Here we are again and another year has flown away! Holidays are at the door and all of us are getting ready for this very special time of the year! This celebratory season is also a time of reflection as we look back at the past year.
For PTPI Europe, it has certainly been a very busy year with a lot of events and I must say I am happy and satisfied with what we have been able to achieve.
Let’s start with chapters. It is true you have read that we had to close some because of lack of activity but we also have opened three new chapters: Vladivostok (Russia), Klina (Kosovo), and Tudela (Spain). Let me say it is a real pleasure to have these new chapters. The chapters in Kosovo and Spain are the first in their countries. Some of you met with Waleska Surgová, the president in Tudela, at the European Conference in Katowice.
We are very pleased with the programs and enthusiasm of European Student Chapters. Six out of the ten chapters worldwide receiving gold in the Team Peace Challenge were from Europe and Bulgaria in particular was very well represented!
The Board of Trustees meeting held in Brussels September 6-11 was very successful! Our thanks go to the organizers, Karen Hoch from PTPI World Headquarters, to Daniel Schaubacher, president of PTPI’s Brussels, Belgium Chapter, who is always so active and to Blanche Decoster-Peycker, chap-ter vice president and PTPI Trustee and of course all of the Organizing Committee. Highlights were our visit to the European Parliament, the meeting for the directors with the American Ambassador who was so gracious to give us a private tour of his residence, and the final dance and dinner on the 16th floor of the Hilton Hotel, from where we could have a breathtaking view of Brussels at night!
The European Program Fund (EPF) made it possible for seven participants to take part in the meeting. For me it was particularly moving also to see these young people at the meeting in their elegant outfits and dance enjoying the atmosphere of feast and friendship! For some of them it was their first experience at an international meeting and I am sure they will do their best to take part in the Worldwide Conference in Tallinn!
Speaking about Tallinn, organization has already started on all fronts and we really want to be able to make it a special event but also at a low cost so that as many of our young members can take part in it! Save the dates (August 29 – September 2) and start planning fundraising for that. On our side we will try to help as much as we can!
In the end of November I attended the All Ukrainian Meeting in Kiev. It was the first time for them.
PTPI’s Kharkiv, Ukraine Student Chapter has received support from the EPF for their project “We are the same.” The European Executive Committee thinks it was a very important and worthwhile program for a low amount requested.
I think it is all for the moment! Before closing I want to wish a prompt and full recovery to our friend Lars who has gone through a number of operations lately and, in spite of his cast, has always tried to be available and follow everything in the office! Thank you Lars from all of us and best wishes! Wishing you all Happy Holidays
Your friend, Valeria Magistrelli
Regional Chair for Europe
In November, PTPI’s Global Youth Forum was held in Kansas City. Among the delegates was Arbi Mucaj of PTPI in Albania.
After having accommodated to my room I went to the hotel lobby to meet some of the delegates, who were very sociable and I felt very comfortable. The Global Youth Forum was attended by 140 delegates, 14 of them were international. Some of the participating countries were Albania, India, Lithuania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Greece, Egypt, Serbia, Malaysia, etc. The theme of 2011 GYF was “Cultural Diversity."
On the first night, we had a welcome dinner. On the second day, we saw a video clip in which we were supposed to recognize the differences between two cultures. My group was composed of 12 delegates. Also leaders learned with us something about culture, values and beliefs and all the delegates expressed their opinions and thoughts about these topics. The third day, we went to the “Operation International Children” association to help volunteers with the packing of school equipment for children in need. It was an amazing experience to be helpful for poor people. We also did a Kansas City tour and visited People to People International World Headquarters. On Saturday, it was our last day so we had to enjoy it as much as we could. During the Global Youth Forum we had lectures from three PTPI members who had a lot of experience. The last day we had an “Open Microphone” and could express our impressions about the Global Youth Forum. After this we had an unforgettable party, where everyone was looking great and happy and everyone was dancing and having fun. We had a DJ performing for us. Next day all delegates got ready to go home. It was a very sad moment and it was surprising how quickly those four days went. The Global Youth Forum was a brilliant experience and now I really feel more open-minded, tolerant and above all a leader in my own community and society. I am very grateful to PTPI that gave me the opportunity to be part of the Global Youth Forum! I adore PTPI.
Excursion to Africa
Michael Schlatter is Treasurer of PTPI’s Bern, Switzerland Chapter. During 2011 he visited East Africa and had experiences most of us usually don’t have.
On my vacation this year I visited two countries which are virtually unknown to most people. Many people looked at me askance when I told them my travel plans, especially since the names Uganda and Rwanda call to mind not only mountain goril-las but also the very dark times under Idi Amin, and the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
Those days are now past, both countries have developed since then, and I am very glad to have been able to visit two countries which were also very foreign to me. I began my trip in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. It takes a while to adapt to the noise and chaos of this city, so I began my journey by visiting the unbelievably beautiful national parks and some smaller towns, some of which are completely without electricity. Here I learned what real darkness in a city can mean. I was astounded how friendly and helpful the people of Uganda are. In spite of enormous poverty, the Ugandans show great respect for foreigners. Particularly children are fascinated with white people, since most of them have never seen a white person before.
Rwanda is a little more than half the size of Switzerland, but with a population of eleven million. What these people experienced 17 years ago is beyond description. Within three months almost one million people or 75% of the Tutsi minority were brutally murdered. Almost all Rwandans lost friends and family, or were themselves personally threatened, so that today most people do not want to speak to tourists about those times, especially since many countries of the international community were also politically involved in the massacres. The few people who spoke to me about their experiences were either orphaned in 1994 or forcibly recruited as child soldiers in the Hutu mili-tary. As a result, Rwandans, in contrast to Ugandans, are rather skeptical toward foreigners. An evening spent together over a beer helped to dispel some of the skepticism.
The landscape of Rwanda is absolutely beautiful and varied. One finds untouched forests, steppes, and agriculture. From a tour through the virgin forests I had the impression that the Rwandans take nature conservancy very seriously. Even the capital city, Kigali, is astounding. New and very good streets connect the city’s center with modern shopping malls and good restaurants.
It is relatively uncomplicated to travel in both countries. One only needs to plan enough time for each excursion. A bus which should leave at eight might arrive two hours later, and the trip usually takes longer than the schedule indicates. It can also take up to a few hours to obtain a permit to visit one of the national parks or nature preserves.
Of course, it is not possible to know such foreign countries and cultures in just a few weeks, but I learned and saw things which I will not forget easily, and which woke in me a deeper desire to see more unknown lands of the world.
- Monthly, first Friday, Berlin, Germany: Monthly roundtable, Heidelbeere Restaurant www.ptpberlin.de
- Monthly, second Wednesday Bern, Switzerland: English conversation, Häberli’s Restaurant, contact: Linda Rickli
- December 21 Brussels, Belgium: visit the exhibition" Brussels à l'aquarelle" www.peopletopeople.be
- January 1 Brussels, Belgium: Exposition “Simeon” in the museum of letters and manuscripts Galerie du Roi plus snack at the Mokafé www.peopletopeople.be
- February 3 -21 PTPI Denmark travels to India, contact: Thea Lauridsen
- March 1 Brussels, Belgium: Exploration du Monde-“Mon Québec”, Cultural center Woluwe St Pierre-Av Ch. Thielemans 93 www.peopletopeople.be
- April 20-22 Global Youth Service Day www.ptpi.org
- April 21 Brussels, Belgium: Egyptology-“Marriage, divorce and adultery in ancient Egypt”, Cultural center Woluwe St Pierre-Av Ch. Thielemans 93 www.peopletopeople.be
- April 24 Brussels, Belgium: Cinema “Black Swan”, thriller 2010, Cultural center Woluwe St Pierre-Av Ch. Thielemans 93 www.peopletopeople.be
- April 29 Brussels, Belgium: Exploration du Monde-“Mongolia, the last nomads”, Cultural center Woluwe St Pierre-Av Ch. Thielemans 93 www.peopletopeople.be
- May 25 – June 1 PTPI Denmark travels to Brussels, contact: Gunild Bogdahn
- August 29 – September 2 Worldwide Conference in Tallinn, Estonia www.ptpi.org
Team peace Challenge
Congratulations go to PTPI's Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Smile)StudentChapter, which received the highest score in the Team Peace Challenge. With 175 members it is one of the largest chapters in Europe, but it is also one of the most active chapters. Members are engaged in the social, humanitarian and ecological field, organizing different activities to promote PTPI'smission.
Among the ten chapters worldwide receiving the Gold Award, six were from Europe:
Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Smiles)
Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins)
Khmelnitsky, Ukraine (Young Leaders)
Kurchatov, Russia (Friends Meeting Friends)
Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves)
Membership fees 2012
People to People International (PTPI) has for the last two years received less funding for the organization, including programming and chapter support. The reason is the stagnation in the world economy, which affects all parts of society. For this reason, PTPI has reviewed its cost structure and taken significant steps to reduce expenses. In addition, beginning in 2012 there are new membership fees: $5 USD/member. This is still a very modest membership fee considering the benefits PTPI offers. For 2012 there will be no Matching Grants. Also the European Youth Forum and Leadership Seminar have been put on hold. Once the finances allow the programs will be restarted.
~ PTPI Membership Benefits~
Carry on founder Dwight D. Eisenhower’s mission of Peace through Understanding.
Join or establish a local community chapter in PTPI’s International Chapter Network and participate in local events. There are hundreds of chapters worldwide, in the categories of: Community, University and Student Chapters. Open your local community to the world and network with our global membership. Discover other cultures in your community and learn about various other nations and world affairs.
Participate in special chapter projects that include chapter homestay trips, international dinners, intercultural parties, fundraising events and humanitarian initiatives for the community and chapters abroad, medical aid/relief, supporting Student Ambassadors, sponsoring university students, cultural events and exhibitions and much more depending on members’ interests!
Take on leadership positions in a worldwide organization and make a difference.
Travel or host a foreign visitor with the International Visitors Program.
Nominate and receive Recognition Awards for outstanding member accomplishments and contributions toward achieving Peace through Understanding.
Enjoy special member rates for upcoming Regional Conferences &Worldwide Conferences.
Receive Chapter Programing support
- Application for funding
- Partner support (within PTPI or externally)
- Public Relation efforts
- Leadership support
- Acquire leadership skills and exchange with other chapter leaders at the regional PTPI Leadership Seminars.
- Host foreign diplomats through the Meet the Diplomats Program.
- Apply for support for chapter programming.
- Travel with PTPI-sponsored Educational and Humanitarian Initiatives.
- Receive subscriptions to our various publications:
- Our World Student News
- On Track
- European Newsletter
Board of Trustees Meeting
At the Board of Trustees meeting in Brussels, Belgium two new Europeans were elected: Lusine Manasyan (Yerevan, Armenia; picture right) and Aleksandra Kubica (Gliwice, Poland; picture left). Of the 167 trustees, 37 are from Europe.
During the awards dinner, the following Europeans were acknowledged.
- Rolf Dahlberg: Outstanding Leadership Award
- Hannelore Büchler (Berlin, Germany; below right between Daniel and Myriam Schaubacher): Chapter Leadership Award
- Sternberk, Czech Republic: Best Chapter Website Award (www.ptpisternberk.org)
- Roman, Romania: Chapter Membership Award (below left; Cezara Suman and Andrei Corduneanu)
- Antoaneta Pophlebarova (Varna, Bulgaria (Dolphins) Student Chapter): Outstanding Adult Advisor
- Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Student Chapter: Best Student Chapter Website Award http://sites.google.com/site/ptpidoves/
- Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Smiles) Student Chapter: Student Chapter Membership Award
Since October, PTPI has a new chapter in Tudela. It is the first chapter we have in Spain and the chapter president is Waleska Surgová (below left together with Arbi Mucaj), who originally comes from Venezuela. She was a volunteer earlier this year with PTPI's Sternberk, Czech Republic Chapter and participated in the PTPI European Conference in Katowice.
Tudela (Basque: Tutera) is a municipality in northern Spain. It has around 35,000 inhabitants and is situated
in the Ebro valley. Tudela is the capital of the "Ribera Navarra," the agricultural region of lower Navarre.
Our chapter, besides PTPI's values, wanted to have nature as one of the main objectives for our activities. All what we are going to organize will be done with our three main values: nature, social awareness and international relationship.
We decided to create this chapter because we realized that Tudela was missing more activities for young people and more choices for their free time. We would like to carry out activities such as extreme sports, cultural activities, taking part in our city council for youngsters (so we can be sure that they will do everything politicians promised), international exchanges, participate in PTPI's meetings and everything our members would like to do, if it's within ours values and possibilities, of course.
We are happy to take part in the PTPI family!! Thank you for the very warm welcome.
PTPI’s Kiev Student, University and Community Chapters hosted the first All Ukrainian Meeting from November 25 to27. All ten chapters in Ukraine were represented: the student chapters in Cherkasy, Kharkiv, Khmelnitsky, Kiev, Konotop, and Zalishchyky, the university chapters in Khmelnitsky and Kiev as well as the community chapters in Kharkiv and Kiev. In addition, PTPI’s Vaslui, Romania Student Chapter sent a strong delegation of 14 members. Special international guests were Regional Chair Valeria Magistrelli (in the picture below with other participants of the All-Ukrianian Meeting) and Pierluisa Ranchi from Milano, Italy, Verena Denk from Berlin, Germany and Sunday Odessa from the U.S. Virgin Islands. In total, 42 members and PTPI leaders took part in the event.
On Friday, the participants attended the festival “Dialogue of Cultures” with a focus on Latin America, which was organized by KROK University in cooperation with a variety of partners, such as the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sport, the UNESCO Associated Schools Program Network in Kiev, and PTPI. The consul of Bolivia and the Counselor of the Ambassador of Cuba were honored guests during the opening ceremony. Students from high schools all over Ukraine presented the cultural heritage sites of the different Latin American countries. Special program highlights included a workshop about how to play national musical instruments from Latin America, Salsa Dance lessons and a workshop about Argentinean national cuisine. The day was rounded off by a Ukrainian folk party for the national and international PTPI guests, which included a short play, the tasting of delicious Wareniki (a special Ukrainian pasta dish), and a fun fortune telling game.
On Saturday, each PTPI chapter presented its activities. Verena Denk gave updates from PTPI’s European Office and shared ideas and examples of good practice for chapter leadership. Valeria Magistrelli presented four student chapters with their well-deserved Team Peace Challenge awards for outstanding chapter activities in the school year 2010-2011. PTPI’s Khmelnitsky Student Chapter received the Gold Award and $200 USD, PTPI’s Kharkiv Student Chapter won the Silver Award and $100 USD, and PTPI’s Cherkasy and Vaslui Student Chapters each got the Bronze Award along with $50 USD. In the afternoon, the participants visited the International Festival of Artistic Gifts and the most beautiful sites of historic Kiev.
We want to congratulate the generous hosts and organizers for a great event: Anna Chuiko, advisor of PTPI’s Kiev Student and University Chapter, Volodymyr Yastrebchak, president of PTPI’s Kiev Chapter, Viktoriia Marynovych, all PTPI members in Kiev and the staff of KROK University.
For the Board of Trustees meeting five members participated from Berlin: Dagmar Schönbeck, Brigitte Kasigkeit, Gerd Kasigkeit, Hans-Dieter Robel and I. For the awards dinner more than twelve PTPI members and chapters received different kinds of honors. I was really proud getting PTPI’s Chapter Leadership Award. Without all my busy helpers in our chapter I would not be able doing all the work like organizing meetings, trips and homestays. A big “THANK YOU” goes to all of them.
Many thanks go also to Daniel Schaubacher and PTPI’s Brussels Chapter, who organized a visit to the European Parliament and a sightseeing tour. Dagmar and I were happy being together with most of the participants also in Antwerp and Bruges, where we learned a lot about the history of these cities, had good local guides, good food and many good local beer tastings!
During our stay in Brussels, two ladies from Pécs, Anikó Bedekovits-Garami and Eva Orosz, were in Berlin. Karin and Christian Lehmann were their hosts. They went to most of the important places in Berlin on their own, but they had a trip to Potsdam guided by Karin and a visit to the unique region “Spreewald” with Ilona Schmidt. September 9, they had lunch together with seven members of our chapter in the restaurant “Spreeblick” in Nikolai-Quarter.
Only two weeks later, October 24, four members visited London, Chester and Liverpool (first and second picture above). We all were very impressed with London and enjoyed many activities like tourists do! In Chester, Leila Martin and Heather Exell gave us a very warm welcome at the station. Heather, Leila and Leila’s husband, Andrew, were also our hosts. On Thursday, we went on a sightseeing tour to some places in Wales and on Friday the whole group visited “Speke Hall,” Liverpool’s finest Tudor Manor House surrounded by a beautiful garden. In the evening we had a big meeting in a wonderful Italian restaurant. Many members from PTPI’s Chester Chapter celebrated with us. Another highlight of this day was a short visit to a typical English pub after the meal. We had a trip to Liverpool. Leila was born in Liverpool and she had fun showing us her hometown. Sunday and Monday we spent two days on our own in Liverpool where we followed the tracks of the famous music group The Beatles. We “old” women were feeling like “young” girls because we felt the spirit of the Beatles.
At the last weekend in October, nine members visited Bautzen (third picture above) in the region of Upper Lusatia in the south-east of Germany. The first point in our program was a guided tour through the building of the former “Stasi prison” (the Stasi was the Ministry for state security in East Germany) Bautzen II, which is now the site of the Bautzen Memorial. On Sunday morning Dagmar Schönbeck, the event organizer, had booked a city walk for the group through the old part of the more than 1000 year old town. We learned much about Bautzen’s history, culture, and the present situation.
In early December, 28 members attended our annual Christmas dinner together with PTPI staff Verena and Lars.
Take care and a happy new year to all of you!
Hannelore Büchler, President
Once again this year, as every year, Student Ambassadors from the United States toured Europe in June and July, and were able to stop off in Bern for a homestay in host families. Although only one group arrived last year because of the difficult economic situation in the United States, this year a total of 140 students visited the PTPI’s Bern Chapter. They arrived in three groups. To thank all the host families for their hospitality, our chapter invited all of them to our traditional Summer Party in Hinterkappelen, in August. A total of 80 persons accepted our invitation, and so the large hall was filled to capacity. During the cocktail hour and grill party there was lots of opportunity to talk to the guest families, and most of them spoke very positively about their experiences with the young American students. Also numerous other members were there, including the special international guest Oana Spatarescu from Romania.
We’re looking forward to hosting more Student Ambassadors next summer. In addition to our traditional Summer Party in 2012, PTPI’s Bern Chapter will host PTPI’s Switzerland meeting, and so we will greet numerous guests from abroad.
Michael Schlatter, Treasurer, Translation Linda Rickli
Our chapter dedicates its programs to develop citizenships initiatives, leadership skills of its members and the members of PTPI's Pravets, Bulgaria Student Chapter, as well as to the dissemination of the ideas of PTPI in Bulgaria and abroad.
November 4, we provided five sycamore and five oak trees for the students' Global Youth Day in April 2012, when the trees will be planted in the yards of the houses for disadvantaged people, for children with special needs and for homeless children (picture below). The event took place in the school yard where the representatives from the town council and the teachers encouraged the students to spread the information about their chapters through an electronic newsletter.
November 11, our members organized a dinner party for 20 members in a Bulgarian restaurant to celebrate the Team Peace Challenge gold award won by the PTPI’s Pravets, Bulgaria Student Chapter. During the event students were taught to cook typical Bulgarian dishes, sing songs, and dance national dances. We also watched the video performance from the European Youth Forum in Berlin and discussed the schedule for activities until the end of 2011.
November 12, our chapter played a major role in the one-day meeting with a delegation from Italy, organized by the PR officer: Meglena Petrova. The Italian delegation consisted of ten representatives from schools and town councils in Southern Italy, as well as 15 students. Thirty people, teachers, journalists and youth from Botevgrad and Pravets accompanied the guests on their tour around Pravets, visiting the schools, the monastery, the museum, and a Bulgarian restaurant where the visitors tasted delicious local dishes. We made a presentation about PTPI at the University hall. We gave PTPI brochures to our Italian friends and they expressed their great desire to become part of the PTPI. The event was videotaped and will be disseminated as soon as it is ready.
In November, we sent invitations to all Bulgarian chapters for participation in the National Debate Competition. November 19, we organized the first All Bulgarian Chapters joint presentation in the Technical University in Sofia. There we planned the future joint activities to promote PTPI and disseminate information throughout Bulgaria and the world.
Maya Arnaudova, President
PTPI’s Brussels Chapter hosted PTPI Board of Trustees and Board of Directors Meetings September 7-11; 108 guests participated in the gala award dinner dance, presided by Mary J. Eisenhower, President and CEO. Other highlights of this memorable gathering were a special visit and briefing on the EU for 71 members at the European Parliament, organized by the Ecolo Party Vice President Isabelle Durant. In addition, a VIP reception for PTPI board members and their spouses took place at the Residence of American Ambassador Howard Gutman, city excursions in Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp, and the Interfaith Service at the Brussels Cathedral in memory of 9/11 victims.
September 16, we participated with a table-top display in the American community information fair. It was a good opportunity to reach out to many expatriates living in and around the European capital. September 20, 22 of our members and some friends visited the Delvaux world famous luggage and bag factory, whereas two days later a guided tour of bucolic Hageland provided an opportunity for 12 members and friends to visit this lovely historic region north-west of Brussels and its castles. Other outings included the Tutankhamen exhibition on October 5; the museum of the Belgian National Bank displaying unique numismatic artifacts on October 12; the “Indios no Brasil” anthropological and geographical exhibits at the Cinquantenaire museum on October 18; and the Paul Vankueken artistic exhibition at the Belgian Museum of Folklore on October 27.
Our chapter is pleased to announce a new partnership with a children’s charity “ECOC” - “European Children Our Concern.” November 19, our chapter organized together with “Europe’s Children our Concern” and “Serve The City,” the “Children In Need” event. This annual event raises much needed funds for great organizations supporting kids in Belgium. In the run up to the event our community was encouraged to run fund-raising events and we published their efforts on that night. The funds raised will stay in Belgium and be used to fund Belgian-based projects.
December 7, we held our annual meeting. Chalks Coriette was elected as new president.
Daniel Schaubacher, President
Cherkasy, Ukraine (Light The Way) Student Chapter
September 19, we had the PTPI Day. We made a presentation about the chapter and spread information about the activities of PTPI. Our aim was to convince students to become part of our student chapter. We had 100 listeners.
In September we involved students to collect waste paper and plastic bottles and to take part in the festival “Save the forests clean for the future generations” in order to clean the school campus. We also held a cookie sale. Part of the money collected was donated to a nursery and the other part was used to buy presents for these children (sweets, toys, DVD and cosmetics). We also visited kids from the specialized kindergarten for mentally and physically challenged children and organized concerts and different kinds of activities for them.
In October, we welcomed a famous Danish composer and visited his concert of classical music. Together with the Peace Corps volunteer Sean Boshard we organized a workshop for senior students themed “Together against war and racism.”
Veronika Melikova, President
Our chapter has been a bit more active this autumn. In September, four members attended the Board of Trustees meeting in Brussels. Betty and Len Holland had not been able to travel for a while, so it was a great pleasure to have them with us in Brussels.
During the end of September, we welcomed our old and some new friends from the PTPI’s Berlin Chapter and we enjoyed a lovely few days together. Never before have we had temperatures of nearly 30 degrees at the end of September and continuing into October. The Irish Sea at Llandudno has never sparkled so much, as did the River Dee at Llangollen and the River Mersey at Liverpool!
Hannelore Büchler, Rita Nagel, Jutta Strache and Ingo Jaenicke were joined by other members of the PTPI’s Chester Chapter to a meal in an Italian Restaurant.
During the end of October, we welcomed our first student visit. Five students (picture right) with their teacher arrived from Estonia. We visited the slate museum and Caernafon Castle in North Wales. The weather was kind enough to enjoy a picnic lunch. We met Eleanor Johnson, the Lord Mayor of Chester in her chambers in the Town Hall and also visited the Cathedral and had a look to the shops! Then we visited Liverpool. We organized a Halloween party and a visit to Beeston Castle. On our last day one school reopened after the half-term holiday and we were given a guided tour of this high school. Our thanks go to our new friend Birgit for organizing this. The only mishap of the visit was missing the flight home! It meant a long journey for our visitors through London, but they made it home the next day. I had hoped this visit would have brought in new younger members, but we only succeeded in attracting Birgit (originally from Germany) with her family kindly hosting one student. The others were hosted by the “oldies” but they all seemed to enjoy themselves anyway.
PTPI’s Chester Chapter wishes all our friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2012.
Heather Exell, President
Kharkiv, Ukraine (Children to Children) Student Chapter
In September and October, our chapter organized several meetings and public conferences in collaboration with the students of the school Nr.116. In particular, September 23 they held the meeting “Innovations in Democracy” together with the armed authority of legislature (an open meeting with representatives of the police). It was very interesting not only for all our chapter members, but also for more than 140 pupils of our school. With the help of teachers, our chapter took part in the organization of the event. We had an activity plan, so everyone had his own duty.
Nina Abramovich, President
Khmelnitsky, Ukraine (Young Leader) Student Chapter
October 31, we took part in the “Global Youth Murals” project. We created our mural through which we want to promote a peacemaking spirit, and the variety of cultures and traditions of the world.
October 7, our chapter, in collaboration with the teachers, organized the Charity Autumn Fair. At the fair, nuts, apples, pears and products made by natural materials were sold to the pupils of our gymnasium. We will use the funds to give lunches to poor students of our school for two months.
October 15, the regional volunteering project “Volunteer work about the spirit values of Khmelnitsky” ended after about five months. Our chapter worked together with the PTPI’s Khmelnitsky University Chapter and painted the sculptures of the famous painter Mukola Mazur, which are situated on the playgrounds of the town. Together with the teachers and the pupils of the gymnasium, we transmitted to other schools in the town the idea to clean historical places and monuments. As a result of the project we created a Ukrainian website.
Svitlana Shengilevych, Adult Advisor, Tania Shymchyshena, Adult Advisor (translation in English) Ulia Ershova, President (assistant)
Kurchatov, Russia (Friends Meet-ing Friends) Student Chapter
September 26, our chapter held a membership drive “Open your heart to peace.” Prospective members were told with PTPI and its history. Students watched PTPI’s Video “Think Bigger.” Then students studied PTPI information leaflets. It was followed by a discussion about how to start building the road to peace within you. Six new members joined our chapter.
September 29, Intercultural Dialogue Day was held in our Gymnasium. High school students prepared a very interesting program for the whole school community. Eighteen members of the school “Peacekeepers’ club” and our chapter made a powerful presentation “Russia - Italy: the dialogue of two cultures.” The students spoke not only about Italy and its culture but also the concept of culture itself with the highlight on the “Iceberg Concept of Culture.” The audience actively participated in the talk about principles of intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and similarities that we find at first sight might turn out to be based on completely different assumptions about reality. At the end of the meeting the students were offered two videos (Azulejos and Box of chocolate) for watching and further discus-sion.
October 15, our chapter organized a trip to Kursk Confectionary Plant. The aim of this trip was to help students learn more about different professions, special requirements this or that profession has, and to develop students’ practical skills of professional orientation.
October 15-25, seven chapter members participated in the school initiative “We are for a healthy way of living.” This educational campaign was organized in our gymnasium to raise students’ awareness in the field of healthy way of life, healthy habits, as well as regular exercise. Chapter members drew colorful posters calling their peers to give up harmful habits such as smoking and drug addiction. Their creativity had no limits!
Natalya Durneva, President
Our chapter continues to support the project “Let’s Fight Ignorance” of our friend Franklin Okoth from Mombasa in Kenya. He is trying to support and pay school for 23 girls who otherwise would be sold to older men and get married to them. We think culture is what these people need to be provided with. They are less lucky than we are and so our board decided, together with the help of friends, to do what we could to help them. It was a very successful idea and we were able to send 1600 Euros. Our Homestay coordinator, Anna De Giacomi, gave us her big house to host the event and all the people.
June 8, a friend, Giovanna Avanzini, helped to set up a Soccer Match of the Heart played between the students of a the Tito Livio High School in Milano and VIP people from sports and TV to again raise more funds for the same project. This time we were able to collect and send 1396 Euros!
We also developed the homestay program and worked very hard at it. We hosted some people from Bulgaria and the United States. In June, July and August, we sent 12 students to homestay in chapters in the United States: Scottsdale (AZ), Stockton (CA), Sheboygan (IL), St. Louis (MO) and Norfolk (VA). It was an incredible experience for both sides! The families were all enthusiastic and the Italian students and families are eager to continue and host. And wonderful friendships have been developed!!
About a month ago I received another request for help from Kenya and the girls!! They needed about $1700 USD to complete their school year and be allowed to take the final exams. Again we started working on that through mailings and asking our friends and friends of friends to help even with small amounts like ten Euros and again we made it. Last week the entire amount was sent to PTPI to be forwarded to Franklin! What a satisfaction and pleasure to be able to help these girls!!
Some people from the chapter were also present at the European Conference in Katowice, at the Board of Trustees meeting in Brussels and Pierluisa Ronchi joined me to Kiev for the All Ukrainian Meeting.
It has been a full year and I hope we will have more like this!
Merry Christmas to all of you.
Valeria Magistrelli, President
Oroslavje, Croatia (The Eagles) Student Chapter
September 13, the vice president, Maja Vdović, and I visited the first graders in our school to present PTPI’s work. The presentation was very successful, because many students joined our chapter.
October 8, 22 students (17 members and five non-members) went hiking and picking chestnuts. We sold four kilos for ten dollars. We want to spend this money by buying some groceries for the families in need in Oroslavje. On a weekly basis we collect plastic bottles at school and take them to the shop in order to collect money for Christmas groceries we want to donate to families in need.
October 10, a delegation of the chapter (five members and two non-members) helped the teachers of elementary schools in Oroslavje to organize a variety of workshops for the International Children’s Week. In a park near the school, different activities were offered, such as painting, workshops on children’s rights and obligations, sports activities and so on.
Iva Tuda, President
Skopje, Macedonia (creACTive) Student Chapter
September 14, our chapter organized an info meeting for new participants. About 20 people listened to a presentation about PTPI and the results of the European Youth Forum in Berlin. Most of the listeners became new members of our chapter.
October 17 and 20, we gave a presentation about PTPI and how to become a chapter member at the Josip Broz Tito High School and in the Orce Nikolov High School in Skopje.
October 31, we organized a Halloween Party in our youth center. We sold presents and cookies in order to gather funds for the next activities of the chapter.
Ena Peeva, President
Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Stu-dent Chapter
October 3 and 4, we had our membership recruitment. We decided to split the recruitment between two days, since many people were interested in PTPI. Our recruitment committee, comprised of Daniela Dimitrova, Gabriela Vlahova, Slaveya Vlahova, Yana Georgieva, Emil Stefanov and Iliana Dadarova, recruited 101 members to our chapter.
October 25-28, Daniela Dimitrova, Gabriela Vlahova, Fannie Krispin and I made a presentation about PTPI’s history, aims, ideas, and projects, underlining the importance of teamwork.
Yavor Ivanov, President
After last year’s success, our chapter organized a summer cinema again (picture right). This year we had seven movie screenings: the opening film was Czech and the rest were foreign films. We chose movies that introduce some social problems, which we consider important. With the help of our EVS volunteers, we invited other volunteers who currently work in the Czech Republic. Each of them introduced a movie from their own country, talked about their stay in the Czech Republic and prepared a traditional dish. We weren’t lucky with the weather for most of the summer, however we welcomed a record number of visitors when the nights were warm. The last screening, with a banquet and the concert of a local band, was attended by more than 200 people. We thank again all the visitors and our sponsors: the town of Šternberk, Lesy České Republiky, and PTPI.
Shortly after the end of summer cinema, the EVS volunteers Waleska Surgová and Yury Kravchenko left our chapter and town. We wish them best of luck in life after EVS!
Eliska Vranova, President
Thessaloniki, Greece (Peace) Student Chapter
August 13, four members of our chapter and five friends cleaned the Nea Plagia beach in Chalkidiki. We picked up the litter of a quite polluted beach and after having separated them, we deposited them in the recycling base in Chalkidiki.
October 16, our chapter organized a movie night in our English school. We watched the film “Water for Elephants” and had great fun. We combined the movie with our scheduled meeting, which took place after the movie.
John Goulas, President
Ulyanovsk, Russia Student Chapter
September 23-26, our chapter took part in the International Congress of Culture (picture left Darina Alekseeva) in Ulyanovsk that is a meeting with famous Russian and foreign people. We visited museums, exhibitions, concerts and theatres.
September 26, was the celebration of the European Day of Languages. Fifteen of our members were involved in preparation and more than 300 students of our school took part. On this day all lessons started with speaking different languages. Our members helped those teachers who did not speak any foreign language.
September 27, seven of our chapter members organized the meeting “Meet PTPI’s Ulyanovsk Student Chapter.” Fifteen students came and eight signed a PTPI contract.
October 6, eleven members prepared a workshop for foreign language teachers. More than 40 teachers took part in our workshop. We told about PTPI, showed promo videos, told about participation in the European Youth Forum 2011, made a poster, and shared all necessary information.
October 25, we organized a spacebridge with PTPI’s Skopje, Macedonia (CreACTive) Student Chapter. Our members talked to their adult advisor Stevica Levajkovski and their president Ena Peeva. We discussed our future joint projects.
Lyubov Parfenova, Adult Advisor
Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins) Student Chapter
September 10, our members took part in “the End of Summer Cleaning Day” campaign. We cleaned the playground situated near the Vista Language School, where our chapter holds its meetings, so that it can be a better place for the children to have fun. After that we played a couple of teambuilding games.
September 10, some of our PTPI volunteers attended an event, organized by the club “Gender Equality” in Varna. Our members took part in the so called World Café where we had the opportunity to discuss equality between men and women, human rights, integration of minorities and prejudice in the Bulgarian society. We discussed questions of present interest and made decisions on set problems over a cup of coffee.
September 12, our members took part in the Autumn Cleaning Day campaign. We cleaned a part of the coast of the Black Sea to mark the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. While cleaning, we enjoyed the last sunny days in our hometown.
September 21, the members of the Dolphins took part in the International Peace Day campaign. To celebrate this day, we renovated and of course repainted the symbol of peace, a sculpture of two pigeons in a common nest. This sculpture is situated in the Asparuhovo Park, near Varna.
September 22, we scheduled a very interesting project for our national Independence Day. Firstly, we outlined a Bulgarian flag on the pavement, which had to be filled with colored chalk by the passing pedestrians, who knew what day it was. A lot of children participated and even some foreigners showed interest, thus we were both able to popularize the day of independence among our young compatriots and to promote the international dialogue.
September 24, news came to us that the practice of hydraulic fracturing was risky and we decided to dedicate a movie night to raise the awareness of the chapter members on that topic. We watched “Gasland,” a movie which has recently become very popular in the United States. It is about the way big energy companies treat the environment. What is more, a treaty had been signed by the Bulgarian government and Chevron, which allows the company to practice hydraulic fracturing in the heart of our country’s “granary.” The film managed to hold the viewers’ attention against this method of energy production.
September 27, we decided to join a peaceful protest that aimed to forbid this practice of hydraulic fracturing within the borders of Bulgaria, after considering the risks. In order to do that, however, we needed a slogan to pass our message so we gathered to create one. We decided to draw each big letter of our message by writing countless times the name of certain chemical ingredients involved in the production. The several hours of hard work resulted in the creation of a huge slogan which was not only eye-catching but also very artistic.
October 2, our chapter took part in the campaign “Hug a tree.” Our aim was to clean the chewing gum from the trees in the center of Varna and make our hometown look like a bit more as a Eu-ropean city. This event also taught us that we are those who are responsible for the environment.
October 8, the members of the Dolphins invited friends from different local schools for a presentation. Our aim was to show them how funny and useful it is to be a volunteer, especially in our chapter. We explained what we do, what campaigns we have done, and of course our future goals. We answered a couple of questions, but the most awesome moment was on the first PTPI meeting after that, when we recruited more than 30 new members. That’s what we call a successful campaign!
Tanya Ivanova, President
Vaslui, Romania (Mihail Kogalni-ceanu) Student Chapter
October 14, we had a charity ball to raise money for a poor family with four children living in the countryside. We collected enough money to buy a washing machine, food, clothes and toys for them so five members visited them and give what we bought. They were extremely happy for our help and thanked our members for their efforts.
Liliana Harhas, Adult Advisor
This year we travelled to Transylvania, Romania and Poland, but on our way back to Hungary we decided to visit PTPI’s Sternberk, Czech Republic Chapter. It was a great experience for us. The president, Eliska Vranova, was a perfect hostess. She invited us to her home, offering us a very nice two-room-accommodation. Her mother cooked for us a special Czech dish, which was really tasty. We met two extremely kind and helpful volunteers of the chapter: Waleska Surgová from Spain and Yury Kravchenko from Russia. On the first day of our stay we had a nice walk in Sternberk and saw the view of the town from the nearby hill. In the evening Waleska cooked for us a delicious Spanish dish: tortilla. It was a special feeling to cook together and even better to eat together. In the evening another member of the chapter, Marek Kasik joined the nice company. For many of us it was the first time we ate this tasty Spanish dish and almost everybody asked for another portion.
On the second day we visited the Sternberk Castle, which is a very good example of the magnificent medieval architecture. Exploring the building and visiting the park took us the whole morning. After lunch, we went to Eliska's flat to prepare some Hungarian specialties for the summer cinema in the evening. We decided to make sausage rolls and a strawberry cake. My daughter Veronika helped me. Oh, it was a special evening. The atmosphere was great and the film marvelous. "Amelia’s wonderful life" certainly qualifies as one of the masterpieces in the French cinema. We finished the evening by saying goodbye to our hosts and drinking a glass of wine from our vineyard.
The following day we had to leave for Hungary. We were really sorry to say goodbye to Eliska, who made everything so perfect, to Waleska, a great cook and a cheerful, friendly Spanish girl, and to Yuri, a person with a wide-open heart, interesting, polite and with a great sense of humor, as well as to the other members of the chapter Marek and Helca Metelková.
Hugs and kisses from Renata and her family.
Renata Papp, member
August 20, our chapter hosted the annual Swiss Meeting. The program included a visit to the coal mine at Kaepfnach (picture below) and a boat tour on the lake of Zürich.
Adrian Obrecht, President
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