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2008-4 Newsletter

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Leadership Seminar

Message from PTPI Europe's President

Dear Friends,

Time is drawing near to the Christmas holidays. I know that our friends in Brussels are getting excited about their Christmas Gala and Dance on December 13.

This has been such an exciting fall. In September, a small group of Europeans represented our part of the world at the Worldwide Conference in Cairo, Egypt. For me it was the first experience in this large, vibrant and crazy city. We had an exciting week there. Several Europeans were awarded for their contributions to our organization: Heather Exell, Hans Randau, PTPI's Sternberk Chapter, PTPI's Berlin Chapter and PTPI's Bern Chapter.

A well-deserved honor was bestowed upon Mr. Otto Burri from Switzerland. He received the Outstanding Leadership Award on the Board of Trustees level. I was so sad to hear of Otto's passing late October. He will always be Mr. PTPI Europe to many of us. He was not only a key person of PTPI's Bern Chapter in Switzerland for many years but also former Vice Chair for Europe on the Board of Trustees.

In October, we had the third European Leadership Seminar in Berlin, Germany. We were 24 participants from 19 countries. We had an amazing time together and several new projects might become a reality in the future thanks to this event. There were participants from student, university, as well as adult chapters. Thanks to Lars and Verena for putting this program together!

The year is slowly coming to an end. Please remember to send in your membership dues before December 31. As the holidays are near – why don't you wish for participation at next year's European Conference in Montpellier, France! I know that I will be there, and I hope that each chapter starts making plans to send as many participants as possible. We will have loads of fun and the entire Board of Directors will join us.

Wishing you all a great Christmas & New Year, I remain

Your Humble Friend,

Rolf G Dahlberg

PTPI Experiences

Leadership Seminar October 2008

Berlin, Berlin, Berlin!

Olga Sirbu, president of PTPI's Chisinau Chapter in Moldova, and Blerina Gjonaj, adult advisor of PTPI's Horizon Student Chapter in Tirana, Albania, were two of 24 participants from 18 countries attending PTPI's third Leadership Seminar in Berlin. These are their impressions...

Before leaving for Berlin, I had some doubts and fears. But the very moment I arrived at Tegel Airport, I met Rolf Dahlberg, who gave me a hug and it was clear for me that everything will be just fine. And so it was!

The next three days were amazing, full of joy, laughter, knowledge and skills, dancing and singing, sightseeing and lots more. I met so many nice and kind people that I really felt like I was part of a big family, like I had known them for years. Everybody with his/her uniqueness contributed to this event. I am thankful for that. The time passed too quickly. It was Monday morning. It was cold and it was raining.

I would say that the weather reflected my state of spirit at that moment. I was sad it was all over, and I was sad that I had to leave, and that I will not be able to see and spend some time with these wonderful people I met.

I had the great pleasure to meet a lovely lady, Blerina Gjonaj, who was also my roommate. Thank you Blerina for your kindness and thoughtfulness, and for teaching me the Albanian danceJ!

Now I am back home, highly inspired and motivated. I am very optimistic and I know for sure that there will be opportunities to meet again.

Olga Sirbu

More than a month has passed since the leadership seminar ended, but the memories are still with us. It was October 22 when the airplane flew from Tirana to Berlin. I was so excited. The hotel was so beautiful, so big, and the atmosphere was lovely; lots of trees, a little lake and beautiful weather.

The first day was the day of getting to know one another. After the name games, I could speak to everybody, without needing to ask: "What's your name and where are you from?" That was the first step to big friendship.

We had team-building exercises that helped a lot to establish our relationships.. Like little flowers, we began to grow together, to learn more about one another, our chapters and countries. During the intercultural evening, we had many beautiful performances such as belly dancing and singing. After two glasses of wine, we felt in love with one another, and the dancing and laughing together didn't stop for a good while. The next day, everybody woke up with big "bubble" eyes, yet with big smiles on their faces.

It was October 25 when we had our member outreach workshop, and it was a brilliant one. We were divided into groups of three-five people, and each group had an activity to work for. All the groups did an excellent job. Another good thing was the topic of the budget for these activities, and it was then, when most of us learned about the "depth" of Lars' pocket and Rolf's wallet...

That evening, we all went for a nice dinner outside the hotel, where we met our friends from PTPI's Berlin Chapter. We also enjoyed the "Små grodorna" song, and celebrated Rolf's birthday in the restaurant.

The next day, it was time to say Goodbye.

"The bigger the love for friends, the more you miss them!" And that saying is sooo true. Since we are back home, we see each other on Facebook, saying hello, exchanging ideas for our future PTPI activities, looking at pictures from the activities organized, inviting friends to join PTPI and making PTPI visible, but most importantly, staying in contact and not losing our newly found friendships.

Blerina Gjonaj

Europe Across Four Religions and Tolerance

October 10-20, three YG members of PTPI's Roman Chapter, Cezara Suman, Andreea Lazarescu and Andrei Corduneanu, attended a "Youth in Action" project in Vilnius, Lithuania. The participation was a direct result of the PTPI YG Meeting in Berlin, which was organized by PTPI's Plovdiv Chapter in August 2008. Here is their report.

The project "Europe across four religions and tolerance" was sponsored by the EU through the "Youth in Action" Program. Participating countries were: Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Turkey and Germany.

It was a unique experience with a subject that's not accessible to everybody. This is how I could sum up in one sentence our experience in Lithuania. The main topics were immigration, stereotypes and of course each representative had to present his religion: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. To better understand our respective traditions, we went to a synagogue, an orthodox church, a catholic church and a mosque. The idea of bringing together four different religions and finding the common points rather than the differences seemed brilliant to me. We tried to make connections between the participating countries through small things such as costumes, similar words etc.

Of course, we had a great time and also did some outdoor activities. We went skating, planted trees, distributed FREE HUGS and of course visited the GREAT Vilnius.

Russian School Students' Union was the organizer of this event. This is why we wish to thank Artiom and all our other Lithuanian friends from Vilnius for their hospitality and their ability to create the most suitable program for this project.

We also organized our traditional Halloween party. Thirty-five young friends attended and had great fun. The best three costumes received delicious prizes. The Vilnius team also had their presentation and offered some souvenir t-shirts.

Seminar "Let's Learn to Be Tolerant"

September 25-27, PTPI's Children to Children Student Chapter in Kharkiv, Ukraine held the seminar "Let's Learn to Be Tolerant," which gathered 27 participants from different regions of Ukraine and Russia in Gymnasium №116 of Kharkiv. Students from Chernigov, Lutsk, Kiev, Vladimir and a representative of PTPI's Troitsk Adult Chapter attended the event.

The Vice President of the Ukrainian movement "Educators for Peace and Mutual Understanding," Valentina Dzyabenko (Kiev, Ukraine), was the initiator of the seminar and led several workshops, together with eight teachers of the school.

The seminar started with a presentation of PTPI's Kharkiv Chapter's activities and a discussion about the importance of being tolerant in the modern world. The international guests were taken for a bus tour through the city of Kharkiv and learned more about its history and culture. In turn, the international participants presented their chapters and regions on the second day.

During the workshops on the second day, students and adults explored the meaning of tolerance, evaluated their own level of tolerance and learned how to increase it. Adults and teachers attended special workshops to learn methods of developing tolerant behavior in students. The students also presented their handmade "Ribbons of Peace," which were decorated with pictures and contained messages from the students to future generations, telling about their views on peace and tolerance.

During the event's last day, participants had the choice of participating in a contest on the best emblem of peace, a workshop on developing diplomatic skills or a discussion about tolerance in everyday life, especially in the relationships between children, and teachers and parents.

The event was a great chance for the Ukrainian and Russian chapters to exchange experiences, meet new friends, become more tolerant and discuss problems related to tolerance.

Ludmila Bodyak, Adult Advisor

Coming Events

Date  Program Contact
Dec. 5 – Jan. 31
PTPI Sternberk presents an exhibition of photographs of their
summer exchange project "From little things big things grow" 
Helca Metelcova This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. "
December 8 PTPI Pécs: Meeting of Student Chapter www.studentchapter.gportal.hu
December 13 PTPI Brussels: Christmas Gala Dinner Dance www.peopletopeople.be
December 19 PTPI Sternberk: Christmas Candle Party Helca Metelcova This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
December 21 PTPI Roman: Christmas Brunch Sorina Danciu This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
January 2 PTPI Berlin: First Round Table of the New Year Hannelore Büchler This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
January 8 New Year Viennese Concert at the Royal Military Academy, Brussels www.peopletopeople.be
January 11 Astoria Concert with "Guarneri" Ensemble, Brussel www.peopletopeople.be
January 17-18 PTPI Sternberk: Annual Chapter Meeting and Table Tennis Tournament Helca Metelcova This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
January 28  Exhibition "Oceania" at ING Cultural Space, Place Royal, Brussels www.peopletopeople.be
February 1 Cello Concert at "Musée des Instruments de Musique", Brussels www.peopletopeople.be
February 5  PTPI Pécs: General Assembly of adult chapter Hans Randau This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
February 8 "Pianofolia" Concert at "Musée des Instruments de Musique", Brussels www.peopletopeople.be
February 8 Comedy "La Revue" at Royal Gallery Theatre, Brussels www.peopletopeople.be
Feb. 27 – Mar. 1 PTPI Sternberk: "Winter Pleasures" Excursions Helca Metelcova This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
March 3 or 10 PTPI Berlin: Annual Meeting Hannelore Büchler This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
March 21 PTPI Sternberk: Welcoming of Spring including walking trip Helca Metelcova This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
April 13-15 PTPI Kiev: Second International Lingo Festival Anna Chuiko This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
May 23-30 PTPI Denmark: Travel Tour through Romania www.peopletopeople.dk
June 20  PTPI Berlin: Summer Grill Party Hannelore Büchler This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
September 3-6 PTPI Trustee Meeting Las Vegas www.ptpi.org

PTPI European Conference – Save the Date

The next European Conference will be held June 4-7 in Montpellier, France. Invitations will be sent out in January/February.

Registration Is Open for PTPI's Young Generation IMPACT Weekend!

Join People to People International (PTPI) for its first-ever Young Generation IMPACT Weekend! This humanitarian and educational forum will take place in Kansas City, Missouri USA from May 22-24, 2009. All PTPI global members and friends between the ages of 18-25 are invited to participate!

Highlights include:

  • Guest Speaker actor and humanitarian Michael Cory Davis with a special session on human trafficking;
  • Volunteering at PTPI's Operation Iraqi Children's Warehouse;
  • Presentation by President and CEO Mary Jean Eisenhower;
  • An evening with members of PTPI's Park University Chapter;
  • Welcome Reception at PTPI World Headquarters;
  • Reconnecting with former GYF delegates and making new friends from around the globe;
  • Small group sessions on how YOU can make an IMPACT in the world!

The Registration Fee (US$135.00) includes:

  • Friday: Welcome Reception
  • Saturday: Continental Breakfast, OIC Humanitarian Activity, Lunch, an Afternoon with Michael Cory Davis and Dinner
  • Sunday: Continental Breakfast and Roundtable Discussions

The Registration Fee DOES NOT include:

  • Hotel Accommodations
  • Transportation to/from Kansas City, Missouri USA
  • Airport Transfers

Homestay Opportunity:

We invite our international delegates who are participating in PTPI's YG IMPACT Weekend to extend their visit with a homestay in another part of the country. We are happy to arrange a three to five day homestay with one of the following PTPI chapters:

  • PTPI's Atlanta Chapter
  • PTPI's Greater Los Angeles, CA Chapter
  • PTPI's Arizona Chapter

Participating delegates will be responsible for purchasing their own air ticket from Kansas City, MO to the chapter they wish to have a homestay with and their return flight to their originating city. The Homestay fee is US$60 p/person.

For additional information and to register today, visit www.ptpi.org.

PTPI Updates

In Memoriam - to Otto BurriOtto Burri

There are moments in life when you just want to be by yourself and mourn and pray in solitude. You may have the feeling that nobody could understand your grief, that there are no words to be said, no tears to be shed. When my father died I just wanted to be alone with my grief. Yet I was sent a beautiful bunch of pure white flowers from PTPI, and I felt I had a second family.

Otto was a member of our second family, and even if we need to take our time to mourn his early de-parture, it is good to have a place to share our feelings to keep his memory alive.Otto will live on as long as we keep him in our minds and hearts.

For our chapter members, Otto was like a mentor, father and close friend. There was no Christmas passing without him sending famous Swiss chocolates and cards to our YGs and friends.. You could simply feel the warmth of his soul in everything he was doing. He was a role model, an inspiration for all of us and a real legend.

We love you, Otto, here and in heaven, now and forever.

Sorina Danciu

PTPI Scholarship for Summer University

PTPI has a cooperation with The Fund for American Studies (TFAS), which organizes summer programs on political and economic subjects in Prague, Greece and Hong Kong. PTPI recommends these courses and issues up to four grants of $500 USD. For more information, please visit www.ptpe.org/tfas. Deadline for application is March 15.

Membership Dues

All chapters in Europe have been asked to submit their membership dues. Student and university chapters pay two euros before October 1 for each member. Adult chapters pay three euros by January 1. At the same time, we have also asked all chapters to update the membership lists.

PTPI Radio

There's a new radio station on the Internet, which might become a PTPI radio station. It transmits in English, German and Hungarian LIVE from Pécs, Hungary 20.00 - 21.00 hours CET, i.e. 19 to 20 h GMT/UTC. Tune in for some nice music (classical, country, folk) and news features and announcements of upcoming events. Listen on the Web at www.live365.com/stations/country1357!

Team Peace Challenge!

Student chapters have the opportunity to earn points for chapter programs and activities. Set your goals high and see how many points your chapter can earn through October 10, 2009!

What's the Team Peace Challenge? Chapters have the opportunity to earn points for programs and activities. The categories include: Membership, Programming and Publicity.

How does my chapter earn points? START NOW! Every quarter simply complete a chapter quarterly report and return it to PTPI World Headquarters on December 1, March 1, June 1, and October 10 to receive points for your chapter!

What's up with the points? Points earn you cash for the chapter treasury. Are you up to a higher cause? Donate the cash to a PTPI humanitarian project such as Operation Iraqi Children or Global Landmine Initiative in your chapters' name!!

Point System

Programming:

  • Homestay Activity 5 pts. (per person hosted) (International Visitors Program or other homestay arranged through PTPI HQ. Maximum of 50 points per travel group)
  • Fundraising Activity 10 pts. (+5 pts. per $200 USD raised)
  • Cultural Activity 15 pts. (PTPI Lesson Plans, guest speaker, international dinner or other event)
  • Service Activity 15 pts. (Operation Iraqi Children, Global Landmine Initiative or your own project)
  • GYSD Project 25 pts. (20 additional nonchapter members engaged in activity = 5 pts, maximum of 25 pts.

Membership:

  • New Chapter Member: Student/Individual 5 pts.
  • New Chapter Member: Family 10 pts.
  • Annual Dues and Membership Updates submitted by October. 1, 2009 30 pts.

Publicity:

  • Submit photos to PTPI 5 pts. (per event)
  • News article or other news coverage 15 pts.
  • Presentation about PTPI 15 pts.
  • Form and mentor new PTPI Chapter 50 pts.

Chapter Reports

Berlin, Germany

The year went by so quickly and so many great things happened in our chapter.

First of all, there was the Worldwide Conference in Cairo. I felt very honored to receive the "International Visitors Program Award" for our chapter. During my stay, I met many old friends, but there were only 14 people from Europe on the list of delegates. We all had the opportunity to see the pyramids, the great mosque in Cairo, the bazaar, the Egyptian Museum and many other important places. One highlight was not announced on the program, and therefore it was a surprise for all of us: On Saturday morning all participants from PTPI were invited for a wonderful breakfast at the American Embassy, which was located just around the corner from the conference hotels.

BerlinSeptember 12, we were present, like every year, with a stand at Karl-August-Platz during the "Day of Volunteers." Many people came to us and wanted to know about PTPI's ideas and goals. Of course we were well prepared with brochures and little gifts.
One day later, Dagmar Schönbeck organized a wonderful day trip for PTPI's Berlin Chapter. Seven members went by train to a little village called Mixdorf, and we all went hiking through the forest "Schlaubetal." The weather was very good for the excursion through this great countryside. In a good restaurant deep in the forest, a table was reserved for us for a dinner break.

The weekend September 20-21, Christiane Schadow and her family, new members since May this year, organized a concert in Hamburg in her children's music school. The artists were the singer Jacopo Mauro from PTPI's Florence Chapter and his friend Ivan Yanakov, who played the piano. I am sure some of you can remember him because he sang for us at the European Conference in Rimini this year. Many people came to listen to his popular Italian songs and the wonderful piano pieces played by Ivan. Also the children of Christiane, Celina and Riko, were an important part of the program. Celina sang songs accompanied by Riko playing the piano. Lars Poignant and I had the opportunity to talk to the audience about PTPI during the break and after the performance. It was a nice evening for the 50 visitors and the artists, as well as a success for PTPI.

September 23, we had a meeting at the PTPI European Office with some of our new members. We (the board) presented PTPI, brochures, flyers and talked about the meaning of homestay or being a guest in a host family.

Our next day trip to Leipzig, October 18, was also organized by Dagmar Schönbeck. In only one hour and 20 minutes, the modern "CONNEX" train took us to this beautiful city. She also booked a guided tour for all 22 members and friends. Everything was perfect: the tour, the weather and the mood of all travel companions!

Concert in BerlinBefore and after the Leadership Seminar, October 22-26, we had the pleasure of hosting some international guests. Ruta Pels from Tallinn stayed with Christian and Karin Lehmann, Ucha Nanuashvili from Tbilisi stayed with Britta and Werner Schulze, and Zsuzsanna Balogh from Budapest stayed with Peter and me. During the seminar, the most important thing for all of us was working together. We went sightseeing to Checkpoint Charlie, Friedrichstraße and Gendarmenmarkt. Hans-Dieter was our guide. Before we went back to our hotel, we had something to eat and drink at Savignyplatz.

November 1, PTPI's Berlin Chapter went to see the location and the show in "OLD TEXAS." Twelve members had fun with the American atmosphere, drinks and food. December 6 will be the next meeting for twelve more members.

November 4, we invited members and friends, and talked about our trips, meetings and other subjects in the last eight month. Again, the PTPI European Office was our meeting point thanks to the hospitality of Verena Denk and Lars Poignant.

PTPI's Berlin Chapter sends best wishes for the New Year 2009 and hopes that there will be Peace through Understanding in the whole wide world!

Hannelore Büchler, President

Bern, Switzerland

Here in Bern we look back at a year full of mixed emotions: happy times during the summer with the many American young people who enjoyed homestays with families in and around Bern; our summer party in Hinterkappelen, which our President Otto Burri was able to attend despite his illness; and several board meetings held at board members' homes, where dinner and PTPI business always make for an interesting evening.

During July, we held our first monthly English conversation group at a restaurant in Bern, which offered us a quiet, non-smoker corner. The group is small but has grown, and we are hopeful that we can continue on a regular basis. Anyone who is interested in speaking English – and only English! – for two hours a month is welcome to join us.

Several PTPI Bern members attended the Worldwide Conference, which was a highlight of autumn. Martine Honegger extended her stay to take advantage of the cruise along the Nile, and Simon Krebs had a wonderful time meeting other YGs from all over the world.

Three dozen people attended our annual Summer Party on August 23 held in Hinterkappelen. The torrential rains that day could not dampen anyone's spirits. The cozy venue, the terrific food cooked and served buffetstyle by Claudia and Ueli Krebs and family, and the interesting conversation with PTPI members and homestay guest families made the evening memorable. We were especially thrilled that President Otto Burri was able to participate despite his long illness and months of therapy. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of two PTPI awards: Martine Honegger presented two awards on behalf of PTPI's international Board of Directors and Mary Jean Eisenhower, president and CEO. The first prestigious award went to Ueli Krebs for the "best chapter newsletter worldwide." The second award for "exceptional leadership on the international PTPI Board of Trustees" went to Otto Burri. Otto has dedicated much of his time over the years to People to People International in Bern, in Switzerland, in Europe and worldwide. He has such a special reputation around the world that he is known as "Mr. PTPI Europe" and among PTPI members as "Uncle Otto."

This holiday season our chapter especially remembers our longtime president, Otto Burri, who passed away on October 28. He made it his life's work to cultivate friendships all over the globe through PTPI. My first personal contact with PTPI was here in Switzerland through Otto. His enthusiasm was infectious! He was a man of principle, upright and industrious and always correct. He set high standards of excellence, which we in the Bern chapter will all strive to maintain.

There is still so much to be done, whether it is in our personal lives or more public-minded activities. PTPI's motto Peace through Understanding still cries out for our contributions to world peace and friendship.

As the year draws to a close, we wish all our PTPI friends all over the world a happy holiday season and best wishes for a prosperous New Year!

Linda Rickli

Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

Our chapter organized a court simulation on a human rights case. Some of the members of PTPI represented judges, while others were representatives of the plaintiff or the EU Commission and European states. The emblematic case was Tanja Kreil versus the Republic of Germany, which discussed the rights of women to equal treatment. The project manager, Sofia Tsvetkova, and her team rehearsed a lot in order to adapt the case for the public. The aim of PTPI's project this year was to emphasize the importance of the human rights' doctrine.

Professor Erdinc was a special guest lecturer of the event. She presented her point of view on women's right in Turkey. Then the panel of judges and the representatives of the EU Commission, European states and the plaintiff entered the room dressed in togas. The judge reporter explained the facts of the case followed by another judge who clarified the issue of the case. The facts of the case are that Tanja Kreil, who was trained in electronics, applied for a job with the German army. Her application was rejected by the German Army Recruitment Centre because women are forbidden to take employment in the armed forces except as volunteers and only in the medical and military-music services, according to the German law. For this case, the court was asked to interpret the directive on equal treatment in order to decide whether Tanja Kreil had been discriminated against based upon gender.

In the actual case, the judges heard the opinions of the plaintiff's representative who cited Tanja Kreil's opinion: "I felt like I was living in the middle Ages." Representatives for the government of Germany also presented their standpoint for rejecting the plaintiff's arguments. The Advocate General and the Commission also delivered their opinions. After a heated debate between the judges, which was not made public, they decided that there is no ground for discrimination against Tanja Kreil on the basis of gender.

After the simulation, the guests and the court members joined the cocktail party organized by the chapter. They discussed the importance of equal treatment of women, while enjoying a glass of wine and an appetizer. The organizers' aim was fulfilled because the students were provoked to talk about their own view of the human rights doctrine. As Goethe's says: "Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game."

Ivo Tsvyatkov, President

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels

Voluntary Ambassadors of Pécs to the European Capital: A group of six people, retired teachers and members of PTPI led by Hans Randau (see foto left), PTPI trustee and president of the Pécsi Baráti Kör, presented the city and county of Pécs to the public in Brussels at the Hungarian Cultural Centre, September 5.

The presentation was supported by the European Capital of Culture management's communication and marketing division. In addition, it was sponsored by the King Baudouin Foundation's "Meet the Belgians" Program. It was part of a five-day visit to PTPI's Brussels Chapter under the International Visitors Program. A similar presentation is planned for Berlin,Germany in spring 2009. Videos can be watched on www.youtube.com ("A Glimpse of Pécs") and www.virtualtourist.com (search: Pecs).

PTPI's Pécs Chapter has been active since the beginning of 2006, when the chapter was re-established, with international visits and visitors, conferences, youth meetings and language courses. Having hosted the European Conference in 1996, their main goal is to hold the conference again in Pécs during May 2010.

People to People Belgium celebrates the birthdays of its members and friends every quarter at a special dinner. September 27, 20 guests assembled for a joyous dinner at the "Chez Fanfan" Restaurant in the European district of Brussels. The anniversary dinner was preceded on September 24 by a visit to the Charlier Museum,– a banker's mansion featuring Belgian artistry of the 19th century. The visit was followed by a walk through the popular St. Josse District and ended with refreshments at the Moroccan restaurant "Palais des délices."

The busy October program included the "Pirates Legend" Exhibition in Charleroi; a visit to the chocolate showcase of Côte d'Or and to the Scrapbooking Show at the Tour & Taxi Convention Centre. Artistic highlights in October were the Mozart Festival Concert at the Musical Instruments Museum and a theatre play at the Royal Theatre du Parc.

Visitors from Pecs in BrusselsDuring the sunny weekend, October 18-19, PTPI's Brussels Chapter participated with a table-top display at the Welcome Fair at Autoworld, Cinquantenaire in Brussels; and introduced dozens of inquirers and newly-arrived expatriates in the European capital to its Peace through Understanding social and cultural activities in Brussels. Many said they would like to be present at the Christmas Gala Dinner Dance, which will be hosted by PTPI's Brussels Chapter at the Hilton Hotel in Brussels, Saturday, December 13.

Brussels hosts a unique historic museum: The Royal Military Museum. A visit was organized for a group of 12 curious People to People enthusiasts who failed to enroll for military service. Saturday, November 15, 11 members and friends, including two newcomers, visited the Erasmus Museum and the St. Guido Collegial Church in Anderlecht, ending the afternoon in a typical "brasserie" over coffee and crêpes (pancakes).

Activities of PTPI's Brussels Chapter are regularly described in agendas of the Brussels press and on Facebook, in addition to the chapter's own Web site: www.peopletopeople.be. Meanwhile, all the best!

Daniel Schaubacher, President

Interlaken, Switzerland

After a successful homestay program during summer, the chapter has continued with other programs.

Contact with the chapter's sister chapter in Bucharest has continued. Initial contact was made in 1991. Four years ago a delegation of young members from Romania visited Interlaken and Bern. These young members are now graduating from their studies and plan continued studies in England. Inspired by the updates, the chapter welcomes a renewed visit to Romania.

Ronnie Blakeney will continue the "Bilingual Current Affairs Club" during the fall. It takes place twice a week.

The chapter continues its supportive and humanitarian projects. Ekaterina Gajdanskaia from Moscow was supported by the chapter while she took classes for opera in Genoa for five years. She continues her musical career and school, and currently trains at La Scala in Milano. The chapter supports a school in Mongolia, where Marie-Anne Aebi worked in a PTPI program. With cooperation from a Swiss relief organization, collected goods will be transported to Mongolia. Earlier this year gear for 40 firemen was sent to Tirana. The material has now arrived in the Albanian capital. PTPI Interlaken currently seeks new projects for good causes and encourages members to come up with ideas.

Thomas Ammann, President and Ernest Wälti, Vice President

Gliwice, Poland

Since September, members of PTPI have been writing regularly to students in California USA. They gather information about their country, state, city, customs and food, and share the information during classes.

In September, the members of the chapter helped with organizing the school charity fair, where they had their own stall with cakes, fruits and other items for a lottery.

The members have also been working voluntarily in the after school club in a primary school, helping children with homework etc. December 4, the chapter will organize a party (Santa Claus) for kids in that school. They have prepared presents and food.

Anna Gruszczyk

Kiev, Ukraine

All together (Student, University and now Adult Chapter) we organized and held the Lingo Festival. It was a great idea to join our efforts and make something valuable for society. Each person was responsible for a special affair. The University Chapter organized the first day, April 18, when we opened the First International Lingo Festival in Kiev, "The Ecology of Communication." It was in the university, where 42 languages were introduced. Amongs the guests were ambassadors and representatives from Germany, France and the United Kingdom, as well as officers of the international cultural centers, writers and musicians. Of course, it demanded the support from our Adult Chapter, and they helped by establishing links to organizations, advertising and working with mass media and so forth. The Student Chapter organized the last day, April 20, called the "Arts as the Languages of Friendship." We had intercultural performances, a Living Art Gallery and workshops in the open air at Mariinsky Park in the center of Kiev.

The most impressive and important event was arranged in the center of Kyiv, October 16, near the famous landmark "The Golden Gates of Kyiv." Students and adults collected books to renew a children's library that was destroyed in Poltava by raiders who occupied that historical building and established a casino there after having burned the books. We are proud to report that more then 3,000 books were donated to create a new library.

November 29, members of the student and university chapters in Kiev took part in the International Symposium "The Days of Diasporas in Ukraine." The concept of the symposium was "peace as a goal to achieve; culture as a means for communication; and language as a means to deal in the mutual-interests sphere." They presented their vision of the youth culture, the problems they face in their communities and their activities as PTPI members at the meeting session called "The new wave of the Ukrainian youth generation."

December 2, the student and the university chapters welcomed their friends in Kiev from Ireland, Estonia and Lithuania to hold discussions at the international round table meetings. They talked on the topic "This is Your Choice" about the problems of youth.

This autumn in Kiev, we started a new range of mutual projects with all three chapters in Kiev. We began planning the second International Lingo Festival to be held April 13-15, 2009. For more information, please visit www.interkulturo.info.

Anna Chuiko, Adult Advisor

Kurchatov, "Friends Meeting Friends," Russia

Press Conference about the European Youth ForumSeptember 1 is the Day of Knowledge in our country. We used this opportunity to make a presentation about PTPI and its role in obtaining intercultural knowledge. Our president, Roman Bysov, showed a PowerPoint presentation, and we used the whole event to promote our chapter in our community. We attracted new members as well! Actually, the number of our members doubled.

September 17, we organized an open press conference with a presentation about the European Youth Forum (EYF) 2008 as a way to better understanding between the people of Europe. Five members of our chapter, including the president, spoke about the importance of this type of event and shared their experiences, as well as feelings and emotions with guests. Chapter members described what they prepared for the EYF; what new contacts and friends they made; and how they benefited from it. Many guests from the whole town were invited, and their questions were welcomed. An interview with the local TV channel was also organized during the press conference.

KurchatovSeptember 20, we received publicity when a report appeared on a local TV channel. People from our hometown learned about our positive experiences and chapter plans for the future from the report.

October 3, our chapter members prepared and held a festive concert entitled "Autumn Fires." It was held in commemoration of Teacher's Day.

Mid October, we organized a "Handicrafts Sale" to raise money for our cultural activity "A one day trip to Ice Palace" to be held November 28. Our chapter raised approximately $200 USD to cover costs.

November 2-4, our active chapter members volunteered at the school. We repaired furniture and carried away a lot of rubbish. November 26, our smart chapter members helped to install new computer equipment in a classroom. This activity helped us to unite our chapter and to involve new members in social work.

Natalia Durneva

Khmelnitsky, Ukraine

Our chapter took part in the Ukrainian action "Tolerance is like the way to Europe," which was held in Ukraine from September until November. Participants were awarded prizes for their contributions. One of our members received first place. The student had created a placard with the statement "we are all a single whole – treat others as you would treat yourself."

November 14, at our gymnasium we held an exhibition entitled "The famous figures are on the way to Tolerance." We invited international representatives living and acting in our city, as well as our City Council and Regional Council to the exhibition opening. Even the media was present; so we enjoyed some vital publicity. After the opening, we lit a tolerance candle.

Svetlana Shengilevich, Adult Advisor

Oroslavje, "The Eagles," Croatia

Global Youth Forum ParticipantsWe have chosen Teacher's Day, September 6, in our school to show our appreciation of the efforts that the teachers make daily. They not only pass their knowledge, but also offer a warm, comfortable and friendly atmosphere in their classes. This was probably the first secondary school to mark the day, and it definitely made all the teachers feel special.The Eagles also hosted Lars Poignant in our school, and all the students and staff was present at a school ceremony, where the Eagles presented their activities and talked about our international and local educational, humanitarian and ecological efforts. After the presentation, the students made a PTPI pledge in front of the guests, among which was also the town mayor, Mr. Tuđa.

GYF ParticipantsFor the needy, we have collected groceries, which we'll deliver before the Christmas holidays; so their kitchens are also filled with Christmas spirit and prosperity. We have also rehearsed Christmas carols and a play for disabled children and adults in the rehabilitation center, Pustodol.

Our chapter's president, Sandra Bartol, just returned from PTPI's Global Youth Forum in Denver, Colorado USA. She attended as one of seven international students. She spoke about teenagers and their values, Croatia and the problems we are facing today on the conference's International Student Panel. We are very proud that Sandra represented our school, community and Croatia at this PTPI gathering. She has, again, acted as our best peace ambassador, and because of her, the other conference participants have heard about our country and are now anxious to learn more.

Marina Krsnik, Adult Advisor

Pécs, Hungary

The chapter's last meeting took place November 6. Szilvia Kázmér reported about the Leadership Seminar held in Berlin and presented a slideshow. Ágnes Pásztor reviewed the youth chapter's activities, after which followed a discussion about youngsters' lack of engagement. A committee was established to help improve the situation.

Hans Randau mentioned the Internet radio station (www.live365.com/stations/country1357 recently created by him) because negotiations with a local radio station had no results. The Internet radio station is supposed to be a trial. Hans suggested that both PTPI and PTPE consider the radio as the first PTPI radio station, which could help to spread news about People to People International worldwide as a new means of PR.

In connection with the recent visit to the Brussels Chapter and the presentation made there at the Hungarian Cultural Institute, a Web log or blog http://ptppecs.blogspot.com/ was opened by the chapter in addition to the existing Web site www.ptppecs.hu.

A proposal has been made to visit the Berlin Chapter for a homestay next year.

Hans G. Randau, President

Roman, Romania

Vadim Toader had the chance to participate in the Leadership Seminar in Berlin. We had a firsthand account of the event and now will rely on the new PR skills he developed during the seminar.

November 29, together with Eurasia Educational Center, we held a seminar entitled "I am young, I get involved, I count" in our office. We also hosted a group of young people who were the target group of the project: youth coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as many representatives of local NGOs. The group was accompanied by the project coordinator, the University professor Mr. Laurentiu Soitu from Al.I. Cuza University in Iasi. On this occasion, our YG members had a short presentation of our organization and a dialogue with guests. They also exchanged addresses and information about how they can be part of our projects.

Eight YG members enrolled for a free TOEFL test preparation course at Eurasia Educational Center. Every week they have a tutoring class and come regularly to work independently on simulation tests. They plan to take the test soon, and this preparation will help them get good results.

PTPI's Roman Chapter YG group in partnership with Roman Voda National College and with the support of our sister chapter in Bern are preparing a Xmas project called "The Magic Box." They are collecting shoe boxes wrapped in seasonal paper, and filled with goodies, nice toys and surprises for the children at the local Inclusion Center. With the help with our sister chapter, we will be able to give these special children the nicest Christmas tree and decorations ever. PTPI's Bern Chapter will kindly send 160 euros so the YGs can buy a Christmas tree and decorations for the Inclusion Center.

Aall the members and friends are invited to our traditional Festive Christmas Brunch at Roman Hotel, December 21. Good food, music and dancing will be the ingredients for a sure success. The Amicitia (Friendship) Dance Group will also be present. Every year, we support the group's participation at a European Festival in Belgium.

Sorina Danciu, President

Sofia, "The Doves," Bulgaria

World AIDS DayNovember 19-21, we organized an art exhibition, which raised 467 leva (235 euros). The week before Halloween, our chapter encouraged some fun at our school. We prepared a program, where students had to dress in their pajamas, in black and pink only, with their clothes inside out, like someone from the opposite gender or in crazy hats. We also sold some photos taken by our members in the school's photography club. The decorations and music were fabulous enough to keep all the students and teachers there during the three days of the exhibition. The money that we raised will be used when we visit an orphanage at Christmas.

December 1, our chapter held a campaign for World AIDS Day. We handed out condoms and red bands for students and teachers to hang on their clothes, and showed short films connected with AIDS at school. During September, we held a workshop with experts in the area to learn about AIDS.

An interview about our chapter took place at school. As a result, an article will be printed in the school newspaper's Christmas issue.

Next year we will promote our chapter. We need to pass on our experience. We are considering starting a university chapter, but we also wonder if and how we will be able to stay in touch with younger members after we graduate. As for the university chapter, we have the start up kit, but we need to find people who share similar ideas and are willing to dedicate time to these ideas.

Kalina Cherneva, President

Sternberk, Czech Republic

This weekend was a reflection of feedback activities and the reunion of participants from two summer exchange projects. We spent some time together, enjoyed a slide presentation of the youth exchange in Poland and also planned new activities for the rest of this year and also for next year.

SternberkSeptember 18-28, our chapter members hosted two of our friends from far away: Jo Hale and Alistair Gibb from New Zealand. They came to see our beautiful town and region, to meet new friends and Czech people and also to better know our culture, traditions and ordinary life.

They enjoyed our traditional cuisine, homemade cookies and cakes, and visited places such as the natural museum in East Moravia and the castle in Šternberk.They had a chance to see our old monastery on a night tour with glorious singing and organ playing in the churchs.

We also let them participate in our youth and children's club public activities and took them to our Tuesday volleyball and table tennis trainings. We had a lovely time together.

During October, I had a chance to be part of the PTPI Leadership Seminar in Berlin, which I thought was a great event. I just want to tell all the others that it was really great to meet you all, and for me it was one of the best events this year. I enjoyed your company, your sense of humor, and your tolerance and enthusiasm for all activities.

The last weekend of October, some of our members organized a movie festival. The whole program's aim was to watch movies from all around the World while enjoying time together. At the end, the sitting and watching movies was too much; so we decided to move a bit and walked to the fields above our town to the middle of the forest and play softball until the sunset. There was a beautiful sunset that evening and for sure this was also the last beautiful day of this year.

November 28, the Šternberk town council organized a volleyball tournament for the NGOs, institutions and public bodies in our region. Our chapter participated in the tournament and received recognition for our members' enthusiasm and activity on the playing field. Even though we didn't win, it was a good chance to show our town council, regional council and financial institutions that we are here and they can count with us.

At the end of November, one of our handcraft workshops was held in the PTPI Šternberk club room on a Sunday afternoon. We made natural Advent wreaths, which we decorated, and we tried to make some Christmas tree decorations too. It was a lovely time with the Advent atmosphere and the nice smell of Christmas time.

In December, we welcome you to see our photographic exhibition of our summer exchange project "From little things big things grow" in the Augustinian monastery in Šternberk. The project was held in the monastery during August this year. There were five participating countries: Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Spain and Great Britain. There will also be a slide show and presentation of the whole project prepared by young participants.

Helca Metelkova, President

Tallinn, Estonia

PTPI's Leadership Seminar in Berlin was great opportunity for me as chapter president to meet "old" and new PTPI friends, and to learn more about different projects and activities of PTPI chapters in Europe. It was a great pleasure to have a homestay with PTPI Berlin Chapter members Karin Lehmann and family before and after the seminar. We had very nice conversations about our families, friends and countries. We visited interesting places and museums in Berlin and Potsdam, and spent a very nice time together.

PTPI's Tallinn Chapter YG Coordinator, Pavel Smulski, participated on the training course "Democratic Leadership and Management of Youth Organizations" in Strasburg, November 10-17. He learned a lot about youth organizations in Europe and shared his experiences of NGOs and particularly PTPI programs. It was a great opportunity for young people to discuss new projects.

In Tallinn, two representatives from the "Peace Dream" Foundation asked our chapter to support the Open Estonia Foundation's project "Play Football - Make Peace" to be held during the beginning of July 2009 in Narva-Joesuu. Its goal is to improve relationships between Estonian and non-Estonian children.

PTPI's Tallinn Chapter coordinated Global Education Week of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, November 15-23. The title was "Intercultural Dialogue," and it was announced that 2008 is the European Year of intercultural dialogue. To learn more, visit www.coe.int/t/dg4/nscentre/ge/GEW/GEW2008, which is in English.

Good news came from the European Commission. PTPI's Tallinn Chapter request to be a partner for the "Public awareness and education for development in Europe" project was granted by EuropeAid. Other partners are the Instituto Marques de Valle Flor (Portugal), Evert Vermeer Foundation (the Netherlands) and Glopolis (Czech Republic).

Our chapter members now write Christmas cards for partners in the Grundtvig project and prepare for the PTPI Tallinn Chapter Christmas dinner.

Ruta Pels, President

Tirana, "Horizon," Albania

October 11, the "Albania Tradition and Culture" Event took place. It was a workshop to learn more about Albania and its culture. Our members organized a presentation about PTPI, a big show about Albania from the North to the South and finally collected postcards with pictures of Albania, which were also shown during the intercultural evening at the Leadership Seminar in Berlin. A week later, we held a presentation about PTPI, its programs and our chapter's activities. We have also managed to recruit four new members to join us in our chapter.

October 19, we celebrated "Mother Teresa's Sanctification." Mother Teresa's Day is a special day for Albanians, and it is celebrated every year here. The members of our student chapter got together to give a recital in her honor. They also made a Peace through Understanding poster with peace wishes for the world.

November 16, Lars Poignant was in Albania. We had a meeting at the New York University in Tirana to promote PTPI and form a new university chapter in Tirana.

We successfully approached "Can Do" Magazine. So now we get publicity about the activities of Horizon Student Chapter and Tirana Adult Chapter every two months. The magazine is distributed to the 2,700 students of Language Schools in Albania (LSIA) in Albania and Macedonia. We have managed to recruit new members for the two chapters through these efforts.

Varna, "The Dolphins," Bulgaria

We have already had ten meetings since the beginning of the new school year in Bulgaria. A lot of things have happened and of course lots of people came to understand about PTPI and our chapter in Varna. Some of them became new members. We have gained 15 new members in all.

Our first big activity this school year took place October 1. We organized an enterprise as a feast for the World's Day of Old People. We visited three different places for the elderly and spent time with them. We read Bulgarian poetry written by young people like us, which they really liked. We treated them with homemade cakes, a traditional Bulgarian dish "banica," and took lots of pictures of them. They told interesting stories from their childhoods and about their adolescence. It was totally funny! We also played different games with them. For a meeting at "Vista" Language School, four grandmas and one grandpa were invited. They sat in a circle and every participant told a story from his or her childhood. Our members showed them a game called "dzhuba" that's popular among teenagers in Bulgaria, and the guests showed the youngsters games from their time.

Another important program was organized by Disney and Youth Service America (YSA): "A smoking bottle on a cold November day keeps the teenage smokers away." Our task was to make a short but interesting scene, showing how dangerous drugs are. Our scene was very funny: Alice gets into Wonderland after taking drugs and realizes that everything is much worse in this world. Every character like Santa, the Power Puff Girls and lots of witches are changed because of drugs. The children really liked our scene. Afterwards, there was a contest for best costume and pumpkin, and two of our members acted as part of the jury. It all was a lot of fun!

In addition, we fulfilled a three-step project related to the program. We visited secondary schools and made presentations showing the dangers of smoking to the pupils.

Halloween PartyWe also organized a Halloween party for approximately 120 students of the "Vista School." The theme was "Say Boo! to drugs."
The third step was also very important – a short presentation of the "smoking machine" that aims to show the "Vista" students what happens to the lungs while smoking. At the end, the children were awarded certificates for participation in the project thanks to Disney and YSA. As a whole, we won the prize of $500 USD, for which we are of course very happy, and it is a big acknowledgement for us because only a few organizations in the whole world achieve this prize. J

We also started to create our own Web site, which is an ambitious project of our member Ivaylo. We will also give interviews to a local TV program about our last big activity, the anti-smoking project with the support of Disney, on the second of December. Not to forget, our new member Slaveya is a photographer, and she photographs some of our activities. The photographs are then shown in our high schools.

These are our recent activities. We hope we've done something important for our society!

Yoanna Petrova Lyubenova, Secretary

Zalishchyky, Ukraine

At the beginning of September, our chapter participated in a competition devoted to lost people in the United States because of the terrorism. During October, some of our members had a chance to visit Poland. They practiced Polish and English, and visited historic Polish towns.

As with every year, this year we again honored both our country and those who suffered during the famine of 1933-34. We participated in the program "Burn a candle of compassion" for victims of Stalin's totalitarian regime. During November, we made a report about our chapter and especially about the European Youth Forum in Berlin to the All-Ukrainian newspaper, and November 27, we introduced a presentation about the struggle against AIDS.

For upcoming programs, we are thinking about teaching English in a boarding school for children with learning disabilities. Our member Nastya Zozulyak teaches English to the children and has different discussions with them to develop their speaking skills. We are also considering a visit to Berlin with a folk dance group.

Uliana Strelbitska, Adult Advisor

Yerevan, Armenia

October 18, we organized an information evening for non-members and presented about local and international PTPI programs. As a result, five non-members wanted to become members in our chapter and develop a chapter by recruiting new members in Abovyan town in Armenia.

During October, we also contacted local universities and schools. The aim of the program was to raise students' and schools' awareness about PTPI Student and University chapters, as well as assist in starting student and school chapters in Yerevan.

As a result, it was planned to start a student chapter in Yerevan. Now the newly-recruited members are engaged in starting this chapter and are in the process of working out different programs on youth issues.

PTPI's Yerevan Chapter, together with the "Mkhitar Sebastatsi" Educational Complex, plans to participate in PTPI School and Classroom Program. We will also visit a local old people's home, orphanage or hospital during December.

Silva Vardanyan, President

PTPI