On Tuesday, January 15, 2019 there was a Peace Corps event at Union College where students met with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to learn more about the Peace Corps. There was a panel of RPCVs answering questions and networking time for RPCVs and students. The students who attended received information on the Peace Corps, but also unique perspectives from each RPCV. Overall, it was a great event!
A meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 for any individuals or organizations currently supporting projects in Africa. The purpose is to bring together such groups to share program information and explore possible areas of cooperation in the future. Each group is asked to have one representative make a very brief introduction stating the group’s name, purpose and geographic involvement as well as an issue or two of greatest concern. After introductions, we will examine possible areas of cooperation and next steps. The gathering, tentatively named African Project Network is being organized by several groups already involved in Africa who wish to promote learning and sharing among like minded projects.
The meeting will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 85 Chestnut St, Albany from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Parking and building entry are both on Chestnut St.
For further info or to express interest if you are unable to attend contact John Kucij at Lkucij@gmail.com or Jim Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Folks with no current involvement but interested in learning more are welcome.
Also, Westminster’s Fall African Family Dinner will be held on November 3, 2018 at 6:00 pm. For more information, go to http://www.wpcalbany.org/
The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Northeastern New York want to express our support for the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act. The full text of the proposed statute is available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3030/text. It has passed the House and is on the Senate calendar, but the Senate has taken no other action. As former Peace Corps Volunteers we stand for peace, human rights and the prevention of atrocities and we take this opportunity to say so. We think an agency dedicated to preventing genocide, other atrocities and destruction of human rights is likely to help prevent these shameful and destructive activities.
Section 1- Names the statute in honor of Elie Wiesel.
Section 2- Affirms the critical importance of preventing atrocities and identifies how a dedicated agency can help do that.
Section 3- Makes prevention of genocide and other atrocities part of the U.S. national security interests.
Section 4- Adds “instruction on recognizing patterns of escalation and early warning signs of potential atrocities or violence” to the training of foreign service officers.
Section 5- Requires reports on progress.
The Act at several points stresses:
• the root causes of insecurity, violent conflict, mass slaughter of civilians, gender-based violence and the creation of hordes of refugees;
• diplomatic efforts, strategic planning, support for human rights defenders, financial transparency, and anti-corruption initiatives to address the root causes of insecurity;
• unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral means to prevent and respond to conflicts and atrocities;
• methods to deal with genocide and atrocities with peace-building, mediation, transitional justice measures to address atrocities, delegitimizing violence as a dispute resolution strategy, building capacity to manage disputes peacefully.
We encourage other Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to contact their senators and representatives to express our support of the Act and our conviction, based on our experience abroad, that dedicated efforts in this direction would be helpful.
Fellow RPCVs and members of RPCVs of NENY, John and Lyn Kucij (Liberia 1971-1973) went to Liberia in May for the Westminster Presbyterian Mission Trip. They visited Hope Mission School where Westminster Presbyterian Church has funded the building of a new classroom. All the students and staff members received both school and hygiene supplies. In addition to these items, they were able to bring hundreds of pieces of good, used summer clothing for all ages. While the primary goal was to provide new clothes for the eleven orphans supported by Westminster Presbyterian, there was more than enough to be shared widely with staff, students, and community members. A grateful THANK YOU goes out to the City Mission of Schenectady for providing much of the clothing and other supplies!
John and Lyn used their one free day to visit some beehives and two schools that are managed by two of their former students from when they were PCVs. Also, six more of their former students made a surprise appearance!
Join us at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Albany on Wednesday, May 23rd from 7 – 9 pm as we share “Lessons Learned From Our Work In Africa”.
The evening is designed as forum and workshop to bring together Capital District groups who are engaged in assisting African communities. Westminster’s own TEAM LIBERIA will report on its’ most recent trip to evaluate programs it supports. Also invited to share their experiences are representatives of four other local groups; To Smile Again Project, Mooncatchers, Zion-Hills International School and Kekeli/Ghana.
The public is invited to participate. No admission fee but free will offerings for Westminster’s work in W. Africa will be welcomed. Light refreshments will be served. For further information contact Lyn or John Kucij Lkucij@gmail.com or call 518-372-9578.
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