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2008-2 Newsletter

Message from PTPI Europe's President | PTPI Experiences | Coming Events | PTPI Updates | Chapter Reports |
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Exchange Program between Oroslavje and California

Message from PTPI Europe's President

Dear Friends,

What an amazing spring this has been. Now we are getting into the fun part of summer. Today the temperatures will reach 30 degrees in the shade here in Stockholm. I hope everyone got home safe and sound from our amazing European Conference in Rimini, Italy. We had gorgeous weather, met wonderful people and made many new friends for life. What more can a person ask for?

On behalf of the European Executive Committee I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Valeria Magistrelli and her team from the Organizing Committee for making this Conference so memorable.

I would like to welcome a new member of the EEC that was elected during the Council Meeting. It is our friend Hannelore Büchler from PTPI's Berlin Chapter in Germany. She is the chapter president and helped organize the European Conference in 1999. She is also a member of our Board of Trustees. She will be a great addition to our team. Welcome!

The venue for the 2009 European Conference will be Montpellier in southern France, just on the coast of the Mediterranean. It will be a joint effort together with their friends from Céret. Thank you, Muriel Tabet and Anne Hawksworth for taking on this task. For next year we will also see the whole Board of Directors present that will have their summer meeting in conjunction with the European Conference – wonderful!

During the Conference weekend in Rimini we also had our third annual Trustee Meeting in conjunction with the European Conference. There are currently 37 valued trustees in Europe. This year we were blessed with the presence of Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Troy Nash and the Vice-Chair for the Americas – Barbara Capozzi.

I have just returned this morning from the Russian Embassy after getting my visa. I'm excited to visit this vast country this summer together with PTPI friends.

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 hoping to see many of you at the Leadership Seminar in Berlin at the end of October, I remain

Your humble friend

Rolf G Dahlberg, President of PTPI's European Council

PTPI Experiences

Five Members of PTPI's Berlin Chapter in Rimini

We arrived in Rimini on May 7 from Berlin and Hamburg. Our humble accommodation was simple, and less expensive than the conference hotel but still easy to reach.

On May 8, the visit of Ravenna took place in our official program. Our guide was well prepared and had detailed knowledge which she obviously wanted to share with us. On our intensive tour we visited historically and architecturally interesting buildings and places. The end of the day was characterized with a very good dinner in the midst of PTPI members from the whole world.

The official conference program of PTPI Europe started on Friday with the Board of Trustees meeting. On the same day, two guided tours were organized in Rimini, one in the morning and the other one in the early afternoon. Both guided tours started at "Augustus arch" and lasted for about 90 minutes. During this time we were told interesting information about the city. In the evening, after the reception cocktail, the first big dinner came. The dishes were characterized by fishy taste, and taste that is popular at the seaside.

May 10 was the day of official conferences and meetings. For me the consistent management of the negotiations held by president Rolf Dahlberg, was obviously positive, as well as the relevant conversation and kind dialogue among different chapter members. The chapters' individual presentations were also very informative, often identified by culinary specialities of the countries. A quite special event was the "gala evening dinner" in the restaurant Casa Zanni in Villa Verucchio. First we went to a wine cellar, which was a successful starting for the evening and was followed by the gala dinner, what was more colourful due to the dance representation of Chiara Pedretti from Milan and the songs of our friend, Jacopo Mauro from Florence.

Next day the official program came to the end. Our excursion to the Republic of San Marino started in the morning. Our PTPI group, leaded by Mary Eisenhower, was welcomed by Edith Tamagnini, UNESCO Ambassador to San Marino at the Government palace. Television of San Marino was also present. After welcoming, we had a highly interesting guided tour of the mountain fortress of the republic. Then we returned to Rimini and time came to say goodbye to each other and to prepare our return home or to other destinations.

The four days of the conference were interesting, beautiful and unforgettable days again with our friends, particularly from Europe but also from the USA and from other parts of the world.

Peter Büchler

People to People International – 2008 Global Youth Service Day Report

Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is an annual global event organized by Youth Service America and the Global Youth Action Network, together with the numerous International Organizations and National Coordinating Committees that celebrates, recognizes and mobilizes the year-round contributions of young people to build their communities and their world through voluntary service. This year several PTPI's chapters took the initiative to contribute to this event, among them the following European chapters.

PTPI congratulates the chapters for their tireless service to their community!

In Celebration of 2008 Global Youth Service Day, the Chapter...

Varna – Dolphins (Bulgaria)

... organized an environmental initiative and anti-smoking campaign directed toward the youth of their community. Chapter members raised money to purchase trees, which were planted in the park next to their school. In addition, students gave anti-smoking presentations to local 5th and 6th graders and then gathered along a busy street where they gave demonstrations about the dangers of smoking. They even put a cardboard mummy on display with sticky clay on its lungs. People passing by were invited to put their cigarettes out directly on the sticky lungs! Twenty people volunteered for the effort and 100 individuals participated!

Oroslavje – The Eagles (Croatia)

... helped build a gymnasium at their school, with hopes of promoting healthy lifestyles within their community. By the end of 2007, the chapter had collected 258 signatures among students and teachers for a petition to build a gymnasium in their school. The chapter received old trees from the Oroslavje Town Council and used this wood to build the gymnasium during Global Youth Service Day.

In addition, the chapter recently visited PTPI's Teens Working Together Student Chapter in Santa Ynez, California through PTPI's International Visitor's Program. The students in California wanted to do something to help their new Croatian friends, so they loaded a suitcase with supplies for orphaned Croatian children. The Eagles Chapter members brought the supplies back to Croatia and delivered the supplies, along with new curtains for the facility and a basket of fresh fruit, to the orphanage on Global Youth Service Day!

Tallinn (Estonia)

... participated in a major event in Estonia called "Clean our Country!" The chapter cleaned and planted trees in Kadriorg Park in Tallinn. Chapter members took the opportunity to promote PTPI to members of other organizations participating in the event!

Pécs (Hungary)

... collected garbage in select areas of their community and donated toys and books to sick children at a local hospital. To conclude the day, chapter member organized an educational activity in which they visited a recently opened cave.

Katowice – Silesian (Poland)

... went to the city of Dąbrowa Górnicza to spend some time with children ages 4-8 staying in a local hospital. Chapter members read to the children and engaged the children in drawing. Chapter members had as much fun as the children as they built castles, bowled, set up racing tracks with blocks, and playing shop with the girls. The chapter president Aleksandra Kubica remarked, "Doing nothing else, but giving these small ones all one's got to see some smiles on their faces is extremely rewarding and definitely an unforgettable experience." The chapter plans to continue reaching out to children and will visit another hospital and plan a benefit concert for children.

Vaslui – Mihail Kogalniceanu (Romania)

... worked together with a local kindergarten class to plant flowers on their school grounds. The chapter also shared with students the importance of volunteering and how to help on Global Youth Service Day! Each chapter member was paired with a kindergarten student and together they planted pansies and other seeds. Upon completion of the project, the chapter gave interviews to a local television station. In recognition of their efforts, the chapter received a visit from Lars Poignant, PTPI's Managing Director of European Operations!

Khmelnytsky (Ukraine)

... performed a charitable concert for children on April 27. In addition to the concert, chapter members presented the primary school students with pysankas, brightly-colored eggs which are the Ukrainian symbol of Easter.

Kharkiv – Children to Children (Ukraine)

... organized an event to remember the Chernobyl Disaster of 1986. Students prepared reports and presented their findings to the school with the goal of always remembering the tragic event. Following the presentations, the chapter showed a documentary about the cause of the Chernobyl explosion and how it has continues to affect the daily lives of those individuals who were exposed to the radiation.

Clean-Up ActionIn addition, chapter members organized a cleanup effort within their school's neighbourhood. Students planted flowers and looked after the trees in the school garden.

Kiev (Ukraine)

... took part in the International Lingo Festival that was held in their community over the course of three days. At the festival, chapter members educated their community about their chapter's service efforts and activities in different UNESCO programs. In addition, one of the student chapter members presented on Ukrainian language and the chapter showed shared old Ukrainian traditions to the spectators. In attendance for the presentation was the Ukrainian poet Mykola Som.

Kurchatov – Friends Meeting Friends (Russia)

... completed three separate projects within their community! Chapter members provided English language tutoring to junior students in need of individual help. The chapter hopes to continue these tutoring sessions in the future! In another project entitled "Friendship without Borders", students shared their experience with PTPI's School and Classroom Program as part of their school's annual Scientific Society Day. The goal was to highlight to their peers the value of cross-cultural interaction by sharing information about their cultural exchange with schools in the United States. In addition, students collected ten large bags full of clothes, books, toys and small gifts for children in a local orphanage!

Zalishchyky (Ukraine)

... organized a cleanup effort in their local park. Students also visited children at a local orphanage!

Exchange with California – Oroslavje, the Eagles

Oroslavje-CaliforniaI'm writing to express my gratitude for enabling us to visit one of the most amazing American chapters, the "Teens Working Together" Student Chapter in Santa Ynez Valley, California, as well as their precious and wonderful adult advisors Kay and Dough. We were also honored by the visit of PTPI president, Mary Jean Eisenhower and Homestay Managing Director Jewelee Cox who helped us and supported us all the way.

Twelve Croatian students, members of PTPI, and two advisors visited the "Teens working together" Student Chapter from March 25 to April 2. After a long preparation phase and a lot of hard work from the part of Jewelee and Kay, we all managed to organize a wonderful Homestay in one of the most beautiful parts of the USA.

We spend five amazing days with most hospitable American families with whom we formed life-long-friendship. Our hosts made an effort to spend with us as much time as possible and showed us around Santa Ynez Valley.

We had a chance to speak to Ms Eisenhower, which enlightened us even more and gave us even more strength to make a difference in the world. This experience was amazing.

We might have come to the States as tourists some day, but that wouldn't be the same in any way. We were led by our American friends and shown their way of life, their interests, points of view, friends, even treated with the delicious food they liked, and none of this would have been possible if we had visited the States as tourists. We have expanded and broaden our horizons and learnt so much about the American culture and life style. On the other hand, we have also been ambassadors of Croatia abroad and informed all our families about our country and culture and made them interested in visiting us soon.

The whole organization was impeccable, and I have only words of praise for everyone involved in the Homestay. During the whole time we had so much fun and enjoyed ourselves immensely – indeed – PTPI is not just about peace through understanding, it's also great fun.

Thank you all our dear friends!

Marina Krsnik, Adult Advisor

Coming Events

Date Program  Contact
June 6-17 A delegation of PTPI's Berlin Chapter will visit Budapest, PTPI's Veszprém and Pécs Hannelore Büchler
June 7 Cylindr "In Blue" – Traditional PTPI's Sternberk Chapter celebration of Children's day Helca Metelkova
June 21  Dinner Dance, PTPI's Brussels Chapter Daniel Schaubacher
June 25 Promenade "Brussels by water", PTPI's Brussels Chapter Daniel Schaubacher
June 28-July 2 PTPI's Sternberk Chapter will host PTPI's Central Valley SC and Teens Working SC Helca Metelkova
June 29-Aug. 4 Language Ambassador Program – Katie Gorrell is going to Sternberk to teach English Helca Metelkova
July 2-4  Families and Active Citizenship Education Conference, Iasi, Romania Iona Ursache
July 27–Aug. 12 PTPI Estonia Summer Camp Ruta Pels 
August 1-12 From little things big things grow – international youth exchange program in Sternberk Helca Metelkova
August 4-9 YG Meeting – Training course, "Participation Towards Citizenship", Berlin Stoyka Bakalova
August 9-16 "The long walk together" – PTPI's Bucharest Chapter Gina Boiculese
August 11-17 European Youth Forum, Berlin www.ptpe.org/eyf2008/
August 16 All Swiss Meeting, Zürich Adrian Obrecht
September 3-8 Worldwide Conference, Cairo, Egypt PTPI World Headquarters
September 4-9 PTPI's Pécs Chapter will visit PTPI's Brussels Chapter Anikó Bedekovitss-Garami
October 22-26 PTPI's Leadership Seminar, Berlin PTPI European Office
Nov.12-16 2008 Global Youth Forum, Denver, Colorado, USA PTPI World Headquarters
June 4-7, 2009 PTPI's European Conference in Montpellier, France PTPI European Office

PTPI Updates

Mongolian Exhibition in Switzerland

On March 25, the Mongolian exhibition took place in Geneva, which was organized under the auspices of the Mongolian embassy in Switzerland. Approximately 30 paintings in oil and gouache, presented by numerous young Mongolian artists, demonstrated a wide array of techniques and themes. Landscapes, traditional portraits, fantasy as well as mystical and religious motifs, and all in intensive, exciting colours – all this gave the viewer the impression that Mongolia is vibrantly alive with enthusiasm and an optimistic approach to the future. A half-hour documentary film presented by the Mongolian Tourist Office offered insight into the sheer vastness of the country, regional diversity, transportation opportunities, folklore and customs, and governmental organization. One would have liked to board a plane right then to begin a tour of this exciting Asian nation. Linda Rickli represented PTPI's Bern Chapter on the exhibition.

Chapter Updates

We have the pleasure to welcome several new student chapters to our international family:

  • PTPI's Pecs Student Chapter in Hungary was started in January this year and has already undertaken several very successful projects. The chapter members have created a Web site where they present themselves and their various activities: www.studentchapter.gportal.hu.
  • PTPI's Friends Meeting Friends Student Chapter was started in Katowice, Poland in March. The chapter members have been very active since. You can find information about their various projects in their chapter report below.
  • PTPI's The Doves Student Chapter in Sofia, Bulgaria received its charter in May. The students have already undertaken their first activities in March and also took part in Global Youth Service Day in April. You can read more about the projects in their chapter report.
  • PTPI's Horizon Student Chapter in Tirana, Albania is the latest addition to our international network. The chapter has only been chartered very recently and is introducing itself in its very first chapter report below.

Since the last issue of our European Newsletter, four PTPI chapters have been closed: PTPI's Struga Adult Chapter, PTPI's Struga Student Chapter in Macedonia, PTPI's Narva Adult Chapter in Estonia and PTPI's Sochi Adult Chapter in Russia. We would like to thank the board and members of those chapters for their support and hope that they will keep in touch.

Outstanding Fundraising Initiatives

After the organization of a very successful Young Generation Meeting for New Year 2007/2008, PTPI's Sternberk Chapter is already preparing another extraordinary project. This summer, they will invite groups of young people from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Spain and the United Kingdom to an international youth exchange. We congratulate PTPI's Sternberk Chapter to having been granted funds from the European Union for this project.

PTPI's Plovdiv Chapter has received funds from the European Union for its long-term programming, which will include several new initiatives. We are already looking forward to the upcoming projects and congratulate the chapter to this great success! The Young Generation Meeting, which will be organized by PTPI's Plovdiv Chapter in Berlin this summer, has been funded by the Council of Europe and PTPI.

Internship

The next internship in the PTPI European office starts on October 1. During the fall the intern will assist promoting PTPI in Western Europe. More details: www.ptpe.org/internship. Deadline: September 1.

New Secretary in European Council: Hannelore Büchler

"I was born in Berlin in 1949. I have worked for several companies mainly within finance or accounting. Currently I work as an accountant in a tax consultant company.

I am a member of friendship-force (in German: "Brücke der Freundschaft") and PTPI since 1996. In 2006 I was elected as president of PTPI's Berlin Chapter and has confirmed in my function this year for the next two years. I am also a member of the "Board of Trustees" since 2007.

From my own experience I find PTPI very interesting and I support particularly the following PTPI aims:

  • Taking care of and keeping contacts among members of different people and through this, among other cultures, customs and mentalities.
  • The possibility of friendships during "Homestays" and at national and international occasions like meetings, seminars etc.
  • The promotion of the mutual understanding, the tolerance and as the highest and most sophisticated aim of the peace in the world.

I believe that we are very active here in Berlin and promote the aims and ideas of PTPI very well. This year we have already won ten new members."

Hannelore Büchler

European Conference in Rimini

The conference was attended by 128 participants from 19 countries. Please read Peter Büchler's report from the conference. Other events and decisions:

  • On Thursday 21 participants took part in the Youth Meeting, which focused on intercultural sensitivity.
  • During the Friday Board Trustees meeting the role of trustees was discussed as well as programs and conferences.
  • At the Saturday Council Meeting Hannelore Büchler was elected as new secretary. We thank Chiara Pedretti, who has served for four years for her work.
  • Twenty chapters took the opportunity to present their programs as well as their regions at the Chapter Fair, which was again a success.
  • Next year we will all meet in Montpellier June 4-7. (Notice the new dates!)

For pictures from the conference you may visit the conference Web site: http://www.ptpe.org/index.php/programs/conferences/european-conference/rimini-2008.

Chapter Reports

Please also see the additional reports from student chapters under "PTPI Experiences"

Berlin, Germany

On March 19, one of our members helped us with a very good lecture to find out how the election system in the USA works. It was rather hard for the 19 members and friends to understand all the difficult regulations in all the individual states of the USA. We are very happy to have someone from over sea who explained the facts about this important election.

On April 8-11, Veronica Kobel from PTPI's Bern Chapter was in Berlin. We had a nice time together. She saw most of the important things in our city during her short stay such as the Memorial Church, joined the service in the Berliner Dome and had a good look from the TV-Tower.

On April 20, our member Ilona organised a walk through Pankow, a borough of Berlin. 20 members and guest followed her invitation and were happy seeing and hearing so many new things about this former east part of Berlin.

Ulrich Krebs from Thun (Switzerland) arrived in Berlin on April 24. He took the chance to make some trips from here to other cities. It is easy from Berlin to go by train to the destinations like Stettin, Leipzig, Warsaw, Dresden and Prague. We were happy to have him here.

After the exiting conference, Peter and I had Homestay in Milan. For three days the whole Pedretti family took care for us and showed us their beautiful city! We had a great time together!

On Saturday, May 31, we had a market stand at the third European Festival. The weather was good to walk around though the Friedrichstraße, where this event was located. Only a few visitors came to see our stand so we have to wait patiently for the result (maybe some new members).

Our coming events are the trip to Budapest, Veszprém and Pécs, seven guests from California, a barbeque party for our members and friends and a two-day-trip to Hamburg. Christiane Schadow invited some members to Hamburg.

That's all for this time! PTPI's Berlin Chapter is wishing everybody a wonderful summertime!

Hannelore Büchler, President

Bern, Switzerland

On March 25, Linda Rickli represented PTPI's Bern Chapter on a visit to the fascinating Mongolian exhibition in Geneva, which was organized under the auspices of the Mongolian embassy in Switzerland.

On April 28, ten members of PTPI's Bern Chapter gathered at the Hotel Kreuz in Bern for our annual meeting. It was agreed that we would try to keep the business part of the meeting concise in order to leave sufficient time just for talking and catching up on one another's news. A new old idea was advanced once again: why not try to organize a regular evening once a month of English conversation. Various aspects were discussed and numerous members expressed interest. Our next task is to find a room suitable and we hope to begin soon.

Five members from our chapter attended the PTPI European Conference in Rimini, Italy.

PTPI's Bern Chapter is currently preparing for the Homestays, coming up in mid-July. Ueli Krebs is actively organizing host families, and some group activities are being planned. Now all that remains is to hope for sunny weather!!!

Linda Rickli-Koser

Brussels, Belgium

On April 16, a joyous cohort of PTPI's Belgian Chapter's members visited the impressive Olympic King Baudouin stadium in Brussels. Those who misbehaved and were positively tested in the "anti-doping room" were briefly incarcerated in the special cells in one section of the stadium. Some ladies enjoyed visiting the cloakrooms and showers of the "Diables rouges" football team, whereas others fell under the spell of a smiling athletic guide. The group took this unique occasion to briefly exercise in prevision of People to People dinner dance on June 21, which this year will feature the theme of the "hippies" years. Who said that at People to People there is not enough movement?

Daniel Schaubacher, President

Céret, France

Hi everyone! It was wonderful to see you all again in sunny Rimini! I really did enjoy bringing the group of students; I think it was quite emotional to stand up and all sing "We are the world" together.

After European Conference, we have hosted four groups from other countries, just finished with our last one from Gothenburg, Sweden.

Six adults and seven high school students took part in a trip to Australia. The most memorable moment was the meeting with the Bottrell family, as we share very good and nostalgic memories and we had the opportunity to meet some of their relatives in France too. We visited a Bruderhof community just outside Inverell in a sort of prairie field setting. It originates from the White Rose movement in Germany which was a reaction by young German students for peace during the Second World War. They live on their own land which they cultivate to provide all their own vegetables as well as running their own sign making business. We were welcomed at their daily midday meeting. They assembled for singing and prayer under some trees, children, adults and elders all together. Our own students were speechless.

We look forward to seeing you all next year in France at the European Conference in Montpellier and of course we want to give you an unforgettable time!

Anne Hawksworth, President

Cherkasy, Ukraine: PTPI's Light the Way Student Chapter

The student chapter at the First City Gymnasia in Cherkasy has constantly been trying to improve the life in the neighbourhood, hoping that even small steps can lead to vital changes in the society. Combining efforts with the other students we took part in a lot of activities. One of them was dedicated to Women's Day. On March 7, PTPI volunteers congratulated the teachers of the Gymnasia and arranged a festive concert for them. They also visited the retired teachers who couldn't leave their houses and brought them presents.

On March 19, we had the "Dialogue of Cultures" supervised by the vice-principal Nadia Ananyeva, Adult Advisor of the student chapter. Nearly all chapter members presented their multimedia projects, devoted to the USA and different European countries.

Then International Day of Water came. Some representatives of our chapter took part in the national contest "I Vote for Nature Protection" and became winners in the nominations "Ecological Slogans" and "Pictures of the Ukrainian Nature". The others visited the nearby kindergartens and junior forms of our Gymnasia with a number of lectures about water.

On April 21, the chapter members together with all the students of school made their contribution to the Global Youth Service Day. We collected 5 081 kg of waste paper and 410 kg of plastic bottles. All the money was donated for the reconstruction of the waste ground near our Gymnasia.

On May 19, our member Maryna Pinyailova made a presentation of the project "Alcohol and its Consequences", which was regarded to be the best one among those created within the walls of the school. Thus, eventually we came up to the end of this academic year and are happy to greet all PTPI members with summer and wish everybody many bright days, new friends and unforgettable experiences.

Pavlo Svitlychnyy, Adult Advisor

Chester, England

Our music student exchange programme continues successfully. In February, we presented our annual concert to showcase our Chester student selected to travel to our sister city in Colorado USA in the Easter vacation. Our exchange student from Lakewood will be here in late June/July and will give performances in Chester, the beautiful mediaeval church in Nantwich, and in local schools. The scheme has received a grant from the US embassy from a fund designed to support exchanges of young people between the USA and other countries.

Our delegation of seven greatly enjoyed our participation in the excellent European Conference and it was a special pleasure for me to meet so many old friends once again.

Peter Whitby, President

Iasi, Romania

Our project, "Being informed, you are protected" took place on May 12-26, where we informed 150 ninth grade students about venereal diseases.

Nowadays, more and more young people begin their sexual life from an early age and often they aren't very well informed about the risks they are taking.

This project's objective is to help these students become more aware of the risks they are taking concerning their sexual life. The questionnaire addressed to these students is meant to emphasize their misinformation regarding this matter. The efficiency of this project will be noticeable in the results of the questionnaires made public to the teenagers after their meeting with the students of the University of Medicine.

We consider that our job is important for diminishing the cases of accidental pregnancies or venereal diseases, even though the project only addressed a limited number of people.

Petronela Boiculese, Vice President

Interlaken, Switzerland

After returning from the warmth and sunshine of Rimini, the fond memories of the European Conference continue to enliven our spirits. This year, eight members of the Interlaken chapter attended the conference, and once again, all enjoyed the four fun-filled days of sightseeing, an abundance of amazing cuisine, and yes, a little business! We wish to express our thanks to the organizing committee for their hard work in planning and hosting an excellent event.

Here in Interlaken, we're now getting back to business and preparing for our next challenge – the organization of 24 Homestay residences for a group of 44 Student Ambassadors and four teachers due to arrive in mid July. Many thanks to our Homestay coordinators, Cindy Mühlemann and Angela Weibel for their extra efforts in finding host families. This year, we're also planning a special educational event, which we'll introduce on the last morning of their stay.

Our new Bilingual Current Affairs Club has met with great approval. Members are enjoying the inter-cultural exchange and the chance to discuss current affairs both English and German during a personalized group session. Twice a month, members look forward to the new reading material, and the opportunity to ponder Ronnie Blakeney's many thought provoking questions. Some of the subjects have included Tibet and the Dalai Lama, Bush/Putin on the anti-missile system controversy; Bend it like Beckham's Perma Jhooti, and Switzerland's first bathing beauties.

The Interlaken Chapter would like to give a special thank to Isabel Hänni for her efforts in acquiring and coordinating the delivery of fire-fighter outfits and protective gear for the firefighters in Albania. After overcoming a few major stumbling blocks at the Albanian border, the shipment finally made it to PTPI's Tirana Chapter in May.

Finally, the Interlaken Chapter would like to send our best wishes and warm farewell to the Omelchenko family from Ukraine, whom Regina and Ernest Wälti met and hosted nearly three years ago as part of the "Meet the Diplomats" program. After serving as an Embassy employee in Bern, Yan Omelchenko, his wife Larysa, and daughter Marina, are headed back to their homeland near Kiev. The Wälti's highly recommend this program as another positive PTPI experience and say it provides the opportunity to initiate long lasting friendships with people from other countries with different, historical, social, political and economic backgrounds.

Thomas Ammann, President and Denise Girard Ammann

Katowice, Poland: Silesian Student Chapter

On June 2, we organized a concert to raise money for charity. Also in June, we are starting an individual program, after school club to help in the local community.

Our new website is also ready, check it out: http://international.edu.pl/secondary-school/people-to-people-chapter.

Jacub Kucera, Secretary

Kharkiv, Ukraine: PTPI's Children to Children Student Chapter

First, some pupils of our class made reports. All students, as well as our guests were shocked and impressed, because everybody understood the scale of the disaster. The second part consisted of a film. The authors of the film have resumed the tragedy. We saw people who had suffered from the explosion of the radiation. It looked terrible. Mostly the documentary was focused on why Chernobyl exploded, which was rather interesting. Indeed, we can't ignore such an important topic these days.

We also improve environment in our school's neighborhood. Senior students plant flowers and look after trees in our school garden: they dig up soil under them.

Ludmila Bodyak, Adult Advisor

Kurchatov, Russia: PTPI's Friends Meeting Friends Student Chapter

A report at the Annual School Scientific Society was held on April 17. Our most active members made a wonderful presentation of our chapter efforts and first achievements in cross-cultural communication and interaction. We acquainted our local school community with the work of our chapter, using wonderful illustrative materials and the PTPI film about Youth Program. We attracted new members to join our chapter.

On March 6, our chapter organized a cultural activity to promote our chapter. It was entitled "Spring Celebration". A lot of guests were invited to our school assembly hall to enjoy the performance in three languages: English, Russian and German. This event was dedicated to the coming of spring as well as the International Women's Day. This activity united our chapter members and helped to develop their creativity! Local TV reporters were invited to the event and they shared with the local community their feelings, thoughts and impressions in a report on TV.

On April 20, we organized a Cultural Awareness Activity entitled "Easter around the world". Our members made a thorough research on this topic. This research work was done to compare the information concerning Easter traditions in different countries and it definitely raised our cultural awareness. Our students had a wonderful opportunity to embrace different traditions connected with the holy holiday of Easter! The students shared the results of their research with the sixth, seventh and eighth Grade students.

Besides our pen-pal exchange with three schools in the USA is in full swing!

On May 22, our environmentally-minded members organized and ran an environmental action under the title "Let's save rainforests – the lungs of our planet". We tried to collect as much waste paper (old newspapers, magazines, textbooks) as possible. A lot of our schoolmates joined us and the result of our activity was 300 kg of waste paper!

Natasha Durneva, Chapter Reporter

Pécs, Hungary

Four members of our adult chapter and the president of the newly formed student chapter, Bálint Tényi, participated in the European Conference in Rimini. We enjoyed very much the time we spent with friends there, and would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to the organizers once again for the wonderful experience. Before and after the conference, we had short stays in Ljubljana and Venice. We experienced some difficulties to find our guest house in Venice-Mestre, because nobody understood English.

The chapter is busy preparing the program for visitors coming from Berlin mid-June and for our visit to Brussels in September. We look forward to meeting some Hungarian representatives at the EU there. In July, we will have our summer barbecue once again, and will present ourselves at the NGO Fair held during the International Culture Week in Pécs (ICWIP), together with many other organizations.

An English language course is being held by Hans Randau for eight members of the chapter every Tuesday and Thursday. After the tenth lesson, the „pupils" have considerably improved their knowledge due to the strictly communication-orientated teaching method. We all hope this will help us in preparation of 2010, when Pécs is one of the European Capitals of Culture, and maybe the place for the European Conference.

Hans G. Randau, President

Pécs, Hungary: Student Chapter

Our student chapter visited several high schools in Pécs, where a lecture was given about the student chapter, and about our next meeting. The organization itself (PTPI) was presented as well.

In February, our chapter visited Thalia Theater in Budapest where we saw a play called Rock'n'Roll. In May, we visited a famous cave in Hungary it was very interesting, considering that it had just opened again after decades.

We went on an 9-km-long excursion to Óbánya (Mecsek Hills). Despite the bad weather and our being exhausted it was quite enjoyable.

A new English Web site has come into being. Here you can find all the information about us. Pictures about our activities can be found as well: www.studentchapter.gportal.hu.

Bálint Tényi, President

Roman, Romania

On May 24-26, we hosted a regional meeting in Roman and Voronet (close to the famous Voronet Monastery) in Romania. In the first evening in Roman we had 30 participants and 20 young folk dancers and in the second evening there were 30 participants from Chisinau (Moldova), Roman, Iasi, Bucharest and Lars Poignant, our Director from PTPI's European Office. At the end of the week, PTPI's Roman and Chisinau Chapters decided to become sister chapters and establish a long lasting friendship due to the empathy of the enthusiast group of six young members from Chisinau led by Olga, their President.

Sorina Danciu, President

Veni, vidi, vici... That's how someone might characterize the regional meeting that took place in Voronet a few days ago. But not me. I would say that "eye opening and heart moving experience" would come still a bit short in describing this unique getting together of the two neighbouring PTPI chapters: Roman and Chisinau. What made it even greater is that during this trip we didn't only find great friends, who, in the end, turned out to be our sisters! What I'm trying to say is that age, experience and even borders shouldn't come between new friends. And I think that's what the people from Roman and Chisinau proved, as well as all the other PTPI chapters, when we've become baby sister chapters.

As for the event in itself, I will not say too much, because I don't want to reveal the secret ingredients of such an interesting exchange camp. I'd rather let you discover them by yourself. Just imagine: a big camp fire, an ethnic dance performance, given by an internationally known group, and having a VIP, like Lars Poignant, telling you an incredibly funny story, like the one when he first visited Romania, etc. So the next time you meet this Swedish, newly German, French named, funny guy, you should really ask him about his interesting Romanian story. Because, according to him, that's his job, letting people know how great PTPI is, how it can change your life, through the great people you meet, the country you visit, and all the other free miracles it has to offer... Let's hope he can actually convince as many to believe that! I know I do.

From a distant place, from a far away land, from... the bottom lines of a European newsletter, I say Ciao.

Vadim Toader

Sofia, Bulgaria: PTPI's The Doves Student Chapter

At the end of March, twelve students from our school (the First English Language School) set about to found a PTPI student chapter, having been previously impressed by the organization's aims. The process was accelerated by the visit of Ms Verena Denk, our European Youth Director. Not only did she meet us personally, but she also introduced the organization's beliefs to us thoroughly, thus prompting a lot of students to join. What should not be missed out is the amazing devotion of the members-to-be in arranging Verena's reception at our school. Although our chapter wasn't chartered until May 5, we already organized our first charity sale on April 19 and 20. The things for sale were our own belongings and the purpose was to get the difficult process of fundraising for chapter activities started. We managed to raise 540 Bulgarian lev, which we spent on buying 20 trees so that we could plant them in a park near our school, thus taking part in the Global Youth Service Day on April 25. The idea underlying this initiative was to foster community service and active citizenship, as well as raise environmental awareness, primarily among our peers. On April 22 (Earth Day), we continued our environmental activities by cleaning up the schoolyard and the areas around the local communities.

Sofia, BulgariaAs a result of the five-week teachers' strike during September and October, first-year students in our school, who have 19 English lessons a week, missed about 100 lessons. So we decided to help them catch up and started teaching them once a week at the beginning of April. We will continue to assist them with their studies till the end of the school year, when they will have to take a national exam in English.

The second charity sale took place on May 24 and 25. We raised 260 Bulgarian lev, which we used to buy plates, cups and sweets for the children at an orphanage in the capital, as we were asked by its directors. We also collected clothes and toys from our schoolmates and friends, which we will give to them on visiting the orphanage on June 2. The whole initiative was organized so that our student chapter could celebrate June 1, Children's Day, together with the children at the orphanage.

Our first official meeting was on May 29. Together with the 15 new members we discussed ideas about future activities. We will publish an article in the school newspaper about PTPI and we hope that a lot more schoolmates will join our community and devote themselves to PTPI's mission, just the same way as we have done.

Kalina Cherneva, President

Sternberk, Czech Republic

Every year our chapter organized the Welcoming of the Spring with some short or long trip in the nature. On March 15-16, we decided to celebrate spring by cleaning the forestal area. The first day we were cleaning and collecting all the cut trees and branches to be prepared for recycling or burning.

On April 5-6, we spent a weekend in the mountain cottage near Šternberk on the hill called Vysoká Roudná. The plan was not only to plant new trees in the forest and raise some money for our summer projects, but also to see each other, spend some time together and sing and play the guitars and other instruments. It was a wonderful occasion in the wild and great teambuilding activity. We planted 800 spruce trees and in the evenings we planned our other PTPI activities for this year.

On April 18-19, we met to plan and prepare the program and activities for the Cylindr celebration in June. Saturday night was in a sign of sport adventure – there was a bowling competition in Olomouc and everybody enjoyed the evening.

On May 16-18, our group of ten brave hearts took rubber boats and tents and headed out to a great adventure. We went over the first 27 km on the river Moravská Sázava and finished this part in the evening somewhere on the way. On Sunday we had to reach the final destination, which was about 14 km down the river Morava. We made it, we enjoyed it and we have a lot of great memories.

On May 29, we organized a gingerbreads decorating evening. All the 98 gingerbreads that we decorated are now prepared for the beneficial event – Cylindr to raise money for our summer youth exchange in Šternberk.

On June 7, we celebrate Children's Day; this year in a non-traditional way – everything and everybody will be „IN BLUE".

Sternberk Canoe TripFrom June 28 to July 2, we are hosting a group of US students and their leaders from PTPI's Central Valley Student Chapter and Teens Working Together Student Chapter in California in the frame of the PTPI Student Friendship Caravan, 2008. They are coming to stay with us for a few days, to help us in a community project and stay in our families just to get new experience and meet new people and get to know another culture.

Between June 29 and August 4, Katie Gorrell from California is coming for the whole month to teach our youngsters English and spend some time living in our community.

On August 1-12, an international youth exchange project – From little things big things grow – supported by European Commission grant from the Youth in Action program, will be organized. There will be five countries involved in this project – Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Spain and Great Britain. The main aim of the project is to help our former Augustinian monastery in Šternberk and bring it back to life. Also we hope to meet new friends, have fun, learn something new and experience new cultures and life.

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). If you are interested in Homestay, you can contact our Homestay coordinator: Marek Kašík–email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Helca Metelkova, President

Tallinn, Estonia

PTPI's Narva Student Chapter members went for five days to Berlin. They were very warmly welcomed at PTPI's European Office where they met Verena Denk. Later they visited a school and found many new friends with whom they started a Pen Pal program with them already. Other group in Narva started Pen Pal program with students from Holland and Malta.

PTPI's Tallinn Chapter together with PTPI's Tallinn Student Chapter and PTPI's Narva Student Chapter are organizing a two-week-annual summer camp for teenagers in Narva-Joesuu in July-August. We expect students from Russia and a few students from other European countries.

PTPI's Tallinn Chapter president met PTPI's Zurich Sister-Chapter member Hans Graf, Honorary Consul of Estonia in Switzerland, on May 26 in Tallinn. They discussed news from PTPI sister-chapters and from Estonia and Switzerland. Hans Graf visited Estonia at the occasion of the Conference of Honorary Consuls.

PTPI's Tallinn Chapter members went to Pärnu on June 1 to participate in the opening ceremony of the annual Art Exhibition "Man and Woman" in the New Art Museum where Annick and Pierre Debien from PTPI's Angoulême Chapter (France) created a big installation "Tant qu'il y aura des arbres". They came to Estonia on May 20 and worked hard in Pärnu, then went to Viljandi to participate in the Art Workshop with other artists from Europe and Estonia. There they met PTPI's Viljandi Chapter members. The exhibitions in Pärnu and Viljandi will be open till the September 1. This Art project in Estonia is the result of seven years cooperation between PTPI's Angoulême Chapter president Annick Debien and PTPI's Tallinn Chapter president Ruta Pels. Annick and Pierre Debien are in Tallinn for homestay on June 2-5.

The student chapter members expect a group of PTPI Student Ambassadors in Tallinn on July 6-8.

Ruta Pels, President

Tirana, Albania

In March we decided to organize a training seminar for students at the headquarters of Language School in Albania about PTPI's School and Classroom Program.

There were 40 of the best students of Language Schools in Albania present in this training seminar. Great interest was shown in the first seminar. We therefore plan to organize one soon, where students can share their experiences and ideas for different activities that they would like to organize in the future.

After the training seminar, we could not let the students go without having sweets. The cocktail is a nice part of seminars where everybody expresses their own talents. They made dialogs between each other to explain what friendship means for them.

Blerina Gjonaj, Adult Advisor

Varna Bulgaria: PTPI's The Dolphins Student Chapter

May 24 is our national cultural day, when we express our respect to great people in Bulgarian history and culture.

Our chapter thought that we should do something in order to make people remember who these brave people were, because some people have completely forgotten the exploits of our ancestors. We decided to clean up the memorials of the greatest Bulgarian personalities, which are located on the Alley of Renaissance in the Seagarten in Varna.

Some of them were really unclean and we realized, we had a lot to do. We were well equipped with a lot of cleansers, instruments and materials, and of course with good mood. We got fairly involved in what we were doing. We made the old and unclean memorials look like brand new, and we think, the inhabitants of our native city have noticed that.

A lot of people who saw us cleaning up the memorials found our activity very impressive and congratulated us.

So, that are we, "The Dolphins"! We always mix activity with fun.

Yoanna Lyubenova, Secretary

Vaslui, Romania: PTPI's Mihail Kogalniceanu Student Chapter

On June 1, a group of YG members and officers gathered to design some bracelets for kids' day. It was difficult to find what we needed but we finally managed to create some nice bracelets using coloured ribbons, shiny gems and little ornaments. The girls have realized that hand work needs a lot of patience and precision.

Liliana Harhas-Ciobanu, Adult Advisor

Veszprém, Hungary

On April 11-18, some of our chapter members – six students and two teachers – visited Céret, France. We spent four days in Céret, going on tours, sunbathing on the beach, visiting the city, museums and two schools. The host families were very nice, the girls made friends and we came back home with many wonderful experiences. We are looking forward to hosting PTPI's Céret Chapter in the near future! After leaving Céret, we went to Barcelona for two days, where we visited Figures and the Dalí Museum.

Marianna Hári, President

Zalishchyky, Ukraine: Student Chapter


On Easter Sunday, we finished our collaboration with local organizations of young people with the goal to present them our plans and engage them in our community. We also made posters and articles with information about PTPI. We are making a presentation about PTPI to the student organization of our agricultural college: sharing pictures with the pupils of school №1 in our town and giving information about our activity in the local newspaper "Dumka+".

We involved all people in the program "Green Peace": it included discussing themes, gathering the waste paper for recycling, cleaning up two parks, one garden and squares.

We were glad to see our guests from France and introduce them our society soon. We are going to host a PTPI group from California for 3 days in June.

Ulyana Strelbitska, President