Fiftieth Anniversary

Peace Corps 50th Anniversary Update

Hotels are filling, expectations growing, more work ahead

by Barry Hillenbrand (Debre Marcos 63-65)

The good folks over at The Crystal City Marriott, E&E RPCV’s headquarters hotel for Peace Corps 50th Anniversary jamboree, tell us that more than 60 people have made reservation for Friday and Saturday night, September 23 and 24, 2011. And 25 E&E RPCVs have made reservations for the shoulder days of Thursday, September 22, and Sunday, September 25. So far the Marriott has extended the special rate we negotiated to those shoulder dates, even though the number of rooms set aside for us was only 15. They also tell us that should the number of reservations for Friday/Saturday, September 23–24, exceed 100, the number we contracted for with Marriot, they will allow people to get the special rate of $109 a night.  At this time, they are being very flexible.

But as they say in the TV commercials: this offer will not last forever. As we move closer to the date, the Marriott people say, they may have to put a lid on the special office price.  So make your reservations now while the special rate is still on offer.

Okay, making those reservations with Marriott may be easier said than done.  Some people calling the Marriott reservations line — 800-228-9290 — have experienced trouble getting the reservation agent to find our booking. The name of our discount reservation offer

Ethiopia and Eritrea 50

sometimes does not seem to register with the folks on the telephone.  Nor does the group code which is


So we would like to repeat our suggestion that if you are having trouble, just hang up and dial again, hoping to get a agent who knows East African geography. Remember to use  the hotel’s full, cumbersome name,

Crystal City Marriott at Reagan National Airport

and mention it is located on Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, Virgina. The Washington area has lots of Marriotts, so getting the right one is important.

Or you can book on line by following these instructions:

  1. Go to where you will find the home page for the Crystal City Marriott.
  2. On the right side of the page is “Check Rates & Availability” (It should have a – in a small box in front of that text. If there is a – inside the box, click on it to get the +.)
  3. Enter the dates, number of rooms and number of guests you would like to reserve.
  4. Several lines below is “Special Rates & Awards” with a + inside a box in front of this text. Click on the + to get a – in the box.
  5. Find “Group code” in the list below.
  6. Enter PECPECA for our group code.
  7. Click the red button “Check Availability”
  8. On the new page you will see under the “Special Rates” tab “ETHIOPIA ERITREA 50″
  9. Click on the circle in front of “109.00 per night” to select it and more options will appear from which to choose.
  10. Once you’ve made these selections, click on the red button “Continue.”
  11. Fill in your personal and billing information.
  12. Click on the red button “Continue.”
  13. Review your registration information.
  14. Click on the red button “Complete Reservation.”
  15. In about 30 seconds you will receive a “Confirmation Number.” Write it down.
  16. You will also receive an email confirmation of your registration.

We continue to urge you to send an email to E&ERPCV Board member CJ Smith Castagnaro, (Harar; Debre Zeit; Addis Ababa 65–66, 67–69)
 at CJ has heroically offered to organize the group list. Let her know whether you’ll  be attending. She’ll take it from there. And we ask that you continue to send emails to CJ or Marian Beil offering ideas on how we can organize the Big Event and volunteering your services. Or post ideas in the comments section below this story. We will respond to them eventually.

Keeping up with 50th Anniversary News

Meanwhile, news of various 50th anniversary events and celebrations are dribbling in from all over the U.S. Peace Corps and the National Peace Crops Association are both trying to keep track of these events on their web sites. But a better source of information is the new blog set up by our good colleagues John Coyne and Marian Beil at Peace Corps Worldwide.  They have started a 50th Anniversary blog which is worth a look. Check out
Coyne is always entertaining to read. And the site has interesting items, like a report on the recent observances at the University of Michigan of JFK’s Peace Corps speech made during the 1960 Presidential Campaign.

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