E&E RPCVs Group News

E&E RPCV Board Updates

by Janet Lee (Emdeber 1974-76)

Board members meet in DC: Stephen Cristofar, Leo Cecchini, Janet Lee, Randolph Marcus, John Coyne, Amanda Sutker

Board members meet in DC: Stephen Cristofar, Leo Cecchini, Janet Lee, Randolph Marcus, John Coyne, Amanda Sutker -click_

Amanda Sutker and I agreed to a co-presidency of the E&E RPCV over the next year. A co-presidency will afford a smooth transition as the board adds recently Returned Volunteers to the mix and “seasoned” board members let go of the reigns. I have found in co-editing journals and articles and co-chairing committees the division of duties and responsibilities naturally fall into place. Each partner in the team has strengths to bring to the joint position, urges the other on, and makes decisions collaboratively.  Over the course of this next year, I anticipate that Amanda and I will find a natural groove. The co-presidency also makes much sense coming off the National Peace Corps Association Conference: Peace Corps Connect held in D.C. (Amanda’s current residence) and looking toward the next conference in Denver (my residence and workplace).

To begin our year of service, we have come up with the following goals:

E&E RPCV Presidential Goals for 2016-17
  • Reach out to recently Returned Volunteers for Board membership to ensure continuity and diversity of ideas.
  • Investigate and implement a web presence that is integrated with the National Peace Corps Association building upon the strong foundation of current and past board members.
  • Increase membership and involvement of recently Returned Volunteers to Ethiopia & Eritrea Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.
  • Investigate opportunities for fundraising to support operations of the membership and the Legacy Program grants.
  • Establish a fund and set criteria for support of current Peace Corps Partnership Program grants for volunteers in country.
  • Plan for E&E RPCV activities in conjunction with the NPCA Peace Corps Connect conference in Denver June 23 & 24, 2017

These seem doable, don’t you agree? I like goals that are achievable such as our first goal of reaching out to recently Returned Volunteers.

New Board Member
Anthony Navarrete in Bonga

Anthony Navarrete in Bonga

In fact, I would like to introduce you to our newest board member: Anthony Navarrete (Mizan Teferi 2012-2014).  Anthony served as an English Teacher Trainer in Mizan Teferi, SNNPR, approximately 160 km southwest of Jimma.  While in Mizan he implemented training workshops for English teachers, managed the opening of the Aman Primary School English Language Improvement Center providing 65 teachers and approximately 3,000 students with English language learning materials and a venue to study, and facilitated a weekly club for about 20 students to expose them to interactive learning activities.

Since returning to the U.S., Anthony completed a Master of Arts in International Studies as a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, concentrating on Project Management and International Development. While at DU, he served as the Communications and Events Coordinator for the Latin America Center and managed high profile guests such as the Ambassador of El Salvador, former President of Peru, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile.

Anthony in DC

Anthony in DC

He has recently relocated to the Washington, D.C. area as he awaits his enter-on-duty date to begin his career in the federal government with the Foreign Agricultural Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an International Trade Specialist for the Africa and Middle East Division.

Anthony and I became Facebook friends because of the DU connection, but shared a similar interest when he interned for IREX in Washington, D.C. IREX manages significant grants dedicated to promoting and improving access to information, workforce development and early grade literacy on behalf of USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  (See the library connection?)

Anthony and Amanda are also friends, Peace Corps cohorts, and she is even willing to vouch for him. We welcome Anthony!

In Gratitude
John Coyne in Ethiopia

John Coyne in Ethiopia

As the board expands, John Coyne (Addis Ababa 1962–64) has decided to resign. He has served on the E&E RPCV Board for many years in many capacities. He was with the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers to go to Ethiopia and taught English at the Commercial School in Addis Ababa.  Upon completion of his service, he worked for the Peace Corps Office in Washington, D.C. before returning to Ethiopia as the Associate Peace Corps Director.

Upon hearing of John’s retirement, board member Randy Marcus wrote,My memory is still good enough to remember your involvement in our training program at UCLA, and recall that you were the first person I shook hands with on our arrival in country in 1966.”

John is a legend in the Peace Corps community and an authority on the history of Peace Corps. In 1995 John returned to the Peace Corps as Special Assistant to the Associate Director for Volunteer Support.

He and fellow Ethiopia RPCV, Marian Haley Beil, (Debre Berhan 1962-64) formed Peace Corps Worldwide, as a way to celebrate the Peace Corps experience by publishing stories written by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and current Peace Corps Volunteers serving around the world. Together they also founded the imprint, Peace Corps Writers, publishing 68 books since 2011.  Last but not least, each year since 1990 John and Marian have presented in total 143 named awards to Peace Corps writers for their books of outstanding fiction, nonfiction, poetry, travel writing, photography and the Peace Corps experience.

John has written over 25 books about Peace Corps, writing, works of fiction, and his favorite pastime: golf.  His latest book, Long Ago and Far Away, is a love story set in Ethiopia.

Not one to let grass grow under his feet, John has arranged with National University in California to offer an online-only MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree for Peace Corps writers. He will teach the introductory course that focuses on the Peace Corps experience.

Thank you, John, for your service to the board, service to Ethiopia, and service to the Peace Corps. Although you are no longer on the board, I know that the first email of the day that I receive is one from you related to books, authors, Peace Corps, or Ethiopia.  On behalf of the E&E RPCV Board, we are forever grateful.



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