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Special Anniversary Edition | The Peace Corps at Sixty 

December 2021

 

Mural of woman in ColombiaPeace Corps Begins Sending Invitations: Return to Service in 2022

Eight posts have met criteria for Volunteers to return. Invitations are out for five: Belize, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Zambia. And the agency just finished recruiting returned Volunteers for the next round of the Virtual Service Pilot.

 

 

After the Fall of Afghanistan, We Need the Rise of the Peace Corps

The United States needs to engage with the world — but not with top-down military-first policies. An essay from the co-founder and CEO of Netflix and the President of National Peace Corps Association.

By Reed Hastings and Glenn Blumhorst

 

 

We Can Do It poster

We Can Do It! Again!

The U.S. is profoundly polarized — politically, culturally, socially, and economically. That was true during the Gilded Age, too. Halfway between then and now, John F. Kennedy exhorted his fellow Americans, “Ask not what your country can do for you — but what you can do for your country.” So what happened? And how do we turn things around?

By Shaylyn Romney Garrett

 

Honoring Your Stories

From the Editor: Sixty years of Peace Corps. Volunteers returning to service. And a first for this magazine.

By Steven Boyd Saum

 

 

 

Peace Corps Reauthorization Act Passes Its First Hurdle

In a time of partisan rancor, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the bill with ringing bipartisan approval: a vote of 44 to 4.

By Jonathan Pearson

 



Historic Beginnings — and Six Decades of Service

 

John F. Kennedy signing the Peace Corps Act in 1961 in Oval Office with other people present

Mark the Moment: September 22, 1961 — the Day that John F. Kennedy Signed the Peace Corps Act

When President John F. Kennedy signed the Peace Corps Act into law, it permanently established the Peace Corps as an independent agency. But forging the legislation and getting it through Congress didn’t happen on their own. We take a look at those beginnings and share some stories few have heard. And we look ahead to what the Peace Corps must become.

A conversation with Bill Josephson, Bill Moyers, Joe Kennedy III, and Marieme Foote

 

 

Honoring Those Who Have Served

A wreath-laying ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery on September 22, 2021.

Photography by Eli Wittum

 

 

Dove over globe from cover of 1963 Foreign Service Journal

Snapshots from Six Decades of Service — and the Wider World

A timeline of some moments that have defined the Peace Corps from 1960 to today. Plus a year-by-year look at countries where Peace Corps programs began.

Researched by Ellery Pollard, Emi Krishnamurthy, Sarah Steindl, Nathalie Vadnais, and Orrin Luc

 

 

 

“I signed onto the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act because we need volunteer service now more than ever to support healthy & resilient communities … #PeaceCorpsNow.”

     —Betty McCollum, Member, U.S. House of Representatives

on Twitter on September 22, 2021, marking the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Peace Corps Act. McCollum also circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter in fall 2021 calling for robust Peace Corps funding.

 


Mirror the Face of Our Nation

The past: The program you may not know about that inspired JFK. The future: How we change what America looks like abroad.

 

Strategies for Increasing African American Inclusion in the Peace Corps and International Careers

“You’re continuing a legacy and making sure that in the future the Peace Corps looks like the United States,” says Rep. Karen Bass. Conversations hosted as part of the Ronald H. Brown Series, hosted by the Constituency for Africa and sponsored by National Peace Corps Association. 
 

 

Diversity and Global Credibility

We need to have a diverse and talented corps of professionals in our foreign affairs agencies — and in the wider development community. That matters when it comes to leadership and credibility alike.

By Aaron S. Williams

 

 

An Inclusive State Department Is a National Security Imperative

Our public service institutions, whether it’s Peace Corps or the Department of State, must do better. And your work is how we change that.

By Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley

 

 

Operation Crossroads Africa and the “Progenitors of the Peace Corps”

The program you may not know about that inspired JFK. And that has been sending U.S. volunteers abroad since 1958. 

By Reverend Dr. Jonathan Weaver

 

Don’t Look for Representation, Look for a Systemic Problem Solver

Part I of a discussion on “Building a Community of Black RPCVs: Recruitment Challenges and Opportunities.”

By Howard Dodson

 

 

 

Put Together Skill, Knowledge, and Commitment with Opportunities and Support

Part II of a discussion on “Building a Community of Black RPCVs: Recruitment Challenges and Opportunities.”

By Sia Barbara Kamara
 

 

First Comes Belonging

Part III of a discussion on “Building a Community of Black RPCVs: Recruitment Challenges and Opportunities.”

By Hermence Matsotsa-Cross

 

 

 


Peace Corps Connect 2021

Highlights from the 60th-anniversary conference for the Peace Corps community.

 

Mobilizing for a Lifetime of Service and Impact

OVERVIEW: Videos and edited excerpts from Peace Corps Connect 2021

By Glenn Blumhorst and Corey Arnez Griffin


 

 

Unprecedented Anniversary

No Volunteers in the field. Battling COVID-19 — and the global rollout of virtual volunteering. Remarks and Q&A with Acting Director of the Peace Corps Carol Spahn in conversation with NPCA President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst.

 

 

Learning History, Not Hate

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Leading in a Time of Adversity. Representative Grace Meng, Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, and Secretary Elaine Chao join a conversation hosted by Mary Owen-Thomas.

 

 

 

Peace Corps Safety and Security: Looking at a Decade of Legislation for Change

Progress, failures, and what’s on the horizon. Susan Smith Howley, Sue Castle, and Casey Frazee Katz join a conversation hosted by Maricarmen Smith-Martinez

 

 

Evacuation: Service Cut Short by Medical Crisis, the Draft, and COVID-19

Stories from evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers who say: Then and now, we continue to serve. With Margo Jones (Turkey 1966–67), Ron Bloch (Venezuela 1966–68), Natalia Joseph (Ukraine 2019–20), and Kelsi Seid (Guyana 2017–19, South Africa 2020).

 

 


News and Updates

 

Update: Preventing, Reporting, and Responding to Sexual Assault in the Peace Corps

USA Today publishes a follow-up to an in-depth investigation published earlier this spring. And in December Peace Corps invited public commentary on the agency’s Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response program.

By Steven Boyd Saum

 

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Was Supposed to Benefit Returned Volunteers. It Hasn’t.

So returned Volunteers are rallying to try to fix that. And NPCA is working with them to help.

By Jonathan Pearson

 

 

“Terrific Ambassadors” — Peace Corps Community Relationship Building in Kentucky

A tribute from Representative Andy Barr in the House to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who have helped him understand the value of their service.

By Jonathan Pearson
 

 

2021 Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service: Sherry Manning, Founder of Global Seed Savers

Global Seed Savers has trained more than 5,000 Filipino farmers in seed saving, established three seed libraries, and is building a movement across the country to restore the traditional practice of saving seed and building seed sovereignty.
 

 

2021 Loret Miller Ruppe Award for Outstanding Community Service: Peace Corps Community for Refugees

What began as an effort by five people to support refugees has grown to a network of 1,200 individuals. And they have led the way in the Peace Corps community in working with refugees during the current Afghanistan crisis. 


 

 

Three Outstanding Leaders in the Peace Corps Community Honored with 2021 Awards by the Women of Peace Corps Legacy

Nancy Kelly of Health Volunteers Overseas and Amy Maglio of the Women’s Global Education Project are recognized with the Deborah Harding Women of Achievement Award. Estee Katcoff, founder of the Superkids Foundation, is recognized with the Kate Raftery Emerging Leaders Award.

 

 

Honors from the Library of Congress for Friends of Tonga

A virtual read-aloud program brings recognition from the 2021 Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program.

 

 

 

 

New Documentary: Peace Corps Response to COVID

On December 2 the agency premiered a film chronicling the work by Peace Corps Response Volunteers in 2021 to help fight COVID-19 in the United States.

 

 

 

Global Reentry: Live [Virtual] Career Office Hours

Mini-coaching dialogues on résumé critiques, mock interviews, job search strategy, and more with NPCA Career Services Specialist Jodi Hammer.

 

 

 

Peace Corps Days of Advocacy 2022: In Person?

National Peace Corps Association hopes to host in-person meetings as a part of Capitol Hill Advocacy Day on March 3, 2022. Definitive plans should be available in January.

 

 

 

 


People and Ideas

 

Opinion: Missing from the Conversation

I was a combat interpreter in Afghanistan, where cultural illiteracy led to U.S. failure.

By Baktash Ahadi

 

 

 

Shaylyn Romney Garrett with students in JordanA Life-Altering Detour — and a Summer Camp Project That Became Part of National Educational Curriculum in Jordan

We wanted to understand the world through action, and we wanted to serve. That changed the path of my life.

By Shaylyn Romney Garrett

 

 

New Top U.S. Diplomat for South and Central Asia

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

 

 

 

Climate Change Solutions

Patrick Gonzalez takes on responsibilities tackling climate and biodiversity with his new post in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

By Steven Boyd Saum

 

 

Guns and Public Health

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

 

 

 

Ending Gender-Based Violence: A Briefing with Katrina Fotovat

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

 

 

 

A More Sustainable Food System

C.D. Glin (South Africa 1997–99) is the new vice president, global head of philanthropy for the PepsiCo Foundation.

 

 

 

Civic Engagement and Democracy

Javier Valdés (Guatemala 1999–2001) takes on responsibilities as U.S. Director of Civic Engagement and Government for the Ford Foundation.

 

 

 

Recent Awards in Health Equity and Music Education 

Maurice Lee was recognized with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity for his work with St. Vincent de Paul’s Virginia G. Piper Medical and Dental Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. Bennett VanOudenallen received the GRAMMY Museum’s 2021 Jane Ortner Education Award for teachers who use music as an academic tool in the classroom. 

 

 


In Memoriam

 

William Dennis Grubb: “One of the First and One of the Best”

Dennis Grubb left college at age 19 to serve in the Peace Corps in Colombia. And for many in the 1960s, he literally became the face of the Peace Corps.

 

 

 

Susan Neyer Taught, and She Nurtured the Peace Corps Community in California, Nationally, and Beyond

She served as a Volunteer in the Philippines, trained Volunteers who served throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific. She was a leader of both the Northern California Peace Corps Association and National Peace Corps Association.

By Steven Boyd Saum

 

Hardy Frye Served as Peace Corps Country Director in Guyana and Was Deeply Engaged in Civil Rights Activism

He was a scholar, teacher, film producer, and worked with emerging Black political parties in South Africa.

 

 

 

Jeremy Black Was Committed to Nonviolence

After his life was ended far too soon, his wife has carried forward that commitment.

 

 

 

 

David McGaffey Served with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan, Then Embarked on a Career in Diplomacy

With the Peace Corps, he and his wife helped set up the first high school for girls in the town of Farah. As a diplomat in Iran, he helped evacuate hundreds of U.S. citizens.

 

 

 

Two Remembrances: F. Kingston Berlew and Murray Frank

Kindred spirits both — and they helped shape the early years of the Peace Corps.

By Bill Josephson

 

 

 


Letters

 

WorldView Cover Summer 2021

Reader Comments on the Summer 2021 Edition of WorldView

Reader comments: Sarge leading the way. Remembering 9/11. Budget advocacy. JFK at the Cow Palace in ’60.

 

 

 

 


 

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WorldView magazine brings you stories from and about the greater Peace Corps community, with connections to the wider world. We feature news, profiles, commentary and analysis, politics, arts, and ideas with a global perspective. We publish quarterly in print, with digital features throughout the year.

 

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About the Editor


Steven Boyd Saum is editor of WorldView. For more than two decades he has edited award-winning magazines in the San Francisco Bay Area. His journalism, essays, and fiction have appeared in OrionThe BelieverCreative NonfictionThe Kenyon ReviewChristian Science Monitor, on KQED FM, and in other magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and internationally. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine, where he also directed the Fulbright program and hosted a radio show. Send a letter to the editor: worldview@peacecorpsconnect.org.

 

 

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