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Newsletter 2012-4

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

Message from the Regional Chair

Dear Friends,

Valeria Magistrelli

It seems yesterday I was wishing everybody Merry Christmas and here we are again with the holiday season at the door!! This fall has been busy and full of very pleasant events!

Let’s start with the Worldwide Conference in Tallinn, August 29 - Sept 2. We would have liked to see more of our European friends participate in this event. Due to a number of reasons we discussed extensively during our meeting the participation of Europeans was not as high as expected.

It was a wonderful event and very successful! We had a great and very interesting time! I want to thank Ruta Pels and her sons, who were there for us at any moment always smiling at us though deadly exhausted for rushing here and there! I know what it means to organize a Worldwide Conference personally in the past, but you do not feel whether you are tired or not because you mainly want everybody to be happy and satisfied and have a great time as well as unforgettable recollections!! I am sure we all do after our meeting in Tallinn. Thanks Ruta!! You are in our hearts and we have greatly appreciated being in your wonderful city!

During the Board of Trustees meeting, three Europeans were elected: Antoaneta Pophlebarova, Bulgaria, who all of you already know as a member of the EEC in charge of the youth programs; Karina Tatarova, Bulgaria, who was the president of the Plovdiv Student Chapter and was selected to be a participant on the International Student Panel at the GYF in 2011, and was awarded the Mary Jean Eisenhower Partner in Peace Award.; and Marek Kasik, of PTPI’s Sternberk Czech Republic Chapter. Congratulations to our new Trustees!

I feel particularly honored to have been the recipient of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Distinguished Service Award “for dedication to the cause of world friendship and international understanding and for significant contribution to the advancement of mankind.” My thanks to all those who nominated me for that honor!!

My service as director came to the end and I am pleased to inform all of you that our friend Ernst Honegger, currently president of the Bern Chapter, was elected on the Board! We all feel we are in good hands!!

We also have good news for what concerns our European chapters! We have received a few applications for new charters; in Belgrade, Serbia; Vilkaviskas, Lithuania; Rome, Italy; Berlin, Germany; Elista and Novosibirsk both in Russia.

Our Leadership Seminars have always been very successful but due to shortage of funds were not possible in 2011 and 2012. Now we have decided that we could try to have one in 2013 prior to our European Conference, May 30- June 2. In that case we think it will be easier as we eliminate travelling expenses; hopefully we will be able to organize it.
Wishing you all happy holidays!

Your friend, Valeria Magistrelli

PTPI Experiences

Experience Exchange with the Plovdiv Chapter – My Impressions

Tsvetoslava Trayanova, president of PTPI’s Pravets, Bulgaria Student Chapter recently visited Plovdiv to meet some of the members PTPI’s Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Smiles) Student Chapter and get inspiration from their ideas. The Plovdiv chapter has for years been one of PTPI’s most active chapters (current Team Peace Challenge Title holder for their efforts in 2011) and its members were happy to share some of their best ideas and most interesting experiences with their fellow PTPI member. In this report Tsvetoslava shares some of the impressions and ideas she gained from her visit to Plovdiv.

Tsvetoslava TrayanovaSome of the most successful and memorable initiatives that Plovdiv’s chapter have undertaken include charity bazaars, concerts, and visits to houses for underprivileged people. They have organized two charity concerts in order to raise money for flooding victims and Nataliya, a girl with a serious illness. Firstly, Smiles raised around 3500 euros for the victims of the Fukushima tragedy with the help of some famous Bulgarian singers and participants of the music game show X factor. Further, they also organized some bazaars and bake sales to support Nataliya. The chapter’s other activities have included a flash mob and Halloween party in the mall of Plovdiv, as well as free hugs on St. Valentine’s Day. The main purpose behind some of these events is to just have fun and make wonderful memories together. In comparison some other causes the chapter supports are of a far more serious nature. Examples of this include a charity event they organized to support a disabled child (c.a. 350 euros were raised) and visits to nursing homes and homes for kids with special needs. The officers and the volunteers from Plovdiv have also organized an activity called Lud umora nyama (Crazies are never tired): teams of four participants go through the city competing for a prize, the fastest team wins.  Another initiative Smiles created to raise money was the sale of bracelets, from which they raised about 1000 euros. With all their activities the chapter follows some essential rules. First of all, they advertise popular companies that sponsor their initiatives. Some of them are Mojito, Subway, and Toasty. Secondly, they collaborate with a local charity organization called Big brother, big sister and lastly, they raise awareness about their activities throughout the whole city by putting up posters in schools, streets and on billboards, making flyers, and establishing Facebook groups.

According to some of their officers another recipe for their successful charity fundraisers has been to leave the prices open. The goods have no exact price and the buyers only pay as much as they are willing to pay, keeping in mind that it is for a good cause. I think that this method is extremely useful and have already used it at one of our own fundraisers in Pravets. The result was unparalleled success!

One of the questions I asked the members was why they chose to become a part of PTPI and start volunteering. They explained the joy they get from helping others. This is something I believe Smiles and other members of PTPI have in common. Another advantage of being member of PTPI is meeting peers and friends with similar mindsets that share similar goals and ambitions. Being in this context and being active in your community is a great experience for everyone and improves people’s attitudes towards one another. One of the best aspects is that we learn all these great attributes while having fun being PTPI members.

I very much enjoyed my stay with Smiles and I am happy we were already able to arrange our next meeting for April 2013, which will take place in our Pravets chapter. The Plovdiv chapter’s secretary, Magi Nankinova, and one of the group leaders, Lora Stoyanova, promised to gather a group of six to seven students who will come to visit our chapter.

Experience report - Worldwide ConferenceDaniel Rüegsegger, Interlaken

Daniel Rüegsegger is president of PTPI’s Interlaken, Switzerland Chapter and attended PTPI’s Worldwide Conference in Tallinn, Estonia from August 29 to September 2. The conference was a great opportunity to meet up with other PTPI members and to get to know the city of Tallinn. In his report Daniel shares some of the impressions from the event.

It was with great excitement and anticipation that I travelled to my first Worldwide Conference, which took place in Tallinn. This well-kept, clean, and well organized city reminded me of Zurich and other Swiss cities. The hotel was also very nice and I enjoyed my stay there greatly. The next day the official part of the trip began with registrations and welcoming guests. The afternoon program with the World Fair and the Global Book Club Happy Hour was an excellent opportunity to meet new people. The movie “The Singing Revolution” provided an insight into the last 80 years of Estonia’s history, in particular focusing on the country’s peaceful fight for independence from Russia. I am still impressed how the Estonian people achieved their goal through peaceful means. The next morning the movie was discussed and analyzed together with some Estonian personalities who were invited as special guests. In the afternoon we explored Tallinn together with a brilliant and humorous guide who took us through Tallinn’s well-kept old town. In the evening we took part in the Award Ceremony with Reception. Saturday was the Humanitarian Day, which we spent with Serve the City of Tallinn. One group helped clean the park and another one cleaned windows. Afterwards, we then took part in the Closing Reception with Gala Dinner and Dance, which took place in the Opera House of Estonia. Everyone enjoyed dining with their new friends greatly.

Coming Events

Date

Chapter

Event

Weekly, every Wednesday and Thursday

Brussels, Belgium

Networking event

Weekly, every Thursday and Friday

Brussels, Belgium Community Chapter

PTPI coffee morning

Monthly, every first Friday

Berlin, Germany Community Chapter

Monthly Roundtable

Monthly, every second Wednesday

Bern, Switzerland Community Chapter

English-Höck - Conversation Dinner

November 23

Milano, Italy Community Chapter

Information Meeting for Youth

November 30

Berlin, Germany Community Chapter

Weekend trip to Brussels, Belgium

December 6

Brusels, Belgium Community Chapter

Annual Meeting

December 7

Berlin, Germany Community Chapter

Christmas Dinner

December 8

Sternberk, Czech Republic Community Chapter

St. Nicolas Train Ride

December 15

Sternberk, Czech Republic Community Chapter

Candle Party

January 10

Skopje, Macedonia Student Chapter

Homestay with Sister Chapter

January 19

Sternberk, Czech Republic Community Chapter

Table Tennis Tournament

January 27

Denmark Community Chapter

Trip to New Zealand

March 5

Denmark Community Chapter

Trip to Nepal

March 8

Skopje, Macedonia Student Chapter

International Women’s Day

March 15

Interlaken, Switzerland Community Chapter

Annual General Meeting

March 21

Skopje, Macedonia Student Chapter

Spring Picnic

March 25

Bern, Switzerland Community Chapter

Annual Meeting

May 30

Varna, Bulgaria Student Chapter

European Conference

August 24

Interlaken, Switzerland Community Chapter

All-Swiss Meeting

September 4

Denmark Community Chapter

“Women-cultural Trip” to Tallinn, Estonia

For more events, please visit www.ptpe.org/events.

Save the date: May 30 – June 2

Next European Conference: Varna, Bulgaria: May 30 - June 2. Detailed program with a possible leadership seminar and post conference tour will be sent out in January. www.ptpe.org/varna2013.

European Conference

PTPI Updates

New chapters

We are pleased to announce new chapters throughout Europe and look forward to working with them and their projects. For a complete chapter list, please visit www.ptpe.org/chapters or www.ptpi.org - chapters

Belgrade, Serbia Community Chapter

The chapter’s president is Zoran Zlatkovic. Originally this chapter was founded as a voluntary, non-partisan, non-governmental and non-profit organization called “Organization of Creative Grouping” (OOCG). One of their beliefs is that art is for everyone and that it represents a universal language. OOCG has utilized this language in various projects and activities to promote different humanitarian and social messages. We look forward to see our new Belgrade chapter add their creativity to the PTPI cause and hope that they will continue to carry out projects as successfully as they have done so far.

Berlin, Germany Student Chapter

The chapter’s president is Cathy Sulaiman. Some of the founding members of this chapter, including Cathy, already took part in this year’s European Youth Forum in Berlin. The experiences at this forum – meeting participants from abroad and hearing about their projects – inspired this group to create a chapter in Berlin, carry out different projects and to organize events and activities together with the PTPI members they met during the conference.

Elista, Russia Student Chapter

The chapter’s president is Olga Magneeva. This chapter originally came together as an educational group that offered Sunday classes for kids. They will continue to carry out these classes and are planning on using them to teach young children about other cultures and international understanding. The members have many great ideas for new projects.

Novosibirsk, Russia Student Chapter

Chapter president is Karpova Veronika. The chapter’s Adult Advisor, Svetlana Shengilevich, was previously the Adult Advisor at PTPI’s Khmelnitsky, Ukraine Student Chapter, where she helped build up one of PTPI’s most active student chapters. We are confident that her experiences in Khmelnitsky and her familiarity with PTPI will be of great use to her new chapter and that she will be able to build up yet another very active student chapter.

Rome, Italy Student Chapter

The chapter’s president is Alexandru Andrei. The chapter has recently organized and carried out its first project. For more on this chapter’s visit to a local home for the elderly please read their chapter report.

Vilkaviskas, Lithuania Student Chapter

The chapter’s president is Greta Griskaityte. The chapter already has many great ideas for future projects, including visits to orphanages, hospitals and an old-age home. The chapter is also looking forward to visiting and hosting members from other chapters once they have built up relations with other people within PTPI’s global network.

New Board Members

At the Board of Trustees Meeting in Tallinn, the following three new European Trustees were elected:

  • Antoaneta Pophlebarova of Varna, Bulgaria
  • Karina Tatarova of Plovdiv, Bulgaria
  • Marek Kasik of Sternberk, Czech Republic

A list of all European Trustees can be found at www.ptpe.org/trustees Also in Tallinn, Valeria Magistrelli ended her term on the Board of Directors. Thank you for all your work and support Valeria! As new member on the board was Ernst Honegger from PTPI’s Bern, Switzerland Chapter was elected.

European Executive Committee

At the European Council Meeting Valeria Magistrelli and Antoinette McIntyre-Andersson were re-elected as chairperson and PR officer respectively.

Murals

The Global Youth Murals have been on exhibition in Tallinn, Estonia. They are now on exhibit in Berlin and will remain there until the beginning of January. Chapters interested in displaying the murals, may contact the European office or visit www.ptpe.org/murals.

Awards

At the Worldwide Conference in Tallinn, the following members and chapters were recognized:

  • Eisenhower Distinguished Service: Valeria Magistrelli (Milano, Italy)
  • Outstanding Leadership Award for the European region: Heather Exell (Chester, England)
  • Chapter Membership Award for the European region: PTPI's Denmark Chapter

At the Global Youth Forum in Chicago:

  • Chapter Membership Award: Vaslui, Romania (Mihail Kogalniceanu) Student Chapter

Congratulations to all and thank you for your work!

Awards - 2012

PTPI all-Bulgarian Meeting

November 1-3, PTPI held its first all-Bulgarian meeting. Thirty participants from six of the seven chapters attended the event, which was successfully organized by PTPI’s Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Smiles) Student Chapter. The meeting aimed to increase the awareness of PTPI programs, improve cooperation between the chapters and to have a good time. There was also a special session on membership recruitment. Two participants came from Alexandria, Romania and Lars Poignant came from PTPI’s European office. The meeting was supported by PTPI’s European Council with 240 euro. The participation fee was a record low at 17 euro, which included meals and program participation. Accommodations were offered as homestays or in apartments. The meeting was held in the facilities of the city council and included city sight-seeing before everybody returned home. Good job Plovdiv! Special thanks go to Hristina Popova for her hard work.

Balkan ChaptersBelgrade, Serbia

With PTPI in Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, and Montenegro, our members invite you to a picturesque region! We would like to highlight a number of chapters in the Balkan region, which recently hosted staff member Verena Denk.

PTPI’s Belgrade, Serbia Chapter just joined our international network last month, but the members have been actively contributing to their community as the “Organization of Creating Grouping” for several years. Theater projects and educational efforts for conflict resolution are their specialty. We are glad to be able to welcome this dynamic group in our midst.

PTPI’s Klina, Kosovo Student Chapter was chartered in November, 2011 and has already engaged in a number of humanitarian efforts. The local youth center in Klina is a great support for the members, thanks to advisor Vitore Zefi, who is staff member of the youth center. In the beginning of this school year, the chapter has increased its membership and elected new officers.

PTPI’s Tirana Community and Student Chapters in Albania have been thriving for several years and can look back on a number of very successful educational, cultural, and humanitarian initiatives and projects. Chapter Founder and Board of Directors member Genci Mucaj welcomed community and student chapter members and alumni to a special reunion on November 9.

PTPI’s Podgorica, Montenegro Chapter was chartered in February this year. The members are active in the local organization Civic Alliance and found with PTPI an international platform to meet like-minded people and exchange experiences. Humanitarian and educational activities have been their main focus so far. International visitors are cordially invited to meet our new members in Podgorica and discover beautiful Montenegro.

European Youth Forum 2012: Manual Presentations

The European Youth Exchange 2012 in Berlin, Germany united student groups consisting of four students and one advisor per group from the following countries: Egypt, Armenia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Czech Republic, and Germany. Each group had carried out at least one humanitarian project prior to the exchange, which they presented to the other groups in Berlin. During the exchange the groups then created a manual based on their experiences, designed to inspire other youths to carry out similar humanitarian projects and take on a positive role in their community. Following their time in Berlin, the groups translated the manual into their respective languages and presented it to people in their community. See www.ptpe.org/eye2012 for more details!

The group from PTPI’s Varna, Bulgaria (Dolphins) Student Chapter combined their manual presentation with their annual recruitment campaign. Two weeks before the event they put up posters in local high schools and also created an event on Facebook in order to spread the word. They rented a presentation room at the local Youth Centre and managed to gather more than 50 people. The chapter had prepared a PowerPoint presentation with lots of pictures and talked about their humanitarian project, their experiences at the youth exchange in Berlin, and ultimately presented the manual. Further, the group showed pictures from some of their most memorable activities of the previous months and informed their audience about PTPI’s and their chapter’s history. Afterwards, there was a small coffee break and the chapter carried out several teambuilding exercises. The aim of the event was to display the chapter’s dynamic and some of the group’s values – decisions are always made as a group, every opinion counts, and they are always up for new and exciting experiences. The feedback from the audience following the presentation was very positive and the chapter is optimistic that they managed to recruit new participants for future meetings and projects.

The group from PTPI’s Sternberk, Czech Republic Chapter presented its manual to some older students in the sports hall of a local school. The presentation included an overview of PTPI, offered a closer look at the chapter’s activities, and talked about some of the ways different chapters cooperate. The main focus of the presentation, however, was the youth group’s humanitarian project, their experiences at the Youth Exchange, and Global Youth Service Day. The group also gave a brief overview of the projects the other groups had organized in their respective countries. With the help of a projector it was possible to effectively present the spirit of the exchange, using several pictures and videos.

PTPI’s Skopje, Republic of Macedonia (CreActive) Student Chapter carried out the presentation of their manual on October 22. The chapter members decided that the presentation of the manual would also be a great opportunity to promote their chapter and possibly recruit new members. Therefore they invited high school students and teachers for their event. Ultimately, the event was a great success as the members were approached by many participants who were interested in joining their activities. In view of the interest in their chapter sparked by this event, the members recognized the advantage of such promotion efforts in order to strengthen the position of the chapter within their local community.

Manual 2012The group from Sadat City, Egypt decided to make two separate presentations for their manual, one for students and one for parents. Just before the start of the General Parents’ Assembly, the students talked about their project and their experiences at the Youth Exchange and presented the manual. They also set up a donation box and collected in total approximately 26 euros for future projects. The second presentation was attended by approximately 100 middle and high school students. The participants from Egypt included some ice breakers in their presentation and also served drinks and cookies. The presenters as well as the audience had a great time.

The group from PTPI’s Tirana, Albania Student Chapter presented its manual at a local language school, where they always have their chapter meetings. The audience was made up of friends and students from the language school, who admired and gained inspiration from the different projects. The chapter’s adult advisor, Aleksander Ndini, and PTPI Trustee and founder of PTPI’s Tirana Community Chapter, Genci Mucaj, further felt that the manual was very instructive and inspiring and should be made more accessible to other students. They also presented the manual in other language schools in Korca, Durres, and Struga, the latter being in the Republic of Macedonia.

The group from PTPI’s Yerevan, Armenia Student Chapter presented its manual on October 28. The event was attended by several PTPI members, non-members, and youth journalists of an online club. The event began with Susanna Grigoryan, vice-president of PTPI’s Yerevan’s Community Chapter, introducing and presenting PTPI and some of its central themes. The participants in the Berlin youth exchange then presented the projects they had carried out, their experiences in Berlin, and most importantly the manual. The audience admired the different projects organized by all the different groups in different countries and complimented the participants for their social conscience and efforts. Receiving such positive feedback and recognition for their efforts was very motivating for the young people to engage in future projects.

The group from Berlin held their presentation in their school. Besides the exchange participants, fellow students attended; in total 20. Cathy Sulaiman and Alexander Biber explained their projects and the summer exchange. More importantly they outlined their ideas for a future PTPI student chapter in Berlin. The highlight of the meeting was the completion of their chapter charter application, because this will be the first PTPI student chapter in Germany!

Chapter Reports

Berlin, Germany

The main event of the last three months was the Worldwide Conference in Tallinn, Estonia. As I mentioned in my last European Newsletter there were less than 40 participants from Europe, which I thought was really a pity, because the program was great! Ruta Pels organized many good things, including a guided walk through the city, the welcome reception in a historical mill, an afternoon with Serve the City, and our gala dinner at the opera with two local singers. We also had the chance to learn much more about ‘The Singing Revolution’ in the three Baltic States more than 20 years ago. Some of us ended the conference with a trip to Helsinki, which turned out to be a wonderful highlight.

On October 6, our chapter organized a meeting at a café in the afternoon. After having some coffee, eating, and talking the group went to the Grips Theater together. We all enjoyed the entertaining performance dealing with a disagreement and miscommunication between a teacher and the parents of her students. At the end of October, Janusz Wozniak from Katowice, Poland visited Berlin together with a group of students. Dagmar Schönbeck and I had the chance to meet him for a pleasant dinner. On October 31, Ilona Schmidt organized a tour of the Der Gelbe Schein exhibition at the Centrum Judaicum. If you are interested in learning more about the synagogue, I recommend having a look at www.cjudaicum.de. After the exhibition, we all went to the Oranium restaurant nearby. On November 17, the third exhibition of the PTPI murals in took place in Berlin. Twenty participants came to the event.

The following day, 20 members from our chapter and friends visited the Marienfelde Refugee Center (www.notaufnahmelager-berlin.de) together with our member and guide Arik Komets. Following visit we went to for a delicious meal of roasted goose at Die Scheune (The Barn).

From November 30 until December 3, ten members will be visiting Brussels. Ilona Schmidt organized this trip. There will be an interesting program and members of the Brussels chapter will be welcoming us. On December 7, we will have our last meeting of the year, which will also be our Christmas celebration. I am sure many members will join us in the restaurant “Heidelbeere” as we have done regularly throughout the year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Hannelore Büchler, President and Trustee

Bern, Switzerland

August 2012 was a pretty busy time for our chapter. Right after the follow-up work for the visit of the American Student Ambassadors in July, we had to switch in high gear with the preparations for our double event on Saturday 18 August, the All-Swiss PTPI Chapter meeting and the PTPI Bern Summer-party. A group of around twenty members from Zurich, Luzern, Bern as well as some international visitors from Belgium, Romania, and Sweden met in the morning in the tiny village Arni-Emmental for a Special day of Cheese making and Hiking. On a very sunny and hot day we were welcomed under a tent cover in the garden behind the small local cheese factory. The hostess served coffee, tea, croissants, and gave us different pieces of different cheeses. Shortly thereafter, we were called into the cheese factory were we all helped to each make our own cheese called “Stärne Chäs” from scratch under the very capable and entertaining guidance of the resident cheese master. With the subsequent tour through the cellars where the cheese is treated and cured, we ended a highly educational morning.

Quite hungry we walked about 20 minutes to a nearby farm for lunch. We were served a unique outdoor fondue with drinks and coffee, followed by a delicious home-made dessert. The cheese master was preparing the fondue, using his secret mix of local cheese types, in a big bowl on a small wood fired stove. With the help of one meter long fondue-forks, we were easily able to dunk our bread cubes into the cheese fondue. Following this unique outdoor lunch, some members of the group hiked cross country to the farewell restaurant terrace in the nearest village with a train station. After a well-deserved drink, most participants made their way home, while some of us went by train and bus to the PTPI Bern Summer Party in Hinterkappelen. A quartet of dedicated members had prepared the big upstairs party room in our local community center, the Kipferhaus. Around seventy participants, including members’ families and Homestay Guest families, enjoyed a relaxed grill party with a lively exchange of information on PTPI, the Bern chapter. and Homestays.

On August 22, two members of PTPI’s Kathmandu, Nepal (Peace Nepal) Community Chapter arrived at Zurich airport for a one to two week homestay in Switzerland. Indra Thapa Chhetri, the chapter’s president, and Aakur Luitel, the chapter’s vice-president, were each accommodated with a member family. Besides getting used to Swiss housing and households and enjoying the local cuisine, which was very different to what they were used to, they were shown around the countryside. Coming from a poor and developing country like Nepal to a highly developed Switzerland turned out to be quite challenging for our two guests, but both left quite impressed and with many good, concrete ideas to implement back in their home country.

During the last days of August, three of our members attended PTPI’s Worldwide Conference in Tallinn, Estonia. Seeing so many friends and making new friends from around the world in the setting of such a pleasant conference was delightful. Tallinn with its eventful history, wide variety of culinary specialties, and its friendly, hospitable people was most enjoyable and definitely worth a trip.

Ernst Honegger, President and Trustee

Burgas, Bulgaria (The Vectors) Student Chapter

For Global Youth Service Day, the chapter decided to celebrate the Day of the Book by helping clean up their school’s library. The help was greatly appreciated.
The chapter has also organized several member recruitment activities, including presentations and the distribution of flyers.

For the Christmas season the members are currently planning to organize a fundraising bazaar where they are planning to sell handmade Christmas cards and little dolls made from leftovers of fabric, as well as some homemade baked goods. The profits raised will be used to support people in need.

Elena Marinova, President

Cherkasy, Ukraine Student Chapter

On September 21, the chapter organized a bake sale as their contribution towards Peace Day. The chapter’s homemade goods were in high demand and the bake sale was a huge success. Overall the Chapter raised about 315 euros. The money was later split up and sent to the local dog shelter, an orphanage, and the Red Cross.

Karyna Lyashenko, President

DenmarkAnne Marie Bohsen

On Saturday, October 13, the chapter organized its second “Travel Café.” The event was organized as a fair, where the chapter presents the different countries it has visited in the past and is planning to visit in the future. For each country the members presented photos, information, and souvenirs, as well as their own recollections of their travels. In total around 70 guests attended the event and greatly enjoyed the fair, the company, and the homemade cakes. The aim of the “Travel Café” was to find participants for future trips, some of them five years ahead. Organizing and booking these trips so far ahead has the advantage that participants have time to prepare and save up for the trip. The chapter invited a professional travel-organizer, Adventure Holidays, to attend the fair, which proved to be a great addition to the event. The people behind the Travel Café preferred to work together for a common goal: achieving Peace through Understanding by meeting one another.  At the Travel Café non-members of PTPI were introduced to the homestay program. Many were attracted to this opportunity, as it gives the visitor a fantastic opportunity to experience daily life in other countries/cultures. Amongst the visitors were many alumni of past trips organized by the chapter and so the “Travel Café” was also a great opportunity for people to get together and catch up. To expand the “Travel Café” even further in the next year, the chapter is already planning to invite a sports gear outfitter and a photography store to represent themselves at the event and provide useful insight into their respective area of expertise.

Anne Marie Bohsen, Trustee

Khmelnitsky, Ukraine (Young Leaders) Student Chapter

Between May 17 and 21, the chapter celebrated the Day of Europe. As part of their celebration they informed older students about different aspects of the EU. One major component of this was a role play called “Expanding opportunities for a united Europe” to which representatives of several schools were invited. For the younger students the chapter organized a quiz called “Euroquest to Europe Day” on May 18. During the quiz the students got the opportunity to showcase their knowledge on the geography, culture, traditions, and history of different European countries.

From May 4 to 5, the chapter carried out its “From Heart to Heart” project, which raised funds for children suffering from diabetes. The chapter managed to create a lot of awareness and raised a considerable amount for their cause.

On October 11, the members organized a charity autumn fair at their school. During the fair, they sold unprocessed food, including nuts, apples, and pears. The funds raised during this activity will be used to provide lunch for two months to students from poor families.

On October 17, the chapter organized a charity concert. Through the concert the members raised money for orphans and poor students. This charity concert was followed up by another concert, the “Victory Day Concert.” This concert took place on May 7 in front of World War II veterans, honoring their achievements. Two days later the chapter also took part in the “Victory Day Parade.”

On October 24, all members helped to clean up the Memorial of Fame in Khmelnitsky. Together with some teachers and students of their school, the chapter also decided to write other schools in Khmelnitsky to urge them to help them clean other historical places and monuments in Khmelnitsky.

The chapter also has a long-term project called “The Rainbow shines even if you are blind.” As part of this project the members organize different activities and training workshops. As part of one of their projects, the chapter created tactile books for blind and visually impaired children. They then brought their creations to a special school for blind and visually impaired children, where they shared their books and read from them to the children.

From September 29 to 30, the chapter took part in “The City Day of Khmelnitsky” meeting, celebrating their city. During these days the members took part in a celebration parade through the town Centre.

On October 5, the members of the Chapter organized a school project dedicated to personal hygiene and encouraging students to wash their hands regularly.

Yulia Yershova, President

Konotop, Ukraine (Unity) Student Chapter

On September 6, the day of Konotop, members visited war veterans. The veterans had fought in the “Great Patriotic War,” one of the main battles of World War II. The veterans shared their life experience with the Chapter members. The Chapter members found their stories very interesting and inspiring and learnt a lot from them.

In September, members decided to commemorate the famous Russian Poet Marina Tsvetaeva. They organized a party in her honor to which many of Tsvetaeva’s biographers came. The members recited some of Tsvetaeva’s poems and sang songs. Everyone enjoyed the party and the romantic atmosphere the chapter had created.

Volvach Yaroslava, President

Kurchatov, Russia (Friends meeting Friends) Student Chapter

On May 20, PTPI’s Kurchatov, Russia Student Chapter decided to beautify their schoolyard by planting new flower beds. The chapter has since put a lot of time into maintaining the flower beds and expanded their schoolyard-maintaining duties by raking up the leaves.

From September 7-14, the chapter organized a “Toys and Books Charitable Drive.” During the weeklong charity drive, the chapter collected three large bags full of items, which they donated to a thankful local kindergarten.

On September 17, the chapter organized a membership recruitment event targeted at middle school students and their parents. They made a powerful, one and a half hour long presentation about PTPI entitled “Change the world around you.” The event was a complete success and the chapter was able to recruit 15 new members.

On September 17, the chapter also organized and ran an Intercultural Dialogue day in cooperation with AFS and the European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL). The event was entitled “United in diversity” and more than 40 students participated and made this event a great success. The event was also promoted and covered by the school website.

Alina Vazhenina, President

Oroslavje, Croatia (The Eagles) Student Chapter

On September 21, the members helped clean the streets of Oroslavje. They also handed out flyers to passers-by to promote environmental issues and make people more conscious about their contribution to keeping the environment clean. The activity was organized as part of a larger environmental project under the patronage of Croatia’s president Ivo Josipović.

Maja Vdović, President

Pravets, Bulgaria Student ChapterPravets - Swastica

On June 1, the Day of the Child, the chapter followed up its tree-planting activity in Vidrare with another visit. This time several chapter member brought cake and clothes for the children in the home.

In June, the chapter took part in ten days of a one month project, “Our Summer,” for children between grades 1-7. Together with some volunteers, the members helped teach the students English with games, sports, art and swimming.

On August 13, the Chapter President, Tsvetoslava Trayanova, received a municipal scholarship for participation at the leadership academy GLOW. Together with Yoana Kostova Marchovska, she attended the one-week event. As part of the program they will now organize activities against violence amongst youths.

Between August 31 and September 5, several members helped organize a workshop on personal and group identity, SWOT analyses, project structure, fund raising activities, EU programs (Youth in Action, EVS), partner finding, and communication.

On September 11, Tsvetoslava Trayanova met with several members of PTPI’s Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Smiles) Student Chapter. As Plovdiv has long been one of the most active chapters, Tsvetoslava looked to gain inspiration for her own, relatively new, Pravets Chapter. (To read more about Tsvetoslava’s experiences in Plovdiv read her experience report also contained in this newsletter).

On October 18, several members of the chapter sang in public at a music event as part of a local town festival.During October, members of the chapter discovered a swastika, which had been painted on a wall in the town center. The chapter subsequently visited the municipality to request permission to paint over the swastika. Having already been in contact and established an understanding with the municipality in the past, the chapter quickly received approval and permission for its plan. On October 19, the swastika was painted over.

On October 23, the chapter organized a bake sale. With the sale of several homemade baked goods, the chapter was able to raise 25 euros to support a Roma girl who lives in an orphanage and attends their school.

Between October 27 and 28, the chapter held a seminar on human trafficking. One of the main components of the seminar was a debate following Karl Popper’s debate format. During the seminar the members also presented their chapter activities and PTPI in general to the participants.

Tsvetoslava Trayanova, President

Rome, Italy Student Chapter

On November 10, the chapter organized a visit to a local home for the elderly. The inhabitants are all over 80 years old and thoroughly enjoyed the chapter’s visit. Together they sang, chatted, and joked. A major topic of discussion was also the economic situation in Italy and the world. As everyone enjoyed themselves greatly, time flew by quickly. In the end the inhabitants of the nursing home thanked the members for their visit and the joy, serenity, and carefree moments that they had brought them. As all involved had such a great time, the chapter is already planning its next visit to the home before Christmas.

Alexandru Andrei, President

Skopje, Macedonia (creActive) Student Chapter

On October 26, the chapter held a leadership workshop at the Youth Cultural Centre in Skopje, which also included training sessions for PTPI team officers. The workshop was organized to give the chapter’s new members an opportunity to gain some experience with the planning of chapter events and projects.

The program was similar to previous workshops organized by the chapter, including a lot fun educational games that raised different questions about leadership. Arguably the most important question raised by the games was “How do we define the leader and his or her characteristics? And what type of leader is the best one for the team?” After having played the games, the participants engaged in discussions and every member had the chance to express their own opinion on what it means to be a good leader. Stevica, the chapter’s adult advisor, ended the event by sharing his opinion and some useful tips. The feedback the chapter received from the audience members was extremely positive, as they appreciated the opportunity to learn more about working in a team and being a leader.

During the month of October, the chapter organized an essay competition for 13 to 18 year old students. The proposed topics of the essays were modern and designed to appeal to the participants. In the end the chapter received 35 excellent essays and had a tough time picking a winner. The winners were ultimately announced at another activity organized by the Skopje Chapter, the “New life in the old bazaar.”

At the “New life in the old bazaar,” the chapter organized an art exhibition to raise funds. All the art work was done by Ena Peeva, who was the president of PTPI Skopje at the time. It was for sale and the chapter was delighted with the profit they made at the event.

From August 12 to 23, members of the chapter attended a project of intercultural painting in Solothurn, Switzerland. Together with 30 other volunteers from six different countries across Europe, they helped create different artwork, which reflected the different cultures present at the event. The participants all lived together and by interacting with one another and carrying out different activities together they all learnt a lot about each other’s cultures.

From September 5 to 13, some members of the chapter participated in a youth exchange on the topic “Volunteer into work” organized by the Educational Center Kruseva in Serbia. Thirty participants from five different countries participated and helped make this event an intercultural experience that everyone enjoyed greatly. Participants expressed that they were highly pleased with the learning outcomes and that they are looking forward to applying their new knowledge on volunteering in future PTPI activities, as well as their own professional careers.

Angel Dimitrievski, President

Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Student ChapterSofia Basar

On October 4, the chapter organized a bake sale, which they in good humor decided to call “Not Another Charity Bazaar.” Although, the chapter had originally planned the event to finance its other project ideas, the chapter allowed itself to be inspired spontaneously when they heard of Svetoslav Stoilov’s fate. The 22 year old man is suffering from lung cancer and the members decided they wanted to help him. They handed out flyers containing information about lung cancer and sold several homemade goods, such as chocolate cakes, cheese and meat pastries, and muffins. The proceeds were then donated to Mr. Stoilov.

Iliyana Dadarova, Secretary

Sternberk, Czech Republic

On November 17, EVS (European Voluntary Service) volunteers Anna Chub and Megan Cooper helped the chapter to organize an event to commemorate Guy Fawkes Day. They set up a bonfire, made figurines of Guy Fawkes, and played football. Some volunteers also informed the guests about Guy Fawkes, his place in British history, and different ways British people celebrate the event.

Between March 1 and December 1, the chapter was involved in the “Growing Up in Europe!” project. Together with some volunteers they worked with disabled people and carried out activities such as hiking, rafting, a Children’s Day Celebration, and intercultural events.
 
Members and friends of the Sternberk Chapter during a game of football on Guy Fawkes Day.

PTPI Sternberk, with the support of PTPE was able to visit the village of Bystrec in the Orlicke Mountains to host the “Building on Culture” project. As part of this project, different cultures came together to reach out to the local community. Each day was spent working hard, rebuilding and preparing the house of a PTPI family for the winter and each night followed the theme of a new culture including Australian, Lebanese, Norwegian, Ukrainian and of course Czech. The week also included a visit to the local grammar school in Letohrad. Here students were presented different opportunities they have through both the Youth in Action’s EVS (European Volunteer Service) programs and PTPI Sternberk, both as a hosting and sending organization. We had a whole spectrum of presenters, two current EVS volunteers hosted by PTPI Sternberk, a Czech Volunteer who was sent on EVS to Norway by PTPI Sternberk, Eliska Vranova, the president of PTPI Sternberk and PTPI trustee, Helca Metelkova, member of PTPI Sternberk and trainer of the National Agency of Youth in Action. This great coverage made sure all information was given and no leaf was left unturned. The team, apart from helping around the Kestranek’s house, also invited Zambo i, an amazing Czech folk band, to play for the local Bystrec people. It was a great way to end a week of work and hopefully next time the rain will hold off a little longer!

SternberkAnna Chub, Megan Cooper, EVS volunteers and Eliška Vránová, President

Tallinn, Estonia

Hosting PTPI’s Worldwide Conference at the end of August was undoubtedly the biggest event and arguably the biggest challenge for our chapter this year. We do not want to talk about the event too much, as you will already get a good insight into the event through some of the other participants’ reports in this newsletter. We would just like to say THANK YOU once again to everyone who came to Tallinn and helped make this experience in the company of the PTPI family an amazing and joyous one.
Following the Worldwide Conference, the Global Youth Murals exhibition, which is an annual project of PTPI’s School and Classroom Program, came to Tallinn Atlasnet Language School. The murals received special attention in September and October during the annual Global Education Week, which our chapter organizes every year in cooperation with the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe. Tallinn - MuralsOur chapter held a “Gender and Media toward creativity and entrepreneurship” evaluation meeting from August 19 - 24 in Nelijärve. This project was supported by the Youth in Action Program and Estonian Euroopa Noored büroo and brought together 21 participants and three trainers from ten EU and EU-neighboring countries.

One of the results of the meeting was a recommendation for all partners’ organizations, other NGOs, youth networks, and participants of the European Global Education Congress. On September 27, chapter president Ruta Pels presented different recommendations in Lisbon close to a special “Gender and Media” project stand. If you are interested in finding out more about this project, please visit our webpage section www.ptpest.ee/enid11.html.

Our chapter participated in many different Youth in Action Programs. We participated in the “ACTIVacting employability through creativity” training course (August 19-27) in Berlin, Germany, the “Europe on Air 3.0. Methods for European Citizenship Education and Innovation in Youth Participation” workshop (September 7-16),and the “MINORITY - Wake Up - Let`s Be Active” training course (September 27-October 6) in Ključ and Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as the “Darzee” youth exchange project (October 14-21) in Madrid, Spain.  As a host organisation and partner we applied for few new Youth in Action projects on October 1 and as a partner in EuroMed projects in Egypt and Israel on November 1.

Good news came from the European Commission: our chapter will be partnering the two-year EuropeAid project “Makutano Junction: a multi-media approach to effective development education.”

Ruta Pels, President and Trustee

Varna, Bulgaria (Dolphins) Student Chapter

Varna beach

It has been two years since the chapter began visiting two local orphanages, Gavroche and Nadezhda, as well as a local hospital St. Marina. The chapter continues to uphold its commitment to these institutions and every week a couple of members will visit them for two to three hours at a time. During their visits they entertain the children, playing games, drawing, telling stories, etc. The members have grown quite attached to the children and vice-versa and both sides always very much enjoy the visits. Apart from the chapter’s weekly visits, the orphanage has also been included in several of the chapter’s projects. On April 22, the Dolphins renovated the dining room of Nadezhda with the help of the orphans. Through their hard work, the children learnt to value their surroundings and to take care of their belongings. To remind them of this lesson, the chapter members made a photo collage showing the hard work that went into the renovation. Further, the Dolphins have organized several small events, such as a talent show, a math competition, cooking classes, a sporting event, and a Halloween party for the orphans.

On May 12, the Dolphins took part in the Bulgaria-wide initiative “Lets clean Bulgaria in a day”, which had been initiated by one of Bulgaria’s leading media companies. As part of their contribution, the chapter decided to clean up the local beaches. To make the whole event more entertaining for themselves, they created a competition to find out who could find the strangest thing. In the end they found some weird things and were able to collect more than 25 bags of rubbish.Between July 11 and 14, the Dolphins hosted the Eagles Student Chapter from Oroslavje, Croatia. They picked up their visitors from the train station, organized a party for them, showed them some of Varna’s most beautiful sights and spent a lot of time together enjoying the beach. Overall, everybody had a great time and the chapters still communicate regularly.

On August 29, members hosted and organized a joint project with PTPI’s Skopje, Macedonia Student Chapter. Together with their guests from Skopje, the Dolphins met at the entrance of the Sea Garden in Varna, one of the town’s busiest spots, to stage a flash mob. This day would have been Michael Jackson’s 54th birthday and so the participants danced to his song “Beat It” in order to pay tribute him.

On September 22, the chapter decided to commemorate Bulgaria’s national Independence Day. The group walked around Varna’s largest park and approached people, asking them what day it was. For every correct answer they would give the person a sweet. They also carried around a large sheet and asked the people they approached to write down in a couple of words what this day meant to them personally.

On October 27, the Dolphins decided to stage a flash mob with a replica of the Varna-Sofia train they had made from cardboard. The aim of the event was to draw attention towards Bulgaria’s deteriorating trains and railway network. They received a lot of attention for their efforts and were even interviewed by one of Bulgaria’s main TV networks, who showed the interview on the news.

Tsvetiana Zaharieva, President and members

Vaslui, Romania (Mihail Kogalniceanu) Student Chapter

On June 1, 19 members of the chapter visited a day center where they were welcomed by the facility’s director and introduced to the kids. The chapter took toys for the children, which were greatly appreciated. The kids enjoyed the chapter’s company and were eager to show off their singing, dancing, and drawing skills, as well as their good marks at school. Following this all round great experience, the chapter promised that they would visit the day center again.

On October 19, chapter members engaged in discussions with 11-12 year old students to illustrate the importance of volunteering. The children showed a great interest and proposed different fundraising ideas themselves.

Liliana Harhas, Adult Advisor

Vilkaviskis, Lithuania Student Chapter

The Vilkaviskis chapter recently organized and carried out its first activities. The chapter presented itself and PTPI at their school. To gather funds the chapter also organized a disco. The event was a success and the members are planning to use the proceeds of the event for the benefit of disabled children they want to visit in December. For their visit they are planning several small activities, including playing and drawing with the children.

Daiva Snipaitiene, Adult Advisor