2010-2 PTPE Newsletter
During the recent European Conference in Pécs, Hungary, I was elected president of PTPI Europe or, as the position is now being called following the new bylaws passed at the last Board of Trustees Meeting, Regional Chair. The position also will serve as Regional Chair for Europe for the Board of Trustees.
I would like to thank all the delegates who have put their trust in me. I must confess that I am very worried and I hope I will be able to give the right answers and to meet your expectations. I will do my very best and I want all members to know that any advice, suggestion, request or complaint will be welcomed, given due attention and carefully considered by members of the Executive Committee. Rolf Dahlberg, our former European President, who completed both of his two-year-terms, has done a great job in leading our organization and has passed on to me a quite healthy and vigorous PTPI Europe. During his service, the number of chapters, as well as the number of people attending events – especially the European Conferences – has increased. I cannot but thank him and try to continue his work.
I have been part of PTPI for a long time now. I was first involved as a member and led my first students' group on a second language learning program in 1977, back when James T. Doty was president of PTPI, and I kept leading this program for 30 years. In 1980, I co-founded PTPI's Milan, Italy Chapter, became president in 1986 and never left the position, supporting numerous activities throughout the years. I became a Trustee and have been on the Board of Directors since 2004. Since the beginning of my service on the BOD, I have been a member of the Financial Committee, and I must confess, as I love figures, it has always been very interesting. In 2004, I helped to set up the Worldwide Conference in Baveno, as well as the European Conference in Rimini four years later.
I am now facing this new experience and I am sure it will be very rewarding to walk this path with all of you.
In this, I will cooperate with a wonderful crew that I will now introduce. Rolf Dahlberg, former European President, has accepted to serve as Secretary and I feel much honored. His knowledge and experience will surely be of great help and support. Hannelore Büchler of Germany, who served as Secretary in the previous two years, will now be Treasurer. It is certainly a tough job – collecting the fees from all chapters and preparing balance sheets – but I know she can master the task and thus I feel quite safe on that side as well. Many thanks to her for her previous service and for all she will have her hands on in the future. Sorina Danciu of Romania will continue her service as Youth Coordinator. She has been very active in this area and has produced a wonderful and impressive report of all youth activities at the last conference, which showed just how dedicated and interested she has been in coordinating them. My thanks to her for what she did and will do for us. Antoinette McIntyre-Andersson of Sweden will be our new PR Officer. All of whom attended the European Conference in Pécs have met the very active, smiling "paparazzi." and I am certain that we will receive incredibly artistic photos. Beyond her qualities as a photographer, Antoinette is experienced in communications and therefore will certainly spread and develop our image around Europe and the world. Thanks to her for accepting to be part of our Executive Committee. Lastly, Olga Sirbu of Moldova continues to be our Auditor. Thanks to her as well.
I, of course, need to say that the presence and constant coordinating activities of Lars Poignant and Verena Denk in Berlin form the starting point for all of us in the committee to do a good and successful job. They are who we all rely on. Without their help, we could not achieve much. No words can express my gratitude to them for their success in the past and their hopefully greater success in the future. My final thanks go to Gunild Bogdahn of Denmark, who served her full four years as PR Officer, and to Iwona Zyman of Poland, who served as Treasurer for the past year.
I am very excited to work with all these people for the next two years. Please send us your projects, your applications to the European Program Fund and, as I said above, all your suggestions. And let us know about your wonderful activities! Any chapter can learn from the others' experiences and let's try to give as much space and voice as possible to our young people! To conclude, and on behalf of all the PTPI members who took part in the Conference, I feel I have to thank Pécs, Hungary Chapter President Gergerly Kiss, Hans Randau and all the members of the organizing committee for being such wonderful hosts! We all returned home with great memories and a better knowledge of their country!
I hope to hear from many of you!! Your friend in peace,
Valeria Magistrelli, Regional Chair Europe
During the 2009 European Youth Forum, young members from Roman, Romania and Varna, Bulgaria met. The Romanian team more or less fell in love with the Bulgarian team, and they promised that they would meet again. Here are some comments from Raluca Adascaletei of Roman and Antoaneta Pophlebarova of Varna.
I don't know about you, but I'm not much of a writer and not much of a sharer either, but I feel that I have to tell you about this one because it is the kind of feeling that makes you want to hug trees and have that foolish smile on your face that you can't get rid of. Yes! I'm talking about happiness. And how can you be happy if you don't have your friends to share the happiness with? We spent three great days with our best friends and had a lot of fun finding out how much we have in common: not only traditions and food, but also a common history. I feel like myself when I'm with them and we can talk about almost everything. We already discussed our future projects and meetings, since we cannot tolerate staying apart for too long. I have never felt this way about anyone from another country before, and I never thought I would be talking about everything in English.
Thank you, People to People International, for giving us the chance to find out what great people are in this world, and I hope we can remain friends forever.
On arrival, the local members (the Dolphins) presented their chapter with a PowerPoint presentation. Our guests then played a few videos about their country for us – funny advertisements, among which was the glorious spot "What the world would look like without Romania?" The next day, we spent the morning touring the museums, followed by lunch in a panoramic restaurant. In the afternoon, we took the group to see the great graffiti painting of a dolphin with a nappy and the PTPI sign next to it. The fun can be felt through the pictures, but it is much more than that. We later went to watch a baseball match – our BalkanKids Foundation had provided the equipment and the coach. The youngsters and the general enthusiasm melted together into producing a great game! The evening was mainly Romanian: folk costumes, Brashovanka dances, local food – magnificent homemade bread and zuika – Romanian strong brandy. Can anything be more than that! I couldn't imagine it was possible to do so much within two days!
As for the homestay, the only thing to mention is the many tears before departure, and therefore the decision to meet again in May in Vama Veke, Romania. That's PTPI in action! Thank God for being able to be part of it!
|July 1||Lunchtime Concert - St. Mary's, Nantwich (Chester)||Heather Exell|
|July 3||Lunchtime Concert - Wesley Center (Chester)||Heather Exell|
|July 6||Evening Recital - the long room, Eaton Hall (Chester)||Heather Exell|
|August 1||Summer Camp (Yerevan)||Silva Vardanyan|
|August 9-15||European Youth Forum (Berlin)||PTPI European Office|
|August 21||All Swiss Chapter Meeting||Thomas Ammann|
|August 28||Summer Party (Bern)||Ernst Honegger|
|Aug - Sept||Trip to Anderton, boat trip and lunch (Chester)||Heather Exell|
|September 18-19||Trip to Bremerhaven (Berlin)||Christa Hattendorf|
|Sept 30 – Oct 3||Worldwide Conference||www.ptpi.org|
|October 20-24||European Leadership Seminar (Berlin)||European Office|
|Oct 24 - Nov 6||South Africa and Victoria Falls||PTPI|
|October 26||Visit to ARD TV Studios (Berlin)||Dagmar Schönbeck|
|November 10-14||Global Youth Forum (Atlanta)||PTPI|
|December 11||Gala Dinner Dance (Brussels)||Christine Parion|
|June 9-12||European Conference (Katowice)||PTPI European Office|
PTPI's Kharkiv, Ukraine Student Chapter invites members and non-members to a seminar on "Stereotypes in Modern Society" in September. Invitations will be sent out shortly
Leadership Seminar - Save the Date!
PTPI's Leadership Seminar will take place in Berlin-Wannsee, October 20-24. Invitations will soon be sent to all chapters.
PTPI's European Conference was held in Pécs, Hungary, May 20-23. Approximately 100 people attended the event.
- Prior to the conference 33 people attended the Budapest Cultural Program organized by Zsuzsanna Balogh, president of PTPI's Budapest, Hungary Chapter. The program included city walks, visits to museums, joint dinners and an excursion to the artistic village of Szentendre.
- A special youth event was held on Thursday. Szilvia Kázmer of PTPI's Pécs, Hungary Student Chapter organized meetings with representatives of local minority groups. The participants were of different countries and ages, and enjoyed the initiative very much.
- For the first time, a colloquium was held at the conference. Thanks to Daniel Schaubacher, president of PTPI's Brussels, Belgium Chapter, a two-hour roundtable discussion on "Unity in Diversity: an Enrichment for All" was held. Panellists were:
- Mary J. Eisenhower, President and CEO of People to People International
- Gabriel Fragnière, Former Rector of College of Europe, Brugge, and Chairman of the Europe of Cultures Forum
- Professor László Komlósi, the Rector's Envoy in International Relations at the University of Pécs
- Meals and entertainment were organized by the local chapters and gave an excellent taste of Hungarian culture. The goulash party on Thursday was a very good start-up for all arrivals. (Many trains had been delayed because of heavy rains).
- On Friday, city walks were offered to all participants. Because Pécs is the 2010 Cultural Capital of Europe, the city had even more to offer to visitors. The conference hotel was in the city center, which has many unique historic and beautiful buildings, and an extraordinary main square.
- For the fifth time, a Board of Trustees Meeting was held in conjunction with the conference. Rolf Dahlberg, regional chair of Europe on the Board of Trustees, led the afternoon meeting. Among other items the new Personal Action Plan for Board of Trustees' members was introduced and discussed, as well as planning for the 2012 Worldwide Conference in Europe.
- The Conference Opening Dinner was held at Pezsgö Ház Restaurant. (Pezsgö is a Hungarian sparkling wine, which was offered now and then during the weekend.) In between meals, Hungarian dancing was performed.
- During the Saturday council meeting, 25 chapters were represented, which is an all-time high. Many chapters and members attended for the first time, and among them were many young members.
- Marta Kunszt, vice mayor of Pécs, welcomed conference participants to the city and wished everyone a successful time.
- Two chapter representatives presented their programs in detail: Kateryna Romanova (PTPI's Kharkiv, Ukraine Student Chapter) and Ruta Pels (PTPI's Tallinn, Estonia Chapter).
- Mary Eisenhower, PTPI President and CEO, gave an update of current and coming programs, including this year's Worldwide Conference.
- Additional updates about PTPI were supplied by Lars Poignant and Verena Denk of PTPI's European Office.
- The final two hours of the Council Meeting were dedicated to yet another spectacular Chapter Fair, at which any chapter could present its programs and region for all conference participants.
- For the gala dinner in beautiful Bartók Hall, the conference delegates were welcomed with a superb piece of music; Pécs' mixed adult and children choirs sang the European Anthem and the Anthem of the World, as well as the Hungarian Anthem. The dinner guests (and a lot of proud parents at the back of the hall) were very inspired by the local talent.
- In parallel to the local music, Mark Stansberry, PTPI chairman of the Board of Directors, and Joe Stansberry performed for gala dinner guests.
- On Sunday, conference participants participated in an excursion to Orfü Valley and Lake. The chapter members offered outdoor programs in the scenic area before the group met for lunch in a traditional csárda (garden restaurant). The weather had been up to that point not so good, but when we needed it most, the sun and heat came.
- After the conference, a homestay program was offered in Vezsprém, Hungary and Sternberk, Czech Republic.
- Special thanks go to:
- All participants
- Resigning Council President Rolf Dahlberg. Tack!
- PTPI's Pécs, Hungary Community and Student Chapters for their hard work:
- Hans G. Randau
- Gergely Kiss
- Anikó Bedekovits-Garami
- Szilvia Kázmér
- Terézia Peák
- Photos from the conference can be viewed at www.ptpe.org/pecs2010.
- The next European Conference will be held in Katowice, Poland, June 9-12, 2011.
- European Executive Committee 2010
- The Council Meeting accepted changes to the bylaws. The president of the council is now called Regional Chair.
- New members of the European Executive Committee were elected at the conference. The EEC consists of five volunteer members and one auditor:
- Regional Chair: Valeria Magistrelli, Italy
- Secretary: Rolf Dahlberg, Sweden
- Treasurer: Hannelore Büchler, Germany
- PR-Officer: Antoinette McIntyre-Andersson, Sweden
- Youth Coordinator: Sorina Danciu, Romania
- Auditor: Olga Sirbu, Moldova
Antoinette McIntyre-Andersson - New PR Officer
Antoinette McIntyre-Andersson is a U.S. citizen with many passions. Although she lives in Sweden now, she was born in the Philippines and adopted to the United States, where she was raised in a quaint Swedish Village in California. As a result, she has one foot in the United States and one in Scandinavia. In 2005, she founded PTPI's Karlstad, Sweden Chapter. She now serves as chapter co-president.
Antoinette has been involved with other NGOs, among them b-linkk and the Women's Business Link Karlstad for women entrepreneurs and business owners. She currently serves on the board of the latter, along with those of Värmland's Sports Federation for the Disabled and Save the Children. As PR Officer, Antoinette would like to promote the recruitment of new members by improving current mate-rial and creating concise template for all chapters to use. In addition, she sees the need to define the chapters' strategy for social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, videos, etc). Antoinette is a dedicated photographer and snapped the best photos of the European Conference with her camera.
PTPI Berlin in Quedlingburg In March, we had our general meeting with elections for the executive board. Everyone agreed to keep the old board in place for at least two more years.
On April 17, the chapter set off for two days on an excursion to Quedlinburg. All 21 members enjoyed their stay in this unique little town in the Harz Mountains.
In May, we had a guest from Estonia, Viktor Sepp. He enjoyed a homestay at Brigitte and Gerd's house, and accompanied them on a Swedish evening. Lars had organized an excellent meeting in Berlin's Swedish church. He gave the large audience a fascinating lecture about his country. On May 13, Ascension Day, Hans-Dieter organized a biking tour for seven members. We had a good time together and saw important places between Berlin and Potsdam. Twenty years ago, the wall between these two cities used to be the most horrible construction, but now Berliners and visitors can bike on this very line and see many historical monuments.
Last but not least, we had our traditional barbecue on June 5! Thirteen members came together in Susanne and Björns' garden in Bohndorf. My short report: the food was good, the mood was good and even the weather was on our side.
Hannelore Büchler, President
In recent weeks, we attended a piano concert with classical works of Frédéric Chopin and a successful boogie-woogie jazz festival. We often go together for hikes in the beautiful parks and surroundings of Brussels. A popular outing was the spring flower festival at the Grand Bigard Castle, whose colourful park was planted with millions of bulbs of tulips and narcissis. More than two dozen members and friends met for a delightful luncheon at the Etuve Restaurant School of Gastronomy on April 21. In April, our chapter hosted two students from the American University in Bulgaria, Tatyana from Azerbaijan, and Cristina from Moldavia, for a homestay, and introduced them to the Belgian branch of the international AIESEC student organization. Six delegates from the Brussels chapter participated in May in the European Conference in Pécs. Prior to the conference, we organized an interculturality/multiculturality colloquium in Pécs in which Mary J. Eisenhower, President and CEO of PTPI; Prof. Laszlo Komlosi of the University of Pécs; and Prof. Gabriel Fragnière, former rector of the College of Europe and Chairman of the Europe Forum of Cultures offered their views on how cultural diversity is an enrichment for all. Daniel Schaubacher was invited to the Swiss Ambassador's reception on June 1. On June 19, some 30 guests were hosted for lunch at the NATO Headquarters Restaurant, and we prepare for the Tall Ships' Race on July 12 in the Antwerp Harbour, in which more than 100 sail boats will participate.
Daniel Schaubacher, President
Cherkasy, Ukraine Student Chapter
In March, chapter members organized and participated in a project about the cooperation of nations. It consisted of writing and sending letters abroad in order to start discussions with foreigners about the international problems that concern us all. Also in March, the chapter took part in an event on youth problems, during which they learned about the types of daily problems young people face, and how to deal with them and to find solutions.
Olga Kharkovska, President
Our Annual General Meeting in April went well and despite having no civic dignitaries in attendance we had a good open debate on many PTPI topics. Although the meeting went well, we still haven't attracted any new members onto the board, which has left some of us doing two jobs and also some of us having to continue in the same roles for longer than we should. Therefore, we have had a gap in activities this month, apart from the four of us - Leila, Andrew Martin, Stuart and myself – who went to the PTPI European Conference in Pécs. Leila and Andrew drove all the way, and we were, therefore, able to bring our things for the Chapter Fair, which has become a regular event. We took some maps and photos of Chester, as well as some sweets, which unfortunately couldn't compete with the Swiss chocolates! The Hungarians were extremely hospitable, but the weather was very stormy, while back in Chester it was scorching, I believe!
This year, we have ordered sunshine and no races for the concert days, so let's have a good turn out! We will be going to St. Mary's at Nantwich, as part of its music festival, on Thursday July 1. With one final word, I would like to congratulate Barbara Roberts on becoming Deputy Lord Mayor this year.
Heather Exell, Chairman
During the first half of 2010, our chapter held a series of theoretical and practical workshops at the community center "Fantastic." Human trafficking, education on human rights, development and the promotion of volunteering through youth were some of the many relevant and important issues that were mentioned. The workshops helped the younger participants to realize that a society where people are knowledgeable, competent, altruistic, peaceful and tolerant, can be a democratic one, and more developed socially, culturally and even economically. And that they – today's youth – are the main promoters of these democratic values.
On the occasion of International Children's Day, the chapter held an artistic contest entitled "Peace through Understanding – The world as seen by children." Many community centers became involved in the project, and children showed an interest and desire to create something beautiful; namely to try and create world peace through their innocent perspectives, at least on paper. They were able to express this desire very clearly and argued about each image, symbol and color. They even composed poems on the topic of the contest. The results were full of life and carried out in accordance with the criteria set in the competition rules. We consider the project as successful because we carried out an effective social activity, and the participants demonstrated abilities that they possess: creativity, ingenuity, artistic vision and personal reflection on the surrounding world.
Ludmila Mihaescu, Secretary
Gliwice, Poland Student Chapter
We have been working in this club, in cooperation with the local primary school, since last year. Therefore, most of the students know us well. We support them with their homework, prepare games and read books to them. For Christmas, one of our members dressed up as Santa Claus and brought them sweets and toys we had prepared. The students responsible for the club change every day, that is, they have shifts – two or three students every day, except on Saturday and Sunday.
In January, the earthquake in Haiti led us to organize a Haiti Day at one of our meetings. We discussed geography, history and other topics related to the island in the Atlantic. We have decided to find a sister chapter, with which we can cooperate.
Anna Gruszczyk-Kubinska, Adult Advisor
Katowice, Poland Student Chapter
Katowice Members On February 8, approximately 15 members took action in the event "Cakes of love." The whole chapter decided that, in order to collect money for the financial support of the Haiti earthquake victims, baking homemade cakes and selling them in our school would be helpful. Because of the upcoming Valentine's Day, we believed love and care should be more widely promoted. Therefore, our chapter members brought cakes and sold them during lessons and breaks. We finally managed to collect 300 PLN – more than $100 USD, which we gave to the Polish Humanitarian Organization, which is organizing help and necessary supplies for the earthquake victims.
On March 27, our chapter once again participated in a fantastic charity action. For approximately six hours, we decorated Easter eggs. The main idea was to use wax to create a design on a hard-boiled egg. Candles, placed in the middle of the tables, were the source for wax. Students were using pencils with needles attached to the end to take very small amounts of molten wax. Then, we dipped the eggs in dye and the waxy patterns became visible. The authorities of the hospice told us they decorated 30.000 eggs last year with the help of volunteers! We did a great job there, and moreover we took 200 decorated eggs back to school, where other students could buy them. The money was given to the hospice. Its authorities are now collecting money to renovate an old hospital and use it for patients. We are glad we could help, and we are looking forward to the next egg decorating activity.
At our monthly meeting of March, chapter members suggested we could organize recycling at school. After getting the dean's approval, we started with recycling paper and plastic. Our aim is to place two bins in every classroom – one for paper trash and the other one for plastic. By doing this, we will raise awareness among the students and thus facilitate the recycling process for both paper and plastic. Members with driving licences will help with collecting paper and plastic from the bins, and later, these will be passed onto the recycling company. Our chapter also has started to cooperate with a sister chapter, PTPI's Brooklyn, New York Chapter in the United States. Both sister chapter coordinators agreed that a letter campaign would be the best way to start communication between members. We will be divided into groups and assigned particular topics (geography, politics, religion, sports, our generation's activities, population and demographics, history, as well as current events). Every group will write a letter about the topic relative to the country of assignment. We then will exchange questions regarding the given issues.
Being a PTPI chapter, we felt it was our duty to get involved in Operation International Children. Our PR committee prepared posters and hung them all around school. Other members believe it would be good to involve other students in that action, which is why we intend to ask the classes to bring one type of the needed supplies in large amounts. Chapter President, Ewa Dudzic, bought one OIC supply kit, which will be used for advertisement purposes among students. Feel free to visit our chapter website: www.ptpkatowice.org.pl.
Ewa Dudzic, President
Kharkiv, Ukraine Student Chapter
On February 23, we celebrated Fatherland Defenders Day. We organized sport competitions among students of our school under the title "Kozak Entertainment." Children from other schools were invited to participate as well. All members of our chapter took part in the organizational process.
There were nearly 100 participants. While boys took part in various sport competitions, the girls had a cheerleader contest. In Ukraine, the year 2010 is dedicated to the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the victory of World War II. Throughout the school year, students watched documentaries and films about the war and discussed them in class. We also organized a photo exhibition dedicated to this war in our school's corridors. Copies of photos of Kharkiv made during World War II were exhibited. The photos showed what life was like in the Kharkiv region during this particular period. To honor the veterans from the neighborhood, we invited them to our gymnasium, and our chapter presented them flowers and presents, bought with the earnings of a fundraiser.
Ludmila Bodiak, Adult Advisor
Khmelnitsky, Ukraine Student Chapter
During February, members of our chapter held a session on the topic "The Circle of Tolerance," during which a poster was made on that very theme. After presenting it to the Center of the European Education in Khmelnitsky, we were rewarded with the first prize. The following session was meant to prepare for the World's Day of Languages. We settled on preparing Japanese tea and presenting the Netherlands in a musical show. Every school in the city attended.
PTPI Khmelnitsky activity in April Toward the end of March, members visited a boarding school for orphans and played games with them. They also gave notebooks, pencils, pens, books, albums, etc. to them. This was the last step of our "Good Starts from You" project, which aims to support children's rights and normal psychophysical development and communication. The project creates a system of children's games for junior and middle-aged, disabled children and children from social rehabilitation centers that support the study of the cultural and artistic heritage of European countries. We got together to paint Easter eggs, which was an enjoyable experience. Everyone distributed sweets to the children, and our members donated funds they had previously collected to the center. The project is featured on the website of the city council in Khmelnitsky and was shown on the municipal television. It also was offered for consideration to the Ukrainian Charity "Fund 3000" in Kyiv. We plan to continue the project and would like to expand it to other cities and countries, hopefully with the support and cooperation of international partners.
You can read about our chapter at www.gym2.km.ua. We also are very happy to announce that the Ukrainian magazine Svit Vuhovannia published an article about our chapter in its January edition.
Doing Good Starts from You!
Sidorenko Katia, President
Kiev, Ukraine Student Chapter
On February 23, we carried out a program visiting the "Veterans of Stage" to celebrate Defender of the Motherland Day. In addition, for the occasion of International Women's Day, we paid them another visit, during which we performed a spring show and tried to deepen the relationship we have built with them.
Oles Honchar, President
Konotop, Ukraine Student Chapter
European Executive Committee 2010 On March 10, our chapter organized a special European Day at school. Every class had to choose one European country and to represent it, framing traditions, customs, clothes, dishes, songs, etc. Approximately 1,000 students, parents and teachers took part in this great event.
On March 30-31, a conference on "Forming a sense of value of another person, child, refugee on the basis of the principles of tolerance" was held in Kiev. The conference was organized and sponsored by the Humanitarian Gymnasia "Harmony," the Danish Refugee Council and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. Students from all parts of Ukraine, as well as some refugeechildren, attended, which totaled nearly 700 guests.
As far as PR efforts are concerned, we launched our new booklet, and an article about PTPI and our "unity" chapter will soon be published in a local newspaper.
Ksenia Godovalova, President
Kurchatov, Russia Student Chapter
On March 23, our chapter greatly enjoyed participating in a roundtable discussion on "Striking facts about American school." Our Adult Advisor, Elena Tarlovskaya, prepared a PowerPoint presentation on the U.S. education system, and we discussed some sensitive and controversial issues, while making comparisons with the Russian education system. This lively discussion was very beneficial for our chapter.
Natalia Durneva, President
Oroslavje, Croatia Student Chapter
Throughout February, five of the oldest student members created a short movie about experiences with PTPI, as a present to their adult advisor and to PTPI. Many current and former chapter members participated. The whole group was extremely happy with the result, and they surprised their teacher, who was very touched. This new experience enriched them in many ways and reconfirmed the values they share with PTPI.
On March 3, the chapter organized a meeting with the U.S. Embassy's First Secretary, which was attended by many students and teachers of the school. The discussion with the First Secretary was enriching, and the students enjoyed the opportunity to present their PTPI chapter and projects, including the newly cut movie. The First Secretary apparently enjoyed the meeting as well because he insisted on showing them around the embassy. Two weeks later, Radio Oroslavje reported on the activities of our chapter and promoted the PTPI brand to listeners.
Sandra Bartol, President
Pécs, Hungary Student Chapter
Supporting the European Conference in Pécs, our Student Chapter organized the youth program "Minorities in Pécs." Unfortunately, most of the conference participants couldn't arrive in time because of the terrible flooding all around Europe, which is why the youth program – fortunately – turned into an adult-youth program. We divided the participants into four mixed groups. The age diversity of the participants (15- 60) made the initiative even more interesting. Every group went to a minority goverment: Roma, German, Bulgarian, Serbian, and asked questions. When all had returned, we sat down in a circle and the speakers presented their results and what they had learned about the minority's culture and social situation. We then asked one another questions to verify whether everyone had carefully listened to the presentations. Everyone enjoyed the program and learned many new things about the minorities, even us, the locals who live among them. A Goulash Party was organized for the evening. We later danced and chatted. I met a lot of wonderful people from all over the world; it was an amazing experience that I'll never forget. I believe everyone felt the same. This dinner party was the perfect ending to a great day.
Viven Noveczki, President
Plovdiv, Bulgaria Student Chapter
Plovdiv chapter members During February, several members introduced PTPI, the chapter and its activities at local events, such as the student board reunion.
Valentine's Day was designated D-day for the chapter. The chapter members gathered to create love and wish cards; then walked around the school distributing them, along with flyers on love and sexual awareness, while promoting the chapter with specially made t-shirts. The students had a lot of fun in this endeavour and it helped with team building.
On February 10, members bought fruits for children of an orphanage. They also managed to arrange for mentally disabled children to sell their own "martenitsis" – friendship bracelets. On March 1, the chapter decided to make 200 martenitsis and give them away for free at school, on the street and to local government officials. They also distributed them, along with clothing, to children at a second orphanage.
From March 20 to March 30, four members participated in the "Youth Action for Peace Project" of Romania, which dealt with environmental issues. Next to volunteer activities, the delegation also interacted and exchanged ideas with other groups and got to know more about other countries.
Katarina Tatarova, President
Sofia, Bulgaria Student Chapter
During early spring, we carried out a project called "Breaking up Stereotypes." We conceived it as a multimedia competition urging students to seek the unperceivable, to warp the cliché and to enjoy the adventure of uniting arts, such as music and photography, writing and music, and music, writing and photography. The students had three weeks to send their projects to me, chapter secretary. For the category music and photography, they had to submit three photos accompanied with personal music compositions or any other song of their choice. For the second category, they had to write spontaneously on the brief space of a page and select appropriate music corresponding to their text. In the third category, they united the above two with the same passion and the same requirements. The required format for all three categories was either a PowerPoint presentation or a video clip. After all projects were submitted, we launched the promotion of the event "Music, writing and photography will fit into or break up the stereotype," inviting students to come and vote for their favorites after a thorough visit. We finally displayed the projects to the public on March 10.
The next stage supported the idea of Peace through Understanding. We gathered new and old members, and presented the principles and values of PTPI. This was the start of the "Freshmen's Week," during which a new idea should be developed every day.
On Monday, the 9th graders were divided into teams and competed in different sports, thus discovering the importance of teamwork. On Tuesday, the 11th graders organized a gourmet sale of cakes, biscuits, muffins and all kinds of sweets. Wednesday was dedicated to healthy food and karaoke. The 10th graders sold everything from cereal to fresh juice. They finally sang popular Bulgarian songs with their classmates. On Thursday, our seniors booked a disco club in Sofia. All the students were invited to what earned the name "Cielo Charity Night." On Friday, only the 8th graders still had enough energy; they organized an exhibition and were able to sell pictures, bracelets, postcards and earrings. At the end of this busy week, a crowd of young and enthusiastic teenagers came to our meeting. About 30 students additional students joined our chapter. After a month of recruiting, we have become a big, united family.
This year "The Doves" celebrated Global Youth Service Day with a project with three PowerPoint presentations. The first was about the history of the chapter followed by an interesting discussion about how our members perceive the successful advancement of our chapter, which totals approximately 120 students. The second was a research project on Swiss culture, which was not a mere random choice but connected to a two-week travel experience of one of the speakers and part of a development program called "Globe Trotting," in which members talk about their firsthand experiences of other cultures. This was followed by Vasil Nikololov's special PowerPoint presentation about his journey to Washington, D.C. He simplified all the application requirements for the Global Youth Forum and shared amusing, personal stories, along with all the knowledge he had gained from the conference's workshops and creative games.
Yavor Ivanov, Vice President and Niya Koleva, former President.
Viktor Sepp (second from left) and PTPI Berlin Chapter members April 7-14, Aleksei Smulski and Julia Kinzevskaja, adult advisors of the Student Chapter, participated in the training course "Building Bridges between Young People of Diverse Faith - Interfaith Dialogue as a Tool in Youth Work" in the United Kingdom. April 22-26, partners from Grundtvig's "Europe Needs Active Seniors" project met in Konya, Turkey to discuss the CDs and promotional photos, as well the ongoing activities, of the exhibition "Silver Heads in the EU." Many discussions took place, mainly about intercultural dialogue between West and East, Turkey as a candidate to EU integration, local municipalities and partner meetings.
April 29-30, Chapter President, Ruta Pels, and Vice President Leonid Smulski, participated in the Baltic Conference on Global Education, "Do It," in Riga, Latvia. Participants from the three Baltic countries, representing governmental, nongovernmental and educational organizations, came together to share their experiences in the challenges posed by the promotion of global education. The conference was financed by the European Commission and the North-South Center of the Council of Europe.
May 2-7, Vice President Viktor Sepp participated in a homestay program in Berlin and had a great time in Brigitte and Gerhard Kasigkeit's family. They attended PTPI's Berlin, Germany Chapter meetings, visited the PTPI European Office and participated in a cultural program that included trips to old and new places in Berlin, discovery of museums with Hans-Dieter Robel and a party in the typical Berlin cabaret, where Viktor learned about German history and culture, and improved his language skills.
Ruta Pels, President
Vaslui, Romania Student Chapter
On March 1, we celebrated the coming of spring by going to a school for students with special needs. A member had informed the chapter that the teachers and children had made spring amulets and earrings in order to sell them and to invest the money in education. I should mention that the tradition in Romania is to offer these amulets on March 1, as they are believed to bring luck to whoever wears them. When we arrived, the children had already displayed the amulets. During our stay, they showed us how to make them, and PTPI members actively participated. Toward the end, everyone bought an amulet and a pair of earrings; girls phoned their friends, telling them how nice and inexpensive they were and bought even more. May everyone have a beautiful spring with many snowdrops and blossom cherry trees!
On March 9, the chapter visited a school in the countryside near Vaslui. Through fundraising activities, we gathered books to donate to the primary school's first graders. The idea was to raise awareness on how reading is more important than watching television. They sang some songs dedicated to Women's Day, which we celebrated on March 8, and we then spent some time showing them the books, notebooks and drawings, trying to praise their work and to make them proud of what they learn in class. The visit was in the whole very instructive and absolutely worth it, as both groups learned something.
Liliana Harhas, Adult Advisor
Between February 15 and April 30, our chapter implemented the "Let's help the parentless teenagers" project in the SOS Children's Village" of the Kotayk region. Thirty-four teenagers ages 15-16 participated. The aim of the project was to reveal the possibilities of self-awareness, selfanalysis and form a sense of responsibility, tolerance and respect for one another.
The project was implemented in two stages. First stage: Teaching four members the pedagogic "Know-How." Second stage: Two members were elected to conduct trainings with teenagers in SOS Children's Village. During the first training, we met the teenagers, presented the themes we were to concentrate on and handed each participant a folder and notebook. We conducted the training by means of individual and team games, during which we used flipcharts, color paper, markers and various additional materials. We got the impression the teenagers were very interested and inspired by the topic. At the beginning, the majority of the teenagers showed some restraint and inhibition; they were afraid to express their own opinions freely in; they experienced shyness, produced conflict situations, avoided teamwork and had an irreverent attitude toward one another. Summarizing the process of the training, we are happy to say the teenagers began to value the recognition of personality, which helps to build a relationship with the environment, to strengthen cooperation and tolerance and to raise the level of responsibility. In order to assess the training's efficiency, we used questionnaires and conducted individual conversations. To conclude, the project was effective, and subsequently we received a suggestion from the SOS Children's Villages directorate to implement corresponding trainings for other age groups.