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Peace Corps 60th Anniversary Events in Hawaii - September - November 2021

60th Anniversary Events in Hawaii



1. NPR, 11/11/2021:  Retired Big Island teacher Patricia Richardson shares her story on "The Conversation with Catherine Cruz"

Hawaiʻi played an instrumental role for the Peace Corps, training more than 7K volunteers in the '60s

2.  Tondalaya Gillespie was interviewed by the Nunn School of Oral History at the University of Kentucky about her Peace Corps experience. 

University of Kentucky Oral History 

About Phil Olsen

Phillip Buck Olsen was born in Duluth, Minnesota to Norwegian immigrant parents. He spent much of his youth in the Adirondacks in upstate New York.   Phil was a proud graduate of Wesleyan University, majoring in English and a 1958 graduate of UCLA, earning a master’s degree in Journalism.

He started working as a youth, then was commissioned as an officer pilot in US Air Force. He later worked in public relations for Western Airlines. In 1961 he responded to President Kennedy’s historic challenge to, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” by joining the Peace Corps.  He was a member of Group IV Philippines.  Phil spent four years in the Philippines, where he taught school, and then became a Volunteer Leader for 240 Peace Corps volunteers.  In 1965, he worked at Peace Corps Washington as desk officer for the Near East, North Africa, Asia and Pacific regions.  In 1967 he became Director of Peace Corps Training in Hawaii, where 3,000+ Peace Corps volunteers were trained to serve in Asia and in the Pacific during his five years as director. After leaving the training center, Phil was appointed Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Hawaii Manoa. 

He was a professional pilot, an FAA flight instructor, commander in the Civil Air Patrol Aloha State Search & Rescue Squadron from 1972-79, while still working at the University of Hawaii. He was a longtime active member of the Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu. Over the years, he was also an active member of the Aircraft Writers and Pilots Association, the Elks Club, the Foreign Affairs Association, the Honolulu Symphony Guild, the Quiet Birdmen, the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Hawaii, and served as Board Member and Vice President of the Honolulu Marathon.

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We have added a few interesting documents about Phil Olsen's life. 

Click on the document names to read more.

Interview with Phil Olsen: Ditching the plane on Dec. 15. 1968

The individual slides are below; just scroll and read at your own pace.

Or here is a link to the entire pdf file.