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"Kennedy...would go on to launch the Peace Corps, which has impacted the lives of millions throughout the world by bringing Americans across the ocean...and making our world a smaller place.” 
~ Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Harvard Commencement Remarks, 2011 (Courtesy of Harvard Gazette)
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A Documentary Sneak Peek

Check out our latest video - just a glimpse at what's to come.
September was extraordinary!

Our 10-day trip to Ukraine went by in the blink of an eye. We felt a warm welcome from the entire Peace Corps Ukraine community, and with that, got some fabulous insights into a Peace Corps post from the former East Bloc countries. Whether visiting individual volunteers at their sites (and being invited to a real babushka's birthday party!), getting aerial footage over Maidan (where only two years earlier a revolution unfolded), or taking trains across the country to visit the Paris of the East, Lviv, we were able to find the Peace Corps in Ukraine. It is in a country at war that people can truly describe the meaning of peace.

Our thanks go out to all the staff and volunteers who could not have been more helpful and insightful.

RPCVs from Ukraine did their part to inform the story. Without their help, we would not have had the fabulous support we had from logistics to interviews.

Upon our return, we had a quick turnaround to Peace Corps Beyond in DC. The National Peace Corps Association once again hosted a powerful conference, and with their support, we were able to capture several more important Peace Corps voices: Former Peace Corps Directors (and RPCVs) Ron Tschetter and Aaron Williams, journalist and former war reporter Sebastian Junger, RPCV and scholar Sarah Chayes, RPCV and PC historian Marian Haley Beil, scholar Margee Ensign, and, so importantly, Tim Shriver - a true panel of insight on the Peace Corps!

So, now we are back in the edit suites, assembling this amazing footage, adding newly composed music and narration, and building more of this important, urgent story.

And, as always, we are back on the fundraising trail, so we can plan our remaining two international trips (Ethiopia and the Philippines), record our original music, add graphics, and continue our research and scripting.

Thank you to all for your incredible support. This last month we truly felt the spirit of the Peace Corps community!

Keep in touch, and continue to help us tell this story!
Production Photos
Tim Shriver, son of Sargent Shriver and chairman of the Special Olympics
Aaron Williams, former Peace Corps Director 2009-2012 & RPCV, Dominican Republic 1967-1970
Ron Tschetter, former Peace Corps Director 2006-2008 & RPCV India (with his wife) 1966-1968
Sarah Chayes, RPCV Morocco 1984-1986
Sebastian Junger, author & former war reporter
Marian Haley-Beil, RPCV Ethiopia 1962-1964 & founder of Ethiopia and Eritrea RPCVs
Margee Ensign, third Director of the American University of Nigeria

Update following the September Newsletter

You may recall from the September newsletter that we interviewed RPCV Baktash Ahadi, the son of Basear Ahadi, a former student of a PCV in Afghanistan.

Well, on September 23rd, the Peace Corps published an article on Buzzfeed in which Baktash was featured, along with seven other RPCVs. Check out "8 People Share How The Peace Corps Changed Their Lives" here

What's Next?

First of all, we are keeping a close eye on the political situations in both Ethiopia and the Philippines. While we feel strongly about these two countries as places that can truly round out the story, we also may need to consider a plan B, if things deteriorate too much. We are staying in close touch with RPCVs, Peace Corps staff, host country nationals, and embassy staff to make sure our production trips will allow us to go out to volunteer sites and be reasonably safe in the cities, as well. Any and all input from you, our supporters, is much appreciated.

That said, Ethiopia will give us insight into a Peace Corps country where once half of all secondary teachers were Peace Corps Volunteers. The ripple effects of this program are stunning and through the eyes of RPCVs, Peace Corps staff, Ethiopian scholars and journalists, as well as currently serving volunteers, we will be able to tell a story that has transformed so many over more than five decades.

Our last international destination will be the Philippines. Another Peace Corps country with an extensive history and many ripple effects through the ages. David Searles, Peace Corps scholar and one of our thoughtful advisers to this project, used to be country director in the Philippines in the early 70s. Here, too, we will be interviewing RPCVs and volunteers, scholars, and journalists to capture the unique nature and history of this important Peace Corps country.

One of the other exciting elements of this production that is propelling us forward in the editing process is our composer, Lance Bendiksen's work. Now that we have traveled to two of the four countries featured in A Towering Task, Lance has begun to compose the powerful music he is known for. Orchestrating the sounds that will guide us - all the way from the farthest reaches of our planet to the halls of Congress and back - with a score that is neither too sentimental nor too hard-edged is a feat that Lance is mastering beautifully. Stay tuned for some of his amazing work!

How You Can Help Us

  1. Spread the word. Share this newsletter and the documentary website with your friends and family. Ask them to donate. For social media, please use the hashtag #IgnitePeaceCorps.
  2. Donate. Donate to support our work. Click on the blue DONATE button below. (All donations are tax-deductible.)
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A Towering Task Documentary · 1455 Dahlia Street · Denver, CO 80220 · USA

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