Newsletter 2004-3

Message from the President | PTPI Experiences | PTPI Updates | European Conference | Calendar of Events | Chapter Reports | As PDF Document | |

Message from the President

Dear PTPI friends in Europe,

Since it is only about one month prior to our major annual event and my EEC-colleagues want to contribute their part as well, I want to just briefly focus on the PTPI Worldwide Conference 2004, 11-17 October 2004 in Baveno-Italy but on the included PTPI European Conference in particular:

Our PTPI Europe Annual Meeting will be in two parts

  • Thursday 14 October 2004 13h00 - 17h00 (18h00): Business Session
  • Saturday 16 October 2004 14h00 - 17h00: Chapter Presentations (Conference of Delegates).

With this Newsletter and/or with a separate mailing all chapter Presidents will receive the major documents concerning the business of this Annual Meeting 2004 in advance. This is a unique opportunity for all chapters to actively participate in this process

  1. by discussing the issues at hand and formulate your responses at a chapter board meeting
  2. by addressing your responses, comments and inputs to me prior to the annual meeting
  3. by having your delegate/chapter representative attending the annual meeting well prepared.

Since the time of our Business Session is more limited than usual I would appreciate your utmost cooperation that we will be able to conduct our business in a most efficient way, however without sacrifices on correctness and adequate completion! Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have and I thank you for all your beneficial efforts.

Remember that from the Web sites and you can get a wealth of information on these events and much more. Do stay connected and in touch!

In closing I wish you a very enjoyable late summer and early autumn time with plenty of positive PTPI-activities all around Europe. Hope to see as many of you as possible in Baveno!

All the best and do keep smiling.

Your President

Ernst Honegger

PTPI Experiences

With PTPI in Mongolia

Julia Tjeknavorian, member of PTPI's Greater Palm Beach Area Chapter in Florida, USA, has spent three months in Ulaan Baatar as part of PTPI's Cultural Program in Mongolia. From May to July, 2004, she taught English there. For us, she has summarized some very interesting impressions of this trip.
Working in Mongolia involves more than simply teaching English. Two months living in this landlocked land with extreme weather conditions and poor roads, among people who have limited resources in terms of time and money, requires understanding, flexibility and a ready smile. Mongolians, for their part, are unceasingly polite, always concerned about your well-being and wanting to help.

Class attendees fluctuated in the bank where I taught. Sometimes the employees/students worked in other branches and had to travel a long distance to attend or could not take time off from work. Never mind, the importance lay in communication, in inspiring them not only to speak English but also to comprehend a little more about the world beyond Mongolia, about enthusing them to enlarge their horizons through knowledge and reading.

I usually started my morning classes with some conversation practice. On Mondays, for instance, I would ask what had happened in the world over the weekend. In the beginning, heads went down and nobody spoke. They were naturally shy about speaking English and needed encouragement and sometimes a direct approach. Asked about world affairs, however, brought silence because they simply didn't know; they hadn't watched the news on television or read anything other than local news in their papers. There appeared to be a lack of interest in what went on beyond their borders. As weeks went by, however, they began spending a little time becoming aware of world events and talking about them.

I took with me a large world map; a detailed map of Britain; some paperback English language course books; and a bundle of personal photographs. The photographs were a good way of introducing myself and asking them to describe what they saw in each print. The maps encouraged them to speak/learn about other countries. The course books were essential for grammar as well as improving vocabulary, and I was able to photocopy pages so they had something to take home and study. (Textbooks appeared to be in short supply.) In the afternoons, the children of older bank employees dropped by to talk, together with a few other students who had heard of my visit and were eager for English conversation practice.Mongolia

In Ulaan Baatar, the Mongolian capital, there are plenty of stores and almost everything is available. Cosmetics, toilet paper, bottled water, soap and stationery are plentiful and inexpensive. One of my students took me around three dressmakers and I had a beautiful silk dress handmade for a fraction of what it would have cost in the USA or Britain.

Mongolians are sensitive if not defensive about their diet. They've been informed that they eat too much meat and should consume more fruit and vegetables, and not look askance at fish. I was there from mid-May to mid-July and, while there were few green vegetables around, it was possible to buy plenty of fruit plus cabbage, carrots and potatoes, and occasionally cauliflower. Mongolia, however, is not the place for a strict vegetarian because Mongolian hospitality will inevitably involve a meal with either beef or mutton. And they haven't yet been convinced of the benefits of eating fish!

Mongolia is a poor country and healthcare is not up to the standard of a privileged nation. For anyone working there, medical evacuation insurance is a must. Roads and sidewalks are in poor condition and sometimes hazardous. Spring dust storms and summer thunderstorms make life more difficult. Those with failing eyesight or a physical disability should also note that steps are often unmarked.

Finally, I went to Mongolia alone. Fortunately, I am someone who is happy with my own company for short periods. Nevertheless, I spent a number of evenings alone in my apartment, which, while fully functional apart from a frequent lack of hot water, required my being able to entertain myself. I took several books, went out walking during the long light summer evenings (yes, I felt perfectly safe), and watched the British World Service on the tiny television provided. I also took advantage of local cultural events such as the opera, ballet and national folk dancing shows. At less than US$5 a ticket, these were definitely not to be missed. Also, at these events I met members of the Peace Corps or other foreign workers, and sometimes went out for a meal with them in one of the excellent and inexpensive local restaurants.

Life is hard for Mongolians. Women clean the interiors of decrepit apartment buildings or stores, on their knees with buckets of soapy water, cloth in hand. Laundry hangs on dry thin lines of string over rickety balconies or indoors over baths. Unemployment is high. Life expectancy is 69 for women and 64 for men. Going there, enjoying their extraordinary hospitality and remarkable stoicism, was a learning experience for me as much as for them. The countryside is remarkable, the lifestyle of the nomadic herders admirable, fascinating and worth observing. Bank executives hosted me on several day excursions into the country and showed me the gers (tented homes in which many Mongolians live) and local sports (riding, archery and wrestling). I rode a yak, tried archery and admired the prodigious riding talent of young children.

All in all, living and working in Mongolia is a humbling experience; you won't come back the same but you will return enriched and grateful for the privileges we often take for granted. You may feel that your contribution has been small but if, in the course of your visit, you inspire one or two people to educate themselves further so that they in turn can inspire improvements and self-reliance within their country, then it will have been worthwhile. Moreover, Mongolians will be very excited to meet you and to know you cared enough to spend time with them.

Julia Tjeknavorian

PTPI Representation at the AIPES Program in Prague

Diana Belan of PTPI's Troitsk Chapter has been one of this year's two PTPI AIPES grant recipients. This summer, she has attended the AIPES Course in Prague

AIPES GraduationThe AIPES 2004, that I have joined this summer after a serious competition among 600 students of different countries, is an academic program on political and economic studies under the direction of Georgetown University and Charles University in Prague. This has indeed been an outstanding opportunity for me to learn from diverse cultures, discuss economic and political issues with young leaders from 26 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the United States, debate challenging viewpoints and new ideas and of course make good friends. For three weeks, we attended classes, participated in a parliamentary simulation, listened to prominent speakers, and attended special events such as the reception at the U.S. Ambassador's Residence, a country presentations dinner, a pub dinner, walking tours through Prague and other sightseeing trips to explore the beautiful city of Prague.

As an example of our activity, I would like to talk a bit more about the parliamentary simulation, which is a unique chance to use political, economic and public speaking knowledge. The 120 students were divided into eight groups and each group was randomly assigned to write laws on contemporary political and economic issues (abortion, taxation, maximum punishment), debate and vote on the legislation on the floor of a hypothetical parliament of a newly set up country called AIPES. Two groups had to draft the same bill and then the parliament had to choose the best elaboration of the bill by voting on it. Being the Chairwoman of the committee #1, I had to submit the Bill of Rights and Obligations of the citizens of AIPES to the Special Plenary Session of Parliament. As it happened to be after a four-hour session only two out of eight bills have been passed and our bill was among them. All the students had for sure a lot of fun and acquired a deeper understanding of how hard and what a great responsibility it is to represent the people and try to make their living better.

For being active during and outside classes I have been awarded a scholarship from Donath-Burson Marstellar.

I would like to express my gratitude to PTPI for this unique opportunity to participate in AIPES 2004.

Diana Belan, Vice President of PTPI's Troitsk, Russia Chapter

PTPI Updates

Public Relations of PTPI in Europe

"Public Relations" is a term that could entail many things. Through our Web sites, and a multitude of local Web sites around Europe we try to keep our members informed on what is happening within PTPI. In newsletters, such as this one, we try to keep our members informed through E-mail or through the postal service. By word-of-mouth and local activities we spread the positive work of the organisation on a person-to-person basis.

PTPI has PR manuals available for chapters that would like to spread information about their work in a more systematic and professional manner.

We of PTPI's European Executive Committee would treasure your feedback on what kind of PR is needed. I hope that you all take the opportunity to come to the combined European Conference / Worldwide Conference in Baveno in October. We would love to see you all there. From your input we can grow and learn.

Robert Dahlberg, PR Officer of the EEC

PTPE Finances

I am very pleased to inform that PTPI Europe closes its books for 2003 with a profit of EUR 2'040 instead of EUR 0 according to the budgeting for 2003. The reasons for this situation are lower costs. We have (unfortunately) also had lower earnings.

PTPI Europe continues to receive support from PTPI World Headquarters to cover some of its costs. For this I would like to say thank you very much to Mary Eisenhower and PTPI.

If we take a look at numbers of the budget variance it shows clearly that:

  1. The activities to earn sponsorships have to be pushed. The basics are good but we still have to keep an eye on it. In my point of view the basics need to be more diversified to become a secure and solid income.
  2. More people (especially young members and/or non-members) have to be financially supported so that they will be more attracted to the programs of PTPI Europe. Therefore the numbers of each annual budget have to be realistic. It does not make sense to plan spending money and then save it. It is the goal to work with the money the best way we can for reaching the goals of PTPI.

If we take a look at the past I came to the conclusion that overall PTPI Europe is doing a very good job because the basics became overall more solid. My vision for the future is to save our fundament and to build it up so we have a tool which helps to realize the goals of PTPI Europe.

Reto Limacher, Treasurer of the EEC

Improving English Skills with the Help of the Council of Europe

GroupThis summer, Aleksander Ndini of PTPI's Tirana, Albania Chapter took part in one of the Council of Europe Language courses in Dublin, Ireland. These courses are organized for volunteers of youth NGOs and aim at providing them with language skills as well as intercultural competence. The 26 participants of this year's course came from 17 different European countries. Apart of being a valuable intercultural experience and great opportunity to improve language skills, Aleksander Ndini has also had a chance during this course to make lots of international friends.

This summer, Aleksander Ndini of PTPI's Tirana, Albania Chapter took part in one of the Council of Europe Language courses in Dublin, Ireland. These courses are organized for volunteers of youth NGOs and aim at providing them with language skills as well as intercultural competence. The 26 participants of this year's course came from 17 different European countries. Apart of being a valuable intercultural experience and great opportunity to improve language skills, Aleksander Ndini has also had a chance during this course to make lots of international friends.

PTPI Young Generation Encounter Switzerland - Romania

A delegation of 10 teenagers and two adults from PTPI's Roman, Romania Chapter has visited PTPI's Zurich and Bern Chapters in Switzerland for two weeks, from July 24 to August 8. Apart of several sight seeing trips, excursions and social evenings with Swiss PTPI members, a workshop was organized with the subject "Consumerism: Evils and Blessings". The Swiss YGs and adults used this opportunity for a "most interesting exchange of views and opinions between East and West".

New European PTPI Chapters

PTPI would like to extend a warm welcome to three new PTPI chapters in Europe. In Sternberk has recently been started the second PTPI chapter of the Czech Republic. PTPI's Plovdiv Chapter and PTPI's Burgas Chapter will be the very first PTPI chapter in Bulgaria.

Internship in the PTPI European Office, Berlin: Deadline November 6

PTPI continues to offer an internship in its European Office in Berlin. The internship position is currently occupied by Cristina Täuber who originally comes from Romania. We are accepting applications for the next period starting December 6th, 2004, and ending March 18th, 2005. Deadline for application is one month prior to the starting date. More information on this program can be found on our Web site under

Meet the Diplomats

The PTPI Meet the Diplomats Program has been launched in Europe. After a first inquiry to all chapters, eight chapters showed interest in participating. The program offers diplomatic staff the possibility to travel within their country of assignment by visiting PTPI chapters. For diplomatic staff as well as PTPI members, the Meet the Diplomats Program is a great opportunity to make a very unique intercultural experience.

Embassies have been contacted in the countries with PTPI chapters that stated interest in hosting diplomatic staff. The number of embassies varies significantly between each capital. So far, invitations have been sent to all diplomatic representations in the eight capitals.

In total, 824 embassies have been contacted in the respective countries. Chapters in other countries are also welcome to join at any time. For more information on the Meet the Diplomats Program, please contact the European Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Sibu Caravan

Capital, Country  Embassies
Brussels, Belgium 170
Tallinn, Estonia 26
Berlin, Germany 151
Rome, Italy 131
Warsaw, Poland 85
Bucharest, Romania 68
Bern, Switzerland 41
London, United Kingdom 152
Total 824

People to People International Caravan in Sibiu County, Romania

The less than one year old PTPI's Sibiu Chapter held "PTPI Caravan". Since late May the chapter has visited 10 communities in the county of Sibiu. Each of the Caravan-meetings lasted over two days (Friday and Saturday): Friday 2-3 hours on PTPI in general (history, program, organisation). Saturday (1-2 hours): Membership in PTPI Sibiu and actions to take. The 11th and final meeting was held in Sibiu on Friday July 9 at which 40-50 people attended. In total the chapter has about 100 (!) new members of all ages and professions thanks to the "Caravan".

Calendar of Events

When What Who to contact
September 4 Summer Party of PTPI's Bern Chapter in the "Clubhaus Wasserfahrverein Bern"  Otto Burri
September 12 PTPI's Brussels Chapter: Trip to Durbuy – the smallest town of Belgium Daniel Schaubacher
September 21-24 U.S. High School students visiting PTPI's Brussels Chapter Daniel Schaubacher
September 30- October 3 PTPI's Bern Chapter hosts a group of Australian students Otto Burri
October 13-17 16th Worldwide Conference in Baveno, Italy Karen Hoch
October 14 European Council Meeting 2004 in Baveno, Italy This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
October 30 PTPI's Berlin Chapter's 25th Anniversary Brigitte Kasigkeit
November 10-14 Global Youth Forum in Atlanta, GA, USA This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
November 14 PTPI's Brussels Chapter: Mozart and Dvorak Concert of the "Trio Czech" Daniel Schaubacher
November 21 PTPI's Brussels Chapter: Concert of the women's choir "Melodia" Daniel Schaubacher
December 3 PTPI's Brussels Chapter: Dinner Dance in the Hilton Hotel Daniel Schaubacher
December 19 PTPI's Brussels Chapter: Concert "Noel à travers le monde" of the Choir "Les Amicroches" Daniel Schaubacher
April 29 - May 10 Global Peace Initiative - Egypt 2005 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
April 30 - May 10 Peace Camp - Egypt 2005 (Youth Camp) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PTPI's European Conference

PTPI European Conference will take place on October 14th and will be part of the PTPI Worldwide Conference. Between 13:00 and 17:00 the European Council meeting will be held according to the bylaws. Chapters and members are welcome to participate. Each chapter may send one delegate (maximum three delegates per country). Non delegates are more than welcome to attend as non-voting participants.

In the beginning of September there are more than 60 European participants registered for the Worldwide Conference.

Conference Grant

PTPE has announced a grant for Conference participation. Ten grants of each 300 Euros will be distributed to European members. First deadline is September 20. Please contact PTPI European office for more information, or visit:


Two positions of the PTPE Executive Committee; President and Secretary.

Position Officer Election
President Ernst Honegger, Bern Has served four years. Cannot be re-elected. 
Secretary Hans-Dieter Robel, Berlin  Has served two years. Can be re-elected
Treasurer Reto Limacher, Lucerne Re-elected 2003: No election
Youth Coordinator Bogdan Tamba, Iasi Elected 2003: No election
PR Officer Rolf Dahlberg, Stockholm Elected 2003: No election

Next Annual Meeting

During the meeting the venue for the next European Conference will be decided. We are happy to have a candidate chapter for this event: PTPI's Tirana Chapter will present the Albanian capital as location for next year's conference.

Annual Conference Information and Documents

For the European Council meeting documents will be sent to all PTPI Presidents in Europe. They can also be downloaded from the conference website:

European Artists in Baveno

During the conference there will be two artistic ambassadors. Visual artistic ambassador is Wendy Haccuria of PTPI's Brussels and performing artistic ambassador is Tatyana Chepel, PTPI's Omsk Chapter.

Chapter Reports

PTPI Interlaken

Summer Song

The summer quarter has been especially rewarding for Chapter Interlaken. Many of you have helped us to support our opera student: Ekaterina Gaidenskaia. After five years of diligent effort in a rigorous opera training program she graduated first in her class at the Genoa Academy of Music. Through the generous support of several PTP Chapters, many individual PTP members and PTPI, this young woman with so much potential has not only had her own dreams fulfilled, but also has brought a rare and beautiful voice to the world. Many of you will have a chance to meet Ekaterina, who will come to Baveno to meet and thank us in person in October.

The Wältis attended the examinations and the celebration afterward. We are especially proud of Ekaterina, and happy to have been a major part of this success.

Summer stock

This summer Chapter Interlaken hosted 39 student ambassadors and three of their leaders. The kids did everything from climbing in our beautiful mountains and milking cows to visiting surrounding cosmopolitan cities. Interlaken was the only homestay on an otherwise hotel-bound journey. The kids especially appreciated being with families, home cooked meals and being able to do laundry.

Summer "Do you speak English?"

Last spring we instituted a monthly English-Hour. Interested chapter members gather at the Bahnhof in Spiez to talk about their summer vacation, books they've read, movies they've seen and so on. Yours truly (our resident native English speaker) guides the discussion and gently and lovingly corrects English grammar mistakes, and illuminates grammatical and vocabulary rules.

Family Club and New Members

In early spring, we instituted a Family Club for PTP hosts and associates, and in summer we could welcome five new members.

All-Swiss Chapters Summer Gathering

At the end of the summer Chapter Interlaken was happy to host the annual all-Swiss-chapter meeting. As reported in both local newspapers. Members of the four Swiss chapters attended, as well as PTPI members from Berlin (Hans-Dieter Robel) and Hong Kong (Vincent Chu). The group took a specially reserved small train to Unterseen, where the City's Mayor addressed the group. The trip continued to the Weissenau, a ruin from the middle ages which is being restored, where an Apéro was served. The trip continued through a most famous protected nature reserve, and ended with a lovely, round-table luncheon where members of the different chapters had a chance to sit together and share experience and plans.

Onward to Baveno

Seven members of PTPI's Interlaken Chapter are practicing their dance steps, warming up their voices, and getting new batteries for their cameras in preparation for the Worldwide PTPI Conference, and the European meeting. We are just a couple of hours by train from Baveno and look forward to seeing all you old friends, and making new friends at beautiful Lago Maggiore.

Ronnie Blakeney

PTPI Harrogate

Chapter President John Greep recently travelled to Tallinn, Estonia and met with Chapter President Ruta Pels. Apart of sharing PTPI experiences, John Greep used the opportunity to attend the quadrennial Estonian National Song Festival with 30,000 songsters, in his own words "a truly memorable and inspiring experience of sight and sound".

PTPI Lucerne

PTPI's Lucerne Chapter has combined a social evening with a boat trip on March 12. The participating chapter members enjoyed a nice dinner with Swiss Cheese Fondue on the ship. Folk music and card games completed the evening.

Anna Bühler


PTPI's Bern's Chapter hosted two Student Ambassador Groups from California during the summer. See also PTPI updates for information on the Romanian YG visit in Bern.

On September 4, 25 chapter members gathered for the chapter summer party.

PTPI Milano

Valeria Magistrelli, president of PTPI's Milano, Italy Chapter, led another successful homestay trip to the United States this summer with PTPI's International Visitors Program. The 16 student delegates were hosted by PTPI's Southern Nevada Chapter, PTPI Arizona, and GIFT Student Chapter. The group also visited Chicago and San Francisco during their stay.

PTPI Berlin

Some 20 PTPI members and friends participated in this year's traditional barbecue of PTPI's Berlin Chapter in June. For the months to come, PTPI's Berlin Chapter has scheduled several international visits. In September, some PTPI Berlin Chapter members will travel to the US and visit PTPI chapters in Arizona, Nevada as well as California. Before and after the Worldwide Conference, visits to PTPI chapters in Switzerland are planned.

In addition, PTPI's Berlin Chapter is busy planning and preparing its 25th anniversary celebration on October 30. International visitors are cordially invited to attend. Homestays can also be provided before and after the Worldwide Conference for any PTPI member interested.

Brigitte Kasigkeit

PTPI Brussels

Belgian PTPI Chapter Celebrates its 35th Anniversary. Established in 1970 as a not-for-profit organisation under Belgian law by veteran PTP activist and long-time dedicated President Denise Maurice and her co-workers, PTPI Belgium celebrated its anniversary on June 11 at its 35th summer dinner dance with more than 60 guests in attendance.

Four days prior to this joyous occasion, chapter members and many guests met for the annual General Assembly in the lovely downtown mansion of Maison de la Francité. The formal statutory meeting which saw the executive board reconducted and Christine Pairon elected as a new board member, was followed by a concert by British and Flemish duo of Belgian TV fame, Andy and Di, who eventually invited all to join in singing popular songs.