It has been an exciting summer and fall. In August I was proud that so many of our European members had traveled "down-under" for our 17th Worldwide Conference in Sydney. The weather was gorgeous in southern Australia and we had the opportunity to listen to aboriginal music and dance performances and hear interesting speeches and panel debates.
Australian wines, trying Kangaroo steak for the first time and bonding with new friends from around the globe made it all worth while.
Elections took place for both the Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees. Our former European President Ernst Honegger from Switzerland was elected as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors – congratulations! Valeria Magistrelli from Italy, Peter Tage from Denmark and Peter Whitby from England were reelected for two more years. I am also extremely proud that Europe has yet another director – Genci Mucaj from Albania.
The Board of Trustees elected the charismatic Troy Nash as new Chairman. I feel humble to have been elected as new vice-chair of Europe. To try and fill my predecessor Otto Burri's shoes from Switzerland will be a challenge. Thank you Otto for all that you are doing for PTPI Europe! Other Europeans elected on the Board of Trustees were Gunild Bogdahn and Ann Marie Bohsen from Denmark, Gina Boiculese from Romania, Marie-Anne Aebi from Switzerland, Hannelore Büchler and Brigitte Kasigkeit from Germany, Sheptim "Tim" Dyrmishi from Albania and Hans Randau from Hungary – congratulations to all of you.
In October it was time for the second annual Leadership Seminar in Berlin. Around 25 people from all parts of Europe had gathered for an extended weekend on the topic of Chapter Development. Thank you Lars and Verena for making it such a successful weekend! Thanks also to all the members of PTPI Berlin for offering homestays and giving us superb guided tours.
We are soon entering the Holiday Season. Christmas is upon us and I get so excited when receiving holiday greetings from around the world. 2007 has so many fun things in store for us all. On May 18-20 we are welcomed to Interlaken, Switzerland for the European Conference. Springtime in one of the most beautiful parts of Europe – I'm there! I know that Ernest and Regina Wälti and the Organizing Committee will make it the best ever. In October Berlin is hosting the Board of Trustees meeting.
I can only be proud of all that you do out there. Wishing you all Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year, I remain
Your humble friend,
Rolf G. Dahlberg, President of PTPI's European Council
Global Youth Forum
From November 8 to 12, two young members from the PTPI's Roman, Romania Chapter attended the Global Youth Forum in Kansas City, US. Roxana Trefas and Alex Vlasceanu sent us some impressions.
We had the great opportunity and honor to represent Romania at the Global Youth Forum by obtaining two of the seven scholarships awarded for this event and we are truly grateful for it. There were two more students from Sweden and England, so we hope that together we brought a European touch to this spectacular meeting.
We were encouraged by our teacher and president of the PTPI's Roman Chapter to apply for a scholarship, which would permit us to attend the Global Youth Forum. It seemed a wonderful idea for us; we have been part of the Roman YG group for a few years now and we had never participated in such important events, especially in the US. So we filled in the application, we wrote the required essay, we asked for some recommendations from our teachers and principal and we just sent them. Afterwards, we were interviewed by phone and eventually we succeeded in obtaining a full tuition scholarship.
Together with Alex, I traveled for the first time to another continent, to Kansas City, Missouri, USA. We met students from all over the world and we cooperated so as to achieve our mission of "peace through understanding" in different activities and humanitarian efforts. I had the unbelievable chance to meet Mary Eisenhower, Celia Sandys, Mack Teasley, and Noel Musicha. "Invisible Children" was a movie, which profoundly impressed me and made me have a different perspective on life, as did Craig Kielburger and many other personalities. They are outstanding people with a rich life experience and permanently willing to do something for the ones who really need help. I also met Gary Sinise, who came to see us packing the school supplies for the children in Iraq and also held a humanitarian concert in one of the evenings. For a few hours, I worked in a food bank, where we learned how to sort the food for the poor ones. I can say it was a very good idea of hands-on humanitarian project. I personally enjoyed all the practical activities we had in the US. It was a very interesting week, with intense and diverse activities. I managed to see a little part of America, but especially had the sense of the great American soul, I made new friends, I discovered new cultures, I got to realize the differences, accept and respect them, and I became more tolerant.
For me, it was not a simple event, but a real life experience and now I am convinced that we can all make a difference in this society, that we can together create a better world, where peace will reign supreme.
We were four Europeans who lived the American experience. This event changed the way we perceived things and broadened our minds. It is true that America is the land of all the opportunities particularly through the diversity of cultures and tolerance it has towards foreigners, the mutual respect of ideas and that very strong national spirit. Life has a different rhythm there, thrilling and full of satisfaction at the same time. The Americans are born with the smile on their face, partly due to their lifestyles, partly due to education, but when they smile to you, they do not do it out of mere politeness, but because of their true friendliness and specific civic spirit.
Meet the Diplomats Program in Sweden
U.S. Embassy in Stockholm's Public Counselor, Robert Hilton, makes history in being the first diplomat to take part in PTPI's Värmland newly-initiated Meet the Diplomats Program in Sweden. The president from PTPI's Värmland Chapter, Antoinette Mc Intyre-Andersson, sent us her report.
Karlstad, Sweden -- October 11, 2006: Public Counselor Robert Hilton's visit to Värmland was an exceptional way to pay tribute t former President Dwight D. Eisenhower's founding of PTPI 50 years ago and an added bonus for our young chapter's first year anniversary celebration! His visit was beneficial in strengthening our ties and future international exchanges between the PTPI chapters of US and PTPI Värmland, Sweden and ongoing and future projects to be initiated within Värmland County. Most importantly, it is also a very unique program that enables the Swedish people, especially for youth, to meet diplomatic personnel and vice versa – an equally rewarding experience for all. All of which is in line with our organization's mission and goals for peace through understanding.
Thirty seventh grade school students were able to meet Mr. Hilton on Friday. The students and their teacher received books about the US, its people and culture. They participated in an enlightening "question and answer session" with Mr. Hilton. The students had prepared questions that were as varied as wanting to know his favorite foods to his view on the war in Iraq. Afterwards, Mr. Hilton was welcomed for coffee and refreshments and a presentation. CEO, Peter Holm, of Löfbergs Lila gave a private tour of one of the largest coffee plants in Sweden. The final stop of the day was at the Karlstad's Praktiska Gymnasium (Karlstad's Vocational High-School) where PTPI's Värmland Vice President, Christina Leander, is also the principal of this newly opened vocational high school. First to greet us was the local newspaper, Värmland's Folkblad (VF), on hand to interview Mr. Hilton and PTPI Värmland. A small presentation of the school was given, followed by a Power Point presentation of PTPI's Värmland Chapter. Mr. Hilton met some of our youth members including Johanna Uddh, who also attended the Global Youth Forum in Kansas City in November. The evening was rounded off with a casual dinner at a genuine harbor restaurant by Lake Vänern.
Short excursion to meet dignitaries in Sunne
On Saturday, Christina Leander and Antoinette Mc Intyre-Andersson lunched with Mr. Hilton at Värmland's Museum and then took him on a driving tour to Sunne. Situated sixty kilometers north of Karlstad, Sunne is located in the heart of Värmland and nestled in the beautifully picturesque Fryksdalen. Although the culture-filled town of Sunne is fairly small, its 13,000 residents are progressive and known to be very open to new ideas and change. The presiding Mayor of Sunne, Karl-Johan Adolphsson, the next mayor of Sunne, Ola Persson, and the city manager, Peter Karlsson, met with us over a few cups of coffee at the Quality Spa & Resort Selma Lagerlöf.
Swedish Bridge Conference
The Emigrantregistret/Kinship Center, the municipality of Karlstad and the County of Värmland invited Mr. Hilton to Karlstad to be present at the Swedish Bridge Conference. The Swedish Bridge Conference, arranged by the Swedish Council of America and Emigrantregistret/Kinship Center in cooperation with the Swedish Local Heritage Federation, was a conference to honor the great Swedish Emigration to USA and Canada. PTPI Värmland's President Antoinette Mc Intyre-Andersson, Vice President Christina Leander and project leader of the MTD, Kristina Nilsson, attended the banquet. PTPI Värmland's attendance and participation in the Swedish Bridge Conference was beneficial in many ways and has added new fuel to the ideas and visions of future international exchange between Swedish youth and American youth with Swedish heritage.
PTPI Värmland meets H.E. Ambassador Michael M. Wood at Ambassador's residence
Kristina Nilsson and Antoinette Mc Intyre-Andersson were invited to a buffet luncheon for the distinguished members of the Royal Round Table of the Swedish Council of America in Stockholm by H.E. Ambassador, Michael M. Wood. A guided tour of the Royal Palace was the last stop before returning to Värmland.
It was a great experience and very rewarding for our young chapter, our youngest members and their classmates to host the US Embassy in Stockholm's Public Counselor Robert Hilton's visit to Värmland. As the saying goes, "Think globally, Act locally." With those words in mind, PTPI Värmland hopes that we will be able to continue to host diplomats from the US in the future and eagerly await diplomats of other countries to accept our invitation to Värmland in hopes of expanding cultural understanding and consciousness.
Antoinette Mc Intyre-Andersson
|Date||PTPI Chapter / Program||Contact|
|December 18||Open House in the new PTPI European Office, Berlin, Germany||PTPI European Office|
|December 18||Christmas Party at Mojito restaurant, 7 pm, Warsaw, Poland||Monika Królak|
|December 20||Christmas party with Christmas choir, Florence, Italy||Kirste Milligan|
|December 28||Christmas celebration, Sternberk, Czech Republic||Helča Metelková|
|January 3||Exhibition "Les Couvre Chefs" – African Museum, 2.30 pm, Tervuren, Belgium||Blanche Decoster|
|January 5||Round-table meeting at Restaurant Heidelbeere, Berlin, Germany||Hannelore Büchler|
|January 5||New Year Gala Concert "Like in Vienna", Military school, Brussels, Belgium||Blanche Decoster|
|January 14||Brunch/boat tour on the Zürich lake, Zürich, Switzerland||PTPI Zürich Chapter|
|January 17||Creative afternoon: decorations for St Valentine's Day, Brussels, Belgium||Blanche Decoster|
|January 19||Žamboši - „To se to hraje..." folk concert at the Galerie Sternberk, Czech Republic||Helča Metelková|
|January 20||Annual meeting of PTPI Sternberk Chapter, Sternberk, Czech Republic||Helča Metelková|
|January 20||Visit of the convent and brewery Neuzelle, Berlin, Germany||Hannelore Büchler|
|January 21||Piano Concert (Schumann), Astoria and lunch at the 'Instruments de Musique' restaurant, Brussels||Daniel Schaubacher|
|January 24||Interactive Cooking Class with the Chef Jean-Jacques Bodart, Brussels, Belgium||Blanche Decoster|
|January 31||Exhibition Spilliaert, Royal Arts Museum, 2.30 pm, Brussels, Belgium||Blanche Decoster|
|February 7||Exhibition 'The Sphinx, The Egypt Gardener', meeting at 2.30 pm at the Place Royale, Brussels||Blanche Decoster|
|February 16||Birthday Dinner and Welcome Party for New Members, 7.30 pm, Brussels, Belgium||Blanche Decoster|
|February 21||Creative day: Scrap booking, 11am and lunch at 12.30, 25 Franklin street, Brussels, Belgium||Blanche Decoster|
|February 28||Exhibition 'Morocco of Oasis', 2.30 pm, Brussels, Belgium||Blanche Decoster|
|March 5||General meeting of PTPI's Bern Chapter, Bern, Switzerland||Otto Burri|
|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|
PTPI's European Conference: May 17-20 - Welcome to Interlaken!
The next European Conference will be in Interlaken. The chapter members welcome you all to the beautiful Switzerland. Invitations will be made available no later than in January. This year the conference will offer optional programs on Thursday – open to all participants.
Thursday, May 17: Optional programs; YG Day – open for all participants (of course)
- Sight seeing: Old town of Bönigen (houses built 16th - 19th century)
- Sight seeing: Ringgenberg /Goldswil (castle, ruins of the first church in the region, built 1000 years ago)
- Boat trip to Giessbach (waterfalls)
- YG-Meeting, Dinner (typical Swiss food)
Friday May 18: Arrival
- City sight seeing in Interlaken
- Aperitif (Alphorn-trio)
- Dinner and entertainment
Saturday May 19: Conference sessions
- Coffee break
- Conference continues
- Coffee break
- Dinner and Ball
Sunday May 20: Excursion day
- Famous places: Lauterbrunnen Mürren (1645 m) – Trümmelbachfälle (waterfalls in a narrow glen)
- Homestay starts
The chapter presentations will this year be as a chapter fair.
Reduced rates for youth (up to 26) and for members from Central and Eastern Europe
Conference fund will be available
Accommodation will be suggested in hotels of different price categories.
Conference Web site: www.ptpe.org/interlaken2007
Homestay will be offered in Interlaken and other Swiss chapters
Leadership Seminar 2006
As for PTPI's second Leadership Seminar, 23 leaders from 20 European chapters found their way to Berlin, Germany.
They got together for four intensive days of not only getting to know each other but also getting to know themselves - a thread running through the seminar. Workshops on teambuilding covered the first part.
Does a team need a leader at all? What makes a good leader? And does a leader not only have to see the forest yet also each single tree? Through simulation games and discussions, the participants became more aware of group dynamics.
What came out was a list of characteristics a good team leader should feature: Be respectful, be an active listener, motivate others, be tolerant, be able to compromise, be transparent, set objectives and so on and so on.
The list was long and all were conscious of the fact that none of them had all of these characteristics, though the will to grow was there and that is what it's all about. After all we are not magicians, but "just" human. And that's perfectly fine! Being a good leader is a challenge.Next to personal development, chapter development was a core theme during the Leadership Seminar. By means of the SWOT Analysis, each leader analyzed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of its own chapter. Results were presented at a chapter fair, where all could read each others' analysis, exchange experiences and discuss details. More and more the title of the Seminar "Chapter development – Different Approaches to Solving Common Problems" became true. The participants discovered that often they are dealing with the same problems, and it might actually be easier finding a solution together, rather than trying to solve them on their own.
The workshop on strategic planning encouraged them to determine long-term goals and to identify the best approach for achieving those goals, also requiring creativity and unconventional thinking. Together, the participants brainstormed on which activities and actions could be achieved and concrete suggestions for an action plan were made.
After these four days, our chapter leaders left with their backpacks being heavier than before, carrying new experiences, friendships and maybe newly discovered parts of themselves... Hopefully being impatient to open up their valuable baggage and passing it on back home.
Global Youth Forum 2006
PTPI's Global Youth Forum (GYF) took place in Kansas City, USA, November 8-12. The GYF aims at enhancing international understanding, education, leadership and humanitarianism among young achievers from around the world ages 13-18.
Eight European students had the chance to participate in this unique youth conference thanks to scholarships of PTPI and local chapters. There were two participants from Romania, four from Russia, one from Sweden and one from the United Kingdom. They all represented their countries of origin during the International Student Panel, together with the delegates from Egypt and Morocco.
Prior to the forum, participants decided on a country of focus, did research on typical concerns in that country and on possible solutions. During the conference, participants developed concrete humanitarian projects. Most groups have already started to work on the implementation of their projects right when they got back home. Among the countries of focus were also European countries such as Romania, Poland and Ukraine. In addition, participants engaged in several community service projects while they were in Kansas City. Some planted trees; others sorted food at a food shelter or played with children in a day-care center. All volunteered for the Operation Iraqi Children. We want to congratulate the participants to their hard work and their great dedication to making the world a better place!
Apart of their humanitarian efforts, participants also had the chance to meet several outstanding leaders, such as our president and CEO Mary Jean Eisenhower, the granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill Celia Sandys, the Executive Director of the Eisenhower Foundation Mack Teasley, the director of assimilation with Invisible Children Inc. Noel Brown Musicha, the founder of Free The Children Craig Kielburger and the world famous actor and co-founder of Operation Iraqi Children Gary Sinise.
The next Global Youth Forum will take place in Chicago, USA, from November 7-11, 2007. Mark your calendars and don't miss this great opportunity to learn more and make a difference!
PTPI European Office- New Address
Since December PTPI's European Office has a new address after it relocated to a new location in Berlin-Charlottenburg. The reason was that the old building will be renovated. The new office is in a building shared some 15 other international NGO – mainly with focus on Central and Eastern Europe. E-mail, telephone and fax remain the same as before.
People to People International
New and closed chapters
We are very happy to welcome our first university chapter: Blagoevgrad in Bulgaria. Rauf Zeynalov and fellow students and friends have already been active and created some good programs. See Rauf's report below.
We also welcome PTPI's Florence Chapter in Italy. Kirste Milligan and friends organized a program for PTPI's Berlin Chapter as they visited Italy in spring this year.
We have also new student chapters – all in Ukraine. With the already chartered student chapters there are now eight student chapters in Ukraine:
- Sverdlovsk Lyceum
- Lugansk General Secondary School 47
- Kirovograd - Free Choice
- Khmelnytskyi - Young Leaders
- Kharkiv - Children to Children
- Cherkasy - Light the Way
After many years of programs, PTPI's Ravenna Chapter closed this fall. We thank Anna Maria for her help and support. Both she and members and friend in Ravenna are welcome to join as at-large members.
Lesson Plans for PTPI Student Chapters
PTPI has created lesson plans as an activity guide for student chapters. This pedagogical tool aims at supporting student chapters by providing for an intercultural learning experience and increasing international understanding. The lesson plans include suggestions about how to organize student chapter meetings and a list of ideas for chapter projects classified under different subject areas.
For each month of the year, there is a specific topic. Subject areas are: cross-cultural understanding, governmental systems, world religions, international education, holidays and food, the media as a tool for understanding, the arts, women and children, peace through sports, environment and humanitarianism.
For each subject area, three types of activities are proposed. Level I activities require the least time commitment, level II activities slightly more, and level III activities are the most time-consuming. Depending on how much time a chapter can dedicate to PTPI in a particular month, it can choose the level of activity that suits best.
Each student chapter president and each adult advisor will receive a copy of the lesson plans by postal mail. If you haven't received a copy, but would still like to have one, please contact PTPI's European Office.
We wish you all great success and a lot of fun in following this unique activity guide!
European Office - Internship and European Voluntary Service
After almost five months Helen Beckers completed her internship in the office. She has been very helpful with daily tasks, assisting in the Leadership Seminar and promoting PTPI in her home country, Belgium. Beginning in December, Charlotte Berthou will be our first EVS Volunteer. Charlotte comes from Paris and will, besides the ongoing tasks, work with youth and student chapter projects in Berlin and Europe. Thank you Helen – Welcome Charlotte!
More information about the PTPI Internship program: www.ptpe.org/internship
European Program Fund
The European Executive Committee has established the European Program Fund. Applications for funding can be sought by Chartered Chapters in Europe or in a combined application with two European chapters.
Focus is given to chapters who want to initiate a new program or event which contributes to the advancement of the goals of People to People International. Innovating and unique programming is sought for by the EEC.
Application can be made to our PTPI European Office from January 10, when also detailed instructions will be available.
European Conference – survey for improvements
During the fall a survey was passed out to all participants of the two recent European Conferences. In order to improve future conferences the survey contained questions about what priorities are most important for the participants of the conference. The result has already been shared with the Interlaken Conference. Special thanks to all of those who helped with the survey. Five respondents will be rewarded at the Interlaken conference for their assistance. Here are some highlights of the results:
Top three items of what is important at the Conference:
- Welcome Reception
- Chapter Presentations
- Excursion in the Region
External speakers and artistic programs are not regarded as important.
Quality: What is important and should not be saved on?
- Excursion in program
- Money should be saved on outside experts and artistic programs.
What should be included in conference workshops?
- PTPI Programs
- Membership Development
- Project management and leadership are not viewed as important for workshops.
- Include humanitarian aspect
- Involve volunteers to cut costs
Members understand the discussions during the council meeting and receive enough information from PTPI European Office.
There is a need to inform more about how decisions are made at the meetings.
How should chapter presentations be made?
- Chapters are presented at a "Chapter Fair"
- All chapters do their presentation for 3-5 min.
What should be included in an additional day?
- Excursions and sightseeing
- One more day with optional programs
- Include educational study visit
I really can say it was a very busy year for the new executive committee and also for our members. At the first weekend of October we had four guests from Poland. Gosia and Gregorz from Pyskowice came together with their friends Ela and Wojtek from Gliwice by car to Berlin. Peter and I hosted the young couple and Hans-Dieter hosted Ela and her son. We all had a good time; sightseeing, dining, walking and talking. Shopping in Steglitz with the ladies in a rather new mall was also on our program. On Sunday morning we had the chance to see the one and only "Plenarsaal" in the Reichstag and went up to the top of the dome.
A great event in October was the second Leadership Seminar in Berlin Johannesstift. Twenty-three participants were together at this wonderful location far away from the city centre. We really were a good mixture: old and young, east and west! I learned about problems the other chapters in Europe have. Is there any difference? No there isn't. Most of the chapters have problems to find new members and especially young members. During the workshops we shared our ideas and talked about some opportunities like going to elementary or high schools, language schools or to invite people to our round table once a month to give them a chance to learn more about PTPI and its aims. During the coffee breaks we all had plenty of time to talk to each other. I can say: each participant was important for the group and the success of this Leadership Seminar. We all found new friends and an old friendship became deeper and closer after these four days. Before and after the seminar we hosted altogether eight PTPI members from Albania, Sweden, Hungary, Switzerland, Estonia and France in Berlin. The dinner at "Sophien-Eck" on Saturday night was a very funny meeting for all: European guests, staff and PTPI's Berlin Chapter members.
On November 4 we arranged a guided tour through the giant building of the old airport of Tempelhof. This airport had a very important meaning for all Berlin people, because it kept the city alive during the Berlin Blockade.
For all Americans, Thanksgiving is always an important celebration on November 23. Our chapter was lucky to get an invitation from the organization IBUSA (Initiative Berlin USA). The party was located in Berlin's greatest town hall "Rotes Rathaus." For nearly 300 participants turkey with vegetables was served. The guests were responsible for salad, cheese, dessert, bread and butter. You see, it was a typical American potluck party. Soft drinks, wine and beer were also there for all of us. Some members and Lars had a good time in the wonderful location.
December time is Christmas time. On December 1 our chapter had its meeting with a traditional meal in a nice restaurant called "Glocke." A piano was waiting for Susanne to play some Christmas songs. For the next year we planned many things, like meetings, day-trips and journeys to some other chapters in Europe. We got an invitation from the PTPI's Warsaw Chapter for April, which is a good time to visit the capital of Poland. I know many members will join me!
I am looking forward to meet lots of PTPI members at the European conference in Interlaken. Hi Switzerland, we are coming! Merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year!
Contrary to the summer months when we were quite busy hosting students from California and Romania, the period from September until November was less spectacular and rather quiet.
Our homestay coordinator Ueli Krebs from Hinterkappelen attended the Leadership conference in Berlin. He returned quite impressed and full of new ideas. The chapter member Veronica Kobel, a retired occupational therapist, went to Roman for the second time this year. During two weeks she taught at the Scoala Speciala Roman and distributed painting utensils and other creative material. She attended local PTPI chapter meetings as well. Ernst Honegger has just returned from visits with Asian chapters and their leaders in Taipei (Taiwan), Seoul (Korea) and Tokyo (Japan) during one of his worldwide business trips.
On October 6 we held a chapter board meeting to discuss our future activities and the continued cooperation with our sister chapter in Roman- Romania.
We are very proud that our dear friend and President of PTPI's Chapter Roman, Sorina Danciu, did receive the Chapter Leadership Award during the PTPI Worldwide Conference in Sydney. She truly deserves this honor and recognition because she is extremely active and never misses an opportunity to delegate able members of her chapter. Point and case are the 16 year old Roxana Trefas, who visited us this summer with the YG-group, and Alex Vlasceanu, who stayed with us last year. Both were accepted and sponsored to attend the Global Youth Forum in Kansas City- USA. These young and active PTPI members stay in regular contact with our chapter.
Lately, we received information about some interesting possibilities for young Europeans, which we'd like to share with all of you: "Ming Chuan University MCU in Taiwan is offering 4 scholarship opportunities to students currently in the 1st or 2nd year. The students will be awarded with scholarships covering full tuition of MCU for at least one year, up to three years. On campus accommodation for only around USD 700 per year is possible." More info can be found on www.mcu.edu.tw. This could be a new opportunity of cultural exchange between Asia and Europe for young PTPI members.
For this issue of the newsletter we received a contribution from South America: This coming year we will keep on focusing on developing projects related to the oppressed children and women.
One of our most successful projects took place on October 28, 2006. The so called "Children's Day" enabled 300 children to go out from the "Matires," one of the poorest areas in Bogota. During this wonderful event, kids were entertained by clowns, received prizes and free gifts from PTPI-Bogota's members.
In December, we are working on a "Happy Christmas Day" project in two locations within Bogota. On February 10th, an "Educational School Supplies" project for children will take place, and we hope to send a team to the "Homeless Football World Cup." We humbly express our appreciation for the encouragement and motivation from PTPI.
We are a seed that desires and thirsts for water and sunlight to help us grow into the unimaginable, we are dreamers and children who seek for a hand in order to turn the world around, watch us as we grow, and acknowledge there is a possibility in the unknown.
In November, PTPI's AUBG (American University in Blagoevgrad), Bulgaria Chapter organized an anti-racism and nationalism campaign under the motto "Opinion and Mind Have no Color," along with the international NGOs UNITED and FARE - Football against Racism in Europe, and AUBG's sports club, the Griffins.
Professional trainers showed the students how to recognize and act against racism and discrimination through different practical exercises and discussions in a two-day workshop "Living the Diversity." They talked about cultural identity and its effect on our perception of other people. The students were challenged to define their own personal identity and discussed to what extent their social and family environment determines their stereotypes for other cultures. The participants also showed their understanding of such concepts as racism, human rights and tolerance by presenting real-life situations in which those are most often observed. "I found the workshop to be very useful. I met new people and I learnt a lot of new things like cultural concepts and theories about racism," said sophomore student Milica Trpevsca. "We were really pleased with the very active participants. They were honest and genuine. I do believe that these young people will be one-day leaders of this region and the places they come from. It was really an experience of living the diversity," said the trainer Vania Ivanova.
Furthermore a survey was organized in order to gather data about students' attitudes and views on issues concerning racism and nationalism in both their respective countries and the university; and lectures were held by several professors of the American University in Bulgaria. Some topics were "The origins of racism in Europe" and "Racism, cultural conflicts and the media." The lectures were followed by discussions in which students from all over the Balkans took part.
Next to that, a football game "Griffins against Racism" was organized. The "Rookies" and the "Elders" played a competitive and an intense game, and the "Elders" scored a victory.
At the PTPI's closing reception in the evening, the chapter president Rauf Zeynalov and the Provost of the American University in Bulgaria, Ann Ferren, spoke on the positive effect of the campaign. After that Ann Ferren and the Dean of Students, Lydia Krise, handed over the certificates to the participants and to the winners of the essay competition that took place during the campaign. Also the results from the survey were announced. The campaign was rounded off with a party with music of different styles and origins, which pleased everyone.
People to People Belgium pursued numerous social, cultural and outreach activities. The Belgium chapter was invited to exhibit at this year's Welcome Fair, which took place over the weekend of September 23-24, 2006, at the Royal Cinquantenaire Exhibition Grounds in Brussels. This annual event caters to the information needs of thousands of expatriates who arrive or reside in and around Brussels. They work for European institutions and advocacy groups, industrial and trade associations and unions, cultural and non governmental organizations and settle with their spouses, children and family in the European capital. Under the capable leadership of Christine Pairon Decoster, the chapter's event manager, an attractive display was set up, consisting of People magazines, albums of PTPI activity photographs, posters, and flyers especially ordered and produced for the occasion. Of the 4,000 visitors, hundreds stopped by. They were invited to "Meet the Belgians," as stated in a special flyer featuring the chapter's busy agenda of social and cultural activities. Four new members were signed up on the spot, and 40 left their e-mail addresses.
Other recent successful events were the Cirque du Soleil Alegria show at Tour and Taxis in Brussels (attended by 25 enthusiastic participants); a visit to the city of Roubaix, France, and of a factory outlet (a bus load of 35 visitors); a Mozart concert at Hotel Astoria; a tour of the Zenith exhibition for seniors; Cole Porter's musical comedy "Anything Goes" at the Brussels International School; a pre-Christmas happening and exposition in the historic city of Bruges and the concert of the Mélodie choir. Cynthia Lewis organized luncheon meetings and represented the Brussels chapter at the PTPE Leadership Seminar in October in Berlin. Visitors from distant countries included Eszter Gombas from Bulgaria, who attended a European youth seminar on intercultural issues in Brussels, and Justyna Pakula from PTPI's Warsaw Chapter, arrived in Brussels to serve as an administrative intern at the European Commission.
An active program of social and cultural events has been drawn up through the first semester of 2007. Aside from the target audience of expatriates arriving in the European capital, PTP Belgium has also undertaken an outreach campaign to youth groups, students, and schools. On December 7, Verena Denk, the PTPI European Youth Director addressed a meeting in Brussels on establishing a youth and/or student chapter.
Greetings to everybody from Cherkasy in the heart of Ukraine. School life goes on and chapter members do not sit idly, but instead are taking part in different activities and starting new projects.
In October, Valerie Ionan and Tanya Pomogaibo became the participants of "State that Hears its Children" National Forum in Kyiv, where, together with other delegates, they held meetings with the members of the Parliament and the representatives of the European Community. Among the problems touched upon during the Forum were: juvenile justice, education access, freedom of speech in Ukraine, school self- and many others.
In November another group of our students went to Kharjiv where they tested themselves in the fifth National Tournament of Young Experts in Civic Education. In the course of hectic debates with their highly learned opponents, our team showed inspiration, persistency and knowledge. We wish all PTPI members good luck, rich and eventful days to come, and fruitful fulfilment of your plans.
Valerie Ionan and Pavlo Svitlychnyy
Chester, United Kingdom
We have had a quiet summer here in Chester. Our new member Naomi Deakin attended the Global Youth Forum in Kansas City - an experience she found rewarding and enjoyable. Naomi financed her trip with several summer holiday jobs, financial help from PTPI and PTPI's Chester Chapter. Also Heather Exell completed a sponsored climb of Sydney Harbour Bridge when attending the 17th Worldwide Conference in August. On return Naomi gave us a most interesting talk about her trip and showed us her photographs and mementos.
On January 21, we have our New Year Lunch and silent Auction when we raise money for our Music Programme. Any visitors would be made most welcome. Andrew and I will be attending the European Conference in May and we look forward to meeting old friends and making new ones.
On behalf of PTPI's Chester Chapter I would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!
In December it is time for writing postcards. First of all I would like to send my best wishes for a peaceful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year to all members through out Europe.
When you read this I will be in Athens, Greece. I am participating in a seminar where PR is the issue. The main theme will be, among others, the organization of street actions, preparation of an informative newsletter, the drafting of a leaflet, the creation of a Web site, photographs for the promotion of events in the Media, writing of information bulletins and press releases and other journalist/media supporting activities. We think it will be an interesting seminar and an opportunity to establish contacts with NGOs. As there will be participants from many countries where PTPI is not represented, it is also an opportunity for us to promote ourselves.
Soon we will write 2007 and new information and exciting activities will be the headlines for the European People to People International family. This year new chapters have started out and it seems the level is pretty high concerning activities and enthusiasm. Good wind to carry on in the months to come. On the Board of PTPI Europe we encourage all chapters to involve themselves with young people and inform about the many programs we have. We need young people to enhance the spirit of PTPI. It is important you look for possibilities instead of boundaries.
Many of us met in Köge, Denmark at the European Conference and again in Sydney, Australia for PTPI's 50th Anniversary. It is always good to talk person-to-person and exchange good ideas. Reading between the lines from the seminar in Berlin in October I think these meetings are revealing the importance of talking and meeting.
Many chapters have long term plans for next year and we hope the 2007 European meeting in Interlaken is of high priority. I know the Interlaken group is working intensely to make an inspiring and interesting weekend for us so please start planning your trip and be alert of the dates for signing up.
Merry Christmas to all of you!
After attending the Leadership Seminar in Berlin, Vasyl Ukhman, the President of PTPI's Galych, Ukraine Chapter, made a short visit in Milan and met with the President of PTPI's Milan Chapter, Valeria Magistrelli. Thank you Valeria for the nice meeting and wonderful city presentation. On November 11 we organized a chapter meeting, where we talked about the Seminar in Berlin, about the cultural and social events in the winter and planned activities for 2007. PTPI's Galych Chapter will have some actions where PTPI activities will be presented.
In our September Newsletter, number 41, we offered something entirely new to replace our monthly meeting at the Bahnhof Restaurant in Interlaken West: An Intensive English Conversation course. It meets every Thursday evening from 7 – 8:30 PM, and is offered free of cost to chapter members as well as families who have hosted homestays in the last three years. Ronnie Blakeney leads the conversational course for ten weeks. The most important aspect of the course is that in these 1½ hours each participant is encouraged to speak as much as possible, and errors are lovingly and gently corrected. Every day topics such as "eating out" - "travel" - "in sickness and in health" and so on make conversation easy and fun. Every now and again, People to People International is also a topic of conversation. Naturally grammatical clarifications and deeper meaning are not ignored, and still, the cheerful mood makes the time fly by.
Our "Stamm" restaurant reserves us a big table and provides personal, friendly service. Other guests, who are sometimes dining in the small room where we meet don't disturb us at all. But sometimes our laughter at funny situations that come up in conversation generates funny looks at all these Swiss people speaking a foreign language.
We expect to offer another 10 week Intensive Course after the winter break. The enthusiasm of the current participants suggests that we may have another little group in spring, perhaps even bigger, with more participants, in the spring.
We remind ourselves once again of the big upcoming event for our chapter: the European Conference here in Interlaken from May 17-20, 2007. As we reported in the September newsletter, the organizational committee has long been involved in preparations. And once again, we remind you to SAVE THE DATE. Shortly we'll have all the important details.
We've recently been informed that our chapter can count on another student group in summer, 2007. Our ten year tradition of finding homestays for student groups continues.
Last spring, a group of students and teachers from the International Boarding School in Mantin Malaysia came for a homestay to our chapter. After their visit, the group was so enthusiastic about PTPI that when they returned to Kuala Lumpur, Ms. Sharifah Nura, at our instigation, founded a new PTPI chapter. We send heartfelt congratulations and a hearty welcome to the new chapter and its members.
Ernest Wälti/Ronnie Blakeney
I think this is the right time of the year to make a summary of our yearly activities and also some good promises for the future! So allow me to write some words about us, PTPI's Milan Chapter, Italy. As you all know, our chapter is not big. Every year we are able to increase the number of members, but at the same time we lose others. So in spite of our efforts, we do not grow consistently. However, in today's world and in a city like ours, where people are in a hurry all the time, it is already a success to be able to keep our number. I must, however, say that I am very proud of all of us because when we have taken up a task, the 2004 Worldwide Conference, or hosting groups or other, I have always found availability beyond my expectation and this is great! And then the members we have are very active! Let me remember some of them!
Chiara Pedretti -all of you know- is always present at official meetings and has also this year during our European Conference and Worldwide Conference in Sydney contributed wonderfully with her great performances! She gave us a great time! For those of you who do not know: She was also selected as Artistic Ambassador and it was in that role that she performed in Sydney! I would like to underline that she takes care of her traveling expenses, her costumes and all that is related, on her own, just for the fun of being with us and performing for us! A deeply felt thank you Chiara!
Manuela Corti -you all read her article about her teaching experience in Romania- made this rewarding experience and made great friends. She hopes to repeat that great experience somewhere else next summer. I do hope she can!
We hosted some single people this year going through Milan. As we had no reques, we didn't host any groups. As for me, I had the incredible experience of giving lectures at Park University in Parkville, Missouri USA, through the activity of the university chapter there and I was there for over two weeks in May, which was the reason why I could not attend the European Conference. However, I knew we were well represented by Chiara and Diana having their performance, presenting our chapter sisterhood and that was all merit of the Leadership Seminar 2005 in Berlin! Thank you Berlin! And let's not forget the charity activity and performances that our chapter and Chiara organize to help different organizations get funds!
In June - July, as in the past 30 years, I led a PTPI group to the States on a PTPI program. Twenty-one students were hosted in families in Lake Forest, Illinois, Santa Ynez, California ( a quite new student chapter and location of our January BOD meeting, where we met extraordinarily active people) and in Scottsdale, Arizona, my old, old, good friends, an incredibly big (over 200 members!), active and always present chapter! My most sincere thanks to all of them!! After our homestays we also took a week's tour through the Canyons' area and we went through the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Lake Powell and the Rainbow Arch, the Arches National Park to Las Vegas. It was an incredible experience for these young people, most of whom are ready to repeat their experience next summer! So we are working on it!
In August three of us were present in Sydney, where I was awarded for my 30 years of activity within PTPI and I also was at two Board of Director's meetings in the course of the year.I am very sad that PTPI's Ravenna Chapter, which contributed very actively and positively for 30 years to the development of our organization, has decided to close because of different kinds of difficulties. As a member of PTPI and a director I want to express my deepest thank you to Mrs. Anna Maria Sartori for all her contributions in the course of her activity and also thank her because she has expressed her will to be available and present should anyone decide to contact her! In spite of whether there is a physical chapter there or not, Mrs. Anna Maria Sartori keeps being in the hearts of all of us who have known and worked with her as PTPI!!!
Thank you Anna Maria!
Great news is that there is a chapter Florence now and we really welcome them! Let me now wish you all who had the patience to read this, a great Christmas Season and to the pleasure of meeting you as soon as possible somewhere!
First of all I let you know that on December 1, the renew PTPI's Narva Chapter visited the Tallinn for a fair. The second event will take place on December 19 in the shelter for kids. The winter camp in Narva- Joesuu is scheduled from December 26 -30.
Beginning in October, PTPI's Pécs Chapter, had its first regular monthly meeting after the summer holiday period. We discussed holding a summer camp at Lake Balaton for young people next year and about the possibility of starting a student chapter. The organizing committee for the "Pécs 2010 - Culture Capital of Europe" project has asked for contribution of ideas for this event. We will actively take part by holding the European Conference in Pécs in 2010, if our suggestion is being accepted by the PTPI European Council.
Julia and Hans Randau were present at the opening of an exhibition about the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian revolution against communism in 1956. They had been invited by the newly elected Mayor of Pécs, Mr. Peter Tasnádi, and had an opportunity of meeting numerous dignitaries. Hans also visited an event organized by BASTEI, a non-for-profit association, keeping in contact the people of Baranya district and the Austrian Steiermark district.
On October 17, our chapter was invited to present itself and PTPI at the local branch of the Club of Budapest. The famous Club of Rome is said to be the predecessor of this world-wide organization. The event gave us a good opportunity to introduce and present PTPI and our local chapter and to many people. We agreed to work together in the future with the president of the local branch, Ms. Dr.Dr. Klára Hajnal.
On October 27, Julia and Hans were present at a reception held by the Honorary Consul of Austria in Pécs, on the occasion of the Austrian National Holiday. Moreover, we participated in a conference on issues concerning non-for-profit organizations, held by the Hungarian Ministry of Social Affairs, in Pécs on November 7.
The YG from the PTPI's Roman Chapter helped the students from Roman Voda National College organize a Halloween Party. The YG has a great experience in organizing Halloween and so they contributed with original ideas and initiatives to the success of the event. The guests were the younger students from the primary school classes of the college who were very enthusiastic and really enjoyed the party. They also offered presents for the five contests organized: the best costume, face painting, apple bobbing, the best pumpkin face and the best classroom decoration. The event was advertised in the local press and television.
Sternberk, Czech Republic
In October we started many projects. First of all we organized the Exchange project "We are going to change the World from Europe – Living Regions." Also, our chapter president Helča Metelková took part in a contact making seminar in Radovljica, Slovenia, "Jump into EVS." The aim of the seminar was to make new contacts for the partners in European voluntary service and new projects. Furthermore she attended the leadership seminar in Berlin together with other European chapter presidents and members of PTPI.
In November, two slideshows took place at Handkeho Galerie in Šternberk. The first one, "Tasmania – the greatest adventure," retraced the trip of two members of PTPI Šternberk In January 2006. Helča Metelková and Petr Blažek had the chance to spend few weeks in the wildlife and beautiful nature of this smallest Australian state. They shared this adventure by presenting their experience. The second slideshow, "Canada – from Vancouver to Yukon," enabled us to hear the wonderful speech of an adventurer, traveler and good friend of our chapter, Patrik Dekan from Slovakia.
Tallinn and Narva, Estonia
At the end of October, the PTPI Tallinn Chapter members met with the PTPI Director of European Operations Lars Poignant in Tallinn. Lars answered many questions about the PTPI Worldwide Conference in Sydney, the PTPI 50th anniversary and plans for the future. Furthermore there was a meeting with students in Narva where Lars Poignant, PTPI's Tallinn Chapter President Ruta Pels, and PTPI's Narva Chapter President Pavel Grigorjev spoke about PTPI and its programs. We hope a student chapter in Narva will be established soon with the help of the Adult Advisor Tamara Tsvetkova.
In November, PTPI's Tallinn Chapter coordinated a Global Education Week in Estonia and sent information about PTPI to 60 schools around Estonia. Ruta Pels participated in few GEW2006 events in Lithuania and made presentations about the PTPI programs in the Ministry of Education, in the international school in Vilnius and in the Klaipeda University. Also she participated in the Round Table of Development NGOs in Estonia. The chapter was invited to be a member of the NGO Estonia platform which will be established soon.
In December, Pavel Smulski from PTPI's Tallinn Chapter participated in the Winter School in the Netherlands, dealing with Migration in Europe. We would like to thank TRIALOG and the Round Table of Development NGOs in Estonia for their support!
From December 23 until January 2, PTPI's Tallinn and Narva Chapters organize a winter camp in Narva-Joesuu for 32 participants - teachers and students from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia (Jekaterinburg).
First of all, we would like to thank all of you, who provided the new chapter in Warsaw with suggestions, experiences about setting up and running a PTPI chapter. We are now glad to announce that the number of our members is increasing.
Our internet platform www.xing.com is now the most active group amongst all the Polish speaking groups on this platform. Indeed our group is accessible to all XING users. On XING we publish all interesting information, invitations and announcements and we warmly encourage the creation of chapters in Poland.
On November 3, three members of the PTPI's Warsaw Chapter attended a whole day seminar for NGOs. We got to know inspiring issues regarding running a NGO, established good relations and found our potential partners for the future cooperation. This is also a good example of the cheap publicity, since we could reach representatives of the domestic community and present our chapter to them.
Downtown Karlstad is now festively decorated with Christmas decorations and twinkling lights. In every home and office window you can see the warm glow of electric candelabras or stars. The Swedish Christmas season goes into full swing starting the first Sunday in December, also known as the First Sunday Advent on December 1, and lasts until Jargoned Knut (Twentieth Day Knut) on January 13. This six-week period is devoted to family, fun and lots of special foods. There is a constant aroma flowing through the air of special Swedish cookies, coffee bread and rolls, pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies) and Luciabullar (Lucia sweet rolls made of with saffron and raisin) being baked in nearly every household. And of course it is a special time to drink special seasonal beverages such as Julmust, Julcider and a glass of hot Glögg, traditionally served with a spoonful of almonds and raisins.
Some of the biggest events during this season in Sweden is Lucia Day (Dec. 13) and, of course, Christmas Eve. Our chapter has planned a very special event to ring in an exciting new year for our members and friends. The "Winter Celebration" will be held on January 3 - and one of the several outdoor activities not to be missed will certainly be ice skating at the new outdoor skating rink! Our annual meeting will also take place afterwards. Whope that many of our members and their friends will take the opportunity to come to Spikgården at Mariebergsskogen in Karlstad. Invitations will be sent out soon.
Some of our members are anxiously waiting to meet other PTPI members during this season. The Marble Family is especially looking forward to their trip to Germany and experiencing some Christmas shopping in Berlin. They will also be attending the Grand Opening at the new PTPE office on Schillerstraße. PTPI Värmland Vice-President, Christina Leander, will be traveling to the far east of China soon to visit some relatives who have recently been transferred from Geneva to Beijing. During the visit, she will also be able to meet with Mr. and Mrs. Aray and Ajay River for a homestay.
While we are looking forward to many things in the near future, I'd like to take this opportunity to mention some coming events and changes that have taken place. First of all, a special warm welcome goes out to our new treasurer Robert Pettersson! Welcome on board!
Our chapter has experienced a fruitful first year, we initiated the Meet the Diplomats Program (you will be able to read about in another article), we took part in three major conferences to date this year and the two most recent highlights include; the Global Youth Forum (GYF) in Kansas City, USA and the Leadership Conference in Berlin. In the last newsletter, we announced that Johanna Uddh was one chosen for the jury panel. Both Johanna and I will share our experiences with our members at a later date.
Thank you, Lars, Verena and Helen for having organized a great leadership conference that we participants can look back with a great smile. I was able to experience my first homestay before and after the conference. It has also enabled me to meet many of the great leaders, and now new-found friends, in our organization within Europe who have given me lots of inspiration. A special thank you to Verena for having chosen a great roommate for meJ.
I would like to send a special Christmas Greeting to Britta and Werner Schultz, Susanne and Björn Truelsen for their incredible hospitality during my homestay and also to PTPI's Berlin Chapter; they also contributed to the success of the leadership conference, headed by Hannelore Büchler and Hans-Dieter Robel.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...but as we say here in Sweden: Vi önskar er alla en God Jul och ett Gott Nytt År!
Antoinette Mc Intyre-Andersson and Pia Hird-Jonasson
Zalishchyky Gymnasium Collaboration is a newly formed student chapter located in the Ternopil Region of Western Ukraine. Founded on September 9, 2006, we started our first conference by informing the members about all the rules of collaboration with PTPI and the history of the global organization.
On September 12 we had our first presentation, "No Terrorism" during which students recited many poems and sang a song "Eternal Flame" by Skip West in memory of the 5th anniversary of September 11, 2001. There was also a contest of pictures. Beth McRae, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine, who works in our Gymnasium, told us about the terrible terrorist attacks. We honored the memory of those who died during that tragedy. Our other meetings had the following discussions. First: How can we manifest ourselves in our Gymnasium, in order to encourage people to work with us? Second: Our participation in the all-Ukrainian project "The world of the Child." And finally: Joining in the international project "Everyone smiles in the same language." In our Gymnasium we carried out "The Day of Ukrainian Traditions." Everyone had to wear the national Ukrainian costume and to decorate the classrooms according to this celebration. Discussions concerning national traditions and customs were really interesting. On October 31 we celebrated "Halloween" with the school's English club according to American and English traditions: tricks, jokes, scary stories, games, candies, apples, juice, and chocolate. The students wore make-up and fancy colored costumes.
Zalishchyky State Gymnasium was originally founded in 1936. Unfortunately it was closed in 1939 by the Soviet administration. Then in 1995 the Gymnasium was reopened with help and support of the Ternopil Region educational authority. The mission of the Gymnasium is to provide deserving young people with the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, so they can become mature, competent, educated, concerned and committed adults. Our chapter would like to build a relationship with the people of other chapters in order to correspond, share ideas, and learn from each other. We welcome everybody to visit our town, which is situated on the beautiful banks of the Dnister River in Western Ukraine!