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Newsletter 2012-3

 

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

Message from the Regional Chair

Dear Friends,

The moment we have been waiting for is close and soon we will meet in Tallinn!Valeria Magistrelli

It will be nice to meet longtime friends we have not seen in a while and extremely interesting to meet new people from different parts of the world and exchange ideas with them. I am sure we will all get back to our countries after the conference with the feeling that the world is smaller and also the certainty that we have gained more friends.

Quite frankly I would have hoped to see more of our European members participate. I do however recognize that although interesting, things do not always happen at the right moment in our lives and this is certainly a tough moment for all of us. So my thanks go to those that will be present and my thoughts to those friends that will unfortunately be unable to make it. We will keep everyone informed about the event. Special thanks go to the members of PTPI's Berlin, Germany Chapter that always come to our conferences with a large delegation. Thanks to them and their president Hannelore Büchler.

Speaking about our European activities: From our side we will continue to give all possible help and support!!

The 2012 Youth Program took place in Berlin and brought together students ages 15 to 17 from seven coun-tries: Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, and Macedonia. The students took part in groups of four accompanied by a group-leader. The theme of the event was: "Agents for Change – Creating Successful Projects and Initiatives." The program was sponsored substantially by the European Union and we must thank Verena Denk and Lars Poignant for the hard work they did in preparing all the reports and material to receive the sponsorship. The EU's support came quite unexpected and it is nice to see that sometimes we receive pleasant surprises!!

At the end of August our Swiss friends had their fifth All Swiss Meeting! By now it has become a classic and we cannot imagine our year without their annual meeting!! It has always been very successful so I am sure it will be again this year! As usual our friend, former European Chair and director, Rolf Dahlberg was present to represent the EEC. How could it be any different? He has always been a part of it and I am sure our Swiss friends could not imagine their meeting without Rolf!

I hope you all are having a good summer wherever you are!

My best regards,

Valeria Magistrelli

PTPI Experiences

European Youth Exchange "Agents for Change – Creating Successful Projects and Initiatives" July 20-27

Tsvetiana Zaharieva, member of PTPI's Varna, Bulgaria "The Dolphins" Student Chapter and participant of the European Youth Exchange 2012 in Berlin, Germany wrote this report about her experiences at the Forum.

The European Youth Exchange was an amazing experience which has been all I've been talking about since coming back. To do an exchange in Germany has been a dream of mine. We started with the preparation of our humanitarian project. The beginning was a little shaky as it was the end of the school year and all of us had a number of things to do, but in the end we managed to organize the projects with almost no difficulties. As time passed I was getting increasingly excited. When we started to introduce ourselves and post info about our projects on facebook I started feeling the energy of the others. At this point I already knew it would be a very cool experience. A month before the exchange I realized I had already added everyone on facebook.

Tsvetiana and some of her fellow EYE 2012 participantsThe most exciting part was of course our time in Wannsee. After meeting all the "agents" on the first night and getting to know the program for the exchange I was a 100 per cent sure it was going to be a fun week. And I was right. Even though some agents complained that the schedule was pretty tight and that we didn't have enough free time I disagree with them. I liked the program very much and admittedly I would've loved to have some more time in Berlin or to have gone to the beach, but I think there was enough free time socialize and have fun. At least that was what I did.

Being in an intercultural environment even if it was for only a week opened my eyes to a lot of things. At the exchange it felt really good to find out that there are people with whom I share a lot of opin-ions on many different issues. The projects, personal stories and future plans of the other participants were so inspiring that I sometimes felt like I wasn't doing enough for my community. This has left me even more motivated to continue developing our chapter in Varna and to take on more projects. I'm now full of ideas and will do my best to make them reality in the coming months. Also all the group leaders were really cool, friendly and supportive. Talking to them was like talking to somebody my age. They weren't distancing them-selves from us and were open to everything. Stevica's experienced and creative mind made the late night parties on the benches a lot of fun.

Lastly, but certainly not least - I met some amazing and inspiring people amongst the agents and I'm confident that I formed lasting friendships. We keep in touch and talk almost every day, so the intercultural experience continues. We are already making plans when we will meet again. For example it turned out that Keida from Albania will be applying to the same university as me, Cathy from Germany and I are planning to do an European Voluntary Service together and Rawan from Egypt and I are discussing the possibility of a future homestay between our chapters. It's all very exciting!

Right now apart from going through all the pictures and videos from the exchange, I am organizing a Michael Jackson flash mob together with some of the other girls. This will be a joint project with the Macedonian group. We're already very excited to welcome them in the end of August. They will be participating in a homestay in Varna for four to five days and we are planning on visiting them as well sometime during the school year. Cathy from Germany and possibly her fellow chapter member Alexander will also be coming to Varna for the flash mob. This means that in the end of August we will have a Bulgaria-Macedonia-Germany reunion and I can't wait to see them all again. :)

These seven days felt like a month and I now find it strange when I don't have a session to go to in the morning and am not sharing a room with three other girls. The thing I miss the most are the people I met and I feel that I got to know them very well. Now I often catch myself thinking 'If Leo or Daniel were here, they would do this and that ...' or 'If Rawan saw this, she would do this and that ...'. At the last party Stevica said that we will most likely never get to be together like this at the exchange and this is true although the thought makes me sad. Then I remember Lars saying 'Don't cry because it ended, smile because it happened!' and that's when I realize how grateful I am for having been a part of this experience and how happy I felt throughout the week.

Coming Events

Date Event/Location Contact
Weekly, Wednesday and Thursday Brussels, Belgium: networking event www.peopletopeople.be
Weekly, Thursday and Friday Brussels, Belgium: PTPI coffee morning www.peopletopeople.be
Monthly, first Friday Berlin, Germany: Monthly Roundtable www.ptpberlin.de
Monthly, second Wednesday Bern, Switzerland: English-Höck - Conversation Dinner Linda Rickli, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
September 1 - 8 Tallinn, Estonia: Youth exchange www.ptpest.ee
September 3 - 8 Latvia and Lithuania: Baltic Tour Karen Hoch, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
September 22 Zürich, Switzerland: Fun and games get-together with grilling in the park (see below) Adrian Obrecht, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
October 6 Berlin, Germany: Get-together at the Gripstheater www.ptpberlin.de
October 9 - 18 PTPI Humanitarian and Educational Initiative to Israel Betsy Warfield, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
November 4 – 9 Tallinn, Estonia: Chapter members attend "Youth Protagonists of Change" conference in Palermo, Italy. www.ptpest.ee
November 30 - Dec 3 Berlin, Germany: Weekend trip to Brussels, Belgium www.ptpberlin.de
January 27 – Feb 18 Denmark: Trip to New Zealand Anna Marie Bohsen, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
March 5 - 21 Denmark: Trip to Nepal www.peopletopeople.dk
March 25 Bern, Switzerland: Annual Meeting Ernst Honegger, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Young Generation Meeting in Zürich

PTPI's Zürich, Switzerland Chapter invites you to a YG (Young Generation) event. Please contact the chapter president, Adrian Obrecht ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), for more details should you want to find out more.

Date: Saturday, 22. September 2012
Time: 14.00
Program: We will meet for a fun and games get-together in the park. There will also be a barbeque in the evening.

PTPI Updates

European Youth Exchange "Agents for Change – Creating Successful Projects and Initiatives" July 20-27

Participants during a group discussion.
Participants during a group discussion.

The Youth Exchange "Agents for Change - Creating Successful Projects and Initiatives" motivated and empowered young people to initiate humanitarian projects in their communities during the period of March to July. All humanitarian projects focused on supporting and connecting with marginalized youth or groups of people in Tirana (Albania), Yerevan (Armenia), Varna (Bulgaria), Sternberk (Czech Republic), Sadat City (Egypt), Berlin (Germany), and Skopje (Republic of Macedonia). The participants planned, implemented, and documented their projects prior to the exchange.

In Berlin, they met for eight days to get to know each other and their cultures, represent their coun-tries of origin as ambassadors of diversity, learn more about each other's communities and projects, and find ways to motivate other young people to engage in humanitarian efforts. To share their experience as an example of best practice and empower others, they created a manual and some video clips in English during the exchange. The manual will be translated into the seven languages of the participants and presented to youth in their communities.

Here a summary of the main phases of this youth exchange:

  1. Organization of humanitarian projects in the seven countries and documentation of the process and results
  2. Exchange of experiences in Berlin and crea-tion of the manual "7 Project Wonders"
  3. Translation of the manual into seven languages and the printing and presentation of the manual to youths in seven countries

EYE 2012 participants at the Brandenburg GateThe youth exchange in Berlin enabled participants to truly connect and energize each other. It was a special intercultural experience. Participants learned about one another's countries and cultures and enhanced their intercultural skills. They explored Berlin during an interactive city rally encouraging them to make direct "people-to-people contacts". They learned to recognize stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination and reflected ways to overcome them. At the intercultural evenings, each group presented its country in the course of a performance (singing, dancing, theater plays, quizzes, and more) and at a stand. In addition, participants inspired each other with their different ideas and gave useful insights into the dos and don'ts of project management based on their practical experience.

Participants' experience reports, the manual "7 Project Wonders," the video clips, and many pictures are available at www.ptpe.org/eye2012.

Various updates

  • PTPI's Céret, France Chapter has been closed.
  • PTPI's Skopje, Macedonia Student Chapter has a new website: www.ptpiskopje.weebly.com.
  • PTPI members can retrieve their membership cards online. Please visit the membership section of www.ptpi.org.

Chapter Reports

Berlin, Germany

Members of the Berlin Chapter during the Murals Exhibition.
Verena Denk, Hannelore Büchler and Ilona Schmidt (from left to right) standing in front of the Murals during the elementary school exhibition in Charlottenburg.

In our last newsletter we announced two exhibitions called Murals in Berlin. The first one took place in an elementary school in Berlin Charlottenburg. Verena Denk from PTPI's European Office was there for the grand opening. Also five chapter members came to see these remarkable paintings about international friendship, peace, and understanding between people! The second exhibition took place on June 16 in a school for gardening. In a big greenhouse, which functioned as the cafeteria for the day, all murals found a good place. During their coffee-breaks the visitors enjoyed the colorful paintings and a large variety of different cakes. The mood was good but the weather was awful! It was raining nearly the entire day.

We had a lot more luck with the weather during our barbeque. Judith and Peter Schömbs organized our traditional PTPI-Berlin party and invited us to their nice little garden. Eleven members came and we also welcomed four guests.

It is an old and popular tradition for Berliners to visit the German-French-Volksfest. This fun-fair is very famous for its French food and drinks. Due to the bad weather our announcement via E-Mail unfortunately did not receive a great response. We had far too much rain in June... Only Hans-Dieter Robel, Lars, and I braved the weather-situation and met for good food, drinks, rides on a roller coaster, and more.

Now we are looking forward to traveling to Tallinn. Six members from our chapter have signed up for the Worldwide Conference. Also five members from Hamburg and two more from Berlin will be there for a portion of the conference.

That's all for now. Looking forward to the European Conference, even though there will be only 27 participants! Never mind! I'm sure we will have a great time!

Hannelore Büchler, President and Trustee

Bern, Switzerland

In the past few months we were busy organizing homestays. During the first days of July 150 Student Ambassadors and their leaders came to visit us. Three groups of 13 to 14 year old students enjoyed homestays of three days and three nights in the Bern region. The first group came to visit us between July 2 and 5, the second group stayed between July 4 and July 7, and the third group stayed from July 8 to July 11. As these dates were during the last two weeks of school before the summer vacation many visitors went to the local secondary schools (Junior High School) for half a day and had English lessons with their host broth-ers and sisters. This was a very interesting experi-ence for all involved.

Prior to their departure, we requested their kind and confidential feedback on their homestay experience to help us see what they liked and what they perhaps did not enjoy so much. This helps us keep our standard high, as we always look to improve and make their experiences as enjoyable as possible. The overwhelming response we got is best described in the following statements:

"My homestay was extremely fun and enjoyable, all in all truly amazing."

"Probably the funniest time of my life."

"The food was really good and delicious. Mom was an excellent cook."

"I feel like I got a good taste of the Swiss culture and an experience like nothing I had before."

"The absolute best part of the trip."

"Overall, this was a five star experience."

"I was so sad that I had to leave."

"If they ever come to America I want them to stay in my home."

Despite the significant amount of work for the local chapter it is always highly gratifying to receive such positive feedback from our guests and their host families. Many stay in touch and keep visiting each other, even becoming friends for life.

Further, we hosted our double event on August 18: the PTPI Swiss Chapter Meeting and the PTPI Bern Summer party.

In the next newsletter we will report of our upcom-ing events and of our participation at the Worldwide Conference 2012 in Tallinn, Estonia. I am looking forward to seeing many of you there.

Ernst Honegger, President and Trustee

Brussels, Belgium

Every Thursday, PTPI's Brussels, Belgium Chapter hosts a weekly "People to People International" coffee morning. This serves as an informal get-together where our community can have a chat and enjoy some time with other international people living and working in Belgium. You can pop in and out when it suits you, collect a survival guide, ask questions and meet members of our team. For many people in Brussels the traditional methods of looking for work are not adapted to out-of-the-ordinary roles and circumstances. This is equally true for people offering work that is unusual or different. People have always said that finding a job requires a lot of networking and that is often the case. These two groups are run at the same time at the trendy Aloft Hotel in the European Quarter of Brussels. Every week we have 12 people join us with many follow-up phone calls and emails taking place to connect people with opportunities. The initiative is working well and we shall start looking for sponsorship to develop it further from September 2012.Ben and a senior citizen playing bingo

On July 7, our chapter organized a street party and BBQ for a number of people from local social kitchens. This event is one example of a number of projects that PTPI Belgium has worked on together with the team from Serve the City. Around 350

people participated in this street party - all from homeless, children in need, and shelter communi-ties. It was a fantastic day with music for adults, a bouncy castle and games for the children, and plenty of food and drinks for everyone. The street party was hosted in the Marolles area of Brussels, which is one of the poorer areas of Belgium. In order to host the event, a big street cleanup project was undertaken with the support of the city of Brussels authorities.

On July 6, a group of nine volunteers aged 6 to 40 spent an afternoon playing bingo with a group of elderly people in their 80s. There are a number of elderly care homes where we are able to spend time playing games, enjoying music, and chatting.

Chalks Coriette, President

Chester, England

Chester's main activities always happen in late June/early July when we host our young musician from Lakewood, Colorado. We have had an annual music exchange for more than 20 years with Lakewood, who are part of the "Sister Cities" programme. Chester converted to People to People International more than 20 years ago as well, but unfortunately we have been unsuccessful in persuading Lakewood to do the same. However each year we audition several young musicians from our area and one instrumentalist is chosen to go to Lakewood the following year at Easter. They are always well looked after and the highlight is their performance with the Lakewood Symphony Orchestra. We also give a monetary prize to the runner up instrumentalist and a prize to a vocalist. This year the standard has been fantastic and our concert season started with the American student, Emily, performing with her clarinet at Nantwich Church, a beautiful old church in a traditional small market town in Cheshire. Our student from last year, Holly, also a clarinettist, performed together with this year's pianist, Bruce, and our very talented baritone, Peter. We always have lunch together in a traditional inn after the performances. The next concert for Emily was in Chester, followed by the highlight concert held at Eaton Hall, famously the home of the Duke of Westminster, who generously allows local groups and charities to use his very splendid "long room" and we enjoy the drive through the deer park and also celebrate with wine afterwards! Emily also gets the chance to talk to children in some of our local schools and helps to inspire their musical interests.

August normally goes quiet, but last week, our old friend Ruth Engler from Switzerland came to stay with Jeff and Judy Reeves and we managed to organise a meal in "the Cheshire Cat," a pub which sits alongside the canal. As this was our first glimpse of summer this year we were especially lucky to spend a very pleasant evening with Ruth and 14 of our members. We obviously need more Swiss and German visitors to come to Chester as they seem to bring fine weather with them! We will possibly try to have a fundraising concert in November as our funds are getting low, we don't get as many people attending the concerts, despite the talented musicians. Lastly three of us from Chester are looking forward to coming to the Worldwide Conference in Estonia. As we had a wonderful visit from a group of five students with their teacher from the language school last October, we are really looking forward to meeting up with them all again in Tallinn and of course with Ruta Pels and all our other PTPI friends from around the world.

Hope you all have a lovely autumn,

Heather Exell, Chairman and Trustee

Interlaken, Switzerland

In June, we hosted a group of Student Ambassa-dors, as we have done every year since 1996. This year we welcomed 30 girls and 13 boys ages 15 to 19 and four of their teachers, from Tennessee and Kentucky. They stayed with a total of 22 families in different towns across the Berner Oberland region. Our sphere of activity grows every year.

To welcome the guests, an excellent group of drummers performed and a member of the local government presented the region and some of its particularly beautiful sights.

Once the homestays were over we all got together in Matten to say goodbye. Here we watched two professional athletes demonstrate the Swiss national sport "Schwingen." We also asked the students to give a short report on their homestay experiences and we learned that all participants had a great time.

The chapter helped to organize a trip for one of its members, Lara Paganini and her friend. Lara and her friend stayed with a woman in Paignton, England. Here they got to experience some of the local sites, customs and other aspects of the local life. They enjoyed their time greatly and managed to gain many new impressions, as well as improve their English language skills. We believe in the importance of linguistic proficiency!

On a bi-monthly basis we invite our members to get together for a bilingual meeting. At the end of August we will welcome a couple from Berlin, Germany who will take part in a homestay with a family living near Interlaken.

Ernest Waelti, PR Officer

Oroslavje, Croatia (The Eagles) Student Chapter

Ten members of our chapter and their two adult advisors Ms. Krsnik and Ms. Puljiz visited PTPI's Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins) Student Chapter from 11-14 July. It was an adventure we'll remember for the rest of our lives.

After more than 30 hours of travelling, our hosts warmly welcomed us at the train station, after five hours of delay, with bottles of water and packets of biscuits. Despite our long journey, most of the students weren't too tired to go out and party together. On the next day, we went to the beach of the Black Sea and visited the Garden Mall in pursuit of souvenirs. Then we had a walk in the Sea Garden and enjoyed a dinner with almost all the Dolphins. We enjoyed the local cuisine and the Bulgarian music and dance. On the morning of 13 July, everybody wanted to go to the beach again and afterwards we went to the Dolphinarium where we had a great time watching the dolphins perform. Afterwards we went for a guided tour of Varna and had a farewell party.

The hosts were amazing, enthusiastic, well pre-pared, and organized and we thank everybody who made this homestay an unforgettable life time experience.

Hopefully, the Dolphins will visit us some time next year and we'll be able to express our gratitude and show them the beauties of Croatia and the region we live in.

Marina Krsnik, Adult Advisor

Skopje, Macedonia (creACTive) Student Chapter

After a very successful year, members of our chapter attended some useful youth exchanges. First, four members of our team participated in the European Youth Forum 2012. This youth exchange took place between July 20 and July 27, in Berlin. By the end of the week our members became Agents for Change and worked on preparing a manual on the implementation of humanitarian projects in local communities.

Another youth exchange that PTPI members from Skopje participated in was the "Intercultural Paintings 2012" in Switzerland. Four members of our team improved their art skills during an eleven day adventure in Solothurn. This exchange was held from August 12 to August 23 and it was all about painting. The art work of the participants from six different countries was presented in an exhibition in Solothurn.

We have also planned our upcoming events. During the European Youth Forum in Berlin our members became good friends with PTPI's Dolphins from Varna, Bulgaria. The members from Varna really liked the Flash Mob that our PTPI members had organized in Skopje. Now they are organizing another, similar Flash Mob in Varna and our chapter is invited to participate. During this homestay in Varna our members will get to know the members of The Dolphins, and we are considering the possibility of becoming sister chapters.

During the youth exchange in Germany we created a manual; the presentation of this manual in Skopje will be another important event for us. After the translation of the manual is done our members are going to prepare a program on how to present this manual among the youngest generations of Skopje and motivate them to organize something similar in their school or community.

It is with enormous pleasure that we announce that all information on our chapter can now be found on our new website, which you can access at www.ptpiskopje.weebly.com. Here you will also find links to our Facebook Fan Page and to our Twitter account.

Angel Dimitrievski, Vice-President

Šternberk, Czech Republic

Children's Day Celebration, Sternberk
Children's Day Celebration in Sternberk.

Cylindr in Purple – Children's Day Celebration (May 26)

This year we welcomed more than 200 visitors during our children's day celebration held in the Metelka family's garden. PTPI members, as well as our past and current European Voluntary Service (EVS) volunteers, prepared an afternoon of games and fun for families. In the evening we witnessed theatre performances and belly dancing, which we enjoyed with some cold beverages, grilled sausage, ribs, and fish, as well as tea from an outdoor tea room.

The Venice of Haná (June 9)

A great cultural event, The Venice of Haná is annually organized by the Town Club of Litovel. There are rock bands, a farmer's market, games, delicious food, and nice souvenirs. Our chapter prepared a fun event on boats. Everyone who wanted to feel like he or she was in Venice was taken under the main square on a little boat on the canal Nečíz assisted by paddlers from PTPI.

Midsummer Celebration (June 21)

Venice of Hana
Members of the Sternberk Chapter creating a 'Venice-feel' on the Neciz canal.

We have already welcomed the spring and celebrated St. Patrick's Day this year, so we decided to celebrate the longest and first summer day of the year. We took advantage of the light and played some sports games in the garden of the Metelka family. When the sun came down, we baked delicious food on the fire and spent the night playing guitar and drums, and singing.

Pirate Expedition (June 23)

A little pond in Žleb not far from Šternberk was attacked by pirates! Starting early in the morning adults and kids dressed like pirates with funny drawings on their faces, and were taken back to the old times. After instructions on how to act like a little pirate, a real battle in boats on the water began. Everyone eventually found his way to the pirate's gold and we finished a nice and amazing morning by grilling bread, sausages, and potatoes on the fire!

Summer English Lessons (July)

Our EVS volunteer Megan Cooper organized summer English lessons for adults. They covered topics like body parts, restaurants, and general culture. Megan was able to ask about Czech culture and her students were equally interested in her native Australia.

For full articles and pictures please visit: www.ptpisternberk.org.

Eliška Vránová, President

Tallinn, Estonia

PTPI's Tallinn, Estonia Chapter organized a "Creative Reading and Writing - Access for Youth to Global Media" youth exchange project, which took place between June 30 and July 7 in Nelijärve. The project was supported by the Youth in Action Programme and Euroopa Noored and brought together 35 young people from seven EU countries: Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, and Poland. Participants shared their knowledge, skills, and national traditions through creative reading and writing, learned about basic skills in finding stereotypes, manipulations and fallacies/media biases in media texts, wrote press-releases, as well as news stories about their own organizations and events. They discussed currently ongoing situations, which are covered by the world media, with experts and made their own analyses. If you are interested in finding out more about this project please visit our webpage: www.ptpest.ee/enid9.html. We also encourage everyone to join this project's group on Facebook in order to enjoy photos and texts from our blog.

Creative reading and writing workshop
"Creative reading and writing-access for youth to global media" youth exchange project in Estonia.

The "Gender and Media toward Creativity and Entrepreneurship" evaluation meeting supported by the Youth in Action Programme and Euroopa Noored was organized by Eesti People to People on August 19-24 in Nelijärve. The aim of this meeting was to analyze the results of last year's "Gender and Media" training course. Twenty-one young people and youth workers from Estonia, Bulgaria, Poland, Sweden, Italy, Lithuania, Arme-nia, Georgia, Israel, and Ukraine will work on evaluations and recommendations, which will later be presented by chapter president Ruta Pels during the European Congress on Global Education in Lisbon on September 27. For more information please visit the "Gender and Media" page on Facebook as well as our webpage (www.ptpest.ee/enid11.html).

In June, five young people from Estonia participated in a one-week youth exchange project in Yalova, Turkey. Also, three teenagers ages 15-18, as well as their group leader Pavel Smulski, participated in the EuroMed project "Common Problems, Common Solutions" in Israel between July 29 and August 5.

Ten young people and group leaders will participate in the youth exchange in Riga, Latvia September 1-8. Chapter president Ruta Pels will give a presentation about the EuropeAid project in Paris on October 5. Three chapter members will participate in the closing conference of the ten month project "Youth Protagonists of Change" project in Palermo, Italy in November 4-9. This project is aimed to empower young people to promote sustainable social change and a culture of peace and human rights in their communities and at the European level.

Ruta Pels, President and Trustee

Tirana, Albania (Horizon) Student Chapter

This July, Tirana's (Horizon) Student Chapter participated at the European Youth Forum in Berlin. Our four representatives, Erdal Domi, Edvin Fiku, Keida Ismaili, and Bergi Xhango, were accompanied by their adult leader, Aleksander Ndini. The agents for change from each country presented the projects they had implemented prior to the exchange. Through everyone's experiences, we contributed to the creation of a manual, which provides a guide on how to successfully carry out humanitarian projects.

Everyone was surprised to see how much we learned during our training in Berlin: How to improve our organization, how to plan more activities according to our community's needs, and how to effectively be active and useful in our society.

Keida says: "A lot of sessions made in Berlin had the aim of helping everyone to create new ideas and how to realize them. This was accomplished in a number of sessions where we learnt about team-work, effective time management and how to accomplish more community participation in our activities. All this information was very useful and inspired us to start working on more projects and achieving our goals." All our hard work is making

itself paid. It was such a great experience to stand on the stage and hear everyone applauding your efforts. It was organized in such a way that no one considered the sessions as work but rather as fun.

Edvin says: "I think it was a lifetime experience. It was so nice to meet people from other countries and learning more about them. I think the aims of the event were completely accomplished. I am looking forward to participate in other forums and I guarantee we will continue our hard work as a chapter and carry out more activities and projects. I feel really motivated!" Further, they formed new connections with PTPI chapter members from Armenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, Macedonia, and soon-to-be members from Germany.

Bergi says: "I was very happy to see another side of PTPI. The presentations of the other countries had a huge impact on me. I left Berlin inspired."

Erdal says: "Seeing other examples of devoted community service, everybody gained new motiva-tion and ideas to incorporate into their respective PTPI chapters' activities. Fun, interculture and new skills were some of the hot topics of this exchange. In my point of view it was something unique and extremely fulfilling."

Edvin Fiku, Homestay Coordinator

Vaslui, Romania (Mihail Kogalniceanu) Student Chapter

Following elections, the new board decided to organize its first activity. On June 1, all chapter members and their friends were invited to a pub. The manager had agreed to give them the entrance fees in order to allow them to visit the deaf and mute kids' school on June 4. They bought sweets, juices, balls, a toy car, color chalk, and princess wands for the 20 kids. They spent time with them, made soap bubbles, and drew pictures on the pavement.

All the best,

Liliana Harhas, Adult Advisor

Vladivostok, Russia

Primorye-Arizona: Today we are friends, Tomorrow Colleagues

A group of teenagers from the Primorsky region visited the United States west coast from June 17 to July 13. They had attended a two week long educational language program in Phoenix, Arizona. During their month-long stay they got the chance to visit the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Las Vegas, San Diego, Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles. The route had been worked out specifically for this youth project and passed through three states: Nevada, California, and Arizona.

The project was organized by PTPI's Greater Phoenix, Arizona, and PTPI's Vladivostok Russia Chapters, through an existing relationship.

The idea to organize such a project came about in 2008, when several representatives of the Pri-morsky region participated in the USA congress program "Open World." A part of that visit was held in Arizona, where they established connec-tions to the leaders of the chapter in Arizona. They are long-serving American teachers Margaret Dubois, Ruth Allen, and Yefim Toybin.Members of the Vladivostok Chapter in San Diego

Karen Hoch, representing PTPI World Headquarters, came from Kansas City to welcome the members of the project. The president of the organization, Mary Eisenhower addressed the members of the Russian-American project through a welcome letter.

Traditional tourist trips don't allow for the complete immersion into everyday life and cultural traditions of a country. Tourists see the sights but still remain detached onlookers. The participants of our program not only lived in American families, our teenagers were a part of these families for the time being. They studied at American schools, rode the school bus every day, went on camping trips, and took part in the Independence day celebrations on July 4. Girls were also taught how to cook traditional dishes.

The project combined educational and entertaining aspects. The participants received 40 hours of English lessons within two weeks at an American school. American teachers helped the children to overcome communication barriers and discuss language issues that arose in everyday situations.

PTPI's Greater Phoenix, Arizona, Chapter is one of the biggest in the USA. Here, the number of fami-lies hosting participants of the homestay program is no less than 15. We found them to be very hospitable, friendly, sincere, and generous people. On the American side, most of the responsibility was carried by three people: Margaret Dubois (the head of the department and excursion leader of the program), Ruth Allen (responsible for the educational part of the program), and Yefim Toybin, coordinator of the Russian project. These peoples' contributions were rewarded with a special gratitude from the Head of Nadegdinsky municipal district, Gregory Vedernikov.

Yefim Toybin described the project afterwards saying, "This pilot project was a 100 per cent suc-cess! Everything went as it was planned. The children acquired new life experiences and that is the main thing!"

The hosting chapter leaders invited the Russian side to continue the project, which we would like to become an annual feature. There are possibilities to broaden the project to a trilateral level and in-clude the People's Republic of China.

Tatyana Chernilevskaya, President

Yerevan, Armenia

Online Olympiad

PTPI's Yerevan, Armenia Chapter organized the "Online Olympiad" project, which took place from February 10 to March 10. The aim of the project was to assist youth and teenagers from different countries to raise their level of journalistic research in the spheres of education, law, and culture by using information technology.

Participants of the Online Olympiad
Participants of the Online Olympiad, Yerevan.

Two hundred young people between 14 and 22, mainly from Yerevan (including socially under-privileged and disabled individuals) but also from abroad, participated.

The chapter carried out a number of activities, including challenging tasks, which would later be posted online, meetings, discussions, and cultural dialogues. Further the participants learnt about advertisement, awareness, and mass media cover-age (newspapers, radio, internet, etc.). All the work done was looked through and assessed and later rewarded with prizes if it was deserved. The project was designed to improve and promote the usage of new media in the sphere of education and increase the number of teenagers using media resources. Further, we wanted to promote the idea of free speech and thought. The project encouraged the participants to write articles on several prede-termined topics, produce media materials, learn how to use the internet as a tool for education, the preservation of our cultural heritage, and the spread of information. The participants were informed about PTPI's mission and programs and some were enrolled as members in PTPI's Yerevan, Armenia Community Chapter.

Susanna Grigorian, Vice President and Trustee

Yerevan, Armenia University Chapter

HIV/AIDS Day
An AIDS Ribbon created out of candles dedicated to the International HIV/AIDS Day.

On May 20, PTPI's Yerevan, Armenia University Chapter and Generations' Solodarity Youth NGO organized a "Promotion of healthy and decent life" Candlelight Memorial flash mob dedicated to the HIV/AIDS International Day. Scores of young people gathered in the city center to light a candle. During the event, participants handed out educational materials, condoms, and a compilation of five stories from people living with HIV. This was to show that they, too, are part of our community and need care and support.

On June 1, members of our organization visited the orphanage in Yerevan. Children were given stationery with which they can do different creative works during the summer. Further, we organized hygiene classes under the coordination of Tamara Torosyan.

On August 12, our chapter and Generations' Solidarity Youth NGO launched another flash mob in Yerevan to promote International Youth Day. A lot of young people gathered to break-dance, showing that together they are a force and the future of the country.

Tamara Torosyan, President