2011-1 PTPE Newsletter
I am so thrilled that two new chapters have recently been added to our European family, making a total of 63 chapters and 1,575 chapter members! Welcome to all our new friends, and I hope to meet them as soon as possible at one of our events!
The organization of the European Conference proceeds; it is always a challenge to have to set up a conference in a different country because you have to face different habits, structures and cultures. Everything is proceeding and I am sure we will have another memorable event, just as unique and reflecting the spirit and culture of the country! Our thanks to our friend Lars, and all those directly involved and engaged in preparing this event!
Sorina Danciu, youth coordinator of the European Executive Committee (EEC), will have served her full four years when we gather in Katowice. We truly thank her for her great efforts and all the energy she has always put in developing youth programs and supporting them. We all have had the opportunity to appreciate her dedication and hope that, though her term in the EEC has expired, she will be with us with ideas and projects. Thank you, Sorina! Now we are looking for someone to fill her position. Is there someone who you think would be a great addition to our council? Please send nominations to me or to the European Office.
Rolf Dahlberg, our secretary, and Hannelore Büchler, our treasurer, served their first one-year term with us. Their presence within the EEC is precious, so I hope they will accept renewal of their positions! It would be a great pleasure and honor for me to keep collaborating with them. Many thanks to both of them!
I also want to remind each and every Trustee that the next Board of Trustees Meeting will be held in Brussels next September. Preparations are proceeding feverishly there as well, and there will be an opportunity to learn a lot about the European Union and have special visits to the European Parliament. I was in Brussels last December 11 to attend the 40th anniversary dinner and dance gala organized by the local chapter, and I can personally assure all of you that their welcome will be memorable.
The gala that President Daniel Schaubacher and Christine Pairon of PTPI’s Brussels, Belgium Chapter organize every year was a great success and I want to congratulate them on keeping this tradition alive through the years.
One more thing! It is always very hard to get involvement and a response from our friends the Trustees when they are asked for their participation. When I sent them a mail concerning proxies before the most recent Board of Trustees Meeting in Arizona, we received only seven answers back out of the total 36 European Trustees. That is very sad! As you know, I also represent Europe at the BOT, and I would be very pleased to receive your ideas, points of view, and even complaints and observations to report as your mouth piece during the meetings, if you are not present.
I would like to remind all chapter presidents to apply for grants from the European Program Fund; we want to help you make your unique and innovating programming possible! Contact the European Office for details.
Hoping to see as many of you as possible and to have a great time with you in Katowice, I remain
Valeria Magistrelli, Regional Chair for Europe
Pilgrimage to Berlin
In November 2010, Martina Devey and three others from Céret, France visited Berlin. This was the third exchange between the two chapters.
We were very warmly welcomed at Schönefeld Airport by Ilona Schmidt and Karin Lehmann. We were offered excellent accommodation for several nights with the Lehmanns (William and Jean Fowler) and the Kellers (Claude and Martine Devey). Snowfall after snowfall didn’t discourage us, as the program was well filled.
Tuesday, after a meal at the Lehmanns, we went on a walking tour of the Berlin city center (Unter den Linden, Alexanderplatz, Gendarmenmarkt, and Humboldt University) and saw the city glittering with magic lights at this festive time.
Wednesday, we visited Potsdamer Platz, and then went on a bus tour of Berlin and visited the Pergamon Museum, accompanied most of the time by Karin Lehmann. We then went on to another tasty meal provided by Karin and her husband.
Thursday, we went on a trip to Potsdam, in spite of snow, accompanied this time by Ilona Schmidt. There, we visited Schloss Sanssouci, Neues Palais, and Schloss Cecilienhof. It was all very fairylike, with the white snow and Christmas lights.
Friday, we toured the excellent Deutsches Historisches Museum, followed by a further visit to the Berlin center as a family outing! We were joined by Anna Keller and three children (5 yearold Lukas, 3 year-old Lily, and 1 year-old Laura). We went to see the Christmas markets with their wonderful nativity scenes. For us, this Christmas atmosphere was different, and full of fun and joy. The weather was very cold but very agreeable. Later, there was a guided visit to the new, main train station with Anna. The day ended with a meeting in an Italian restaurant, where PTPI's Berlin, Germany Chapter holds its meetings. Many members of the chapter were present, including members of the European Office (Lars Poignant). We enjoyed a very charming evening.
Saturday, it was time to set off for home, after a splendid week in Berlin organized by PTPI.
We would like to give many thanks to all our Berlin friends who welcomed us to their homes and/or accompanied us in the exploration of their city. Thank you once again for the very cordial reception, for the excellent organization, and for the time given to us by our hosts.
We hope to meet again in Céret!
New Zealand – Easy Going
Prior to the earthquake that occurred in New Zealand on February 22, Anna Marie Bohsen of PTP South Jylland, Denmark Chapter led a group of 23 Danes to visit the chapter in Christchurch.
New Zealand is a wonderful country with a big variety of nature, and the Kiwis are great people, which is why we like to visit them! Gibb Lee, chapter president, and the host families gave us a warm welcome on our arrival.
Our stay in New Zealand was very special in many ways. It was the fifth time they welcomed us. After a few relaxing days, we went up to the Hanmar Springs to swim and enjoy the hot pools. During the first days, we had a big pot luck tea for 50 people, made up of guests, hosts, and members of the Scandinavian Club, and were aided by Daphne West, one of the oldest PTPI members in Christchurch. We also met with the Scandinavian Club in Christchurch for a potluck lunch in Darfield.
Monday morning, our members and three host families went on a five-day tour around the South Island. It was a well-organized trip. Gibb and his wife, Val, did a fantastic job for us and gave us unforgettable experiences.
We spent the next two days in the Maori capital, Rotorua, on the North Island, and then we continued to Hamilton. Some members were hosted here for the third time, and the rest went 300 kilometers further north to Whangarei. Here, they tried home hosting for the first time and liked it.
Where easy-going people are, easy-going people will come!
Raewyn Jecentho, together with Gibb Lee, was the organizer of that part, and hopefully she and the other host, Lene Scott, will be able to establish a PTPI chapter there.
We might come back in two years time, because we love visiting New Zealand. We are also lucky, as the Kiwis will visit us next summer in July 2012 - their fifth visit to Denmark.
|March 11||Anna Chuiko|
|March 16||Daniel Schaubacher|
|March 18, 19||Eliska Vranova|
|March 18||Heather Exell|
|March 21||Ernst Honegger|
|March 25, 26||Denis Chingov|
|March 25-26||Hannelore Büchler|
|April 1-3||Eliska Vranova|
|April 6||Valeria Magistrelli|
|April 11||Heather Exell|
|April 11||Daniel Schaubacher|
|April 20||Daniel Schaubacher|
|June 16-19||Poland Lars Poignant|
|June 30||Heather Exell|
|July 2||Hannelore Büchler|
|July 2||Heather Exell|
|July 22-25||Hannelore Büchler|
|September 22-25||Valeria Magistrelli|
European Conference – Katowice, Poland, June 16-19
The next European Conference will be held in Katowice, Poland. For the first time, a PTPI student chapter will organize the conference, which of course is open to participants of all ages. We are confident the event will be as successful as previous years. Invitations have been sent to all chapters and members.
|Registration Deadline (early bird)|
|Registration Fee (EUR)|
Thursday, June 16 – Arrival and Humanitarian Program
- Arrival – all day
- Humanitarian Program (afternoon)
- No-host dinner (optional)
Friday, June 17 - Arrival and Registration- City Walks
- Arrival and Registration - all day
- City Sightseeing in Katowice (morning)
- World Cafe (afternoon)
- Conference Opening Dinner
Saturday, June 18 - Council Meeting and Chapter Fair
- Council Meeting (morning)
- Open Space Workshops
- Chapter Fair
- Conference Gala Dinner
Sunday, June 19 . Excursion Day
- Departure for Tarnowskie Gory
- Return to Katowice (15:00)
Post Conference (Optional)- Homestay Programs and suggested visits
- Homestay: Gliwice, Katowice, Warsaw (Poland)
- Homestay: Sternberk (Czech Republic)
- Visit to the beautiful city of Krakow
- Visit to Auschwitz Concentration Camp
- Visit to Wieliczka Salt Mine
European Executive Committee
During the conference elections will be held. Here is the current European Executive Committee.
|President||Pécs 2010||No election|
|Secretary||Pécs 2010||One-year term. Election: can be re-elected|
|Treasurer||Pécs 2010||One-year term. Election: can be re-elected|
|PR Officer||Pécs 2010||No election|
|Youth Coordinator||Interlaken 2007||Election: cannot be re-elected|
|Auditor||Montpellier 2009||Election: can be re-elected|
European Youth Forum, August 8-14
This year’s European Youth Forum will take place in Berlin, Germany and have the same format as previous years:
- Participants will be 15-17 years old
- Groups of five plus an adult leader must apply together Invitations will be sent in March to all chapters and will be available at www.ptpe.org/eyf2011
Board of Trustees Meeting September 7-11
PTPI’s Brussels’s, Belgium Chapter will host the 2011 Board of Trustees Meeting. The meeting is open to both Trustees and non-Trustees, as well as non-members. Invitations have been sent to all chapters and are available online at www.ptpi.org. The host chapter has put together a very nice program, which offers opportunities to learn about Brussels and Belgium.
PTPI membership dues have been paid by student and university chapters in October. For community chapters, all presidents were informed about the new deadline of March 1. To date, 15 of 41 chapters have paid their dues. Reminders have been sent out.
Non-paying chapters and their members will still be listed with PTPI, but will not receive all services from PTPI until the dues have been paid. This includes, for example, eligibility for the membership rates at conferences and receipt of newsletters..
Language Ambassador Program
For a few years now, PTPI has promoted its Language Ambassador Program. For interested chapters, Dave Bowers from the United States would like to teach adults for three weeks in Europe. If your chapter is interested in hosting him, please contact PTPI's European Office.
For more information and program details, please visit www.ptpe.org/language-ambassador.
Global Youth Service Day, April 15-17
Participate in Global Youth Service Day 2011! Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is a public education campaign that takes place in more than 120 countries. Millions of young people, including PTPI student members, come together and implement community service projects for GYSD. Young people are encouraged to actively help with community issues, such as hunger, education, gender equity, health, and environmental sustainability. Don't hesitate to take part in this opportunity to reach out to your community and to help others!
GYSD takes place April 15-17. For more information visit: www.ptpigysd.org
Chapters and members are welcome to send their nominations for PTPI awards that recognize accomplishments in 2010. The awards will be presented at the Board of Trustees Meeting in Brussels during September. The deadline is April 1. Forms are available at www.ptpi.org
PTPI Award categories:
- Chapter Leadership Award
- Chapter Newsletter Award
- Chapter Website Award
- Community Service Project Award (School and Classroom Program)
- Eisenhower Medallion
- Eisenhower Distinguished Service Award
- International Visitors Program Award
- James T. Doty Memorial Award for Unique and Innovative Programming
- Lifetime Achievement Recognition Award
- Make A Difference Award
- Outstanding Adult/Campus Advisor Award
- Outstanding Leadership Award (Director or Trustee level)
Global Youth Murals on Tour Now in Europe
Global Youth Murals is an annual project that is part of People to People International's School and Classroom Program. For this project, students ages-19 are invited to create art that illustrates the unique cultures of the world, global friendship and Peace through Understanding. This is the first year that PTPI chapters in Europe also have the chance to host an exhibit of Global Youth Murals in their communities through Global Youth Murals on Tour.
By participating in Global Youth Murals on Tour, your chapter will receive 15 murals to put on display. Not only is this a fun opportunity that allows your chapter to take part in cultural exchange, but also the exhibition of the murals creates awareness of your PTPI chapter, facilitates fundraising, and may even increase membership. Details will be mailed to all chapter presidents.
We are very pleased to have two new chapters: PTPI's Thessaloniki, Greece Student Chapter and PTPI's Skopje, Republic of Macedonia Student Chapter. The chapter in Thessaloniki is our first in Greece! Welcome to all new members!
|New chapter||Thessaloniki||Greece||John Goulasr|
|New chapter||Skopje Student Chapter||Republic of Macedonia||Elena Micajkova|
|New president||Romania||Andrei Corduneanu|
|New president||Sternberk||Czech Republic||Eliska Vranova|
|New president||Tirana Student Chapter||Albania||Bergi Xhango|
|New president||Tirana University Chapter||Albania||Eni Zyla|
In the last three month, it has been rather quiet in our chapter. During November/December last year, four members from Céret, France visited us. Martine and Claude Devey and Jean and William Fowler had homestays and spent a wonderful time together with their hosts and many other members, especially at our last regular meeting for 2010.
Also in December, Lars Poignant invited PTPI members and friends for our traditional Christmas dinner. Ten members met at the famous "Kaiser- Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche" (Memorial Church), visited the Christmas market and also the Christmas service in the church. Later, we all went to a nice restaurant, where Lars ordered a Christmas menu for us. We all spent a good time together.
During January and February, we only had our regular monthly meetings. One highlight this year will be the next European Conference in Katowice. Some members would like to visit Sternberk and Prague after the conference. Also, the Board of Trustees Meeting in Brussels is on our program. At the end of September, some members will fly to Liverpool and visit PTPI chapters in Chester and Harrogate.
Hannelore Büchler, President
Our chapter was honored by a visit in January from Karen Hoch from PTPI's World Headquarters in Kansas City. Karen was accompanied throughout the visit by Simon and Ulrich Krebs and Ernst Honegger, visiting hotels, venues and tourist places of interest in preparation for PTPI's Worldwide Conference to be held in Bern during autumn 2012. Linda Rickli joined them all for dinner on Monday evening at the Kornhauskeller in Bern. Karen's visit included a trip to the Bernese Oberland. It was certainly a whirlwind trip for her, but we hope that she enjoyed being here as much as we enjoyed our time with her! And we in Bern are all enthusiastically looking forward to the Worldwide Conference next year.
The Bern chapter is planning its yearly meeting on March 21 at the Hotel Kreuz in Bern. We hope to see many of our members then (and anyone else in the PTPI family who might be in Bern that day!)
We were greatly saddened by the news of Veronika Kobel's death on February 6. Veronika was an active member of our chapter since 1999. Born in 1941, she grew up as one of five children. Later, she raised three children: Philippe, Aline and George. Trained as an occupational therapist, she dedicated her life to working with the mentally ill. Her great passion was traveling and meeting people on her travels, and consequently she was able to speak no fewer than six languages. She was active in our monthly English conversation group, and she was particularly involved in social projects in Romania and Albania. We will miss her greatly.
Linda Rickli, Member
On January 5, two dozen members and friends of the Brussels chapter enjoyed a New Year outing and tea at Castle Tervuren.
On January 12, we visited the headquarters of the European Council – the sovereign body of the 27- member country European Union.
Chapter member Christian Burdin kindly arranged for us a special visit to the 14-story headquarters building of the Council of the European Union. With the enforcement of the so-called Lisbon Treaty, the EU became a recognized party in international law, with its own Foreign Action Service headed by Baroness C. Ashton (UK) and its president elected for two years, Hermann Van Rompuy (Belgium). Heads of state, prime ministers or ministers of member countries meet regularly here for European Summits, which in turn decide on the EU's programs, directives, initiatives, and legislation to be adopted by each member country's parliament.
On February 23, the chapter visited the ardent city of Liège and the futuristic Guillemins railway station, the SOS Planet Sustainability Exposition, and the stunning Media Cité shopping mall in Liège.
Daniel Schaubacher, President
Burgas, Bulgaria (The Vectors) Student Chapter
On December 17, we held a Christmas bake sale on the school premises of GPAE "Geo Milev" Burgas. Members prepared informative signs and posters to announce the event. Everyone prepared food, which was sold at the Christmas stand. The sale included souvenirs produced by members of the chapter, as well as non-members. Some of the students acted as animators, trying to attract the attention of the public to the stand, or even acted as mobile salespeople. After the sale, our chapter created a poster in thanks for the donated money.
On February 2, chapter members participated in a writing project. The main aim was to give members outlines for writing and to initiate a process of team work on project proposals for Global Youth Service Day. The training was provided with information from Association Mackenzie in GPAE "Geo Milev"in Burgas.
On February 24, we held a cultural day dedicated to sharing what we have learned with our peers at school. Students created presentations about Estonian culture, traditions, sports, and nature, which were first discussed within our chapter, and then presented to the whole school. The date of the presentations was intentionally chosen, as it is Estonia's day of independence. The goal was to get to know different cultures.
The presentation was held in the school lobby's first floor. In the lobby on the second floor, the Estonian Alphabet was introduced together with a letter from an Estonian girl. Our chapter made contact with a representative from a PTPI Estonia chapter, who will share the presentations with people in her country, so Estonians will see how Bulgarians view them.
During the same day, we also arranged an exhibit about Alabama on the second floor lobby. Since our PTPI sister chapter is from Alabama USA, we had a talk with James Atkinson, a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Sofia. This is our first plunge into the depths of American culture.
On February 28, members sold martenitsa, a Bulgarian symbol exchanged on the first of March for health. We arranged to have access to a local fair in cooperation with the municipality. The money from both sales was used for the improvement of the yard at the school GPAE "Geo Milev" in Burgas.
For the coming months, we plan to participate in Global Youth Service Day, organize a "hometown project" with our PTPI sister chapter in Alabama, as well as participate in a seminar on critical thinking, which is crucial to the development of active citizens.
Petya Petrova, Adult Advisor
During the autumn of 2010, 17 members enjoyed a day trip to Manchester. There was a little time for shopping, followed by an enjoyable lunch. Then the highlight was the visit to Chetham's School of Music and Library. The buildings date from the 1400s in the days before they were surrounded by cotton mills, which have come and gone! Three of the pupils presented an excellent concert and this was followed by a tour of the oldest public library in Britain. This was a very interesting experience.
Our board members and partners enjoyed a Christmas lunch at the George and Dragon, one of our local pubs before Christmas. Then in late January, all members enjoyed a post Christmas lunch in another old pub in a neighboring village.
Our next event will be the first of our concerts on March 18, which is where we fundraise to send our music student to Lakewood, Colorado. The student who is going to Lakewood at Easter is a very talented pianist named Harry Fox. We also have a vocalist who will be joining Harry, and to complete the concert, a local school choir will perform. Next years' students were chosen this last weekend when a dozen students auditioned for the prize. It's always a busy time for our music board, which does an outstanding job. Our annual meeting will be in April, where the members will see a slide show of Budapest and Pécs. Following this in May will be a foretaste of the European Conference when we hold a "Polish evening."
Santa Claus in Chisinau Heather Exell, Chairman
On December 28, we organized a theater show called "Santa Claus lost in space" for the children from the Community Center Fantastic. The children enjoyed it very much, as it was full of colors, costumes, songs, games, dancing, and of course, presents.
Olga Sirbu, President
The chapter continues to offer a scholarship to attend an English language course in Devon, England. Information will be shared among members and local media.
The Bilingual Current Event Group began meeting regularly again last November. Participants usually read a short article together in English or German, and discuss it in both languages. Newcomers are always welcome, and it is free to members.
Thomas Ammann, President and Claudia Mariani, Member
Kharkiv, Ukraine Student Chapter
During December, we visited a boarding school for blind children. We presented them with different gifts and organized a concert for them. They had a good time enjoying it.
Also in December, we had a project devoted to International Human Rights Day. It was marked by speeches and debates on the rights and welfare of people, and we conducted exhibits of children's paintings. We made a print with children's hand imprints to greet everyone.
On February 23, we celebrated Fatherland Defenders Day. We organized different sport competitions among pupils of our school under the motto "mutual understanding with the help of sport." There were almost 60 participants. While boys took part in various sport competitions, girls had a cheerleader contest.
On February 24, some members of our chapter took part in business game-training called "Energy savings, clear to everyone," in which they represented socially important projects connected with saving energy. Their project was successful and attracted a lot of people.
Our school club "Innovations in Democracy" had three meetings. The first meeting was called "Kharkiv - modern city." Together with guests from Poland, Kiev, and Konotop, we spoke about stereotypes in our society. We also discussed the history of the city of Kharkiv, modern-day life, and future prospects. Our second meeting was called "Democracy: history of developing and formation." We had a debate on the definition of democracy, ideal democracy, the development of democracy in the perfect society, and advantages and disadvantages. For our third meeting, we held another talk about democracy to refresh our knowledge. Then, we learned about a wave of anti-democracy, and compared anti-democracy and democracy.
Our school decided to hold a conversation on rights with the younger classes. Children played with the 10th grade students and learned about different rights, especially the "Declaration on the Rights of the Child." It was very nice to see the smiles on the faces of the children. This was a conversation where they could talk freely without being afraid to share their opinions. At the end of every conversation, we played with the children.
Andrey Evseyev, President and Julia Berezhnaja, Vice President
Kiev, Ukraine (Kyivites) Student Chapter
This school year, we started with the intention of changing our activities, creating more challenging projects and participating in important charity events that are held in the city of Kyiv to make our efforts visible.
On October 9, we took part in the UN charity action "Race for Life," to support children who are infected with AIDS and to promote Peace through Understanding. Student chapter president Nastya Voloshuk, along with Anastasija Gaivan, university chapter secretary, and Anna Chepur, university chapter president, organized the participation of students from the university and inspired all of us!
On November 6, we greeted the veterans on the Day of Liberation of Kiev from the Nazis. Our students arranged a concert, and congratulated them with flowers and souvenirs.
We also promoted the activities of PTPI at the UKRINFORM press conference, where we presented activities for the coming year at a "mutual platform" with the Commission of UNESCO and the International Movement INTERKULTURO, among other non-governmental organizations.
During January, the PTPI student and university chapters of Kiev created two charity programs for orphans and elderly people who live in the hostels and boarding houses. We also supported homeless people by making sandwiches for them. Students made 400 packages to feed the homeless.
On January 7, Orthodox Christmas Day, we took part in a charity dinner, which was organized in the Moghila Academy by Kiev's students and other charity organizations.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the Ukrainian government, we helped to organize a law school project at the university. On February 18, the first contest "The way I see the rights of the child" took place. The students of 16 educational establishments demonstrated their vision for the implementation of these important documents by participating in contests to choose the best posters, video projects, speeches, and literary essays.
But the most impressive activity we held was on March 11 during the festival "Dialogue of Cultures: African Countries." Ten countries were represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Youth and Sport of Ukraine and PTPI members. The idea of this festival, which is held annually at the university, is to promote cultural exchange, to establish the atmosphere of mutual understanding and tolerance, to learn the history, rituals and customs of other nations and to present the African monuments that are protected by UNESCO.
We hope to create other interesting projects for Global Youth Service Day.
Anna Chuiko, Adult Advisor
Kurchatov, Russia Student Chapter
During December, our junior students participating in PTPI's School and Classroom Program received a long-awaited package from their partner school in New York. You should have seen their curious eyes and stretched-out hands; it was their first package ever received from the USA!
Junior Students in Kurchatov During February, we prepared a St. Valentine's Day celebration. We had a party for members, non-members, and friends. The whole school community was invited. The hall was full with those who had something to say about love, passion, sympathy, and faithfulness. Chapter members prepared a wonderful program, including poem recitations in English, Russian, and French, performances of the greatest love hits of all time, such as "Juno and Avos," "Romeo and Juliet," and "Eternal love." Students shared their St. Valentine's Day stories and spoke about symbols of this international holiday. Our adult advisor, Elena Tarlovskaya, also asked us to recall some words connected with this holiday and to solve a crossword puzzle. The first part of the party was finished by singing "Love is all around us" and reciting short love messages that overwhelmed our hearts.
On February 24, our chapter president, Natalya Durneva, organized an interactive tutorial for fifth grade students on vocational orientation. She introduced this important and serious topic in an amusing and vivid way. During this tutorial, fifth graders learned about contemporary classifications of professions, spoke about various qualities different professions demand, solved a crossword puzzle, recollected proverbs and sayings on labor and work, guessed funny riddles, and introduced their parents' jobs.
Natalya Durneva, President
Oroslavje, Croatia (The Eagles) Student Chapter
On December 12, we visited the Rehabilitation Center Pustodol for Christmas. We tried to spread the Christmas spirit and happiness by singing Christmas carols.
On December 16, we collected paper to recycle in order to raise funds for a center for pregnant women.
On December 21, we had a Christmas bake sale. We organized the bake sale to raise funds for groceries for a local charity.
For the coming months, we plan to visit the U.S. Embassy and the Children's Hospital Bistra, as well as organize a fundraiser during Easter to give food and groceries packages to the Red Cross.
Iva Tuda, President
Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Student Chapter
During October, our members attended a lecture about refugee camps by members of UNSECO. We learned that there are refugee camps in Bulgaria that are in need of support. A future project may be focused on providing that much-needed help and informing people about the problem.
During November, we had the opportunity to meet with members of the European Commission. The discussion was on the subject of agriculture. Our student chapter was contacted and invited to this conference.
On November 1, there was a charity concert at "The Box" club. The show was possible thanks to Kristina Petrova. We raised 670 leva (340 EUR) and donated the money to an organization called For Our Children, for which we received a certificate of appreciation. This organization mainly helps children in need of a family and later assists foster parents. That same organization asked us for help in translating their website from Bulgarian into English. Vladimira Dermenjieva, Nikola Atanosov and Daniela Dimitrova did just that and now the website (www.detebg.org/en) is bilingual. This is a long-term commitment as any upcoming news will be translated as well.
On December 20, another fundraiser took place at the Christmas concert at the First English Language School. The concert took place in the Sofia Hall. There, Slavyana Karchinova organized a bake sale, managing to bring in 573 leva (290 EUR), all of which went to the national charity campaign Bulgarian Christmas (www.bgkoleda.bg/en).
On December 21, Georg-Philip Flach organized a charity party at club Mojo and raised 329 leva (170 EUR). The money is being invested into a project of another committee that is part of our student chapter.
During December, a project for collaboration between our chapter and the foster home Mother and Child was launched around Christmas time. The funds from the charity party and from a bake sale at the First English Language School will go toward teaching English to the children who live at the foster home. With the money, textbooks are being bought. The youngsters, who range from three to 10 years of age, are separated into groups according to age, in order to better facilitate the learning process. Songs, dances and later on plays will be a fun, helpful way to make studying English more entertaining.
Daniela Dimitrova, Secretary
Šternberk, Czech Republic
On January 4, we started our first EVS project and welcomed two volunteers to our town, Waleska Surga Gasca from Spain and Yury Kravchenko from Estonia. They have started their cooperation with our chapter, as well as other NGOs in our town.
On January 8, we had a party to welcome our volunteers and have all our members meet them. We enjoyed great food and games, and we also had a chance to screen pictures from last year's PTPI Leadership Seminar and other chapter events to introduce our work to new members and the volunteers. Our volunteers also had a chance to visit our town's NGO Charita, dress up as the Three Kings, and go around the town to ask for money for the charity collection. Now the volunteers cooperate with Charita every week.
On January 22, Robert Švarc won the table tennis tournament. We opened a female category and Pavla Maitnerová won a lovely homemade cake. Parents with children could also participate because we had babysitters to play with the children during the tournament. After the tournament, member Zuzka Kudlièková presented photos from her youth exchange in Lithuania.
Eliska Vranova, President
PTPI Tallinn, Estonia Chapter started the Leonardo da Vinci Partnership project "Cultural Treasure Hunt" with seven international partners. Chapter president Ruta Pels participated in the kick-off meeting in Dresden, Germany, where the participants discussed the plan for the next two years. The next partners meeting will be in Lesvos, Greece and in Tallinn, where chapter members and adult learners will work in cooperation with local silent partners on cultural sites, participate in study trips, and visit museums and galleries to learn how to host foreign guests.
Tallinn Seminar The chapter continues to work in the Europe Aid "Enhancing policy coherence: making development work better" project. Chapter members organized an international seminar dedicated to policy coherence for development in cooperation with the Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation and Fair Trade Estonia. The seminar was co-financed by the European Commission and PTPI. The main aim of the seminar was to discuss ways to ensure that all government policies (agriculture, trade, investment, migration and others) are mutually supportive of international development goals. Among the participants were representatives from non-governmental organizations, whose work is in some way connected with policy development, or who would like to have a better understanding on how to achieve more coherent policies. On the second day of the seminar, fair trade sugar farmers from Malawi visited and shared practical examples of the issues of incoherence and the influence it has on the lives of people involved.
Young chapter members Marianna Drozdova, Nele Langebraun and Aleksei Smulski took part in few international activities as well. As a representative of chapter, Polina Polyakoff attended the Young Leaders Dialogue Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, which was organized by the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education. Pavel Smulski participated in the youth exchange "Holding Waifs" as a group leader in Berlin, Germany and in the Youth in Action seminar "Youth Facing Poverty and Social Exclusion" as a participant in Brussels. Nele Langebraun and Aleksei Smulski also participated in the Youth in Action seminar for national minorities in Bucharest, Romania.
This year, the chapter will apply for the Youth in Action training "Gender and Media" for life-long learning Grundtvig Workshop and Partnership, Leonardo da Vinci Partnership, and NordPlus and Interreg projects, in cooperation with other European organizations. We hope that at least some proposals will be approved.
Ruta Pels, President
During December, we prepared Christmas presents for children in need. There is a program in Uzbekistan called "Angel" or "Children's letters." Every year, children who are orphaned, disabled, or suffering from serious diseases write letters to Santa Claus. Everybody can play a role of an angel to make their wishes come true. Members of our chapter made the decision to become angels for a while. We chose the letter of a three-year old child suffering from leukemia and his brother. They asked for a toy machine and children's tent. At our lyceum, we organized a box for charity. A lot of people helped us with the donations, and we managed to buy gifts for those children. At the end of December, there was a big holiday for the children, and we participated in it as angels and representatives of PTPI.
Diana Kolusheva, Secretary University chapter members in Tirana
At the end of February, PTPI meetings were held in all of Albania. In Tirana, 40 members gathered for a dinner and chapter presentation at the tenth floor restaurant of Begeja. Among other things, the European Conference was discussed, as well as membership fees.
On February 25, 50 young people met for an introduction of PTPI and re-start of the university and student chapters. New board members were elected and an outline for programs for the next months was developed. The two chapters will meet again shortly.
Lars Poignant, PTPI Staff
Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins) Student Chapter
During December, our chapter once again held its annual Christmas fundraising activity. This year, the money was raised to make a cheerful children's room in the pediatrics ward of Saint Marina Hospital. We started preparing for the event as early as the beginning of November. Every week, during our meetings, we spent several hours making handmade holiday cards. During the preparations, two parents' workshops were organized, at which supportive parents helped the cause by making even more cards.
Between December 18- Varna Chapter 23, we sold the cards in six supermarkets. All members were involved in the event, and we put in a great deal of effort. In the end, we managed to raise more than 4,300 Euro, which is twice as much as last year and more than we anticipated. Because the money was more than we actually needed, we decided to make a similar room in the hospital's children's psychiatric ward. So far, the room in the pediatrics ward is finished, and the psychiatric room is on the way to completion.
Six of our members also went on a PTPI sister chapter meeting with our friends in Roman. We spent three days together having fun and finding more about one another. We had workshop and an intercultural evening about traditions during the Christmas holiday. Moreover, there was a workshop about future projects together and there is a good chance of one being realized in the summer. Our Romanian friends showed us a teambuilding game named "The spaghetti challenge," which is very valuable and we will try it with the rest of our members very soon. All in all, all of us are happy that PTPI gave us the opportunity to experience something so great.
Three of our members went to PTPI Plovdiv "The Smiles" chapter in reply to their birthday invitation. The girls had fun during the party, and the next day they helped at a cleaning event organized by Plovdiv's chapter.
During February, three guests from Plovdiv came to Varna to help with the final phases of the Christmas event.
Vassilen Tonchev, President
Vaslui, Romania (Mihail Kogalniceanu) Student Chapter
On December 6, we celebrated St. Nicholas, the saint of children, and we went to a center for socially disadvantaged children in Vaslui. We fundraised and collected clothes and toys. We managed to get toys and clothes for 60 kids, and raised 100 Euro, which we spent on different sweets and chocolates, including eggs with surprises. The store's owner also donated oranges, sweets, gloves and socks for the children. It was a real success; each child had a bag full of sweets and a cuddly toy. They sang songs and our members also sang carols. The children asked us, "If you are the St. Nicholas' assistants, then can't you be Santa Claus' assistants too?"
We invited the press and local TV station. You can see the newspaper article at www.obiectivdevaslui.ro. Click on "Arhiva" December 7. The title is "Ambasadorii" lui Mos Nicolae.