Dear Friends of Colombia,
On March 22 a group of FOC members joined the Board for a DC area meeting in my garden. We were determined to prove that spring had sprung. The meeting was intended to discuss where FOC is now and what we would like to see FOC become in the future. The Board recognizes that soon after the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps it will be time to retire the current board and turn it over to another group of enthusiastic RPCVs. We are searching for interested replacements, so please keep that in mind as you consider how you might like to commit your time and contact me if you might like to move in this direction.
The 50th Anniversary celebration will take place in Washington on the weekend of September 23-25, 2011. Mark your calendars and plan a Washington vacation. The Mall will be set up with booths for the various Peace Corps groups, FOC included. We will be designing and manning the booth. We are talking to the Colombian Embassy about having a function at the Ambassador’s residence. We expect to have a country-update informative session as well. Our March meeting produced a committee to work on all of these; thank you to Anne Kennison, Don Goldberg, Jim Wich, Maria Escobar, Irv Dubinsky, Dennis Grubb, Jerry Norris and Nancy McClintock for volunteering. We now are looking for people who will volunteer to search for people in their groups and pass on current addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses to Gale Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See Pat Wand’s article in this issue about the National Peace Corps Association’s new website, peacecorpsconnect.org, which operates on the order of a blog. In this way you can connect with Peace Corps friends and stay apprised of what is happening with the national organization.
We are beginning to dialogue about new opportunities for further teacher training programs in the Medellín area and Manizales, where our first training took place in October 2008. We are also learning about a water purification system developed by Aqua Clara. If you are looking for an opportunity to return to Colombia in a volunteer capacity please contact me at email@example.com.
Please check the label on this newsletter for your membership renewal date. Friends of Colombia welcomes as members all persons who want to support Colombia through our projects. It is not a prerequisite to have been a Peace Corps Volunteer. We would especially like to interest Colombians in joining FOC.
Friends of Colombia was success-ful in persuading National Geographic to remove a statement implicating Peace Corps in the introduction of marijuana into Colombia from their documentary "Ancient Voices Modern World: Colombia."
The movie was viewed at National Geographic, after which we spoke to
Wade Davis, who was featured in his visit with the indigenous people in the Sierra Nevada above Santa Marta and with the producer of the film. Through our conversations with National Geographic and letters sent from FOC members, we were able to make the point that Peace Corps Volunteers could not be implicated in the introduction of marijuana to Colombia because it was there before we arrived. Some copies of the film were released prior to the cut, but future releases will be the corrected version. Thank you to those who wrote letters and to the National Geographic Society for agreeing to make the adjustment.
Arleen Stewart Cheston
President, Friends of Colombia