Tag Archives: RPCV reunions

American University Celebrates Peace Corps Week

In celebration of Peace Corps Week, on Tuesday, March 2, American University hosted Peace Corps recruiter Chuck Cascio and more than 10 Returned Peace Corps volunteers, many of them American University students and alumni. Along with the opportunity to talk with Peace Corps volunteers, the event included displays of photos and objects related each RPCV’s service. These RPCVs shared their Peace Corps experiences, demonstrating how they each made a difference in their respective communities.

Last month, the Peace Corps ranked American University as one of the top medium-sized colleges and universities producing Peace Corps volunteers. As shown by Tuesday’s event, American University will continue its already strong relationship with Peace Corps service.

RPCV Lauren Kovach (Zambia, 2012-2014) and Rachel Teter (Panama, 2011-2013) inform American University students about the merits of Peace Corps service.

RPCV Lauren Kovach (Zambia, 2012-2014); left, and Rachel Teter (Panama, 2011-2013) ; right. inform American University students about the merits of Peace Corps service.

Leonard J. Oppenheim in Afghanistan

Leonard J. Oppenheim

Country of Service: Afghanistan
Dates in Service: 1964-1966
Keywords: Afghanistan, RPCV reunions, Peace Corps Training

Accession Date: February 23, 2015
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 1 DVD

Document Types

  • Video produced for 2010 reunion by Leonard Oppenheim- features remarks by volunteers and photos from their service in Afghanistan. The volunteers speak about their Peace Corps experience including their reasons for joining the Peace Corps, memories of the training program, their work and life in Afghanistan, and, in retrospect, what their Peace Corps service meant to them.

Charlotte Daigle-Berney in Uganda

Charlotte Daigle-Berney

Country of Service: Uganda
Place of Service: Masaka, Mbale
Service Type: Education
Dates in Service: 1966-1968
Keywords: Masaka, Mbale, Sebei College

Accession Date: December 22, 2014
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.25 linear feet

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Publications
  • Collection of African superstitions
  • Training materials
  • CD of photographs from RPCVs submitted to the New Mexico Peace Corps Association commemorating the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Northeastern New York

RPCV Northeastern New York
Date of Materials: 1986-2004

Accession Date: October 9, 2014
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.5 linear feet

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Membership lists
  • Minutes
  • Newsletters
  • Newsletters from other RPCV groups

From AU’s Collections: Friends of Colombia

If you’re interested in learning about Peace Corps experiences in South America, the Friends of Colombia Archive is a great place to start.

As a member group, Friends of Colombia is an organization of returned Peace Corps volunteers who served in Colombia.  The organization’s mission is to unite and provide a community for returned volunteers and staff, as well as actively supporting community-based activities in Colombia.

Initiated by Tom Bauder, the organization gathered for the first time at the Peace Corps’ 25th anniversary conference held in Washington, DC.  After Colombia RPCVs in the Washington, DC area met, the group formed the Board and elected Bob Colombo as the first president.  The group created by-laws and became incorporated as Friends of Colombia, a non-profit organization, in Maryland in 1990.

American University Archives is the home of the Friends of Colombia Archives, established by the organization, as a means for documenting the lives of members during and after their Peace Corps service.  The archives include organizational records, biographies of Peace Corps volunteers, correspondence, and newsletters.  Individual members’ donations include interviews, photos, letters, publications, and training materials.

Many of the collections included in the Peace Corps Community Archives are from the Friends of Colombia Archive.  Be sure to browse the Catalog for specific collections containing materials from volunteers’ training and service in Colombia.

Sources:
About FOC,” Friends of Colombia, (2007)
FriendsPresent,” Friends of Colombia, (2007)
Special Collections,” AU Library, (2014)

Spotlight on the National Peace Corps Association

On March 1, 2014, AU Archives hosted an open house for board members of the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA).  Visitors had an opportunity to view materials documenting the organization’s history—annual reports, newsletters, photographs, by-laws, and educational projects.

AU Archives serves as the home for the records of National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), a non-profit organization whose goal is to connect and celebrate the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.  The collection includes materials documenting the development and evolution of the organization from its founding in the late 1970s to the present.

The National Peace Corps Association originated in the late 1970s as a result of several midwestern conferences of global educators.  The conferences brought together Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who began meeting to share ideas about fulfilling the Peace Corps’ third goal—returning to the US to teach about cultures around the world.  The National Council of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers developed after communities of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) united their efforts to establish a national organization.  In 1979, the organization coordinated a convention, wrote a charter, and elected their first president.  In 1993, the organization changed its name to National Peace Corps Association.

Today, the NPCA’s vision reflects the Peace Corps’ goals and seeks to promote cross-cultural understanding.  However, they also provide a network and resources for the Peace Corps community, develop service and education opportunities for NPCA members, and advocate for the values and issues relevant to the Peace Corps.  This organization currently includes more than 50,000 individual members and 140 member groups throughout the United States, which makes NPCA a viable means for connecting with returned volunteers interested in donating.

The event provided an excellent opportunity to inform NPCA board members about the existence and purpose of the Peace Corps Community Archive.  If you are interested in finding a home for your collection of Peace Corps materials, please contact us by email at archives@american.edu or by phone (202) 885-3256.

Sources:
About Us,” National Peace Corps Association (2014)

 

Retelling the History of RPCV/W

In honor of Peace Corps Week, we are pleased to have Jesse Bailey, Historian of RPCV/W, as a Guest Blogger.  We invited him to tell us about his history project and the panel discussion held at American University on February 23rd.

RPCVW Panel

From right to left: Roger Landrum, Jerry Lutes, Debby Prigal, Lisa Martin, Jesse Bailey

Back in 2010 the board of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington DC (RPCV/W), started to organize for the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps, which happened in September of 2011. All this organizing, and recapturing the history of Peace Corps got the board wondering about the history of our own organization. The board has recently, mostly consisted of people in their late 20’s or early 30’s, with average service of 2-4 years. This has led to a lack of historical knowledge of what the group had done in the past. That is how the creation of Historian was born, and how I became appointed to the board to look into our own history.

Over the past year and a half, I have been tracking down and interviewing former board members to learn what we have done as a group. As it turns out, we have done a lot, especially in the first several years of our existence. RPCV/W was formed in 1978, and back then there were very few country or regional groups in existence. Because our location in the nation’s capital and Peace Corps Headquarters, we have had a long history of working with Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association to celebrate major Peace Corps milestones. It was RPCV/W that ended up organizing the first Peace Corps reunion, the 20th in 1981. Five years later, we organized the major 25th Anniversary, which was much bigger than the 20th. It was in the wake of the 25th that a large number of country and regional groups were first formed.

After interviewing several board members, and learning about some of these events, I realized that it was a story that should be told to others. I felt that once I had interviewed enough former board members, that I should have a history panel event, where they could tell the story in their own words. After interviewing several more board members, I finally felt that I had a good understanding of our 36 year history, and that I could now invite former board members who could tell the history of the first 25 years. Since American University has become the official archive of NPCA and a number of country groups, such as Friends of Columbia, it seemed like a natural place to hold the history panel.

I had previously interviewed three of the panelists and had heard some interesting stories, which I prompted them to retell for the benefit of the audience. The panel proved to be a very nice forum to distil all my interviews in to manageable hour, for those who wished to hear it. After the panel, we opened it up to Q and A, and it turned out that there were a few other former board members who also had some information to add, as well as a lively discussion about where RPCV/W is today. Overall, I think it was a successful event that enlightened some of the audience including current board members on our storied history as an organization. It was good to start this dialogue in an open way and there maybe another panel some-time in the future as there are many more stories to tell. It was great to see a sample of the objects the Library currently has, and to hear from Susan McElrath what the collection contains now and what they are looking to add. I will look forward to seeing their collection grow, as they solicit and receive materials from individuals, country groups and regional groups. Peace Corps is now on its’ 6th decade and has its’ own lengthy storied past. Now that the Kennedy Library is only accepting materials from the first few years of Peace Corps history, it is great that there is now a home for all things Peace Corps. It is an honor that our group has been able to play a role in the history of Peace Corps.

Peace Corps and International Relations: UGA’s Russell Library Collection

Robert J. Bielen served as a staff physician for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic in the early 1960s.  While living abroad, Bielen and his wife witnessed the 1965 revolution and U.S. military intervention in the Dominican Republic.  Bielen recently donated his collection of personal papers and related artifacts to the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia.

The collection includes manuscripts, scrapbooks, reports, slides, photographs, articles, and newspaper clippings.  To learn more about the collection, visit http://www.libs.uga.edu/russell/index.html or contact russlib@uga.edu.