An exciting summer has passed with many exciting trips and activities for our members here in Europe. Student Ambassador groups have poured into Europe and I know that many chapters have assisted them in making their visit to our part of the world more memorable.
During the beginning of August PTPI had chosen Moscow as the venue of this year's Global Youth Forums Humanitarian Conference. The group of 76 students also travelled to Novgorod and St Petersburg. A blog on PTPI's Web site allowed the students to share their thoughts and feelings throughout the conference. The students took turns writing about various parts of their journey, including a visit to the American Cultural Center for a presentation on the recently concluded G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, a traditional lunch with a PTPI's Moscow Chapter, a panel discussion on world affairs with Russian students and an afternoon spent interacting with children at an orphanage for the physically and mentally disabled.
It was also exciting to see so many of our members in Sydney, Australia for PTPI's 17th Worldwide Conference in August. During the conference we had the annual Awards Luncheon. I would like to extend my congratulations to the following members: Peter Tage, Denmark - Eisenhower Distinguished Service Award; Bogdan Tamba, Romania - Outstanding Leadership Award (National and Regional Councils Level); Karen Margrethe & Svenn-Erik Kristensen, Denmark - Lifetime Achievement Recognition Award; Sorina Danciu, Romania - Chapter Leadership Award.
The European Executive Committee members were all present except one and we decided to have a meeting "down under". We are excited to have several chapters who have shown interest in hosting the European Conference in 2008, 2009 and 2010. We are all starting to look forward to attending the next one in Interlaken next spring.
Straight after my return from Sydney, I left with our Secretary of the European Executive Committee, Chiara Pedretti, to attend the 1st anniversary of PTPI's Värmland, Sweden Chapter. Chiara was there to start an Artistic Ambassador Exchange between Karlstad, Sweden and Milano, Italy. Their President Antoinette McIntyre-Andersson and Vice-President Christina Leander greeted us at the train station and gave us a golden weekend. Ia Pettersson, Co-founder of the DanceStudio in Karlstad, had gathered a large group of talented dancers that was given a dance class by Chiara Pedretti. A birthday cake celebrating one year with PTPI was devoured by all of us present. I hope to see many more chapters be born in Europe during the next few years.
Last but not least, I hope to see as many of you as possible in Berlin for the Leadership Seminar.
Rolf G. Dahlberg, President of PTPI's European Council
Gunild Bogdahn, member of PTP Denmark and PR-Officer of the European Executive Committee, shares her impressions of PTPI's 17th Worldwide Conference and PTPI's 50th Anniversary celebration in Sydney, Australia..
"Waltzing Matilda" and "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" were the more funny and entertaining "sing along parts" at the 17th World Conference in Sydney, August 2006. After a delicious dinner at the Opera House, PTPI's Inverell Chapter had prepared a special entertainment. All the guests were clapping their hands, singing along and enjoying the "Inverell Chapter Singers" with special instruments and dressed in Crocodile-Dundee-look. The Aboriginal singers and dancers were extremely good and professional and a perfect opening ceremony for the conference. Glasses of red and white wine helped in catching the taste of the Australian sun.
The conference in its 50th anniversary had a new aspect; the humanitarian program was clear and well prepared. The young school teacher, Gemma Sisia from St. Jude School in Tanzania, a fiery soul and an excellent speaker that one could not help admiring, did deserve the award of Making a Difference. With a group I visited a home for elderly people. I found it interesting to talk to a former truck driver and a builder. A woman, who had lived in the home for several years, told about her travel to and homestay in Denmark in the past.
After the conference I stayed a few extra days in Sydney. I made a trip to the Blue Mountains and had my morning tea in a park where the kangaroos with babies in the pouch hopped by and looked at the funny people, who surely were not good at jumping.In the wild life park I carried a kangaroo-baby in a canvas bag, said hallo to a koala bear that reached out for me, admired a wombat, saw a white peacock with its tail feathers spread out, the dingoes and a lazy emu. And in the Aquarium I saw my first platypus and the stingray, whose "cousin" killed Steve Irwin, the most famous Australian person next to Mary Donaldson – now the very popular Danish Crown princess Mary.
All Australians, come on up, visit Denmark and be sure: I will come back.
Exchange Project "East Meets West" in Bern, Switzerland
From July 28 to August 14, 2006, 14 young members of PTPI's Roman, Romania Chapter travelled to Bern, Switzerland to take part in the exchange project "East Meets West". On August 3, members of both chapters met for a workshop on intercultural exchange. Maria Romano, Young Generation member of PTPI's Roman Chapter, sent us some impressions.
I don't think that there was one of us who knew what to expect when we left on July 28 to Bern. After an acceptable trip we arrived at Grauholtz on Sunday afternoon. Affectionately, the members from PTPI's Bern Chapter welcomed us with open arms and brought us to the camping site, where we were going to stay for about 9 days. The first two days were very hot, but then we had about two weeks of rain – a fact that pleased some, and bothered others, but all in all we made the best of it.
The genuine friendliness of the Swiss helped us get through the usual timidity and fear in face of the unknown. From the first moment we came there, they were preoccupied with our welfare, and made sure that we saw all of Bern. Thanks to them, we swam in the river Aare, we saw – on the first of July, the Swiss national day – the best fireworks we have ever seen, we climbed the mountains, we saw how cheese was made in a rather rudimentary way and we took the ship going to Thun, Interlaken and Neuchâtel. PTPI's Bern Chapter arranged a meeting with Mr. Maxim, the ambassador of Romania in Switzerland, a good occasion for us to see what really happens in an embassy, and also what the relations between Romania and Switzerland are. After that, we visited the Rosen Garden, where we could see different types of roses and we participated in a workshop, led by Ernst Honegger. We discussed about the differences between Romania and Switzerland, specifically concerning the political system, the mentality and general attitude and the educational system. Moreover, we talked about the external image of Romania and how it evolved since communism. We thought about the negative as well as about the positive aspects. We all had the opportunity to get to know each others' traditions and to understand others in general. And I think this was the most important thing we learnt at Ernst's seminar.
Back home in Roman, we were on one hand content and happy that we were home, and on the other hand nostalgic because of those we left behind. The whole Swiss experience helped us perceive most of life's aspects in a different way and understand better the PTPI motto: Peace through Understanding.
My Journey Through France
In August 2006, Dagmar Schönbeck, member of PTPI's Berlin Chapter, went to France and visited the exhibition "The Mongol Wind," organized by Annick Debien of PTPI's Angoulême Chapter.
During my round trip across France in August, I gladly followed the invitation of Annick Debien, president of PTPI's Angoulême Chapter, to be her guest at the Château of Saint Auvent, which is close to Limoges. At the same time the exhibition "The Mongol Wind", which showed more than 100 contemporary paintings and drawings of artists from Mongolia, took place in the Château. This medieval castle, surrounded by the picturesque landscape of the Limousin, was the ideal place for this event. The exhibition brought a lot of work for Annick and the other chapter members and – fortunately – numerous visitors. Even though quite busy with the exhibition, Annick and her family and friends gave me the opportunity to get to know more about this historical place, the region and the people – not only by visiting the surrounding area, but also through our discussions during the delicious meals.
Furthermore, I was able to establish contact with the Mongolian delegation from PTPI's Ulaanbaatar Chapter, which accompanied the exhibition. Provided with a lot of positive impressions I continued my journey to explore other regions of the country.
Intercultural French Language Programme
Emilia Alexia was one of two PTPI members participating in the 2006 Council of Europe Language Program this summer. Emilia is a language teacher in Ploiesti, Romania. This is what she reports about her four weeks in Strasbourg, France.
I am a teacher of English and Romanian and I teach in a lower secondary school in a village in Prahova County in Romania. I had studied French when I was a student in elementary school and then for 4 years in high school and I used the opportunity offered with the Council of Europe Language Program to refresh my knowledge.
We were 30 participants from 19 European countries. All the activities were in French. In the mornings, we had the course and in the afternoons the tutorial and other cultural activities. The entire course was very intensive as the activities lasted until 19:00 each evening. After a week, we felt as if we had known each other for a long time. We shared our cultural diversity, our beliefs and traditions during different activities organized by our teacher trainer.The city of Strasbourg has beautiful architecture. I was very impressed to notice that Strasbourg is a very peaceful, clean town. All seemed to be in the right place.
During the course, we worked in different groups and we had the chance to discuss a lot about our countries. We also had an intercultural evening where we presented our country as if we were at a tourism fair. We were delighted to taste the traditional foods of the participants. Another evening we organized a buffet to present our organizations and some organizations from Strasbourg were also invited. We could talk about future projects. In the course we helped each other and communicated in many languages: French, English, Spanish and German. It was so funny because during a conversation a person was speaking in English and the other, the partner, was replying in French or German. So the important thing was to understand the message and to be able to express your own feelings and thoughts no matter in which language.I was very happy to find out that some participants had already travelled to my country and some of them knew a few words in Romanian.During this program, we discovered the beauties and the tragic history of Alsace, visiting the Memorial Alsace-Moselle and having a boat ride on the Ill River that crosses Strasbourg. Our teachers gave us the opportunity to taste some Alsacian specialities: tarte flambé, some cakes Madeleine and the well known wines.An interesting day was when we met an expert that presented us the Council of Europe campaign "All different all equal."
We were all looking forward to visiting the European Institutions. We were very excited. And in the 3rd week we had the great opportunity to meet a lawyer in the European Human Law Court. I was very impressed by this visit and I found out many useful things that I hadn't understood before.During the last week, we visited the European Parliament and had a debate with a European parliamentarian who talked about the history of the building and about European Integration. After the visit we listened to a parliamentary session. I was happy to hear that discussion in my own language thanks to the translators. The parliamentarians were discussing the situation of Albania, if it can join the EU.We learned a lot of things and we could focus on many topics, such as cultural diversity, human rights and methods of working with young people.
After a month, we all felt sad to leave Strasbourg and to say goodbye to each other because now we were like a big family. We decided to keep in touch, to visit each other and to communicate in French in order not to forget it.For me, all was very interesting and useful to apply in my practical lessons at school. The teachers' methods in teaching French were new for me and I'm eager to put them into practice with my classes.I discovered that all the countries are beautiful and everybody is very proud of his/her country. I saw what friendship means and besides our different nationalities we all have a common set of values.
It was a unique experience for me and I'd like to thank People to People International very much for having given me this opportunity.
PTPI Language Ambassador Program – Manuela Corti in Romania
In July, Manuela Corti of PTPI's Milano Chapter visited PTPI's Roman Chapter as one of the first participants in PTPI's newly created Language Ambassador Program. She was teaching Italian and English for two weeks.
Would you like to do something a little different next summer? Would you like to meet friendly people and know about their culture? Well, there are some PTPI chapters in Europe that wish to offer language classes to their members (between the ages of 7-99) and are looking for teachers. In return, you can make a cultural experience! Be part of People to People International Language Ambassador Program next year!!!
I'd always been interested in teaching abroad and making a new experience as a teacher. Exchanging information and visiting places gives the opportunity to learn and understand better than by reading a book about the cultures and people in the world. So when I saw on the PTPE Web site an article about this new project, which included conversational classes for adults and kids, accommodation for 2 or 4 weeks, excursion in the free time and friends, it seemed ideal!
After the first contacts with Mrs. Sorina Danciu, president of PTPI's Roman Chapter, I organized my trip to Romania from the 17th to the 31st of July 2006. Personally, I couldn't imagine anything better!!! I found a fantastic group of members of PTPI's Roman Chapter and all of them took care of me and, in every moment of my stay in Romania, I didn't feel "alone." The accommodation was comfortable and the staff of the hotel was very kind.Everyday in the morning, I gave English or Italian lessons for kids from 7 to 12 years old. In the afternoon, I gave Italian classes for a group of nice and determined young members and, in the evening, for a group of fantastic adults (I usually called them "persone giovanili" because of their great interest and their curiosity).We learnt about each other and, step by step, they became more familiar with my mother tongue and its difficult grammar. Every evening and on Saturdays and Sundays, some of the members spent their time with me and so, I visited Roman and its beautiful neighbourhood, joining in the excursions with them to the colourful and fascinating monasteries.
And at the end it was very hard to say goodbye to everybody, but anyway they will stay in my heart for a long time and I hope to see them in the near future.I promised to send Italian books to a small library and something else as soon as possible.Special thanks go to my dear Sorina and her "talkative" husband. Thanks for their constant and helpful presence! Thanks to the young and smiling members! Thanks to the wonderful group of "giovanili" adults with whom I spent a really good time in Roman! I hug all of you!
In August, People to People International celebrated its 50th Anniversary and 17th Worldwide Conference. The event was held in Sydney, Australia. Of the more than 200 participants, 22 came from Europe. The conference consisted of a very nice mixture of PTPI sessions (Trustees Meeting, Chapter Development workshop, Chapter Reports), cultural programs (Sounds of Australia, Australian food and wine, Aboriginal Art), humanitarian sessions and plenty of good opportunities to meet new and old friends such as at the harbor cruise and the Gala Dinner next to the Sydney Opera House.
New Board Members
During the conference new members to the Board of Trustees were elected. There are 37 European Trustees. Genci Mucaj was elected as a new member of the Board of Directors. Otto Burri ended his term as Vice Chair of Board of Trustees – thank you Otto for your very good work! New Vice chair is Rolf Dahlberg.
|1||Alqi Beqo||Albania||14||Betty Holland||England||27||Tadeusz Grabowiecki||Poland|
|2||Sulejman Kodra||Albania||15||Heather Exell||England||28||Gina Boiculese*||Romania|
|3||Bertrand Shijaku||Albania||16||Andrew Martin*||England||29||Rolf G. Dahlberg**||Sweden|
|4||Shpetim Dyrmishi||Albania||17||Emily Walker||England||30||Marie-Anne Aebi*||Switzerland|
|5||Genci Mucaj**||Albania||18||Celia Sandys||England||31||Otto Burri||Switzerland|
|6||Blanche Decoster-Peycker||Belgium||19||Peter Whitby**||England||32||Isabel Hänni||Switzerland|
|7||Anna Marie Bohsen*||Denmark||20||Annick Debien||France||33||Ernst Honegger**||Switzerland|
|8||Gunild Bogdahn||Denmark||21||Hannelore Büchler*||Germany||34||Ulrich Krebs||Switzerland|
|9||Karen Margerethe Kristensen||Denmark||22||Brigitte Kasigkeit *||Germany||35||Reto Limacher||Switzerland|
|10||Svenn Erik Kristensen||Denmark||23||Hans-Dieter Robel||Germany||36||Cornelia Siegenthaler||Switzerland|
|11||Inga Nørgaard||Denmark||24||Hans G. Randau*||Hungary||37||Regina Wälti||Switzerland|
|12||Peter Tage**||Denmark||25||Valeria Magistrelli**||Italy||* New Trustee|
|13||Michael F. Binney||England||26||Chiara Pedretti||Italy||** Member Board of Directors|
YG in the US
Present at the conference was a young group of US members who inspired all participants with their presentations and program ideas. They have borrowed the name and inspiration from their European counterpart. During the conference discussions were held between the two YG groups about possible programs and ways to communicate.
EEC Board Meeting
On Saturday evening the European Executive Committee held a meeting at which European programs and chapters were discussed.
- The European Conference in Køge, Denmark was a success and the planning for the 2007 conference in Interlaken has started. For 2008 there are already some possible conference venues suggested.
- The council budget and initial priorities were discussed.
- Upcoming youth programs were outlined and the possibility to get more international attendance at the YG meetings.
- The EEC discussed the idea to support new and existing chapters by a mentoring system.
- For increased PR the EEC members were encouraged to bring up
At the Awards Luncheon eight European were recognized for their work within PTPI. Congratulations to all recipients and thank you for all work and support! During the awards luncheon Chiara Pedretti performed a dance potpourri: "Highlights from Broadway."
|Bogdan Tamba||Iasi, Romania||Outstanding Leadership Award (Council level)|
|Sorina Danciu||Roman, Romania||Chapter Leadership Award|
|PTPI's Värmland Chapter||Värmland, Sweden||50th Anniversary Chapter Activity Drive (Bronze)|
|Liliana Harhas||Vaslui, Romania||Community Service Award (School and Classroom Program)|
|Svenn Erik Kristensen||Denmark||Lifetime Achievement Award|
|Karen Margerethe Kristensen||Denmark||Lifetime Achievement Award|
|Valeria Magistrelli||Milano, Italy||Lifetime Achievement Award|
|Peter Tage||Denmark||Eisenhower Distinguished Service Award|
|Date||PTPI Chapter / Program||Contact|
|September 20||PTPI Information Meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia||PTPI European Office|
|September 24-25||Participation in "The Welcome Fair" at the Cinquantenaire Park/Jubelpark Brussels||Daniel Schaubacher|
|September 30||PTPI Information Meeting in Budapest, Hungary||PTPI European Office|
|October 4||Visit to the Magritte Museum, Brussels, Belgium||Blanche Decoster-Peycker|
|October 10||Chester, England: CILA Inauguration of "Chester Platz", Lorrach||Andrew Martin|
|October 18-21||Leadership seminar in Berlin||PTPI European Office|
|November 4||Group visit to Tempelhof-Airport, Berlin, Germany||Hannelore Büchler|
|November 8-12||Kansas City, MO USA: PTPI Global Youth Forum||PTPI World Headquarters|
|November 25||Christmas excursion, Berlin, Germany||Hannelore Büchler|
|November 30||Christmas Happening, Ice Palace in Bruges and visit to St. Jean Table Art Expo||Blanche Decoster-Peycker|
|December 6||Walk and teatime on St. Nicolas' Day, Belgium||Blanche Decoster-Peycker|
|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|
Leadership Seminar 2006
PTPI chapter presidents and trustees are cordially invited to participate in this year's leadership seminar in Berlin from October 18-21, 2006.This year, the focus will be on "Chapter Development – Different Approaches to Solving Common Problems." Participants will be trained in leadership and teambuilding. They will also learn how to evaluate their chapters and develop a strategic plan. Since the number of places is limited, applicants will be treated on a first-come-first-served basis. Please apply as soon as possible. More information and the application form are available at www.ptpe.org/programs/leadership-seminar-2006.
New Chapter: Warsaw, Poland
Please welcome the new PTPI's Warsaw Chapter. See chapter president Justyna Pakula's report below.
As of September, the following chapters have been closed: Constanta (Romania), Tartu (Estonia), Budapest (Hungary) and Tirana Student Chapter (Albania).
European Conference - Survey
For the improvement of the European Conference, a survey has been prepared and will be sent out shortly to all participants in the last two conferences. The aim is to improve the scope and content of the conference. For those that receive the survey, your help is highly appreciated.
Joyce C. Hall College Scholarship
PTPI members can now apply for the Joyce C. Hall College Scholarship. Applicants must currently be high school seniors or full-time college or university students and must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
The scholarships are $2,000 each and up to five students are selected. Each award will be sent directly to the student's university/college and administered by the university/college. The scholarship must be used to pay tuition first, then books and supplies. People to People International must approve application of scholarship funds to meet other educational expenses such as dormitory fees, off-campus study, special projects, etc.
Language Ambassador Program
PTPI has completed two successful parts of the Language Ambassador Program. Manuela Corti taught Italian and English in Roman, Romania (see experience report) and Anne Hawksworth taught English in Hungary for PTPI's Pécs members. Thanks to both teachers and organising chapters!
European Voluntary Service
Starting on December 1, PTPI's internship position will be replaced by a position for European volunteers. The position for the upcoming period has already been filled. The next period will start in August 2007.
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. European Volunteers receive free accommodation and board as well as some pocket money and numerous other benefits as for example personal mentors, participation in international trainings and more.
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 as well as the partner countries from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus region, South Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean region and Latin America. A list of contact addresses for all eligible countries is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/youth/index_en.htm
For the position offered by PTPI, very good written and spoken English as well as good German language skills are required. 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/index_en.htm
We strongly encourage PTPI members and friends to apply and are already looking forward to working with you.The program is open for members and non-members to participate.
In Memory – Iustin Cotea
PTPI remembers Iustin Cotea, PTPI's Iasi Chapter, who tragically died after a car accident. Iustin was a young doctor and was married only four weeks prior to the accident. Our thoughts go to Cristina, wife of Iustin and good friends Adriana and Bogdan.
What goes on in Berlin? Lot of things happened in the past three months.
From June 15 to 18, we welcomed three members from PTPI's Gliwice, Poland Chapter, as well as three "newcomer" from Warsaw, where they are starting up a new chapter. They stayed with us for three days, in which we learned to know each other, we showed them the city and talked about PTPI. One evening we enjoyed our yearly barbecue, this time at the home of Susanne (our youth delegate) and Björn Truelsen, together with our friends from Poland and more international guest from Finland, Spain and Sweden. We had a very nice time with our visitors and hope we can visit them soon in Gliwice and Warsaw.
In July the group from New Zealand visited us for one week and we had a great program with lots of different kinds of entertainment for them. The day after arrival we made a boat tour through the city. It took a good start but by 5 o'clock in the afternoon, the weather ended up in pouring rain, thunder and lightning, flooded streets, tunnels and subway stations. Luckily we all managed to be on time at our "Stammtisch" / "group of regulars" on Friday night. After the weekend, spend with the host families, our guest visited Potsdam and its castle "Sanssouci", a trip guided by Britta Schulze and Peter Büchler. Further highlights were: Potsdamer Platz, the Holocaust Monument, the Reichstag and the Berlin Dom. Hans Dieter took the group to the Mauergedenkstätte at Bernauer Straße. For the people of Berlin it is still very important to tell visitors the history about the Berlin Blockade, the wall, the cold war and the great help of the allies: the French, the British and last but not least the Americans. This was the beginning of a deep friendship between the Countries France, Great Britain and the USA. Next to the cultural activities, the ladies had the chance to do some shopping at the famous KaDeWe and in the city center. I think the guests from New Zealand were very impressed by everything they saw and experienced. After they left, we realised that these days meant the continuance of the friendship between Germany and New Zealand and a good reason to plan another trip to this wonderful country "Down under". Which European chapter will join us?
On Saturday, September 9, a group of nine members went by train to Neubrandenburg to meet Ingbert Tefke, who has this main residence in this city. Together with Dagmar Schönbeck and Jutta Strache, he arranged a bike tour around the beautiful "Tollensesee", a lake near the city. The tour was rather physically demanding, yet we had a wonderful day together. We had to manage lots of ups and downs during the 39 kilometres. Never mind, we all made it and were very proud of ourselves.
The next activity will be the "Tag des Ehrenamtes" (Day of Volunteers) on Friday September 15. We will have a market stand on a nice place around a church in Berlin-Charlottenburg. This will be an important day for us, as we have the chance to meet a lot of people and to tell them about People to People International: the ideas, the thoughts, our connections to so many countries. With the help of many Berlin members we hope to find new people, who are willing to join our society.
In October the second Leadership Seminar, organized by the PTPI European Office, in Johannesstift will take place. Before and after this seminar, we will host seven participants from different countries. We are looking forward to meet them and to show them our city.
The visit in combination with a guided tour through the giant buildings of the airport of Tempelhof will be a highlight in the beginning of November. This is an event for young and old members. There is also a Christmas meeting on our program at the end of November. We plan a day trip by train to Wolfsburg, which is the famous "Car-City". Hope lots of members are coming with us!
Five of our members attended the Worldwide Conference in Sydney, Australia, where our former president, Ernst Honegger, was elected Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. Otto Burri's term as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees came to an end and for the last time, he gave a report about PTPI activities in Europe.
July and August were again the busiest months for our chapter. From July 26-29, we hosted a group of 34 students and 4 leaders from Los Angeles. We organized the traditional "Welcome Party" at the US Embassy for these guests and their host families. Ambassador Programs requested that every group should complete a service project, so we suggested that the group could help to prepare the camp site for the 14 young Romanians due to arrive the same day. The Romanian delegation arrived in Bern after a 40-hour-bus ride over 2200 km from Roman. They were very glad and thankful to find everything ready. The six boys and seven girls, 16- 18 years old, spent ten days on a Bern camp site. Our young members organized for them several visits in and around Bern, to the mountains, the new Paul Klee Art Center and the Romanian Embassy. The camp was followed by a five-day homestay with PTPI families and the participation in the traditional yearly "All Swiss Chapter Meeting". Forty-eight members from all four Swiss chapters participated and spent the day with the Romanian YGs.
We are now organizing the transportation of 40 computers and 20 - 25 bikes to Romania. Our sister chapter in Romania will make sure the gifts are put to good use.
Blagoevgrad - chapter in formation
People to People International will soon have its first University Chapter in Europe: at the American University in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria (AUBG). The initiative of opening a University Chapter in Blagoevgrad was undertaken by Rauf Zeynalov, a junior student at American University in Bulgaria. The students managed to gather more than 20 members, set up their goals and objectives, appoint faculty advisors for the club and register officially at the Student Government of the American University in Bulgaria. To give more information about People to People International, its activities and programs, PTPI AUBG Chapter invited Verena Denk from the European Office of PTPI to make a presentation on People to People International.
Moreover, two chapter members attended the seminar on "Human Rights Education" organized by PTPI's Plovdiv Chapter. In cooperation with UNITED, a not-for-profit organization and Griffins Club of the University, the Chapter has started its first campaign "Speak Out Against Racism". The campaign will start in October with a "Lecture Series" from representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations. The "Lecture Series" will be followed by a workshop organized by professional trainers for chapter members and other students. The chapter also plans to organize a football game with the theme "Racism Out of Football" in cooperation with Griffins Club of the University. The purpose of the game is to prove once again that students are always united to kick racism out of sports. It is also planned to show movies and short clips related to racism during "Movie Nights." The campaign will reach its end with an essay competition on the issue of racism. The jury composed of several professors will evaluate the essays and they will choose the winners. The three winning essays will receive awards.
The objective of the campaign is to increase the awareness of racism among the students and unite them to fight against it.
In June, PTPI's Brussels Chapter had a fantastic dinner dance party on the theme of exotic islands. Among the fifty participants, we welcomed diplomats of the German and US missions to the European Union. At the event, the American Ambassador to Belgium, the Honorary Tom Korologos, invited Daniel Schaubacher and his wife Myriam to the inauguration reception of the Herbert Hoover exhibition at the Royal Museum of Armed Forces.
Throughout the summer, visits and walks have met with great success and contributed to a harmonious and joyful atmosphere among PTPI members and their numerous guests. We visited a "sensitory" museum, in which the blinded guests had to guess the odours and materials they were confronted with; and we had a late summer lunch in the garden of a new Brussels restaurant.
A highlight in September was a buffet dinner on the lake of the Chateau de Karreveld Park, followed by Jack Cooper's magicians and telepathics show in the Karreveld Theater. This event was arranged by our new board member Annie Claes.
Frequently, our chapter hosts dinners-at-home. On September 17, Myriam and Daniel Schaubacher hosted Dr. Gergely Kiss of the PTPI's Pécs Chapter and Eszter Gombas from Bulgaria, who both were in town for a European youth seminar on intercultural issues. Other guests were Csaba Varga, the program director of the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Brussels, Catie Thorburn, President Founder - Generation Europe and Blanche Decoster Peycker.
A busy program of visits, concerts, cultural and social events is announced for this fall and the coming winter. On September 23 and 24, we will participate with a PTPI display in the Welcome Fair - an exhibition at the Royal Cinquantenaire exhibition grounds, aimed at the hundreds of officials, expatriates, immigrants and newcomers arriving in the European capital. Likewise, in November, we will be at the Zenith show, a special exhibition at Heysel for the 50+ and seniors.
Our quarterly newsletter features articles about other PTPI chapters in Europe, among the latest ones: Albania, Denmark, and Pécs/Hungary. How about sending us a story from your chapter? We also look forward to hearing from other chapters and visitors who wish to visit and discover Brussels and other Belgian cities.
Cherkasy, Urkaine: "Light the Way Student Chapter"
In the new academic year we are glad to find ourselves in the warm company of "People to People International" members. Greetings and good luck to everyone! As for our chapter, these weeks we have been busy with greenery inside our gymnasium. Chapter members organized a contest between the students for the best plant, brought to the classroom. The portraits of the winners will be published in our school newspaper. Here are some chapter projects we plan for this year:
- Celebration of the International Elderly People Day on October, 1: That day the retired teachers will be invited to have a festive lunch and to watch the concert prepared by the Chapter members.
- "Keep the shores of the river Dnipro free from waste" project: Chapter members start collecting PET-bottles to raise money for the construction of a waste collector site in the neighbourhood.
- Sport Festival in the gymnasium.
- The year has just begun and there is a lot of interesting activities ahead. Faithfully yours,
Karen Margerethe Kristensen, President of PTP's East Zealand Chapter: Citizen of the Year; She makes her home city Roennede well known around the whole world.
Karen Margrethe got this prize for her engaged work with the organisation People to People and to give her contribution to do Roennede well known in the big world in a positive way through People to People (Roennede Mayor Kurt Rosner)
I was just thinking that I get this prize exactly in this hall, where Chapter People to People East Zealand has received many hundred young and adult people from many, many different countries since 1975.They couldn't spell the name of our town Roennede, they couldn't pronounce the name, but they have never forgotten their home stay at a Danish family in our area East Zealand, Denmark. Many, many relationship and friendship have continued through the years.
A large attendance of people met her with a resounding round of applause.
Svenn Erik Kristensen
During July, members of PTPI's Galych, Ukraine Chapter have undertaken several sportive and cultural weekend trips in the region. The sports weekend programs included swimming in the river Dnister, team games and rowing classes. A joint cultural trip focused on the city of Sambir with its historical Saint Valentine church. Another cultural activity was the archaeological expedition in the city Galych, which was in the middle ages the capital of the princedom Galych. Some chapter members also participated in an ecological camp in the Carpathians Mountains and in a sea camp in Odessa.
As the first autumn leaves turn to gold, and we reflect on our full and active spring and summer seasons, we look forward with joyful anticipation to hosting the European conference here in Interlaken next May (mark your calendars folks).
This past spring and summer we hosted groups from Malaysia, the USA, and from here in Switzerland. Several members also took part in the All-Swiss-Chapter Meeting hosted by Chapter Bern/Western Switzerland. In addition to seeing old friends, Chapter Bern hosted a dozen young people from Romanian chapters.
We have already had several requests for follow-up homestays from our spring and summer visitors, and are enjoying and making use of the interim quiet time to move forward with plans for the European conference next spring.
Several chapter members participated in the last European Conference in Denmark, where Chapter Interlaken was selected to host the next European conference. They brought back detailed reports that are helpful to our Organization Committee. One of our goals is to keep the Conference fees as low as possible and another is to maximize the social aspects of the Conference.
To this end, we have already reserved the auditorium in a large school, in addition to the Conference Hotel. In the not too distant future, we'll be able to reserve rooms for an anticipated 120 participants in nearby hotels. For those with small budgets, a low-priced Backpackers Villa is also available. For the dance-lovers among us, we have already engaged a great local dance band for the Gala Ball. Of course there is still lots to do, some of it together with the European Executive Committee / PTPI European Office in Berlin, but in the meantime:
SAVE THE DATE: Thursday – Sunday, 17-20 May 2007
We look forward to seeing all of you hear in May to sing, dance, eat, share, and "hang out" with old and new friends.
Bring your cameras to capture the moments in wonderful Interlaken.
Ernest Wälti/Ronnie Blakeney
Up to now, 2006 has been full of events for the members of our student chapter "Children to Children." In the beginning of the year, we held a charity action called "Help your neighbor!" at which we collected toys and books to help children in the orphanage "Maljutka."
In April, the children organized a charity theater. They gave free performances, for poor children, about traffic rules. In an open lesson on environmental problems, the children learned what different countries do to solve the ecological problems and decided what each of them should and shouldn't do to protect our planet. Moreover, they had an educational training on tolerance, "Getting Together." They discussed about what can unite people and how they can understand each other. In conclusion, the children gave examples of situations in which they themselves were intolerant and searched for other possible conflict solutions.
In May, the pupils of the 8th form made an exciting travel to Poland. In Poznan, they were warmly welcomed by their Polish host families. The Polish children showed them their city and told them about customs and traditions. All understood that they are so different, yet at the same time so much alike. There were a lot of common interests and problems and it seemed that children understood each other easier than adults. Let's communicate, speak the language of children and the world will become kinder, better and more beautiful. Also in May, the Kharkiv veterans celebrated an anniversary of the ending of World War II. Volunteers of the chapter visited and congratulated them. Children greeted them with flowers and treatment. Next to that the volunteers organized a celebratory concert. After the concert the veterans received presents and souvenirs. In the end of May, the chapter participated in the Europe Day Festivals, where they promoted the ideas of tolerance and understanding and enhanced cross-cultural communication by presenting their activities and explaining their goals to the guests of the festival. In the month of June, they acted as volunteers in a School Youth Camp. They recruited new members and promoted the ideals of PTPI in their school.
In July, volunteers travelled to Gurzuf. The students shared their knowledge and ideas on solving common problems in a language camp.
Artyom Marynych from Kharkiv got back home, after living for nine months in a host family in Texas, USA and participating in the Future Leaders Exchange Program. During his stay in the US, he won an essay contest for exchange students and visited Washington D.C., where he was taught about the benefits of democracy, together with 120 other students.
In September a "Day of Peace" was organized, at which special lessons devoted to promoting peace in the world, against wars and violence, took place.
PTPI's Pécs, Hungary Chapter has regular meetings on every first Wednesday of a month at the House of the not-for-profit Organizations. Snacks and drinks are served while members talk about past and future events and programs.
Hans Randau, the chapter president, welcomed Myriam and Daniel Schaubacher from PTPI's Brussels, Belgium Chapter during the last meeting. Daniel introduced his chapter to the Hungarians showing a collection of photos. They plan to visit Pécs and the nearby Spa of Harkány as well as the famous wine region of Villány in October.
In the end of summer, chapter members from Pécs plan a visit to PTPI's Galych, Ukraine Chapter is planned. Hans Randau gave some information about the details.
The president who also serves as PR officer stressed the importance of media contacts. Pécs Chapter has not only a printed brochure in Hungarian, translated from the European information folder, but has now a flyer, too, which is being distributed by a very active member among schools and other institutions. In addition, regular press contact with press releases and details about our events has lead to several articles in different papers, daily and weekly. Dates and times of our meetings are published in the daily news.
PTPI's Pécs Chapter has created a new chapter Web site http://www.ptppecs.hu/en_index.html. The Web sites gives useful information on the local chapter, its activities and the city Pécs. A special highlight is the poem of Lajos Imri dedicated to PTPI at the occasion of the local celebrations of PTPI's 50th Anniversary in Pécs. The Web site includes the original poem in Hungarian as well as the English version created by Hans Randau.
As the place of our meetings will be closed for restoration work until November, the next meetings are held at one of the members' homes, and will be combined with a garden party and barbecue.
Hans G. Randau
This summer our chapter hosted The Language Ambassador Program. The idea for this project emerged during the Leadership Seminar in Berlin last year. We were happy to host Manuela Corti, teacher of English in Italy, who had an intensive teaching program here in Roman. She taught English and Italian to little kids at the Roman-Voda National College and Italian to our YGs and adult members. We tried to organize a social and cultural program for Manuela and we greatly enjoyed spending some time with her, finding out more about the Italian culture and civilization and sharing our family, community and national values towards a better understanding and long lasting friendship. All of us simply love Manuela for the kind of person she is, for her commitment and professional value, for her openness and desire to experience our culture. It was a great experience and we encourage all the chapters to host this generous program.
Sternberk, Czech Republic
From August 9 to 21 our project "We are going to change the World from Europe – Living Regions" (supported by the Czech National Youth Agency) was the next step in our work and beliefs. Young people from four European countries (Romania, Estonia, Spain and the Czech Republic) brought new life and fresh air to the beautiful countryside in the border region of the Czech Republic – Broumovsko region and Orlické Mountains. The return to our traditional lifestyle, handicraft and the natural healthy way of living was the common thing and the aim of our project. The participants had a great possibility to show each other how our traditions, cultures, religions, opinions, relation to nature, work and life are similar and mean nearly the same to all of us. This was their chance to get to know each other better, to understand the differences and see the beauty of the equality of the European nations.
We spent nearly two weeks all together and enjoyed the beauty of this forgotten region, enjoyed the company of each other and learnt a lot about ourselves and the others. We helped to save our environment by cleaning the natural trails in the Natural reservations in Adršpach and Broumovské stěny. We had a wonderful time in our esoteric tea room with tea tasting and we had a chance to sleep in the very old wooden barn. We visited several eco-farms in the region, tasted their homemade products and learned about the traditional life in the villages and the old wooden houses.
Up to that, we had a great multicultural evening in Křinice, not only for our participants but also for the people and the mayor of this beautiful village. They could see the traditional dancing of each country, some special performances, songs and everybody could taste the national food of each country. Last few days we spent in the mountain cottage and climbed the highest peak of the Orlické Mountains: Velká Deštná. On the top of the hill we reflected and looked right to the past and left to the future. The last night was in the sight of the Christmas celebration. We celebrated the Christmas like they usually do in each country, got some presents and sang the traditional carols.
We really enjoyed our time together. We learnt a bit of each country language and tradition and found our lives and cultures very interesting: In some ways being very similar and then again, in other ways, being very different. That's the reason why we met, why we should try to spent some time together: To learn to know each other and to do something important for us, our nature and other people around us – in the Czech Republic – in Europe – in the World.
Tallinn and Narva, Estonia
PTPI's Tallinn and Narva Chapters have had members in the news. On June 15 the Estonian national daily newspaper reported on the gathering of more than 600 high school students. Many of the students have participated in and helped with the PTPI Estonia summer camps. Pavel Smulski, former PTPI's Student Chapter President handed over letters of appreciation signed by Mary Eisenhower.
Ruta Pels has visited Korea where she had two homestays in Seoul and Ulsan. She participated in Ulsan chapter meeting and discussed possibilities to establish Tallinn-Ulsan sister chapters relationships. PTPI staff member Jasmine Kim helped a lot. At the moment we are thinking about few projects we can do together.
We have great pleasure in announcing that new PTPI's Warsaw chapter has just been created.
At the moment our chapter consists of only 10 members, but we do hope that the new ones will join us in the very near future. We are of different sex (4 men and 6 women), age (the youngest person is 24 years old, the eldest - 50 years old) and professions (among us are economists, musicians, human resource and international relations specialists). What we all have in common is the willingness to travel, meet new people, exchange ideas and learn about other people and cultures.
We are especially interested in homestay programmes, but also in cultural exchanges and organizing seminars, workshops with an international focus. We would like to create network with all chapters worldwide and to find sister chapters.
We are delighted to invite all of you to Warsaw – the capital of Poland. A city on the UNESCO list of cultural treasures of the world's heritage with a rich and beautiful tradition formed over the last 700 years. An important administrative, political and economic centre as well as the home of internationally recognised cultural and scientific institutions, many historical places and beautiful churches. Warsaw is a place which symbolises for Poles their hard fight for survival (most of all during the two World Wars, especially during the Warsaw Uprising). The rapidly developing city is a perfect symbol of a present Poland, ever-changing and one of the most successful and advanced of post-communist countries.
We are very interested in getting to know the members of other European chapters and invite you to get in touch with us, concerning any matter you might find interesting. We would especially like to hear your experiences about setting up and running a PTPI chapter - what are the do's and don'ts during the first six months after forming a chapter.
PTPI Värmland is proud to announce that one of our youth members, Johanna Uddh, was one of the few chosen to receive a full scholarship to partake in the International Panel in the Global Youth Forum 2006 (GYF) in Kansas City November 8-12. She will have the chance to meet PTPI youth members and new friends from all over the world, and we at PTPI Värmland are very happy and proud for her. This is a great and enriching opportunity for her in many ways, and is especially great news for our chapter, as it is in line with our main focus to build a strong youth section within PTPI Värmland. We are confident that she will come back from the GYF to Sweden and PTPI Värmland, full with positive energy and new ideas. (Note: Johanna has previously taken part in a Save the Children conference held in South Africa).
A press release was sent out, and Johanna has already been given attention in the media. A short interview in one of the largest local newspapers, Nya Wermlands-Tidningen (NWT), has already been published as well as she was interviewed for the Swedish Radio. She has already been asked to come back to the studio when she has returned from the GYF.
It is almost exactly one year ago, September 15, 2005, that PTPI Varmland Chapter, Sweden was chartered in Karlstad. On Friday evening, September 1st, fifteen of the more than fifty PTPI Varmland members joined us in our chapter's 1st year anniversary celebration with a casual dinner at a local restaurant. Joining us in the celebration were Rolf G. Dahlberg, PTPE president and member of PTPI Varmland and Chiara Pedretti, PTPE secretary and vice-president of Milano Chapter. After dinner, we went to a concert, as one of our members and project leader for the Artistic Ambassadors Dance and Cultural International Exchange Program, Ia Pettersson, graced the stage as one of the extras and dancers behind some of the top Swedish artists in connection with the 100 year celebration of Sweden's largest coffee company, Löfbergs Lila.
On Saturday, September 2, Chiara taught a two-hour dance class in Modern and Contemporary Dance at Dansstudion i Karlstad. A total of fifteen very satisfied dancers - teachers and also students who dance on the advanced level – participated in the dance class. Afterwards Chiara, Ia, Rolf and I, met for further discussion in preparation for the future dance and international cultural exchange between Milano and Värmland Chapters.
On behalf of the board and our members at PTPI Varmland, I would like to extend a warm note of gratitude to both Rolf and Chiara for taking time off from their busy schedule to visit us in Karlstad. It was a pleasure having you here!