Another very interesting year of People to People International activities in Europe draws to an end. Just to mention a few highlights that came to my attention:
- Renewed chapters and activities in Hungaria, Romania and Italy
- Totally rejuvenated PTPI Chapter Brussels-Belgium by Daniel Schaubacher
- Summer camps in Estonia and Romania
- Multiple activities by the Albanian chapters lead by Genci Mucaj
- Swiss chapter meeting with Mary Eisenhower
- Super European Conference in Roman, Romania
- Expansion of the YG (Young Generation) movement with an incredibly active young group in Roman-Romania
- Interns and new staff in the European Office (Details on Birgit Ammann in my respective e-mails copied to all Chapter Presidents)
- Homestays by US Student Ambassadors
Concerning the activities in your chapter I am asking you all to communicate much more to our European Office with Lars Poignant and to the EEC (European Executive Council), your elected leader team in Europe. Your news must be known at the Europe office and PTPI World Headquarters in Kansas City for worldwide distribution! A brief summary in English of all your activities and newsletters is sufficient and certainly possible for all chapters. Further, do send your pictures by e-mail or put them in the internet like www.peter-morger.ch. Your news shall be published in our international publications like this Newsletter, On Track and others.
Some sad news about the newly elected PTPI Europe Auditor Christian Obrecht, member of the PTPI Chapter Zürich-Switzerland. He died at the end of November 2003 due to sudden virulent leukaemia. Our deep sympathy and sincere condolences go to his wife Milou Obrecht and to his son Adrian (YG). Christian's funeral was on 5 December 2003 in Egg near Zurich-Switzerland. We shall remember him as a dedicated and very supportive member!
Now, another request for support by all chapter and national Presidents. Please do reply to the request of a complete list of your members! Only with this complete registration in our central databank will you and your members receive all the benefits. From my initial experience with the website www.ptpi.org I can assure you that there are true benefits.
A brief look ahead into the next year. The absolute highlight will be the Worldwide Conference including the European Conference in Baveno-Italy, just across the southern Swiss border, 13-17 October 2004. The PTPI Milano Chapter with its President Valeria Magistrelli will be our hosts in this beautiful place at Lake Maggiore. And only a comfortable 3-4 hour train ride away are the Swiss chapters offering homestays prior and after the conference, alike other chapters in Europe. Do start your planning and saving for this trip now so that we will have a record attendance by every chapter. Be part of some important decisions by PTPI Europe, like the election of a new President and decide on the place for the following European Conference in May 2005. Possibilities for the EC 2005 are in Albania, Poland, Estonia and Hungaria. We shall start the respective exploratory formal contacts at the beginning of 2004.
I wish you all a Festive Season full of joy and happy family events as well as a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year! Take good care and do keep smiling.
Your PTPI Europe President,
In this issue of the newsletter we would like to introduce two programs within PTPI, which may interest European chapter members. "Meeting the People" has existed for awhile in the United States and is now offered in Europe as well. The "University Chapter" is a new type of chapter, which serves as a complement to the already existing Adult Chapter and the Student Chapter. We believe these additions will serve as good input to the existing catalogue of PTPI programs.
Meeting the People - A Chance for Diplomats to Meet Local People
This program offers an exciting opportunity for diplomats and embassy staff to travel outside their city of assignment to various parts of the country and to experience local life and culture. Visits include meetings with local officials, media, businesses, factories, farms, universities, etc., all arranged to accommodate the diplomat's professional and personal interest. Accommodations will be with a local member family. Through this "grass roots" experience the international representatives will experience firsthand the variety of local culture and the diversity of its people in the true people-to-people atmosphere.
In return, the program gives chapters an opportunity to improve your understanding of other societies, including the people, their values, culture and goals, and, through contact with sophisticated representatives of other countries, gain a broader global perspective of your country's relations with other countries.
An average visit is three to four days in a city or town where there is a People to People International Chapter. The diplomat will be met, escorted and live with a PTPI Chapter family throughout the visit. To maximize contacts with the local community, our preference is that the visit takes place during weekdays.
A series of visits to different cities or towns within the country where there are People to People International Chapters may also be arranged. The length of stay and number of communities visited is open to discussion. The diplomat may wish to combine a Meeting the People experience with a previously scheduled trip.
Diplomats are responsible for their round-trip transportation from their city of assignment to the local community. People to People International local chapters will provide:
- A substantive program of meetings in the local community
- All meals
- All local transportation
- An advance copy of the itinerary and information on the local community prior to arrival.
Participation of spouses is encouraged. If transportation cost is a problem, PTPI will consider assisting. Requests for assistance will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
New – University Chapter
A new chapter structure has been created: "the University Chapter". University Chapters function much like Adult and Student Chapters but are specifically designed for University and College students. Just like other chapters, a minimum of 10 members are required, chapter officers, by-laws that comply with the goals of PTPI and a number of specific programs. A faculty or university staff member is required as Campus Advisor for the chapter. The chapter also must be registered with the University or College and preferably have an on-campus mailing address.
University Chapters offer a new opportunity to attract and keep young members. There are plenty of reasons to start a University Chapter and a lot of things it can do, both inside and outside the University/College.
- Offer homestays to international visitors who belong to our chapter network.
- Participate in an existing international event on your campus and if one does not exist, suggest the idea to your student body: introduce foods, music and cultures from around the world.
- Partner with other international organizations on your campus - Model United Nations, International Relations Council, ethnic groups, etc. Network with other organizations with similar purposes and goals.
- Invite members from international communities in your area to speak.
- Joint projects with other PTPI chapters in your area.
- Ask international chapter members to speak about their culture.
- Plan activities or parties with an international or cultural theme. This can serve as a chapter fundraiser.
- Introduce international students to local culture and way of life, and yours to them.
- Explore environmental and humanitarian projects: neighbourhood clean up; serving meals at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter; volunteering time at local civic organization; adopting an international project such as the PTPI Landmine Initiative.
- Participate in the Artistic Ambassador Program or have a student art exhibition focusing on international themes on your campus.
- Participate in the Meeting the People Program.
- International classroom partnerships with schools in your community or international classrooms.
PTPI European Office Open House
For the second time PTPI's European Office held its December Open House. Some 100 people attended the event, at which Scandinavian glögg and cakes were served. The participants came mainly from Berlin, but also from other countries such as the United States, Spain, Italy, Poland, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The five hour long event gave PTPI a very good chance to present its programs and events. PTPI's Berlin Chapter was represented by some 10 members and have been asked by people if they can join the chapter.
We have good reasons to believe that the people attending the event will stay in touch with PTPI - after all we all had a very good time. For those not attending you may look at the picture gallery: www.ptpe.org/openhouse
Grey from the outside and located at a loud and busy junction, the Jean-Monnet-Haus in Berlin can be seen immediately when you leave the subway station. The office on the 2nd floor with its large windows, those colourful curtains and lots of plants is a place that has become so familiar to me over the past three months. Here we are, sitting around a large table with our guests from Romania, six people, four nationalities, one language. That is one of the things I liked so much about my time as an intern in the European Office: such a variety of people to meet and communicate with, a variety of cultures, ideas, languages and programs and –last but not least- the variety of things to do and learn.
Working here has been a very valuable experience and I wish PTPI good luck and much success with all its activities and programs.
Lisa Poggel (Intern at PTPI European Office August to November, 2003)
AIPES – American Institute on Political and Economical Systems
Explore the political, economic and cultural issues of the world! Learn about the foundations of democracy and free market economics!
AIPES is now accepting applications for July 7-29, 2004. Final application deadline is March 15 2004. For more information and to apply to the program, please visit www.aipes.org
PTPI Calendar 2004
The 2004 PTPI calendar has been printed and distributed to PTPI members. In addition, each chapter president has received an extra set. The calendar contains pictures of PTPI programs throughout the year.
New European Board Members
At the PTPI Board of Directors' Meeting in Washington, D.C. in October, two new members from Europe were elected into PTPI Boards. Rolf Dahlberg was elected a Director. Rolf is a long time member of the Stockholm Chapter and has served as chapter president and host of the 2002 PTPI European Conference in Stockholm. In May Rolf was also elected onto the PTPI European Executive Council as PR Officer. Cornelia Siegenthaler of PTPI's Bern Chapter was elected as Trustee. Cornelia has been very active in the Bern Chapter and the Young Generation movement – both at home in Switzerland and in the rest of Europe – and has, with her good spirits, attended many youth events.
PTPI Ravenna's Italian Culture and Language Program
PTPI's Ravenna Chapter offers intensive Italian courses for groups. The courses are two weeks long and will be offered at four levels ranging from beginner to advanced. Classes are held Monday to Friday, four hour lessons and two hour films a day, a total of 60 hours.
The courses are held at The English Centre in Ravenna. They have offered English courses since 1978 and are now expanding their range of courses to include Italian as well. The course is primarily directed to PTPI members, but is, if there is enough place, also open to others interested.
New Brochure for PTPI in Europe
New brochures, for PTPI and PTPE respectively, are presently being developed and will be finished some time next year. As soon as they have been printed they will be sent out to all chapters.
PTPI European Office – Staff
In the end of October Birgit Ammann left the office and we would like to thank her for her time in the office and wish her all the best in the future. A new staff member will start in January. In the meantime, former intern Emma Ors (Sweden) works part time as administrative assistant. In November intern Lisa Poggel (Germany) left and Margarete Gerhard (Norway) started. Volunteer Elena Mancebo (Spain) started in December and comes in twice a week.
Ronnie Blakeny, PTPI's Interlaken Chapter
2-3 Months in Mongolia – Apply now!!
People to People International offers the possibility to live in Ulaanbaatar for the summer. You get the chance to get to know the Mongolian culture first hand and to convey your own culture to the locals. For 2-3 months you will work as a language teacher for the local chapter members – most likely teaching English.
Reimbursement will be in the form of free accommodation and language course in Mongolian or Russian.
Exploring Borders – European Two Week Program
This is a two-week trip for around twenty young adults between 20 and 30 years old. The tour will cover Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Germany and Czech Republic – big cities as well as rural areas and unspectacu-lar small towns. The theme of the trip is crossing borders – borders being ethnic, geographical, political and/or personal. The trip will deal with contrasts such as rich and poor, familiar and foreign, old and new and include subjects such as foreign workers in western European countries, Jewish-European history and the Holocaust, division/reunification of states, the EU, before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the situation of the Roman minority in Slovakia. You will find clichés shrivelling away, you will see pretty and ugly, famous and unspectacular. There will be a lot of talking, walking, seeing, and discussing. You will meet the unexpected as well as the familiar.
Potential participants are expected to have good command of English (speak, read and write) and be will-ing to actively engage before, during and after the trip. You will be expected to prepare yourself basically on the following subjects: Concentration Camps, Poland and the EU, Foreign Workers in Germany and/or Austria, the Schengen Agreement. You need sound knowledge of geography and to be informed and inter-ested in European politics. Internet access is highly welcome since this simplifies the preparatory process.
During the trip you will work in small international groups, discussing the different border-themes and presenting information on the countries you come from and travel through. You will be meeting with the locals in the different towns, members of the local PTPI chapters. Accommodation will either be in Home-stays or in double rooms in hostels. The trip will be half-board (breakfast and lunch or dinner).
- Price: Yet to be decided – Grants will be available
- Dates: Two weeks in June/July 2004.
- Participants: 20 young people (20-30 years old) from different countries
- Website: www.ptpe.org/borders
- Invitations: To be sent out in January/February 2004
Other Coming Events
Presentation of PTPI Owerri Chapter in Nigeria
Most of People to People International's Owerri Chapter, the only chapter of PTPI in Nigeria, are young people who love the ideals and mission of late Dwight Eisenhower. They are proud that they are part of the People to People idea and excited that they will be in the organisation for years to come. The membership in PTPI Owerri is growing fast and more youths have already registered their willingness to be part of this humanitarian and cultural exchange organisation. We received a letter from the Chapter President and Founder, Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu. This is what he writes
Homestay and Meeting the People
Chapter members from overseas who happen to visit Owerri are welcome. The chapter offers the rich African hospitality that Nigeria is known for. Diplomats residing in Nigeria are invited to come to the local community. The goal is to promote ideas of international understanding, cooperation, peace and friendship. Diplomats will stay with host families which will give them the opportunity to gain first hand Nigerian experience. They are encouraged to deliver lectures on their home country, introducing their customs and culture to the locals.
The Experience Nigeria Youth Tour
This is a cultural and educational exchange for youths age 18-30. PTPI Owerri Chapter invites members all over the world to a 14 day bus tour through Nigeria, including visits to cities such as Abuja, Lagos, Benin, Owerri and Port Harcourt. They will get to know the great and rich cultural heritage of the Nigerian people, and learn about youth organisations in Nigeria. The chapter offers homestays with kind and caring PTPI families. Interested members are welcome to apply for this new program in March.
Reachout Across Indigent Nigerians (R.A.I.N)
The chapter's humanitarian initiative RAIN is to provide materials to the poor Nigerians in rural, poor and deprived communities. These aids which come in form of clothes, portable drinking water, food to the remote areas, modern farming equipment to the poor rural farmers, modern fishing equipment to the deprived and illiterate village fisherman, medicine and drugs for the local clinics, hospitals and health centres, educational material in form of books, computers, etc to the remote, rural and poor communities. The initiative intends to establish new schools and educational centres and clinics or health centres in the very remote areas. Relief materials shall be distributed to disaster areas to provide security for the poor and the affected and to reach out to those in pain.
Put a Smile on Their Faces!
To put a smile on the faces of physically challenged people in the society is the aim of this program. Wheelchairs, crutches, recording machines, braille and braille papers and cash are being distributed to show those people they are not forgotten. The motherless babies are not left out as we distribute food, clothes, educational materials, etc
A program the chapter embarks upon is a massive awareness campaign to inform Nigerians about the evils of drug abuse, human trafficking, child labour, early marriage, HIV/AIDS, STDS, Female genital mutilation etc. They intend to help alleviate these problems in this part of the world.
Skill Acquisition Trainings (S.A.T.)
Specifically for the unemployed youths, for those who have dropped out of school, for street boys, unemployed graduates, housewives, etc, to acquire life sustaining skills that will make the person self-employed. The training which shall be in the areas of self employment shall be given to these persons for a period of 6 months after which they will be mobilised by a loan and a grant to start off their independent business. The aim is to alleviate poverty in Nigeria and get more hands to help the economy grow. We welcome your chapter to network and partner with us to enable us help these idle hands roaming the streets in Nigeria.
PTPI's Owerri Chapter will keep on sponsoring local events whose purpose is to increase international understanding and friendship among cultures. It will provide assistance and support to community projects sponsored chapters and organisations overseas.
The Inauguration is planned for January 2004. "It is going to be an elaborate and fund-raising occasion," says chapter president Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu. "We are putting up something that will be grand. If you are interested in attending this epoch making event we welcome your response."
Owerri Chapter is proud to be part of the PTPI network and its members are committed towards contributing their own quota for PTPI's rapid growth.
Nigeria (Western Africa):
|Currency||Naira (1 Euro = 172 NGN)|
|Religion||Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%|
|Other languages||Hausa, Yoruba, Ibgo, Fulani|
German language teacher Irina Apatova and three pupils from the New Age school, PTPI Estonia Youth Chapter members Veronika Aleksejeva, Veiko Rist and Maksim Solovjev visited their sister chapter PTPI Zurich Chapter at the end of October. This is their report of that trip.
Whenever we travel abroad, we always wonder what is going on in the houses we pass by in our coach, what people we meet in the streets are like, what they think and dream about and how they live in their country. It is impossible to get in touch with local people when you are on a standard tour, following your guide and keeping in mind how not to get lost from your group. So we are extremely grateful to PTPI Zurich Chapter for the memorable holiday that students from Tallinn, together with their teacher, had in October. The combination of two things made this experience really unique: one being the fact that Zurich's Chapter paid all the expenses for staying in Switzerland, otherwise our group could not have afforded this visit, and the other the wonderful opportunity not only to visit places of our choice, but also to meet and make friends with different people, visit their families, attend classes at school, take part in sport events together with local peers.
We can talk endlessly about impressions from museums and monuments, the wonderful architecture of Zurich and Bern, the visit to the University of Zurich, our unforgettable trip to the fabulously beautiful mountain Sentis from which you can observe a fascinating scenery with the lake Boden and Austrian and German neighbourhood, a fantastic waterfall on Rein, which is alone worth paying a visit to Switzerland. The group was also struck by the city transport spacious, comfortable, noiseless and extremely clean trams. They tasted Swiss cuisine, and were impressed by not only famous cheese and chocolates, but also by some other dishes, which recipes they asked to bring home.
Nevertheless, most impressive were the meetings with the local people who were extremely warm and friendly towards their Estonian guests. Our visitors were hosted in families, where they could get acquainted with Swiss lifestyle. They not only visited one of the schools, but also took part in lessons of German language, Literature and Computer Studies on equal terms with their Swiss peers. They were very proud, when they succeeded in doing the grammar tasks without mistakes and were able to answer questions at the Literature lesson. They compared Computer Studies programs and were satisfied with the fact that they were at the same level. There was a press conference after the lessons and it turned out that Estonians are equipped with mobile phones to the same degree as Swiss people, but as for computers, the brands in Estonia are not as modern as in Switzerland and they can not afford a PC for each family member. Regarding tastes in music, sports preferences and hobbies, they appeared to be quite similar. It was really exciting for teenagers from two different countries to find so much in common.
Of course, our kids had a unique chance to practice their German and managed to overcome language barriers quite quickly. But the most precious experience was making new friends. The children exchanged e-mail addresses with their new Swiss friends and we hope this friendship will last forever.
We are extremely grateful to Peter Morger, the PTPI Zurich chapter president, and Claudia von Ellerts, ex-President, who made this visit possible. They worked out the program, took responsibility for all arrangements and raised money to pay all expenses. We would like to thank our new friends from PTPI Young Generation, who also cared for us during the visit and accompanied us in our tours. Thanks to Otto Burry, PTPI Trustee Vice Chairman, our students enjoyed a visit to the Swiss capital, Bern. We should say, that our Swiss friends made every effort to make this visit the most enjoyable and unforgettable experience of our students' lives, and they definitely succeeded in this, winning our hearts forever.
PTPI Tallinn Chapter also received a visitor from PTPI Palm Beach Chapter, Julia Tjeknavorian. PTPI Estonia Youth Chapter members were glad to meet her and spend a day (25th September) in the New Age school in Tallinn. Hopefully the stroll in the Old Town was interesting and pleasant for our guest, as she was shown some lovely corners of the medieval part of our city, parts not usually attended by official excursions. Marina Elbing, English language teacher, had a chance to sit and talk with Julia about lives and work, both could find a lot of things in common in attitude to some of the major problems which concern all people of good will in the world. It was also a great experience for young learners of English language in the New Age language school to talk to Julia, ask her questions about her life and about lifestyles in general in the USA, and in other countries that she had visited. They also answered Julia's questions and felt really flattered when Julia praised their knowledge of English. We were really glad to make friends with Julia and hope to see her one day again.
Chapter President Peter Morger sends his thanks to sponsors, chapter members, and guests. Together they were able to make the visit from the sister chapter PTPI Tallinn a memorable one. Photos from the visit can be viewed under www.peter-morger.ch. The date for the return visit is already set, May 30-31st 2004, and Peter Morger has already started to calculate the costs for this trip. From the money collected for the visit from Tallinn, 540 CHF was never used and will be saved for future events.
PTPI Belgium enjoyed the company of visitors from abroad, including Cornelia Siegenthaler and Markus Dapp from Switzerland, who came for a brief homestay in August and visited Brussels, Ghent and Bruges, and enjoyed a concert by Hellmuth Lotti on the historic Grand Place of the European capital.
Throughout this autumn, guided visits, hikes and concerts highlighted a busy program advertised in the weekly Vlan Journal reaching every household in the capital, and in the Bulletin, the must read newsweekly magazine of the expat community. Thus, on a sunny afternoon of November, a happy cohort of 25 eager tourists visited the new exhibition in the Royal Gallery (Shopping Centre) St. Hubert, downtown, featuring artefacts about the origins, the history, culture, architecture and life of Brussels. Another guided tour covered the Italian Renaissance exhibits of Ferrare at the Palais des Beaux Arts, illustrating the reign and arts sponsored by the Family d'Este. And with Father Dirk Vanetelbosch of our Lady of Laeken Church as a spirited guide, PTPI Belgium visited the Royal Crypt - the necropolis where the Kings and Princes of Belgium are buried. He gave us a commented tour of his special exhibits, illustrating the life and work of Belgian Cardinal Cardijn - the founder of the International Christian Workers' Youth organization, which he lovely arranged in the choir of the same imposing edifice. Adjacent to the church is a cemetery where Belgian celebrities and burghers erected exclusive monumental tombs for their families, close to their Kings, side by side with the tombs of soldiers who fell in the European 20th century world wars.
On All Saint Day, the cemetery glowed in the light of chrysanthemums and soft-toned flower beds shining in an exceptionally mild, sunny weather. Another PTPI Belgium group saw Eugene O'Neill's tragic play "Long Day's Journey into the Night" in the Royal Théâtre du Parc. The performance of the French-speaking actors was sober and magnificent in the rendition of what can be considered actual episodes of, and lessons learned from, the American actor and playwright's own dramatic life. Other plays in the rich theatrical Brussels life are scheduled in PTPI Belgium's program early in 2004. The best attended event, though, will be the 33rd Gala Dinner Dance in the spectacular Plein Ciel Hilton Tower on December 6. By mid-November, 57 guests were already registered.
The coming program of activities offers something for everyone. Here are some examples: visiting the Christmas crib exhibition from Warsaw in the Koekelberg Basilica; a XIVth century Giotto art exhibit from the Scrovegni Chapel of Padua; the New Year Concert at the Royal Military Academy; the Royal Horticultural Greenhouses at the Laeken Royal Palace; the Palace and Mansion - now a museum - of a 18th century benign ruler, Charles of Lorraine; and the winter hikes and sports holiday at Alta Bodia, in the South Tyrol, Italy, to name a few proposed highlights. A program of homestays and dinners-at-home is gradually being developed again. So plan to come and visit in the beautiful historical capital of Europe!
Already it is nearly the end of 2002. Since the last letter, we have had three activities. Christian from the Zurich Chapter was entertained by a number of members for two weeks in October. He very much enjoyed the numerous opportunities he had to try a few of our Cheshire golf courses and he also enjoyed meeting various members of the chapter. We have just seen the very sad news of Christian Obrecht's death. This is hopefully when the "PTP family" comes into its own to give support to Milou and Adrian at such a time.
Later in October we enjoyed a trip to Urbis, followed by a concert performed by a duo of pianists in the Bridgewater Hall. Apart from having a very last minute lunch, the trip was very successful. The end of November saw us sailing along the Shropshire Union canal, whilst enjoying a good Sunday lunch. Funds and fun were boosted by having a quiz to do en route. Again a pleasant afternoon was spent.
After being informed by the World HQ about the Night of a Thousand Dinners, taking place on December 5th to raise awareness and to raise funds for the landmine crisis, we held a NIKD lunch at our house here yesterday. 27 people sat down to a four course meal, cooked by the in house chef, Stuart (helped by myself). It appeared to have been appreciated by all present and we managed to raise £403 to go towards the Landmine project. Although it was hard work, I think it will definitely become an annual fixture on our calendar
Our next organised event is to be a luncheon at the Mollington Banastre Hotel; Parkgate Road, Chester on Sunday 26th January 2004. The cost is £13.50 per head. Most of you will remember that this is when we hold our "silent auction" to raise funds for the music students, so it is important to remember to bring all your items for sale – anything goes! It is always a very enjoyable afternoon, so hurry to fill out the form for the menu and post with your cheque made payable to People to People Association of Chester to: Betty and Len Holland, Flat No.2 The Goldsmith's House, 50 Hough Green Chester CH4 8JQ before January 19th please.
The next big event after the lunch will be the annual concert in the town hall on March 7th. I will be sending out fuller details of this concert in the New Year and details of other events later in the year.
We, PTPI Berlin Chapter, ask all chapters in Europe and in the whole world to intensify the personal contacts between chapters. Please contact us and tell us who is ready to host members of our chapter for homestay in 2004. On the same note we will invite friends from Europe and all over the world to come to Berlin and visit us. We provide homestays or (if you prefer staying in hotels) entertainment and sightseeing "with Berlin eyes". We suggest a stopover in Berlin on the way to or from the European Meeting and the Worldwide Conference in north Italy in October.
Since the end of this summer, the Berlin chapter has been collecting children books for a day care centre in Kreuzberg, one of the poorest parts of Berlin with a large number of immigrants. On December 4th, the chapter delivered the books, games and music cassettes to the centre. They were welcomed by the children who had painted pictures for them and served them coffee and cake.
The chapter held its traditional Christmas trip on December 13th. This year 48 members and friends went to Mirov and its castle, where they enjoyed a "knights' dinner" in the castle caves and folklore music.
Hans-Dieter Robel and H & E Möller
The Roman Chapter was as active as usual and fully recovered after the European Conference. Organizing the Conference of this year was an honor but at the same time a big responsibility. We would like to thank conference guests for the congratulatory messages we received and let everybody know that we are still waiting for visits or homestays.
As a result of the Buddy program initiated by the YGs, one of its members, Oana Spatarescu, received a generous gift from her buddy, James Malouff, in the form of a computer with accessories and an Internet connection. In this way, they will be able to stay in touch and communicate with ease. Many thanks to Mr. Malouff for his generosity!
In September, the YGs also received Ulrich and Simon Krebs from Switzerland, together with Simon's friend, Michael. They organized a party on Michael's birthday and had a great time. It was another opportunity for our young members to experience intercultural exchange and strengthen a well-established friendship. Our Swiss guests were hosted by Adriana and Bogdan Tamba.
Recently, the Roman Chapter and YGs received two generous donations: one from Mary Eisenhower, which was used to 1) initiate a project called the European Label for innovative programming in teaching or using English language, 2) organize a party for our Swiss friends, and 3) organize a Christmas charity action to take place on December 19 at a local senior citizen's home and for 20 orphaned children. Some of the adult members will also join this action. The second donation, worth 500 Euro, comes from Ellen and Jakob Hohl (PTPI Zurich, Switzerland) who saw a good investment of this money in the YGs' programs and activities.
The youngest YG member, Ovidiu Simion, 14, was selected through an international competitive application process to participate in the Peace Camp in Egypt. He will represent also our town and country and we are sure that he will also contribute to our efforts of making our culture and civilization better known in the world.
University student member Alexandru Stan, who participated in the AIPES program in Prague, had a meeting with the YGs and shared his experience and impressions about the program with the younger members. It was a good chance to find out more about international programs, the requirements and grant opportunities, the way these programs are organized and what we should expect from participating in these programs. Alexandru encouraged the young members to apply and participate in any programs of this kind as a way of broadening their experience and intercultural understanding.
Other November YG guest speakers included Karen Stum, Merced County Placement Officer, who shared her experiences as a social worker in California, U.S.A., with the youths, and Nik Crain, Peace Corps Volunteer, who discussed the Balkans with the YGs through a trivia game and slide show format. These guest speakers are part of an ongoing YG tradition of welcoming visitors from places such as Canada, the USA and the Netherlands in order to gain a sense of future careers and travel possibilities.
Since we have tried our hand in throwing parties we organized the Halloween Party of this year in a fancy restaurant which we had all to ourselves. There were 60 participants, members and guests. The costumes parade and the games that we played contributed to the full success of the party.
Finally, we are happy to announce that 6 of the YGs have joined the PTPI Roman Chapter as full members in November. They were warmly welcomed and will also receive our full support in all their activities. The next round of validation will take place in February next year.
News: As we all prepare for the coming holidays, we in Chapter Interlaken, take a moment to give thanks for the many good things in our lives. We had a young visitor this month from Rumania, so we know that we, in PTPE, still "hold hands, and touch hearts" across European borders. This month our chapter also received an International Homestay Visitors Award of $250. We are thrilled to be honored in this way, and grateful for the award.
Notes: We look forward in the coming months to planning for the PTPI Worldwide conference in Baveno, Italy. Baveno is quite close to Interlaken, in the Berner Oberland, just across the Alps on a beautiful, scenic, Golden Pass train. We therefore encourage old friends and new to plan homestays for before or after the conference in 2004.
We wish you all peace, health, friendship, love and light for the coming season, and the coming year.