make public education and healthcare more comprehensive, improve urban air quality, and more wisely manage water resources — demonstrate that the social justice and environmental movements have morphed into something institutionalized on a once-unimagined scale. Urban governments now have a “sustainability agenda.” That took collective action. Protests after the George Floyd case have been an immense show of citizen concern about systemic racism. The crisis of climate change will compel more collective action, as it already has. There remains within our citizenry a deep longing for community, fellowship, and common cause. Our challenge is not to be deceived by demagogues who wish to seize on what divides us to fuel their warped political ambitions. We need steady purpose and earnest, honest leadership now more than ever. I agree we can do it again. And I believe we will.

    Jim Quigley 

    Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia 1977–80

     

    It seems that an obvious cause of social pathology is the breakdown of the family unit. There is no mention of this phenomenon in analysis of the “I-We-I” cycle in American cultural history. The sexual revolution, which took off in the 1960s, certainly highlighted personal gratification. It also deteriorated family unity. Yet sociologists of the Left seem unwilling to consider this perspective. For the sake of a more just and peaceful society, it is necessary to understand and act upon the abuses which the revolution engendered.

    Carmen Mele, O.P.

    Malaysia 1969–72

     


    Fix Public Service Loan Forgiveness 

    I did Peace Corps in the ’90s. My loan was put into forbearance not only for the two years I was serving, but also the year after I returned when I was very sick. Interest accrued for three years. It didn’t matter how I filled out the forms, what I reported to them. Nothing. Proud to say I paid it off anyway, but really a punch in the back to those of us who served.

    Mary Kay Diakite

    Mali 1996–98

     

    The [Public Service Loan Forgiveness] program was very misleading. Almost none of my fellow Volunteers were able to benefit. Neither was I.

    Lauren L. Breland

    Thailand 2014–17, via LinkedIn

     

     


    Peace Corps Progenitors 

    Thank you for highlighting Operation Crossroads Africa. As an alum of both, I can attest to the fact that they are wonderfully aligned and are both powerful programs, both for volunteers and those with whom they collaborate. I often think that OCA does not get the recognition it deserves, specifically in regard to its being an inspiration for the Peace Corps — so I’m appreciative of WorldView for taking the time to do so!

    Lori Halvorson

    OCA Senegal, Summer 2006

    RPCV Burkina Faso 2007–09

     


    Safety and Security

    The discussion on “Peace Corps Safety and Security” revealed that the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act gave rise to the Office of Victim Advocacy (OVA) — but, oddly enough, within the Peace Corps itself. Such a delegation with potentially opposing transparency objectives is somewhat akin to relegating the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates aviation accidents, to a division within one of the most accident-prone air carriers. OVA should more appropriately be matrixed onto the Office of Inspector General (OIG), which has congressionally mandated independence, whistleblower protections, plus the authority to access all of the Peace Corps systems of records. The current alignment could hardly be termed best practice. Congressional records have shown that the Peace Corps and OIG have had in the past a very public and bitter spat over the independence of IGs, including their access to agency systems of records besides the detection of waste, fraud, and abuse. 

    Henry Mulzac

    Belize 1975–77
    NYPD Detective 
    1981–2002
    Peace Corps OIG 2002–07

     


    CORRECTION: Gabon

    In edited remarks from Hermence Matsotsa-Cross in our fall 2021 edition (p. 37 in the print edition), we misstated where her mother was from. We should have said: “My father was a Volunteer in Gabon in the early ’70s, where he met my mother, a Gabonese woman from one village he worked in.” We’re sorry for the error. 
     

    WRITE US: worldview@peacecorpsconnect.org

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    Works by Robert Frank, John Perkins, and Sheldon Gen see more

    Under the Influence

    Putting Peer Pressure to Work

    By Robert Frank

    Princeton University Press 

     

    Reviewed by NPCA Staff

     

    Robert H. Frank (Nepal 1966–68) is a pioneer and champion of behavioral economics, and in his many books, essays, and interviews he addresses moral sentiments, positional goods, expenditure cascades, the ever-widening income gap, the role of luck in our lives, and, most recently, the power of behavioral contagion. In Under the Influence, Frank tackles behavioral contagion, seeking to explain how to unlock the latent power of social context and harness it for good. Our environments encourage smoking, bullying, tax cheating, sexual predation, problem drinking, and wasteful energy use. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

    In the wake of the hottest years on record, only robust measures to curb greenhouse gases promise relief from more frequent and intense storms, droughts, flooding, wildfires, and famines. Frank describes how the strongest predictor of our willingness to support climate-friendly policies, install solar panels, or buy an electric car is the number of people we know who have already done so.

    A Cornell professor and influential teacher of economics since 1972, Frank retired from teaching in July 2020. He is the H.J. Louis Professor Emeritus of Management and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos.

     


     

    Touching the Jaguar

    Transforming Fear into Action to Change Your Life and the World

    By John Perkins

    Berrett-Koehler 

     

    Before John Perkins advised the World Bank, United Nations, Fortune 500 corporations, and governments, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (1968–71) in Ecuador. Many readers know him from his 2005 bestseller Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, a salacious exposé of transnational conspiracies to use international development to enrich the coffers of bit consulting and engineering firms while fueling global instability and latter-day colonialism. Touching the Jaguar updates some aspects of Confessions. But it takes its title from the story of how, as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Perkins’ life was saved by an Amazon shaman who taught him to “touch the jaguar” and transform his fears into positive action. And he reveals how shamanism converted him to a crusader for transforming a failing Death Economy (exploiting resources that are declining at accelerating rates) into a Life Economy (cleaning up pollution, recycling, and developing green technologies).

     


     

     

    Nonprofits in Advocacy Policy

    Their Strategies and Stories

    By Sheldon Gen and Amy Conley Wright

    Springer 

     

    This is a text designed for those working in nonprofit advocacy as well as studying it. Sheldon Gen (Kenya 1990–92) is an associate professor at San Francisco State University, where he focuses on public policy studies. A recipient of the 2020 Franklin Williams Award from the Peace Corps, Gen is the son of immigrants who fled China’s Communist revolution for California’s San Joaquin Valley. He was originally trained as an engineer and has worked with the EPA, the U.S. Air Force, and the Peace Corps.

     

    Story updated May 3, 2022.

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

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

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    Photos courtesy the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia 

     

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

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

     

    Kim Mansaray and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia

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

     

     

    Three Decades of Service

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

     

    Mongolia Peace Corps Stamp

     

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    A guide to sharing people's stories consciously and with respect see more

    A video and workbook to help Volunteers — and those who served years ago — think about storytelling. That includes intercultural dialogue and awareness of whose voices are at the center of a story. 

     

    By NPCA Staff

    Image courtesy Peace Corps video 

     

    Shortly before the first Volunteers began returning to service overseas in March 2022, the Peace Corps agency published an  Ethical Storytelling Toolkit. How we tell our stories — and the voices at the center of these stories — have informed discussions inside and outside the Peace Corps in recent years. A focus on ethical storytelling was also an important part of the conversations that shaped the “Peace Corps Connect to the Future” town halls and global ideas summit convened by NPCA in 2020.

     

    A focus on ethical storytelling was also an important part of the conversations that shaped the “Peace Corps Connect to the Future” town halls and global ideas summit convened by NPCA in 2020.

     

    The new toolkit includes a workbook and video; links for how returned Volunteers can get involved in the Global Connections program (formerly known as Speakers Match) to share their Peace Corps experience with audiences in the U.S.; and a range of tools, video resources, and useful facts and figures.

    In terms of substance, “Ethical storytelling is a practice of sharing stories in a way that is conscious of power dynamics and grounded in mutual respect,” the toolkit notes. Intercultural dialogue is at the heart of the Peace Corps’ mission. So it makes sense for there to be an intentional and thoughtful commitment to storytelling shaped by that awareness. For Peace Corps, that means an approach “rooted in building and celebrating person-to-person relationships, and tied to our approach to intercultural competency, diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

    Read more and  download the kit here.

     

    This story appears in the special 2022 Books Edition of WorldView magazine. Story updated May 2, 2022.

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    More than 10 million people have fled their homes since Ukraine was invaded by Russia in February see more

    More than 10 million people have fled their homes since Ukraine was invaded by Russia on February 24.

     

    In March, four million people were already refugees beyond Ukraine’s borders. Two million of them were children.

    Not since World War II has the world seen a humanitarian crisis escalate so quickly. The devastation in cities like Kharkiv and Chernihiv and Mariupol is cruel and horrific. Amid this war, members of the Peace Corps community have been rallying to help those in harm’s way.

    There is one responsibility we all share: Do not look away.

     

     

     

    Leaving home: Two young children and their mother on a train prepare to depart L’viv, Ukraine, for Poland on March 4, 2022. Photo by REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Alamy

     

     

    Read more on the Russian invasion of Ukraine:

    Why Ukraine Matters: Read, Listen, Understand — A Few Voices from the Peace Corps Community

    The War of Aggression Against Ukraine Must Stop: A statement from National Peace Corps Association on the Russian invasion of Ukraine |  By Steven Boyd Saum, Jeffrey Janis, and Gretchen Upholt

    Listen and Watch: Conversations and Podcasts on Ukraine from the Peace Corps Community

    The Future Is Unwritten | By Steven Boyd Saum

    President’s Letter: Time of Hope, Time of Crisis | By Glenn Blumhorst

     

    Story updated May 2, 2022.

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    Sonja Krause Goodwin's extraordinary time in the early years of the Peace Corps see more

    My Years in the Early Peace Corps

    Nigeria, 1964–1965 (Volume 1)
    Ethiopia, 1965–1966 (Volume 2)

    By Sonja Krause Goodwin

    Hamilton Books 

     

    Reviewed by Steven Boyd Saum

     

    Sonja Krause Goodwin had already traveled far from home, earned a doctorate in chemistry, and worked for six years as a physical chemist when she joined the Peace Corps. Born in St. Gall, Switzerland, in August 1933, she had fled Nazi Germany with her family and resettled in Manhattan, where her parents opened a German bookstore. Sonja entered elementary school without speaking a word of English.

    Science is where she found her calling. She earned her bachelor’s in chemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1957. After working six years in industry, she joined the Peace Corps and headed for Nigeria. She led the physics department at the University of Lagos until she and the other Volunteers had to leave the country in 1965 due to a politically motivated “university crisis.”

    She was reassigned to teach chemistry at the Gondar Health College in Ethiopia 1965–66, a college that also served as the local hospital. On her return to the U.S., she accepted a position at RPI and taught there for 37 years, advancing through the positions of associate professor and professor, and retiring in 2004. These memoirs were published in fall 2021, shortly before Goodwin’s death on December 1, 2021.

     

    Story updated May 2, 2022. 


    Steven Boyd Saum is the editor of WorldView.

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

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

     

    By Tiffany James

     

    Photo courtesy StoryCorps

     

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

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

     

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

     

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

     

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    His new memoir is This Country: My Life in Politics and History see more

    This Country

    My Life in Politics and History

    By Chris Matthews

    Simon & Schuster

     

    Reviewed by Steven Boyd Saum

     

    “I suppose everyone has a moment that wins them over to a lifelong enthusiasm,” Chris Matthews writes early on in This Country. “For me, it was the 1960 battle between Vice President Richard Nixon and Senator John F. Kennedy that got me truly excited about politics.” Matthews was 14, and from an Irish Catholic family in Philadelphia. He fell hard for JFK — at first. But his was a Republican family. Come GOP convention time, young Chris had swung around to his father’s point of view: Nixon was the one for peace, experience, and prosperity.

    The arc of Matthews’ career is well known: host of the political show “Hardball” for two decades, and years before that a speechwriter for Jimmy Carter and aide to House Speaker Tip O’Neill. Like many who came of age in the 1960s, Matthews was profoundly changed by the decade. Bookends in this “I was there” memoir: As a senior in high school, he writes the State Department to ask why, in 1962, the U.S. is getting involved in Vietnam. The answer he gets back: rice. “I had thought this war was being fought to stop the spread of global Communism,” he writes.

    Six years later, in June 1968, he is working on a Ph.D. in economics at the University of North Carolina. His graduate student deferment has expired, his 1-A draft status looms large. “I sat alone on a public park bench in Montreal a block up from Sainte-Catherine Street and decided where I was going to go in my life … I now listed on the back of an old business card my limited options regarding a war I opposed. I could join VISTA, the domestic volunteer program; teach high school; or enlist in the army as a public information officer …  Finally, there was another option; a truly positive one. 

    “It carried the advantage of being a true adventure: the Peace Corps. The challenge was to get the right assignment. For me, that meant going to Africa and working on economic development.” 

     

    Serving with a serious commitment to help the Swazi people made Volunteers unpopular across the border. “The South African ‘apartheid’ government wouldn’t even let us enter its country,” Matthews writes. “Soon after we arrived, a commentator on official South African radio derided us as ‘do-gooding intellectuals.’”

     

    Matthews served as a Volunteer 1968–70 in the nation then known as Swaziland, now as Eswatini, working with traders to teach bookkeeping and marketing. “We all took our jobs seriously. This commitment to help the Swazi people made us especially unpopular across the border. The South African ‘apartheid’ government wouldn’t even let us enter its country. Soon after we arrived, a commentator on official South African radio derided us as ‘do-gooding intellectuals.’”

    Matthews returned to the States after two years and headed for Washington, D.C., intent on making a career in politics. He worked as an aide and on campaigns, in policy, and in advocacy. He made a quixotic bid for Congress, announcing that he would not take outside funding. After working for the White House and the Speaker, he found his métier in writing about politics as a columnist for the San Francisco Examiner and later the Chronicle. He covered the Good Friday peace accords in Ireland, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first elections in post-apartheid South Africa. Those moments in history whisk past here. As for how Matthews recounted them, he offers this take: “The great Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee best captured the personal excitement in my writing. ‘Matthews writes about politics with relish,’ he once observed, ‘the way sportswriters cover boxing.’”

     

    “Matthews writes about politics with relish ... the way sportswriters cover boxing.”
         —Ben Bradlee

     

    He began hosting the show “Hardball” on CNBC in 1997; a couple of years later the show moved to MSNBC. As television commentary began to command more of Matthews’ time, he wound down the gig with the Chronicle. His final column was in 2003, in the run-up to the U.S. war against Iraq. “I oppose this war because it will create a millennium of hatred and the suicidal terrorism that comes from it,” he concluded. “Maybe it’s the Peace Corps still in me, but I don’t think we win friends or — and this is more important — avoid making dangerous enemies in the third world by making war against it.”

    Matthews’ stint hosting “Hardball” ended when he announced in March 2020 that the broadcast would be his last. A few days before, a report had surfaced from four years prior about remarks he had made about a “guest’s appearance as she was being prepared in the makeup chair,” he writes in this memoir. “It never occurred to me to deny that it had happened or condone what I’d said.” He was 74 and decided it was time to retire from the show.

    Along with the 1988 volume Hardball: How Politics Is Played, Told by One Who Knows the Game, Matthews has written biographies of RFK and JFK, as well as Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked and Kennedy & Nixon. As for the place Peace Corps has played along the way: “So much of my life has arisen from that decision. Those two years of service as a trade development officer took me to a wider world. It allowed me to view my country at a distance. It opened me to a common humanity with people whose lives were separated from us by continent and culture.”

     

    This review appears in the special 2022 Books Edition of WorldView magazine. Story updated May 2, 2022.


    Steven Boyd Saum is the editor of WorldView.

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    A collection of tales covers the brief moment in the 1960s when Volunteers served in Libya. see more

    101 Arabian Tales

    How We All Persevered in Peace Corps Libya

    Edited by Randolph W. Hobler

    Lulu Books

     

    Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson

     

    Randy Hobler has taken on the herculean task of writing a comprehensive history of the Peace Corps in Libya, in the form of a collective memoir of 101 Volunteers. He interviewed as many Libya RPCVs as he could find and asked for journals and letters. The result is a collection of tales covering the brief span Volunteers served in Libya, from the training of Libya I to the termination of Libya III before they left their training sites in the U.S. Hobler served in the second group of Volunteers, arriving in October 1968 to teach English to fifth graders. He was traveling in Lebanon when, on September 1, 1969, Muammar al-Qaddafi seized power from King Idris in a military coup. Within a matter of weeks, Qaddafi had kicked out the Peace Corps. Qaddafi’s own rule would last for 40 years.

     

    One year after the Peace Corps program in Libya began, Muammar al-Qaddafi seized power from King Idris in a military coup. Within a matter of weeks, he kicked out the Peace Corps. And he ruled the country for 40 years.

     

    Hobler includes maps and more than 200 photographs. Many stories are humorous, though there are sad, tragic, shocking, and scary ones. Hobler’s group of Volunteers trained in Utah, because it was hot and dry — like Libya. Shocking is when Peace Corps trainers decided that 30 of the trainees should ride little Suzuki motorcycles — which they were learning to use in-country — 500 miles to another site in Arizona, without helmets. The trainees talked them out of it. Frightening is when, in the aftermath of Qaddafi’s coup, Volunteers in Libya find themselves confronted at checkpoints and in airports by teenagers toting automatic rifles.

    In a conversation for Tulsa Public Radio about the book, Hobler spoke of how Peace Corps taught him humility when it came to the place of the United States in the world. He also came to see “the sort of demonization of the Arab that we saw that we never were aware of inside our own media bubble inside the United States.” And, he said, “It gave me a deep appreciation that I try to convey in terms of my civic responsibilities.”

     

     

    This review appears in the special 2022 Books Edition of WorldView magazine. It is adapted from a review originally published by Peace Corps Worldwide. Story updated May 2, 2022.


    D.W. Jefferson served as a Volunteer in El Salvador 1974–76 and Costa Rica 1976–77.