As I write, I am still reflecting happily on the great success of this year's European Conference in Tirana and the quality and variety of experiences it provided.
Our business was dispatched efficiently and on time thanks to our staff's careful preparations and the patience and courtesy of the delegates. We thanked Reto Limacher for his excellent service during his term as our Treasurer and welcomed Cornelia Siegenthaler as his successor. We also accepted PTPI Denmark's offer to host next year's European Conference and Interlaken, Switzerland's invitation to hold our 2007 Conference there.
More importantly, our hosts from PTPI Albania created an outstanding social and cultural experience for us. Delegates came from 16 European chapters, together with a welcome group of visiting members from the USA, led by our President and Chief Executive Officer Mary Eisenhower and our Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, Anita Manuel. Our Vice Chairman of Trustees for Europe, Otto Burri, was another welcome presence. We all greatly enjoyed meeting and working with each other and especially with the large and lively group of our Albanian hosts; all this in an atmosphere of generous hospitality enlivened everywhere by music, singing and dancing. We were also taken quickly and comfortably to see some of the stunning scenery and rich cultural heritage of this historic country with its proud people and unique language.
With our chief host Genci Mucaj's help we were also able to meet, talk and dance (some of us) with an impressive group of school and college students, eager to learn about us and tell us in excellent English about themselves. Travel to Albania is becoming easier and a visit would offer any chapter a rewarding experience.
PTPI will be offering a number of events and programmes in Europe over the coming months and I look forward to sharing the PTPI experience with you in some of them.
Peter Whitby, President of PTPI's European Council
This year's European Conference was hosted by PTPI's Tirana Chapter in Albania. The over 60 participants from 13 countries enjoyed a very successful event.
Throughout the weekend there were local foods and live music (and dancers). The Friday Open Ceremony, the Saturday Evening Reception as well as the Council Meeting were held at the centrally located Tirana International Hotel, from which the heart of Tirana could easily be reached. The council meeting was attended by 13 council chapters and four visiting chapters. During the meeting PTPI's CEO and President Mary Eisenhower gave an update on the organizations current programs and development. In the afternoon speakers Ambassador Besnik Mustfaj (Albanian Ambassador to Paris) and Ambassador Ted Britton (US Ambassador to Barbados) gave their views on national and personal relationships. During the meeting Reto Limacher was replaced after two full year terms as treasurer by Cornelia Siegenthaler (Bern, Switzerland) (see PTPI Updates). Thank you Reto for all help!. Rolf Dahlberg (Sweden) and Bogdan Tamba (Iasi) were re-elected for a second two year term as PR Officer and Youth Coordinating Officer respectively. Andrew Martin, (Chester) was elected as new auditor after Klaus Mazenauer.
During the meeting there were discussions on how to get PTPI merchandise to European members as well as a European Trustee meeting. Many members would like to be able to purchase merchandise, but without having to pay high overseas mailing fees. The European Trustee meeting will be offered as part of the Leadership Seminar in October in Berlin (see Coming Events). At the Saturday evening reception two new chapters were chartered by Anita Manuel, chairwoman of PTPI's Board of Trustees ; PTPI's Struga (Macedonia) and PTPI's Korce-Bilisht (Albania) Chapters. Besides the dinner events in Tirana, there were three excursions including Durres (at the Adriatic Sea), and one day in Kruja, where the Skanderbeg museum was presented in an excellent manner. As a post conference excursion, 40 participants visited Berati and enjoyed the castle area and a joyful lunch with 40 local students, who had graduated from the Albania Language School. The students were a cheerful addition to the program and lunch. Thanks to PTPI's Tirana Chapter, more than 60 people travelled to Albania, which is not a common tourist location. Those 60 people had a very good impression of the chapter, their members and Albania. Thank you Genci, Valbona, Evis, Xhina and Aleksander! We certainly look forward to seeing you again! Maybe next year in Denmark: May 26-28.
I'm not in Kansas anymore – an Albanian Experience
It's only been within the last 4 years that I have become an active participant in PTPI on an International level. As a very involved member of the Greater Kansas City Chapter for many years it was my pleasure to volunteer for the World Wide Conference in Kansas City and as a result I was bitten by the chance to expand the friendships that I had made with all the International participants. So the following year I attended the European Conference in Romania and then the Worldwide Conference in Baveno, Italy and with great excitement and wonder the just recently held European Conference in Tirana, Albania.
Imagine – a girl from Kansas in a country that is a bit off her radar screen – Albania, my friends asked – where is Albania? Well – after looking on a map – I could say north of Greece and South of Macedonia and on the Adriatic Coast that it had ended almost 50 years of communist rule. But that's all I could tell them about Albania. However at previous conferences I had met one of the most positive, friendly Albanians by the name of "Genci" who extended such a nice invitation and was hosting along with the Tirana PTPI Chapter the European Conference for 2005. So what's a girl from OZ to do? Well the only thing she can – attend the conference!! And what a terrific decision it was. So many new sights and sounds – from the first impression of "where is the airport?" – it was small to my American thinking standards, and to "why is that truck on the roof of that building" Hmm. I was certainly not in Kansas anymore. The first person I run into after checking in is the welcoming face of Genci! I think he must be a clone – he seemed to be everywhere—taking care of things – making sure all was running smoothly – to the smallest detail. Of course he had a lot of help from his assistants Aleksander and Evis and his beautiful wife Valbona, among many, many others.
Of course the main agenda of the Conference was the European meeting, which was held on Saturday, but with things being so efficient and finished that left the rest of the time to site-see, explore and catch up with old friends and make many new ones. And did I mention food? To anyone who was there I am sure you are laughing at this point – the food was great!! It just kept coming!! It was good I brought loose clothing! The two organized bus day trips were not only fun but educational. I learned a lot about Albania its history and its people both past and present. And not to be missed was the 30 minute stop at the beach so we could all dunk out toes in the Adriatic! And the one who shall remain nameless (and made us all jealous!) by diving right in!!! For me the hardest part about any conference is saying goodbye – however with PTPI you know it is never goodbye it is see you next year or even maybe a Homestay in- between with all the new friends one has made!! Next year the European Conference is in Denmark. So from a little girl in Kansas – I thank Genci and everyone who made the conference such a huge success and my Albanian experience so wonderful. I would encourage all of my fellow PTPI chapter members and all other chapters to think about attending upcoming conferences. I have learned SO much!!!
Julie Goodhart, PTPI's Greater Kansas City Chapter
PTPI Young Generation Meeting in Zurich, Switzerland: March 18-20, 2005
People to People International's Young Generation (YG) held an informal youth meeting in Zurich, Switzerland from March 18 to 20, 2005. Both PTPI members and non-members attended.
"I arrived at Zurich central station on Saturday around 11 am, where the other YGs already waited for me. They had arrived on Friday and had spent the evening in Zurich. All of us were hosted by Ricarda and Adrian for the weekend. The meeting was international: two YGs from Milan (Italy), one from New York (USA) currently residing in Rome, two from Interlaken (Switzerland), three from Zurich (Switzerland), two from Lucerne and Verena Denk from PTPI's European Office in Berlin. Adrian and Ricarda, who had organized this meeting, gave us a guided city tour through Zurich. That was very interesting. Among other things, I learned that Zurich had been founded by nuns. We went to the Zurich zoo with its special "Masoala Rainforest" exhibition, experienced the atmosphere of Madagascar's rainforest and saw some giant turtles, monkeys, birds, insects, and many more.
After all this sightseeing, we went to Ricarda's place and Verena presented PTPI to those of the group that were not yet members and knew little about what we do. They enjoyed being with us and I think and hope they will join us soon. We talked about future plans for the YG as well as coming events and fixed a date for the next YG meeting in Switzerland. It will take place in Spiez from July 8-10, 2005.
In the evening, we went to Adrian's house for a typical Swiss meal: cheese fondue!! It was fun, we talked, laughed and there were no cultural borders, we all felt like world inhabitants. After the dishwashing as a group, some of us went to a club to experience Zurich's night life before we went into our homestay. Together with Susanne and Verena, I was hosted by Ricarda. It was great and I felt at home.
On Sunday, we enjoyed a nice brunch at the "Kunsthalle". It was an all-you-can-eat buffet and we stayed from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. We talked and I enjoyed the company of all those new friends, I made at this meeting.
You're all invited to join the next meeting in Spiez, Switzerland!"
Marie-Anne Aebi, PTPI's Interlaken, Switzerland Chapter
PTPI's Berlin Chapter visiting PTPI's Gliwice Chapter
From April 7-10, 11 members of PTPI's Berlin, Germany Chapter and friends visited PTPI's Gliwice, Poland Chapter. Only a few days prior to our departure, the pope, who originally comes from Krakow, had died. Some of the PTPI Gliwice Chapter members travelled spontaneously to Rome to attend the funeral of the pope. They told us later about this at times quite exhausting, but still very memorable trip. Despite the special circumstances, there were hosts and host families for all of us thanks to the help of friends and other members. We were quite impressed that homestays could be organized for all of us since the chapter has only a total of 17 members. We are really grateful for the hospitality of our guests, especially since the circumstances were really quite extraordinary. Thank you all very much!
During our stay in Gliwice, we visited the sights of Gliwice and the region, including the radio station of Gliwice. We also went to the concentration camp in Auschwitz. All public institutions and all shops were closed on Friday because a national day of mourning had been proclaimed. We therefore altered our original plans with the help of the Gliwice chapter members accordingly. The Chapter President Tadeusz Grabowiecki organized a city tour for us. We visited several churches of different architectural styles, the biggest Opel factory of Europe, the coal mining quarter and a catholic radio station.
During a dinner for the whole group and their hosts, we had the opportunity to discover the diversity of Polish cuisine and get to know each other better. All of us were quite sad when it came to saying goodbye on Sunday.
More than half of our group spent some additional days in Krakow before returning to Berlin. Krakow with its castle Wawel, the Jewish quarter Kazimierz, the big market place Rynek and many other beautiful sights is a very worthwhile tourist destination. Two members of our group were very good guides since they had been in Krakow several times before. On Tuesday, we returned to Berlin with lots of wonderful memories of an eventful trip.
Dagmar Schönbeck, PTPI's Berlin, Germany Chapter
UNITED Conference "Dissolving barriers" in Rieti, Italy
From May 4-8, 2005, the town Rieti in the heart of Italy functioned as the heart of Europe. More than 80 representatives from 36 European countries participated in the UNITED conference, "Dissolving barriers" in Rieti, Italy. UNITED, a European network consisting of more than 560 NGOs who are against nationalism, racism, fascism, and in support of migrants and refugees, organizes the UNITED-conference on a bi-annual basis. Anti-racist- and anti-fascist-activists and also experts in the field of migrants and refugees came together to:
- empower and strengthen the European network against racism and multiple discrimination,
- exchange information and knowledge about organized projects and initiatives,
- discuss the current situation of migrants and refugees in Europe, as well as
- develop new and innovative initiatives and projects within Europe.
Special attention was also given to the topic islamophobia, anti-Semitism and the role of politicians and the media in particular. The representatives worked in working-groups to develop different anti-racism, anti-discrimination and anti-fascist campaigns for the upcoming months to be carried out all over Europe. In regard to the international refugee day on the 20th of June, special activities were also developed. The delegates were presented with a shocking list of documented deaths of 6336 human beings who were trying to cross borders of Europe. The conference decided to take action against the so called "Fortress Europe" immediately.
The next UNITED-conference will take place in November 2005 in Cyprus. During the next meeting, the proposed projects and initiatives will be evaluated and once again new initiatives will be developed to further dissolve the barriers.
Yuka Samogina, PTPI's Tallinn, Estonia Chapter
PTPI Denmark members visit Japan
Sixteen members from Haderslev - Vojens of People to People Denmark left Copenhagen May 5, 2005 with tourleaders Gunild Bogdahn and Anna Marie Bohsen. Our first stop after landing in Osaka was Miyajima (World Culture Heritage) just a short trip by train from Hiroshima. The weather was perfect when we sailed towards the small island. The Itsukushima Shinto Shrine seemed to be floating and everything was peaceful. We had the luck to see a wedding in the shrine, monks drawing calligraphy and many big barrels with sake. We also went to the Memorial Park for the atomic bomb. We had folded 1000 "origami" cranes for the Sadako Statue and we visited the museum.
Our first homestay was in Izumo and Matsue. We were hosted by families who had stayed in Denmark nine years ago and some only last year. We all had interesting homestays and we enjoyed great hospitality from our hosts. We visited a kindergarten and a school. We had much fun with the kids singing Danish children songs with them. They had prepared our reception by learning English words and greetings. We also visited a big Recycling Center. We visited the Matsue Castle, the Izumo Shinto Shrine and the tallest lighthouse in Asia. After the goodbye dinner with our hosts, we went to a Karaoke Bar where we had lots of fun singing Abba, Beatles and Elvis songs together with our Japanese friends.
In Kyoto we went to the Golden Palace, the Nijo Castle with the floor that "sings" like a nightingale and the Kiyomizudra Temple, a beautiful temple on a hill with a nice view over Kyoto. Our guide in Kyoto who spoke very good English took us to the food market. Our next homestay was arranged by PTPI's Shiga Chapter. We were welcomed by President Toshio Kuno. PTPI's Shiga Chapter had prepared a program for us including the visit of a nursing home, the Samurai Temple and the Hikone Castle where we tried the art of ikebana and calligraphy.
Our hosts had lent us their beautiful kimonos and we had our picture taken by the Shiga Hauchi Newspaper when we were planting rice at Mr. Tokudas rice fields. Most Danes eat rice but most Danes have never seen a rice field or even a rice plant. It was very interesting and with the help of the Danes Mr. Tokuda soon had a very nice rice field. The Japanese tea ceremony was a special experience; the tea is bitter and the cake extremely sweet. While enjoying the Japanese fish, sushi, vegetables, green tea, soups and rice, we learned to use chopsticks.
Our 14 days in Japan were very interesting and full of adventures. We thank our Japanese hosts for sharing their beautiful country with us. It was our first trip to Japan, but certainly not the last.
Gunild Bogdahn, PTPI's Denmark Chapter
PTPI's Roman Chapter member participates in PTPI's Global Peace Camp in Egypt: The beginning of a life time journey...
The journey of a Peace Maker is the most amazing experience that one can have. My ten-days experience can not be expressed in only a few lines, but what I can say for sure is that no matter how hard it may be, try to be a better person each day and trust yourself because you can do big things!
The most important event was by far the meeting with the first Lady of Egypt Her Excellency Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak during our Panel discussion meeting in the Library of Alexandria; of course the pyramids, the Sphinx and all the wonderful temples that we have visited were a living proof of the ancient Egyptian civilization that we all enjoyed! Visiting schools in Luxor and Cairo allowed me to create a clear image of how important is school for them and that education is the basic ideal in every family either poor or rich.
Now my friends...my pyramids are the most important achievements! I know now that our bonds are strong enough as to create and sustain a more peaceful environment everywhere from West to East! I found in my friends the purity and sensitivity that should be in everyone, but unfortunately we have to work a lot to regain those sacred primordial characteristics that we once had! But we can do it...I know I can do it!
"Don't let your tears be the seas that drown you, let them instead be the waves that wash over the flames of hatred, prejudice and racism in your own community!" Hatim El Tayeb (Peace Camp 2005)
Gina Boiculese, PTPI's Roman Chapter
|Brussels: Visit to the art exhibition: "Le romantisme en Belgique"||Daniel Schaubacher|
|June||Chester, UK||Chester hosts Tallinn PTPI members||Andrew Martin|
|June 23||Zurich, Switzerland||Zurich Annual Meeting||Peter Morger|
|June 25||Brussels, Belgium||Brussels Anniversary Dinner Dance at Restaurant "Repos du Chasseur"||Daniel Schaubacher|
|July 3-7||PTPI||Study visit to London||PTPI European Office|
|July 6||PTPI European Office||South African Evening||PTPI European Office|
|July 8-10||Interlaken||Switzerland YG Meeting in Spiez||Marie-Anne Aebi|
|July 8-22||Tallinn, Estonia||Summer Camps in Estonia||Ruta Pels|
|July 13||Brussels, Belgium||Day Excursion to Lille||Daniel Schaubacher|
|July 15-29||Narva-Joesuu||Estonia Summer Camps in Estonia||Ruta Pels|
|August 5-16||PTPI||Thai Cultural and Humanitarian Program||Brooks Herman|
|August 6-20||Berlin, Germany||Berlin visits Tallinn||Brigitte Kasigkeit|
|August 27||Zurich, Switzerland||All Swiss meeting in Zurich||Peter Morger|
|October 5||Brussels, Belgium||Visit to exhibition: " Photographie et dynastie"||Daniel Schaubacher|
|October 7-9||PTPI European office||Leadership seminar in Berlin:"Tolerance in Intercultural Cooperation: Building Bridges between Chapters"||PTPI European Office|
|November 11||Brussels, Belgium||Brussels: Veteran's day excursion to "Chateau de Seneffe"||Daniel Schaubacher|
|December 7||Brussels, Belgium||Visit of exhibition: "Brussels during WW II"||Daniel Schaubacher|
|December 10||Brussels, Belgium||Annual PTPI Brussels Christmas Dinner Dance||Daniel Schaubacher|
|May 26-28, 2006||PTPI||European Conference in Denmark||Svenn Erik Kristensen|
London Study Visit: July 3-7
PTPI invites you to a four-day study visit in London. Between July 3-7, members and non-members are invited to London.
PTPI Young Generation Meeting in Spiez, Switzerland: July 8-10, 2005
People to People International's Young Generation is inviting members and non-members to their next meeting in Spiez, Switzerland. It will be held from July 8-10, 2005. This is a great occasion to meet other young PTPI members,share experiences, enjoy Swiss hospitality, participate in water sports and other fun activities and learn more on mediation in intercultural conflicts during a workshop led by Adrian Obrecht, member of PTPI's Zurich Chapter.
Leadership seminar in Berlin, October 7-9, 2005
The European Office is planning a three-day training course for PTPI chapter presidents and trustees in Europe. It will be held in Berlin from October 7-9, 2005. The aim of the training course is to support the chapter presidents and give them valuable information for future exchange projects. We want to reward European chapter presidents and trustees for their commitment and give them a possibility to acquire valuable skills that are not only useful for their volunteer work with PTPI, but also for them personally and for their professional careers. At the same time, this will be a chance to meet the presidents of recently established chapters.
The training will be on "Tolerance in Intercultural Cooperation – Building Bridges between Chapters". Different approaches to overcome intolerance, stereotypes and prejudice will be presented. Participants will also learn about various fundraising possibilities for their future projects. They will have a chance to get to know other European PTPI chapter presidents, to discuss problems encountered previously as well as new approaches and to make plans for the future. Presidents should be ready to present the results of the training course to their chapter members afterwards: They will be assisted in this task by the European office staff.
It would be great to have all chapters represented at this course! So mark your calendars! Chapters and trustees will be notified as soon as registration is possible. More information is available on our European Web site at http://ptpe.org/programs/leadership-seminar
Events of other organizations recently published on the Mailing List of People to People Europe
|Subject||International Student Camp in Zabinki, Mazurian Lakes, Poland.
The goal of the camp is to foster non-formal education, integration and intercultural learning. More information on the program as well as some pictures of previous camps are available at www.zabinki.pl
|Date||August 17 – 26, 2005|
|Deadline||There are three deadlines for registration: May 31, June 30, and July 31. Do not wait for the last deadline. The sooner you apply, the cheaper is the participation fee|
|Target Group||The camp is designed for students, graduates, youth workers, NGO members as well as young professionals age 18-30 from all over Europe|
190 EUR [until May 31], 220 EUR [until June 30], 250 EUR [until July 31]
|Location||Zabinki, Mazurian Lakes, Poland|
|Registration||The Online registration form is available at www.zabinki.pl|
|Organizer||"Young Diplomats' Center" Association \ Foundation for International & Civic Initiatives "Center of Europe"|
|Contact Information||If you have any questions, please contact the organizers:
"Young Diplomats' Center" Association – Foundation for International & Civic Initiatives "Center of Europe"
Yannis Koasidis, Bartek Janicki, Mokotowska 43, 00-551 Warsaw, Poland
|Subject||Training course on conflict management entitled "Confusing Conflicts" funded through the YOUTH Program of the European Union. The program includes simulations, energizers, workshops and various intercultural learning games. For a more detailed description, please contact the European Office.|
|Date||October 15-22, 2005|
|Target Group||Partners from EU Member Countries and also from Third Countries such as: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Serbia and Montenegro|
|Profile of Participants||Participants must be between 18 – 25 years old. There will be 3 participants and 1 leader from each organization. Please be aware that you cannot apply as individual, but only as representative of your chapter.
Active members, project carriers, voluntary or professional youth workers, National Youth Councils, other national, local or international youth organizations, youth initiatives and governmental services are welcome to apply.
Participants must be well-informed about the organization in which they are involved and prepared to present and explain its mission, program and way of functioning to the other participants. They should be able to work in the working language of the course (English), committed to attend the entire duration of the course and supported by a sending organization, institution or service.
|Price||The Hosting Organization will cover 100% of all boarding expenses such as: accommodation, meals, urban transportation etc.
Also 70% of travel expenses and 100% of visa expenses will be covered.
|Registration||Please contact the European Office, if your chapter wishes to apply|
|Organizer||YEGEZ, Youth Chain from Local to Universal|
Fax: +90 422 221 05 46
New Chapters: PTPI's Korca and Bilishti, Albania Chapter
PTPI's Korça & Bilishti Chapter has recently been started. The chapter charter was issued on May 14, 2005 during the European Conference. The city of Korça and Bilishti town are part of the region of Korça, which is located in the south-east of Albania and covers 2180 sq/km. It borders Greece to the east and FYR of Macedonia to the north. Korca city is one of the most important cities of Albania, with a population of 82,100 inhabitants. It lies 848 meters above the sea level and is surrounded by a range of mountains and a beautiful and fertile plain, considered to be one of the biggest natural resources of the area. It is the administrative and business center of the region and one of the university centers of the country.
PTPI's Moscow, Russia Chapter
PTPI's Moscow Chapter started its activity at the beginning of 2005. It is based in Moscow, the capital of Russia and its political, economic, commercial and cultural center. The members of the new chapter would like to invite international visitors to Moscow during the summer period. Homestay places are available for adults and children above 13 years of age. As often as Moscow has been threatened, besieged and destroyed, its inhabitants have rebuilt their city. In the 21th century, the city finally blossomed into Russia's undisputed centre and into one of the largest cities in the world. It is situated on the banks of Moskva River. Moscow is Russia's economic and political centre and with its 11 million inhabitants the biggest city of mainland Europe. Moscow is Russia's New York, a city that never sleeps, where everything is possible. It is the melting pot of a collapsed empire, both European and Asian. Skyscrapers shoot up like mushrooms, the city centre is being mercilessly renovated and new temples to consumerism open their portals daily. Yet there is another Moscow, away from the Garden Ring and Kremlin. Cozy cafés, narrow alleys, hidden artists' studios and idyllic parks are as much a part of the city's fabric as the huge Stalinist wedding cake buildings, expensive fashion stores and McDonald's restaurants. Moscow is a monster, but a charming one!
New Treasurer in the European Executive Committee of PTPI's European Council
Since the European Conference in Tirana, Albania, the European Executive Committee of PTPI's European Council has a new member: Cornelia Siegenthaler was elected treasurer. We would like to use this opportunity to welcome her in her new position.
"Sälü zäme, dear all,
First of all thank you for electing me treasurer of the European Executive Committee. Being Swiss will hopefully be of advantage in financial matters... ;-) Yet my interest within PTPI goes well beyond figures. I joined PTPI's Bern, Switzerland Chapter in 1999 by being a homestay host together with my sister. Shortly after, I was myself on my first homestay in Berlin. Being a dedicated traveller I'm glad that PTPI gave me the opportunity of attending a variety of conferences and meetings and thus visiting several countries all over Europe over the last years. PTPI is a great way for everybody, and especially for young people, to make new friends and discover other cultures. A privilege I enjoy and would like to make possible for other youngsters as well. You might have heard of the Young Generation (YG) group we founded in Switzerland in 2002. Our next meeting will be in Spiez in July. Please have a look at http://ptpe.org/programs/yg-meeting-july. You are cordially invited! I'm curious about being a member of the European Executive Committee and I'm looking forward to get to know you - or to see you again! If I might be of help to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me."
Albanian Evening at PTPI's European Office
The Albanian Evening, which took place on April 27, 2005 at the European Office of PTPI, was part of the preparations for the annual European Conference. The European Office staff welcomed PTPI members and friends to a pleasant evening with wine, salads and a fascinating journey to Albania, prepared and presented in form of a wonderful speech by Dr. Gjorgji Kotë from the Albanian Embassy, Berlin. The PTPI European Office would like to express its thanks to all guests, who joined this event. We would be more than happy to welcome PTPI members and friends to all other coming events as well!
One member has applied for the Mongolian Culture Program. The visit is planned to start in July. Hosting chapter is PTPI's Niislel Chapter.
A place for chapter and country presentations - www.ptpe.org
Chapters are welcome to submit material to be included on the updated European Web site. Besides coming events there is space for chapter and country presentations. Specifically the Web site can be used to welcome members to visit the chapter area for homestays.
The European Office hosted four young visitors from the US, among them Trustee and Student Chapter President Salina Bakshi. From June 6 Jennie Hery-Jaona will work as an intern in the office. She is from Madagascar and Switzerland and will stay until September.
New Chapter Bylaws
People to People International has compiled new chapter bylaws which will be distributed to all chapter presidents in June.
Seminar on European Partnership in Warsaw, Poland
Five PTPI members were represented at a seminar on European partnership that was organized by the Polish Student Association ZSP in Warsaw, Poland from March 9-13, 2005. The PTPI delegation was as international as the other organizations present: Marianna Hari from PTPI's Budapest, Hungary Chapter, European Youth Coordinator Bogdan Tamba from PTPI's Iasi Romania Chapter, Ruta Pels from PTPI's Tallinn, Estonia Chapter, Stefano Boezio from PTPI's Milano, Italy Chapter and Verena Denk from PTPI's European Office in Berlin, Germany. In total, there were 11 different organizations from all over Europe involved including Spain, France, Portugal, UK, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland and Malta. The participants have learned a lot about European partnership and they established contacts for future projects that will involve international partners. It was a great experience and we want to thank ZSP for their hospitality and professionalism in organizing this seminar!
The YOUTH program is the EU's mobility and non-formal education program targeting young people aged between 15 and 25 years. The program is open to youth in 31 European countries. There are National Agencies for the YOUTH program established in all 31 program countries. The Agencies assist with the promotion and implementation of the program at national level. Chapters interested in organizing youth exchange projects can contact them for further information.
The main activities supported are divided into five actions:
- Action 1 supports short-term group exchanges of young people aged 15 to 25;
- Action 2 supports voluntary service for individuals aged 18 to 25;
- Action 3 assists initiatives which are led by young people themselves;
- Action 4 offers the opportunity to develop projects linked to other Community Programs;
- Action 5 provides support to develop new YOUTH projects and to enhance capacity building and innovation in the field of international youth work.
If you want to organize a multilateral international youth exchange, but don't have the experience and/or time to write the application yourself, you can get support from other organizations. Detailed information on these fundraising possibilities has been sent to all European Chapter presidents. If you would like to help your chapter in organizing new EU funded projects, please contact your chapter president.
PTPI Internet Forums
We are happy to present an exciting new online feature for all PTPI members! PTPI members are now able to use the Internet forums in the Members Only section of our Web site. This enables you to contribute to a dialogue on various international topics as well as to go to the PTPI chat room and participate in live discussions. Here is how it works:
- Click on the "FORUMS" link on the left-hand side of the page.
- Click on the Discussion Group you are most interested in (such as "PTPI Europe").
- Click on a Board name, then a Forum name.
- Click on the "NEW TOPIC" button to add a conversation, or reply to an existing conversation.
The Internet forums enable PTPI members to communicate with each other by exchanging ideas and points of view. We invite all of you to join and make your contribution to enhance international understanding!
PTPI's Berlin Chapter invites members and friends to its monthly informal meeting in the restaurant "Landhaus Peter", Wilmersdorfer Straße 95 in Berlin. The next dates are: July 1, August 5, September 2, and October 7, 2005. On May 31 20 members and non-members gathered for a Polish presentation. It was a continued result of the chapter visit to Gliwice in April. The presentation was on the recent history of Poland and held by Wolfgang Templin. On July 2, the chapter is organizing a day-excursion to the city of Greifswald. Please contact Brigitte Kasigkeit for more information. Judith and Peter Schömbs will present their experiences in PTPI's Kapstadt, South Africa Chapter on July 6 at 6pm in PTPI's European Office. Everyone is welcome to attend. From August 6 to 20, the Chapter will organize a visit to PTPI's Tallinn Estonia Chapter. If you are interested, please contact Jutta Strache. Deadline of application for this program is June 10. PTPI's Berlin Chapter will be represented with a stand at the "Day of Volunteers" fair on September 16. The fair takes place on "Karl August Platz".
PTPI's Bern Chapter reports that six board members participated in this year's European Conference in Tirana. Their program included a visit of Budapest, where three ladies from our sister chapter, PTPI's Roman, Romania Chapter, joined the Bern delegation. All of them enjoyed the very interesting event and thank Genci Mucaj and his crew for the perfect organization. Next activities are Homestays in and around Bern for three Student Ambassador groups. For the students and their homestay-families the chapter is going to organize a welcome party at the US Embassy. For the "Young Generation-meeting" in Spiez from July 8 - 10, an invitation was sent to Roman for two YG-members.
In PTPI's Brussels Chapter the weekly French conversation evenings continue. You are welcome to join us every Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in the Maison de la Francité, rue Joseph II 18 in Brussels. On June 25, we invite everyone to our PTPI Belgium Anniversary Dinner Dance at Restaurant Repos du Chasseur in Boitsfort-Brussels. We also plan a mid-summer afternoon walk at Lac Genval on July 6 as well as a day-excursion to Lille on July 13. On August 3, we will organize a day excursion to the North seaside resort of Nieuwpoort and on September 7 to Planckendael zoo and attraction park. Our Annual Christmas Dinner Dance will take place in the Restaurant Plein Ciel (Hilton Tower) on December 10 starting at 7:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to join us for this event. International visitors are very welcome.
PTPI's Céret Chapter has been busy the last few months. The chapter has hosted three groups this spring; two groups from the US and one from Australia. In total, 21 visitors have visited the French town.
The four Chester members who attended the European Conference in Tirana are all now back home. Our memories are all of a wonderful meeting with our Albanian hosts. A special memory was meeting all the young (10 - 17 year old) students at the lunch in Berati on Monday when they all received their diplomas from the English language schools. We in Chester are about to have our "music festival" We have four concerts: June 28, June 30, July 5 and July 7 (this will be a Gala concert + picnic). As well as our music scholar for 2005 and all the other young musicians from Cheshire, we shall have a young lady from Lakewood Colorado USA, she plays the flute and we are all looking forward to seeing and hearing her.
PTPI's Iasi, Romania Chapter has grown considerably during the last few months since a group of students from the town Vaslui has joined. The new PTPI members in Vaslui successfully celebrated the 2005 Global Youth Service Day. We had three activities: a humanitarian, a cultural and an ecological activity. As a humanitarian activity, we went to the special school for deaf and dumb children in Vaslui on April 14 to volunteer for a few hours in the afternoon. As presents to the children, we brought a collection of magazines with pictures and a lot of candy with us. On April 15, Oana who is a member of PTPIs Iasi Chapter organized an egg painting course in the chemistry lab of our high school. It is traditional in Romania to paint eggs for Easter. Those who attended the course acquired some new artistic skills and had a chance to be creative. The next day, April 16, we went to a forest near Vaslui and planted trees with the help of the State Forest County Authority. The Global Youth Service Day was a great occasion for the new members to start their activities with PTPI.
We salute you all with wishes of Peace through Understanding! We are proud to say that our chapter managed to send four Ambassadors to different important events within PTPI. First of all, we had three representatives at the European Conference in Albania: Doina, Carmen and our President Corina. Here are their first impressions:
"We, the Romanians, take pride in being considered to be a hospitable people, but we recently experienced that the Albanians are excellent hosts and organizers as well. Local tradition and care for respecting the habits of participants from different countries, the minutely organization and alternation of conference works with leisure time, often chances offered to participants to get together and know each other better, relaxed and friendly atmosphere doubled by the safe environment, are all things that really impressed us."
Here is the place for special thanks to our sister chapter Bern which keeps supporting and encouraging us. Our enthusiast YG member Gina Boiculese had the great opportunity to participate in the PTPI Peace Camp 2005, becoming a real peacemaker. She did an impressive presentation to her YG friends after coming back. Our chapter was also involved in ECO ACTION. Adult and young members equipped with orange jackets, plastic bags and protection gloves cleaned a green area. We need to encourage people to protect nature and their own lives by personal example. They will follow us. Flavia Stefura, one of our most active YG members tells the story:
"On a hot day in May, a group of teenagers decided to do something useful for their community – this is how our story begins. There's not much to tell because what we did was quite simple. The idea of cleaning the so-called 'Kartodrom' (a place specially designed for driving, but which also includes a park where people go for picnics) was in our heads for some time. We gathered all the necessary material: plastic garbage bags, plastic gloves and some kind of orange suits and we got down to work. What we actually did was to gather every piece of plastic, paper and all the other waste we found in the picnic area. We were disappointed to find rather too much garbage, but after we finished we felt content with what we had accomplished and happy to be the ones who set an example. We're sure that with time, people will not leave such a mess any more, but they'll appreciate and love nature as they should. Despite the hot weather and the curious glances we got from the people who saw us, we were really pleased when we gathered all the bags in one place, so they could be picked up by the authorities in charge. We look forward to having more projects in the future, as useful as this one."
Speaking about nature and healthy life, our sister chapter also started a project of sending bikes to our YG's. They noticed on the occasion of our last exchange that our youngsters don't ride bikes to go to school or for pleasure. Our English library was also supplied with some more useful books. And so, our YGs are now very happy to be able to do some more exercise and enjoy riding the bikes. In July, two young chapter members will go to Switzerland and participate in the Swiss YG meeting. There are more events to come. After all, we have just started preparing for the PTPI's 50th Anniversary celebration.
On March 19, 2005, PTPI's Sternberk Chapter celebrated the coming of spring in old Celtic traditions. Nearly twenty children and young people from Šternberk and the close region came for this great celebration in the hilly forest. During the morning walk in the snow it became obvious that the winter was still not over. However, besides the strong and cold wind from the mountains, we played many games and made wooden crosses, a symbol of the Celtic culture. We also decorated eggs and made a big fire from nine different kinds of wood – an old tradition of Druids. Food consisted of raisins, hazelnuts, walnuts, oats, grains and many kinds of seeds. Petr and Lenka, two of our members, prepared for us the special homemade traditional bread and rolls, so we had an excellent Celtic meal. In the afternoon the sun came to say Hello to us and this was the first sign of the coming of spring. We celebrated its coming by singing and dancing according to old Celtic traditions. On April 9, 2005, the members of the Kookaburra Expedition 2004 presented a slide show of their trip to Australia last summer. More than 25 youth and adults from Šternberk and the nearest villages came to the club room of the youth group Plejády Šternberk to see the slide show. The Kookaburra Expedition 2004 was a successful trip to Australia of seven members of PTPI's Šternberk Chapter who built a natural trail for kids in Western Australia. There was a lot to do and see and we enjoyed the Australian life style. All members have great memories and love to share them with others.
- June 5: „Cylindr" – celebration of Children´s day (Beneficial event to support international activities of the youth group of PTPI's Šternberk Chapter)
- July 11-25: „We are going to change the World from Europe" – Exchange Project Part 1 – PTPI's Šternberk Chapter is going to visit Spain
- July 31 - August 12: Our Spanish partner is coming to Šternberk – Exchange Project Part 2
- September: Feedback of the project – weekend in the mountains
- October: PTPI's Šternberk Chapter meeting
Three members attended the European Conference at Tirana and had the chance to meet wonderful people during their homestay. We learnt a lot about an unknown country and culture. Our annual meeting will be held in June - a little later than usually because of reorganization. We expect four young students from Arizona in June on their way through Europe. The Swiss meeting will be organized by our chapter and we invite all members and friends to join us for this event on August 27, 2005.