I hope everyone got home safe and sound from our amazing European Conference in Interlaken, Switzerland. On behalf of the European Executive Committee I would like to extend our gratitude to Ernest and Regina Wälti and their team from the Organizing Committee. We were treated like royalty and the extraordinary sights from the hotel window – just breathtaking. This is a town, where I think many members would love to meet up again soon.
During the Council meeting we selected a new member of the EEC. It is our friend Sorina Danciu from the Roman Chapter in Romania. She has been chapter president since 1998, helped to organize the European Conference in 2003 and just launched a new innovative project in supporting children with Down syndrome and autism. She will be a great enrichment in our team. Welcome!
The venue for the 2008 European Conference will be Rimini and the Eastern Coast of Italy. Thank you Valeria Magistrelli and Chiara Pedretti for coping with this task. We all remembered what a wonderful job they did in 2004 when hosting the worldwide conference in Baveno, Italy.
As part of the Awards Committee of PTPI, I am proud to notice many nominations with interesting projects that our European membership is involved in. During the Trustees Meeting in September in Berlin we will honor a record number of you. I hope that you all plan on taking part.
Since April of last year we have added 26% new members in Europe for a total of 1.314. We have added seven new chapters this past year, and during the Conference in Interlaken we just chartered a new one in Moldova. Welcome to our family!
During the conference weekend in Interlaken we also had our second annual Trustee Meeting in conjunction with the European Conference. We are currently 36 valued trustees in Europe, with 18 of them present in Switzerland. We hope that the other half will take the opportunity to visit Berlin for the Annual Board of Trustees Meeting in September. It is a unique opportunity to meet trustees, directors and fellow members. Last time we had this possibility was in Baveno in 2004 and before that it was Aalborg, Denmark and also one in connection with the worldwide Conference in Chester, England back in 1998. So the opportunity to meet twice is quite unique!
I'm just off to our next meeting with the Board of Directors in Kansas City, USA. I will have the distinct pleasure of meeting all the staff at World Headquarters. I am proud of the energy they spread around the globe. For us in Europe it wouldn't be the same without Lars Poignant and Verena Denk at the office in Berlin. We thank you both for the enormous help you give us all. Many of us call or E-mail you often – and we always get a prompt reply whether it is during the week or on weekends, morning or evening. You two are a great team!
I hope that all of you have a great upcoming summer filled with PTPI activities. I would love it if you drop me a line and tell me about them. Wishing you a great summer and hope to see you all in Berlin, I remain,
Your humble friend,
Rolf G Dahlberg, President of PTPI's European Council
Le Vent Mongol Blew in France
From July 29 to September 2, 2006 PTPI's Angoulême Chapter organised the exhibition "Le Vent Mongol" in the very old castle of Saint-Auvent, France.
The exhibition showed around 100 art works of 15 Mongolian artists.
Time and space impose limitations on people. However the need for "saying and expressing" of human beings is stronger and creating bridges between civilizations is essential. Artists have this amazing capacity to juggle with the centuries, to give us access to yesterday's civilisations through today's communication means. With the language of art, it is possible to outmatch time and space, which limit communication between civilisations. Eyes and ears let hearts speak.
This project was exactly what we wanted to realize when we (Annick Debien, Graziella Quéron and Bayanjargal Moldoi) met in Baveno in October, 2004.
During two years we gathered the strength of the two chapters (Angoulême in France and Niislel in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) and worked really hard on this project. This partnership gave birth to a marvelous exhibition, which shows how artists coming from a very far country and a very different culture can work today, and express our common contemporary surroundings. It was also an opportunity to discover how people are very close to each other, jumping over the borders with the new means of communications.
Two hundred and fifty people attended the opening ceremony. We could share this great moment with Mr. Altangerel, the Mongolian Ambassador in Paris, and Mary Eisenhower. Then more than 2500 people visited the exhibition!
Mary Eisenhower was cheerfully welcome by the Lord Mayor of Saint-Auvent, Mr. le sous-Préfet of Haute-Vienne and many authorities. She was officially invited by Mr. Richard Jezierski, the director of the Museum of Remembrance and The Village of Remembrance of Oradour-sur-Glane. This village had been destroyed in June, 1944 by the Nazis. All the women and the children of this village were burnt in the church and the men were shot against the walls of the houses. Mary Eisenhower met Mr. Marcel Darthout, one of the two escaped men, and of course it was a very emotional moment. Mary could see how her grandfather was always very alive in all the memories. She really felt very proud to say that through her work and all PTPI's work, we enhance our motto: Peace through Understanding.
Many articles in the newspapers related the visit of Mary in our region, and there was a photo of Mary visiting Oradour-sur-Glane on the first page of "Le Populaire" and interviews on TV.
This has been a great moment indeed. The joy to share the meals in the old yard of the castle protected by walls more than 900 years old, the pleasure to be together and the fun to hear from Pierre Debien, that Louis XIV's mistress Mme de Montespan had spent a night in this castle; all those souvenirs remain alive in our memories...
Link to the exhibition: www.chateaudesaintauvent.com
Magic Moment in Plovdiv– Seminar against Racism
May 1 - 5 PTPI's Plovdiv Chapter in Bulgaria organized a youth seminar "How to Move Forward?" against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance: The seminar was part of the European Youth Campaign for Diversity, Human Rights and participation "All different, All equal."
The main aim of this Youth Seminar was to promote tolerance between the different ethnic groups on the Balkans and to combat the racism and xenophobia, which are one of the main problems in the region.
Thirty motivated leaders, NGO representatives and other multipliers for future programs, aged between 18 and 30, came from 13 countries to practice various techniques and methods to raise their awareness of discrimination and xenophobia. They shared their experiences of understanding the consequences of human rights violations. Zina Lubenova and Stoyka Bakalova of the chapter organised the seminar.
Jovanna Arandjelovic from Serbia tells her experience from the seminar:
There is a famous joke in ex-Yugoslavian countries: "There were two Serbs, two Croatians and two Bosnians in the train compartment..." But in this case, this wasn't a joke. The six of us really travelled back home from Plovdiv in the same train, and I was the first one to get off. It was one of those moments when you would like to forget about your work, your duties and have all the time in this world to stay even only a couple of hours more with your new friends. This only reflects the climate and the nature of relations that were created during the PTPI seminar in Plovdiv. The organization was really great; the program of the seminar outstanding and quite useful. The workshop trainers, besides being very enthusiastic, showed an immense level of knowledge and skillfulness in group work and inspired us to look into our souls, our psyche, and to explore many new things (Plovdiv being one of them) :)
Anyway, the experience was precious, especially my first singing in the Karaoke bar. Of course, I consider the knowledge gained in the seminar very useful and applicable in my future work. As my friend Didi (who I met during this seminar) would say, "It was a magic moment." I would just add "these were five days of magic!"
Danes in South Africa!
11.000 km straight south of Denmark... For the first time ever a Danish People to People-group of 22 participants went to Cape Town and the Western Cape for two weeks in March, and had a fantastic time.
PTPI's Haderslev – Vojens Chapter members, with Trustee Anna Marie Bohsen as tour leader, were very eager to make this trip come true. She started out more than three years ago. At first I think, Anna Marie shocked the chapter president when she asked for possible homestays. Normally, South Africans meet visitors at the airport and perhaps there will be a dinner at a hotel but a homestay is not that common in South Africa. In the end Anna Marie's persistence was rewarded and we had two homestays. One in Bot River where David and Nicholene Hartnick organized family, friends and neighbours to host the Danes - and one in Sedgefield where Dudley and Gail Powers took care of us: two warm hearted and very impressive experiences.
Besides visiting many of the famous places like Table Mountain, Cape Peninsula, Cape of Good Hope, and Robben Island, we went along the Garden Route to George, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay - We learned a lot about daily life in a very different community and I think on "both sides" a lot of prejudices were lain down during these days. Especially among the Danes we were amazed how generous and warm-hearted South African people are. Even the ones, who have only very little themselves, try to help and support those who have nothing.
A lot of projects are run by local organisations. "Spirit of Africa" for example tries to keep young people away from crime and drugs by giving a routine to their life. A good and healthy breakfast, daily activities and sports, are some of the aspects they support. So called "tunnel-projects," where women grow vegetables to sell on the market, is another program for local people. So much charity from the bottom of the people's heart was the most amazing thing to see.
Our first homestay was in Bot River. It is a small village, with approximately 4,000 inhabitants. Aunts, uncles, cousins and friends hosted us 22 Danes. We really enjoyed the hospitality and the heartwarming welcoming. Homestays are like a fairy tales, you really feel the "spirit" of People to People.
We enjoyed delicious food, cooked on the open fire. While nibbling fresh bread and sipping good wines, we sang the songs from the Beatles, old English sailor songs and finally "Auld Lang Syne." With the stars right above our heads it all seemed so peaceful.
We met the neighbor's daughter, who lost four upper front teeth. Her parents are working part time in the apple factory and cannot afford to buy her new ones. Anna Marie and I donated money to the dentist's bank account, and when she finishes school and – hopefully – will start to look for a trainee job to become a nurse, we think it will be better for her with the teeth.
The fee we paid to the chapter in Bot River, another part of the fee was donated to a volunteer project, where engaged parents are trying to keep children out of drugs and gangs. They set up drama classes, singing and handicraft courses, all very good programs for the kids. When we visited the school, more than 40 children were waiting eagerly to entertain us.
Their little performance gave us a perfect glimpse of their daily life in the families! Many of the Danes had tears in their eyes when the kids sang the South African National Anthem. They were so proud and had really spent a lot of time to rehearse and prepare. When we sang the Danish National anthem, I had tears in my eyes when I looked at their happy faces.
We were warmly received in Sedgefield by our new hosts. Most of the homes are situated at a lagoon very close to the Indian Ocean.
Every morning, at noon and for an afternoon snack, volunteers came to the settlement and gave food to the children. In the informal settlement we met the sweetest small children running up to us. A little girl took one of the men, Jan, by the hand and just followed him, a little girl came running and gave me a hug, and a small boy "little Devil" (in Afrikaans) was asked to ring the bell to announce the morning meal. They loved the attention and devotion they probably do not get every day. Even though the children had no toys, computers, televisions or cell phones they were happy and glad. We brought paper, pencils and crayons for the little house the Sedgefield Chapter has built in the settlement. They need the house when the rain sets in. The fee we paid was donated to the house, and they bought small chairs and tables in happy colors.
I would wish I could participate more often.
Gunild Bogdahn and Anna Marie Bohsen
Céret Chapter – We're Going to Go African for a While!!
Anne Hawksworth of PTPI's Céret Chapter brought a group of high school students from France to Kenya.
Once again our destination for our annual trip was the African continent .We advertise in the paper but most of our participants are students at the High School Deodat de Severac. Christine Vicens, who accompanied us, is an active member of the chapter and helped to organise the excursions.
We were welcomed at Mombassa International School by the principal, who had visited us last year and had asked for an exchange program with his school. He introduced us to Steve Kirby, the recently employed French teacher. He explained how he came to Mombassa and why he is so happy to be here.
The children do not take an education for granted. The classes are quite small, with seven or eight pupils mixed ages and levels. The classrooms are open, facing the lawn and a small swimming pool. Unfortunately, he only earns one fifth of the salary in France!
As it was the last day before Easter holidays, there was a special assembly with sketches, songs and a welcome speech for us. This would never happen in France. Afterwards, we went to meet our host mums and families!
One of us actually lived in a house right next to the ocean and the lady promised to take us to a tribal wedding. During the next days we went horse riding, swimming, and we got to know a lot about the country and its citizens. Most of the things were really new and sometimes a bit scary for us, but in the end we had a wonderful time with great people around us.
|June 30 - July 1||Visit Görlitz by train. Day trip to Zgorzelez, Berlin||Dagmar Schönbeck|
|July 3||Annual recital of music exchange programme, Chester||Peter Whitby|
|July 4||Visit of Ancient Technics Museum Grimbergen, Brussels||Blanche Decoster-Peycker|
|July 7||Visit of Old Belgian Mustard Factory in Jambes, Brussels||Blanche Decoster-Peycker|
|July 9 – 21||PTPI GYF Humanitarian Conference - Warsaw - Krakow - Prague||PTPI World Headquarters|
|July 29 - August 7||Summer Camp "East meets West" at Lake Balaton, Hungary||www.ptppecs.hu/SummerCamp|
|May 1-5||"How to move forward" international youth seminar against racism for 18-30 year olds in Plovdiv, Bulgaria||Zina Lubenova|
|July 30 - August 5||PTPI European Youth Forum, 'All Different, All Equal', An Approach to Tolerance||PTPI European Office|
|August 1||Visit of L'Eau d'Heure Lake and Aquarium, Brussels||Blanche Decoster-Peycker|
|August 11||Interlaken, Switzerland – All Swiss meeting||Ernest Wälti|
|August 6||Visit to the Horticulture Gardens of Laeken, Brussels||Blanche Decoster-Peycker|
|August 25-26||Visit to the new chapter in Hannover, Berlin||Hans Dieter Robel|
|August 31||Visit of Notre Dame de la Rose Church, Brussels||Blanche Decoster-Peycker|
|September 2||Hike along the waterways of the old port of Brussels||Blanche Decoster-Peycker|
|September 5||Visit of Van Buuren Art Museum and Open Air Garden, Brussels||Blanche Decoster-Peycker|
|September 9||International Floral & Plant Show, Castle and Park, Brussels||Blanche Decoster-Peycker|
|September 27-29||PTPI Board of Trustees Meeting in Berlin||PTPI European Office|
|November 7-11||PTPI Global Youth Forum, Chicago||PTPI World Headquarters|
|December 6-16||PTPI Peace Camp, Egypt||PTPI World Headquarters|
|December 7-18||PTPI Global Peace Initiative, Egypt||PTPI World Headquarters|
|May 2008||PTPI's European Conference, Rimini, Italy||PTPI European Office|
PTPI held its European Conference in Swiss Interlaken. This time the conference spanned from Thursday to Sunday and was attended by more than 130 participants.
- There were three optional tours on Thursday organised by local members.
- The YG Dinner was held in Daniel's window factory. Together with Marie-Anne and Susanne, Daniel organised the party for 60 young-at-heart participants.
- For the first time we had participants from Serbia and Moldova.
- At the Friday Trustee meeting, 23 trustees and 11 guests discussed how to develop the potential that the trustees have and PTPI in Europe.
- Urs Graf, Mayor of Interlaken, greeted the conference delegates on Friday evening.
- During the conference local music was offered such as Alphorn, yodelling and a chapter choir.
- New Youth Coordinating officer is Sorina Danciu, Roman (Romania).
- New membership fee: Beginning in 2008, the chapter membership fee will be three euro per year for adult chapters and two euro for student and university chapters.
- The council recommended that future conference fees should not exceed 110 euro, 1-5 star hotels should be offered and that it should take place off exam periods enabling young people to participate.
- A new chapter was welcomed: PTPI's Chisinau (Moldova) Chapter.
- The next European Conference will be held in May, 2008 in Rimini, Italy.
- Pictures, minutes and a list of participants are available at the conference Web site: www.ptpe.org/interlaken2007.
Thank you Ernest and Regina Wälti – and the local organising committee for an excellent program!
Liz and I were delighted and deeply touched by the kind greetings and good wishes from so many friends at the Interlaken meeting. It helped us to feel part of what everyone has told us was a great occasion for PTPI Europe and knowing we have so many friends who care about us is a great comfort. We send our thanks and very best wishes to everyone.
Homestay in Egypt
PTPI's Pharoahs of Peace Chapter in Cairo, Egypt would like to host some university students for a culture/homestay week in Egypt this or coming summer. Please contact PTPI.
Vaslui – Membership Increase
PTPI's Vaslui (Romania) Chapter reported a steady membership increase from 40 members in March to 107 members today. Very impressive! Congratulations!
New and Closed Chapters
We welcome two new chapters: PTPI's Durham Chapter in England and PTPI's Chisinau Chapter in Moldova. Durham is our second university chapter in Europe and Chisinau is the first chapter in Moldova. The following chapters have been closed: Omsk (Russia), Sibiu (Romania) and Burgas (Bulgaria).
YG Program Opportunity
PTPI Chapters in Europe may apply for assistance for programs aimed for Young Generation members (18-30 years old). Chapters are encouraged to outline programs aiming to increase cooperation between the members of PTPI's Young Generation and/or increasing membership for 18-30 year olds. The project should also be in accordance with PTPI's mission statement and beliefs. The first deadline is July 10. Please contact PTPI's European office or visit: www.ptpe.org/yg20007.
Global Youth Forum – Scholarships
High school students (14-18 years old) may apply to serve as part of the Student Panel at PTPI's Global Youth Forum (GYF). If accepted the student will receive a full tuition scholarship to the 2007 GYF in Chicago, USA (November 7-11). The scholarship will cover travel, lodging, food and activities. For more information, please contact PTPI or visit: www.ptpe.org/gyf2007.
Three PTPI members have been selected and will this summer participate in the Council of Europe sponsored language programs.
|Diana Belan||Moscow, Russia||French|
|Razvan Tofan||Roman, Romania||Italian|
|Aura Apetrei||Iasi, Romania||Italian|
Global Youth Service Day
The Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is the largest annual celebration of young volunteers, where millions of young people in countries worldwide. PTPI's Student Chapters have participated in the program. Here are reports from the four European Student Chapters.
PTPI's Vaslui Mihail Kogalniceanu Student Chapter (Romania) teamed up with volunteers from a local Economic College and planted 100 trees around the college on hilly slopes to prevent erosion. The chapter promoted the event through local media and articles were published in a local school magazine and Web site. Eighteen chapter members took part in this event!
PTPI's Sternberk Chapter (Czech Republic) held a "Cleaning of the Forest" activity. The adult chapter is composed of adults and students alike and the youth took the lead for this hands-on activity. Twelve volunteers collected more than 100 tires and 24 plastic bags of trash.
PTPI's Zalishchyky Student Chapter (Ukraine) held four major projects for GYSD. The first was called, "How to Protect Our Earth." Projects included clean ups in parks, gardens, streets, and around historical monuments. Students also prepared an exhibition of photos taken during hiking to capture the beauty of nature. The second project was focused on National Traditions. Students received recipes of different Ukrainian food dishes, danced to traditional Ukrainian songs, and viewed traditional Ukrainian pottery. For the third project, students continued their dedication to a local orphanage, taking an interest in the children's lives and making friends with them. Activities included solving riddles, reading fairy tales, and playing sports. Finally, students heard from physicians who presented information about drugs and alcohol and the harmful effects on the body. Fourteen chapter members teamed with hundreds of students and adults from the Red Cross and the Ecological Club to carry out these wonderful activities.
PTPI's Oroslavje EAGLES Student Chapter (Croatia) taught younger students how to protect the environment. The younger students were happy to have students as teachers for a day! Student chapter members showed students several pictures of environmental catastrophes and students then worked together to produce posters with environmentally friendly mottos. The chapter also teamed with PTPI's Vaslui Mihail Kogalniceanu Student Chapter to plant an elm tree together as a symbol of all the Slavic people and as a symbol of their friendship. Chapter members and students concluded the day by singing, "Save the Planet." Thirty four chapter members took part in this wonderful event! Chapter members plan to continue to keep the school garden clean and take plastic bottles for recycling.
In January, PTPI's Brussels Chapter organized rescue courses for its members and friends. Many of them got the rescue certificate. We congratulate them!
On February 16 the chapter celebrated its 38th anniversary. It was a great opportunity to gather and to have a great anniversary dinner. It was also an occasion to think about what has been done in 38 years and to prepare the future. The chapter is closely linked to the European construction and will try to pursue its goal, which is to enhance the intercultural understanding.
PTPI's Brussels Chapter is also deeply saddened to announce the passing of Lucienne de Vries, a long time member of our PTPI family. Lucienne had gone through World War II and had committed to resistance against Nazism. Later on she travelled a lot and told her experiences during amazing lectures.
The chapter would also like to thank Tom Korologos and his wife, who return in the USA after having served as American ambassador in Belgium. They are sharing PTPI values and they participated in many of PTPI's activities.
The last three months were very busy in our chapter. On March 8, we had our yearly gathering in the town hall Wedding. (Wedding is the name of a part of Berlin).
At the end of April, Katerina Romanova, a member of PTPI's Kharkiv Chapter, who is currently living in Germany, came to Berlin. We went for a long sightseeing tour around Alexander Platz, we had a brunch with members and friends and we visited all five museums on the Museums Island.
In April, we had the second guided tour through the Tempelhof airport building. Thirty members and friends joined the tour.
The first highlight this year was our trip to Warsaw for five days. We really were a big group: about 16 participants. The new chapter in Warsaw had done a very good job. They prepared a varied program for us: the 30th floor viewing terrace in the Palace of Culture and Science, where one can see how large and green Warsaw is. Karin Lehmann from the chapter relates: "Andrzej Rejman brought us to the uprising museum. This was a very intense experience since Andrzej's mother was involved in Warsaw's uprising in 1944 and we are Germans. We also visited the Memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes and the Umschlagplatz. Along this path of suffering and death over 300.000 Jews were in 1942-43 driven out from Warsaw Ghetto to the gas chambers of the Nazi extermination camps. We had friendly and helpful hosts. It really makes all the difference to one's impression of a place and its people if one is welcomed and cared for."
Britta and Werner Schulze enjoyed the concert in the Philharmonic hall. "What happened was amazing: acoustic brilliant we heard first by W.A. Mozart "Missa brevis", followed by Beethoven's "Fifth piano concert." Beethoven would have taken pleasure in that!!! The special broad spectrum was to be seen after the interval, because now music by modern Polish composers followed and music by Duke Ellington. There was given nearly endless applause in the overcrowded hall (many visitors had to stand during the concert). We too were enthusiastic about an outstanding evening."
The chapter would like to take the chance in this newsletter and say thanks again for all the good things PTPI's Warsaw Chapter did for us. We really had a wonderful time together!
On May 12 was a European Festival in Friedrichstraße. We had a booth during this event and the opportunity to talk to visitors and to present our PTPI brochures.
Of course the biggest event in May was the European Conference in Interlaken. Eight members from Berlin joined this meeting. It was great for all of us to meet new and old friends from different chapters in Europe and also some visitors from America. We all enjoyed the meeting. The Swiss committee had done a very good job! After the conference, Peter and I had the chance to stay in Bönigen together with Regina and Ernest. They showed us the beautiful Brienzer See and also other places in their neighbourhood.
Back in Berlin, 15 members and friends went on June 2 by train to Wismar. A guide was waiting for us and showed us the city. After a good meal in an old historical restaurant we took the chance and made a short trip by boat through the harbour.
The next great event will be PTPI's Board of Trustees Meeting in September. We are looking forward to have lots of guests from all around the world in our city. Are you coming, too?
The car broke down and the toaster blew up: But it was great fun!
First of all it was great to see you all again at the European conference. I really did try to get some of the members of my chapter to come, but they were too busy. Still, they promised to come next year for sure, and to help out if we should host the conference next year. As I have said before, the people here are great at hosting people, but not so good at being mobile! Especially the men, boys and sons! They sort of never leave their Mediterranean mothers!
Our chapter hosted a group of eleven sixth graders from Stockport near Manchester. We encouraged them to do a real exchange with us and join PTPI. In the mornings we had breakfast in school all together. This was a possibility for the group to get to know other people apart from their hosts. French lessons were organised at Promolangues, from time-to-time we did some sightseeing, bowling session in Argelles and national dishes were part of the program.
Cherkasy - Light the Way SC, Ukraine
We are happy to find ourselves in the warm company of "People to People International" members and to share our impressions about the latest projects and activities, which were recently carried out in our high school.
First of all I would like to mention a theatrical performance, which was prepared by our chapter members for the International Water Day on March 22. There was a fashion show and a fairy tale together with a number of pictures and posters dedicated to ecological problems. The show took place in the City Hall. Our team won the contest and got an invitation to take part in the National Ecological Conference.
On April 22 we traditionally marked Earth Day. Chapter members and volunteers collected 291 kilo of PET-bottles and 5.168 kilo of waste paper. The money was spent on the creation of the waste collector site for the neighborhood.
Another important point of our work was the Day of Europe on May 19. Our students organised a poll: "Is it necessary for Ukraine to Join European Community" among our city residents. The others made a quiz-show for our high school students, "The way we are informed about Europe." Some chapter members read lectures in junior forms "What European countries do you know?" It was really fascinating for everybody.
Finally, we would like to send our greetings to other chapters and the coordinators' team. May all your dreams come true and have a good rest this summer!
PTPI's Chester Chapter held its annual general meeting in February 2007. The Deputy Lord Mayor and a representative of the Embassy of the USA were expected.
Apart from the usual financial report and the election of the new Officers and the new Board of Management, PTPI's Chester Chapter's activities were discussed. PTPI's Chester Chapter is really involved in the Chester – Lakewood Music Scholar Exchange and the Lakewood Sister City Program. People to People Europe and People to People International activities were, of course, also discussed.
A few days ago, here in Durham/UK, we witnessed an amazing rainbow. Just like the rainbow, PTPI Europe brings together all the colors of the world. I am glad and honored, as the president of PTPI Durham Chapter, to be part of PTPI's shiny rainbow that bridges cultures across the world. We are a new PTPI chapter based in a small town called Stockton-on-Tees. We share a rich history with the City of Durham and its famous Cathedral. Like all the PTPI Chapters, we are very international with members coming from Lebanon, Malaysia, Kashmir, Mauritius, India, Italy, Hong Kong, Zimbabwe and Iraq. We are very keen to bring internationalism at our university and in Stockton to a higher level through several projects like the Multicultural Schools Project and the Kaleidoscope Arts Competition. All our members are very enthusiastic about cooperating with chapters in Europe and Worldwide, and we are hoping to organize various cultural events and fairs! PTPI Durham is looking forward to meeting all of you and working together!!
The 2007 European Conference wrapped up a few weeks ago, and still there are a few things left to do... namely, I'd like to thank all the sponsors who donated money and helped us keep our costs down, and to thank several firms who provided natural products from the region. Thanks to them we were able to create unique recognition prizes.
We're also in the process of answering those many friends who sent us e-mails and gave us feedback about the conference. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who came to Interlaken and participated in the conference, which was long in the planning and preparation stages. We learned it is definitely worth it to start a great event early!
We are also happy to report no major problems – such as accident or illness – and we were very lucky concerning the weather (with the exception of one rainy Thursday). Only one week later, on Sunday, May 27, we got not only rigorous rain, but also snow, even down in Interlaken!
We were also pleased to have the conference covered by two local newspapers, despite the many other big events in town that weekend. We hope all the participants enjoyed local sightseeing as much as we enjoyed showing them, and that everyone came away a little wiser from the lively European quiz competition!
This upcoming weekend the whole organising team will be invited – with their partners and children – to a thank you brunch. We plan to exchange experiences and impressions and, of course, all the photos taken by several of our members.
The chapter's next challenge is to organise 22 homestay places for a group of 38 Student Ambassadors and four teachers coming to our region in the middle of July. A special social event is planned for the last morning of the stay: We'll form a students' choir and give a concert with songs in English and in our native dialect at a home for elderly people.
In addition to this, it is our turn this year to organise a meeting with all Swiss PTPI Chapters on August 11. We expect to meet 30-40 members from Bern, Zürich, Interlaken and, hopefully, Freiburg, as well. This will give us another important chance to discuss PTPI programs, projects and, if any, problems.
All in all, we are grateful for a successful conference and look forward to our upcoming events.
Ernest Wälti and Claudia Mariani
The anniversary of our chapter is on April 26. For this reason we had a meeting on this day at our school. So, this was our first chapter meeting of the year. We presented the happenings of the previous year with a Power Point presentation. By the way, the presentation was done by our students who proved excellent skills in computer knowledge. The senior students also presented a logo they've developed for our chapter. After that we had elections of officers and new board members said a few words to introduce themselves. We planned some activities for the year, and started to implement!
All the year we have been learning about other countries in Europe and it was important for us to know where we are now in our knowledge, so we decided to take part in a brain ring game "Do You Know Europe?" held on May 15 together with the other schools of the city. We had a great success there and took the 1st place!
May 17 was full of events. We took part in two activities at a time. Some PTPI members presented our work at the City Democracy Center. At the same time, some of our students took part in a local TV program "Dialogues about School" devoted to the journalism profession. Our students were invited because journalists from a local TV studio called "ОТБ" found out that our school had invited American journalists to share their experience with students. Children were very interested in the profession; they tried to write articles and took the first place in the City Journalist Contest among Kharkiv schools.
May 31 is a school holiday for us. We congratulate those who are graduating from school this year and awarded the best students. By now, almost all teachers and students got together with a large number of guests who were present. We invited Dzegosh Scherochinski, the Consul General of Polish Republic in Kharkiv, to visit the concert. He congratulated the students concerning the end of school year and wished them nice vacations.
The adult advisor, Katerina Romanova, participated in PTPI's European Conference in Interlaken. She was the only participant from the Ukraine there. Katerina presented our chapter activities, made new friends and brought a lot of nice pictures from the conference.
Now we plan to organize a summer school camp for gifted children June 1-21. Various competitions, games, festivities and excursions together with Arts and English language classes are planned for children. Also taking part in the European Youth Forum July 30 – August 5, is a very important event for us because Irina Minkovskaya, a member of our chapter, is invited there. We also plan to strengthen our relationship with Poland through various activities, beginning in September.
Fifteen members of our chapter gathered at the last meeting held on April 5. A report was given by Vice-chairwoman Anikó Bedekovits-Garami about the trip to Veszprém, when six of our members visited the new Hungarian chapter there. Everybody enjoyed the trip, and they agreed that there will be a visit from Veszprém to Pécs later this year. Hans Randau spoke about upcoming events, such as the English language summer camp "East meets West" for youth ages 13-16 at Lake Balaton from July 29 – August 7. There will be 20 participants from Russia, Ukraine, France, Hungary, Poland, Albania, Sweden and Slovakia.
Three members from our chapter participated in the European Conference in Interlaken, where we could present ourselves at the chapter fair, meet old friends and establish new contacts. Thanks to the organizers!
In Pécs, we were able to establish new relations with the city council and the committee preparing the European Culture Capital project for 2010. Antal Erdősi, Julia Randau and Gergely Kiss took part in different training courses organized by NGOs in our city.
The chapter also hosted visitors from PTPI's Arizona Chapter on June 7. The group had visited the Warsaw (Poland), Gliwice (Poland) and Šternberk (Czech Republic) chapters before, and stayed with their Hungarian hosts for three days before departing to Veszprém and Budapest. The Pécs chapter members welcomed the American guests on the occasion of their annual summer barbecue with a typical Hungarian "gulyás" and took them on a sightseeing tour of the ancient city of Pécs on the mini train. They were later greeted at the International House by Councilman Gábor Fuchs, chairman of the city's committee on relations with non-for-profit organizations, who spoke about the project of Pécs being the European Culture Capital in 2010, when the chapter plans to hold PTP Europe's annual conference. Zsuzsa Nagy, representing the American Corner, gave an introduction to this institution, and Nóra Czvikli informed the visitors about the city's international contacts.
Also on the agenda were a day excursion to the nearby lakes of Orfű, including a visit to the old mill and the exhibitions of ancient bread baking ovens, scare crows, and a former Hungarian farm house. A common lunch was taken at one of the scenic garden restaurants, called "csárda."
The farewell party then took place in Pécs at Magdi's "mystery garden" where the guests once again tasted Hungarian drinks from water to wine, and food from "pogácsa" to "zsiros kenyér" (bread, butter and vegetables).
Hans G. Randau
Sternberk, Czech Republic
On March 24, PTPI's Šternberk Chapter had its traditional event: Welcoming of the Spring. Children and their parents and all PTPI interested people were gathered. We welcomed springtime by going for a long walk through nature, fields, forests walking and the very beautiful region of North Moravia. Further we visited the historical Sovinec Castle.
In March we also had a great presentation of Iceland with a slideshow made by one of our member and traveller Petr Blažek. He told us his adventurous trip around Iceland. More than 30 people came to Šternberk Gallery to see his beautiful pictures.
In April, our chapter heard the Calling of the Forest. "Come and help us to clean our mess in our forest!" was our motto. Twelve enthusiastic volunteers came to help. We collected more than 100 tires and 24 big plastic bags full of rubbish. Can you imagine how sad we felt about "the human being" and all the stupid things that humans do – and which destroys everything important and beautiful around us? We thank so much everybody who came and helped us, and wish to all nice and respectful walks in our beautiful forests.
In May, we had our Waterfall II event. Rafting on the Morava River was one of the main activities that we did with our friends from New Zealand. Yvonne and John Gibb came from Hastings to visit central European countries. Another 23 enthusiastic people joined to spend the day on the rubber boats. We enjoyed every moment even when the weather was capricious: lovely sunny moments, heavy rain showers and even gusts of wind came along.
This year, the traditional celebration of Children's day, Cylindr, started one day before and finished two days after June 2, (the real celebration day). We were hosting our visitors from PTPI's Arizona Chapter in USA. Friday afternoon was the day of arrival. Our friends spent some relaxing time in their host families and in the late afternoon we walked together to see the best of our historical part of Šternberk. The sightseeing in the Augustinian monastery was so exciting. We started in the cellars and each floor of the monastery had something to show. As a gift and surprise for our guests a Vocalic group gave a concert for the group. Saturday morning brought us some new experiences during the meeting with the Mayor of Šternberk, Mr. Jaromír Sedlák, in the city council. Before noon we prepared the program for the Cylindr celebration and at two o'clock in the afternoon we started with the games and competitions for adults and children. The "Multi-cultural" program was led by Honza (John). Honza travelled around the world. He visited Poland, Spain, Australia, America and came to the Czech Republic. All countries welcomed him; local people taught him their traditional greetings, songs, dance and their national flag. Our friends from PTPI Arizona prepared a really great program and everybody enjoyed it. Saturday night was a folk music party. Everybody was singing together "Žamboši" and tasted "Slivovice," the great Czech plum brandy. Sunday was the special program in the host families, some of us went to the Šternberk castle, old town, castle of Helfštýn, the others went to see the European Championship in the uphill fast cars racing "Ecce Homo," which is held every year in June in Šternberk. Monday morning a group of eight Americans and four Czechs visited the UNESCO city of Olomouc. There was a lot to see, but not much time left. After lunch we just said "Good-bye" at the railway station and hopefully to meet you all one day in Arizona. Best wishes to all!
We would like to invite you to visit our beautiful country – the Czech Republic - and we can offer you a homestay in Šternberk or in the very close region (Olomouc – the cultural heritage city, Jeseníky Mountains with the highest peak Praděd, Orlické Mountains, Beskydy Mountains and other places).
After attending the European Conference, we offered Marsha Wallace of California a homestay for three days. Thereafter Annick and Pierre Debien (PTPI's Angoulême Chapter) visited Tallinn and met with Mark Soosaar, MP and director of the Estonian Modern art museum, for the opening ceremony "Women and Men" in Viljandi and Pärnu. Pierre is invited to participate to this exhibition and to organise workshops next year. We also met the artist Oleg Vysotski in his gallery and visited Tauno Kangro and some Russian art galleries. Moreover we went to see the Art Academy, the KUMU art museum.
It is with great pleasure of announcing some upcoming events that our chapter will be arranging or chapter members will be taking part:
Congratulations to the following chapter members: Our Vice-President, Anika Bergman, who has been selected to serve as one of the 50 American and International delegates to a once-in-a-lifetime event Egypt at Peace Camp 2007: An Evolution of Thought in Action.
A couple of our youngest members Jacob and his friend, Alexander, who will participate in the PTPI's Pécs Hungary Chapter youth program: "East meets West" at Lake Balaton, Hungary.
Our chapter plans for a new Meet the Diplomats program later this year. PTPI Värmland Chapter has had the honor of hosting our first International homestay guests: Mr. Bob Mc Gee from California and Mr. and Mrs. Bowen Tucker from Illinois.
Bob Mc Gee was welcomed into the Melin and Bengtsson families. On the sixth of June was Sweden's national day and together with lots and lots of other attendants, PTPI members gathered together with friends and family at the museum park in Karlstad. Bob was our special guest. It was a warm, sunny day, perfect for a nice picnic and together we had a lovely lunch in the grass. During Bob's visit, he was even interviewed in a portrait article by one of the local newspapers where he was able to share his dramatic experiences as one of the captured WWII paratroopers and war veterans from the 82nd Airborne Division.
Thank you to Ingela and Lage Tedenby for welcoming Bowen and Jan Tucker in to their home. During the Tucker's visit, they had the opportunity to do some genealogical research at one of the biggest archives, the Kinship Center, as some of Jan's Swedish ancestors were several of many thousands of Swedes that emigrated to the U.S. in the late 1800's. Of course, it is worth mentioning that Jan's ancestors came from a small community in Värmland!
We hope Bob Mc Gee and Bowen and Jan Tucker have had an enjoyable and enriching time in Sweden, and that they will visit again. They are welcomed to visit us again in Sweden, Värmland and Karlstad.
As we say here in Sweden: Välkommen åter!
Antoinette Mc Intyre-Andersson
The chapter has continued to increase its membership. Now we are 107 including a few teachers, who also are very excited about the chapter. In April, nine students and two teachers went for a homestay visit PTPI's Oroslavaje Chapter in Croatia. The four day program consisted of both sightseeing in for example the old baroque town Varazdin, visiting the Oroslavaje school (English classes) and a tour through the Croatian capital Zagreb.
PTPI's Warsaw Chapter hosted 16 friends from Berlin, April 19-23. It was a great time for all of us. We showed Warsaw: its architecture, interesting old and new places, the Wilanów Castle, the Royal Castle, the old town, and Warsaw University.