September 24, 2003 - NPCA: Collin Tong named to NPCA Board of Directors

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: National Peace Corps Association (NPCA): National Peace Corps Association: Archived Stories: September 24, 2003 - NPCA: Collin Tong named to NPCA Board of Directors

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 - 3:09 pm: Edit Post

Collin Tong named to NPCA Board of Directors

Collin Tong at the NPCA Annual Meeting in Portland Oregon in early August.

Read and comment on this announcement by the NPCA that Collin Tong, senior director of news and westside communications for Washington State University, has been appointed to the National Peace Corps Association’s board of directors by NPCA board chair Pat Reilly. Collin Tong established Returned Peace Corps Volunteers for a Better World and led a national advocacy campaign that resulted in two New York Times ads urging a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Iraq and condemning unilateral U.S. action. Read the story at:


* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.


SEATTLE. Collin Tong, senior director of news and westside communications for Washington State University, has been appointed to the National Peace Corps Association’s board of directors by NPCA board chair Pat Reilly. Tong served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand from 1968 to 1969 and is a guest lecturer at WSU’s Edward R. Murrow School of Communication.

He established Returned Peace Corps Volunteers for a Better World and led a national advocacy campaign that resulted in two New York Times ads urging a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Iraq and condemning unilateral U.S. action.

The ad was signed by 1,850 Returned Peace Corps volunteers and staff. The RPCVs represent a broad cross-section of Americans from 37 states who served in 56 countries over the entire life span of the Peace Corps from 1961 to the present. Tong was featured in the cover story for 3/1/61, the newsletter of the National Peace Corps Association. The NPCA’s Committee of Leaders’ honorary chairwoman is Caroline Kennedy.

NPCA President Kevin Quigley announced the appointment on Sept. 18 in Washington DC. Tong taught at Phuket Girls School in Thailand and led teacher training programs at Mater Dei School in Bangkok and the General Educational Development Center in Songhla. For more information about that advocacy campaign, see

Prior to WSU, he served as public affairs director for the Alliance for Education, and communications posts at the King County Department of Natural Resources, Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle and Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. A native of San Francisco, California, Tong was an education and general assignment reporter for the Eastside Journal American in Bellevue, Wash., Associated Press (San Francisco Bureau), and editor at large for the African Forum News.

Tong graduated with his A.B. (history) from the University of Redlands, M.A. (Chinese studies) at the University of Washington's Jackson School of International Studies), and did his Ph.d. work in east Asian history at the University of California, Berkeley. He was a Michele Clark Fellow at the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education's 1976 Summer Program for Minority Journalists, University of California Graduate School of Journalism in Berkeley.

February 27, 2003 - PCOL Exclusive: How I got involved in the New York Times Ad Campaign by Collin Tong

Caption: Group photo of Thailand 24 Volunteers taken in Bangkok in August 1968. Members of Thailand 24 were instrumental in organizing the RPCV ad that appeared in the New York Times on February 21. The author of this article, Collin Tong, is in the top row, fifth from the left.

Read and comment on this exclusive story by Collin Tong, one of the leaders of the recent campaign to publish two half pages ads in the New York Times on behalf of RPCVs opposing war in Iraq. This article gives a behind-the-scenes look at how it was done with many valuable lessons on how RPCVs can organize and make their voices heard if they are willing to take a stand on something they believe in. Congratulations again to the group on their accomplishment. Read the story at:

How I got involved in the New York Times Ad Campaign*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

How I got involved in the New York Times Ad Campaign

By Collin Tong
RPCV Thailand (1968-69)

SEATTLE - Although the idea for the RPCV ad campaign first surfaced last fall, my involvement with Iraq began about 12 years ago. During the U.S. military buildup leading up to the first Gulf War in January 1991, my former Seattle church had voted to become a sanctuary church for conscientious objectors.

In the years following the Gulf War, I became friends with an Iraqi-American colleague at work and with his family in Seattle. As a result, over the years I was to learn much about his country and the growing humanitarian crisis there.

I eventually joined two Seattle-based peace organizations, Citizens Concerned for the People of Iraq (CCPI) and the Interfaith Network of Concern (INOC). INOC, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility (WPSR), and Voices in the Wilderness delegations have made numerous trips to Iraq bringing medical supplies to hospitals in Basra and around Baghdad.

The events leading up to the decision to initiate the New York Times ad campaign, however, began on Aug. 13 when former UN Deputy Secretary General Dr. Hans Von Sponeck spoke in Seattle. His trip coincided with the return of U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) and several members of our church from Iraq. Von Sponeck (and his predecessor Denis Halliday) had served as UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq and resigned in protest over the economic sanctions.

Since the economic sanctions began, an estimated 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of five have died as a result of the sanctions - almost three times as many as the number of Japanese killed during the U.S. atomic bomb attacks.

I subsequently organized an Oct. 5 press conference for Scott Ritter, former UN chief weapons inspector in Iraq. During his Seattle visit, Ritter (whom I first met in May 2001) asserted that "there is no justification in fact, national security, international law, or basic morality to justify this coming war with Iraq."

Ritter led the first UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) weapons inspection team in Iraq that dismantled 95 percent of the country's arsenal of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. He resigned from UNSCOM in protest in 1998 because of manipulation of the inspection protocol by U.S. intelligence officials. Ritter and Von Sponeck's Seattle visit had a powerful effect on me, recalling Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous 1967 speech at New York's Riverside Church: "There comes a time when silence is betrayal."

I was further reminded of President John F. Kennedy's speech at American University on June 10, 1963: "What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children -- not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women -- not merely peace in our time but peace for all time."

It was at Christmas, however, during a visit with my Seattle Iraqi-American friends that the reality of a war with Iraq finally hit home in a personal way. My wife, Linda, and I saw photos of their parents, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews, and other relatives in Baghdad.

It was then that the idea of running a full-page ad in the New York Times of RPCVs was born. I had heard of similar plans to run ads by MoveOn and other national peace organizations. CCPI and INOC already were putting signs for Seattle buses - a campaign headed by Howard Gayle - with a compelling photo of three young Iraqi girls in the Al Jumiraya neighborhood of Basra, taken by Dr. Bob Haynes (a Seattle physician) during a trip to Iraq in May 2000 with his wife Gerri, WPSR president.

The thought of a New York Times ad signed by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers with Bob Haynes' photo took hold. On Sunday, Jan. 12, after sharing the idea with Peace Corps Thailand 24 friends by e-mail, I called Sam Brown Jr., former ACTION/ Peace Corps director for President Jimmy Carter, in Washington D.C. to get his thoughts.

Sam, my former college classmate at the University of Redlands, in California, had organized the 1969 Vietnam Moratorium, after I returned from Peace Corps service in Thailand. It was important, Sam told me, to enlist broad-based RPCV participation from across the country. He also suggested setting up an online web-site for donations to raise funds for the ad.

With the help of Andrew Fung, a Boeing engineer, and Jeff Gustafson, a Microsoft web designer in Seattle (both CCPI - INOC colleagues), I learned of the Education for Peace for Iraq Center (EPIC), a nonprofit organization in Washington D.C. that does advocacy work on Capitol Hill for a variety of humanitarian initiatives in Iraq.

Jeff's brother, Erik Gustafson EPIC's executive director, and I decided to form a partnership whereby EPIC would host the web-site, monitor and record donations to the campaign, design the ad, and provide an online communications link with RPCVs nationwide.

Next came the task of drafting the statement for the ad. What began as a 250-word statement on Tuesday, Jan. 14 was eventually condensed into five short paragraphs - thanks to the editorial suggestions of several Thailand RPCV friends - Jim Stifter, John Grima, Sandra Mitchell, Laura Wyckoff, Jacqueline Butler-Diaz, Karen Beatty, Scott McNabb, and Ted Chase.

With Andrew Fung's technical assistance, the prototype for the web-site was up and running by Thursday, Jan. 16. I then contacted John Gordon and Steph Jesperson of the New York Times advertising department and learned that a full-page ad would cost $127,000 - our original target deadline was the day of the State of the Union address. Because of the prohibitive cost, we decided to run a standby ad for $40,000 instead.

With the launch of the web-site, the campaign began in earnest on Jan. 17th. The biggest hurdle was contacting RPCVs around the country and reaching our fundraising target in time to pay for the ad. Time was running short, and each day brought news of the rapid forward deployment of U.S. troops and weaponry in the Persian Gulf region.

Through our RPCV networks and National Peace Corps Association contacts, my Thailand 24 colleagues and I began to get the word out. Donations slowly trickled in as word of the campaign began to spread.

I enlisted the aid of Dwight Wilson (RPCV Honduras and Chile), president of World Corps, Frederick Noland (RPCV Iran), founder of Ploughshares, Kevin Delany (my former Peace Corps Thailand country director), Thomas Schotzko (RPCV Thailand) and Cliff Moore (RPCV Togo) - both colleagues at Washington State University where I work - and friends at the National Peace Corps Association.

Karen Beatty, Ted Chase, Scott McNabb, Leilani Widdison-Rigby, Robin Velte, Susan Walsh, Ann Morgan (my deputy director in Thailand, who later became director) and other Thailand 24 friends began calling their friends around the country. By Jan. 29, we had only raised about $7,500 toward our goal. Suddenly the thought of doing a $40,000 full-page ad seemed daunting. On Jan. 30, we decided to revise our strategy and aim for a more realistic target - i.e. a half-page standby ad at $23,700.

Fortunately through the RPCV grapevine, I heard from an Ethiopia RPCV, John Coyne, who edits the Peace Corps Writers magazine and Peace Corps Online. Peace Corps Online ran a story on Feb. 3 about our campaign to 30,000 RPCVs, and donations began to pour in from around the country.

The response was overwhelming - by Feb. 4 we reached our goal for the first ad. Lynn Fredriksson and James Decker at EPIC began the layout for the ad, which we submitted to the New York Times on Feb. 17th. Because word of our campaign was reaching a much broader audience, we decided we needed a second ad to accommodate all the names of all the RPCVs who wanted to join.

On Friday, Feb. 21, the first half-page ad, "Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Oppose War in Iraq," ran in the National section of the New York Times on page A23. To date, more than 1,450 RPCVs and friends of Peace Corps have generously donated to the ad and more continue to sign our statement.

On the day the ad ran, NPCA President Dane Smith pledged his support and Anne E. Baker, NPCA director of global education and technology, sent out a message to RPCVs encouraging them to join the campaign. John Reinke (RPCV Philippines and Nigeria) is working with us now on a media outreach campaign coinciding with the publication of both ads to ensure that more Americans know of our opposition to war with Iraq. Our second, half-page New York Times ad will run shortly after March 1st.

All funds collected above the cost of the two ads, $47,400, will help defray staffing costs at EPIC for the campaign and support ongoing collaborative efforts between EPIC and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers for a Better World to provide humanitarian assistance for the people of Iraq. (For more information, see )

Collin Tong, a Seattle-based writer, is senior director of news and westside communications at Washington State University.

Click on a link below for more stories on PCOL

Call your Senator about PC Appropriations

Top Stories this Week
Peace Corps Giant Paul Conklin dies 20 Sept
RPCV McPherson returns from Iraq mission 19 Sept
PCVs arrive in Swaziland for AIDS Education 17 Sept
Aliu praises Peace Corps AIDS efforts 15 Sept
Vasquez in Ghana for CD Conference 15 Sept
RPCV appointed DNC Deputy Chair 16 Sept
Peace Corps gets new IT tools 16 Sept
Pierson in Nigeria: Peace Corps to return? 15 Sept
Kerry promotes Peace Corps service 15 Sept
Glimpses of Afghanistan 14 Sept
RPCV 'Sam' Udall dies in Colorado 14 Sept
Which way for the NPCA?
Read three different views on where the NPCA is headed: First our interview with NPCA President Kevin Quigley, then John Coyne's Modest Proposal for the NPCA, and finally our story on changes in NPCA's bylaws that some RPCVs have proposed.
More Stories from the September Issue of PCOL Magazine

Does Bush really support the Peace Corps?
What is the substance behind the President's rhetoric of support for the Peace Corps?

The Art of Being Globally Thrifty
Read Terez Rose's essay about one of the lessons she learned while in Africa - how to be patient and weather the storm of challenging times with dignity and grace.

Cultural Representation and the Peace Corps Museum
The Peace Corps Museum can be a place where cultures are respected with dignity, stories are told and where we can come together as a community.

Queer Eye for the Straight RPCV
Read the email from the casting director for the TV show "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy" who is looking for a recently Returned Volunteer to be on the show.

The Peace Corps Encyclopedia
Take a look at our new "Encyclopedia" of Peace Corps knowledge with information about over 100 categories.

More Feature Stories from Recent Issues of PCOL Magazine

House of Representatives passes Charter
The Peace Corps and the Returned Volunteer community celebrated a big victory when the "Peace Corps Act for the 21st Century" Act passed the House in July. Read what's next for the bill.

Kevin Quigley named new NPCA President
The NPCA has selected the next generation of leadership for their organization. Read about the new President.

Investigation on death of PCV in Mali
The results of the investigation into the death of PCV Zachary Merrill in Mali.

President Bush meets PCVs in Botswana
The President met with PCVs in Botswana. Here's what he said.

Friends of Liberia issue a Call to Action
This RPCV group has a long history on involvement in efforts to bring peace to their Country of Service. Here's what they have to say about the present situation.

Issues with the Peace Corps Bill in Congress
Read about the differences between the House and Senate versions of the "Peace Corps Act for the 21st Century" and decide which one is better.

Americorps' Failure
Lessons the Peace Corps can learn from Americorps' problems.

RPCVs dump ton of coal at US Capital
Read what the RPCV-led Chesapeake Climate Action Network is doing to educate the public on Global Warming.

German Peace Corps celebrates 40 years
The governance structure of the German Peace Corps differs from that of the US Peace Corps. Is it better?

Peace Corps to add 1,000 AIDS/HIV volunteers
Director Vasquez's new initiative to expand the Peace Corps in Africa.

Bill Moyers on America's Future
Read what an early Peace Corps Deputy Director says about America's future.

Op-ed: The Future of the Peace Corps
Does the Peace Corps have a future in the age of the American Imperium? What do you think?

RPCV is wheelchair basketball champion
The courage of a volunteer struck down by polio in Central America.

Watch Director Vasquez on web tv
See the Peace Corps Director speak to High School students in Maryland.

The Digital Freedom Initiative
The innovative new program to wire Senegal.

For the Record: Top Stories in the last 30 days
Peace Corps Giant Paul Conklin dies 20 Sept
RPCV McPherson returns from Iraq mission 19 Sept
PCVs arrive in Swaziland for AIDS Education 17 Sept
RPCV appointed DNC Deputy Chair 16 Sept
Peace Corps gets new IT tools 16 Sept
Pierson in Nigeria: Peace Corps to return? 15 Sept
Kerry promotes Peace Corps service 15 Sept
Aliu praises Peace Corps AIDS efforts 15 Sept
Vasquez in Ghana for CD Conference 15 Sept
Glimpses of Afghanistan 14 Sept
RPCV 'Sam' Udall dies in Colorado 14 Sept
RPCV says to develop ties with world 11 Sept
Evaluating the Peace Corps 11 Sept
Howard Dean's brother planned to join PC 11 Sept
RPCVs lose ranch in Mexico 11 Sept
Mark Schneider: Unilateralism inspires distrust 10 Sept
Lariam Failure blamed for Malaria outbreak 10 Sept
Friends of Liberia send message to Bush 10 Sept
Peace Corps Director Travels to Africa 10 Sept
RPCV says Peace Corps yields huge dividends 10 Sept
Eunice Kennedy Shriver backs Schwarzenegger 10 Sept
PC Director Visits Namibia 10 Sept
RPCVs start Enginering Assistance Network 9 Sept
Bush Should Listen Closely in Africa 7 Sept
DC and FON RPCVs push for new NPCA Board 7 Sept
Become an NPCA Advocate 5 Sept
NPCA President speaks out for Americorps 5 Sept
Interview with NPCA President Kevin Quigley 3 Sept
Visa Problems frustrate RPCV's wedding 3 Sept
Carol Bellamy's UNICEF in the crosshairs 2 Sept
RPCV Dave Thieson dies in Maryland 2 Sept
The Art of Being Globally Thrifty 1 Sept
RPCV founds Educare-Africa 1 Sept
RPCV says No Stability in Afghanistan 28 Aug
Bush meets with future PCVs 28 Aug
Senator Coleman to push to AIDS funding 28 Aug
Walsh won't support Americorps bailout 28 Aug
Former Director Chao profiled in USA Today 28 Aug
RPCVs form Bridges with Ghana 27 Aug
Shays says Iraq Effort Needs Allied Help 27 Aug
RPCV says to pressure Putin 27 Aug
Bush greets future PCVs 26 Aug
Teen Sentenced For Killing RPCV Father 26 Aug
MN Newspaper says Bush treats PC well 26 Aug
Senator's 'Aids tour' could make a difference 24 Aug
Future PCVs will greet Bush in Minnesota 22 Aug
Bush to meet PC Volunteers in Minnesota 22 Aug
Coleman stunned by AIDS comments 22 Aug
"I have a Dream" 40th Anniversary 22 Aug
RPCV Mayor urges Hispanics to get involved 22 Aug
RPCV named `New Englander of the Year' 20 Aug
Queer Eye For The Straight RPCV 20 Aug
PC Welcomes Kids For Peace Camp 20 Aug
President visits PCVs in Botswana 20 Aug
RPCV says students don't discuss world news 20 Aug
Coleman to examine Africa's AIDS crisis 19 Aug
RPCV discusses New school testing 19 Aug
Senator Coleman to meet PCVs in Africa 19 Aug
Vasquez criticized for supporting Gay Pride 19 Aug
RPCVs work to end Female Genital Mutilation 17 Aug
RPCV runs river guide business in Alaska 17 Aug
Top Discussion Stories

Interview with Kevin Quigley
Our talk with the new NPCA President about his vision for the organization.

Senator Norm Coleman is a strong supporter of Bush's full $359M budget request but wants greater accountability from the Peace Corps. Read why.

A Modest Proposal
Read the op-ed by John Coyne on how to expand and revitalize the NPCA and what you can do to help.

Send in the Peace Corps?
Should the Peace Corps be heading into Iraq and Afghanistan? What do you think?

A Volunteer's Courage
After Sara Evans was assaulted she left the Peace Corps and returned to the United States. But her ordeal was only beginning.

Peace Corps Charter
Read about the new Peace Corps bill going through Congress. Compare the Senate and House versions of the bill here.

The Fourth Goal
Read about Sargent Shriver's Fourth Goal for the Peace Corps. His original speech at Yale about the Peace Corps in the 21st Century is here.

The Numbers Game
Double the Peace Corps - but maintain the quality of the programs and the volunteer experience.

Improvements needed Volunteer services. Read our exclusive story on what needs to be done to support volunteers and reduce attrition rates.

Volunteer Safety
Read the GAO Report on Safety and Security of Volunteers.

The Lariam Files
Read about the anti-malarial drug thousands of volunteers have taken - and its potential side effects.

Protest at the Peace Corps
Do volunteers and staff retain first amendment rights while working in the Peace Corps. Join the discussion.

RPCVs organize
Read how 1,800 RPCVs organized to place two half-page ads in the New York Times.

PC is "truly hardcore"
A Marine Sergeant visited his daughter who is serving in Nicaragua. Read what he says about the Peace Corps.

From Russia with Love
The story behind the departure of the Peace Corps from Russia.

RPCVs honor Vaughn
Returned Volunteers met to honor and listen to the wisdom of Peace Corps legend Jack Vaughn.

More Special Reports

The IDPA: PC Forerunner
The IDPA, a forerunner of the Peace Corps, created in 1951 to place people with indigenous organizations and governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Alcohol Abuse a big issue for PCVs in Central Asia
Read about the health hazard PC Staff is warning volunteers in former Soviet Republics about.

PC/Washington: Senior Staff Appointments at PC HQ
See if you can guess how many RPCVs there are in senior staff positions at PC Headquarters.

Peace Corps TV Show
Last year Fox network created a pilot for a tv show about a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Although the show wasn't picked up, read RPCVs' many humourous suggestions for the title.

RPCV Spy dies in Moscow
The strange story of the RPCV who defected to Russia.

The Shrivers: A Special Legacy
The Founding Director of the Peace Corps and his future plans.

The Case for PC Independence
Why the USA Freedom Corps doesn't make sense.

Preservation of an Independent Peace Corps
Returned Volunteers insist that the Peace Corps must remain an independent agency to do its job.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Thailand; NPCA; Advocacy; Iraq



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.