I hope that 2006 has begun well for you and your families: in PTPI Europe we have been pleased to welcome three new chapters. Charters were recently presented to Hanover (Germany), Fribourg (Switzerland) and Veszprém (Hungary). I am sure members will wish them well and look forward to meeting their members at our Annual Meeting and other events. Discussions are also progressing with three other potential chapters in Rennes (France), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Budapest (Hungary). Members can play a valuable part in this vital work of chapter development by telling friends in other cities of PTPI and if they show interest passing their names to our European office. Any such contacts will be promptly and carefully followed up.
With my colleagues Peter Tage and Rolf Dahlberg I was pleased to be able to comment on this growth in our region at PTPI's Board of Directors' meeting in the USA in January. Chapter development was identified as a priority objective for this year. The Board will also shortly be sending information to chapters inviting nominations for the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors, and for the various awards available for outstanding work on behalf of PTPI. If you believe you have leadership qualities to offer or know of achievement deserving recognition, make sure your chapter president responds.
I am looking forward to meeting many of you in Køge or at some of the events that chapters are planning to celebrate PTPI's 50th anniversary. I also hope there will be a strong European presence at our Worldwide Conference at Sydney in August.
Meanwhile very best wishes to you all and especially to members of our new chapters.
Peter Whitby, President of PTPI's European Council
French Delegation in South Africa
Anne Hawksworth, President of PTPI's Céret Chapter France currently leads a group from Céret to South Africa. This is what she writes about the experiences of the three adults and eleven teenagers.
Our two stage trip to the Melville film producers' area of Johannesburg (not quite like Hollywood but quiet, safe and residential) for one week and then to Bot River near Hermanus a pretty village on the Southern Coast of the province of the Western Cape.
Two years ago whilst visiting friends I met Megan one of my daughter's friends from the Peace Camp in Egypt and she told me there were no chapters in South Africa.
I had come here to visit a pen pal in Swaziland I had been in correspondence with for over thirty years and then stopped in Durban and The Cape. South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in Africa and probably in the world. The vegetation is lush and extremely varied as are the different regions. The people are equally wonderful with very gracious smiles. They are very willing to help you and are really thrilled if you take the time to pave a true conversation with them. The South African people have suffered a lot but now their country is really developing fast and their economy is doing well so we think it is well worth a visit on all accounts. The climate is excellent especially if you, like us, come here in winter time but even in August it is thirty to forty degrees in Mapumalanga province and Durban – you can swim all year around there.
We hope that a PTPI chapter will start in Johannesburg and the Cape as a result of our visit.
In Melville the homestays and visits, communal meals, pick ups from airport were organised by Kim Mantel who is just 18 and studying hard for Matric! She came to Céret last year and studied in our school for two months. She has worked really hard to organise everything because she is interested in languages and bringing PTPI to South Africa. She was surprised how little the pupils knew about her country and its problems like AIDS and child prostitution and so we created a small classroom project to correspond via the PTPI Classroom Program and then bring some of the kids over.
The second stop of our trip will mean moving from a white urban environment to a coloured rural one as we will stay with farm workers families in Bot River. David Hartnick the teacher in Derust Futura School has been corresponding with us in Céret for over two years now and he has put together an excellent program for our stay in the Cape area.
He hosted forty one American students last year so I guess he knows the ropes well and I am sure it will be a success. He has been looking forward to meet us as he wants to start a PTPI chapter and hopes very much to bring his rugby team over to Paris and Céret next year for the rugby world cup etc.
I could definitely live here – it is the mixture of cultures which makes it especially interesting and particularly the smiles of the African people themselves. Apartheid was sore and changing infrastructure radically takes time and money but this is a great country to visit and an exhilarating place in which to live despite the minimal security hazards. If you are humble and talk kindly to everyone as wherever you have a great time
Veronica from Bern Works in a School in Romania
PTPI's Bern Chapter supported Veronica Kobel as she visited Roman, Romania and worked in a school for children with special needs. This is her report.
Many of the PTPI members remember perhaps their stay during the conference in 2003 which took place in Roman (Romania). Well, I had the opportunity to go there last September and to see many interesting things. I could also visit a school for children with special needs.
About 110 children live there, some 50 can go home from time to time, for the other 60 it is their home. So, the school serves also as an orphanage. Every child has the right for adapted schooling, including handcrafts and sports. But there is lack of material and money.
PTPI's Bern Chapter Switzerland has good connections to the chapter in Roman with many personal acquaintances. So some members decided already last fall to send some items, mainly things to play and to work with. I had an invitation from the headmaster and I got the financial help from the PTPI chapter to travel there (I am a retired occupational therapist).
The first day I was there I had my first good surprise: A boy of about 16 showed me his icons which he paints in the traditional way behind glass. He does that with the material he gets, that is to say the quality of the paints and brushes are not very good and the frames he makes out of recycled wood panels. Nevertheless they are of good quality. His former logopedist told me that this boy (whose two brothers are also in this school) keeps painting nearly day and night and instead of writing he always keeps drawing.
I was glad that we had prepared a lot of painting material in the packages that we have sent, so there was the first step to help and not only this boy. The second step (which is a project) would be to sell those icons to give a certain self reliance to this boy, so he might be able to have a kind of apprenticeship. They are now in the hands of some PTPI members of the chapter Roman who might come to the conference in Copenhagen to show and to sell those icons to a bigger public.
This is just a small project, perhaps there will be others for other places which will be effective to set a self reliance of more people and to help having peace in the world.
PTPI European Conference: May 26-28
PTPI Europe will hold its annual meeting in Køge, Denmark. PTP Denmark offers a three day program plus homestay in Jutland before and after the event. Both members and non members are invited to this highlight of the PTPE year. Invitation is attached to this newsletter and can also be found on the conference.
|Friday:||Arrival, City Walk, Welcome dinner|
|Saturday:||Conference Session, Chapter presentations, elections, evening banquet|
|Sunday:||Day excursion, departures|
Please feel welcome to join this year's European Conference. We look forward to seeing you!
Conference Organizing Committee
Calendar of Events
|Date||PTPI Chapter / Program||Contact|
|March 18||Denmark/ Danish Chapter 40th Anniversary Gathering||PTP Denmark|
|March 25-26||Strasbourg, France/ YG Meeting||PTPI European Office|
|March 29 –April 2||Berlin Chapter/ Cultural visit to Florence, Italy||Lars Poignant|
|March 30||Zürich/ Annual Meeting||Claudia von Ellerts|
|March 30||Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, PTPI Information meeting||PTPI European Office|
|March 31||Veszprém, Hungary/ Board Meeting||Marianna Harí|
|March 31||Sofia, Bulgaria, PTPI Information meeting||PTPI European Office|
|April 1-7||Plovdiv, Bulgaria / Training of Teacher's Trainers in Human Rights Education With Young People||Zina Lubenova|
|April 3||Chester, England/Chapter Annual General Meeting||Andrew Martin|
|April 10||Bern/YG Information Evening about Denmark||Otto Burri|
|April 23||Brussels, Belgium / Music Concert Dimanche Au Mont Des Arts|
|May 26- 28||European Conference in Denmark||Svenn Erik Kristensen|
|June 29-July 5||Chester, England/ CILA Three Cities International Youth Games|
|July 29- August 2||Angoulême, France/ Exhibition 'The Mongol Wind'||Annick Debien|
|August 5-12||Summer Camp in Bulgaria||PTPI European Office|
|August 12||Switzerland/ Swiss Meeting in Murten||Otto Burri|
|August 23-27||17th Worldwide Conference and 50th Anniversary Celebration in Sydney||PTPI European Office|
|October 10||Chester, England/ CILA Inauguration of "Chester Platz", Lorrach||Andrew Martin|
|Summer||PTPI Global Youth Forum in Berlin||PTPI European Office|
|October||PTPI Board of Trustees Meeting in Berlin||PTPI European Office|
Information on worldwide events of PTPI is available on PTPI's international website by clicking here.
People to People International Worldwide Conference: August 23-27
- PTPI 50th Anniversary
- Interactive and educational sessions with high caliber speakers
- Harbor Cruise Welcome Reception
- Annual Awards Luncheon and Ceremony
- 50th Gala Dinner at the Famous Sydney Opera House
- Post-Conference tours
Event of Other Organizations
|Subject||Youth Summer Camp in Germany for 14-16 year-olds under the topic "Central Europe meets Southeast Europe: Building trust and confidence - shaping a new framework for Europe"|
|Date||July 15 - August 5, 2006|
|Deadline||March 31, 2006|
|Target Group||Fifteen to sixteen-year-old girls and boys from all regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, Germany, Netherlands, Poland and Serbia and Montenegro (SCG). Altogether 36 young people and about 10 counselors will participate.|
|Price||Varies from 30 to 250 euro. Food and accommodation will be provided by CAMPUS 15. Travel costs from country to country (not in-country) will be covered by CAMPUS 15 as well.|
|Location||Malteserhof in Königswinter, close to Bonn, Germany|
|Organizer||"Campus 15 - Youth Goes for Peace"
Non-political, not-for-profit organization with volunteer members dedicated to peaceful conflict resolution
|Contact Information||If you have any questions, please contact the organizers: Campus 15 - Jugend wagt den Frieden e.V. Web site: www.campus15.org|
|Application||Application forms can be downloaded from the organizer's website|
Elections and 2007 Conference
At the European Conference there will be elections for the EEC, European Executive Committee. Two of the five committee members are up for elections:
- President, Peter Whitby (Chester, England)
- Secretary, Chiara Pedretti (Milano, Italy).
Both were elected their first time in 2004 and can serve another two years if re-elected. Nominations maybe given to the EEC, PTPI European Office or be directly at the conference.
The time and location for the 2007 European Conference will be decided on in Køge. Any European chapter may host the event. For more details, chapters may contact the PTPI European Office. Already in 2005 Ernest Wälti of PTPI's Interlaken Chapter announced that the chapter would like to host the conference.
PTPI's European Office will offer a new internship position April 24 –August 25. Deadline for application is one month before starting date. Details can be found under: www.ptpe.org/internship.
European Chapter Websites
We are happy to see that there are more and more chapters with their own Web sites. Two chapters Web sites started just recently:
PTPI's European Office has assisted in creating Web sites for individual chapters:
Additional chapters can also get assistance. Please contact the office for more information.
We are very happy to welcome new chapters in Europe. In this Newsletter Marianna Harí President of PTPI's Veszprem Chapter has presented the new Hungarian chapter. New are also PTPI's Fribourg (Switzerland) and PTPI's Hannover (Germany) Chapter. They will introduce themselves on the website and/or in the next Newsletter.
PTPI Belgium recently created a new Web site in French (www.peopletopeople.be), also covering international programmes and activities of PTPI.
We had sent out our February Newsletter to more than 300 addresses, in an effort to reach out to new multiplier groups and prospective members. As a result, three new members have signed up.
On February 1, a group of 20 PTPI members and friends went for a winter walk in the park of the Castle of Tervuren near Brussels and enjoyed teatime over crepes.
On February 15, we visited the Belgian 19th Century impressionist painter Theo Van Rysselberghe's retrospective exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Brussels, followed by teatime in the museum's cafeteria.
We have 29 people signed up for our next shopping spree at Maasmechelen Outlet Village on March 1 - we will return there for the fourth time - a successful outing enjoyed by many. We have a number of concerts in our activities programme, including a celebration of PTPI's 50th Anniversary on April 23 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts Concert Hall, with the young Austrian violinists Martha and Vahid Khadem-Missagh who will meet with PTPI members and guests over a reception following their performance in Brussels. Other concerts recently included the Astoria concerts with PTPI member cellist Nicolas Deletaille and other professional musicians; Nicolas will perform with the Mendelsohn Ensemble on March 11 at L'Atelier de la Vie in Brussels - another promising concert in our programme.
French conversation tables take place every Thursday evening at Maison de la Francité. We also offer conversation tables in other languages through Cercle des Polyglottes.
Other highlights of our forthcoming activities include : Visit to the Autrique 19th Century Mansion; teatime and movie theatre at Toison d'Or; Visit of the Monnaie Opera House and its collection of costumes, decors and artefacts; outings to Bois de Hal, and to the Belgian National Botanical Park in Meise and of its greenhouses and Bouchout Castle; participation of PTPI Chapter Brussels in 20 km march; visit of the Albert Einstein memorial exhibition, and of the physics Experimentarium at Brussels Free University.
Our active programme team has drawn up an attractive agenda for the entire year, which can be followed under www.peopletopeople.be. Blanche Decoster, a Trustee and our indefatigable Vice President, and Wendy Haccuria, will represent us at the PTPI European Conference in Denmark. The European capital - Brussels - is worth of visiting! Come; apply in advance for a homestay; dinner-at-home, or just a happy get together with your Brussels counterparts and friends!
On the eve of the Handicapped and Disabled People's Day on December 10th, the Korça & Bilisht Chapter discussed and decided to organize a humanitarian activity with the Residential Centre for Disabled People in the town of Korça. It is the oldest house in the town and it has always served as a home for orphans and disabled people.
Chapter members contacted the management team of the Residential Centre for Disabled People in Korça who explained that, although the centre is run by the state, it is always in need of any materials and contributions that come from individuals, organized groups and institutions, so any help would be welcomed. The chapter considered the activity useful and supportive for the centre because it would help to make an easier life for 48 disabled people who are residents of the centre and 24 staff members.
Following this, chapter members, family members and friends started collecting clothes and shoes from their families. They prepared the boxes themselves, organized the transportation and took the boxes to the centre. The activity was really appreciated by the team there and the manager of the centre mentioned it to the local media on the day.
Greetings from the north!
I am happy to say that the International Potluck was a success. Together with Medborgarskolan's Swedish language training for immigrants drew around 30 comprised of some of Medborgarskolan's participants and PTPI members and friends to the Potluck. This get-together marks the very first ever event arranged by PTPI Värmland in cooperation with Medborgarskolan in Karlstad. The main idea behind this event was to arrange an intercultural afternoon, sharing exotic ethnic foods, sharing of ideas, and meeting friends – old and new. The participants of the event were originally from Afghanistan, Iraq, Costa Rica, Armenia, USA, Germany and Sweden. We were able to show them the PTPI DVD, as well. A news release was sent to the major local media for the Värmland Province. PTPI Värmland Chapter was given some attention in the news. A week later, another newspaper contacted us for an interview. The article will be published sometime later in March.
Our first annual meeting was held after the International Potluck. We decided to get right into the swing of things at our annual meeting.
There are a few changes to the executive board members. I would like to announce the PTPI Värmland Chapter executive board members for 2006: Antoinette Mc Intyre-Andersson, President; Christina Leander, Vice-President; Dine Bolmstedt, Treasurer, Pia Jonasson, Secretary; Jennifer Gamble-Tedenby, Homestay Coordinator; Carola Bolmstedt, Youth Coordinator, Young Generation.
New Web site: www.ptpivarmland.org! On February 28 PTPI's Värmland Web site was officially launched and is now up and running! A big, warm note of gratitude goes to Rickard Wilde – our web designer, for a job well done!
We will be sending some of our young members to the summer camp: ACCESS in Elena, Bulgaria, that is planned to be held in August 5-19. Carola Bolmstedt will be the group leader for our young Swedish ambassadors. They are all looking forward to a great time, meeting peers from Ukraine, Romania, Russia and Bulgaria.
A warm welcome to all new and "old" J members of our chapter, especially to Rolf G. Dahlberg Board of Directors, Board of Trustees member and PR-Officer of the European Executive Committee. It's an honour to have you in our chapter!
Antoinette Mc Intyre-Andersson
The PTPI Chapter in Angoulême, France in collaboration with PTPI's Niislel Ulaanbaatar Chapter, Mongolia organizes an exhibition "The Mongol Wind" of 16 artists from Mongolia from July 29th till August 2nd 2006. More than 100 art works will be presented to the public in Château de Saint-Auvent (35 km from Limoges-France)
The opening ceremony will take place on July 29th under the presence of French and Mongolian PTPI authorities and diplomats.
During the exhibition period the chapters will hold art workshops for young people of 16 years and older and adults from different countries:
- Printmaking workshop: July 31st - August 4th
- Painting workshop: August 7th - 11th
The two workshops will be taught by two French art teachers and artists and are open for attendance for beginners or experienced participants.
The languages of the program are English and French.
The purpose of the workshops is to acquire and deepen artistic skills.
The event will take place in the castle of Saint-Auvent - a historical monument first mentioned in the ancient sources in XII century, surrounded by a park.
Saint-Auvent is only 35 km from Limoges. Limoges is very easy to reach by plane (Ryanair lands in Limoges airport) or by train (less than 3 hours from Paris). If you arrive in Limoges (a very famous town for china artworks, an arrangement can be made to pick you up and take to Saint-Auvent.
The region is famous for forestry, being a part of the Natural Regional Perigord-Limousin Park. Therefore we are planning to organize different outdoor activities. The accommodation will be in the castle or a homestay. The deadline for a registration is June 30.
We are delighted to announce that PTPI's Veszprém Chapter was founded in February, 2006. We have 10 members aged 25-50, mainly teachers. We offer homestays in the summer and we really look forward to hosting visitors in our town, which lies in the Transdanubian region of Hungary. It is 110 km from the capital and is the county seat of Veszprém County. With a population of 60,000, Veszprém is located between Lake Balaton to the south, and the Bakony Mountains to the north.
The town is one of the oldest towns in Hungary as it was built more than 1,000 years ago. It is also called the City of Queens because it was the wife of Stephen (Hungary's first king), Gizella who furnished and equipped the old cathedral at the beginning of the 11th century. As it was the first and oldest cathedral of the country, the Hungarian queens from then on became the patrons of the town.
Throughout the centuries, the town changed owners several times as it was right on the border between the Turkish and the Austrian parts of the country.
Today, Veszprém is an important tourist and educational centre. You can't miss the Castle Hill, which boasts the famous Fire Tower with its clock, which plays wonderful music every hour. Once you enter the Castle Gate, you will find the Episcopal Palace, St. Michael's Cathedral, the Statue of the Stephen and Gizella and the Square of the Holy Trinity.
Outside the Castle district, visitors can admire the beautiful Town Hall and other older buildings in the Old Town. There is also the famous Bakony Museum, which presents the life of the people who have lived in this area throughout the centuries.
Veszprém also has the largest university in the north Transdanubian region. It has around 10,000 students. Veszprém is famous for its renowned handball team. The team has been in the top 5 in the world for years. For further information on the town, visit: www.veszprem.hu or www.veszpreminfo.hu
A new Chapter has just been chartered in Fribourg. This University town, 35 km west of Bern with 37,000 inhabitants is bilingual; 2/3 speak French, 1/3 German. The association MALAC (abr. Maison de l'aide et de la Culture) was founded in 2002 by Ms Malika Conus. We welcome the new PTPI-Chapter, the first one in the French speaking part of Switzerland.
On Feb. 27th the YG group organized its first information evening. Simon Krebs and Michael Schlatter gave a slide presentation on their 6 months stay in Vancouver where they attended a language school.
Our member Veronica Kobel has just returned from a visit to our Sister Chapter Roman in Romania. She interacted with the YGs and helped handicapped children for 2 weeks at the Scoala Speciala, Roman.
Professor Damian Benone writes: "I want to thank everybody from PTPI Bern who made Veronica's trip to Romania possible. She worked with our teachers helping the children to be happier". Veronica handed over the gifts and small Christmas parcels we have sent in the beginning of November 2005 with the regular monthly transport "Aid to Romania from Switzerland".
Held its annual meeting on March 6th. President Otto Burri welcomed 20 members, among them the first Swiss PtPI president, 90 years old Dr. Otto Zimmermann. Cornelia Siegenthaler and both Ulrich Krebs, the homestay-coordinator and the secretary, were re-elected as board members for another term. As we had a quite successful financial year, everybody was invited to a nice dinner, followed by an interesting PowerPoint presentation of the three month visit in Mongolia by Marie-Anne Aebi, a YG-member of the Interlaken Chapter.
April 10th: YG information evening about Denmark
May 25 - 28: Trip to Denmark to the European Conference in Køge
Aug. 12th: All-Swiss PTPI Chapter meeting in the 3-lakes region of Bern, Fribourg, Neuchâtel.
Here are some activities, we have accomplished and those that we would like to proceed with in the future. On February 14th the members of our chapter organized a concert for the St. Valentine's Day. The concert was given by teenagers. In the following weeks we will donate in total about 200 books that we raised to a library in a rural area. In the spring, we plan to start a program of planting trees.
Before Easter, we will organize an auction, where we plan to sell some painted by our chapter members eggs and the money will be donated to the deaf children from our community.
Thirteen members of PTPI Tallinn's Student Chapter met on March 5. Dara Savinova was elected new chapter president. They discussed plans for the summer: homestay and summer camp. Two girls plan to go for a homestay to England.
There will possibly be a Tallinn representation at the PTPI Worldwide Conference in Sydney.
There will be big exhibition of Oleg Vysotski pictures in Tallinn Bindes Galery. PTPI's Tallinn Chapter will participate in the opening party on March 24.
Chapter member Julia Samogina will go to Baku (Azerbaijan) May 20-25. She will represent PTPI Estonia on the International Training Course in democracy and partnership for young leaders from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia; Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia NGOs supported by EU Commission.
Chester has been very quiet over Christmas & New Year. We held our annual fund raising lunch with "silent auction" on Sunday 29th of January. Thirty-five people attended the luncheon, including the deputy Lord Mayor and her consort. Leila and I are looking forward to Denmark in May where we shall renew old friendships and make some new ones.
People to People International, Pécs Chapter, held its annual meeting at the beginning of February, 2006, the year which is marked by the 50th Anniversary of this world-wide non-profit organization, at the Civil Közösségek Ház. The chapter was founded in 1996, and since then has been involved in creating international ties from People to People International.
The annual meeting started with a member assembly, during which the group accepted reports, elected officers, and decided upon future activities. Hans Randau was elected president and PR officer, Anikó Bedekovits-Garami will act as vice-president, whereas Julia Randau became secretary and treasurer. During the session, more than ten new members joined the chapter, doubling the total membership.
After that, the chapter presented itself to the public. In the presence of numerous dignitaries from the fields of politics, culture and economy, from both the City of Pécs and Baranya District, a video introduction was shown followed by a welcome message from Lars Poignant, Director of European Operations, Berlin, who talked about PTPI structure and programs.
Hans Randau summarized the goals of PTPI Pécs: "We strive for opening peoples' minds to accept other cultures, creating 'peace through understanding' by way of individual contacts. Therefore, until 2010, we want to establish as many contacts as possible between the people of Pécs and those in other countries." The newly elected president appreciated the existing international relations between politicians and organizations but expressed his regret about a lack of direct contacts between individuals. "We think and believe that individuals can often be more effective than governments in promoting human relationships and world peace."
The chapter members will meet every first Wednesday of a month to consult about future programs. Next on the agenda are the European Conference in Køge, near Copenhagen, in May, and the Worldwide Conference and official 50th Anniversary Celebration in Sydney, in August. In October, they are expecting a group of visitors from Brussels Chapter for a tour around the City and the famous wine region.
The annual meeting was followed a buffet style dinner, which gave an opportunity for informal talks.
Hans G. Randau
PTPI's Berlin Chapter held its annual meeting on March 6th. 18 members met at the Wedding Town Hall. The resigning Board could report from a very active 2005 and outlined ideas for the coming year. Thanks to Klaus Radke and Erdmann Möller for serving on the Board. Special thanks to Brigitte Kasigkeit, who has served as chapter treasurer for 10 years!! To new board the following members were elected: Hannelore Büchler (President), Hans-Dieter Robel (Vice President) and Dagmar Schönbeck (treasurer).
Here are some updates from PTPI's Galych Chapter, Ukraine:
We will assist to organise youth program "Debate" which uses the debate methodology for attracting youth to take an active part in the social life of our country, helping to form a personal view on current events. The event will be held in April-May 2006.
We will assist in organising a youth program "Club of jolly and quick-witted persons" - a popular quiz among the youth of former Soviet countries. The tasks: greeting, warming-up, captains' competition and home music task. Some tasks should be prepared in advance, and the others - just an improvisation. For every task the team has a limited time. Each task will be evaluated on a 7-mark scale. Subjects are different. These series of events will be held between March and May, 2006
International event: In August the chapter will participate in a summer camp in the Ukrainian Carpathians.
Celebrating Ten Years of PTPI Chapter Interlaken/Berner Oberland
Atmosphere: Candles lit the way across a wooden bridge, to a festively decorated forest lodge where about 40 members and guests of PTPI's Chapter Interlaken/Berner Oberland celebrated the 10th anniversary of the chapters' founding at our annual main meeting. Guests were welcomed by Alphorn music with piano accompaniment, a wood fire, regional wine, balloons, streamers and a visit by a very funny "special guest" who recited congratulatory greetings from dignitaries around the world.
Business Meeting: The main meeting went quickly and smoothly, as all agenda items were carefully prepared and distributed in advance, so they could be voted on (and approved) by the assembled members.
Nutrition: Participants were then rewarded with a delightful gourmet dinner prepared by a young member who trained as a chef, served cheerfully on heated china, by "winners" of our chapter lottery. (Second prize was the clean up; losers served the birthday cakes).
Food for the spirit: A highpoint of the evening was the Power Point presentation prepared by YG leader Marie-Anne Aebi with Chapter President Ernest Wälti that shared a Review of Ten Years of People to People International Chapter Interlaken in pictures, with musical accompaniment. The Vice President of the Community of Interlaken brought greetings from the community, and thanked the chapter for its activities that enriched the region not only socially, but also culturally and economically. Members of the new, recently founded Chapter Fribourg were invited to join Chapter Interlaken for the celebration, and there they received their official Charter from Otto Burri, Vice President Board of Trustees. Ernst Honegger, a member of the Board of Directors for PTPI, awarded Ernst and Regina Wälti a Certificate of Recognition for the many years of service to PTPI. Lars Poignant, the Director of European Operations of PTPI, brought greetings from Berlin, and praised the chapter for its service.
From the Past to the Future
In the past ten years the chapter has grown from 10 founding members to more than 50 members. The integrated Family Club adds an additional 40 host families that regularly offer homestays to PTP guests. If the European Conference in Denmark approves, Chapter Interlaken/Berner Oberland will be pleased to host the 2007 Conference, and could offer over a hundred participants with an extended post-conference Homestay in our beautiful region.
Guest: Chapter Interlaken/Berner Oberland (as the chapter name reads officially in the revised Statues) has hosted more than 600 guests from around the world in the past ten years, and this year we expect, at minimum, two large groups: one from Malaysia this spring, and another from the USA in summer.
Music: On Saturday evening, May 20, the well-known Youth Orchestra Mini-strings, from Lucerne, will give a concert in the Bönigen Church. This Youth Orchestra opened PTPI's Worldwide Conference in Bern in 1992, and in 1993 was led by Ernest and Regina Wälti on a concert tour across the US.
Assistance to those in need: This year Chapter Interlaken/Berner Oberland will sponsor goods drive to benefit people in Mongolia, where this past summer Marie-Anne Aebi taught English in a PTPI-sponsored project. The Chapter Board agreed to support this Aid-project and the general membership heartily agreed to support the drive and shipment.
Communication: Chapter Interlaken/Berner Oberland's new Web site is up and running (with the help of the Berlin Office). Please visit us at www.ptpe.org/chapters/interlaken.
Vision: Our main goals for the next year include increasing the PR, membership and further development of innovative chapter activities.