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Newsletter 2011-2

 

PTPI Experiences | Calendar of Events | PTPI Updates | Chapter Reports | European Newsletter | www.ptpi.org | Download as PDF

Message from the Regional Chair

Dear Friends,

Valeria Magistrelli

Our chapter has had two really nice and successful events during the last two months. They both supported people and members in Kenya, and I am very happy about their outcome.

On April 6, we had a “Happy Hour,” which 70 people attended. The aim was to increase awareness about PTPI and to raise funds for PTPI’s Mombasa, Kenya Chapter. We managed to raise 1750 Euro. At the same time, we were lucky to host two guests from PTPI’s Varna, Bulgaria Chapter.

On May 18, we organized a football game together with an NGO called Amici della Guinea, which works with adoptions. The teams consisted of local VIPs and high school students. We were given the Aldini Bariviera football field for free by the Milan football club. The surplus of 2,730 Euro was split between the organization and PTPI World Headquarters to be delivered to the Mombasa Chapter, which will help young people go to school. The game? Well, it ended 4-3 for the VIP team. Everyone played very well and for a good cause. Approximately 400 people turned up.

I must say that whenever I read the mails from Mombasa Chapter president Frank Okello describing the happiness of these students, I have tears in my eyes!

I wish you all the best and hope to see as many of you as possible in Katowice during June and in Brussels during September.

Your friend, Valeria Magistrelli
Regional Chair for Europe

PTPI Experiences

What is a "melting pot"?

In April, a group of 20 members and friends of PTPI’s Berlin, Germany Chapter joined member Maria Chimirri to her home in Sicily. Hans-Dieter Robel and Arik Komets were among them and shared here their thoughts.

This idiom is used primarily with reference to New York City but also to Sicily. The first big surprise was that we saw Sicily in all tones of green and with thousands of flowers in all colors. Admiring these colors created a very positive attitude within the group. Our first stop was in Catania. From there, we were taken to the highest point on the Etna Volcano, which was accessible by road. The next day, Maria's friend Laura took us on a tour of Catania, which included special places such as the Catania opera house and a nearby cloister. Afterward, we were off to Siracusa, Maria's home town. When Maria led us through "her" city, we had the feeling that we were not just tourists, but there at home.

We then visited Noto with its baroque buildings, the Piazza Armerina with its Roman Villa de Casale, and Agrigento with its Greek temples known as the Valle del Templi. The tour guides frequently mentioned "1,000 years ago," "2,000 years ago," or even "3,000 years ago." We were informed that many cultures had flourished there. When the Greeks settled there almost 3,000 years ago, Sicily was already settled by people about which very little is known. Then the Romans came, followed by the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Normans, the Svabians, Albanian refugees (who were fleeing the Turks), British veterans from the Napoleonic wars and other minorities. In other words, Sicily is an even greater "melting pot" than New York ever was. One could almost say that the Sicilians were the first real Europeans.

In Segesta and in Agrigento, we saw temples akin to the Acropolis in Athens. In Palermo and Monreale, we saw churches of splendor unparalleled to any other parts of Europe. We also visited churches that were later transformed into mosques, and later back into churches. Other highlights were a stay in medieval Erice and Cefalu, located on the north coast.

We have to thank our member Maria Chimirri for organizing this tour. All in all, we had a wonderful visit, and we also learned a lot of history. The principles of PTPI friendships also applied here, and one member even established contact with people from China. Let's see what will develop.

Calendar of Events

Board of Trustees Meeting 2011

Registration is open for the Board of Trustees Meeting in Brussels. The conference is open to all members – whether a trustee or not.

Worldwide Conference 2012

The next Worldwide Conference will be held in Tallinn, Estonia. Exact dates have not been decided upon but the conference will most likely take place during August or September.

For other events, please visit our coming events section.

PTPI Updates

School and Classroom Program

During 2010-2011, 195 schools in Europe participated in PTPI’s School and Classroom Program. The program is most popular in:
Country/classrooms
Romania  50
France     32
Russia     31
High representation in France is very good news. Last year, there were only six classrooms in France.

Chapter updates

We warmly welcome the new PTPI University Chapter in Khmelnitsky, Ukraine. Lilya Korol will serve as chapter president.

Partner Chapter Program

PTPI is excited to offer a new and exciting program for Community Chapters called the Partner Chapter Program. By pairing together Community Chapters from different countries, the program offers members the opportunity to learn more about another culture through communication and joint projects. PTPI Partner Chapters are Peace through Understanding in action!

Chapter Reports

Berlin, Germany

On March 8, 21 chapter members came together for our annuaFrauenkirche Cathedral, Dresdenl meeting. This year, we had no elections, so I gave feedback about the past year and announced all activities for 2011.

Only one week later, 16 members and friends were invited to an intercultural evening about California at PTPI’s European Office. Elisabeth Pfeiffer, who was about to complete her internship in the office, prepared a slide show and traditional food for all participants.

On March 25, 11 members went by bus to Dresden, where the former mayor showed us his city. We had a very interesting discussion about the time after 1989, about the change of the former GDR and the reunification. We learned many new things about this wonderful city and had the chance to visit the beautiful Frauenkirche Cathedral.
On April 1-14, a group of 20 members and friends took a trip to Sicily. Chapter member Maria Chimirri, who was born in Sicily, organized this trip across the island, which is her homeland.

During my great trip to Las Vegas and New York City in April, I had the chance to meet Tünde Albanese from PTPI’s Las Vegas, Nevada Chapter. It’s great to have friends around the world.

On May 29, Dagmar Schönbeck organized a guided tour to the new Berlin Schönefeld Airport. It is still a great big building site, but in the future it will be our main airport.

Our next chapter meeting is planned for June 3 for the monthly “cracker-barrel.” We will meet again at Heidelbeere Restaurant.

We are all looking forward to meeting many members at the next European Conference in Katowice. I am sure we will all have a great time.

Hannelore Büchler, President

Bern, Switzerland

On March 21, 17 members attended the chapter's yearly meeting. Chapter president Ernst Honegger summarized key activities from the past year, including an excursion to Erlach and St. Peter’s Peninsula on Lake Biel, participation in the European Conference in Pécs, Hungary, as well as the All Swiss Meeting in Bernese Oberland and Ernst’s attendance at the 19th Worldwide Conference in Arizona USA. During the meeting, the chapter board also took the opportunity to honor Paul Stucki for his many years of service as the chapter’s financial auditor.

Last year, our chapter was kept busy with optimistic plans and ideas for the 2012 Worldwide Conference, which we had hoped would be held in Bern. The downward trend of the dollar, however, has put a damper on our hopes, and so our thoughts have turned to ideas for other chapter activities that might appeal to members and their families.

This summer, we are expecting three groups of Student Ambassadors for homestays during July. Our summer party will take place during August, and we are discussing plans for a daylong excursion. English conversation sessions will continue as always every second Wednesday of the month at 19:00 at Häberli’s Restaurant in Münchenbuchsee. Do join us for dinner, or just a dessert or coffee! We are not an exclusive group, and everyone is welcome! Contact me ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) for more information.

Linda Rickli, Board Member

Brussels, Belgium

Silk-screening workshopOn March 14, our chapter conducted a silk-screening workshop in Tournai. A guided tour of the Natural Science Museum with its unique collection of dinosaur skeletons was also arranged. The tour ended at Vatel on Place Jourdan in the European district for refreshments, ice cream and bathing in the first rays of the spring sun.


May 6-12, Myriam and Daniel Schaubacher visited the European Capital of Culture, Pécs, Hungary, which last year played host to a most successful PTPI European Conference. Myriam and Daniel met with friends from PTPI’s Pécs, Hungary Chapter and with them visited the Zsolnay Cultural Center and Museum of Ceramics, as well as the new university library. They also attended a concert by the Pannonia Philharmonic Orchestra in the newly inaugurated Kodaly Music Auditorium.

Daniel Schaubacher, President

Burgas, Bulgaria (The Vectors) Student Chapter

Did you know that February 23 is the Estonian Day of IndepeOpening of the new cultural centrendence? If you did – great!
There were a lot of people in our school who were not only unaware of this fact, but also had no idea what Estonia is like. That was what our chapter decided to change. On this day, we ran presentations about Estonia on a screen in our school's lobby during the whole school day. All the members of our chapter took part in the preparation process. We split into groups, four groups created the presentations and the others made interesting posters about the country. This activity, which was named “Happy Independence Day, Estonia,” was quite a success. Every student, teacher or member of the school staff spent a few minutes upon entering the building to look at our presentation and see what the fuss was all about. In the end, everyone knew a little bit more about the awesomeness of Estonia! After the project, Petya Petrova, our adult advisor, connected us with PTPI’s Tallinn, Estonia Chapter, and we sent them our work.

Our student chapter organized an action under the slogan “Help Japan,” which took place March 21-25. Members made origami paper art and our adult advisor prepared a presentation with photos of the disaster that was shown at two schools. Every student who gave a donation received a piece of origami that was handmade by chapter members. The project raised 334 Leva (175 Euro), which was sent to PTPI’s International Friendship Fund to assist Japan.


At the end of March, our chapter played an important role in the grand opening of the new cultural center in Burgas on March 26. The center was opened in a building that was once home to a casino, where people used to gather to socialize and dance. The municipality of Burgas renovated the building to create the cultural center. On the day of the grand opening, guests were taken back to the golden years of the casino in the early 20s. The event included historic cars, an orchestra, a carriage with horses and 10 volunteers from the chapter dressed in 20's attire. It was a great experience to participate in such an event. To view some impressions of this event, visit the video at

Denis Chingov, President and Victor Evtimov, Public Relations

Chisinau, Moldova

On April 16, six members of the chapter joiPTPI's Chisinau Chapter cleaning up their cityned a group of 6,000 to clean up 270 hectares of land in the city. The event was organized by Hai Moldova, an ecological non-governmental organization that promotes a cleaner environment and ecological living. During the day, more than 200 tons of waste and approximately 1,500 bags of plastic items were collected in Chisinau alone.

I’m happy that our chapter responded to the invitation and participated in the event. I would like to thank everyone for their involvement. Organizers promised that the event will continue, and we’re looking forward to participating next time, hopefully with a larger team.

Ludmila Stratan, Treasurer

Interlaken, Switzerland

The chapter provided a scholarship to Andrea Wyss, sponsoring her to attend a two-week language course at the Devon School of English in Paignton, England, April 3-16. The course was a preparation for a business English certificate exam that she will take this June. She lived with a host family while attending the course and enjoyed the opportunity to explore the surrounding area. Andrea received the scholarship as the recipient of the chapter's 2011 social project. Each year, the chapter supports a person or humanitarian cause with the project.

Ernest Wälti, PR Officer

Katowice, Poland Student Chapter

On January 9, our chapter members collected money for new medical equipment. On April 11, we bought a Polish flag and sent it to our sister chapter, so they could use it during their activities.
Currently, we are preparing for PTPI’s European Conference, which we will host in Katowice during June. We have already prepared the activities, and now we are finishing the details of the humanitarian program and the city walk. For the humanitarian program, we met with our partner organization on April 29 to discuss the type of activities that we could do.

Daria Klima, President

Khmelnitsky, Ukraine (Young Leaders) Student Chapter

On January 21, we went to a home for the elderly to celebrate the vertep. The vertep is a Christmas tradition in our country. They were very pleased to listen to the Ukrainian national koliadky and shedгivku.

The Khmelnitsky, Ukraine Student Chapter visiting a school in PolandOn February 17, we gave presentations about the Netherlands and Japan, sang songs and organized a traditional Japanese tea ceremony to celebrate International Day of Languages.
March 21-25, we traveled to the cities of Pгague, Krakow and Dresden to participate in the project "Find Out Something New about Europe." We learned a lot of new information about these countries.

April 12-13, we organized a Ukrainian conference entitled "Tolerance and the Development of Education." Ukrainian scientists and members of the European Commission attended the event. The conference was very good.

Finally, for Global Youth Service Day, we organized a project named "Sunrise in Your Disabled Heart." We collected toys, books and sweets at our school. Then we distributed the items as gifts to children at an orphanage. We also brought CDs with fairy tales and a DVD player to the orphanage. A special highlight of the project was the presentation of two fairy tales with our chapter members' puppet theater, which the children enjoyed very much. If each person helps orphan children a little bit, we will make our world better.

Katia Sydorenko, President


Kiev, Ukraine (Future-Makers) Student Chapter

On April 16, our chapter organized the action “Let’s Do it Ukraine” for Global Youth Service Day. We picked up litter throughout the parks in Kiev. Thanks to this action, our membership increased from 27 to 38. Also, on April 18, members Anna Chepur and Dasha Starova gave a presentation entitled "PTPI-Today and Tomorrow," which shared details about the chapter’s activities and future projects.

Anastasia Voloshuk, Chapter President and Anna Chepur, President of Kiev University Chapter

Kurchatov, Russia (Friends Meeting Friends) Student Chapter

Our chapter members visited labor veteran Galina Tikhonova to congratulate her on International Women’s Day, March 7, and to help her around the house.

A week later, our chapter held a secondhand books sale. With the proceeds, we purchased new books for the school library. On April 1, we organized a membership drive, which included showing the PTPI student video “Think Bigger” and distributing flyers, PTPI's “People” magazine and PTPI's “Our World” student newsletters in order to attract new members. Five new students joined our chapter.

On April 28, 15 chapter members cleaned the site of a war memorial.

In addition, our chapter adult advisor, Elena Tarlovskaya, recently received a grant from the American Councils for International Education to participate in the Russian Conference for American Programs Alumna. The event, which was held in Moscow, April 15-17, gathered 65 people from Russia and the United States. During the conference, Elena gave a presentation entitled "Service Learning and Global Youth Service Day Activities as Means of Civic Education." She promoted PTPI as a proud partner of Global Youth Service Day and shared her experiences with the chapter with the other participants.

Natalya Durneva, President

Oroslavje, Croatia Student ChapterMembers of Oroslavje Student Chapter selling daffodils for the local league against cancer

On March 11, we sold daffodils for the local league against cancer.
During April, our chapter sent a Croatian flag to the PTPI chapter in Norfolk, Virginia USA. The chapter displayed it in a "Parade of Nations" for an international festival to celebrate the NATO countries.

From February to April, we also organized an interclass competition to collect paper for recycling. More than 140 kilos of old paper were collected at our school. Containers also were placed in the school garden for two months and the collected paper then sold to a recycling organization. The money will be used to buy monthly bus passes for disadvantaged students of our school.
We also visited the U.S Embassy in Croatia on June 1 in order to gain better insight into American culture and the way the embassy functions in Croatia.

Iva Tuda, President

Plovdiv, Bulgaria (SMILES) Student Chapter


On October 28, we organized a Halloween Party to raise funds for Todor Kasabov, a friend of our members, who was suffering from two types of cancer and urgently needed an operation. We also prepared a charity concert for him with the title “Let’s Fight Cancer Together” on November 1. In total, we collected 1400 Leva (700 Euro), which we gave to assist with the operation. Despite our efforts and his will to live, Todor died on March 29.

Since November, our chapter has been working to establish a strong tie with a local orphanage.
On November 17, 10 members of our chapter's humanitarian committee participated in a training session and passed a test, certifying them as trained volunteers. The training was organized by Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Bulgaria. The session involved learning how to effectively communicate with children and how to build relationships with them. The training also included a planning session to develop activities.

Eager to put our new skills to use, December 10-11, the members visited the children of the Olga Skobeleevae Orphanage to create cards for the Christmas holiday. A week later, they and other volunteers and tutors working at the orphanage organized a Christmas party for the children.
Since that time, we have visited the orphanage twice per week to help the children with homework and to organize excursions for them. Fun activities have included a karaoke party, story time for young children, workshops teaching theater, photography and painting, playtime in the snow and various games.

St Valentine's cards saleMarin, one of the children at the orphanage, is ill and requires a special caretaker for the rest of his life. Upon learning this, we worked together to raise funds to support Marin's care. The chapter's community service committee created more than 750 Valentine’s cards, which we sold at a bazaar on the main street of Plovdiv. They created posters and wore T-shirts promoting the cause. Their efforts drew the attention of many in the bazaar, including the mayor. In total, we collected more than 600 Leva (300 Euro), enough to support Marin's care until the end of the year.

Since November 2010, our chapter has been part of a newly established voluntary committee, along with seven other organizations in Plovdiv. The voluntary committee was created by the local government to encourage civic participation of active volunteers. It is an amazing opportunity for our chapter and allows us to exchange on a monthly basis with representatives of other local NGOs, as well as the local authorities. During April, we invited the other organizations to take part in our projects supporting Global Youth Service Day.

In addition, the community services committee of our chapter has prepared a number of fun and creative activities during the past months. On December 11, our chapter celebrated its first birthday. The community services committee organized a dinner party for all of our members. We prepared balloons with lucky charms inside for everyone and ordered a big colorful cake with our logo. Three students from PTPI’s Varna, Bulgaria Student Chapter attended the party as special guests. It was a great party, the coolest birthday ever! Our guests from Varna were hosted by three of our members and stayed with us for the entire weekend.

The financial committee of our chapter organized three trainings in project management on November 5, 8 and 11. They also presented the goals, objectives and concepts of the Youth in Action Program on December 5.

Since January, the educational committee of our chapter has organized teambuilding activities and actions as proposed in the PTPI lesson plans on an almost weekly basis. Numerous interactive games and discussions have been conducted and a number of different topics, such as governmental systems, world religions, and international education, have been addressed. During February, chapter president, Karina Tatarova started an officers-in-training program to prepare the future officers for their duties. The new officers were elected on April 22.

In a special workshop, the community service committee of our chapter created Christmas lucky charms with the PTPI logo on December 16. Three of our members dressed as Santa Claus and two dwarfs, and distributed the lucky charms in our school on December 22. On February 13, we decorated the biggest central garden in Plovdiv with paper hearts for St Valentine’s Day. The citizens loved it and it was published in a local newspaper. On February 14, we handed out heart-shaped lucky charms with the PTPI logo and gave free hugs to our classmates. On February 24, our team created 2,000 martenici, which we distributed in our school on March 1. We also organized a special talent show in our school on March 25. Several team members performed in the show and the photography committee prepared a special exhibition with photos of our chapter’s activities.

For our PR efforts, we presented PTPI and our chapter at different schools in the region:  the English Language School of Plovdiv during November, the Math High School “Acad. Kiril Popov” during February, the English School “Ivan Vazov” during March, and the local school of Kavarna and the French School “Antoine de Saint-Exupery” during April.Body painting at the International

Then on April 4, we had a stand for the Biennale of Creativity at the International Fair of Plovdiv. The event was organized for the 10th anniversary of the European College in Plovdiv. We distributed various handmade cards and offered body painting. There was a whole queue waiting to be painted. At our stand, we also presented logic games, where people of various ages could test their problem solving skills. A local TV station, NBT, covered the fair.

Our chapter also has a very active sports committee, which organized a number of actions:

  • November 18: Football training for freshmen.
  • December 12: Football contest with the motto “Daddy and I – we play together”.
  • February 12: Football tournament for students in grades 9 and 10.
  • February 18: Volleyball contest for students in special physical education classes.
  • March 9: Debate about the health-related and team-building benefits of playing sports.
  • March 3 - April 20: Football tournament at the English Language School for students in grades 8-11 (in total approximately 50 football games); 250 students took part and more than 300 people watched the games.

The photography committee documented all our activities. The team members met regularly to present and evaluate the photos taken during the events. They also organized several trainings on various topics related to photography and took part in photo contests, including “I love my town” during November and “The Magic of the Winds” on April 12. On February 12, the committee organized a photo contest entitled “Playing with Light".

The ecological committee cleaned the Youth Hill in Plovdiv on December 9. The group gathered 30 bags of trash. On January 17, they organized an interactive presentation about significant environmental issues and the way we can deal with them for students in grades 3 and 4 in a local eco school. We also organized discussions about different topics related to environmental issues on January 24 and February 15. On March 22, we held a presentation called “Water – Source of Life” in the English Language School in Plovdiv. In total 213 students participated. On March 29, on the occasion of Eco Day in our school, we motivated all classes to unite and clean the vast school yard. We planted eight trees and some flowers. On April 3, we took part in the cleaning of the reserved areas near the Rowing Channel in Plovdiv, which was organized by the Plovdiv Municipality. On April 26, we organized a cleaning competition to collect trash around the dormitories. The fastest and the most efficient team won the challenge.

For Global Youth Service Day, our chapter undertook a series of projects starting on April 15 and ending on April 17. The first one concentrated on spending one day with young students in grades 2 to 4, teaching them and helping them to prepare for their final exams. Our second project was implemented especially for the students in Plovdiv. We challenged them to become involved with PTPI in a non-traditional way by developing a contest game. The aim of the third project was to involve the children with fewer opportunities and to let them know that someone cares about them. We took the children from the orphanage to a historical museum in Bratcigovo (a city near Plovdiv) and had a picnic together. For the fourth project, we helped clean the Youth Hill. For the fifth project, we organized a group discussion workshop aimed at promoting youth awareness about global problems. For the final project, we organized a parade that warned against the use of drugs. Chapter members painted other members and passers-by to show the difference between people who use drugs and those who do not. At the end of the parade, one of our members performed a fire show at the square.

Karina Tatarova, President

Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Student Chapter

February 28 - March 1, we held a small market that sold traditional Bulgarian martenici. More than 200 Leva (100 Euro) from the sale was given to an orphanage.

On March 9, we observed Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 68th anniversary of the 1943 rescue of Bulgarian Jews from Nazi death camps with a lecture given to all members.

We also tried to establish a sister chapter relationship between our chapter and a chapter from Brooklyn, New York USA. Unfortunately our attempts failed, but we established a connection with PTPI's Sacramento, California Student Chapter.

On March 12, our chapter president, Tomas Dimitrov, gave an interview for the student newspaper Zelen Domat. The interview was about the chapter’s activities and the spirit to create new projects.
On April 1, three of our members and our chapter's adult advisor, Fannie Krispin, visited the Nadejda home for children. After a discussion with the home's principal, they decided to start a long-term English teaching project with the children, who are ages 5-7.

Lastly, chapter members Vladimira Dermenjieva, Nikola Atanosov and Tomas Dimitrov translated the website of the organization For Our Children into English. You can view the site at www.detebg.org/en. This is a long-term commitment because all upcoming news will be translated as well.

Thomas Dimitrov, President

Šternberk, Czech Republic

To welcome spring this year, on March 18, we woke up at 4:00 am and hiked to a view point in Šternberk to say hello to the spring sun. Then we hiked to a nice meadow and spent the morning playing in the snow, as it almost always snows when we decide to welcome spring.

April 1-3, we organized a summer cinema event in spite of the absence of the summer with a Spanish movie “All About My Mother.” Thanks to our Spanish volunteer, Waleska, we had kalimotxo and tortillas to complete the Spanish atmosphere. PTPI members then got together in a cottage for a teambuilding weekend, which consisted of some work in the forest, but also lot of games and fun time.

Our two EVS volunteers organized a great event on April 24.  We camped in the town’s park and had people try slackline or take part in some of the other activities we had. The little ones played many games, but they liked the giant bubbles the most. It was fun, relaxing and also something we had never tried before. Hopefully it becomes a tradition too.

During the May 1 weekend, we enjoyed rafting on the Dyje River. The current was very calm; we all got tanned. The nicest surprise was the accommodations. We stayed in bungalows near a hotel on the bank of a big dam. Hotel breakfast was amazing. And on Sunday, we went sightseeing, walking or played squash.

Eliska Vranova, President

Tallinn, Estonia

Our chapter currently participates in two Youth in Action projects. Chapter members Nele Langebraun and Aleksei Smulski participated in a training program about media literacy. The program enables youth organizations to share best practices on subjects such as tolerance and sustainable development. They will pass skills learned during the training program onto 20 other trainers in Estonia.

Our chapter also participated in meetings of the Leonardo da Vinci Cultural Treasure Hunt project, which were held on Lesvos Island in Greece and and Vestman Island in Iceland. There, we gave presentations about unknown places in Tallinn and potential tourist destinations.

Our chapter and partners started the third annual EuropeAid project called "Enhancing Policy Coherence: Making Development Work Better." Awareness and advocacy campaigns will be organized during the tour “Voices from South” during November.

These projects, as well as other PTPI projects and activities, were presented in Tallinn in the main Vabaduse square during World Day on May 28. This event was organized by Arengukoostöö Ümarlaud (AKÜ)/Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation. Our chapter is an AKÜ member. During the event, our members and volunteers met with people, spoke with them and distributed materials about People to People International.

During the spring, we were happy to host Lars Poignant and Carles Miralles in Tallinn. We also look forward to meeting Karen Hoch from PTPI World Headquarters, and Annick and Pierre Debien from PTPI’s Angoulême, France Chapter. The chapter is invited to participate to their new exposition "Illuminated for Eternity, Japan 11th of March, Fukushima" in the annual art show "Man, Woman and Electricity." The vernisage and inauguration of this XVIII annual art show is scheduled for June 8 in the Pärnu Modern Art Museum. Therefore, all PTPI friends who will be in Estonia at this time are invited to participate in this event and to celebrate with Annick and Pierre.

Ruta Pels, President

Thessaloniki, Greece (Peace) Student Chapter

Our student chapter has accomplished its first action. Members and friends gathered used toys and school supplies, and donated them to The Immigrants’ Haunt, a place where immigrants’ children find care and shelter. Photos of the activity are available on Facebook in the PTPI student chapter group.

John Goulas, President and Aleka Mela, Advisor

Tirana, Albania Student Chapter

On April 28, our PTPI chapters in Tirana organized their second special dinner to welcome PTPI’s San Diego, California Chapter and a group from the University of San Diego. The dinner was held at Pergoal Restaurant at the Tirana International Hotel.

Bergi Xhango, President

Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins) Student Chapter

At the beginning of January, we learned that two clubs of the Bess Arabian Bulgarians in Moldova and one club in Odessa, Ukraine needed our help. These minority groups asked us for some children books translated into Bulgarian because they wanted their kids to be able to learn and practice their mother tongue while living abroad. Our chapter succeeded in gathering approximately 60 very interesting and famous children books such as “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Little Prince,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” We were pleased to contribute to their small Bulgarian library.

Six of our members took part in the eco-art event “Sound igloo” on January 21. Old CDs, DVDs and MP3 headphones were collected and used to create an urban statue.

On February 19, our chapter celebrated St. Valentine’s Day and the success of our Christmas fundraising campaign, which earned 4,300 Euro for the local hospital (view the January issue of the European Newsletter for more details). For the party, we rented a house a few kilometers from Varna, and bought food and drinks. We spent the night dancing, taking photos and playing different teambuilding games. We invited our chapter members and friends of PTPI’s Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Smiles) Student Chapter as special guests. Three of their members participated in the event, which helped to further strengthen the bond between our two chapters.

A play room, which had been refurbished at a local hospital with proceeds from the chapter's past Christmas fundraising campaign, opened with an official ceremony on February 28. The event was attended by children at the hospital, as well as doctors working there and journalists. Two of our members were interviewed about the campaign and the renovation of the room during a morning talk show hosted by the local television station Cherno More. They explained how we managed to raise so much money and what we spent it on. They also expressed gratitude to everyone who took part in the event. PTPI’s mission and activities were also discussed, challenging the audience to help others.

On March 1, we gave our friends martenici. We also took part in an activity with the non-government organizations IDEA and Red Cross. The activity aimed to promote the spirit of the holiday to the residents of Varna. Together, we made martenici, gave them to people in the center of Varna and wished them a happy holiday.

On March 19, we organized the team-building activity called“Marshmallow Challenge” for our chapter members (http://marshmallowchallenge.com). The challenge consisted in building the tallest freestanding structure with 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string and one marshmallow. The activity was a great success. All four teams managed to build a stable structure, and the tallest was 67 centimeters high. At the end, we showed a presentation about the lessons one can learn from this exercise.

Armed with plastic gloves and trash bags, several members spent March 26 cleaning Аsparuhovo Beach. The groups collected 60 bags of trash, which was sorted into four containers collected by a local recycling company. The project was featured in the local newspapers 24 Hours and Trud.Varna, Bulgaria Student Chapter members play with children for GYSD

For Global Youth Service Day, we gathered 40 children ages 7-13 from the Vista Language School and two orphanages for a day of games in a local park.

On April 23, we invited children from the Hope Orphanage to dye festive eggs with us for the Easter holiday. The children were very happy; some had never painted eggs for Easter. Then, on April 24, we visited the children of Gavrosh Orphanage to conduct a hunt of half the eggs painted the previous day.

After our weekly meeting on April 31, we organized a t-shirt making workshop. We decorated shirts illustrating our enthusiasm for PTPI and our chapter. The workshop was a great success, and we will be using the t-shirts for future events.

Vassilen Tonchev, President

Vaslui, Romania Student ChapterCharity concert for GYSD

For the visit of Verena Denk, PTPI director of European youth programs, on March 3, our members prepared a special artistic show with several singers and dancers. After the show, Verena held a workshop to further develop our leadership skills. Since then, we have eight new members. The local TV station was present for the event and published a report with images of our show and an interview with Verena.

We celebrated Global Youth Service Day by raising funds with a charity concert benefiting the children and families of a school in Vaslui. Proceeds from the concert's ticket sales were used to purchase clothing, food items and sweets, which were given to each family for Easter. To demonstrate the school's gratitude, the children prepared a small performance and Easter cards for us.
April 14-15, we presented our chapter and its activities at our annual school fair, where all high schools in Vaslui exhibit their educational opportunities for future students.

Diana Ailincai, President and Liliana Harhas, Advisor

Yerevan, Armenia

March 28 - April 10, PTPI’s Yerevan, Armenia Chapter held the seminar “Expressive Therapy as a Tool of Occupation” in cooperation with students from Armenian State Pedagogical University. Ten 13-15 years old children participated. The aim of the seminar was to help participants learn how to interact and communicate by means of expressive therapy.Yerevan Chapter members taking pat in the seminar

April 22-23, the chapter organized a seminar named “Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation” together with the organization Zartonk-89. Twenty participants from the chapter and other NGOs wrote project proposals and submitted them to donor organizations at the end of the seminar.

April 19-26, chapter member Ani Melkonyan participated in a youth exchange project in Turkey. The aim of the project was intercultural constructive dialogue. Participants were from Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Republic of Macedonia and Armenia. Ani has shared her experience with the members of the chapter and plans to organize a similar event in Yerevan.

Susanna Grigoryan, Vice President

PTPI European Newsletter

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