2009-3 PTPE Newsletter
Each year, it feels like our chapters and members get more and more active. I'm thrilled about this. We also have new ways of keeping in contact. The airline industry has made it more affordable to travel within Europe. Thus, also a reason for more activity.
Another successful PTPI European Youth Forum has just ended in Berlin. Day-to-day reports were shared on Facebook and other social media. Thank you, Lars.
Our friends from the Czech Republic are now on their second Kookaburra Expedition to continue where they left off in 2004. We are looking forward to their report.
Last weekend, I visited our Swiss friends for the All Swiss Meeting in Bern. We had an amazing time! Thank you all on the organizing committee!!! We had participants from Italy, Germany, USA, Romania, Switzerland and Sweden. It was truly an international event. Simon Krebs put together a great city excursion. We enjoyed the summer party, at which the chapters expressed their appreciation to their host families, who helped them during the summer. Switzerland is one of the most visited PTPI countries in Europe. Its spectacular scenery and its friendly population make it a sure success.
In just a few days, I will depart for the PTPI Board of Trustees Meeting and the Regional Meeting of the Americas in Las Vegas, Nevada. I'm looking forward to meeting my PTPI family once again. President Rolf DahlbergAugust 25, the European Executive Committee kicked off the fall with a phone conference to plan the future of PTPI in Europe. We have an exciting year ahead of us with the next European Conference in Pécs, Hungary at the end of May being just one of the events.
Before the next newsletter in December, we also will have had our Leadership Seminar in Berlin during the last week of November. Thanks to grants from the Grundtvig Foundation, many Europeans will have the opportunity to gather and bond. I hope that you have all applied – It will never be more affordable! I hope to see many of the chapters there in less than three months.
Please remember the European Program Fund. We on the EEC would love to sponsor events initiated by our chapters. Please drop us a line with your ideas and we hope to be able to help you. Wishing you all a great end of the summer with PTPI, I remain
Your Humble Friend,
Rolf G. Dahlberg
EYF 2009 – Energizer for Precious Times with Precious People
August 3-9, PTPI organised the third European Youth Forum "All Europe is our stage!" Twenty-three youths from five countries participated. During the second half of the forum, the participants created a theatre play, which was performed in Berlin the final day. We received the following report from delegation leader Andreea Dobra.
Few words can describe the sensation I have when I think back to the Forum in Berlin. It feels like true, priceless joy mingled with appreciation and good fun. This event is a key point in stressing that cultural barriers and nationality vanish from time to time to let room for unity in diversity. And though you might have heard that in theory, believe me, practice makes perfect.
I was surrounded for a week by a variety of characters, personalities and backgrounds. And I thought to myself that this "cultural pot" will bring out the best of us and make us connect. So it was!!! We felt like one, strong entity, which was pursuing a goal: that of knowing one another genuinely and learning to embrace differences, similarities and visions. Through the Berlin Quest, I saw how people brought together can truly smile, enjoy themselves, discover so many interesting things and strengthen their connections one step at a time.
The sights of Berlin, the grasp of history and pulse of life in each of its corners, the amazing boat cruise on the River Spree, the picturesque plaza of Potsdam and the wonderful evenings we shared talking about what we had achieved so far...these are just some of the highlights of the whole experience. The debates and brainstorming showed willingness to create, to discuss pros and cons, and to tolerate and reach a common point of view. The Market of Possibilities – great performance by all the guys – included good laughs and an interesting way of discovering customs and traditions. And now I reach the part I remember most dearly, the play. It was absolutely fantastic to see so many ideas transposed into reality, and the switch of nationalities and original expression of typologies. And after half an hour of gazing to the stage, I thought: God, these guys can act!!! It was the successful peak of the rewarding seven days spent with people I now call friends.
What more to say? Thank you Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Albania, England, France and Germany, for making me belong to this, for showing me that though we're different, we have what it takes to express the same idea: friendship. And this is something I will always keep.
All Europe is our stage now. Thank you, guys!
International Experiences in Yerevan, Armenia
August 18-20, PTPI's Yerevan, Armenia Chapter organized the second all-European YG Meeting of this year. The newly started chapter promoted both PTPI and NGO information in Armenia, as well as invited international students to the program. One of them was Talar Manukian from Syria, who sent us this report.
The "Young for Young" Seminar was organized in Garni Geghard and Saghmosavank, which are historical Armenian places. The aim of the seminar was to increase understanding among members and non-members in Armenia and to give an opportunity for Armenian and international students to communicate with one another and to promote the development of cooperation among the young generations of Europe and other countries' NGOs.
The seminar was a great success. It helped us physically, emotionally and spiritually. We shared our ideas and experiences about youth and student life and their role in civil society in Armenia, France and Syria.
We've made contacts, gained new relationships, became well informed about different cultures and traditions and civilizations, and visited many ancient churches and monasteries in Armenia. We gathered good information about people, especially young people, living in France, Syria and Armenia.
During the seminar, Susanna Grigoryan, vice president of PTPI's Yerevan, Armenia Chapter informed us about PTPI and its local programs.
We will pass our new knowledge to other PTPI members and non-members, other NGOs in Syria.
We appreciated this seminar and hope the chapter will organize similar seminars on other issues pertaining to young generations. Thank you very much for PTPI and its mission in the world.
|November 23-29||Berlin: Leadership Seminar||PTPI European Office|
|December 19||Tirana : Humanitarian Activity (with Deaf Children)|
|December 26||Tirana: Christmas Party|
|May 20-23||Pécs: PTPI European Conference||Pécs Website|
Updates from PTPI Board of Trustees Meeting
PTPI's European President Rolf Dahlberg was elected as Vice Chairperson at the most recent Board of Directors meeting in Las Vegas in September. Also at the meeting, the following European members were elected to PTPI's Board of Trustees. New Chairman of the Board of Directors is Mark Stansberry (USA). Vice Chairperson is Rolf Dahlberg (Sweden).
|Simon Krebs||Bern, Switzerland|
|Susanna Grigoryan||Yerevan, Armenia|
This year, the Eisenhower Medallion was awarded to Prime Minister Sali Berisha of Albania. PTPI chapters and members were also recognized:
|Outstanding Leadership Award||Ernst Honegger, PTPI's Bern, Switzerland Chapter|
|James T. Doty Award for Unique and Innovating Programming||Tallinn, Estonia Chapter and Kiev, Ukraine Chapter|
|Chapter Membership Award||Roman, Romania Chapter|
|International Visitors Program Award||Sternberk, Czech Republic Chapter|
|James T. Doty Memorial Award (Student/University chapters)||Varna, Bulgaria (Dolphins) Student Chapter|
|Best Chapter Website Award||Varna, Bulgaria (Dolphins) Student Chapter|
|Community Service Project Award (School and Classroom Program)||
2nd grade, "Andrei Muresanu" Secondary School (Bucharest, Romania)
Scoala Generala Cristesti (Cristesti, Romania)
European Youth Forum
The forum attracted participants from five countries, four of which were from PTPI Chapters in Oroslavje, Croatia; Tirana, Albania; Varna, Bulgaria; and Roman, Romania. In addition, a group of non-members from Hereford, England attended. The result of the forum can be viewed on the Web site www.ptpe.org/eyf2009, which includes a photo gallery and links to the recording of the theatre performance during the final evening.
Recognition for Romanian Global Youth Service Day Project
PTPI's Vaslui, Romania Student Chapter was featured on the "Learn and Serve Clearinghouse" Web page. The project was submitted by PTPI as one of the most unique and creative projects carried out during 2009.
PTPI offers grants for both individuals and chapters. A summary of all PTPI grants can be found at www.ptpe.org/grants.
|European Program Fund||For individuals and chapter programs||None|
|PTPI Matching Grant||Chapter support||March 15, June 15, Sept. 15, Dec. 15|
|Joyce C. Hall College Scholarship||Scholarship for college students||October 15|
|James & Eunice Doty PTPI/Congressional Award Scholarship||Scholarship for high school students||October 15|
Language Ambassador Program
Mark Johnson from the United States completed his third visit to Romania as a participant of PTPI's Language Ambassador Program. This year, he stayed with PTPI's Roman, Romania Chapter, teaching English to young children and adults. At the conclusion of his stay, a show for the students' parents was given at Roman Voda National College.
PTPI Book Club
October 1, PTPI will announce its first book in its Global Book Club. The program is available free to any PTPI member. The club will read one book each quarter and then discuss and compare impressions. All details can be found at www.ptpi.org.
PTPI offers merchandise to members and chapters. Orders can be made online at www.quikey-c.com/ptpi/.
Chapters are encouraged to order items in bulk to reduce shipping costs, which start at 80.00 USD for 10 shirts. Chapters also can order special merchandise with PTPI's logo. Currently the following items are available.
|Item||USD||Minimum order volume|
|Black Computer Backpack||30.00||24|
|Green Luggage Strap||9.00||50|
|Eco Hard Cover Spiral Notebook||5.50||100|
|Pique Polo Shirts||24.00||24|
|Organic Natural T-shirt||15.00||24|
Berlin, Germany Chapter
June 28, our PTPI member Ilona Schmidt held her third guided tour through Pankow, a Berlin district located in former East Berlin. The tour included a guided walk in the Bürgerpark (Citizen's Park) and a visit to the historic center of Pankow.
In early July, nine members from different German and international regions enjoyed a people-to-people-like week as they stayed together in a house on the North German island of Sylt. We all would like to thank Britta for her perfect organization of the week.
July 18-19, six members went by train to Weimar and visited the important sights associated with Germany's famous writers Goethe and Schiller. The small city also is well known for its wonderful architecture and unique gardens. Jutta Strache organized the hotel arrangements and a guided tour through and around the area of the town. This trip was a great success and we plan to repeat it next year.
At the end of July, Susanne and Ulrich Krebs from Thun visited Hannelore and Peter. We spent five days together sightseeing by bus, a great tour on our rivers by boat and an excursion to Potsdam by car.
September 18, the chapter took part in this year's "Day of Volunteering" in Berlin. The chapter's stand was one of 40 and was displayed all after-noon. The fair gave a good chance to present the chapter and PTPI, and of course to reach out for new members.
Arik K. Komets, member and Hannelore Büchler, President
Bern, Switzerland Chapter
Our chapter had quite a busy summer. From July 11 to 17, we hosted and provided homestays for four days and three nights for two groups of Student Ambassadors and their leaders from Ambassador Programs. The 89 Americans were welcomed by host families in the cantons of Bern and Fribourg. Based on their handwritten notes written just prior to leaving us to continue their three-week trip through Europe, all had some exceptional and life changing experiences.
Like the two New York City boys who spent a homestay with a mountain farmer's family, they were fully integrated into the daily farm life and work. The two city youngsters could not believe the work the farmer's children were doing and both now know the source of all food stuffs. Apparently, they now respect and appreciate farming much more. All our young U.S. visitors loved the local food and Swiss chocolate, and they were most impressed by the stunning views of the Alps. Our monthly "Englisch-Höck" was held at Haeberlis in Muenchenbuchsee. Members and friends who wanted to practice English conversation spent a lovely summer evening discussing all kinds of topics during dinner at the Restaurant garden.
PTPI Swiss Meeting August 22, we organized and hosted the annual PTPI All Swiss Chapter Meeting here in Bern. Thirty participants from the Interlaken, Zurich and Bern chapters and eight international PTPI friends led by European President Rolf Dahlberg met around 09h30 at the main train station. Groups of three-four participants explored the old town of Bern in search of answers to a quiz. During lunch with typical local dishes, the quiz was checked and discussed, and prizes were awarded. After about two hours for lunch time, we walked for approximately one hour along the banks of the river Aare to board a typical pontoon river boat. In lovely sunshine under a blue sky with nice cool white Swiss wine, the entire group floated safely down the river guided and watched by two boat men. At the boat ramp in Hinterkappelen, we left the boat to walk up through the village to the Kipferhaus Community Center for the farewell or the beginning of the evening event.
Every year, at the end of August or beginning of September, PTPI's Bern, Switzerland Chapter organizes an evening Summer party, which is completely free of charge. This is our way of thanking all our host families for their generous hospitality throughout the year and to get some feedback about their experiences with the international visitors. Furthermore, we use this opportunity to inform them about PTPI and to recruit new members. Seventy-two attendees, including our international visitors and some friends of the other Swiss Chapters, enjoyed a lively event with Apéro and a barbeque dinner. All host families were present, from first time to third time hosts, and all were very pleased and intend to continue offering homestays. One person and one family were signed up as new members and several others indicated interest to become members. During the first week of September, some of us will attend the PTPI events in Las Vegas. At the end of November, one of our young board members will attend the Leadership Seminar in Berlin.
Ernst Honegger, President
Chester, England Chapter
This year's chapter music scholar, Laura Johnson, entertained her audience as she played her violin at the Wesley Centre in Chester. Her next performances were at Abbeygate Collage's School Concert, where she was accompanied by Michael Reynolds and at St. Mary's Church in Nantwich, where she played with Simon Bate. All three then performed at Eaton Hall.
The strawberries and wine event was held July 26 for our new fund to be named "The Peter Whitby Fund" went very well despite the poor weather. A few brave people went into the garden to complete the garden quiz. I would like to thank everyone who helped to raise funds and those who donated so generously. At this stage, most likely it will be next year before we look for young people to benefit from the fund. I will let you know about events as they become known to me. I must also mention Oliver Deakin, who very ably managed to raise £50 for the raffle and also Betty and Len Holland who braved the damp day by sitting outside at the bring-and-buy stall. In all, including donations, we made £328.14--a very good start.
Heather Exell, President
Interlaken, Switzerland Chapter
During May, two teenagers from Washington, D.C. enjoyed a special homestay when they visited Mooki and Allen for their eight-day long social service. One of the most important events this year involved the 42 students and four teachers who visited our chapter for three days this summer. It all went fine without incidents. Both students and hosts enjoyed lots of impressions.
Tomas Ammann, President
Kiev, Ukraine Chapter
September 12, the chapter created a mini ethnic-cultural festival entitled "The field of knowledge" in the framework of the UNESCO Week of Education for adults in Ukraine.
Anna Chuiko, Adult Advisor
Narva, Estonia Student Chapter
July 17 – August 4, the members of the chapter organized and participated in a summer camp near Lake Chudskoe. In addition, the chapter has been active in humanitarian projects, such as supervising the collection/donation of toys and warm clothing for children in need.
The chapter also hosted Muriel Tabet and Olivier Putin from PTPI's Montpellier, France Chapter. Muriel was the host of this year's European Conference. As part of an artistic program, the members had a wonderful international meeting with young drama actors.
Lea Valiulina, member and Tamara Tsvetkova, Adult Advisor
Oroslavje, Croatia (The Eagles) Student Chapter
This summer, five members of the chapter, namely Andreja, Iva, Matija, Ana and Ines, participated in the 2009 EYF "All Europe is Our Stage" in Berlin with participants from four other countries: Romania, Albania, England and Bulgaria. We stayed there for a week and were involved in lot of workshops, fun games and tasks, in which we learned a lot about other cultures, and more about prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination. We also got rid off our stage fright and performed in a theatre play made by all of the participants of the EYF. Moreover, we learned more about Berlin, and we saw a lot of great historical monuments and buildings. We all presented our countries in the "Market of Possibilities," where we got to know more about one another's countries and cultures. We all made friends, some of us friends for life. It was an unforgettable experience, and we hope for a REUNION soon.
We also plan to go to Pécs to visit our new friends in September. We look forward to meeting all the Hungarian students, Szilvia, Agnes, Hans and Gary, again.
Matija Šakoronja, member and Marina Krsnik, Adult Advisor
Roman, Romania Chapter
Chapter co-sponsored Cuejdel Lake Cleaning Action: What does our environment represent for us? What does nature and trees, grass, water and plants mean to us? These are just some of the questions that we should ask ourselves maybe daily because our planet bears the consequences of our Cleaning Action irrational actions. With or without intention, we destroy. Pollution is not an unknown subject anymore because everyone talks about it. And to be honest, its effects have already started to appear wherever our footprints are left. Unfortunately, this process is irreversible, but we can still make some efforts. Nature is very important for each of us. It is everywhere and represents beauty magic, inspiration' it is our muse. The idea of this project started from the Youth Club Petrodava. With our chapter as co-organizer and a group of students from "Calistrat Hogas " National College, we all managed to clean an area that surrounds Cuejdel Lake. We all knew flyers and theoretical information regarding this subject aren't enough to change the world's mentality. So this is why we have chosen to raise awareness regarding the bad state of our ecosystems by collecting garbage and at the same time sharing flyers with the tourists.
We were 35 young people who attended this eco-camp. Saturday, we collected waste that is not biodegradable like metal, plastic and glass. Both nights after this action, which took about six hours, the camp atmosphere was recreated with a camp fire, songs and a magic guitar.
The aim of our project is to show there is still hope for a green planet for the generations to come. With examples of good practice, we want to make people go back to nature, breathe clean air, plant trees, clean green areas and then go back online and share their experiences.
"Ready, steady...go for a healthy life;" The project was for me the perfect pretext to become more responsible and more ambitious, but also, most of all, to respect the work of those around me. Only now I begin to analyze what happened to me during those ten days because during the project everything was set to fast forward. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to experience the activities from a participant's point of view. It was a difficult exercise for my personality, but after the project I feel much more calm and responsible, and, most importantly, I've learned to be more empathetic to the people around me. It was difficult to harmonize the entire group, to reconcile conflicts and to manage the time, which seemed to slip through our fingers.
In the end, I've found out what work goes on behind the scenes of a project, but with the help of the organizing team everything seems much easier. I've seen that all those seminaries that seem to just flow or the energizer games that seemed to come like a blessing aren't exactly left to chance. Every little detail needs to be planned.
It was an excellent opportunity to make new friends and to get to know other cultures much more closely than we ever dreamed. Cultural diversity was the key word that defined the participants. They were from Malta, Lithuania, Turkey, Bulgaria and, of course, Romania.
Lately I can say that I log on to Facebook two or three times a day. Maybe in this way I can keep the spirit that was created during the project alive. It's an incredible sensation when you feel you have friends in many countries, that you get greetings from all over Europe. I wish for everybody to feel this, at least once in a lifetime. We hope this project will give birth to a new opportunity to see one another again in the same way, but in a different location. I want to end by quoting Dentisa from Bulgaria, "Hopefully this experience will make us better persons." The project was sponsored by the EU and coordinated by Andrei Corduneanu. There are photos and more comments about the project at http://readysteadygoforahealthylife.blogspot.com.
Andreea Lazarescu, member
Tallinn, Estonia Chapter
June 22, PTPI's Tallinn, Estonia community and student chapter members Ruta Pels, Jekaterina Savinova, Polina Polyakoff, Denis Zaitsev and Alex Smulski met with Student Ambassador Program participants as they visited the Baltic States. They had very nice bus trip and walk in the Open Air Museum Rocca-Al-Mare outside Tallinn. For the second time, the chapter had an art project with PTPI's Angoulême, France Chapter. Annick and Pierre Debien came to Estonia with a great exhibition that was open in New Art Museum in Pärnu during the whole summer. July 1-7, I attended the fifth Grundtvig lifelong learning project trip to Lesvos, Greece, where I met with 20 project partners for the evaluation meeting of the first year of partnership. The next meeting will be in Martina Franca, Italy on September 25-30.
Ruta Pels, President
Yerevan, Armenia Chapter
August 18-20, the chapter organized this year's second all European YG meeting, which was entitled "Young for Young." For three days, 26 young people participated in the program, which aimed to raise the competence of the members of the newly started chapter, to recruit non-members and to give an opportunity for Armenian and international students to communicate with one another to promote the development of cooperation between the young generations of NGOs in Europe and other countries.