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Newsletter 2006-2

Message from PTPI Europe's President | PTPI Experiences | PTPI European Conference | Coming Events | PTPI Updates | Chapter Reports | Download as PDF | www.ptpi.org | www.ptpe.org

Køge Conference

Message from PTPI Europe's President

Dear friends,

On behalf of the new European Executive Committee I would like to extend our gratitude to Svenn-Erik Kristensen and his team of PTP Denmark. They made it possible for all of us attending the European Conference in Køge, Denmark to have a great time. It felt like we had a longer time together this time. A large group came already a few days early. We were given a royal tour of this medieval town founded in 1288. The food was exquisite, wonderful music by talented students and for those who stayed Sunday an opportunity to visit Præstø. Thank you Denmark!

I would also like to take the opportunity on behalf of all of us to thank my predecessor and our friend Peter Whitby for his great work for PTPI Europe. As a Trustee and Director, I know that you will continue to help making this organization even stronger. We look forward to seeing you and your wonderful wife, Liz, grace us at our conferences and activities around the world.

I am excited over the European membership. We are currently around 50 chapters with almost 1000 members. Just in the last few weeks a handful of new Student Chapters have started up in Ukraine just to mention a few new exciting progressions.

During our European Conference we had a meeting with our European Trustees. It is our hope that they will help in keeping chapters vibrant whether they be newly started or having been around for over 40 years like our National organization in Denmark.

Having been a part of this wonderful movement for more that 25 years, I am excited to be a new member of PTPI Värmland, one of our newest chapters with growing membership. All chapters in Europe have their local character and their special programs. It is my hope that we on the Executive Committee can help all of you in developing your chapters and hopefully even start new ones. We have new countries to invite into our organization as well – it would be exciting to get new chapters in Spain, Norway, Austria or Greece.

There are several exciting activities organized by European Chapters this summer. Please don't forget to check out our Web site – www.ptpe.org – for the latest information. One of the biggest events is of course the Worldwide Conference in Sydney, Australia in August. I urge you all to join us there. Wishing you all a wonderful and exciting summer of travel, I remain,

Your humble friend

Rolf G. Dahlberg, President of PTPI's European Council

PTPI Experiences

With PTPI in Florence by Karin Lehmann

From March 29 to April 2, 2006, a group of PTPI's Berlin Chapter visited Florence, Italy. The trip was organized with the help of PTPI's European Office. Participants were Hannelore and Peter Büchler, Christa Hattendorff, Dagmar Schönbeck, Stefan Hintz and Karin Lehmann from PTPI's Berlin Chapter, Lars Poignant from PTPI's European Office and the guests Sheilah Foster, Friedrich Karl Klasen and Sandra Lehnerl.

After a late arrival in Florence, we checked in at the 'Villa Liana'. We took our welcome drinks and snacks sitting outside!!! It was a quite mild night. What a wonderful beginning to our Florence visit.

The next morning Kirste Milligan took us along to the Vestri Chocolate Maker Shop to learn a lot about the history of chocolate. Vestry started chocolate production in the 1970's. They make their chocolate in a small artisan laboratory where the chocolate is still melted in copper pots. They produce extremely high quality chocolate, using only the finest cocoa beans from their own plantations in the Dominican Republic. That was interesting! Of course, we could taste many different kinds of chocolate. Once again, my weight reducing hopes 'vanished into thin air'!

After lunch at the restaurant 'Trattoria da Rocco' at S. Ambrogio Market we met at our hotel for a three hour guided walking tour of Florence. Our guide Jane Nyam did a good job. We explored the most famous sights of Florence's ancient centre. We stopped at the Archaeological Museum, the Piazza della SS. Anunzia with its famous buildings, the impressive Cathedral Square with Brunelleschi's imposing dome, admired famous sculptures, frescoes and paintings in the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Bell Tower. We continued to see the Plaza de la Republica, Alberti Palais, the Church of S. Trinita and the bridge of S. Trinita. From there we had an excellent view of Ponte Vecchio. Later on we passed Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery and finally we arrived on the Piazza della Signora and the Palazzo Vecchio. Jane told us medieval stories and we learned a lot about history, architecture and art. In the past, Florence was one of the greatest art centers the world has ever seen. Today, Florence is an important tourist and educational center. After our guided tour we went to the Café Rivoire to enjoy a cup of delicious hot chocolate. The tour was wonderful and informative. Too true that they say travel broadens the mind.
In the evening we met Florentines at the 'art hotel'. In Florence, a chapter of PTPI is in formation. Lars presented PTPI to those who are going to join our organization. We all introduced each other, explained why we joined PTPI and talked about our experiences. Afterwards we went to the restaurant 'Le Carceri' for dinner.

The next morning was free for shopping and sightseeing. Fortunately the weather was bright and dry all day. After lunch we visited the Artisan Shop 'Le Pietre nell' Arte', which is managed by Renzo Scarpelli's eldest daughter Catia. She explained to us everything about the Scarpelli Mosaici. Her father, Renzo Scarpelli was born in Florence in 1947. He started to work with stones when he was just 13 years old, in one of the most ancient Florentine workshops. After many years of apprenticeship and art studies, during the 70's he succeeded in opening his own shop in Florence. Thanks to his deep knowledge of stones, he obtained from them the best artistic results. Moreover, he taught this ancient art to many students. Scarpelli's works can be found in the whole world now. He and his son Leonardo still produce Florentine mosaics according to the ancient techniques handed on since 1500.

In the evening we were invited to a buffet pasta dinner and party at Kirste Milligan's home. There were about 25 people from Italy, the United States, UK, Canada, Sweden, Poland, Germany and a young man from Africa. It was fun, we talked, laughed and there were no cultural borders.

The next morning was free again. I used the opportunity to explore other parts of the fascinating city. In the afternoon we were invited to cook a typical Italian meal. It was a very special experience. We prepared tiramisu, bruschetta with special toppings, home made pasta with a very tasty sauce and a chicken dish. Afterwards we savored what we had prepared all together. We had a laugh over a glass of wine and experienced the Italian lifestyle. The evening ended with a concert at an Anglican church. The concert was given by the piano player, Franz Moser and the tenor, Giacomo Miro. The young talented tenor sang arias from Puccini, Verdi, Mozart, Rossini and more. It was the icing on the cake.

After the concert we took a walk through the city centre, passed the Ponte Vecchio, enjoyed street musicians and finally we had a night cup at a bar. All days we burned the candles at both ends.

I am happy to say that this trip has given me the opportunity to see Florence at its best and although we had a full program there was time for socializsocializing. It was a great opportunity to exchange ideas. I was very grateful for the efforts of Lars and Kirste in planning and organizing this successful trip to Florence.
As usual, time passes by so quickly when you're having fun and soon we had to say goodbye. On Sunday morning we went by train to Pisa. There we strolled along the Arno riverside, admired the architectural splendors and of course, we visited the 'Field of Miracles'. Everyone that visits Italy must make the pilgrimage to see the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral and the Baptistery.

In the future we would like to stay in touch with our friends in Florence and invite them to Berlin. We would love to reciprocate the hospitality we were given.

Impressions of PTPI's Board of Trustees Meeting in South Korea

Genci Mucaj, President of People to People Albania and Member of PTPI's Board of Trustees, has sent us some of his impressions of the last meeting of PTPI's Board of Trustees in South Korea, which he attended after an extensive business trip as envoy for the Albanian Foreign Minister.

As I got back home from nearly two full weeks of traveling (March 7-19), both in Korea and Japan, I found myself enriched and so full of inspiration and delight from the culture, people, colors and language of that corner of the world!

For some months now, I have worked for the Albanian Foreign Minister, as his assistant. I am traveling around as his envoy and this was a trip to organize his upcoming tour in China, Japan and South Korea late May 2006.

When the National Prayer Breakfast was started by President Eisenhower, he had much on his heart about how to bring people together. The state department, in his view, was not really accomplishing what was needed to build strong bonds of trust and friendship. He felt that the lack of relationship skills caused more division and misunderstanding than necessary.

Because of this feeling, President Eisenhower helped us set up, what we call today, "people to people" diplomacy. He felt that if Asian and Africans, Latin Americans and Eastern Europeans, North Americans and Australians could all meet each other and get to know one another as personal friends it could be a tremendous contribution toward building bases for peace on earth and good will towards humans.

During my journeys, I have met so many wonderful people, and as I travel and meet my PTPI friends, I get the feeling that this is becoming my religion too. In South Korea, I met with Ulsan Chapter friends. I had come from thousands of miles away, from Tirana, Milan, Paris, Seoul, Tokyo, and all the way back again! I was so warmly welcomed, by such a charming group. I realized that my colleagues, Croatian, Austrian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Serbian, Estonian, Lithuanian and Latvian, were surprised and indeed amazed to have met such a nice group of the same family a few thousands of miles away from home.
It is that positive thinking you need to lead your life with so many conflicts in the world because of lack of good will and appreciation for peace.

I met with the Mr. Koji Yamazaki in Tokyo, a thoroughly wonderful person, and Tadashi Sasano from Small Group Japan. Koji refused to be called anything but Koji. It created such a friendly atmosphere. I had been introduced to Koji from my University Professor Muhamet Kapllani, an outstanding person who had met Koji during a breakfast prayer in Washington DC and on several other occasions. Talking to Koji, I found out such a similarity with Small Group and People to People International! I then later discovered that the same person had created and wonderfully tailored such a noble network. I thought then, it should be a way of getting the two giant organizations together. The immense synergy power would evolve in such strength toward global peace.

I am longtime member of PTPI, a supporter of the organization and it is my lifetime commitment. My admiration to President Eisenhower increased especially when I found out about National Prayer Breakfast with the Small Group. I have told Mary Jean Eisenhower, his granddaughter who is today CEO and President of PTPI, that I am so thrilled by the actuality of the PTPI philosophy even now that we are celebrating the 50th anniversary. She has done such wonderful work expanding the organization worldwide, making it a global organization as her grandfather desired it.

I met then in Seoul, Dr. Il Hoon Gwak, Chairman of National South Korean Council of PTPI. He is also a Chairman of the Korean Red Cross. I had long asked him to serve as Albanian Honorary Consul General for South Korea. I couldn't think of any better person!! As the adviser to the Albanian Foreign Affairs Minister I am in charge of public relations with almost all the world except for Europe, which is covered by another member of his staff.

I have come up with an action plan to introduce Honorary Consuls for Albania, at any corner on earth. What great PR for such a small country. It is something like "people to people" if you like. My very charming friend and my patron Ambassador Ted Britton got his agreement from the US State Department just a week ago. He is now officially the Albanian Honorary Consul General for the State of Georgia USA. His wisdom, friendship and care have indeed given me such vision. Ted is also a member of the Board of Directors of PTPI and a retired but not tired US Ambassador. Thank you all for being my friends.

The Korean Foundation organized my trip to South Korea. It wasn't my first time, but I still wanted to come back to the country, and I will still do so if given the chance. The program was a very diverse one and the group I was with had the chance to travel around South Korea and we were able to establish good contact too. We learnt that South Korea was the 11th largest exporting country in the world. I am working to bring the two governments together and start bilateral relations between the state of Albania and South Korea. Let alone their culture, society and country, beautiful people and great friends.

Again quoting President Eisenhower: If people can get together, so eventually will nations.

Our Journey to Køge

Hamlet may rest in peace. There is nothing rotten in Denmark. This is Carmen Hbous'of PTPI's Roman Chapter impression had after having visited the wonderful country with wonderful people.

Hamlet may rest in peace. There is nothing rotten in Denmark.

At least this is the impression we had after having visited this wonderful country with wonderful people.

Together with Corina, Doina and Ivona, I left Romania on a superb weather with a bright sun and 30 degrees in the shade. We arrived in Denmark on a rainy, windy night of 10 degrees. I ended up staying in front of the airport in some summer clothes (being everything left after having my suitcase lost) and a small backpack. It was normal to ask myself: "What am I doing here?"

We were looking in fact for the big PTPI family whom we had promised, in a tacit vow with ourselves, to always follow no matter where it might go around Europe.

We reached Køge the next day at noon. Unlike the previous night the city was smiling at us in a mild sun of May. It was as if we were in a fairytale by Andersen.

The houses, older or more recent, built in a typical Danish architecture, were finely lining winking at us: "Hey, can you see us?"

We checked in at a small hotel placed in a magnificent nature spot somewhere near Køge. We walked to Juel Niels Hotel (it took us a while to be able to pronounce the Danish words), admiring this small town with peaceful and kind people, clean streets and leisure boats lingering in the harbour.

The first question I asked myself when I saw the hotel was: "How could someone build a hotel with its front facing an intense traffic street and with its back towards a railway?" However, entering the hotel I realized that this had nothing to do with the participants' state of mind. Finely decorated in a Feng Shui manner, the hotel was to become for two days our home.

The moment when you meet again people you haven't seen for a year is unique. Bright, smiling faces, happy to see you again make you feel at home among friends. The first ones we met were Lars and Verena; then, one by one as in a Gala parade we met all our friends: Veronica, Ulrich, Ernst and... our dear Otto ("our dad" as we like to call him who once again had an excessive care of us and whom we would like to thank in a special way). Warm hugs, sincere handshakes, smiles (as many as possible), this is the spirit of PTPI, which accompanied us during those wonderful days.

There followed the opening dinner, the Conference on the second day and the closing dinner, which all took place in a perfect atmosphere, made in PTPI. The chapter of Køge offered us a Royal event. As we also organized the conference four years ago in Roman, we know very well how much work stays behind this event. That is why we would like to thank Svenn Erik and the organizing team who were perfect hosts and congratulations for the event success.

We parted sadly with our friends on Sunday afternoon during rainy weather, making to each other promises that we would see each other again next year in Interlaken.

On the way to the airport, with the forehead leaned on the bus window, watching the green fields of Denmark, I remembered Garrison Keillor's words from National Geographic: "It is the idea unanimously accepted regarding the closest people to perfection: a clean, peaceful and well organized society, populated by prosperous people, yet not greedy, tolerant, yet with principles who obey the law but with the sense of humor and who live in bright houses"

And I returned home, still without my luggage, in the same clothes I had left Romania in that sunny day, as if getting out of a temporal loop.

PTPI European Conference

PTPI European Conference in Køge, Denmark, May 26-28

People to People Denmark was the generous host of this year's European Conference. From May 26 to 28, 90 PTPI members and friends from all over Europe and even from overseas came together in Køge, Denmark. In total 26 PTPI Chapters and 17 different nationalities were represented. Special guests of this year's annual meeting from the United States were Mary Jean Eisenhower, president and CEO of PTPI, Anita Manuel, chairwoman of PTPI's Board of Trustees, Theodore Britton, member of PTPI's Board of Directors and Board of Trustees, James Malouff, Marsha Wallace and Len Tharney, all members of PTPI's Board of Trustees, Elly Washington member of PTPI's Stockton, California Chapter and Advisor to PTPI's San Joaquin, Central Valley Student Chapter, as well as Brooks Herman from PTPI's World Headquarters. With so many dedicated members from Europe and the USA, the European Conference was once again a true people-to-people experience and a great opportunity to celebrate Peace through Understanding. Thank you all for making this possible!

The Conference Organizing Committee under the lead of Svenn-Erik Kristensen put together an outstanding three-day program including cultural, social and educational components. The program provided an excellent frame for the official meetings on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, May 26, participants had a choice of two guided city walks to discover the historical Køge. In the morning, the European Executive Committee held a meeting. The Board of Trustees members present met in the afternoon. In the evening, conference participants were welcomed with a delicious dinner that was also a great opportunity to talk to old friends and make new friends.

The actual meeting of People to People Europe was held on Saturday. Two of the five positions of the European Executive Committee (EEC) were up for elections this year. Chiara Pedretti was elected for a second term as secretary. Rolf Dahlberg was elected to replace Peter Whitby as president of People to People Europe. Rolf Dahlberg's nomination for the presidency left a vacancy in the EEC. Gunild Bogdahn was elected to replace Rolf as public relations officer. Congratulations to all of you! We also thank Peter Whitby for his outstanding performance as president of People to People Europe. PTPI's Interlaken, Switzerland Chapter was unanimously chosen as host for the next European Conference.

PTPI's Bern and PTPI's Roman Chapter used the opportunity to briefly present a humanitarian initiative to the conference participants. The chapter delegation from Roman had brought beautiful icons that were disposed at a special table. The icons had been painted and framed by Julian who is student at a school for children with special needs in Roman, Romania. We are happy to report that all icons were sold at the end of the conference. Half of the proceeds will be given to Julian who plans on financing an apprenticeship for himself, half will go to the school. A big thank you goes to all conference participants that contributed to this project.

In the afternoon, conference participants had the choice of attending one of three workshops. Topics included "PTPI Programs and Chapters," "Take a Step Forward – Mutual Chapter Support" and "Public Relations and Communication".The workshops were led by Lars Poignant, Peter Whitby, Bogdan Tamba, Verena Denk, Rolf Dahlberg and Antoinette Mc Intyre-Andersson. In the beginning of each workshop, chapter representatives made their presentations. The presentations were very informative and as varied as the chapters present. It was inspiring to see in how many activities PTPI members engage.

After a day full of inspiring discussions and information, an outstanding banquet awaited the conference participants. Peter Tage, former president of People to People Denmark and member of PTPI's Board of Directors, led throughout the evening with witty speeches. Together with Peter Whitby, he introduced a multicultural song that amused longtime and new PTPI members alike. A group of very talented young music students made participants discover the beauty of typical Danish songs as well as classical music. After dinner, Chiara Pedretti from Milan and Diana Belan from Moscow presented the results of an intercultural friendship: a breathtaking dance performance of Chiara to a Russian interpretation of Adriano Celentano's "Soli" sung by Diana. This extraordinary momentum of celebrating international understanding was the opening for the evening dance, which continued far into the night.

The destinations of the Sunday excursion were Stevns and Præstø. A museum and the picturesque costal church were the attractions in Stevns. The highlights in Præstø were the romantic sailing boat harbor and the historical city center. Even though the weather prohibited extended outside hiking on the cliff line of Stevns and the city walk in Præstø included some free-of-charge showers, participants enjoyed the variety of impressions of the Zealand countryside and the local architecture.

When departure time came, Hotel Niels Juel witnessed an unprecedented scene of heartfelt farewells with many hugs, kisses and goodbyes. Let's all meet again next year in Interlaken from May 17 to 20!

Voting Antoinette Dinner

Coming Events

Date PTPI  Chapter / Program Contact
2006    
June 19 Bern, Switzerland: Denmark-Evening Otto Burri
June 28 Brussels, Belgium: visit to the exhibition at the Centre Belge de la BD Christine Pairon
June 29 - July 5 Chester, England: CILA Three Cities International Youth Games Andrew Martin
July 1 - 2 Sternberk, Czech Republic and Vaslui, Romania: Preparatory meeting in Prague for summer exchange project Helca Metelkova
July 1 - 2 Berlin, Germany: Weekend in Dresden Dagmar Schönbeck
July 11 - 14 Interlaken, Switzerland: Hosting of Student Ambassadors from California Ernest Wälti
July 29 - Sept 2 Angoulême, France: Exhibition "The Mongol Wind" Annick Debien
July 20 Brussels, Belgium: historical tour in the battle field Waterloo Christine Pairon
August 10- 21 Sternberk, Czech Republic and Vaslui, Romania: "Living Regions" in Broumovsko, Czech Republic Helca Metelkova
August 12 Switzerland: All Swiss Meeting in Murten Otto Burri
August 23 - 27 17th Worldwide Conference and 50th Anniversary Celebration in Sydney PTPI European Office
October Leadership Seminar in Berlin PTPI European Office
October 10 Chester, England: CILA Inauguration of "Chester Platz", Lorrach Andrew Martin
November 8-12 Kansas City, MO USA: PTPI Global Youth Forum PTPI World Headquarters
2007
May 17 - 20 PTPI European Conference PTPI European Office
Summer PTPI Global Youth Forum in Berlin PTPI European Office
September 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

Register now online at www.ptpi.org!

Event of other organizations

Below is an extract from recently published items of the mailing list of People to People Europe. You need to subscribe to the list in order to use it. To subscribe you simply send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with "subscribe" in the subject line. You can unsubscribe at any time by sending an e-mail to the same address with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Subject Training Course "Difference meets tolerance" with a focus on intercultural learning as the educational concept for international exchanges. It aims at teaching participants how to use intercultural learning as a planned and structured process in their projects.
Date October 23 - 29, 2006
Deadline August 31, 2006
Target Group Youth leaders and youth workers from all countries eligible for participation in the "YOUTH Programme" (The complete list is available at http://ec.europa.eu/youth/program/natage_en.html#natagen)
Price No participation fee, costs for board and lodging are covered by the organizers. Travel costs will be reimbursed to 100% by the sending or hosting National Agency on the basis of the cheapest possibilities upon presentation of the original tickets. The contact information of your National Agency is available at http://ec.europa.eu/youth/program/natage_en.html#natagen.
Location Haus Venusberg, Bonn, Germany
Organizer German National Agency in co-operation with IKAB e.V
Contact Information
If you have any questions, please contact the organizers:
German National Agency in co-operation with IKAB e.V.
Contact person: Ms. Heidrun Boetzel
Address: Poppelsdorfer Allee 92 53115 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49-228-636460; Fax: +49-228-694848; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Web site: http://www.ikab.de

PTPI Updates

International Student Panel at the Global Youth Forum 2006

European PTPI members aged 14-18 are encouraged to participate in the International Student Panel at the Global Youth Forum 2006. The Global Youth Forum (GYF) will take place in Kansas City, Missouri USA, from November 8 to 12, 2006.

Students selected for participation in the International Student Panel will receive a full scholarship to attend the GYF, including reimbursement for travel costs. The application should include the following two parts:

  • The International Student Panel Application (this is the scholarship application form).
  • The 2006 Global Youth Forum Application Form and the Letter of Recommendation, which you can find in the Global Youth Forum Brochure (this is the application for the Global Youth Forum).

All relevant information and the revised application forms are available on our Web site at http://ptpe.org/gyf-panel. Deadline for applications is July 1, 2006. Thank you for your help in spreading the message among our members.

Expanding our Student and University Chapter Network in Europe

In 2005, there were four student chapters in Europe: Tallinn, Estonia; Tirana, Albania; Struga, Macedonia and Vaslui, Romania. Only recently, six new student chapters were formed in Ukraine. Cherkasy, Kharkiv and Lugansk are already chartered and Kiev, Kirovograd and Sverdlovsk are in the process of chartering. We are also very happy about soon being able to welcome the first European University Chapter to our family. PTPI's Blagoevgrad Chapter is in the process of being chartered. You will find a report on the first activities of this ambitious group of students below.

Let us use this opportunity to welcome our new friends in Ukraine and Bulgaria to the PTPI family. Thank you all for your dedication to the goal of reaching Peace through Understanding! We are really happy about the current development and will certainly continue our efforts to reach out to young people.
We would like to encourage our 43 adult chapters in Europe to help us promote the spirit of PTPI among youth. Please contact local high schools and/or universities and inform them about the possibility to form PTPI Student and University Chapters. To facilitate the task of your chapter president, you can create the position of youth liaison officer or youth coordinator. PTPI's European Office will do its most to support you in your efforts. Our youth is our future! By reaching out to youth, you will help to ensure the enduring legacy of PTPI.

Leadership Seminar 2006

PTPI's European Office plans to organize the second European Leadership Seminar in Berlin in October, 2006. The exact date has not been determined.
This year, the seminar will focus on chapter development. We will again invite European chapter presidents and trustees. We will keep you informed as preparations proceed.

Our new PR Officer introduces herself

My name is Gunild Bogdahn. I am vice-president of People to People Denmark and was recently elected PR officer for the European Executive Committee. I have been active within PTPI for 19 years.

I started with finding host families for more than 500 Student Ambassadors from the States. Since 1996, I have also been an active traveler. We have been to New Zealand, Japan, USA, Switzerland and Berlin several times with adult and student groups. My favorite PTPI program is Homestays / travelling. We always keep President Dwight D. Eisenhower's intention in mind when we go abroad as ambassadors for Denmark, meeting new chapters and renewing old acquaintances from other countries.

I like meeting people and learning about other cultures. The People to People International spirit contributes to exciting discussions.

My husband and I live in Haderslev, 60 km north of the German boarder. We have two children. Christina (26) is a school teacher and Jesper (20) is a trainee to become a car mechanic. Both are members of PTPI and have been travelling with me. They learned the English language early by listening to the students we hosted during the summers.

Professionally, I work full time for Nordea Bank at the cashier's desk. I am on the board of a women's shelter. I like painting, swimming, walking, reading and being with family and friends. I do a little voluntary work finding clothes, linen, toys, English schoolbooks and other necessities for an orphanage in Romania.
Remember: The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page! -St. Augustine.

Gunild Bogdahn, PR Officer – European Executive Committee

Internship and European Voluntary Service

PTPI's European Office will offer a new internship position for the period starting on July 31 and ending on December 22, 2006. Deadline for application is June 30. For more information, please view the section "internship" at www.ptpe.org..

Starting on December 1, PTPI's internship position will be replaced by a position for European volunteers. PTPI's European Office and PTPI's Berlin Chapter have been accepted by the National Agency of the European Union YOUTH Programme as host organization. A detailed description of our project is available in the European database on approved host projects as entry 2006-DE-15. This database can be accessed online at:
http://ec.europa.eu/youth/program/sos/vh_evs_en.html

European volunteers get financial support through European Union Funds. The reorganization of our internship program therefore benefits young people volunteering for PTPI's European Office and PTPI's Berlin Chapter. In order to become a European volunteer, you need to find a sending organization in your country that will help you with all procedures. A list of contact addresses for all eligible countries is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/youth/program/contact.pdf.

The time commitment required of European volunteers is 6 to 12 months. The European voluntary service is open to young people ages 18 to 25 originating from a country involved in the YOUTH Programme. This includes the Member States of the European Union, the EFTA/EEA countries and pre-accession countries. Together they form the so-called "Programme Countries". In addition, young people originating from partner regions of the European Union may also participate. Those are: Mediterranean partner countries, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus region, South Eastern Europe (SEE) and Latin America. People of partner regions can find more specific information on the European Voluntary Service at: http://ec.europa.eu/youth/program/guide/other_countries_en.html.

For the position offered by PTPI, very good written and spoken English as well as good German language skills are required. We strongly encourage PTPI members and friends to apply and are already looking forward to working with you.

Closed Chapters

In the spring, PTPI's Kruja and Berati Chapters (Albania) were closed.

Chapter Reports

Berlin, Germany

Since the elections on March 6, the new board has worked very well together. I am happy to report that Dagmar, Hans-Dieter and I are a harmonious team!

Cooking in FlorenceAt the end of May, seven members of PTPI's Berlin Chapter, together with two new-comers interested in experiencing a PTPI trip, flew to Florence. Lars Poignant and Kirste Milligan had arranged the program. It was a great experience and we hope that we will soon have a PTPI Chapter in Florence.

The next big event of the season was the European Conference in Køge. A group of about 9 members of PTPI's Berlin Chapter joined this important annual meeting. We were the second biggest group together with PTP Denmark and after our friends from Switzerland, who were represented with 19 participants.

Thank you, Svenn Erik, for organizing the nice walk through the town. All participants enjoyed their stay in Køge. The Danish organized everything perfectly. The weather was the only thing which was not always on our side.

Before taking part in the Conference, Dagmar Schönbeck had a homestay in Hadesleven. After the conference, Peter and I had homestay in Copenhagen. Thank you, Gunild Bogdan, for helping us to find hosts in this wonderful city. Kajsa and Dennis Jakobsen will again host two couples coming from New Zealand in July.

In June, we will welcome a group of six people from Poland to Berlin. Iwona Zyman with her son, two ladies from Gliwice and a group of three people from Warsaw will be here from June 15 to 18. One highlight for them and for our chapter will be for sure the big barbecue we will have in Susanne's garden.

In July, nine people from New Zealand will stay with us for one week. Hans-Dieter arranged all the touring-schedule in Europe for them. A big program is waiting for the "Kiwis." I think some of them have been here before and I can remember Val and Gibb Lee as well as the Cook family very well. Our next report for the Newsletter will tell you more about our experiences with the guests we are expecting from Poland and New Zealand in the coming months. I am sure there will be a lot to tell! Till next time...

Hannelore Büchler

Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

BlagoevgradPeople to People International (PTPI) American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) Chapter has been approved by the American University Student Government. The chapter is soon going to apply to get an international charter and to receive University Chapter Status. The American University in Bulgaria Chapter will be the first university chapter of People to People International in Europe. The chapter has officially started its activity with the presentation of Verena Denk from PTPI's European Office.

American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) is an American style, private liberal arts university that gathers students from different Southeastern European countries. More than thirty nationalities are represented in AUBG. The mission of the university is to prepare future leaders that will make positive changes regardless of wherever they are.

The faculty members are composed of professors that are graduates of prestigious universities in the USA. The university has been accredited both in USA and Bulgaria. AUBG is one of the leading educational institutions in the region that honors diversity, demands tolerance and values academic excellence. The city Blagoevgrad, where the university is located, is also distinguished among other campuses in the region with its beauty of nature. The city is surrounded by mountains, of which the biggest three are Rila, Pirin and Rhodopes. Three rivers, Struma, Bistritsa and Glazane, pass through Blagoevgrad. The city is located in the south of the country, which connects the routes from Bulgaria to Greece and from Bulgaria to Macedonia. With its traditional restaurants, clubs and music, Blagoevgrad gives a great inspiration both to its residents and visitors.

Two chapter members have participated in the Human Rights Education Training Course organized by PTPI's Plovdiv Chapter. As its first major activity, the chapter has launched an anti-racism campaign "Speak Out Against Racism" in cooperation with UNITED, a European network of organizations fighting against racism, nationalism and fascism. The chapter will invite officials from governmental and non-governmental organizations to deliver lectures on the racism issue. Moreover, with the Griffins Club of the University, the chapter will organize a football game for increasing awareness on the racism issue and will hold an essay competition on the topic of racism. The chapter will also organize a training course on this issue.

Rauf Zeynalov

Brussels, Belgium

People to People Belgium celebrated the 50th anniversary of the foundation of People to People International, in partnership with a Festival at the Palais des Beaux Arts of Brussels, Sunday, April 23, 2006. Peter Whitby, President of People to People Europe, and his wife, Liz, together with some 40 members and friends attended a concert given by two young talented Austrian violinists, Martha Khadem-Missagh and Vahid Khadem-Missagh. They met briefly with the two artists - brother and sister with a promising international musical career, who performed in Brussels for the series of concerts "Dimanche, au Mont des Arts." It was an opportunity for People to People members and friends whose slogan is "Peace through Understanding" to exchange views with the young artists from Persia. Both Martha and Vahid actively promote international understanding through their performances. The PTPI celebration in Brussels ended with a lunch taken at the panoramic restaurant overlooking the heart of the European capital at the famous Musical Instruments Museum.

Other successful activities and events included:

  • March 12: Movies at Toison d'Or Theater followed by teatime
  • March 18: Visit of historic town houses in the "Schaerbeek" district (Maison Autrique, etc.)
  • March 26: Chopin recital of piano and cello at Hotel Astoria
  • April 5: Guided tour of La Monnaie Opera House, decors, costumes, and its museum of artifacts
  • April 20: Hiking in and visiting of "Bois de Hall" and the flower garden, followed by refreshments
  • April 26: Visit of the Albert Einstein exhibition, in the newly renovated Tour & Taxis Exhibition Halls
  • May 3: Visit of the Royal Botanical Park and the Bochout Castle in Meise
  • May 28: A group of PTP runners joined the Brussels 20 km Run
  • May 31: Visit of the "Experimentarium" Exhibition at Brussels Free University, followed by teatime

Coming events:

  • PTP Brussels will host its annual Anniversary Dinner Dance at the Boitsfort Restaurant Repos des Chasseurs on Friday, June 10. Come and visit!
  • Full agenda for 2006: www.peopletopeople.be

Daniel Schaubacher

Cherkasy, Ukraine: Light the Way Student Chapter

The newly formed PTPI Student Chapter "Light the Way" from Cherkasy First City Gymnasia, Ukraine greets you. We are happy to become one of the first student chapters of People to People International in our country. The main objective of our chapter is to foster educational processes, which will promote understanding and goodwill among people of all nations as well as to strengthen contact between people of all nations through all channels of communication.

This year has proved to be really fruitful for us. Together with the university students we organized a Halloween party and Journey through the USA party, where our students got acquainted with towns and cities of the USA as well as the traditions of that country. In January we started a School Auction to raise money for the waste collector site in our neighborhood. The result of the first auction was 500 hryvnyas (approx. 100$), which together with 400 hryvnyas donated by our sponsors became a valuable contribution to the construction of the site.

On April, 22, the members of our chapter, together with more than 150 volunteers from our Gymnasia, went to the Dnipro river and spent four hours on its slopes collecting waste. It was part of our project "Save Dnipro for Next Generations.".We collected about 300 kg of waste, which was taken to the city dump.

We plan to provide these activities on a regular basis adding some new projects. By the way, the number of students in the chapter has risen by the end of the school year.

The members of PTPI's "Light the Way" Student Chapter strongly believe that their modest participation in solving the local problems will finally result in the benefit for the whole society.

Cherkasy2 Cherkasy1

Valerie Ionan and Pavlo Svitlychniy

Chester, England

PTPI's Chester Chapter has elected a new Chairman: Leila Martin. She took over from Andrew Martin at the Annual General Meeting.
On March 10, the "USA Spectacular" at the Kings School was held, a very successful evening with very talented students. I would like to thank all members who contributed, but were unable to attend on the night.

Our concert programme in June/July is being planned and further detail will be sent by Christine Edkinds to all chapter members.

This year's music scholar from Lakewood will be here from June 26 to July 9. He is Mark Petersen, a trumpeter.

Our music scholar 2006/07, Mark Simpson (clarinet), entered this year's BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition. He has won the woodwind section. The final will be screened on May 20.

Sunday July 2, Heather and Stuart Exell have very kindly made their garden available from 2pm-5pm for "Tea in the Garden." It would be nice if as many members and friends as possible could attend.

PTPI's Chester Chapter was represented at the European Conference in Koge, Denmark with a delegation of eight members: Andrew and Leila Martin, Heather and Stuart Exell, Agnes and Brian Tetlow, as well as Elisabeth and Peter Whitby. We hope to have another social gathering after the "July Tea" to show pictures, etc. from the Conference.

Best wishes for the summer.

Leila Martin

Denmark

This year is a big one for People to People Denmark, full with joyful events! A few weeks ago, we met with many other PTPI members in the Danish town of Køge, where we had the opportunity to host you in the European Council's Annual Meeting. This was a great weekend, meeting you all once again! Thanks for having come and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did as organizers! However, on occasion of the present newsletter, I, as president of PTP Denmark, would like to contribute with a review in relation to our other big celebration of the year: People to People Denmark's 40th Anniversary, 1966-2006.

The main celebrations were held last March. Nonetheless, it is well worth to start from the beautiful beginning, that is, how People to People Denmark was established such a long time ago. In 1961, a first group of young Americans visited Denmark in a Homestay at the so-called Homeguard. The Homeguard was the group which inherited the legacy of the Resistance Movement once the Second World War was over. These informal homestays of Americans in Denmark continued every year until 1965. Danish members of the Homeguard also went to the USA. By 1965, more than 500 Danes had been on such exchanges. In 1965, People to People Scandinavia was formed, as an independent part of People to People International. After the homestay experiences, more and more joined and chapters were started in different Danish cities.

That was how People to People Denmark started to walk! The chapter was established in 1966, with the motto of being the national meeting-point of the different sub-chapters spread all over the country (e.g. in 1970 there were 35 groups). Our chapter has been quite active all over these four decades. Outstanding was the intensive participation of members in Homestays, both hosting in Denmark and going abroad. We had close contacts to New York, French folk dancers visited us in 1970's, etc. Several times in the 80's, People to People Denmark got involved in the Copenhagen Youth Festival. With more than 1500 participants every year, it was a good place to put into practice our mission of international understanding and friendship! Another highlight of our history was the organization of the People to People Worldwide Conference in Aalborg in October, 1984. People to People Denmark also welcomes the youngest members, and therefore many high school students, participants of the Student Ambassador Program, were in Homestays with us. On the other hand, seniority has not stopped some of our members from keeping their young spirit; the proof of that are their continued Homestays all over the world: New Zealand, Nairobi, United States, Japan...

All these nice memories of 40 years deserved a main celebration, and so we did! On March 18, all the chapter presidents took part in a Board of Trustees Meeting; afterwards all PTP Denmark members were invited to the party. Sixty of us got together, shared our memories and exchanged experiences of these 40 years in common... and we did all of that while enjoying a very Danish speciality, Sønderjysk Kaffebord, that is, coffee and a delicious assortment of cakes! A really sweet afternoon! To celebrate the anniversary, PTP Denmark has also issued a special edition of its newsletter for its members.

To conclude, I would like to make a wish: May PTP Denmark work together for many more years to come! We are happy having been a part of PTPI for so long!

Svenn Erik Kristensen

Gliwice, Poland

At its annual meeting the chapter elected a new board. The annual meeting thanked Tadeusz Grabowiecki for many years of chapter leadership. New president is Marek Sadowski ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Members and chapters are invited to contact us for cooperation and homestay in Poland.

Marek Sadowski

Hannover, Germany

On May 4, PTPI's Hannover Chapter organized its first public event with the title "Impressions from Western Tibet.". The subject attracted some 35 people interested in the unique culture of this region. Cornelia's colorful slide-show gave us an insight into the local life in Ladakh and an impression of the landscape of this province in the north-west of India. The slide-show pictured the spectacular landscape with its high, bare, snow-covered mountains. Ladakh is the highest area of settlement in India. Its capital Leh is situated 3,500 meters above sea-level. Furthermore, we watched some slides taken in a village inhabited by Tibetan refugees. We also received an insight into the life in Buddhist monasteries.

In addition to the actual presentation, the stand of the organization "Tibet-Initiative Deutschland" informed participants about the country, people and the political situation in Tibet.

After a cup of the so-called butter tea and some Tibetan pastry and cake, this first event organized by PTPI's Hannover, Germany Chapter came to its end. But we are already looking forward to the next information evening with the subject Morocco.

Julia Dittrich

Iasi, Romania

Romanian Annual Meeting

Having participated in People to People Romania's Annual Conference, we can say that nationally PTPI has an amazing input.

The second Annual Reunion was organized by PTPI's Iasi Chapter, under the coordination of Bogdan Tamba, European Youth Coordinator. The event was hosted by the University of Medicine and Pharmacy and was attended by members and non-members from different Romanian Chapters.

The one-day session began with a presentation of People to People International and its programs and activities that enabled participants to get a better understanding of the purpose and mission of PTPI. The presentation also included an introduction of the beliefs that PTPI cherishes. After the general information, PTPI's Iasi Chapter made a summary of the projects that were developed by its members during their short period of involvement.

At the meeting, members of PTPI's Roman and Bucharest Chapters were also present. Prof. Sorina Danciu, president of PTPI's Roman Chapter, presented a brief history in images of the first Romanian Chapter. Bucharest was represented by the Dobrin family, who showed the international connections that they have experienced during their involvement.

At the end of the session the participants changed the venue with a less formal one, the American flavored "Little Texas" where members continued to exchange ideas for new projects.

The success of this event was assured by the numerous members from all chapters mentioned and by the new connections that were created respecting the tradition of a successful PTPI gathering.

Iasi2 Iasi1

Gina Boiculesei and Bogdan Tamba

Interlaken, Switzerland

With a rich and exciting program already behind us in the first few months of the year, quite a bit lies ahead as well.

Malaysia: In September 2005, we were contacted by a teacher – Nura Sharifah – of an International School in Malaysia who wanted to arrange for an educational tour to Switzerland and homestays with PTPI's Interlaken Chapter. We helped them to arrange the tour and in April 2006, Nura, two colleagues and 36 students enjoyed homestays in the early spring weather (sun, rain and even snow) in the Berner Oberland, where they were welcomed by 19 host families. They received a lot of information on PTPI from us, and we encouraged them to found a new chapter. Now they can officially count on the support from PTPI. We're happy for Nura, the leader of the group, and wish her much luck in founding a new chapter. By the way, Nura asked us if she could send a second group, but we don't want to wear out our host families, so we put off a second visit until next year, when we will welcome a second group.

Boston: At first, it seemed impossible to arrange a homestay in Boston for a chapter family, because there is said to be no PTPI Chapter in Boston. After long back and forth discussions, good news came: The Director for Homestays in World Headquarters found a family that would host Thomas, Claudia and both their children during the busy Boston Marathon time. That was especially wonderful for Thomas, who wanted to participate in the marathon, and for the whole family, because the marathon was nearby the home of the host family.

Bönigen: The Lucerne Ministrings concert in the Bönigen Church was a great success. The Lucerne Ministrings is one of the best Youth Orchestras in Switzerland. Over 100 people attended the concert. Between their practice and the concert the young artists were offered an evening meal. Regina and the minister's wife cooked dinner for the 17 members of the orchestra and some of their parents, in the building next to the church. Seven families (well-known old members and newly found host families) offered short homestays to the young musicians in Bönigen, Interlaken and Unterssen. The couple that leads the orchestra joined PTPI in 1993, after their American Tour, which was enabled by PTPI and led by ourselves. Much praise was offered in local press reports for the quality of the concert.

Supporting this event brought our chapter great new publicity. Naturally, at the opening of the concert, in the concert program, and in the media reports, information about PTPI was presented.

Koge: Five members of our chapter attended the European Conference in Denmark. Because of health problems, the president couldn't participate, and his wife, Regina stayed home as well. The Blakeney Family also had to miss the conference because they expected the birth of a granddaughter. Regardless, our members did a great job in representing and presenting the chapter. Participants received some support from the chapter. A short report will be attached to the chapter's newsletter. PTPI's Interlaken Chapter is pleased to have been chosen as host for the European Conference of PTPI in 2007.

The first most important steps will be taken shortly: Hotel reservations. An organizational committee will be constructed and together with PTP Europe will organize an unforgettable conference. We hope to welcome at least 100 members and friends of PTPI in our beautiful world.

California: After the first two groups of guests this year, we're waiting for a third and last group this summer: 38 Student Ambassadors and four teachers from California. They are arriving via Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with a few homestays, and then they will go on to France, from where they return to the USA.

Mongolia: Our "help project" for Mongolia is up and running, and the first goods needed have been gathered. Needed items such as shoes, clothing, fabric, bedclothes, toys, sewing machines, and so on, can always be delivered.

Membership: In closing, we ought to mention our growing membership.

Ernest Wälti and Ronnie Blakeney

Korça and Bilishti, Albania

For the first time, PTPI's Korça & Bilishti Chapter was present at the most important activity of PTPI in Europe, the European Conference in Koge, Denmark.
As a chapter deputy president and treasurer, I was among the participants from Albania in Koge. I took part in the group and presented the Korça & Bilishti Chapter. My presentation was really appreciated by the participants. Anita Manuel expressed her congratulations for the chapter activity, although ours is quite new.

I took these congratulations to my chapter fellows in Korça, who were very much satisfied.

The Conference in the nice town of Koge was another chance for me to meet "old" friends from the conference in Tirana last year and the Leadership Seminar in Berlin in October, 2005 and to make new friends.

Friendship feelings are getting stronger among us.

Olda Çiço

Pécs, Hungary

PTPI, Pécs, Hungary Chapter was represented at the European Conference in Køge, Denmark with three participants. The delegation presented the chapter and applied for hosting the European Conference in Pécs in 2010, when the city will be one of Europe's Culture Capitals.

To all of us, Hans (president & PR officer), Anikó (vice president), and Gergely, the conference left an unforgettable impression and was a wonderful occasion to strengthen existing contacts and establish new ones. Thanks to Svenn Erik Kristensen, Lars Poignant and their teams it was very well organized. We especially enjoyed the "smørrebrød" and other typical food and drinks, as well as the gala dinner evening plus after-event-party & disco dance. It was just amazing what Bogdan Tamba presented from that tiny little thing called a notebook.

Among our new relationships are, just to mention a few: Tallinn, Estonia; Värmland, Sweden and Fribourg, Switzerland, with which we promised to stay in close contact. Together with Andrew and Leila Martin from Chester, England, we decided to be sister (twinning) chapters from now on. One of the reasons for this is that there are already official contacts between the two cities on behalf of the fact that both of them have an ancient wall.

We very much look forward to seeing our old and new friends again, be it in a homestay visit or at the next European Conference to be held in Interlaken, Switzerland at the latest.

Hans G. Randau

Sternberk, Czech Republic

On May 21, PTPI Sternberk Chapter members and friends went on an adventurous trip on the river Becva in Moravia with rubber boats. On June 3, we celebrated "Cylindre – Children's Day" as a community event to raise funds for our future activities. The main topic of this event was "Forest." We have also organized a great spring event - Beltine – to celebrate spring in Celtic traditions.

For July 1-2, we are planning a meeting in Prague to prepare our summer exchange project, "We are going to change the World from Europe - Living Regions.". The group leaders of all participating countries will be present. Participating organizations are PTPI's Sternberk Chapter from the Czech Republic, PTPI's Vaslui Student Chapter from Romania, Quetzal Tudela from Spain and UNESCO Tartu from Estonia.

The actual exchange will take place from August 10 to 21 in the Broumovsko region in the northern part of the Czech Republic. It is an exchange project for young people of different ethnic groups who try to get to know and experience the culture and environment of other countries. Regardless of age, sex, religion or national, social and economical background, we want to enable young people to actively form the world around them. We want to show them different approaches to overcome racism and xenophobia and how to find common solutions for problems. If we manage to change ourselves, we can change Europe, and Europe might change the world.

Helca Metelkova

Struga, Macedonia

PTPI's Struga, Macedonia Chapter was officially formed on May 14, 2005 at the European Conference in Tirana, Albania. It has close ties to LSIA Struga, a branch school of Language Schools in Albania. LSIA CEO Genci Mucaj founded People to People Albania and strongly encourages LSIA schools to participate in PTPI.

This year LSIA Struga is forming cross-cultural relationships with classes in Piedmont, SC, USA and Klaipeda, Lithuania through the School and Classroom Program. Thirty-five teenage students are currently working on letters of introduction and learning about their partners' countries and cultures. They have been excited to hear about the town of Piedmont and the weather in Klaipeda through partner teacher's e-mails. Teacher Marion Parker, an American working with LSIA in Struga, is cooperating with teachers Edna Culbertson and Lijana Èabolovaitë. Students are enthusiastic about the planned letter and e-mail exchange. PTPI's Struga Chapter hopes that through the School and Classroom Program students will not only be able to practice English skills, but also broaden their understanding and acceptance of cultural differences. These students are part of a large minority of ethnic Albanians living in Macedonia and relations between the two cultures are not ideal. If we are successful in our goals it will be to the students' benefit.

Genci Mucaj and Xika Kurtishi, president of PTPI's Struga Chapter and LSIA Struga Managers are also advising a small group of students on a possibility to form a PTPI Student Chapter in Struga. The application is submitted and we are waiting for approval. The students are prepared to proceed with planning for a book and donation drive to benefit the town's poorest children.

Xika Kurtishi

Tallinn, Estonia

On May 10, the president of People to People Estonia, Ruta Pels, and Marianna Drozdova assisted the monthly meeting of Lions Club Tallinn Veenus. Marianna Drozdova is member in both organizations PTPI and Lions Club Tallinn. The meeting took place in the Estonian National Opera ESTONIA and was hosted by Arne Mikk, Director and Counsellor of the Board of the Opera. The Governor of Lions movement in Estonia also attended the meeting as a guest.

The meeting was dedicated to the upcoming 100th anniversary since the Estonian opera was established. During the meeting, a tour around the National opera building and backstage took place, followed by the discussion about the past and the future of the opera, the plans for the anniversary celebration and the installation of a special memorial stone. One of the aims of the meeting was to agree on possible ways to cooperate, taking part in the fundraising activities for the project of creating a memorial stone, as well as plan the future cooperation.

A delegation from different Estonian NGO representatives participated in the World Village Festival in Helsinki, Finland. The festival took place from May 27 to 29. Its aim was to present non-governmental organizations working in Finland to the Finish public. The represented NGOs had a background of addressing issues of global as well as local importance – immigrants, sustainable development, reduction of poverty, preservation of cultural diversity. The program of the festival included music, dance and song events along with a fair presenting different organizations as well as motivating and thematic speeches by different political and cultural figures. The activities were taking place simultaneously at different sites around the center of Helsinki.

The Estonian delegation consisted of representatives of the Estonian NGO Round Table for Cooperation in development and a member of People to People Estonia, Marianna Drozdova. The delegation visited the different festival sites and actively collected information about the activities and tendencies in the Finnish NGO sphere.

Marianna Drozdova

Värmland, Sweden

Midsummer is just around the corner. It's one of the highlights of the summer season in Sweden. There's another event that comes to mind when mentioning highlights of the season, an event that both Pia and I have fond memories of and will cherish: the People to People International´sInternational's annual European conference.

We were able to meet with, discuss, and propose future exchanges, ideas and experiences with other PTPI-members from Europe. We met a lot of wonderful people! New friendships and important contacts were formed! We also got to meet Cornelia, Lars and Rolf again. We cannot name everyone here, but we'd like to send a special greeting to all our new friends who have made quite an impression on us at the conference. Some we were even able to discuss possibilities of twinning, homestays and future exchanges. But of course, we welcome just hearing from you all even if it's just a brief "hello" by e-mail! Thanks for the warm welcome to the PTPI global family!

Also, we have all read about Mary Jean Eisenhower and her great achievements, and her outstanding contributions towards her work in promoting world peace through the years, especially in the many humanitarian projects around the world. So, it was a great honour to meet our CEO and president of World Headquarters PTPI, Mary Jean Eisenhower in person!

A major happening that took place at the conference for all the chapters in the European council, for Sweden, for Värmland, and not to mention our own chapter, of course, was our own Rolf Dahlberg, a long time PTPI member and board of trustee member, was also elected president of PTPE and Peter Whitby's successor. We are very happy and proud of him! We wish him all the best!

Pia and I very impressed and inspired to hear about all the humanitarian projects that many of our chapters in Europe have initiated and carried out – something we at PTPI's Värmland Chapter have plans of initiating and working with in the future. What a fantastic job many of our chapters in Europe put into these projects!

Prior to the conference, we already had many ideas, so now, we can add many more project ideas to our idea bank and that we would like to initiate in the future! But as a new chapter, we need to stick to our agenda, carry out and follow through! And also doing the best as we can! Speaking of planned activities events and activities; we are still anxiously awaiting word regarding the ACCESS summer camp in Elena, Bulgaria. Unfortunately, we cannot at this time in writing tell our young members when or even a "yay" or "nay" if the camp will even take place. This is not a good situation to be in as school is now officially out for summer vacation, families have planned their vacations – or are in the process of doing so. We hope to give our young members a positive answer.

A picnic and Swedish National Celebration did take place as scheduled. But many of our members had other plans with their own family activities, such as student graduations and end-of school-day celebrations. But we were not alone as we were able to celebrate with more than 8 000 other Karlstad residents and their friends to celebrate the Swedish National Day – which, by the way, falls on June 6 and has finally been given official holiday status! We hope that this picnic on June 6 and the Swedish National Day celebration will become an annual activity for our chapter!

The chapter trip to Sunne and Tjustersby was postponed as it was planned especially for our international guest Claudia in mind. Yes, we were to host our first-ever homestay guest, Claudia von Ellerts, long-time member and past-president of PTPI's Zürich Chapter; but unfortunately, she had to cancel her trip due to family obligations. We will gladly host Claudia in the future!

We cannot emphasize what a very rewarding event the European Conference is, especially to new members. It is only a pity that Pia and I were the only ones from PTPI's Värmland Chapter to attend. We hope to be able to make it to next year's conference in Interlaken! Although it's only June, we are confident in stating that when we are able to look back at 2006, attending the conference will definitely be one of the highlights of 2006!

A heartfelt note of gratitude goes to Lars and Verena and to PTP Denmark, especially Svenn Erik & Karen Margrethe Kristensen, for hosting us so that we were able to meet many wonderful people and other PTPI-members and newfound friends, and that we were given the opportunity to experience a great conference in beautiful and friendly Køge! On behalf of the PTPI Värmland Chapter Board and Members, both Pia and I would like to extend a warm welcome and invite other PTPI Chapter members and their family and friends to Värmland.

Välkommen till Värmland och Sverige!

Antoinette McIntyre-Andersson and Pia Hird Jonansson

Warsaw, Poland

We have great pleasure in announcing that our work to create a PTPI Chapter in Warsaw has gained momentum and we hope to be able to receive a charter by the end of September. Following the first meeting of those interested in creating a PTPI Warsaw Chapter, which Lars Poignant organized in March this year, we continued to organize regular meetings and discuss our plans. At the start we had to contend with limited support, but fortunately we were eventually able to identify a group of 10 people needed to create a new chapter.

Since nothing integrates any group better than a common goal, the first task we have set for ourselves is to organize a visit to Warsaw for our friends from the Berlin Chapter. Our first project has therefore the title "Warsaw meets Berlin - Berlin meets Warsaw." Some of us are planning to visit Berlin from June 14 - 18.

This is our first project, but we have more planned. We want to create a Warsaw Chapter Web site and are thinking of organizing not only homestays, but also other events (eg cultural programmes – especially musical ones, since many of us have musical backgrounds. We could perhaps even organize a conference in Warsaw!). But, of course, we are open to any suggestions.

Since we are still – as it was deftly put into words in the last PTPE report – 'in formation,' we would be grateful for any advice, proposals or suggestions affecting the future functioning of our Warsaw chapter. If you have any ideas or simply want to contact us, please do not hesitate to do so. Send your e-mails to: Andrzej Puchacz ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

We invite you all to Warsaw and look forward to meeting you at PTPI events.

Your friends from the PTPI chapter 'in formation' in Warsaw

Justyna Pakula