2009-4 PTPE Newsletter
Last week, I was with PTPI friends visiting one of the Christmas markets in Berlin. Glühwein and wonderful decorations, music and friends – it really got me in the spirit. I know that our friends in Brussels are getting excited about their Christmas Gala and Dance on December 12. So am I about joining them! It seems appropriate to land in the heart of the European Union after spending a week with 25 participants from 18 nations talking about intercultural learning.
This fall started off with an exciting Board of Trustees Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. Naturally we had participation from Europe. Several Europeans were awarded for their contributions to our organization: Ernst Honegger received the Outstanding Leadership Award on the Trustee level, PTPI's Tallinn, Estonia Chapter and PTPI's Kiev, Ukraine Chapter received the James T. Doty Memorial Award for Unique and Innovating Programming, PTPI's Sternberk, Czech Republic Chapter was awarded the International Visitors Program Award and PTPI's Roman, Romania Chapter received the Chapter Membership Award, just to mention a few.
One of the highlights was when PTPI awarded the Prime Minister of Albania, His Excellency Sali Berisha, the Eisenhower Medallion for 2009. Albanian TV, members of the cabinet and Ambas-sadors were there to rejoice in this recognition.
Your Humble Friend,
Rolf G. Dahlberg
Leadership Seminar - A Collaborative Effort to Contribute to Building Intercultural Societies
November 23-29, PTPI organized its fourth Leadership Seminar. Twenty-five participants from 18 countries participated. One of them was Mariana Iordanova, adult advisor of PTPI's Sofia, Bulgaria Student Chapter. She kindly sent us a summary of her impressions.
I am glad that I was part of the multinational team that took part in the rewarding PTPI Leadership Seminar "Volunteers for Intercultural Learning." The greatest benefit was derived from the experience of interacting and working with people from diverse geographical, cultural and religious back-grounds, and thus learning more about them and the 18 countries represented. Such direct people-to-people contacts deepen mutual understanding of one another's cultures and foster trust among participants.
As human beings, we share many qualities, but we all have different physical characteristics, personalities, interests, lifestyles, manners, patterns of behaviour, habits and set of values, which are, however, not worse or better, just dissimilar. And the exciting challenge is to learn to look at this diversity from a positive perspective, to respect otherness and to live together peacefully in today's multicultural societies, relating to each other at an equal level, overcoming negative prejudices and stereotypes, so societies change into intercultural.
Not only did the seminar improve our intercultural and leadership skills, but also it increased our project management skills for our voluntary work. It also encouraged cooperation between PTPI chapters and other NGOs in Europe in the development of joint international projects that enhance intercultural learning and international friendship. I have vivid memories of all activities done each day: the name games, ice breakers, energizers, PowerPoint Presentations (about PTPI, about the difference between stereotype, prejudice and discrimination, about cultural differences according to Hofstede's dimensions), presentations of short films from the international video project "Snap-shots: When Cultures Interact," presentations of successful chapter projects, collection of new project ideas and project development workshops. During the interactive exercises "What do we know about each other's countries?" I was surprised to find that one of the participants knew that Bulgaria has medallists in many sports. In another brainstorming activity "Differences and Similarities of our Cultures" during the first round, we had to identify a custom or tradition unique to our countries. However, it turned out that several countries share our "uniqueness" and so the outcome was a clear manifestation of our similarities. This made us want to learn more about one another's countries during the time spent together.
The Intercultural Party "Celebrating Diversity" was a big success. We presented our countries with food (which lasted until the last day), drinks, information materials, pictures, songs, dances and performances. In one given by the Albanian, Bulgarian and Macedonian participants, there were plenty of hugs and kisses. Isn't this intercultural learning in action?
Acquaintances also were made during the two dinners in Berlin. I did not expect to meet at the farewell dinner two compatriots (freshmen at German universities) who before leaving suggested we keep in touch to provide support and friendship.
The intercultural learning experience was too great to express in words and certainly cannot be described in one report, let alone the impact it had on me. If, however, keeping in mind everything that happened during that one week, I have to think of one word in my native language that describes it, then it is: Blagodarya! (Thank you!). I learned this way of oral evaluation of an event from Verena during the 2008 European Youth Forum.
Thank you PTPI staff Lars, Verena and Laura for making everything that happened possible, for bringing about a positive difference to the lives of so many people, and for showing us part of the story of a formerly divided city - the Reichstag, the Brandenburger Tor, the Holocaust Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie.
I believe we all complemented one another and made a great team of minds. Now we must put to good use in our voluntary work the training we received. Maintaining continuity should become part of the ability to lead our organization, and it is what the seminar "Volunteers for Intercultural Learning" was about.
Campaign Against Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking - PTPI Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria University Chapter
November 23-27, PTPI's Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria University Chapter organized a special campaign against domestic violence and human trafficking. The project is one of the first of its kind for chapters in Europe and was supported by the PTPI European Program Fund. The members also received good support from other sources and created a very good program, together with other organisations. This is the report from Vesela Bodurova, chapter president
The campaign of PTPI Blagoevgrad University Chapter against domestic violence and human trafficking turned to a memorable event for both organizers and guests. We are really grateful that we received the PTPI European Fund in order to make this happen. The chapter found a lot of supporters who became part of the event. PTPI Plovdiv, Bulgaria Chapter and Rotaract Club Blagoevgrad were truly involved in the week's preparations against domestic violence and human trafficking. The National Commission for combating trafficking in human beings, Animus Association, Face to Face International and the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation participated in a panel discussion on the first day of the campaign, which gathered more than 150 people. After the panel discussion, there was an auction with pictures donated by students of the American University in Bulgaria. Our chapter framed them and prepared a cocktail event to collect money for the Crisis Centre for Women "Samaritans" in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. The highest price for a picture was paid by a representative of the U.S. Embassy in Bul-garia. We are really proud that we gathered to-gether so many people who believe that positive change is possible.
During the whole week, we visited high schools in Blagoevgrad together with PTPI's Plovdiv, Bul-garia Community Chapter, the National Commis-sion for combating trafficking in human beings, the Bulgarian Red Cross and the Bulgarian Gen-der Research Foundation. The students had the chance to talk about their position, and the trainers gave them more information how and where to find help.
Our chapter also organized a research conference in the American University in Bulgaria on the topic "Women over the globe." Students presented the problem of domestic violence in the Middle East and the position of women in the media worldwide. In addition to this, a workshop was organized with a famous Bulgarian psychologist, who led a training session on combating domestic violence. It was valuable training not only for the members of our chapter, but also for students from the local high schools and the South West University. In the last two days of the campaign, we showed movies on human trafficking and short clips made by students from the More Honors Academy, which made a long lasting impression. We received attention and coverage from local and national media. We believe that our efforts were worth it, and we are glad that a lot of people became aware of the dimensions of domestic violence and human trafficking. Big thanks to PTPI for the support and the willingness to help such campaigns!
|December 26||PTPI Tirana SC: Christmas Party|
PTPI Brussels CC: Visit of Paul Huybrecht's Medalist Atelier,
followed by Concert by Monique Jobin
|January 31||PTPI Brussels CC: Astoria Concert|
|March 20||PTPI Sternberk CC: Welcoming of Spring|
|May 20-23||Pécs: PTPI European Conference||PTPI European Office|
|Sept 30-Oct 3||PTPI Worldwide Conference||www.ptpi.org|
European Conference - Save the Date: May 20-23
|European Conference PTPI's next European Conference will be held in Pécs Hungary. The members of the student and community chapters currently prepare for the conference, which also coincides with Pécs as European Culture Capital during 2010. There will be plenty of artistic programs during the weekend. Invitations will be sent out in January. Conference Web site.|
|May 17-19||Optional days in Budapest|
|May 20||Morning train from Budapest to Pécs. Arrival/Optional day/Youth Programs|
|May 21||City sightseeing, Board of Trustees Meeting, Conference Opening|
|May 22||Council meeting, Chapter fair, gala dinner|
|May 23||Excursion to Orfü, departures|
|May 24||Optional Homestay in Pécs or Veszprém|
Rugby - Tryout Camp - PTPI Karlstad Värmland, Sweden
PTPI's Karlstad, Sweden Chapter would like to invite boys and girls ages 14-18 years to a rugby training camp and activities week this coming July 2010 in the city of Karlstad. The aim of the camp is to give people a chance to try out the sport of rugby in the fantastic surroundings of this wonderful city, while enjoying a cultural exchange with other young people from Europe. First and foremost, the camp is open to members of PTPI; currently we are limited to 15 participants. It is not necessary to have had previous experience in the sport of rugby, although a willingness to participate and have fun is a must.
The week will be broken into two parts. Part one will consist of a four-day rugby training camp with key emphasis on teamwork and camaraderie. Part two is optional and will consist of an excursion of two to three days either rafting or kayaking; this will give participants the opportunity to sample the wonderful natural surroundings this area is blessed with.
Global Book Club
PTPI's Global Book Club is a way to connect with your global community. Global Book Club members will communicate about valuable, international topics and gain unique insight and understanding of the various cultural views in relation to those topics. The PTPI Blog (http://blog.ptpi.org) features discussion questions and commentary from PTPI staff members and fellow readers. Book Club Logo
Currently, staff and PTPI members are reading and reviewing Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi. You can find the conversation under the "Global Book Club" category on the PTPI Blog. Book two will be announced January 1! To be the first to know, visit PTPI.org today and register to participate in the Global Book Club.
By October, the student and university chapters paid their dues and updated their membership lists. All community chapters will need to pay their dues and send updated membership lists by January 1. The international fee for membership is two Euros for members in student and university chapters and three Euros for community chapter members. Beyond this, each chapter may decide to have a higher fee to cover its own expenses.
In Memory - Tamara Tsvetkova
People to People Estonia lost a great person, Tamara Tsvetkova, on December 1. She was a very good teacher in history and civics, a leader of the PTPI summer and winter camps and adult advisor for PTPI's Narva, Estonia Student Chapter. More than 300 students, parents and teachers came December 4 to the new Narva Orthodox Church to say a last good-bye to Tamara. All were very sad to have lost such an enthusiastic person so full of light who struggled with cancer until the last moment of her life. We will remember her great lessons in the classroom and in the old Narva castle, different PTPI activities, her smile and her positive attitude to life.
Ruta Pels, President PTPI's Tallinn, Estonia Chapter
PTPI's Atlanta, Georgia Chapter Seeks Your Support for the Angelik Project in Haiti
PTPI's Atlanta, Georgia Chapter has launched a "Soccer Balls and Baby Dolls Toy Drive" and is seeking the help of PTPI members and friends worldwide. The toy drive will benefit the Angelik Project, which supports a program in the central plateau of Haiti to provide clean water and to raise awareness about sexual abuse in developing nations. The Angelik Project was founded in March 2005 when physicians from the United States found a nine-year old Haitian girl, Angelik, whom they treated for sexual abuse. They learned that one of the reasons she may have been abused was for safe drinking water. There was an extreme drought that year in Haiti and clean water was not available. In an attempt to keep this from happening to other children, the Angelik Project was formed.
Linda Dean, PTPI's Atlanta, Georgia Chapter
Berlin, Germany Chapter
The last three months of this year were busy for the Berlin chapter. Hannelore Büchler, chapter president, participated in the Board of Trustees Meeting in Las Vegas. She enjoyed a homestay with Kay Kuns, chapter advisor of PTPI's Santa Ynes (Teens Working Together) California Student Chapter, before the meeting. She also met with young members of the chapter, who visited Berlin last year on their tour through Europe, which was led by Kay Kuns and Elly Washington.
Arriving in Las Vegas, Hannelore and Kay met up with Berlin chapter members Dagmar Schönbeck and Sandra Lehnerl. Sandra participated in the 2009 Homestay Excursion.
More than 120 trustees came to Las Vegas to be part of this excellent opportunity to meet members and leaders of the organization! They all had a great time in this unique and exiting city! After all meetings, dinners and excursions, Dagmar flew to San Francisco Hannelore had a homestay in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, and Sandra returned home to Berlin. September 12, Britta Ördec organized a party on Berlin's wonderful lakes and rivers on a "Grill-boot." Nine members joined this funny event.
November 14, the chapter came together for a big meal in Blankenfelde. Ilona Schmit organized this meeting. Twenty-four members, friends and Lars from the European Office had fun in a very typical German restaurant that serves several dishes with ducks and the traditional "Martins-Gans." November 19-25, Carles Miralles from London was in Berlin and had a homestay at Karin's and Christian Lehmanns's home. He enjoyed his stay and attended a meeting at the Mexican restaurant Cancun at Potsdamer Platz with Laura (intern at the European office) and Lars, Ilona and Hannelore, and two young girls from Hungary who came to Berlin one day early for the Leadership Seminar.
The fourth Leadership Seminar was a great event for all. Not only were there PTPI members, but also nine participants from other organizations like ours. The whole program was worked out by Verena and Lars (great job!!!). Financially the seminar was supported by the EU. The title was "Volunteers for Intercultural Learning." During the seminar, participants exchanged experiences and enhanced their intercultural, project management and cooperation skills. Hannelore took the chance to learn more about the other's countries and cultures, and also about causes of stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. The last day of the seminar, Verena and Lars organized a dinner at "Lindenbräu," which is located in Sony Center. This farewell dinner also was an opportunity for all our chapter members to meet the group. More than five members came and had fun being together, talking to each other and seeing good friends again! What a great and exciting week for all. Everybody can see photos on Facebook now.
December 4, we held our regular chapter meeting, which also was the Christmas meeting. Sixteen members came to our new meeting point, the Italian restaurant Boccacelli.
The last month of the year is always a very busy month for all people. Everyone is looking forward to having a nice Christmas celebration and an exciting New Year's Eve party. On behalf of the Berlin chapter, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Hannelore Büchler, President
Brussels, Belgium Chapter
For the PTPI chapter in the European capital, events, activities and joyful meetings continue at a pace of three to four gatherings a month.
In October, we made an outing in the Ardennes region, enjoying a tasty sampling and lunch at the Sanglochons Tavern and Farm in Neufchâteau, prior to following a qualified guide through the nearby woods on a mushroom-picking walk. Luxembourg TV interviewed us during lunch and followed us through our wild mushroom search. October 7, we visited the Hergé Museum in Louvain-La-Neuve, a futuristic eco-building dedicated to the story of Belgian cartoon hero Tintin.
Our presence at the Welcome Fair, October 10 and 11, afforded us renewed visibility especially among the numerous expatriates active in European affairs. October 14, two dozen members and friends enjoyed a Chinese lunch and participated in a tea ceremony at Dynasty House in Brussels, which during the China-Europalia Festival has been transformed into a Chinese tea house.
October 18, we attended a theatre play by Agatha Christie. A busload of approximately 30 went to the Maasmechelen Factory Outlet Village November 9 for a full-day shopping spree. Les Petits Riens is a philanthropic organization well known in Belgium for collecting clothing, household appliances, furniture and other effects, as well as renovating and recycling them and putting them on sale, with the proceeds going to poor people and re-invested in a men's hostel. November 11, after a briefing by Les Petits Riens staff and a visit to their facilities and stores, a collection was spontaneously made with 25 people contributing generously for this charitable organization. We concluded our visit with afternoon tea at nearby fashionable Place de Châtelain. November 27, many enjoyed a "boogie woogie" concert, while others visited the Christmas decorations at the festive Château de Grand Bigard November 29. At our annual general assembly held December 3, we noted a surplus in our accounts and an increase of membership and activities. We are busy preparing for our annual Gala Dinner Dance December 12, at which we expect 75 guests and Rolf Dahlberg, PTPI European President.
Daniel Schaubacher, President
Chester, England Chapter
In September, I participated in the Board of Trustees Meeting in Las Vegas. Being so far away, there were not so many of us from Europe, but a very interesting time was had by all. Las Vegas has got to be seen to be believed! It was a surprise to meet Marie Anne Aebi there, but she is now studying in Loveland, Colorado, so she didn't have far to go to Nevada! Back in Chester in September, our chapter met for a Sunday lunch and were treated to a very interesting talk with photographs about our Young Generation member's trip to Malawi during the summer. Naomi Deakin spent six weeks in the teaching hospital there and then had two weeks sightseeing around the beautiful country. She is going to maintain a contact with the hospital while she is back studying medicine at Cambridge University. We are now looking forward to the New Year when we will have our annual post Christmas luncheon January 24, before starting a new round of concerts and other activities. You are welcome to join us in January - just let me know. Merry Christmas to one and all and a very Happy New Year from the Chester Chapter.
Heather Exell, President
October 31, at the Community Center Fantastic, the Chisinau chapter team became the co-organizer of the festive event "Halloween." In this holiday were involved pupils and young people of ages 12-20. They performed an interesting scenario, wearing costumes of popular characters from the ancient story, which brought back the traditional spirit of Halloween. All participants, as well as young people and adults who attended the celebration, felt themselves happy and realized that such festivals should be organized without hesitation, as being considered a contribution to the development of intercultural relations and a way of creating joyful mood for each participant and spectator.
November 14, the Chisinau chapter organized a seminar with the topic "Civic Education" at the Community Center Fantastic. This theme was selected by us because it is topical for young people, being a compulsory subject in schools. The information discussed contributed to the shaping of civic competences and proper behavior of young people within society. As well, youngsters become more aware of their role in society as citizens of their country. We considered the seminar successful because the participants have since shown interest in knowing civic values in developing cooperation relations between the members of own and other societies.
November 23-29, I participated in the PTPI Leadership Seminar, which took place in Berlin. The topic of the seminar"Intercultural learning through volunteering work" created the possibility of European cultures interaction, based on different knowledge, experience, social values and others. I really enjoyed it, feeling myself as if in a big and at the same time friendly family, each of us possessing certain differences and similarities coming from our cultures. I believe that through volunteer work you can achieve intercultural experience, new friendships, personal satisfaction and the most important result of promoting respect, understanding and tolerance towards what is new and different. Thank you very much for a wonderful week.
Ludmila Mihaescu, Member
Interlaken, Switzerland Chapter
New Aid Project
For several years now, it has been our chapter's tradition to get involved in charity projects. This year, instead of keeping our modest surplus funds in the bank, the board proposed on a yearly basis we invest in a project that would correspond with the goals of PTPI and also allow us to help people directly.
Following much discussion, the board presented its proposal at the general meeting held March 6, which was a financial-aid stipend to help a local student pursue language study abroad. We based our decision on the belief that the promotion of foreign language study is a step toward international understanding and hence, a fulfillment of one of the core ideals of People to People International.
Our chapter has designated an appropriate amount of funds from its 2009 budget for the stipend. In so far as future budgets allow, we plan to extend this support to one student each year. To help realize our plan, we sought the help of the bzi - the Vocational Education Center of Interlaken. Around 2,500 students attend this school, pursuing a wide range of professional training programs. The bzi has been organizing language-study trips to England for various student groups for many years; thus, we are sure we can trust its experience in travel- and accommodation-planning and choice of language school.
The process of applying for the stipend began early last fall and was open to students attending language courses at the bzi. By agreeing to choose the stipend winner, the school took on a rather difficult task for us. We had decided that the recipient wouldn't necessarily have to have the highest academic marks, but would have to be highly motivated and hardworking. He or she also would be required to join our chapter, and the award money would be paid out by November. The lucky stipend winner has in fact already been chosen by the English teacher responsible for the project at the bzi. She works as an apprentice in a notary office and is currently pursuing a commercial education typical of the Swiss work-study vocational system.
Our board and chapter members are very happy for this young lady, who next spring will complete a two-week intensive language course at the Devon School of English in the United Kingdom. Further information about the school can be found at www.devonschool.co.uk.
The creation of the stipend project also has brought us two new members. In addition to our student member, her English teacher has joined us...
We are eagerly looking forward to the report from our stipend winner in spring 2010, which will be made public in a newsletter and in the local press.
Visit from a U.S. Group in summer 2010
Only a few weeks ago, we were once again asked - as we have been since our chapter's founding in 1996 - if we would be willing and able to provide homestays for a large group of Student Ambassadors from the United States. As always, our answer is a resounding yes, and we've already been able to confirm dates in June. We thank our Homestay coordinators Cindy Mühlemann and Angela Weibel for their help and will let you know everything in advance.
Our chapter's ongoing bilingual, bicultural current affairs group continues to meet twice a month to discuss current events and controversial topics in both English and German. The group is made up of (Swiss) German speakers and two native English speakers, and they help one another through the intricacies of the respective languages over coffee, using current newspaper articles and thought-provoking study questions. Never a dull moment with this gang!
Claudia Mariani, Member
Kharkiv, Ukraine (Children to Children) Student Chapter
In June, our volunteers worked in a school summer camp. They carried out a great variety of activities with primary school children. Members of our chapter taught them English and organized trainings dealing with environmental problems. In August, our chapter was invited to the conference "The Place of a Child in this World." We discussed the problems of our moral values and reasons of forming subculture streams. We decided to hold similar conferences regularly. The event was visited by the vice president of Kharkiv Youth Organization of Self Government (KYOSG), of which the PTPI member Bogdan Govorun is the president. And KYOSG cooperates with the government of Kharkiv, which helps our chapter to spread the ideas of PTPI in all the schools of Kharkiv.
Last year, many chapter members took part in the School and Classroom Program. They were in contact with American students from Water Bridge City near New York. They enjoyed communicating very much. We are going to be in touch with children from cities in Canada, Switzerland and Australia. Now we are developing our chapter's group on Facebook, where you also can find pictures from our celebration of PTPI's 53rd birthday.
The first term of our academic year became a new period in our chapter's development. We started our year with a gorgeous celebration the "Knowledge Day." As is the tradition, we prepared a concert devoted to first graders. We think that we should prepare them for PTPI activities from the very beginning. Knowing the problem of not following traffic rules is unfortunately common in Ukraine; so we invited a policeman to our school to tell us how dangerous it really is not to follow important rules. As our great tradition, we also cleared our territory of fallen leaves. We planted some ever-green trees and some autumn flowers. In next quarter, we are planning to make a project called "The Week of Happy Smile." We are going to tell the students of our school about oral hygiene. September 15, we celebrated the 220th anniversary of the famous writer Fennimore Cooper. We organized an art evening. Devoted to the birthday of our native city, we helped to organize a project called "Famous Citizens of Kharkiv in Our Families."
We are going to continue our activities as we have done so far. We have many other plans and ideas for the next quarter but would like them to be a surprise. Best wishes,
Julia Berezhnaya, President; Yana Nichiporenko, Vice President; and Ludmila Romanova, Adult Advisor
Kurchatov, Russia (Friends Meeting Friends) Student Chapter
PTPI Kurchatov In September, we celebrated the European Day of Languages. Reporters from the local television channel were invited to highlight the importance of cross-cultural dialogue.
Also in September, we organized a Textbooks Drive, selling secondhand textbooks for half price, which raised $30 USD.
Natalia Durneva, President
This year drawing to the end has been quite busy for us, though we did not have a European Conference to take care of as we did in 2008. However, we had a number of homestays that we offered, starting in early January with two ladies from Germany and then a lot of Americans. The event that was really very rewarding for us was receiving a group of 20 students and two teachers from Indonesia last April. The request, which came to me from Sharifa Nura, was to contact a high school here and, in addition to the possibility of being hosted, the group would interact with students of their age here. This was not an easy task considering the very strict rules in our schools, but I got in touch with a very efficient Parents Association of the Liceo Classico Tito Livio, which was very helpful and interested in organizing this contact. After a meeting with the principal, we started and the result was a very fruitful collaboration that was highly successful and gave PTPI the possibility of a lot of publicity.
Now I am happy to say that our offering of home-stays has highly increased, and we would be happy to have groups of students with their teachers that want to interact with others here. I want to add that a family also contacted me wanting a long homestay for a young person who is attending a course or university here. This is the result of their children's experience with PTPI and us in the past. We also had a number of young people who individually travelled to the United States and had homestays during the summer. Our PR efforts continue. After the European Conference our Chapter is on Facebook!
I would like to mention that our chapter has some charity projects through Chiara Pedretti, who as many of you may know, is our dancer and choreographer. Last October, it was a musical "The Lost Princess" performed in support of the non-profit organization Impegnarsi Serve, and in Novemberfor ITACA and some children's hospitals. We also were present at the different events of the European Conference, the All Swiss Meeting in August, and the Board of Trustees meeting in Las Vegas. I also travelled extensively to be present at all Board of Directors Meetings. I wish all our friends throughout the world a most joyful holiday season, and a brilliant and peaceful 2010.
Valeria Magistrelli, President
Oroslavje, Croatia (The Eagles) Student Chapter
Seven young members of PTPI's Oroslavje, Croatia Student Chapter were hosted by members of PTPI's Pécs, Hungary Student Chapter in their lovely hometown in September.
PTPI Oroslavje homestay in Pécs After the arrival, they all went to visit the Croatian primary and secondary school, Szecheny Istvan Gimnazium, in Pécs, which was fully renovated a year ago. They then had lunch at the Croatian school Miroslav Krleža, went for a train tour in Pécs, had an intercultural workshop prepared by the hosts with the title "What have we learnt about Croatian and Hungarian culture so far?" and enjoyed themselves very much. Moreover, they had a taste of the Pécs' Heritage Days. The next day, they took an exciting trip to Orfu and its two amazing lakes, visited an old mill and had a traditional lunch.
They all immensely enjoyed the time spent together. It was a wonderful homestay; not only was it perfectly organized, but also let them get to know one another a lot more and have great fun together. All of them hope they'll continue their cooperation and meet one another again in the future.
Marina Krsnik, Adult Advisor of PTPI's Oroslavje, Croatia (The Eagles) Student Chapter and Vivien Noveczki, President of PTPI's Pécs, Hungary Student Chapter
Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Student Chapter
PTPI Sofia November 21, International Day of Peace was celebrated by sending a poem to PTPI's Our World student newsletter via the School and Classroom Program and its Poems for Peace project. November 26, we celebrated the European Day of Languages and students were given balloons decorated with the words PTPI and peace in different languages. A new chapter Web site is under construction.
Mariana Iordanova, Adult Advisor
Šternberk, Czech Republic
Dear friends, I could say this was another leadership seminar for me, as I have already participated in three of them in the last four years, but it wasn't just another one. It was again a very special one. Maybe it was all the participants and organizers, or maybe it was the place or the right time of the year - meaning the time before Christmas-I'm not really sure what the main reason is. Maybe it is a bit of all of these.
I had a great time together with all of you, and I was so surprised that we always could find some time to talk, to share, to spend time together, to have fun, to be serious and to have the same passions for something. I wouldn't believe that there would have been enough time to find good friends in one week, but, as I can see and feel now, let's say just a few weeks after the seminar this is possible; it has happened. And I am so happy about it.
It was a bit difficult to get back to normal life and routine after this interesting week of strong experiences and exchange. I found out that intercultural learning can be so much fun and so easy to do, if you really want to do it, and it works only when you open your heart to others.
I am sure for many of us it is not easy to open our hearts to those we don't know, what's more for those who come from a different country, different culture and traditions and who speak a foreign language we don't understand. But I must say dear friends from anywhere, thank you so much for your kindness, for making my heart feel great, for the inspiration from your life stories and for your efforts in everything we did together. All the fun we had keeps me smiling, evenright now, so thank you once more. Hope to meet you again one day.
Helca Metelková, President
October 21-24, Ruta Pels participated in the European Development Days in Stockholm and worked at a Global Education Week booth, at which she distributed lots of PTPI materials.
November 6-7, members of the chapter took part in a seminar on global education organized by AKU - National Platform of Estonian NGOs, of which PTPI Estonia is a member. Ruta presented for AKU members and other stakeholders from the Ministry of Education, Ministry for Foreign Affairs and National Agency Archimedes Global Education Guidelines. On the same day, a few chapter members participated in Angola Day in Tallinn.
The Estonia chapters have a newly created Web site: www.ptpest.ee, which will be in three languages: Estonian, Russian and English.
Ruta Pels, President
Tirana, Albania (Horizon) Student Chapter, Albania
October 3, the chapter made a presentation to explain how culture is conceived from mass media, the Internet and other mediums of communication. Twenty members attended the event. The presentation was based on what we had learned at the European Youth Forum. Also some of the adult advisors of the chapter were invited: Valbona Gjonaj (specialist in mass media communication), Bruna Shiroka (school and classroom program advisor), Kejda Menaj (sociologist adult advisor) and Silvamina Alshabani (environmental adult advisor). Each adult advisor discussed the topic in respect to his or her field. October 17, we reviewed what we had done since the beginning of the year. For the new members, there also was a presentation about PTPI in general. There were printed pictures from the activities of the year. At the end, there was pizza for all 15 participants.
Irsilda Ismaili, President
Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins) Student Chapter
September 10, we held a teambuilding activity and had a discussion about creating a network of virtual members. At the Romanian party in September, we raised the question of possible cooperation with a Romanian chapter on a sister-to-sister chapter basis. Members also participated in an international and multicultural seminar in Romania. We visited the elderly and entertained them with activities for International Day of Solidarity between Generations on October 1.
Our membership recruitment activity in November involved surprisingly a lot of young people who came to our PTPI presentation. Attendance was good thanks to advertisements in high schools and on the Internet.
Elitsa Pophlebarova, President
Last Friday, we decided to collect clothing and toys for the children of a poor family near Vaslui. A member who lives in the countryside told us there was a very poor family in her village with nine kids aged 1-16 years old. So we started collecting things and money for them, and last Friday, six members went there to give the items to them. The members also paid the monthly bus ticket for the eldest son who goes to school in town and bought some oil, sugar and flour for his mother.
Liliana Harhas-Ciobanu, Adult Advisor
October 10, members of PTPI's Yerevan, Armenia Chapter were invited to participate in a Crop Festival in Eghegnadzor. The aim of our participation was to disseminate information about PTPI, local programs and activities to the villagers and participants. The members also gave gifts to the participants.
The "We and European Union" project was implemented at the Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educational Complex by the volunteers of ADICE and PTPI's Yerevan, Armenia Chapter. The aim of the project was to raise awareness among young generations about the European Union. During the project, PTPI and local programs were presented to the participants by Mkhitar Sebastatsi, a pedagogue of educational complex and a chapter member.
November 11, members and staff of our chapter left for Vanadzor to implement the "Cheerful rays of smile to children" project at an orphanage. Ninety-seven children welcomed us with their warmness. The aim of the project was to give smiles to the children, and to make surprises and nice presents for them. The second part of the day was devoted to a visit to an old age pensioner home. Fifty-one elderly people live there. We called the project "We are with you" and for it we tried to do our best to make their day pleasant, full of many surprises and warmness. We tried to partially fill the gap in the lack of attention they receive. The elderly people made suggestions and the implementation of those suggestions will be done in our future activities and projects. There were warm feelings and a warm atmosphere between our volunteers and them.