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Newsletter 2012-1

PTPI Experiences | Coming Events | PTPI Updates | Chapter Reports | www.ptpi.org | Download as PDF

 

Message from the Regional Chair

Dear Friends,

How are you all doing with this icy weather that has struck all over Europe? We too in Italy, which is known as the country of sunshine, had very heavy snowfalls and unusually low temperatures! In spite of everything we have a number of things to inform you about.

During the weekend of November 25-27, the first all Ukrainian PTPI meeting was held in Kiev. I must say it was extremely interesting. I was there together with Pierluisa Ronchi, also from PTPI Milano, whom many of you have already met at different events, and we spent full days at the Krok University listening to the different activities of all ten Ukrainian chapters. I want to thank our friend Anna Chuiko, PTPI trustee, who organized the meeting and the university, which hosted it. Verena Denk from the PTPI office of Berlin was present and awards were given.

January 27-29, I attended the Board of Directors Meeting in Kansas City, where some important and difficult decisions concerning the budget of our organization were to be taken. I was there and given my temperament that all of you know I tried to support Europe as well as I could. These are certainly difficult times to collect funds and carry on events but our President and CEO Mary Eisenhower is doing a great job and certainly we will make it through these times.

I want to share with you that we have a new chapter president in Brussels, Belgium. His name is Chalks Coriette and we certainly welcome and congratulate him. I know he is a man with great ideas and I am sure he will bring new air into our organization. Our friend Daniel Schaubacher, the former president, who has done so much for the chapter and PTPI, however remains on the chapter board, so we will not lose contact with him and his wonderful wife Myriam, both of them dear friends of all of us.

We had to close two chapters: Prague and Skopje community chapters, but we also have new chapters; Podgorica, Montenegro and Yerevan university chapter in Armenia. Welcome to our new friends that we hope to meet in Tallinn next August.

At this purpose I want to insist once more on your saving the date for Tallinn: August 29 September 2. There is a lot of activity from PTPI’s World Headquarters together with Ruta Pels, president of PTPI’s Tallinn Estonia Chapter and PTPI trustee, and Lars Poignant. We all want to make sure that the European Conference, Board of Trustees, and Worldwide Conference will involve as many friends as possible. Please keep in mind that this very special occasion will not be repeated in Europe for at least the next eight years. So again; save the date and also your money to be able to attend. On our side we promise you will have a great experience!

More good news! We were really afraid this year we would not have funds to have the Youth Forum but the great news is that the EU will support us with 22.000 euros. Seven countries will take part: Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, and Macedonia in Berlin in July. We could not be happier and more pleasantly surprised! The European Programs Fund was required to support with 1.000 euros, which we of course did immediately. Congratulations to Verena, who compiled the funding application and thanks to the EU, which once again trusts us and our programs!

I cannot at this point say, as in the past years, I will see you very soon at the European Conference but I am sure I will see many more of you in Tallinn in August.

Thank you all for your activities and your interest in PTPI and until we meet I remain,

Your friend,

Valeria Magistrelli

PTPI Experiences

PTPI’s Lome, Togo Chapter

Newlove Bobson Atiso is the founder and president of PTPI’s Lome, Togo Chapter. The chapter was founded in 2009 and has 66 members. Togo has 6,7 million inhabitants and is located in West Africa. It is the size of Croatia. The capital Lomé (840.000 inhabitants) is located on the Gulf of Guinea.

Our activities started in 2006 as Foundation for a Better Future in Togo. Although our members are of different ages, we all participate in the chapter programs. Projects include:

  • Educational support for needy children and schools in Togo through donations of educational materials;
  • Humanitarian projects in orphanages, hospitals, homes, and for HIV/AIDS patients and their children through donations of food items, clothing, medicine, and paying hospital bills;
  • Cultural projects in schools and within the community that engage school aged children in cultural performances and environmental projects, such as clean-up activities.

Our chapter was selected last year as country partner for the Youth Service America in organizing the Global Youth Service Day 2011 in Togo, which was successfully done.

Last year, we hosted five people from PTPI’s Kumasi, Ghana Chapter and two members from PTPI’s Porto Novo, Benin Chapter. In return, two members from our chapter visited PTPI’s Porto Novo Chapter.

Earlier this year, we honored the Togolese Minister of Arts and Culture, Mahamadou Yacoubou, and two other public officials with a Certificate of Honor. We are also proud to have PTPI’s Los Angeles, California Chapter (USA) as a partner.

Our chapter has many projects and activities lined up for this year, which include the GYSD project in April and the International Educational Arts and Cultural Camp 2012 in July and August. We also continue our humanitarian projects as we try to reach as many needy people in the rural villages of Togo as possible. We are also engaged in learning about other cultures, international homestay programs, and cultural exchange programs.

In the future our chapter hopes to build an orphanage and a home for aged people in the name of PTPI, where we can take good care of orphans and elderly people. For this reason a fundraising campaign will be launched soon.

The living conditions of orphans and elderly people are very bad in our country and our hope is to succeed in building a home for them. We are also collecting used clothes, shoes, and other things to support the needy people in Togo.

Coming Events

For details and contact information, please visit www.ptpe.org/events

Date Event Contact
Monthly, first Friday Berlin, Germany: monthly roundtable Hannelore Büchler; www.ptpberlin.de
Monthly, second Wednesday Bern, Switzerland: English conversation group  Linda Rickli
Every Wednesday  Brussels, Belgium: networking event Chalks Coriette, www.ptpi.be
Every Thursday Brussels, Belgium: informal PTPI coffee morning and “Single’s Thursday After Work” event Chalks Coriette, www.ptpi.be
March 9 Interlaken, Switzerland: Annual meeting Thomas Ammann
March 10 Chester, England: “The Little Theatre” event Heather Exell
March 17 Sternberk, Czech Republic: Welcoming of the Spring – traditional annual celebration Eliska Vranova, www.ptpisternberk.org
March 18 Brussels, Belgium: Tree planting project Chalks Coriette, www.ptpi.be
March 26 Chester, England: Annual General Meeting  Heather Exell
March 30 – April 1 Sternberk, Czech Republic: April Fool’s Weekend – Teambuilding Weekend Eliska Vranova, www.ptpisternberk.org
April 21-22 Berlin, Germany: Excursion to Naumburg Hannelore Büchler; www.ptpberlin.de
April 27-29 PTPI European office, Germany: Preparatory Meeting for the European Youth Exchange www.ptpe.org/eye2012
April 28-29 Sternberk, Czech Republic Chapter: rafting weekend Eliska Vranova, www.ptpisternberk.org
May 25–June 1 Denmark: trip to Brussels Gunild Bogdahn
May 26 Sternberk, Czech Republic: Cylindr/Children's day Eliska Vranova, www.ptpisternberk.org
June 9 Sternberk, Czech Republic: “The Venice of Hana”; Litovel cultural event Eliska Vranova, www.ptpisternberk.org
June 23 Berlin, Germany: Summer Party and Excursion to Fäming Hannelore Büchler; www.ptpberlin.de
June 28 Chester, England: Lunchtime Concert In St.Mary's, Nantwich Heather Exell
June 30 Chester, England: Lunchtime Concert In Wesley Center, St. John St. Heather Exell
July 3 Chester, England: Evening Recital Heather Exell
July 8-12 Bern, Switzerland: First Homestay with Student Ambassadors from USA Linda Rickli
July 20-27 PTPI European Office, Germany: European Youth Exchange www.ptpe.org/eye2012
July 21 Berlin, Germany: hiking tour Hannelore Büchler; www.ptpberlin.de
August 18 Annual Swiss Chapter Meeting and summer party in Bern Simon Krebs
August 29 – September 2 Worldwide Conference in Tallinn, Estonia  www.ptpi.org
September 3-8 Post Worldwide Conference Baltic Tour www.ptpi.org
October Berlin, Germany: Visit to PTPI’s Tudela, Spain Chapter with a stop-over in Barcelona Hannelore Büchler www.ptpberlin.de

Join us for Global Youth Service Day: April 20-22!

Last year, PTPI members led an impressive 96 Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) projects in 31 countries. From organizing environmental clean-ups to raising money and collecting supplies for orphanages, PTPI members demonstrated their commitment to service – and to the world.

This year, Global Youth Service Day will take place April 20-22 in more than 100 countries. The annual GYSD event presents a unique opportunity for PTPI members of all ages to engage youth in improving their communities during the largest service event in the world, and the only day of service dedicated to children and youth. How will YOU engage youth and serve to make a difference on Global Youth Service Day? Download GYSD resources at www.gysd.org/resources and learn about PTPI’s involvement in GYSD at www.ptpigysd.org.

European Youth Forum

The European Youth Forum will be held in Berlin August 20-27. Attending are groups from seven countries. PTPI’s European office has received 22.000 euro in support from the European Union for the program. In addition, the European Program Fund sponsored the forum with 1.000 euro.

Worldwide Conference in Tallinn, Estonia

This year, PTPI will celebrate its 20th Worldwide Conference in Tallinn, Estonia. Invitations were sent by email to all members. For further information and to register for this premiere event follow this link: www.ptpe.org/tallinn2012. The conference will also include the European Council meeting. Everyone is welcome to attend the conference in the beautiful city of Tallinn.

Program outline

  • Wednesday, August 29 Board of Trustees Meeting ♦ Walking Tour of Old Tallinn (optional) ♦ European Council Meeting ♦ Welcome Reception
  • Thursday, August 30 Opening Ceremony ♦ PTPI World Fair and Conference of Delegates Meeting
  • Friday, August 31 General Session ♦ Excursion I: Kadriorg and art museums ♦ Excursion II: Old Tallinn ♦ Awards Ceremony and Reception
  • Saturday, September 1 Humanitarian Day with Serve the City ♦ Reception ~ Preview of 2014 ♦ Gala Dinner
  • Sunday, September 2 Day Trip to Helsinki, Finland (optional)
  • September, 3-8 Post-Conference Tour to Latvia and Lithuania (optional)

PTPI in Europe – Europe in PTPI

PTPI’s Worldwide Conference takes place every second year. The last time it was held in Europe was in Baveno 2004. We now again have a really good chance to not only meet many members, but also to present chapter programs and our regions. On Wednesday the Council Meeting will be held to which all members are invited. Each chapter president (or substitute) has a vote for the actual meeting. At the Welcome Reception in the evening PTPI Europe will act as host along with PTPI’s Tallinn Chapter. The reception will in addition be sponsored by PTPI Europe. On Thursday, all chapters are invited to present their programs and regions at the PTPI World Fair.

For both the Council Meeting and the World Fair, chapters are welcome and encouraged to prepare material from respective country to present, share, and taste. More details will follow.

All details for the conference are available online at www.ptpi.org.

PTPI Updates

Chapter Updates

Awards: PTPI Tallinn, Estonia

Congratulations to Ruta Pels and PTPI’s Tallinn, Estonia Chapter, which were one of three recipients for the World Aware Education Awards 2011for the project “Gender and Media” (Picture right). The project was held in August (see newsletter 2011-3).

Reports and Dues

As of March 1, all community chapters should have submitted their chapter reports, membership lists, and dues.

Global Book Club

Do you like to read? Would you like to go international and exchange with PTPI members and friends around the globe about world literature?

Join PTPI’s Global Book Club – a free-of charge service that connects you with the world. Just complete the online registration at http://bit.ly/nAb2sc. Don’t hesitate to invite your friends as well. Our Book Club is open to everyone, members and non-members.

Currently, we are reading Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. The PTPI Blog features discussion questions and commentary from PTPI staff and fellow readers. View our conversation at http://blog.ptpi.org/category/global-book-club.

Nominate Members for Our Awards

Submit your nomination for a deserving member or chapter for achievements made in 2011. Categories include outstanding leadership, chapter programming, website, and more! Also don’t forget to nominate an outstanding person or organization for two of our highest honors: the Eisenhower Medallion and the Make a Difference Award. View all awards and nominate online by April 1: www.ptpe.org/awards.

Fundraising Guide for European PTPI Chapters

PTPI’s European Office proudly announces the publication of the updated fundraising guide for PTPI chapters in Europe. It contains suggestions and ideas for fundraising for chapters of all sizes. It also presents several different funding sources and foundations that can be approached by PTPI chapters.

The fundraising guide will be sent by e-Mail to all PTPI chapter presidents in Europe mid-March.

Partner Chapter Program

PTPI encourages community chapters to sign up for the Partner Chapter Programs. There many benefits:

• Engage in citizen diplomacy with people in other countries with diverse cultures.
• Promote international friendship and the exchange of ideas and experiences.
• Exchange ideas on chapter operations and programming between chapter leaders.
• Diversify your chapter's program base and provide an additional opportunity for member participation.
• Provide chapter members with an option for fun and educational travel opportunities.
• PTPI matches chapters accordingly and provides tools and program suggestions.

Currently there are pending match requests from PTPI’s Mombasa, Kenya Chapter. For more information, please contact PTPI’s offices. PTPI Partner Chapters are Peace through Understanding in action!

Chapter Reports

Bern, Switzerland

February 3, our executive board met to finalize plans for the yearly meeting, which will take place in the Kipferhaus, Hinterkappelen, on April 23. After cocktails and snacks we will then hold our official yearly meeting, and complete the evening with dinner. (By the way, did you know that cocktail hour is now referred to as “attitude adjustment hour” in America? Such a wonderful idea: informal get togethers with drinks and snacks really CAN change people’s attitudes!) This year promises to offer us new opportunities for deepening old friendships and forming new ones: we are discussing the possibility of a spring or summer family excursion day. Plans will be finalized in the next few weeks.

There will very likely be three Student Ambassador Groups visiting Bern in July, and our homestay coordinator is beginning to recruit host families. Accordingly, we are also planning our traditional Summer Party, which will take place on August 18, with a sumptuous barbecue for members and Student Ambassador host families. Also on August 18, we will host the All-Swiss Chapter Meeting.

Linda Rickli, Board Member

Brussels, Belgium

The Belgian chapter connects with our community through a number of regular meetings. This allows our growing community plenty of opportunities to meet our core team, each other, and to get involved in our varied activities. Each Wednesday and Thursday evenings we host an after-work event, with Thursday giving special focus to the singles in our community. On Thursdays we have a coffee morning and every first Friday of the month people join us for an Attitude evening. These activities all take place in the European Quarter of Brussels, due to its central location and good connections via public transport.

We also offer monthly self-development workshops, covering a range of skills from improving communications to starting your own business. Together with our partners we have in the past few months supported: the ADHD Family Resources group to finance a dyslexia teacher training weekend; the Serve the City team with some funding for their core activities; Sunbeams with some funds to cover transportation for a number of children to participate in a tree planting project, and, we supported the TEDxBrussels and TEDxKids (Belgium) team with marketing. We are currently working with Serve the City on a Homeless focus day (16 February) to promote the work they do each week with the homeless in Brussels.

February 18, some 100 Serve the City volunteers took part in 13 projects all over Brussels, showing care to people often forgotten by society. The teams, made up of Serve the City Project Leaders and community volunteers, helped in the following practical ways: organizing a bingo afternoon, taking a group of men bowling, serving food and distributing clothing to people living on the streets and in the stations, helping to replace a ceiling at a shelter, doing arts and crafts, hosting a dance and offering manicures, make-up sessions, and general grooming.

Should you wish to find out more about our work in Belgium, please do contact me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Richard Chalks Coriette, President

Burgas, Bulgaria (The Vectors) Student Chapter

November 1, the Day of Bulgarian Educators was celebrated at GPAE “Geo Milev” Burgas with the initiative to donate books to the library. The librarian Radostina Kasabova and our adult advisor Petya Petrova helped us figure out the needs. We divided ourselves into teams with different tasks: one team collaborated in the advertising of the event with the help of our Lithuanian assistant Vaida, another team accepted the donations and made the lists of the people who donated, and a further team dealt with the book registration. It was so much fun, but irreplaceable is the feeling that through that small action, we are helping our peers.

Being one of the chapters that received a silver award in PTPI’s Team Peace Challenge for our projects gave us the chance to establish the scholarship “See Your Future.” Words cannot describe how proud we felt about the award as it helped us supporting one of our members. We decided to award the first scholarship to our expresident Denis Chingov, studying now in the UK and without whom all our previous projects would have lacked the density of color! Thank you, Denis!

November 15, we organized with a lot of enthusiasm our recruitment initiative. This led to new members joining us, people we appreciate a lot as they are younger, so they will continue working after we graduate and the chapter will continue its life. Most of all, they brought to us so many fresh ideas, which energized us for our grand event “The French Cinema Night.” It was held on February 15 with the purpose of learning more about France and to raise money for our next cultural projects.

Victor Evtimov, PR-Officer

Interlaken, Switzerland

Our annual meeting will take place on March 9. We will elect three new board members: president, vice-president, and homestay-coordinator. Following our tradition, the meeting will start with a sportive program. After bowling, curling, golf, karate, and yoga of the past years, this time we will get a line dance lesson.

In 2012, we will donate for the third time a grant to a student who wants to improve his or her English during a three-week stay in a language school in England.

In early summer, like in every year since 1996, we will organize homestays for about 40 US Student Ambassadors, accompanied by four teachers. The guests will stay for four days in host families in the Bernese Oberland region. On the last day we will organize a special excursion for the group, before they leave for Paris, which is the last station on their European trip.

Like in the past, we will realize another social project: We will donate to the organization “Hope for Haiti’s Kids,” presided over by a member of our chapter, a sizeable amount of money.

Thomas Ammann, President

Khmelnitsky, Ukraine (Young Leaders) Student Chapter

Our chapter supports Maxim/Help us to support Maxim

Hello dear friends. This article is not our usual chapter report. No it is not. This article is about mutual support, trust, and hope. Our chapter has so far been very successful; everything that we wanted to do in the recent years worked out well and seemed very easy to do. But this year it is not so. So we are writing to tell you why. And if at least one person hears us we will be very happy. Last year one of the most active members of our Khmelnitsky Student Chapter, Maxim Mukutun, graduated from school. He was given the certificate and he entered the university. But six months ago, doctors diagnosed him with leukemia. It sounded as if it was the end of everything, but it was not. It is still not the end. He is doing his best; he is trying to be in a good mood, and even supports his relatives. But for his treatment he needs a lot of money. So last month we tried to help him. In our local school we gathered some donations. Maxim’s friends created a group in Facebook. And then we organized a “Street theatre” in our school. Talented pupils of our school were singing, playing musical instruments, and dancing during the breaks to gather money. Unfortunately the proceeds are not enough. So we are asking for your help, too. The hope never dies and we are still hoping… Thank you for helping our friend. For more information or support, please contact Svetlana Shengilevich ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

Members of PTPI’s Khmelnitsky Student Chapter

Konotop, Ukraine (Unity) Student Chapter

Our chapter organizes charity performances to support orphans. The most talented students perform to earn some money and help local orphanages. Students create pictures, traditional Ukrainian embroidery, and handmade jewelry. The well-known choreographic group of Konotop “Hope” also takes part in the charity shows.

The project “From Heart to Heart” organized by our chapter on December 6 for St. Nicholas Day, also gave children the opportunity to help orphans. They collected clothes, toys, books, and other things for orphanages. It is so great to give moments of joy to children who are deprived of parental care.

Our chapter members also help the veterans of the Second World War with housekeeping during the holidays.

Another interesting activity of the chapter is feeding abandoned dogs in the central park of the town.

We are going to create a wall newspaper to inform students of Konotop Gymnasia about PTPI and the activities of our chapter.

Anna Fil, President

Kurchatov, Russia (Friends Meeting Friends) Student Chapter

The last months were full of wonderful activities and unforgettable memories for PTPI’s Kurchatov Student Chapter. November 5, our chapter members and our adult advisor, Elena Tralovskaya, went to London to spend four days there. This trip was possible thanks to the success of Anastasiya Kislyakova, one of our chapter members who won the international competition “Next stop London 2011.” Nastya wrote a powerful essay on an ecological issue and was awarded the first prize: a trip to London for six people. In London we were offered a very well-developed educational and cultural program. Among the places we visited were Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, and Tower Bridge. We managed to view London by night from the London Eye and were really impressed! But what impressed us most of all was that London is truly multicultural. We easily felt at home there. London’s citizens were really helpful and we liked the attitude of citizens to tourists and visitors. We would like to visit London again.

Back home, our chapter members organized a press conference for the local school community and local TV about the importance of direct interaction. We were highlighted in the local news report.

Another important activity was the volunteering of ten chapter members on the school premises. Our chapter took an active part in repairing classrooms and school beautification. We care about our gymnasium and want to study in clean and nice classrooms!

During the holidays, about 25 members took part in a Christmas party, which was a great success. Junior students, PTPI members, staged there and told fairytales, sang Christmas songs, recited poems, and much more.

Besides, junior students continue their interaction with peers from Canada through the School and Classroom Program.

Our chapter has great plans for the coming months. We are going to do much volunteering in the spring and will host the international TESOL educator Tony Hull, who will be visiting us for Global Youth Service Day! We are preparing a lot of thrilling activities for the whole school community and will share our success with you, dear friends!

Alina Vazhenina, President

Pravets, Bulgaria Student Chapter

December 20, the Private Foreign Language Academy “Markonis” invited chapter members to its annual Christmas Show in Botevgrad. PTPI’s Pravets Student Chapter was represented by Lyubomir, his mother Krasimira Antonova (member of PTPI’s Botevgrad Community Chapter), and Valya Stankovska (one of the adult advisors). Our delegation presented PTPI and our values, aims, and activities to the students in the academy. The dress code was mask and fairy costumes only. For us, it was a great honor to be invited to this event by the head manager of the academy, Mr. Nikolay Nikolov.

December 22, the chapter members organized a Christmas Charity Sale in their school. The goods that they sold are well known in Bulgaria. Our specific dish was “Banitsa,” different apple cakes, and special homemade cookies. The price was symbolic. Everything was prepared by the PTPI members and their families. The volunteers are very thankful to the principal of the school, Mrs. Tsvetanka Shterionova, for giving her permission for this initiative. The event popularized the values and the activities of the chapter among the teachers and the students in the school and it brought 70 BGN or 36 EUR. In Bulgaria, this amount is 1/3 of the minimum salary. Having in mind the financial crisis worldwide and our specific region, which is the poorest region in the EU, we consider this event very successful. The proceeds will be transferred to the bank account of a child/adult suffering from cancer in Botevgrad. The chapter is planning similar initiatives for the future.

January 14, Ms. Desislava Vasileva organized a meeting of student chapter members in Botevgrad. Krasimira Antonova, a member of PTPI’s Botevgrad Community Chapter, also took part in the meeting. We had a discussion about the realization of the Homestay project with PTPI’s Varna Student Chapter, for which we have received a grant. For St. Valentine’s Day in February, we planned another charity sale in the school.

Desislava Vasileva, Adult Advisor

Roman, Romania

Seven Wonders of Youth

February 4-12, our chapter was represented by five curious, eager, and ready for adventure youngsters together with their leader, in the Youth in Action project "Seven Wonders of Youth" held in Lausanne, Switzerland. During the days, each participant presented a work of art belonging to the country to which she or he belongs: Romania, Estonia, Turkey, and Switzerland. These presentations highlighted the message that the masterpiece sends; the value which gave life to the sculpture or painting. The project included seven values: peace, freedom, respect, equality, tolerance, justice, and solidarity.

It was a great experience because we created new relationships and new friendships. For me it meant another step in the experience of international projects and an important step at which I learnt something new and useful. What impressed me the most this time was the warm and open hearts of all the participants. We managed to become from the shy people from the start, a real team, a family, through all the activities we have developed: presentations, workshops, but also during seminar games. Of course the intercultural evening helped us to understand our habits and traditions that made us curious to visit other places. A very special evening was the Swiss fondue dinner during which we had the opportunity to get to know the members of "Turquia," our host organization.

I hope I have made you curious and interested in applying for EU projects in the future.

Bianca Manolache, member

Skopje, Macedonia (creACTive) Student Chapter

December 10, our chapter was involved in the first flash mob performance of the famous Michael Jackson song “Beat It” in the capital city, Skopje. More than 130 young people participated in this event, which was co-organized by our chapter to celebrate the international volunteerism day.

Flash mob events are organized all over the world: a group of people assemble suddenly in public, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, and then disperse. This was an unusual thing to see in our city, a true novelty. It was performed at two locations in the center of the city and drew a lot of attention and positive comments.

During the preparatory month, all the participants met several times and rehearsed the well-known and recognizable choreography. The participants were not only from Skopje, but also from other cities, including Kumanovo, Kavadarci, and Bitola.

“The rehearsals lasted 3 weeks, practicing twice a week. Many young enthusiasts attended and learnt the choreography quickly and eagerly awaited the performance. We were very well accepted by the passers and the media and received a lot of positive comments,” said Hristijan Prodanov, one of the coordinators of this event and member of the youth organization, “creACTive.”

Due to the good performance and excellent reviews of the flash mob, the dancing group was invited to present their admirable performance again at the Faculty of Philosophy and also during the campaign “Read everywhere” at Macedonia Street.

“This was my first time to participate in this kind of an event. It was an incredible experience, to be part of this. We had so much fun during the rehearsals, and the feeling to perform in front of a huge excited crowd is simply amazing,” said Benjamin Xhaferi, a participant and also a vice-president of the PTPI chapter.

“Having fun, dancing, meeting new people, performing in front of a big crowd, I’m so happy and proud I took part in this event, doing something unusual and different,” said Liljana Naumova, a participant.

Jana Magdeska and Ivana Nacevska, members

Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Student Chapter

At the beginning of the school year, our chapter launched a creative contest with the topic “Winter is Coming” under the supervision of our vice president Gabriela Vlahova. The competition covered different fields: drawing, poetry, prose, and short video. The winners were announced on February 1. The artwork of the winners will be published in the school newspaper Dedoodle, which our chapter supports with funds.

Around Christmas, we collaborated with a dance group called The Machines in an effort to bring some holiday spirit to Sofia. The idea was to brighten everyone’s day with some good music and dancing. We also made our own Christmas cards, which we gave out while The Machines were dancing in the street on December 23.

This year, we once again participated in the Christmas Charity Concert organized by the First English Language School on December 17. There we held a bake sale and many of our members took part in the concert.

February 14, we organized another bake sale for St. Valentines’ day and for the Bulgarian traditional holiday Trifon Zarezan. We sold baked goods, cards, good luck charms, and other items. The money from this venture will help the recovery efforts for the village Biser, which recently went through a devastating flood.

Daniela Dimitrova, Secretary

Sternberk, Czech Republic

January 27, our fourth Table Tennis Tournament was held. Twenty-seven people participated in the event, which was divided into categories for men, women, and children. It was above all an event for families, who spent time together in a different way. The children's category was new this year, as the number of children who wanted to take part was very high. They all had a really nice time during the four hours of the tournament. The winners were: Radovan Svoboda, Karina Bilkova, and the eight years old son of Rudolf Vicik, who finished third in the men's category. Everyone went home with little prizes, but the winners got some nice prizes like cakes, ping pong paddles to practice for next year, vouchers for slack line lessons, the rental of Sternberk Chapter's PTPI rafts, and free entrance to the chapter's biggest event: The Children's day.

Eliska Vranova, President

 

Ulyanovsk, Russia Student Chapter

For Valentine’s Day, our chapter members created unique handmade cards, which we sold to benefit children in need.

On February 16, we organized a video conference with more than 30 American students and their history teacher, Donna Marie Dooner, in the framework of PTPI's School and Classroom Program. We got to know each other better asking different questions and sharing our personal information. Also we discussed our future joint projects and arranged the date for our next conference.

On February 18, we took part in a press conference with the governor of the Ulyanovsk region, Sergey Morozov, and the minister of education, Ekaterina Uba. More than 500 of the most active students of our region took part in this event. Our president, Darina Alekseeva, and vice-president, Timur Turusbekov, promoted PTPI's mission and shared information about our chapter.

Lyubov Parfenova, Adult Advisor

Varna Student (The Dolphins) Chapter

This winter we made Santa feel lazy. We are the “Dolphins” from PTPI’s Varna Student Chapter and winter is the busiest time for us. During the days around Christmas, we were carrying out our traditional Christmas campaign. This is one of the largest and most important projects we annually organize. It consists of the manufacturing of handmade Christmas cards, which are later sold for charity. Despite the financial crisis, we managed to achieve an unprecedented success and to raise more money than ever before. The campaign demanded the hard work of more than fifty people for the period of nearly two months. Thanks to that devotion of our entire chapter crew and the help of our compatriots, whose own problems were not an obstacle to helping our cause, the raised money exceeded 6.000 Euro.

Our goal is to thoroughly repair two hospital compartments and to support the creation of a special room suitable for patients suffering from cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease affecting most critically the lungs. Its victims can only survive if they undergo a complex therapy in specially designed rooms. Unfortunately, such a room does not exist anywhere in Bulgaria, but now we are doing our best to change that. The money is now being spent on construction material and the construction work is being done by our volunteers. The results of such a grand commitment cannot be far away.

We also organized a Valentine’s Day project. The tireless members of our chapter folded origami hearts and sold them. Now this "Take a Paper Heart - Make a Dream Come True" charity campaign of the Dolphins and the student association AIESEC is truly making a dream come true: The 19-year-old orphan Dimitar Georgiev has always dreamed of becoming a cameraman and with a good education at a prestigious college. Now the money for his education is collected: 2 650 Bulgarian Leva to pay his tuition fee at the private Art College in Sofia. This is thanks to the thou-sands of paper hearts that Dolphins and AIESEC have folded and sold on Valentine’s Day among their friends! Nothing is stronger than the will to do well!

Simeon Kostov, Vice President and Antoaneta Pophlebarova, Adult Advisor

Vaslui, Romania (Mihail Kogalniceanu) Student Chapter

November 30, our chapter organized a charity show on the stage of the House of Culture in Vaslui. We sold 500 tickets in the high schools in our town to fundraise for a disabled child who cannot walk and who needed an electric wheelchair. It was a big show, which we started to prepare in October. Our members presented a play, sang songs, danced, and invited a folk group from the countryside as a special highlight. The president of our chapter, Gianina Tudorache, was the hostess of the show. The event was organized together with another humanitarian organization called "Sophia," which allowed us to use the theatre free of charge.

We bought the chair with the biggest part of the money and with the rest we bought sweets and fruits for 81 deaf and mute students from a school in Vaslui for St. Nicolas Day. We had other members who had collected clothes, toys, and books in our school, so we had presents and donations to give. The disabled students performed a short show for our members.

Liliana Harhas, Adult Advisor

Warsaw, Poland Chapter

Our Chapter decided to support one of Warsaw’s orphanages for Christmas. Members of the chapter collected money and decided to support an orphanage in the Wola district. The money was given to Bartek Bakula, a student of the University of Warsaw, who has been a volunteer at this orphanage for a couple of years and he will purchase necessary goods (clothes, trainers, or T-shirts) with this money. Needs are much bigger, but our chapter is happy to support such an important activity.

Andrzej Puchacz, member

People to People International

People to People International (PTPI), with World Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri USA, was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on September 11, 1956 to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures. Today, as a not-for-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization, PTPI has a presence in 135 countries with more than 80,000 families and individuals actively participating in People to People International programs.

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