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2010-4 PTPE Newsletter

Message from the Regional Chair | PTPI Experience | Coming Events | PTPI Updates | Chapter Reports | www.ptpi.org | Download as PDF

 

Message from the Regional Chair

Dear Friends,Valeria Magistrelli

Time is flying away and the holiday season is at the door again!

Our friends in Brussels are very excited about their 40th anniversary and gala dinner dance! I am thrilled myself, as I have planned to be with them on December 11, and I am sure it will be another unforgettable event for the members and friends that will participate! My deeply heartfelt congratulations to all friends of PTPI's Brussels, Belgium Chapter, which also was the first to be chartered in Europe, and always is so active!

It has been a busy fall. In September, a small group of Europeans represented our part of the world at the Worldwide Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Nelson Mandela was the recipient of the Eisenhower Medallion,which was given to his daughter and grandson. Cindy McCain was presented the President's Award for her work with The HALO Trust, which promotes the eradication of landmines in many countries. PTPI has supported its successful efforts for years.

Members from Europe also were the recipient of awards, and this makes us very proud: Sorina Danciu, Roman, Romania won the Outstanding Leadership Award; the Chapter Membership Award went to Sofia, Bulgaria, and the Chapter Leadership Award for Student Chapter went to Sandra Bartol from Oroslavje, Croatia.

We also increased the number of European Trustees: Antoinette McIntyre-Andersson, Sweden; Anna Chuiko and Katerina Romanova, Ukraine; Ruta Pels, Estonia; Zsuzsanna Balogh, Hungary; and Andrew Martin, England. Congratulations to all of them and thanks for their active participation!

In October, we had the fifth European Leadership Seminar in Berlin. Twenty-three participants had a great time working very hard in an atmosphere of incredible enthusiasm while examining the main problems that chapters have to face and trying to focus on possible solutions and our dreams for the future PTPI. New projects might become a reality in the future thanks to this event, and I think all the participants, most of whom participated in a PTPI event for the first time, will be with us at the next European Conference. Rolf Dahlberg, Hannelore Büchler and I were present from the European Executive Committee (EEC). Many thanks to Lars, Verena and Dace for putting this program together and for assisting us in every moment!

More great news: In the next two years, Europe will be in the forefront for what concerns the biggest events. Besides the European Conference in Katowice, Poland next June, the next Board of Trustees Meeting will be held in conjunction with the Board of Directors Meeting in Brussels next September, and the 20th Worldwide Conference will be held in Bern in conjunction with the 2012 European Conference.

The EEC had a conference call on November 13 to especially discuss the 2012 conferences. We think it is a unique opportunity for our European members to also take part in the Worldwide Conference and to meet with friends from all over the world. Such a chance will not happen again in the next 10 years or so. Therefore, save the dates and start planning fundraising for that! Wishing you all happy holidays!

Your friend,

Valeria Magistrelli, Regional Chair for Europe

PTPI Experiences

Stereotypes in Modern Society

September 14-19, PTPI's Kharkiv, Ukraine (Children to Children) Student Chapter organized the international youth seminar Stereotypes in Modern Society. The seminar was held at Gymnasium Number 116 and was sponsored by the PTPI European Program Fund. Among the organizers was Olga Bolibok, who sent us this report.

Kharkiv Seminar 2010

PTPI members from Kharkiv, Konotop, Kiev (Ukraine) and Poznan (Poland) spent the whole week together learning how to build a new, better world without stereotypes, and how to overcome them and make a positive impact on society. They learned how different and amazing are diverse cultures during a cultural evening, where participants had the chance to watch national dances, listen to traditional music, enjoy humor and taste delicious traditional food. The seminar's interesting and useful events were prepared by pupils and teachers of the school.

Participants of the seminar had the possibility to:

  • Take part in a master class called "Contemporary dance movement without borders, during which they learned the harm and usefulness of stereotypes in our world through magnificent dance.
  • Take part in an art studio session entitled "Let's change the world together."
  • Take part in sport-intellectual game called "Kharkiv- European City," which united participants and showed them the importance of being a team to achieve common goals. Also while being engaged in the competition, children learned about the city and its history better, as each task was connected with a sight in Kharkiv.
  • Discuss problems, which appear in modern society because of the stereotypes that we create. Share experiences and different opinions.
  • Present different countries and to learn about new countries during the session called "Mosaic of cultures."
  • Take part in the sports festival "Euro 2012."
  • Visit a dolphinarium and go bowling.
  • Take part in an open meeting of the club "Innovations in democracy."
  • Create and present a common project named "Stereotypes in modern society," which put special emphasis on the use of plastic and dance movements as a way of developing one's ability of selfexpression.
  • Attend the seminar in the training session called, "Less stereotypes, more trust for peaceful relations."
  • Visit the place where Grigoriy Skovoroda, one of the history's most significant philosophers, lived.

The seminar created unforgettable memories. It spread PTPI's ideas between students and adults on national and international level. It established strong friendships between Ukrainians and Poles, and it showed that no matter how different you are, you are unique and you can make a difference. The main thing is to remember if you want to change the world, you should be this change. Thank you, PTPI, for supporting us!

Leadership Seminar – Impressions

In October, Ana-Maria Bejan of PTPI's Iasi, Romania Chapter was one of 23 participants who attended PTPI's Leadership Seminar. It was her first attendance at this annual event.

I have to confess that I'm an emotional person, especially when I'm in a new group with new people and new places. These kinds of things make me nervous. Am I able to meet expectations?

Even from the beginning, as soon as I reached the airport, I realized the things that others see aren't the same things that you see; the way you perceive things and the capacity of observation are different.

My experience is about people and places. How many wonderful people! How many ideas they have! I couldn't even think about all of them. We've all shared our experiences, hopes and visions in a very pleasant way. We gave answers to some problems, and we had enough time to know one another, and to learn to respect and appreciate the culture of each person.

The fact that I've had the great opportunity to visit Berlin as a tourist and to have as a guide a native person – a master of places actually – who showed me not so well-known, but wonderful places, little and intimate sights and, most importantly, who helped me to see the lifestyle there, to relate to the people, to add to my memories people from different countries, to look at a map and assert that I really know people from there and they are wonderful, is a reason to be proud.

Some time ago, I couldn't have said these kinds of things. Many times the tiredness used to have the last word, but now, reflecting at the opportunity that I took advantage of (and I did good), I can really say that I started my life experience in a very good way.

Europe on Film

In August, members from Bulgaria and Romania participated in the youth project Europe on Film in Hereford,England. Andreea Lazarescu and Ioana Enea of PTPI's Roman, Romania Chapter sent us these impressions.

Europe on Film Youth Team

Europe on Film was the first youth exchange I ever attended, and like any venture into the unknown, I didn't know what to expect. My biggest fear was we would be too different and not get along. Upon arrival though, my fears completely vanished.

To help integrate participants, our leaders split us into groups, in which a maximum of two people of the same nationality were allowed. The workshops consisted of several team-building games that I enjoyed very much, interviewing local people, such as teenagers, citizens with interesting life stories and even the mayor of Hereford. We also had to make a mural representing our country's journey toward the European Union. Our host country also planned fun activities for us, such as swimming and hiking through the countryside.

Although so many different personalities were brought together, everybody acted like we had known one another for ages. It was absolutely fantastic that we had so many things in common, such as our activities and goals.

We really hope that we left some smiles behind, because when we think of Dunfield House, or the great friends that we had the chance to make, an enormous smile lights up my face. We would like to believe that this exchange was only a stepping stone for a strong, lasting relationship between the Roman and Varna chapters.

Ronnie and Charles Blakeney Return Home

We first met the Frankel family in Los Angeles in 1973, when our daughter spent an exchange year there. Since then, our contact with the family has never broken. Friendship also united us with the Frankel's daughter Ronnie and her husband, Charles Blakeney, and they too became members of PTPI Bern.

Ronnie has served the Interlaken Chapter since 2003 as a board member, taking on translation work and other duties. Her special contribution has been organizing the Bilingual Current Affairs Club. For years she traveled to Interlaken up to four times a month, meeting other chapter members to discuss topics in English and in German. She later was joined by board member Claudia Mariani as co-organizer, and the club continues to this day.

After all these years in Switzerland, Ronnie and Charles will return to the United States at the beginning of November — for good, it seems, and for reasons easy to understand. After spending time in Europe, their children and now three grandchildren have all settled in Los Angeles, where the Blakeney's parents, brothers and sisters and many friends and extended family members also live.

The Blakeneys will remain members of our chapter, just as their parents the Frankels do, and we surely will see them again in Switzerland and at European or PTPI conferences. Whether in intense discussions or by dancing and socializing, they certainly will continue to join in with their special energy and joy. Thank you, Ronnie and Charles, from the bottom of our hearts for your dedication and commitment, both as PTPI members and as friends. We truly wish you and your entire family clan all the best!

Regina and Ernest Wälti, PTPI's Interlaken, Switzerland Chapter

Homestay in Interlaken

For almost 15 years, we have had close contact between our chapter and the Berlin members. Individuals, couples and small groups have visited each other in order to get to know one another better. The most recent such exchange involved a visit to Interlaken by Ilona Schmidt and Magrit Liepe, two members from Berlin. Following is a firsthand account of the October visit. - Regina and Ernest Wälti

Interlaken Homestay 2010

When we arrived in Interlaken, we were warmly welcomed by Ernest and Regina Wälti, Cindy Mühlemann and Denise Girard Ammann. Over coffee, our hosts gave us many valuable tips for our stay. We felt at home among friends right from the start.

During the next three days, one highlight followed the next, from a morning stroll to the Lake of Thun, to the chocolate demonstration at the Schuh Restaurant, to the mountain cable railway trip up the Harder Kulm. In beautiful fall weather, the impressive threeand four-thousand-meter peaks of the Bernese Oberland Alps were continuously before our eyes. And Swiss watches do tick a little slower than the ones in Berlin.

On our second day, Cindy showed us her little farm, and we were able to pet a real calf and over coffee enjoy the view of the lake of Brienz. She also introduced us to the all-holy Swiss cheese platter.

Interlaken Cattle Show

On the third day, we went to a cattle show that takes place twice a year in Habkern, an originally preserved mountain village of 360 residents. At the show, all the farmers from the area bring their spruced up cows to the main village square. Onlookers enjoy Käsbrätel (melted cheese on bread), wine, beer, jokes and laughs while they wait for word from the experts.

These specialists rate each cow for their milk yield and beauty. The best cows are named in the afternoon and given prizes. It was a real folk festival, and we were in the middle of it!

The three days spent in Interlaken left us with many unforgettable impressions. Many thanks to all our Swiss friends who welcomed us so warmly!

Ilona Schmidt, PTPI's Berlin, Germany Chapter

Let's talk about interculturality in Istanbul!

Aleksandra Kubica of PTPI's Gliwice, Poland Chapter attended a four-day conference in November with 60 people from different countries in Istanbul, Turkey. She had received a grant from PTPI's European Program Fund to represent PTPI.

All of us have those moments in life when a seemingly small and insignificant detail turns out to create great opportunities and life-changing experiences. Recently, I experienced such a moment at the 11th annual congress of YoungSIETAR (Young Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research). The topic of the congress was "Interculturalism Reloaded: Exploring a Changing Landscape." Istanbul, a city where European and Asian cultures combine to create an astonishing mix of realities, traditions, languages and customs, was the perfect location to discuss topics related to globalization and change in societies. The congress provided participants with the opportunity to exchange experiences, views and knowledge on issues relating to interculturality. We participated in various workshops; I chose ones on storytelling, influence, empathic listening and proverbs in various languages, but the selection was much broader, from stereotypes to humor and identity. In addition, we had some time to explore the city with a list of tasks that involved interactions with the locals, and we participated in a panel discussion with Turkish academics about contemporary Turkey. Moreover, there was a presentation of YoungSIETARs from this year and a discussion of future plans. I also had an opportunity to present PTPI during the intercultural bazaar poster session, and the people I talked to were very interested in what PTPI does and promotes.

The participants of the congress came from all different ages and backgrounds, and it was very interesting to discover how each of them perceives the world. Being among the youngest of the participants, I used the congress as an opportunity to learn from those with more experience: older students, academics and professionals. They told me about their involvement in the intercultural field, and I got a lot of inspiration for some projects I could organize myself. I received a lot of valuable advice for my future, career and involvement in the intercultural field, which I am genuinely grateful for.

It was an extremely inspiring event, with many wonderful and interesting people, held in an amazing place, and I'm so happy I was a part of it! If you have any questions about YoungSIETAR and their events, feel free to ask me.

Coming Events

Date Event (Location) Contact
2010
December 11 PTPI Gala Dinner Dance (Brussels) Christine Pairon
December 15 PTPI European Office Christmas dinner Lars Poignant
December PTPI's Vaslui, Romania Chapter jewelry making Liliana Harhas-Ciobanu
December PTPI's Šternberk, Czech Republic Chapter Candle Party Eliska Vranova
December PTPI's Vaslui, Romania Chapter visit to center for disadvantaged children Liliana Harhas-Ciobanu
2011
January PTPI's Šternberk, Czech Republic Chapter will host two EVS volunteers Eliska Vranova
January 17 PTPI Warsaw Chapter meeting Zbigniew Piskorz
March 1 Community chapters fees due PTPI European Office
April PTPI Berlin travels to Sicily, Italy Arik Komets
June 16-19 European Conference (Katowice) PTPI European Office
June PTPI Berlin travels to Rügen www.ptpberlin.de
July PTPI Berlin travels to England www.ptpberlin.de
August 8-14 PTPI's European Youth Forum (Berlin) PTPI European Office
September 7-11 PTPI's Board of Trustees Meeting Christine Pairon
Sept/Oct 2012 Worldwide Conference (Bern) in conjunction with European Conference PTPI World Headquarters

PTPI Updates

PTPI on Video

We often receive reports and photos from our PTPI events. Now we also receive videos, which are an additional way to communicate PTPI programs. Members of PTPI's Oroslavje, Croatia Student Chapter created a video as a tribute to Marina Krsnik, who initiated and supported the chapter as its adult advisor.

Farewell to Marina Krsnik from Oroslavje

During the two recent European Youth Forums, the participants created theater pieces, which were recorded. You can view the videos from Youtube below.

PTPI Street Theatre 2010

PTPI Youth Forum 2009

We encourage chapters to record their events on video and send us the film to share with other members.

Chapter Payments

PTPI student and university chapters paid their dues on November 1. Community chapters must pay their dues by March 1, 2011, which is new this year. Invoices will be sent to all community chapters.

European Program Fund

During 2010, so far three scholarships have been issued from the European Program Fund:

  • PTPI Roman, Romania: Language Ambassador Program
  • PTPI Kharkiv Student Chapter: Seminar "Stereotypes in the Modern Society"
  • Aleksandra Kubica, PTPI Gliwice Student Chapter: Participation in "11th Young SIETAR Congress" in Turkey.

The Fund is open for all members and chapters in Europe. There is no deadline, but applications should be made at least one month prior to the program.
Examples of support:
Chapters: Own programs, programs with other chapters or other organisation. New ideas for programs are encouraged.
Individuals: Participation in PTPI Worldwide Conference, regional events and in new and innovative projects.

Programs and participation should promote PTPE and its local chapters. Example of programs that are not supported: studies and direct travel support.

For more information, please visit www.ptpe.org/epf.

Awards to European Student Chapters

During the past scholastic year, PTPI's student chapters participated in the annual Team Peace Challenge. The chapters received points for programs, fundraising, membership drives, reports, etc. Five European chapters received gold awards for the points they accumulated:

Points Chapter
860 Khmelnitsky, Ukraine (Young Leaders)
715 Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Smiles)
535 Kurchatov, Russia (Friends Meeting Friends)
526 Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins)
447 Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves)

Ten gold medals were awarded worldwide. Every second place went to Europe! PTPI's Khmelnitsky was second best student chapter worldwide.

Congratulations!

Selected Chapter updates

Update Chapter Country Name/Address
Closed chapter Tallinn Student Chapter Estonia
New president Warsaw Poland Zbigniew Piskorz
New chapter Tashkent Uzbekistan Tatyana Yun ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Leadership Seminar 2010

October 20-24, PTPI held its fifth Leadership Seminar in Berlin, Germany. Twenty-two leaders from 14 countries attended. The theme of the seminar was "We are People to People International." The seminar concentrated on PTPI programs and their development. Three full days were used to identify problems and challenges, list visionary ideas and dreams of PTPI and to suggest implementation of improvements. In addition, the following items were discussed:

  • Public Relations
  • Networking
  • 2011 European Conference
  • 2011 European Youth Forum
  • Homestays
  • Membership

By the end of the seminar, 10 projects were outlined for the next months and years. Results and a photo gallery can be viewed at www.ptpe.org/programs/leadership-seminar-2010.

The following chapters were represented at the seminar:

Berlin, Germany
Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria
Bucharest, Romania
Chisinau, Moldova
Iasi, Romania
Katowice, Poland
Karlstad, Sweden
Kiev UC, Ukraine
Konotop, Ukraine
Kurchatov, Russia
Milano, Italy
Oroslavje, Croatia
Roman, Romania
Sternberk, Czech Republic
Tirana, Albania
Trbovlje, Slovenia
Varna CC, Bulgaria
Varna SC, Bulgaria

 

Chapter Reports

Berlin, Germany

September 5, 20 chapter members visited Schönhausen, a Baroque castle in Berlin's borough of Pankow.

September 18, we visited the Klimahaus in Bremerhaven and made a virtual journey through the climate zones around the world. A highlight of the trip was the tour through the harbor, where we saw many container terminals and the biggest car terminal in Europe. Later, we visited the German Emigration Centre, a museum dedicated to the history of German emigration, especially to the United States. Thanks to Christa Hattendorff and Ilona Schmidt for organizing the program so well. All 12 members and friends had an exciting time!

Per tradition, participants enjoyed a nice evening at Brauhaus Südstern, listening to country and western music from John Shreve and his friends.

This year, the Leadership Seminar took place in Berlin-Wannsee. Kurt Buchholz from Hamburg and I were two of the 23 participants. Verena and Lars did a good job making the seminar interesting.

October 23-25, our chapter had two guests from Romania. Madalina Gavrila and her friend visited Berlin and participated in a homestay with Karin and Christian Lehmann. They also joined a guided tour through our ARD-TV studio, together with more than 20 members and friends. Thanks to Dagmar Schönbeck for coming up with the program and organizing the event.

November 11, we had a cultural evening at Kreativhaus in Berlin. Dace Varaksina, an intern of the European office, presented her country, Latvia. We also had the chance to promote the ideas and targets of PTPI to the audience. Forty people attended the meeting.

November 13, approximately 20 members and friends took part in a tour through Potsdam. We were able to see villas planned by famous architects that also were once inhabited by famous public figures, such as Marlene Dietrich. We also saw the sight of the 1945 Potsdamer Conference, where Churchill, Truman and Stalin met.

In November, we also enjoyed a Polish evening. Our member Magrit Liepe explained about Polish history, people and culture. In addition, there was live music and Polish food and drinks. All participants had a really good time together, and went home full of new impressions about Poland, which is where our next European Conference will take place!

Hannelore Büchler, President

Brussels, Belgium

PTPI's Brussels, Belgium Chapter celebrates its 40th anniversary with a gala dinner dance on December 11. On November 29, it held its annual general assembly after a convivial luncheon, and reelected its board, approved its accounts and welcomed two new members.

Some of the well-attended activities in recent months include:

  • October 6: visiting the 3-D Expo for Belgian singer Jacques Brel
  • November 3: visiting the historic Integrated Police Museum of Belgium
  • November 17, visiting a special fashion and design exhibition in the European Council's building
  • November 24, a group of 28 members and friends were hosted at the National Palace by MP André Frédéric for a briefing and a visit of the Belgian Parliament and Senate.
  • Good relations are maintained with U.S. Ambassador Howard W. Gutman in preparation for the PTPI Board of Trustees Meeting in Brussels in September 2011.

Daniel Schaubacher, President

Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

October 4-6, our chapter held an event called The Green Building Project done in cooperation with the American University's events office. The event itself consisted of two movie nights and a panel discussion. At the movie nights, short documentaries showing examples of green buildings were played. Approximately 40 people attended the movie nights and participated in a discussion afterwards. October 6, Jennivine Kwan, vice president of the U.S. Green Building Council, was the special guest of a panel discussion. The discussion topic was "The Green Building Market: Resources, Tools, and Educated Choices" and was attended by approximately 25 students. The goals of the project were to increase AUBG students' awareness of sustainable living, to help preserve and improve upon the ecologic environment of the campus and to have young people understand the importance of developing and preserving a healthy living environment, and then being able to establish and benefit from relationships created in this environment.

Students sharing their thoughts

October 8, there was an open discussion with special guest Prof. Minko Balkanski, the founder of Minu Balkanski Foundation. He donated $1 million USD to the American University in Bulgaria. Approximately 50 people attended the event. The topic of the open discussion was "Civic Education: Moral, Ethics and Civic Education in School. Needs for Civic Society." AUBG students actively participated in the discussion with Prof. Balkanski, addressing the issues of the modern world that must be dealt with in order to create a civic society.

The main goal of the event was to strengthen AUBG students' beliefs and to inspire them to put forth effort to create a better world, where discrimination, abuse, manipulation, violence and poverty do not exist.

November 9, PTPI projected a specially prepared PowerPoint presentation with photos, music and short documentaries to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Approximately 80 students watched the presentation and discussed it with members of PTPI AUBG. Our team also provided a flip chart with paper and markers, so students could share their thoughts about the event. The main goal of the event was to provoke students to think about the importance of freedom, equality, respect and understanding.

November 15, the eve of World Tolerance Day, we celebrated the day by having a psychologist from the university, representatives of different LGBT organizations, a representative of the Gay-Straight Alliance of AUBG, and of course AUBG students and faculty to discuss the topic "The most common types of discrimination, the means of copying with situations provoked by discrimination, and ways of integrating people with LGBT orientation."

Dilyana Gramadarova, President

Buzau, Romania (Children's Heart) Student Chapter

September 26, our chapter participated in the local harvest festival held in Sapoca village, participating in theme dances, selling handmade toys and decorative objects, and distributing flyers among locals to emphasize the idea that all ethnicities can live and work well together in tolerance and peace.

Members of the chapter and friends, with the help of their adult advisor, Serenella Dinu, designed and performed on stage several types of dances. They performed a traditional Romanian dance to pay respect to ancestors, national identity and traditions; a modern dance sung in English to show how in the modern age we have adapted ourselves multi-culturally and this community has talented children; and a gipsy theme dance to show we appreciate the traditions of other ethnicities that live next to us.

Furthermore, our members taught their classmates how to make children's toys from vegetables, such as corn, onions, eggplants, cabbage, carrots and potatoes. The objects were sold to the festival visitors to raise money to buy books and writing materials for students in the community whose families cannot afford them.

As September 26 also was the European Day of Languages, members of our chapter, with help from their English teacher, Roxana Scutaru, distributed flyers promoting the importance of learning foreign languages. Students explained what PTPI means and what being a PTPI student chapter member represents for them, as well as how PTPI offers many opportunities to do something meaningful for their community.

Serenella Dinu, Adult Advisor

Cherkasy, Ukraine (Light the Way) Student Chapter

Our chapter has grown in size since last year, and during the past months has had several important projects. First, we held a fundraiser to purchase furniture for the gymnasium. The students collected more than 2500 kg of waste paper for it.

Boardwalks Drawing Competition

September 21, we organized a festival dedicated to the International Day of Peace. There was a fair of souvenirs from other countries called "I Have Brought It From Far Away." For junior students, there was a contest of boardwalk drawings entitled "Multicoloured World of Peace and Happiness." Senior students demonstrated their talents, performing dances from different nations. The last part of the festival was called "Make the Earth Our Green Home," and chapter members, together with volunteers, planted seven fir-trees in front of the gymnasium.

September 24, our chapter had an important visitor, Lila Rolan Vasquez de Mulan, the Ambassador of Argentina. Chapter President Olga Kharkovska, Maryna Holovko, Maryna Titko, Alexander Levchenko and other chapter members welcomed her according to Ukrainian traditions and went on an excursion around the gymnasium.

We wish all PTPI members good luck, clear sky, smiles and fun.

Pavlo Svitlychnyy, Adult Advisor

Katowice, Poland (Silesia) Student Chapter

During September, we had a meeting to introduce our school chapter to potential new members. We spoke about our chapter aims and the general actions that we plan to undertake.

October 27, we started the modernization of our chapter web page. In early November, we had our kick-off for the 2011 European Conference. Together with Lars Poignant and Verena Denk of the PTPI European Office we prepared the conference program and visited hotels. Our organizing committee consists of four members, but the whole chapter and our school supports the conference preparations.

Daria Klima, President

Kharkiv, Ukraine Student Chapter

August 22, we held a festival of cultures called Global Village, which was an international festival where the representatives of numerous countries presented their cultures and traditions. The guest of honor at the event was Jan Garnet, general consul of Poland in Kharkiv. Garnet said, "I am very happy to attend such a bright and unusual event. The celebration of culture makes absolutely different countries closer and clearer with one another, and I hope that it will not just pass here in Kharkiv because this event is not only interesting, but also important for the residents."

Participants at the event

The event was held with the support of the Kharkiv city center of leisuretime activities at the Directorate of Family and Youth Affairs of Kharkiv city council, the youth movement Youth for Human Rights, as well as the national media project Diaspora and People to People International.

Folk dancers

Visitors could learn about each nationality by walking along the alley, where tables were arranged with information about different countries. The festival broke stereotypes about the severity of Islam, taught about ethnic Kurds, showed magnificent photographs of Greece, presented the statues and the national clothing of our country, shared the sounds of traditional musical instruments and provided a Jewish cultural center.

Visitors also were able to learn more about Austria and the Czech Republic represented by students on exchange, who came to the Ukraine to participate in social projects. Festival visitors also were able to hear and see incendiary songs in Polish, an enchanting oriental dancing girl with two large snakes, the playing of the traditional Australian Aboriginal instrument - the didgeridoo, Irish and Greek folk dances performed by talented bright bands, a song from the representative of Greece, as well as the Kharkiv young musical group Children of Captain Grant.

Khmelnitsky, Ukraine Student Chapter

August 29, we had a workshop for the teachers and students to cooperate better together. We created a webinar with Verena of the PTPI European Office. While speaking with Verena, we came up with a lot of questions related to organizing the work of our chapter for 2010–2011. September 11, our president held a chapter meeting to plan future chapter activities and analyze past activities. We also held elections and gave a presentation about recruiting new members.

Our school won a trip to Moldova, and a representative from our chapter will go there. Also, September 16-18, members of our organization took part in a celebration for the approximately 70 years of deportations from Poland, and a march of the Polish Subir.

September 15, our members participated in the concert "Creative portrait of the School Number 2." This year, our city celebrated its 579-year anniversary, and all of the schools in the city presented their creativity and talents for it. The members of our chapter organized the following activities: an exhibition of the famous Podillia painter Podiapolskogo, an exhibition of children's paintings, a concert of students playing instruments, dancing and singing songs, and sports competitions devoted to City Day.

September 19, our chapter and the authorities of our school organized a Ukrainian Party. We gathered the older students at our school and sang national Ukrainian songs. Members also danced while the Ukrainian songs were playing. Our chapter collected information about Ukrainian traditions and made a presentation about them. It was very interesting, and the students were very excited.

September 25-26, we participated in a meeting devoted to the celebration of the City Day. Members of the chapter took part in the celebration parade on the central street of the town.

In our city, we have an organization called Red Christ. Each holiday, we congratulate the elderly with best wishes. On "Teacher's Day," students of our school and our members went to the homes of the elderly and gave them presents. They were useful presents, such as oil, wheat, bread and cookies. The children were very happy to congratulate the veterans on their work, and the veterans were happy to receive presents and congratulations.

September 25-27, our members took part in the nationwide conference for Ukrainian students called "The Earth is our mutual home: on the way of preservation of the biodiversity and connection of the cultures. International practice and Ukrainian realities." At the conference, we presented our chapter and PTPI. September 25, approximately 200 students gathered to make the model of "UNESKO SCHOOLS" and to give a declaration of peace.

Katia Sidorenko, President

Kurchatov, Russia Student Chapter

During early October, our environmentally aware members participated in the municipal project "Let us make our town green" and planted 40 aspens and maple trees along one of the main streets of our town.

Our adult advisor, Elena Tarlovskaya, represented our chapter at the Leadership Seminar. She shared information about this memorable event through area media and had the article "Intercultural dialogue in Berlin" published in our local newspaper.

This year, our chapter members are collaborating with two schools in the United States: a cyber school from Pennsylvania and a school from New York. A package with project materials, small gifts and informational materials was sent to New York. Our partners are eager to learn more about Russia, and we will provide them with such an opportunity!

November 1, our chapter organized a membership drive using PTPI People magazines, flyers and the "Think Big" video. Five students joined our chapter!

Swedish cultural event

During October and November, our chapter members participated in the Children to Children 2010 Run in our region to support orphan asylums and neglected children's centers. Our chapter also collected clothing, toys and stationery for an asylum in the neighboring town of Lgov.

November 22, our chapter organized a cultural evening focused on Sweden. We chose Sweden because our adult advisor, Elena Tarlovskaya, is an alumna of Swedish Institute Program. Fifteen chapter members participated in this enriching event. Five students took the floor with a presentation on aspects of Swedish culture, and Elena shared her personal experience with us. The evening's program included a tea party with cake, listening and discussing Swedish contemporary music, and learning Swedish phrases among other things. It was great fun, and I would like to thank Vladislav, Karina, Boris, Eugenia and Tatiana for their great presentations and a special thanks to Elena for all her efforts to put everything together!

Natalya Durneva, President

Oroslavje, Croatia Student Chapter

October 6, we celebrated European Heritage Day. The program consisted of a quiz, during which we tested our teachers' and students' knowledge about Europe in each of the following categories: art, geography, history, architecture, literature, film and music. Other items on the program included singing songs in Italian and English, and selling traditional European cakes.

September 29, the president and vice president gave a presentation about the activities of our chapter to introduce new students to PTPI's activities and to invite them to join. The presentation was made in front of 30 students.

We plan to visit the rehabilitation center Pustodol sometime before Christmas to sing Christmas songs and do an English workshop. Also, we plan to collect paper to raise money for a center for young pregnant women. We will collect baby clothing, toys, etc., and purchase diapers for the newborns.

Iva Tuda, President

Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Smiles) Student Chapter

In September, five of our members attended training courses in Ankara, Turkey. The courses were about photography, youth entrepreneurship, women unemployment, active participation and project cycle management. Participants from our chapter actively participated by making presentations and talking about youth unemployment in Bulgaria and our country, and representing People to People International. Hristina Popova attended lectures on leadership skills and worked in teams at the Leadership Academy, where she also represented PTPI and our chapter.

During this school year, Hristina Popova will lead a group to teach students how to work in teams. September 27, Karina Dzhokova gave us a lecture on the issue of homeless dogs in Plovdiv.

Many of our members attended The Nights of Museums and Galleries, organized by the America for Bulgaria Foundation. All museums, galleries and clubs were open for free to visitors, who were then able to take a look and even receive special presents or discounts. It was very intriguing to see musicians and dancers giving their performances in the centre of Plovdiv. One member, Sevda Beleva, was a volunteer in one of the galleries, and another member, Karina Tatarova, took the place of a local journalist for several minutes and presented the news from the Nights of Museums and Galleries. Some members also attended a fair in Parvomay. Other members took part in the Milk Chocolate Fest in Plovdiv.

Karina Tatarova organized a collection of clothing and toys in her neighborhood and gave them to an orphanage and the poor. Our members also helped students living in dormitories, by collecting money to buy a new oven for them.

September 29, we began our campaign to recruit new students. As of now, we have seven new members who have paid their dues, and more than 20 members have signed as willing to become members. Our campaign has consisted of making presentations in front of 50 classes (approximately 1,200 students), and making posters and brochures.

Christina Lazarova developed our chapter website, and updated the information on it. Very soon, it will be possible to see the information in both Bulgarian and English.

Karina Tatarova, President

Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Student Chapter

September 24, we had a membership drive, at which we gave brief presentation on the purpose and activities of PTPI, and then had new members sign up.

August 9-15, we participated in the European Youth Forum in Berlin, Germany. Six participants were able to meet one another, learn more about one another's countries and cultures, and take part in various interactive workshops. Participants also created skits, which were then performed as unique street theater performances during the last three days of the program. At the forum's international Market of Possibilities, each group presented its country at a stand and through a performance.

September 9, we formed a membership and publicity committee that is responsible for attracting new members and sponsors. Radina Georgieva was chosen as head of the committee.

September 20-23, the membership and publicity committee made a short presentation about the history, activities and benefits of PTPI to the eighth grade classes at the First English Language School in Sofia. The Doves Chapter also now officially has a Facebook page!

Daniela Dimitrova, Secretary

Šternberk, Czech Republic

There are always some great events to talk about. However, there is a project coming, which will change our chapter and hopefully the whole community. From January to September, we will host two European Voluntary Service (EVS) volunteers in our chapter: Waleska Surga Gasca from Spain and Yury Kravchenko from Estonia. They will be a helping hand in our chapter and in other local NGOs. Thus, they will be in contact with more people than just our members. The whole experience will be exciting for the chapter and the small town where we live. Wish us good luck with our first EVS project!

September 18, we held our Bye-Bye Party. Our members are mostly students or food lovers (or both), so we decided to celebrate the end of summer and organize a feast. It is necessary to gain some body fat before the semester and winter starts. We began casually sunbathing and enjoying a short siesta. Then, we finally proceeded to debate about the current and future situation in our chapter. It wouldn't be a Saturday afternoon without fun, though, playing games and screening a comedy film was a perfect end to our meeting.

In December, we are planning a candle party, during which we will evaluate the whole year.

In January, we will hold a charity event with another local NGO and our third table tennis tournament.

Eliška Vránová, President

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

November 23, PTPI's Tashkent, Uzbekistan Chapter made its start. The chapter consists of young and enthusiastic people from different parts of the country, who share the same views and aims as our fellow chapters all over the world. For the first year of its existence, the chapter emphasized social activities and help, thus promoting Peace through Understanding.

The chapter's president is Tatyana Yun, age 18. She is a student of Academic Lyceum of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent. Since 2007, Tatyana has been a volunteer for Institute of Asian Culture and Development in Uzbekistan. This year, she has undertaken teaching English to children who are under the care of Missionaries of Charity. For Tatyana, being president of the new chapter is a chance to make a difference.

The chapter is located in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. It is an old city with a history of more than 2,200 years. Tashkent is a political, economical and cultural center of Uzbekistan. It is a testimony of how modern and historical architecture can coexist within a city. Annually, Tashkent welcomes thousands of visitors from all over the world. Our chapter members hope that our friends from overseas chapters will visit Tashkent in the near future.

PTPI's Tashkent, Uzbekistan Chapter is proud to become a part of the PTPI family!

Tatyana Yun, President

Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins) Student Chapter

July 2, Katarzyna sórawska and Karolina Romanowska came to Varna as volunteers of the Amicus Foundation. They taught English at the Saint Nadejda Orphanage, organized Polish lessons for The Dolphins and helped us greatly with projects. It was a great experience knowing these girls, exploring their culture and exchanging experiences about past projects. September 2, we threw a huge goodbye party for our Polish friends, and we hope to meet them again.

Bridge the Gap with Friendship and Rap Event

August 27-September 5, our former member Diana Kostelyanchik and current member of The Crew organized a youth in action project through the Balkan Kids Foundation called "Bridge the gap with friendship and rap." Both members of The Crew and The Dolphins took this journey through the marvelous world of hip hop. Our Romanian friends from Roman, young people from Germany and Portugal also took part in the project. We had a great time and finished the project with a hip hop show in the middle of the sea garden.

September 18, chapter members, together with volunteers from the Bulgarian mobile operator M-Tel, visited the children in Knyaginya Nadezhda Orphanage. The main aim of our visit was to redecorate the building and its yard to make them more comfortable for the children. M-Tel bought all the necessary materials we used to paint the walls of the orphanage and lacquer the benches in the yard. We also brought 30 folding chairs to replace old ones. We also played games with the children, and everyone had really a nice time. September 22, our chapter and school's Adventure Club joined forces to clean the beach in the small city of Kamchya after the tourist season. With the combined forces of more than 30 people, we collected more than 150 bags of litter, and now the beach is back to how it should be.

Redecoration of orphanage

September 25, our chapter organized a "Greek evening" so our new members could feel the intercultural atmosphere of PTPI. They also experienced the preparation of the event to understand one of the purposes of youth exchanges is to become part of a new culture. There was a presentation about Greece, typical Greek cuisine and traditional music and dances. As a result, our new friends relaxed, had fun and felt an important part of PTPI.

Also in September, we made a presentation of our chapter to 30 teenagers in Varna's youth center. The aim was to find new members. We talked about our previous projects, the main idea behind PTPI and our plans for the future. We were happy to see more than 10 new faces showed up later that day at our weekly meeting.

October 8, our chapter had an outdoor day. The local government of Varna sponsored the event, during which we developed our canoeing skills and learned how to pitch a tent. We spent time playing with the children from the Gavrosh Orphanage in Varna and enjoying nature. October 31, we held our third annual Dolphin's Halloween play for more than 100 children from the Nadejda Orphanage and the Vista Language School. We performed two small plays to involve more of our new members. One of the plays was a humorous take on popular vampire movies and the other a funny dark fairy tale, at the end of which all the candy was taken from the greedy characters and given to the children. All of the kids had a great time and the event was a huge success.

Vassilen Tonchev, President

Vaslui, Romania Student Chapter

Tai-Chi participants

Since October, 10 members of our chapter have met on a regular basis to practice tai chi taught by our member Ana Maria Besleaga.

November 19, Cristina Tofan, a member from the ninth grade, taught girls who are interested in making earrings and necklaces out of beads, metal, and gems. Madalina Vieru, our treasurer, will meet with members who want to learn other patterns of bracelets made of coloured threads. December 10, Oana Darie will teach those who are interested how to make decorations that hang on the wall made of packthread.

During December, the members will visit a center in Vaslui for disadvantaged kids to give presents.

Liliana Harhas, Adult Advisor

Yerevan, Armenia

November 14, our chapter organized a seminar "Principals of non-formal education" for members and nonmembers. As we organize and implement non-formal training, and work with children, teenagers and youth, we think it is very important to have skills based on the principles of non-formal education.

October 15 - November 16, Tatevik Avetisyan, a member of our chapter, organized a seminar on "Vocational orientation" for 60 school children between the ages of 14 and 16 to help them choose the right profession.

Ani Melkonyan, Member

Save the date: June 16-19 2011: European Conference in Katowice