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Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Peace Corps Celebrates Veterans Day

WASHINGTON – On Veterans Day, the Peace Corps honors the men and women whose contributions to public service have been instrumental in spreading peace and freedom throughout the world. In particular, we would like to recognize those whose commitment to serve led them not only to the armed forces, but also to volunteerism. 


Currently in Zambia on a Peace Corps assignment, volunteer Erik Sjoberg has also served in the United States Army.

When asked about his experiences with public service, Sjoberg shared, "Peace Corps and the U.S. Army have shaped who I am and how I think about the world. They’ve both forced me to leave the places that I know. To work with people who are different than me. To assume an American public servant identity twenty-four hours a day.”

Erik believes that there is something inherently noble in public service, and this is what makes the people who he has worked with, both in the Peace Corps and the United States Army, some of the “best people on earth.” 

In addition to Sjoberg, Peace Corps Zambia is proud to be the host country of many American veterans. For more insight into their national service, read what they are sharing on Facebook about their experiences.

An American male in army fatigues and a female American in army fatigues stand next to each other smiling.
Erik says that if he had to pick one word to describe how he feels about his opportunity to serve as both a solider and a volunteer, he would choose "grateful."


After two deployments with the Marine Corps, John Brooks still felt a desire to serve his country and applied to the Peace Corps. As a current education volunteer in the nation of Georgia, Brooks co-teaches English alongside his local counterparts.

Although military service and Peace Corps are different in many ways, there are several similarities, he says. Of his fellow volunteers and community members, Brooks says, “You quickly turn from complete strangers into a close-knit family and, like in the military, those bonds last a lifetime.”

For those considering any kind of public service, Brooks says, “The best advice I can give those interested in national service is to do it. National service is a life-defining opportunity that will shape your future and that of others. However, service is not solely about your wants, needs or ambitions. Service is about helping others and most of the time this requires some self-sacrifice.”  

American Peace Corps volunteers stand in a line and smile during a training.
John Brooks proudly stands with his fellow volunteers at a Peace Corps Georgia training.

The Philippines

David Schopler served with the Peace Corps in the Philippines before he became an officer in the SEAL Teams, where he currently remains as a reservist. Notably, both the Peace Corps and the SEALs were established by President John F. Kennedy within a year of each other. 

While comparing his experiences, Schopler says that serving in the SEALs and the Peace Corps weren’t as different as one might expect. “What drove me to be a member of both these organizations was the desire to serve and, in a way, help—whether that help was protecting people, training others to defend themselves, or teaching others about Americans,” he said. 

The former Peace Corps volunteer and current SEAL reservist notes that, “although today is to remember, thank, and honor veterans of the military, I think it is appropriate to do so for all those who have served our country.”

An American male stands with teenage Filipino students in clear blue waters.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, David started a snorkeling club for high school students in order to help them explore the local coral reef

A fellow Returned Peace Corps Philippines volunteer, Dawn Mantell, served as a Combat Engineer with the Marine Corps in the late 1990s. During her military deployment to Thailand, Mantell’s passion for travel met her interest in volunteering. After finding out that there was a Disaster Response Program position available with Peace Corps Response, Mantell realized this was an exciting opportunity to travel, learn a new culture, and help where she could. 

“I believe it was a life-changing experience, mostly due to the local community as well as other Peace Corps Volunteers I now call family,” she says, “It was not by any means the easiest experience but the rewards paid off tenfold and ‘the toughest job you will ever love’ rings true for both the Peace Corps as well as the Marine Corps.” 

An American female Marine smiles while sitting on the back of a truck with a fellow American and a Thai national in army fatigues.
Marine Corps Combat Engineer Dawn Mantell was deployed to Thailand for a humanitarian effort and a training operation in the late 1990's.

The Peace Corps is proud to have volunteers, past and present, who are also military veterans. There are more than 90 veterans currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers in communities around the world. 

Fri, 09 Nov 2018 19:09:19 +0000

Peace Corps celebrates Native American Heritage Month this November

WASHINGTON - In honor of Native American Heritage Month, celebrated every November, the Peace Corps recognizes the rich history and contributions of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Many volunteers with native heritage, past and present, have committed themselves to national service through their work in the Peace Corps. 

Madiera Dennison of Virginia Beach, Virginia, currently serves as an education volunteer in rural Malawi, Africa. Madiera’s Native American ancestry, specifically her Ramapo Lenape roots, inform her decision to continue learning the local language in her area. “Every day, I make an effort and a promise to learn the local dialects in my community, to understand where I live, and discover why the spaces I visit are given their names,” she says. “I know this little promise shows my respect for my students and their heritage. In return, I teach them about diversity in the United States, the tribes that make up my homeland, and my promise to learn my native language and share it with them one day.”

Madiera Dennison is a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi.
Madiera embraces her host mother, who was instrumental in teaching her one of Malawi's many languages.

After finishing her volunteer service, Madiera plans to continue supporting the Peace Corps’ goal of building cross-cultural bridges. She has plans to learn more of the mother tongue of her Ramapo Lenape ancestors, an endangered Algonquin dialect called Musee. The Virginia Tech alum actively shares her own culture with her Malawian community, and is excited to share Malawian culture with her family back in the United States.    

She says, “Although I call Malawi my home for now, I look forward to the day I get to visit my home in Ramapo territory, share the various languages and cultures I've learned about [in Malawi], and celebrate the language that shapes my history and identity as an American.”

Read more of Madiera's story here. 

The Peace Corps is committed to sharing the diversity of the United States with communities across the globe. The agency has 69 volunteers with Native American or Native Alaskan heritage currently serving in communities around the world. 

Wed, 07 Nov 2018 17:03:10 +0000

President Donald J. Trump announces nominee for Peace Corps Deputy Director

WASHINGTON – President Donald J. Trump announced today his intent to nominate Alan R. Swendiman to serve as Deputy Director of the Peace Corps.

Currently, Swendiman serves as Founding Principal of The Capitol Connection, LLC, a government contract consulting firm practicing in the areas of strategy, business development, and operational management.

Previously, Swendiman served as a legal advisor and senior executive for a broad range of federal agencies, including serving as Deputy Principal Legal Advisor and Chief of Staff for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (2010-2016), General Counsel of the United States Agency for International Development (2008-2010), General Counsel and Acting Chief of Staff of the U.S. General Services Administration (2005-2006), and General Counsel of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (1992-1993).

Swendiman has also held positions with the Executive Office of the President and with the State of North Carolina, overseeing administrative services and information technology. In addition, he has more than 30 years of experience in private law practice with Jackson & Campbell, P.C., where he focused on corporate counseling and government contracting.

Swendiman holds a B.A. in political science/history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. He is admitted to the District of Columbia, Maryland, and U.S. Supreme Court bars.

Swendiman’s daughter Shelley served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine from 2005 - 2007.

Tue, 06 Nov 2018 14:29:05 +0000

Peace Corps counterpart receives prestigious National Teacher Award in Georgia

WASHINGTON – Longtime Peace Corps partner and technical trainer Manana Kapetivadze was honored with the country of Georgia’s esteemed National Teacher Award on International Teachers’ Day, which is celebrated annually on Oct. 5.

Kapetivadze’s extensive relationship with the Peace Corps began in 2001, when the program was first launched in Georgia. She served as a counterpart, or local partner, working closely with an education volunteer in the inaugural cohort of Peace Corps volunteers to serve in Georgia. From 2006-2012 and again in 2014, she served as the program’s English education technical trainer, playing a critical role in the pre-service training of Peace Corps education volunteers. 

Kapetivadze says her experience collaborating with the agency helped her grow as an educator. “We were a Dream Team,” she wrote to returned Peace Corps volunteer Ari Venteicher, her former colleague, upon winning the award. “I would not have been able to do any of this without you; you were my inspiration and motivation.”

A woman from Georgia and a female Peace Corps Volunteer stand next to each other smiling.
Ari Venteicher, an education volunteer in Georgia from 2015 to 2017, was just one of many Peace Corps volunteers with which Kapetivadze worked.

Another former volunteer, Bryan Morris had high praise to share about Kapetivadze. “My two years with Manana turned into one of the most transformative experiences of my adult life—not because of what we achieved, but because of the relationship we formed,” he says. “Manana was, and continues to be today, a superstar educator who always saw beyond the realities of the day-to-day challenges in the classroom and instead focused on the potential of those she taught and with whom she worked.” 

Today, Kapetivadze continues to partner with Peace Corps volunteers and collaborate on local projects, including gender workshops, sports leagues, healthy lifestyle trainings, a journalists’ club and a student leadership club. “Without the experience I got working with the Peace Corps Volunteers and Peace Corps Georgia staff, I wouldn't be the person I am now," she says. 

The National Teacher Award was established in Georgia in 2017 as part of a global campaign to celebrate successful teachers and promote teaching as a profession. The award assesses candidates’ use of modern and innovative resources, teaching of civic responsibility and human values, community activism and impact, student outcome trends, and participation in professional development and exchange. The winner is presented with an award of approximately $4,000 and local and international professional development opportunities.  

Two women and a man stand together holding an award.
Kapetivadze proudly holds her National Teacher award.

Education is the Peace Corps’ largest sector, comprising 41% of all volunteers. Since 1961, more than 45,000 education volunteers have served in 131 countries across the globe. Volunteers work in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools, teaching math, science, and conversational English, and serve as resource teachers and teacher trainers. Currently, approximately 3,000 Peace Corps education volunteers teach in 48 countries around the world. 

Wed, 24 Oct 2018 13:43:51 +0000

Peace Corps Office of Inspector General receives two awards for excellence

WASHINGTON – The Peace Corps Office of Inspector General (OIG) received two awards for excellence at the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency’s (CIGIE) 21st Annual Awards Ceremony held on Oct. 17, 2018.

CIGIE presented the Award for Excellence in Evaluations to a Peace Corps OIG team for its “exemplary coordination and timeliness on the evaluation of Peace Corps/Kosovo.” In December 2016, a team of evaluators identified serious weaknesses within the community development (CD) project in the country.

OIG’s ability to quickly identify problems resulted in a decision to recommend postponement of Peace Corps/Kosovo’s June 2017 input of CD volunteers. Peace Corps management quickly found alternative placements for the 16 individuals who had already been invited to serve as CD volunteers, set about redesigning the CD project goals and training for future volunteers, and improved the staff support for the project. Assistant Inspector General for Evaluations Jerry Black, Evaluator Kaitlyn Large and Program Analyst Alexandra Miller received the award.

Another OIG team received an Award for Excellence in Investigations for its “excellence in conducting an initiative against volunteer drug use.”

Between April 2015 and February 2018, OIG agents conducted field investigations of illicit volunteer drug use at nine Peace Corps posts. This initiative led to the issuance of a Management Advisory Report on Volunteer Drug Use, which made recommendations encouraging the agency to examine all facets of its drug policy, including enforcement, record keeping, research and training.

Assistant Inspector General for Investigations John Warren, Expert Joe Bodensteiner, Senior Investigator Doug Bonaro, Diplomatic Security Liaison John Carlock, Senior Investigator Germàn Melo, Senior Investigator Jennifer Pallotta, Senior Investigator Terrick Turner and Investigator Jeffrey Reichert received the award.

Inspector General Kathy A. Buller stated, “The breadth of work that was honored today exemplifies the passion, skill and depth of knowledge housed in our small office. I am so proud of these teams and their efforts to help the Peace Corps achieve its mission.”

The Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, established OIGs within federal agencies to combat fraud, waste, abuse and to improve economy and efficiency. The inspector general community has more than 14,000 audit, investigation, inspection and other professionals across 72 IGs.

CIGIE is an independent entity within the executive branch representing 72 OIGs in the federal government. CIGIE’s mission is to promote integrity, economy and effectiveness in government agencies as well as to increase the professionalism and effectiveness of personnel in the community of inspectors general. For more information on the IG community, visit

Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:02:41 +0000

Peace Corps

Out of a Zambian village. Erica Peth click here
The Peace Corps: what do they do? SJ Dodgson. MJoTA 2013 v7n2 p1120

Peace Corps volunteers work in close to 30 countries across Africa, and also in Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean. In agriculture, in education, in health.

Why do African countries need the Peace Corps: educated Americans to come to their villages to work and teach?

What happened to the small village that they needed outside help to be self-sufficient, when likely they have been self-sufficient for generations? Is it because of colonization, World Bank policies, ongoing international theft, despair? Most likely all of these.

Does the Peace Corps help the populations feed and education their young, and help lift them out of poverty? Or are all gains snatched by leaders? I am looking for stories of sustained success. Come back for more later.

Above, former members of the Peace Corps march through Philadelphia, July 04, 2011.
Peace Corps in these African Countries in 2013
Benin click here
click here

Burkina Faso click here,
Cameroon click here
Cape Verde
click here
Ethiopia click here
Gambia click here
click here
Guinea click here
Kenya click here
Lesotho click here
click here

Madagascar click here
click here
Mali click here

Morocco click here
Mozambique click here

Namibia click here
Niger click here
Rwanda click here
Senegal click here
South Africa click here
Swaziland click here
Tanzania click here 

click here,

Zambia click here