NEWS - February, 2007

Passages: Beryl Brinkman

We are saddened to report another loss of a key member of the Peace Corps community, both regional and national. Beryl Brinkman of Eugene, OR, passed away suddenly on Feb. 1, 2007, at the age of 67. Beryl served in Afghanistan from 1967-69, where she worked in a smallpox eradication campaign, often traveling by donkey, horse and camel to remote areas to vaccinate children. She was a founding member of the West Cascade RPCV (Eugene) group, and served as President and Co-chair of the National Council of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (original name for the National Peace Corps Association).

Beryl was instrumental in getting recognition for the contribution that the Pacific Northwest makes to Peace Corps (as top sources of volunteers and for its vibrant RPCV groups) when the Eugene group successfully bid for, and hosted, one of the most successful NCRPCV conferences, in 1990. A longtime Oregon state employee, Beryl was active in volunteer work dedicated to promoting peace and justice at home and abroad, and was a world traveler. She was known for her sense of humor and was co-editor of The Funniest Job You'll Ever Love: An Anthology of Peace Corps Humor. Her family has established a memorial fund, proceeds of which will go to the Afghan School Project.

See also: Beryl's obituary and guest book in the Eugene newspaper online, and a memorial to Beryl from the National Peace Corps Association.


Annual Elections

It's that time of year again, time to submit nominations for candidates for officers of WSPCA/SEAPAX for the annual elections to take place in March. You may nominate yourself or another person for the following positions:

Requirements are enthusiasm for helping your organization thrive and a few hours per week to devote to the task associated with each position. Both "old" and "new" members are welcome to become candidates. Volunteering for the Board is a good way to get to know people and to have fun putting your skills to work to help us achieve our goals.

  1. Candidates should be paid members of SEAPAX and should declare their candidacy by emailing by March 11.
  2. During the March 11 general meeting, candidates are announced and will introduce themselves and say why they are running. Members may also submit their name during the meeting if they so choose.
  3. Voting opens Sunday, March 11, and closes Sunday, March 25. Voting will occur via an email ballot. The result of the vote will be announced on the listserve and the website.
  4. The elected officials will preside at the April 1 board meeting.


SEAPAX Donates to Local Sudanese Community

WSPCA/SEAPAX played a small part in making the new year a little brighter for members of the Southern Sudanese Community of Washington (SSCW). Our group collected donations of toiletries, personal care items, and grocery store gift cards, which were distributed by SSCW to some 15 refugee families who attend St. Columba's Episcopal Church in Kent. These donations literally meant a great deal to the families who are not permitted to utilize the food stamps they receive to purchase basic personal care items, despite their necessity. We all know how the cost of items we take for granted like soap, shampoo. toothpaste and toothbrushes, skin lotions, etc, can add up. A big thanks to all who donated. To learn more about the SSCW, visit the website at


Peace Corps Day

All Seattle area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers are invited to attend the annual celebration of Peace Corps Day, March 1, 2007 at the University of Washington. Come meet and greet prospective applicants, their friends, and family members and to celebrate the Peace Corps' 46th anniversary. Light refreshments will be served.

Thursday, March 1, 2007, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
University of Washington
Parrington Hall (3rd Floor, Commons Room).
Featured Presentation will be A Better Way of Doing Grad School: Peace Corps Offers Option to Earn Master's Degree While Serving Overseas

University of Washington students, Seattle-Tacoma area locals, and members of the press are invited to a free informational event to learn more about the Peace Corps Master's International program - a unique combination of graduate coursework and Peace Corps service on Thursday, March 1 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the University of Washington's Parrington Hall (3rd Floor, Commons Room). Universities currently participating in the Peace Corps Master's International program offer a variety of degrees, specialties and minors offered within an assortment of discipline areas.

The Peace Corps Master's International program at the University of Washington prepares students for careers in natural resources, public health or public/non-profit administration. Under the programs that the University of Washington offers, students would attend graduate school for one academic year, serve as Peace Corps volunteers for two years (plus three months of training) and return to school for one or two quarters. Students complete theses or final degree projects based on their Peace Corps experience.


Keynote Speakers

Bion Bliss

Bion served as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa from 2004 - 2006. He is an MPA candidate at the UW Evans School of Public Affairs.
As a Peace Corps volunteer, Bion worked at a non-governmental organization called Lifeline in Rustenberg, South Africa in a program entitled NGO Capacity Building/HIV&AIDS Integration.
Lifeline is an organization that trains and supervises counsellors in public health facilities to do HIV&AIDS-related & general counselling.
Bion's assignment included volunteer skills development, project planning and implementation, prescribing and implementing policies, and counselling and training.
Bion formed and directed the Marketing Action Team at Lifeline to train volunteers to deliver marketing services and encourage people to get tested for HIV. And, in 2006, Bion organized a half-marathon of Peace Corps volunteers to raise money for a foundation that sponsors education for underprivileged children.
Near the end of his service, Bion's strategic planning initiative and grant proposal helped Lifeline to win a President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief grant for 3.5 million rand per year for two years to conduct a mobile HIV testing unit along with HIV prevention activities.

Meaghan Frisbee

Meaghan, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia from 2004 - 2006. She is an MPA candidate at the UW Evans School of Public Affairs.
Meaghan worked at an organization called SOS Kinderdorf in Oruro, Bolivia as a small business consultant. SOS Kinderdorf is a large international NGO that works to prevent child abandonment through a variety of services, including a daycare center and training courses for some 400 mothers in the areas of health, women's rights, education, and business training.
As a small business consultant, Meaghan's job included teaching business skills classes involving basic accounting, customer service, and marketing, and overseeing the micro-loan program. For the micro-loan program, she worked with entrepreneurs to make sure they were using the money as planned and made timely payments, and helped them to solve business problems.
Meaghan worked with six families to secure a Small Projects Assistance grant through the Peace Corps to help them build a greenhouse.


UW gets No. 1 ranking with Peace Corps

The Seattle PI recently reported that in 2006 more alumni from the University of Washington served in the Peace Corps than from any other U.S. college or university. 110 former Huskies joined the Peace Corps last year, the first time since 1981 that UW alums held that distinction.

Other Washington schools that made the Peace Corps rankings in 2006: Western Washington University (49 alumni serving), University of Puget Sound (30) , Gonzaga University (27), Whitman College (19) and The Evergreen State College (17). The UW also reported 20 graduate students serving. Read the full story.


Legislation introduced to enhance world language instruction in WA public schools

An important bill was introduced in the Legislature this session by Rep. Shay Schual-Berke that would support several of the recommendations from the 2006 International Education Leadership Summit.
House Bill 1517 - Enhancing public school world language instruction - would establish a full-time staff position at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to serve as world languages supervisor. It enumerates 10 duties to be fulfilled by the position and proposes funding pilot projects at the elementary and middle school levels, including a dual language enrichment program in a major Asian language.
For more information on the bill, please see:


Best of the Web

Best of the Web is a feature of our newsletter and website listing resources for learning more about events, news, discussion, and organizations that share the international and multicultural interests of SEAPAX. We invite you to submit your favorites to share here. This month's listing highlights two sites that provide ready information about global issues and health impacts of corporate practices.

We continue to welcome submissions to our listserv (as per Submissions Guidelines) , but there is so much going on in the Puget Sound area, that we can't possibility list everything nor in a timely manner. Thus, we want to alert you to good resources where you can find out more on your own. As this list grows, entries will be organized into ready reference categories. Please send your submissions to: