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2010-1 PTPE Newsletter

Message of the President | PTPI Experiences | Coming events | PTPI Updates | Chapter reports |
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Message of the President

Dear Friends,

Since the last newsletter in December, there has been an abundance of PTPI activities offered. I would like to say thanks to PTPI's Brussels, Belgium Chapter for a wonderful Christmas Gala and Dance in mid December. A special thanks to Chapter President Daniel Schaubacher and Vice President Blanche Decoster-Peycker for your extraordinary efforts. This will be the destination for the 2011 PTPI Board of Trustees Meeting.

Rolf  G. Dahlberg

In late December, I made a short cruise to visit our friends in Tallinn, Estonia. Their Chapter President Ruta Pels was kind enough to give me a tour of their amazing city. Thank you Ruta!

In January, I went to Atlanta, Georgia in the U.S. for a PTPI Board of Directors Meeting. 2009 has been a tough financial year for the organization, but we have endured. 2010 will remain a challenge, and we will monitor all programs and expenses with caution. However, we truly are excited about the energy for PTPI around the world. In the last few months, we have opened new chapters in Senegal, Malawi, Togo and Vietnam just to mention a few locations. Our latest addition is PTPI's Poznan, Poland Student Chapter with Marita Gres serving as its President. In mid-December, we also chartered PTPI's Konotop, Ukraine Student Chapter with Ksenia Godovalova as its President. We welcome both to our group of chapters in Europe!

Shortly before the board meeting, we received the sad message that our dear friend Il-Hoon Gwak from South Korea, member of our International Board of Directors and Regional Chair for Asia on the PTPI Board of Trustees, had passed away. He will be greatly missed.

I'm excited that it is only a few weeks until we all will meet in Pécs, Hungary for the European Con-ference, May 20-23. I hope I will see you all there! I know that Chapter President Gergerly Kiss and Hans Randau, chairman of the Organizing Committee, look forward to welcoming you to their city. If you still haven't signed up, please check out www.ptpe.org/pecs2010.

Gunild Bogdahn, our PR Officer on the European Executive Committee, will have served her full four years when we meet in Pécs. We truly thank her for her great efforts. We are now looking for someone to fill her position. I also will finish my last year as President of the EEC. If there is someone you think would be a great addition to our board, please let us know. Please send your nomi-nations to me or to the European Office.

We on the Executive Committee are excited there have been an increasing number of applications to the European Program Fund for new projects. Please keep them coming.

Until we meet in Pécs I remain,

Your humble friend,

Rolf G. Dahlberg, President PTPI Europe

PTPI Experiences

Training Course in Strasbourg

For eight days in early December, Cezara Suman of PTPI's Roman, Romania Chapter attended a training course about active participation at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. The course promoted building and strengthening open and democratic European societies. This is her report to PTPI.

Cezara Suman in Strasbourg

The course was a very mind-opening opportunity to explore through non-formal methods concepts like active and passive participation, the European institutions and their roles, education of human rights, youth policy, social networking, intercultural dialogue, trilateral cooperation between authorities, youth and NGOs and democracy. By discovering the meaning and the challenges of active youth participation, it became quite easy for me to analyze the current reality of civil society from a new perspective. What I'm trying to say is that young people should be aware of the fact that they are not ignorant pawns in the system. Participation is the key to open democratic societies. There is no need to imagine the opposite; history has already shown us.

Before going to this course, all I could think of related to participation was voting, standing for election and volunteering, but this concept is much deeper and wider than we think and it is essential for people to be aware of it. My next plan is to put what I've learned in practice in my chapter and in the community.

What really impressed me were the people I met. I was very delighted to notice that our trainers were so young spirited, yet very well-organized and realistic. We had the chance to meet the head of Youth and Sport Directorate within the Council of Europe, a delegate from the Ministry of Youth and Sports from Serbia and many other interesting people who not only had smart words to say, but who also really changed my previous perspectives.

The participants were open minded and enthusiastic people. Imagine 27 young people who came from 22 different countries. We were all aged 18-35 and experienced in youth work. I was really happy to represent my country, PTPI and my community in such an intercultural environment. Each participant had a unique background to share, and everybody was very curious about one another.

Moreover, where friends are, the fun comes. In such a friendly environment, the obstacle of dif-ferent cultures was quickly ignored and we all got along very well. What I really liked was everybody was so impressed with the Romanian dance "dansul pinguinului"(the penguin dance) that I danced in my presentation of Romania, everyday there were at least eight-nine people dancing it joyfully during our coffee breaks or free time. All in all, this course was a proof that age, experience and even borders shouldn't come between new friends.

With this new luggage in my life, which is filled with experience, friends, knowledge and ideas, I really encourage young people to become actively involved in society and to think twice before saying that it's not up to them to change society. If you change your life a bit and the people you meet, the countries you visit, and update the information you have, you've already made a step in shaping society.

Coming Events

Date Program Contact
March 15 Dinner and Annual Meeting (Bern) Ernst Honegger ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
March 20 Welcoming of Spring (Sternberk) Helca Metelkova ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
April 17-18 Trip to Quedlingburg (Berlin) Ilona Schmidt ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
May 20-23 PTPI's European Conference www.ptpe.org/pecs2010
June "Experience is the mother of wisdom" (Yerevan) Silva Vardanyan ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
August 1 Summer Camp (Yerevan) Silva Vardanyan ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
August 2 - 8 Summer Rugby Camp (Karlstad) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
August 9-15 European Youth Forum (Berlin) European Office ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
August 21 All Swiss Chapter Meeting Thomas Ammann ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
August 28 Summer Party (Bern) Ernst Honegger ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Sept 30 – Oct 3 Worldwide Conference www.ptpi.org
October 16-24 (prel.) European Leadership Seminar (Berlin) European Office ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

PTPI European Conference - Unity and Diversity

European Conference Registration is open for the European Conference, which this year will take place in Pécs, Hungary, May 20-23. Pécs also is the Culture Capital of Europe this year, which means that there are additional reasons to come to Pécs in May. Conference Web site:www.ptpe.org/pecs2010

Registrations

PTPI's Pécs, Hungary Chapters have done a good job in organizing a good program at reasonable prices. Thanks to support from PTPI and PTPE the rates are lower than they have been in a long time. There are, in addition, special rates for members from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as for young members.

Summary

European Conference

Participants PTPI members and non members
Organizers PTPI Pécs, PTPE
Time May 20 - 23, 2010
Language English
Place Pécs, Hungary
Conference Venue Hotel Palatinus
Preconference Budapest Cultural Program
Conference Fee 135 (105/120)
Colloquium Unity in Diversity
Deadline April 20 (April 1)
Youth Meeting Minorities in Pécs
Grants Available
Post Conference  Homestay
Web site www.ptpe.org/pecs2010

Program

The program is a mixture of cultural, educational and social events. It is designed for people of all ages. In addition, there are program components before and after the conference.

Date Event
May 17 - May 19: Cultural Program in Budapest (Optional)
Thursday, May 20: Train to Pécs
  Youth program - Minorities in Pécs (Optional)
  Colloquium (Optional)
  Goulash party (Optional)
Friday, May 21: City sightseeing
  Board of Trustees Meeting
  Conference Opening in Pezsgõ Ház Restaurant with Hungarian Folklore
Saturday, May 22: Council Meeting
  Lunch
  Council Meeting and Chapter Fair
  Gala Dinner with music and dance
Sunday, May 23: Day excursion to Orfû
Post Conference: Homestay in Pécs or Veszprém (Optional)

Council Meeting

All conference participants may attend the Council Meeting. Each chapter, however, is encouraged to select a representative to be part of the European Representative Board, which will elect new officers and select a venue for the 2011 conference.

Position Officer First elected Election
President Rolf Dahlberg, Sweden  Köge 2006 Election: Cannot be re-elected
Secretary Hannelore Büchler,Germany Germany Rimini 2008 Election: Can be re-elected
Treasurer Iwona Zyman, Poland Montpellier 2009 Election:
PR Officer Gunild Bogdahn, Denmark Köge 2006 Election: Cannot be re-elected
Youth Coordinator Sorina Danciu, Romania Interlaken 2007 No Election
Auditor Olga Sirbu, Moldova Montpellier 2009 Election: Can be re-elected

Nominations may be given to Rolf Dahlberg or PTPI's European Office. During the afternoon, three chapter presentations will be made. Presidents are encouraged to submit proposals for presentations. A new venue for the 2011 conference will be chosen. Any chapter is welcome to suggest hosting the event. An outline of conference preparations can be requested from the European Office. All chapters are welcome to present their chapters and regions during the Chapter Fair, which has been a true success the last years.

PTPI's European Youth Forum 2010 "Close Encounters of the Street Kind"

European Youth Forum participants

Save the date for PTPI's European Youth Forum to be held in Berlin, Germany, August 9-15, 2010. This year, we will create a street theater action with participants. As in previous years, the European Youth Forum will enable participants to form lasting friendships with peers from different countries and to enhance their intercultural skills in various interactive workshops. We welcome groups of five students (ages 15-17) and one group leader (at least age 21) from any European country. In total, we can accept five groups from five different countries. Participants should be motivated to create a street theater action together with our experienced trainers. It is not necessary to have previous experience with theatre. PTPI members will be chosen with preference, but active volunteers who are members of other voluntary organizations also are welcome to apply. More information about the program, the invitation and the application form will soon be available on our Web site. We look forward to welcoming you to Berlin this summer!

Symposium on Peace and Conflict: 19th Worldwide Conference - Many Nations, One World

September 29 – October 3, 2010 - FireSky Resort and Spa, Scottsdale, Arizona USA

PWWC BannerTPI invites you to join us in Scottsdale, Arizona USA for its Symposium on Peace and Conflict: 19th Worldwide Conference! This four-day program will provide you with the opportunity to participate in interactive educational sessions focused on global sustainability, global peace and humanitarianism; and give you the chance to reconnect and make new connections with like-minded peers at social and networking activities. Symposium A hands-on community service project will be a definite highlight of the program, as well as PTPI's annual Awards Ceremony and Luncheon. Ample time will be provided to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Scottsdale, where you will experience the culture first-hand. In addition, a two-day excursion to the Grand Canyon and Sedona is being offered immediately after the conference. These extraordinary destinations shouldn't be missed. This program is for adults age 18 and older. Members, family and friends are invited to attend. To register online and to obtain complete details, visit www.ptpi.org.

For questions, please contact Karen Hoch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +1.816.531.4701 ext. 127. Printed brochures are available by request.

PTPI Updates

Awards

PTPI recognizes and awards members and chapters for their programs and initiatives each year. Nominations are welcome until April 1. For details, visit the PTPI Web site.

  • Eisenhower Medallion
  • Eisenhower Distinguished Service Award
  • Make A Difference Award
  • Outstanding Leadership Award
  • James T. Doty Memorial Award for Unique and Innovative Programming
  • Chapter Newsletter Award
  • Chapter Web site Award
  • Chapter Leadership Award
  • Chapter Membership Award
  • International Visitors Program Award
  • Outstanding Adult/Campus Advisor Award
  • Mary Jean Eisenhower Partner in Peace Award
  • President's Award
  • CEO's Award
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors' Award
  • People to People International Inner Circle
  • Community Service Project Award (School and Classroom Program)
  • Lifetime Achievement Recognition Award

Join Our Blog!

Share your story, inspire many. The PTPI Blog is designed to celebrate you and all our members, and its readership is growing! We know that you are accomplishing great things and we want to let the world know as well. Let us honor your efforts to spread Peace through Understanding one activity, one friendship at a time.

Send us an account of your latest chapter meeting, humanitarian project, cultural exchange or anything else! Take a look at the PTPI Blog at http://blog.ptpi.org for examples of what your fellow chapter members around the world have sent in. Share your story and photos by emailing Liz Wegman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chapter Reports

Berlin, Germany Chapter

February 24, PTPI's Berlin, Germany Chapter and PTPI European Office organized an Open House for members and non-members. The members prepared a buffet for the 30 participants, which included possible new members and conference participants.

Mostly likely, the chapter will come with 20 (!) participants to the European Conference in Pécs.

Hannelore Büchler, President

Chisinau, Moldova Chapter

December 19, PTPI's Chisinau, Moldova Chapter, in cooperation with the Community Center "Fantastic," organized a Christmas party for children who come from socially vulnerable families and spend their time at the center.

The party started with the presentation of a skit, about the meeting and friendship among three Santas from different countries, and different stories well known by children – Santa Claus, Ded Moroz and Weinachtsman. All three Santas were challenged to compete by dancing and answering a quiz to show to children the qualities they have and how smart they are.

During the second part of the Christmas party, members of our chapter involved the children in a series of amusing cultural activities, which they participated in with high enthusiasm and interest. The children proved themselves to be very skilful, smart and full of positive energy, and as a reward they received sweet gifts at the end of the celebration.

PTPI's Chisinau, Moldova Chapter was able to bring much happiness to these children thanks to support received from the European Executive Committee, and for this we are very grateful.

Ludmila Mihaescu, Secretary

Katowice, Poland Student Chapter

November 17, PTPI's Katowice, Poland Student Chapter organized a bake sale to raise funds for its humanitarian project for blind people. Approxi-mately 15 members helped to bake and sell cakes in the school. With the proceeds of the sale, equipment will be bought to record audio books for blind people. In the long run, the chapter hopes to create an audio-book library for blind people.

The chapter also continued to help underprivileged children from Katowice with their homework. Members taking part in that activity devote some of their free time to support children and students of different ages.

During December, the chapter adopted a new organizational structure. The following five committees were created: Sister Chapter Program, Global Youth Service Day, Team Peace Challenge, Fundraising, Public Relations and Web site. All chapter members were invited to join one of the committees according to their interests and to contribute to its work. The new structure aims to encourage more active involvement from chapter members by sharing responsibilities and giving everyone the chance to actively engage in chapter activities.

The chapter has created a new Web site. We invite you to visit www.ptpkatowice.org.pl. The chapter also set up different Google Groups to improve the communication among members. There is a group for all members, a group for the officers and a group for each committee, all of which facilitate the exchange of information within the chapter.

Ewa Dudzic, President

Khmelnitsky, Ukraine Student Chapter

September 12, chapter member Vova Kutsyi pre-sented the project "Let's change the world for the better!" which was first given last summer by the chapter to the Ambassadors of different countries at the Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kiev.

During October, the chapter participated in an essay competition about Bulgarian economics, geography, culture and politics that was organized by the Embassy of Bulgaria in Ukraine. One chapter member won first prize.

From October 10 to November 10, the chapter took part in the competition "Lithuania-Ukraine: preventive education." The members presented posters, essays and photos about the respective countries. For the poster "The choice is yours," Anya Kabasyan received first prize. Eugene Badya was recognized with third place for his essay, and Alyona Sheengilevych also received third place for a photo entitled "Every child is a personality." The Ambassador of Lithuania awarded diplomas and presents to the winners.

To raise funds to pay for the operation of a sick child, the chapter members held the Fair of Folk Handicraft during December. December 19, chap-ter members celebrated St. Mykolai. December 25, they took part in the competition "Winter Beauty 2009." The money raised will be used to purchase food for orphans who study at our school.

In addition, the chapter created a booklet about the chapter's activities during the past year. It can be downloaded at www.ptpe.org/KhmelnytskyiSC-GeneralReport-Oct2009.pdf.

Svetlana Shengilevich, Adult Advisor

Kurchatov, Russia Student Chapter

During September, 18 of 22 members and three non-members started a partnership and pen pal exchange with the students of Susan Molina's class from Douglas High School, Arizona in the United States. This interaction is very enriching and important for us as it enhances cross-cultural learning and mutual understanding. Direct per-sonal contacts help us better understand what life is like "over there."

United Against Drugs group

October 2, a report about our September activity for European Day of Languages appeared on TV. October 9, our chapter organized a one-day trip to Korennaya Pustyn, an orthodox place of worship. Sixteen students, one adult advisor and two children took part. It was really great to spend a day out. Korennaya Pustyn is a very special place for all orthodox Christians. The monastery is famous for the icon Znamenie, which has a long history. Now, this icon is in one of the temples of the Russian Orthodox Foreign Church in New York. In 1989, the Russian Orthodox Foreign Church gave a copy of the holly icon as a gift to Korennaya Pustyn. But in September 2009, the original holly icon was brought back and we couldn't miss such a chance. In addition, we visited a historical museum of World War II. Our members very much enjoyed the educational excursion.

From November 2 to 5, eight chapter members volunteered on the school premises. We collected fallen leaves, raked the grounds, repaired some furniture, and carried a lot of rubbish away. This activity helped us to unite our chapter and to involve new members into social work. Thank you Natalia Durneva, Roman Bysov, Andrey Kholodov, Bogdan Gumurzhi, Ann Mishustina, Ann Baturina, Kate Matvienko and Denis Lebedev.

Kurchatov November 23-29, our adult advisor, Elena Tarlovskaya, participated in PTPI's fourth European Leadership Seminar "Volunteers for Intercultural Learning," which was a great success thanks to Lars' and Verena's careful organization, planning and valuable input from all the participants.

December 3, our adult advisor had an article about the Leadership Seminar published in a regional newsletter and December 10 another article appeared in our local newspaper. December 4, Elena shared her positive experience with her colleagues and new interesting methods of organizing cross-cultural dialogue. Eleven educators working with youth were invited. Elena prepared a PowerPoint presentation about the seminar.

December 15, our senior chapter members organ-ized a social activity for teenagers entitled "United against Drugs." We prepared a PowerPoint presentation about drugs and the dangers they lead to. Teenagers were involved in a lively discussion and three interactive role-plays. At the end of the activity, students had an opportunity to share their opinions. We are sure our senior students now have a realistic understanding of the topic and know more about the consequences of drug use.

In early January, our chapter members were extremely excited as we prepared and sent a package with our Christmas greeting cards and gifts to our partners at Douglas High School in Arizona USA. We are glad that our partners in peace are enjoy-ing our candies, calendars and badges. These "pieces" of Russia travelled quite a long way!

January 27, Elena left for the United States. She is a finalist of the Russian-American Teachers' Exchange Program administered by the U.S. Department of State and will spend six weeks in one of the best U.S. universities, developing her skills in the field of teaching and sharing best practice and experience. One of the aims of this exchange is to develop teachers' intercultural skills, as well as establish new partnerships. Presently, Elena is staying at Purdue University in Indiana USA, and this is what she says:

"For me this experience is great and unique. I have never been to the USA before and I see that there are many new and unusual things for me. It is about both language and people. There is a lot that takes my breath away. One thing I know for sure: Americans are amiable and friendly, always ready to help. It is amazing to have an opportunity to visit a far-away country, to interact with people in the streets and elsewhere and to experience another life-style for some time. It is very thought-provoking and challenging. I visit various schools as a part of the program and tell kids about Russia. And I am glad to see bewilderment and excitement in their eyes!"

We are very much looking forward to Elena's return in March.

Our chapter and community are expecting a reciprocal visit of an exchange teacher from the United States in mid April. We will offer her a very interesting cultural program, and we will be glad to celebrate GYSD with her!

Natalia Durneva, President

Oroslavje, Croatia Student Chapter

November 30, five members of our chapter repre-sented our high school--the High School Oro-slavje--at the regional competition "Do you speak European?" in Krapina. They prepared a play about the countries of the European Union and were recognized with second place in the competi-tion. Members who took part in this event learned more about other cultures and customs, and had lots of fun while they prepared the play.

December 9, 15 members visited the nursing home in Oroslavje. We prepared a show for eld-erly and disabled people. We danced and sang famous songs, and our member Matija told jokes. Our elderly friends were happy about our efforts to make their day better and jollier.

At the beginning of December, we baked cakes at home with our mothers and grandmothers, and afterwards sold them in town. The proceeds, which totalled approximately $100 USD will be donated to UNICEF.

Just before the Christmas holidays, five members of the chapter volunteered at Caritas. We deliv-ered packages with groceries to people who need financial help, and to the elderly and the ill.

Zagorski List and Radio Oroslavje reported about the homestay of our members in Pécs, Hungary. Radio Oroslavje actually reported about all PTPI activities during this term and about the competi-tion "Do you speak European?" when one of the member was a guest at the radio station.

We also are very proud to report that PTPI awarded us the first prize for our Global Youth Mural in the category of secondary schools.

Sandra Bartol, President

Plovdiv, Bulgaria Student Chapter

December 19-31, PTPI's Plovdiv, Bulgaria Stu-dent Chapter organized a fundraising and service activity. The project was called "Let's make them smile on Christmas." The chapter members decided to sell hand-made objects, such as neck-laces, bracelets, glasses painted with Christmas decoration, shawls, Christmas cards, pictures and Christmas fortune slips, at the Christmas bazaar at the International Fair Plovdiv. The proceeds of more than 500 Euros were donated to the orphanage in Plovdiv and part was kept to finance future chapter activities.

December 10-19, the chapter members collected clothes for orphanages in their school. We visited the classes in our school to present our project and to set up boxes for donations. The clothes were given to the orphanage after the Christmas holidays.

Our chapter currently is working on the creation of a Web site. We also have established contact with the youth department of the local government and attend regular meetings with its representatives.

Karina Tatarova, President

Sofia, Bulgaria Student Chapter

December 7-18, we organized several fundraising events. One was a bake sale. Also, we made an attempt to promote healthy food by making a stand and giving away fruit, vegetables and other natural foods. Another activity organized by the senior members was a masked ball held in a local disco club. In total, 550 Bulgarian Leva were collected for charity. The most original fundraising activity the club organized was a silent auc-tion. In one hour, approximately 60 Bulgarian Leva were collected. The proceeds of all activities were donated to local orphanages, where we visited and played with the children. Our members also joined forces with another school club named "Interact" to collect clothes, toys and money for the Bulgarian Christmas cause.

Chapter members Natali Marinkova and Stefan Katov organized an intercultural event December 23. International students from China, South Korea and Vietnam, who attend our school, introduced their countries to the school community with PowerPoint presentations, posters, books, information materials, pictures, souvenirs, national costumes and musical instruments.

This event inspired us to create an online quiz about these three countries on our Web site.

Intercultural event

To mark International Remembrance Day of the Victims of the Holocaust on January 27, our chapter and the B'nai B'rith Lodge in Sofia organized an unforgettable event entitled "Survival and the Legacy of Hope." The principal of First English Language School, Ms. Petrova, teachers, students and members of the chapter together with our guest speaker Professor Heny Lorel gathered to pay homage to the victims of the Holocaust and to raise awareness about these historical events. The presentation began with a quotation from William Shakespeare's Macbeth: "So foul and fair a day I have not seen." It could indeed be called foul in view of the atrocities of World War II and yet it was fair for so many young people who had come together not only to pay homage to the eleven million victims, but also to learn from the past to safeguard the present and the future.

Our new adult advisor, Ms. Krispin, and other members of the chapter presented the period with dates, statistics and last but not least – testimonials. All of us were deeply moved by the survivors' stories, which indeed were distressing and had a great impact on us. They helped us to feel the tragedy these people experienced and the terror they had to go through. A short documentary, which had won the prize for best multimedia presentation in last year's competition "How does the memory of the Holocaust serve us today," Followed. Pictures, facts, numbers of victims and statistics gave us a vivid idea of the Auschwitz concentration camp and the inhumane existence of the prisoners there. When the presentation was over, Ms. Krispin called upon us to stand in silence for one minute in remembrance of the victims.

Board games event

This was followed by an inspiring speech given by our adult advisor and the amazing story of survival told by Professor Heny Lorel, member of the board of the B'nai B'rith Lodge in Sofia. She told us about the difficult life that Jews had in Bulgaria at the time, and despite the anti-Jewish law for the Protection of the Nation, people in general were supportive of the Jewish population. As a result, the Bulgarian Jews were not deported to the death camps. When the Jews were evicted from the towns, there were people who were there for them, people who escorted the lines of homeless Jews with baskets of food and provisions. Professor Lorel finished with a poem by the famous Bulgar-ian poet Valeri Petrov.

All in all, it was a profound experience that taught us that at the end of the tunnel of darkness there always is the light of hope. But most important was the message: we cannot change the past, but we can safeguard the future by making sure that history does not repeat itself.

January 28, our chapter donated our 2008/2009 PTPI Team Peace Challenge Silver award of $200 USD to PTPI's International Friendship Fund for Haiti earthquake relief and the remaining $50 USD to PTPI's Ambassador Charles and Chinyeh Hostler Global Youth Forum Scholarship Fund in gratitude for the opportunity given to a member of our chapter to represent our country on the International Student Panel at the 2009 GYF.

Chapter member Michaela Dermendjieva organized a board games tournament at the American Corner in Sofia, January 29. Sixteen students from four different classes played educational games, such as "10 Days in the USA," "10 Days in Europe," "Letter Roll," "Letterflip" and "My Word." It was a very worthwhile day off between the two school terms.

Niya Koleva, President and Mariana Iordanova, Adult Advisor

Šternberk, Czech Republic Chapter

Recently, our chapter organized two events, which are steadily becoming customs. We don't lack new ideas; we can always think about new activities and many are to come, but the traditional Candle Party and table tennis tournament surprised us once again.

December 19, at the Candle Party, PTPI members welcomed the newcomers who introduced them-selves and all PTPI activities. An evaluation of past events continued with a photo presentation about Armenia, which our new member visited to prepare a youth exchange project. The evening continued with exploring other countries through beautiful pictures. We heard presentation by our member and EVS volunteer in Poland. And we saw photos of Nepal, where PTPI friends recently travelled. The fun didn't end with the official program but much later, when there was not a single Christmas sweet left.

At our annual meeting, January 14, members met in a cafe to vote for the new president and other positions, but mostly to discuss where we succeeded last year and what we have to do in the upcoming year. Our chapter will organize the usual events with plenty of new ideas. Soon, we wish to host our first volunteer for EVS. On the other hand, our chapter member, who volunteered in Poland, is planning to continue with the activities he started abroad and to organize a cultural project concerned with movie screening.

Last year, our table tennis tournament was a great sensation, and our members and friends from the whole region met again to compete in ping pong on January 23. The Saturday afternoon was full of beautiful games, which were appreciated by many visitors. Sweet prizes motivated our champions. Congratulations to our winners: 1. Robert Švarc, 2. Martin Planicka, 3. Standa Svoboda.

We look forward to our "Welcoming of the Spring"event in the coming months. It will be held March 20. Our members who work with the Children's Club Plejady in Šternberk are organizing the walking trip to interesting places in Moravia. There will be a competition of the Top 10 favorite places to visit this year.

After the European Conference in Hungary, our chapter members will organize an exciting program in the Czech Republic that will include homestays with families, a musical workshop and concerts, cultural events, sightseeing in Šternberk and Olomouc – the UNESCO city-- and participation in our very best, annual event, "Cylindr."

Eliška Vránová, Chapter Member

Varna, Bulgaria Student Chapter

For the third time, our chapter organized a Halloween Party on October 31 for approximately 150 children who study at the Vista Language School in Varna. The chapter members created and rehearsed a role play, featuring the story of Jack O'Lantern, Jack the Reaper, the Sea Wolf, Barack Obama and other various fairytale and TV characters. The performance turned out to be a great success and evoked a lot of compliments from the viewers. The party was truly entertaining and the kids with the best costumes received presents and sweets. We also invited the children from the "Nadejda" Orphanage. More than 30 PTPI members were involved in this activity both as performers and facilitators.

For National Day Against HIV and AIDS on December 1, we organized an awareness campaign. Approximately 20 PTPI members wore white t-shirts and distributed condoms and information leaflets among pedestrians in the center of Varna. In addition, we all took part in an HIV screening test.

December 16, 10 of our chapter members facilitated a joint project with Integral Voluntary Organization. We helped to distribute presents and juice to handicapped children and orphans in a Christmas initiative in the central mall. The participants enjoyed helping others and having fun at the same time.

This year, we continued our series of annual Christmas donation campaigns and managed to raise 4,200 Leva (equal to about 3,000 Euro) for children suffering from cancer in the St. Marina Hospital in Varna, as well as for the Children's Intensive Care Ward. We produced more than 500 Christmas greeting cards in a sequence of workshops. This year, we joined efforts once more with the Pikadily supermarket chain and sold the handmade cards in their stores all around town. The proceeds were spent on three LCD TVs, a re-animation cart and a lamp for babies with jaundice. We delivered the TVs on December 29 and the other gifts during the first week of January.

Chapter members Andriana Tsoneva and Iskra Valeva won the competition for the best volunteers in Varna. They were granted diplomas for their extraordinary contribution to voluntarism in our town. They have participated in a number of activities, not only as members of PTPI, but also as part of the OCCUSUR projects, and as members of a Women Rights Organization and volunteers for the Varna Information and Consultation Centre.

August 20-30, four of our members, Neda Zhivkova, Diana Kostelyanchik, Aleksi Ivanov and Denitsa Panova, took part in a seminar called "Ready, steady, go for a healthy life" in Piatra Neamts, a beautiful town in the Romanian mountains. The seminar was organized by PTPI's Roman, Romania Chapter. December 16, they shared their experiences and the main goals of their seminar with more than 40 people at Hotel Aqua. It was an important and valuable meeting. We gained knowledge of intercultural activities, and we transmitted the message of both voluntarism in general and the beliefs of PTPI to non-members, who were intrigued by the opportunities presented by NGOs.

Elitsa Pophlebarova, President

Vaslui, Romania Student Chapter

Just before the winter holidays, during the last week of school of the year, we organized our Christmas activity. Chapter members invited children with special needs from a school in Vaslui to our amphitheatre to have a show together. Our members acted in a play written by a classical Romanian writer. The children with special needs danced modern, folk and Latin dances. In the end, our members sang Christmas carols and offered the children bags full of sweets that were donated by friends and members. The children and their teachers enjoyed the event very much because it made them feel included and appreciated. And we thank PTPI because we know that our activities are valued and shared with the other members all around the world.

March 1, we celebrated the coming of spring by going to a special needs student school. A member told us that their teacher and the kids had made spring amulets and earrings in order to sell them and use the money for the kids. I should say that the tradition in Romania is to offer these amulets on March 1 as they say they bring luck to those who wear them. So we went to the school where the kids had already displayed the ones they had made. During our stay they showed us how they made them and PTP members took part in the activity. Finally everybody bought an amulet and a pair of earrings. Girls phoned their friends, told them how nice and cheap (in comparison with the ones from the shops) they are and bought even for them. May you have a beautiful spring with many snowdrops and blossom cherry trees!

Liliana Harhas-Ciobanu, Adult Advisor

Training project participants

Yerevan, Armenia Chapter

February 2, for the training project "Let's help the parentless teenagers," the chapter visited the SOS Children Village. With the help of a professional project manager, the trainers made further steps to improve their work. There are many teenagers who are in serious need of overcoming barriers concerning tolerance and respect and who need to build a sense of responsibility; therefore, the necessity of continuing the implementation of the project is very actual and obvious. PTPI's Yerevan, Armenia Chapter is fully satisfied with the work done and the efforts, which made the realization of successful humanitarian actions and projects possible.

Gohar Dadayan, Chapter Member, Trustee

A Piece of Peace

Miglena Vucheva, a senior student of PTPI's Sofia, Bulgaria Student Chapter dedicated the following poem to People to People International:

A piece of paper, a piece of cake,
A piece of land, a piece of advice.
So many pieces that one can take
But only one has a higher price.

The piece that every person needs
To have with him when he is scared
Or when the world for freedom pleads
And all the pain is rarely shared.

The piece that doesn't let the "evil" here
That doesn't let the war destroy and kill.
The piece that would not let the fear
Freeze our souls and ruin our will.

The strongest part of our essence
As human beings is the urge to live.
Life offers us a range of lessons
To learn before we take or give.

To fall, to rise, to fall again,
To fight and die with passion,
A skill to live is what we gain
And it's the heaviest possession.

But those who decide to follow the fashion
Develop desire for money and fame.
Losing themselves in their obsession,
Completely forget the feeling of shame.

People are selfish, fake and insane.
Will they try to change one day?
And will their effort be in vain
When all they know is how to slay?

Material aspects rule the world and thus
This PEACE that I mentioned above
Paradoxically seems too expensive for us
And so are sympathy, honesty and love.