Malaysia RPCVs who Returned 

A list of Malaysia RPCVs who have lived for an extended period in Malaysia or Southeast Asia after Peace Corps. Extended period simply means a long-term residence and attachment, not necessarily current residence, or most of one’s post Peace Corps life. Additions to the list and corrections are most welcome.


Gregory Churchill served as a PCV (Malaysia 23) from 1969-71 assigned to the National Farmers’ Association headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. After Peace Corps, Greg spent a year hiking in the mountainous regions of Sumatra and Sulawesi. After completing his law degree in 1975 and a year working in California, Greg moved to Jakarta in 1976 to teach in the University of Indonesia Faculty of Law. In addition to his academic and research career, Greg become a prominent figure in the Indonesian legal reform movement, a founder and Trustee of the Fulbright program in Indonesia, a consultant to numerous international agencies, an avid connoisseur of Indonesian shadow puppetry, and the author of Semar, Ever So Smartly: Images of Semar in Indonesian Folk Arts. He died on February 19, 2022, at the age of 74.

John Duewel served as a PCV (Malaysia XIX) from 1968 to 1971 in Malaysia. After his Peace Corps service, John worked for three years (1972-75) for the Agricultural Development Council in Indonesia and then returned to the US to complete a PhD in Rural Sociology at Cornell.  John currently lives in Semarang in Central Java working as a consultant to international and local organizations on coastal and upland resource management and conservation projects. He is a natural resource sociologist and has written on the institutional and legal aspects of community resource management, including Water Users Associations (WUA).

Mark Edleson served as a PCV (Malaysia XIX) from 1968 to 1971 working with Farmer’s Associations in Perak. After Peace Corps Mark travelled around Southeast Asia for a couple years and then earned a Master’s degree at Ohio University in Indonesian language and literature. He then began a business career with CitiBank with initial postings in New York, the Philippines, and then Colombia in South America.  In 1980, he managed to return to Southeast Asia—getting off the plane in Jakarata and smelling kretek cigarettes he immediately felt at home. After several more years with CitiBank, he left to pursue other businesses in Jakarta, including corporate financial consulting and hotel development. He was co-Founder and President of Alila Hotels & Resorts, a chain of luxury hotels in Asia until the sale of the brand to Hyatt Hotels in 2018. He is currently semi-retired, consulting to a few small hotel companies in Indonesia, and living in Singapore and Bali.

Rich Harvey (Malaysia IX, 1965-67) completed a 20,000-mile motorcycle trip home with fellow Volunteer Ray DeMartini after their Peace Corps service. Rich served another two years as a Volunteer in Laos with IVS (International Voluntary Service). During his Peace Corps service as a 4H Club organizer in Sarikei, Sarawak, Rich met and fell in love with Habibah, a nurse attached to the local hospital. During his second stint in Asia with IVS, Rich returned to Sarawak and successfully convinced Habibah to marry him. For the past 50 years, Rich and Habibah have had long periods of residence in Asia and California as Rich pursued his career in business. In their retirement years, they have alternated living in their have a condo in Kuching, Sarawak, and a home near the redwood forest of Santa Cruz, California.

John N. Miksic served as a PCV, Malaysia XIX, from 1968 to 1972 and helped to set up a farmers' cooperative and developed an irrigation system in the Bujang Valley in Kedah. He received his PhD in anthropology from Cornell University in 1979. After serving as a Rural Development Advisor with USAID in Indonesia and teaching at Gadjah Madah University, he moved to the National University Singapore. He is currently emeritus professor of archaeology at NUS and Senior Research Fellow at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He is the author of more than a dozen books and more than 100 articles and book chapters for details see NUS profile and Wikipedia. One of his recent books, Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea 1300-1800 (NUS Press, 2013) won numerous awards and the local newspaper labeled Miksic as the Indiana Jones of Singapore’s history.  Also see interview here (pages 150-161)

Florence Moon Enau served as a PCV (Malaysia XII) in Kuching, Sarawak from 1965-67 working for Radio Sarawak. She wrote school radio lessons for Primary One and Two. Jimmy Enau, originally from Sarawak, was a language teacher in Florence's Peace Corp Training Program in Hilo. Florence and Jimmy were engaged in 1967 and married in 1968. After 8 years in the US, the couple returned to live in Miri, Sarawak. Florence taught in St. Columba’s secondary school and was headmistress of Sri Mawar Kindergarten from 1985 to 2006. After Jimmy’s death in 2005, Florence continued to live in Miri and was involved in voluntary work and edited an anthology of stories written by the Society of Writers of Northern Sarawak (Miri). Florence passed away in 2023 and is remembered as continuing the volunteer spirit of the Peace Corps for her entire life.

Karen Palko (PCV, 1979-82). After her Peace Corps service in Bukit Mertajam, Karen accepted a position as a teacher at the International School in Kuala Lumpur (Dance, Physical Education, and Drama). To understand why Karen is still in Malaysia 40 years later, listen to this interview with Karen.

Raphael “Rocci” (Rocky) Pura served as PCV (Malaysia XIX) from 1968-1971. Pura was a leading journalist covering Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia as a correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and The Asian Wall Street Journal. He has published articles in Foreign Affairs and many international publications. His investigative reporting on the financial transactions of dubious ethical and legal nature by Malaysian government officials led the banning of The Asian Wall Street Journal by then Prime Minister Mahathir and the 1988 Malaysian constitutional crisis.  Rocci continues to live in Kuala Lumpur and consults with regional governments.

John Stupka (PCV, 1966-71) on return culture shock and how he chose to spend the rest of his life in Malaysia (excerpt from New Straits Times--reprinted in Peace Corps Online)

When he went back to the US in 1971, Stupka said he felt lost. He did not have a job and felt that he did not have anything in common with his friends and family. He had a cultural shock and began to realize that everything around him had not changed while he had changed a lot. "The food was boring. My relatives and friends were so caught up with their own problems. Only my grandparents who raised me were interested to know what I did in Malaysia. Also, the situation in the US at that time was not good. People were protesting the Vietnam War, and it was stressful. Everyone was only concerned about the war. I was feeling more depressed." He jumped at the chance to return to Malaysia for an assignment as a Peace Corps training coordinator in the country. When this assignment was over in 1978, he applied for a teaching position as an arts teacher at the International School Kuala Lumpur, where he taught for the next 40 years until his untimely passing in 2021.

Charles and Kay White (Malaysia IX, 1965-67) served as community development workers in a rural village near Baling, Kedah. Following their service in Malaysia, Charlie worked on Peace Corps staff as an associate director in America Samoa and the Philippines. After completing a master’s at Ohio University, they and their three children returned to live in Singapore and Indonesia where he worked as a business executive with the Huffington Oil Company. Here is picture of Charlie and Kay with their first son, Michael, who was born in Penang, Malaysia in 1966.