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Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI)

Published on June 30, 2002
2002- Madison Newspapers, Inc.

Byline: Dakarai I. Aarons Wisconsin State Journal
Fond memories and concern for the future brought a group of former Peace Corps volunteers together Saturday.

The group of nearly 70 at the Memorial Union Lakeside Cafeteria served in Afghanistan during the mid-1970s and early 1980s. They came together once again not only to catch up, but to learn how they could help restore the war-torn country to the place they once knew.

"It's been frustrating because I couldn't do anything about it," said Terry Dougherty of Ft. Wayne, Ind., who served in Kabul from 1972 to 1975. "Now there is hope that we can make a contribution."

Former Peace Corp volunteer Randy Biggers of the U.S. State Department said the United States would soon begin a program to bring Afghan students and teachers to the United States for a cultural enrichment program similar to one between the United States and countries in the former Soviet Union.

Several at the dinner Saturday said they wanted to sign up to host Afghans.

Susan Dugan of Reno Nev., was in Gruishk from 1973 to 1975 with her husband Paul. They served as English teachers.

"I wish that they can build their country back to the way it was when we were there, and I hope America can help," she said. "I don't want them forgotten."

Erik Ibele and four other Madison-area former volunteers worked for six months to put the event together.

Ibele, now a Madison lawyer, taught English to middle-school age children while in Kandahar from 1973 to 1975.

Biggers read a statement by Ishaq Shahryar, Afghan ambassador to the U.S., prepared for the occasion.

"Your continued interest is a treasured resource for us," the statement read. "In this regard, we also trust that the Peace Corps will soon be able to resume its excellent programs in Afghanistan." is operated by Madison Newspapers Inc., publishers of the Wisconsin State Journal, The Capital Times, Agri-View and Apartment Showcase. All contents Copyright 2001, Madison Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved.


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