International Education Week November 16-20

International Education Week is part of the GAIA Centers’ Rutgers 250 celebration. International Education Week is a joint initiative of U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education that celebrates the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.

Events will include a study abroad reunion, an international scholars’ reception, and an international photo contest (prizes will be given!) These events will be hosted in recognition of the significance of international education at Rutgers University and at institutions around the world.

Activities being held at Rutgers in recognition of this week are listed at:


Pete Watson from NJ is running in a special election to fill a vacancy for a member-elected representative to the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) Board in the Northeast Division for the 2015-2018 term.

Votes are accepted by NPCA members through November 20th.

Info is provided on Pete and the two other candidates at:

Mexican Lunch in Highlands, NJ – October 24

Dear NJ RPCVs,

Please come to an ethnic luncheon gathering on Saturday, October 24th, 12:30pm at:

Chilango’s Mexican Restaurant
Address: 272 Bay Ave, Highlands, NJ 07732
Phone:(732) 708-0505
Website with menu:

Spouses/friends/family members are welcome!

Please RSVP by Thursday, October 22nd to:
Cathy Radeschi at

or Anthony Privetera at / 732 547 7393
—————————–Be advised: Photos, sound and videotaped images taken at any RPCV-NJ related event may, at some point, be published in the association’s newsletter and/or on the Internet (website or Facebook page etc.) or with local, regional and national media organizations. Should you prefer not to be included in any of the above-referenced media (now in existence or any media created in the future), please briefly remove yourself in advance from all media coverage.

Warren County Lunch and Hike/Learning Center – November 8th

Come to Warren County for an ethnic lunch at Clove Indian Restauranton Sunday, November 8th
Then join us on a short hike on a nearby section of the Morris Canal off of Rt. 57
in New Village (halfway between Washington & Phillipsburg)
and/or a visit to the Morris Canal Learning Center at the same location
A side visit to the inclined plane afterwards is available, narrated by Richard Dalrymple.

11:30 am  Lunch at the Clove Indian Restaurant
Lunch menu varied including a buffet starting at 11:45 for $11.95 per person 201 Strykers Road, Phillipsburg.
T 908.454.3396 T 908.454.3397

1:00 pm (approx). Bread Lock Park- Learning Center (open 1-4pm) and hike walking trails

Spouses/friends/family members are welcome!

Please RSVP by November 1st
Event Host: Doug Garagina 908-328-1183
Alternate Host: Richard Dalrymple  908.213.1147

Funded Project: Togo Latrine Project

My name is Anna Williams and I recently COS’d from Peace Corps Togo. I saw your newsletter about the donation to my clinic latrine project. The latrine was part of the pilot program with Rotary International. Everyone in Zafi is so appreciative of the donations that made this project happen. It’s a huge boon for the clinic and the health of the people in Zafi. I’ve attached some photos from the latrine. The one with me and the women is from the weekly baby weighing. We did a hand washing training and talked about low cost hand washing stations they can set up in their own homes. The other by the latrine includes myself and several prominent community members.




Thank you for your help and support.


Anna Williams

Peace Corps Response Rwanda

Funded Project: Tonga | Camp GLOW 2015

NJ Native Rene Fern is a volunteer in Tonga. The RPCV-NJ donated $500 to her Peace Corps Partnership Project described below and we look forward to hearing from her regarding the progress of this initiative.

Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) is a week-long sleep-away camp designed to empower its participants by: 1.) Advocating a healthy lifestyle; 2.) Providing vital information on sensitive topics; 3.) Teaching leadership and team-building skills; 4.) Encouraging critical thinking and logical decision-making; 5.) Building a network of motivated girls and women; 6.) And fostering self-confidence and creative expression through a fun, safe, judgment-free environment.

Camp GLOW is part of a nationwide project that conducts individual camps on two islands, hosting female 9th grade student leaders from various middle and high schools within the region who have displayed academic excellence and leadership potential. The camp will engage 25 girls in a week of games, sports, arts, technical training, and educational sessions. The sessions will cover topics such as goal setting, leadership, water safety, public speaking, conflict resolution, sexual health, the rights of women and children, sexual harassment and domestic abuse, nutrition, food sanitation, and environmental responsibility. The camp will emphasize the importance of being informed, active, independent, and responsible citizens, and will include an element of community service.

This contribution also falls under the US government’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative to ensure adolescent girls get the education they deserve which is promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama in cooperation with the Peace Corps.

Peace Corps Revisited – Guest Blog

Joanne Brandwood (Botswana 1981-83)

I served in the Peace Corps (in Botswana) over three decades ago, but this summer I was lucky enough to see Peace Corps in action once again. My husband, Bob, and I visited two of our children at their Peace Corps sites—one in Ethiopia and one in Vanuatu. Of course, the physical challenges of life in the developing world seemed much easier when we were in our 20s, but we were both struck by how familiar everything seemed—even in countries that were thousands of miles apart!

This is my daughter and me with Sarah’s local counterpart and his family. They shared the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony with us—both delicious and welcoming.

Sarah & Counterpart-Endalk's family

After visiting Sarah’s village Bob and I had the opportunity to travel to several of Ethiopia’s amazing historical sites, including this 900 year old stone church in Lalibela.

in Lalibela

This is our son David, with his host parents on Tanna island in Vanuatu.  Dave & host parents

Below is a photo of David dancing a “Kastom” dance with some men from his village.

kastom dancing

Mandela Washington Fellowship Program

In June, Rutgers’ Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA) began hosting a group of talented young African leaders for the Mandela Washington Fellowship, an initiative of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). These fellows are between the ages of 25 and 35 and working to progress social change in sub-Saharan Africa through entrepreneurship, advocacy, and community service. The fellowship is intended to provide them with the skills and the know-how to advance their goals when they return to their home countries.
The U.S. State Department asked the GAIA Centers to coordinate a “peer collaborator” program as part of the fellowship experience. This program matched individuals with Fellows who share the same field of study and experiences.  The pair then meet informally once a week for six weeks.

Rutgers sought Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to participate in this program which started at the end of June and several volunteered to do so.  Initial communication and some meetings have taken place to date. According to one of the Fellows, “The session was very informal and friendly so I felt really calm and happy about the whole experience. We talked about passion and inspiration. We talked about our respective works as well. We have been having an email conversation ever since and I am truly grateful. She is also trying very hard to put me in contact with important people that are engaged in similar works.”

Thanks to Greg Costalas, a Senior Program Coordinator at the GAIA Centers, for reaching out to RPCV-NJ for collaboration on this project and for the NJ RPCVs who are participating in the program.
If you’d like to know more about the Peer Collaborator program or wish to volunteer for this opportunity next summer, please reach out to Greg Costalas at