A couple of months have passed since many of us met at the European Conference in Varna, Bulgaria. I think all of us, who were there, keep wonderful memories of that event in their hearts.. All participants received a warm welcome and after the conference followed the Post Conference Bulgarian Tour, which was very well, organized and really appreciated by all of us who took part in it. It gave us the possibility of knowing and seeing more of that beautiful country still unknown to most of us and at the same time it prolonged our staying together and gave us the possibility of enjoying the company of those who already were our friends and of getting to know each other better and making new and sincere friendships.
One of my longtime friends told me: "the more I know you, the more I like you" and it was the same for me. The more time I had the opportunity to spend with her and her husband, the more I got to understand her and the more I appreciate and like her. Isn't this wonderful and what gives us the measure of how successful the whole event was? How can we forget Antoaneta, our hostess, and the wonderful group of Dolphins? Thank you and a big warm hug from all of us! Can we forget our staff, Lars and Verena, who organized, took care of us, instructed us, were always present, helpful and alert any minute of our days and nights? Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!
During the conference our deeply loved CEO Mary Eisenhower, that we have seen at work for many years and has contributed to make our organization the International PTPI we have today, announced her retirement from this position for personal reasons but she also assured she will continue being at our side as President of PTPI. No words to express how sorry we all are but I am sure she will be with us and also attend our conferences for the future! So Mary, best wishes and hugs from all of us and remember we are waiting to see you next year in Tirana. For the moment sincere thanks from the PTPI people!
The last week of July, Lars and Verena were again very busy with the seventh edition of the European Youth Forum, which this year was a training course held in Berlin with participants from ten different countries: Film for Inclusion - Film as Universal Language. I feel extremely grateful to Verena for this as she managed to receive funds for 26.000 euros from the European Union for the realization of this project. It was a hard and long work!
The European Executive Committee has a new member: Katerina Romanova as PR officer and we all want to welcome her to work with us! We are sure she will give her very valuable contribution and we thank her - welcome on board!
The activities around Europe have not stopped even during this vacation period and both the office and the chapters are all engaged in programs and events. On our side, the EEC members will try to be present as much as possible. The EEC held a conference call in mid-August.
The last thing: Do not forget the next European Conference is already planned for June 5-8 in Tirana, Albania and it is going to be another incredible event!! So save the date since now and I want to see many, many of you. I am very proud to say that our European Conferences are always attended by many friends from far away countries, mainly USA, and of course to them we want to give our deeply heartfelt thanks!
I think it is all for the moment! Until we meet again, I remain
Experience report –European Conference – Through the Eyes of a Beginner
Charlotte Scheller is a member of PTPI's Interlaken, Switzerland Chapter and attended PTPI's European Conference in Varna, Bulgaria from May 30 to June 2. In her report, Charlotte tells us about her impressions of the first ever conference that she attended.
Being a retired teacher, I'm well on in years, but since this was my first PTPI Conference ever, I think I'm entitled to call myself a beginner. I went to the conference with no expectations whatsoever and was pleasantly surprised. The warmth and friendliness of the people we met during these four days was almost overwhelming. "We" is Isabel Hänni and me. For her it was the 10th conference, so she was an old hat, and I was happy just to tag along.
Upon arriving at Bucharest Airport we were picked up by a charming young couple, Gina and Ovidiu Tataru, and with them we drove to Varna in about six hours. It took us a while to get out of Bucharest, and then there were a couple of "detours." The days in Varna were full of surprises and eye-openers: Friday morning the city walk hosted by the charming local members of PTPI, the Dolphins. We got a good impression of Varna thanks to a wide variety of sights and fun activities, which were well adapted to the actual place we were looking at. The motivation and enthusiasm, the pure joy that radiated from many of these young people was most refreshing.
The day of the conference was the best of the whole stay weather-wise. Unfortunately, we had to stay indoors almost all day. I found the conference interesting, but it needs to be structured and planned better, which would save half a day. More time for the very carefully planned and instigated Chapter Fair would be the result.
Sunday we were taken on a tour of the area between Varna and the sea-side resort Albena. In spite of the interesting places we saw, it seemed that most participants just wanted to socialize with people they had got to know over the years, and whom they see just once a year, This, most likely, accounted for the fact that we were constantly late for our designated sights of interest.
Looking back, the conference was packed with activities, day and night (or evening). The dinners Friday and Saturday night were fun and entertaining and exhausting (I'm just speaking for me). It was obvious from the start, that a close-knit family was having a reunion and it was a heart-warming experience to be welcomed into this family unconditionally.
|Weekly, every Wednesday||Brussels, Belgium||Networking event|
|Weekly, every Thursday||Brussels, Belgium||PTPI coffee morning|
|Biweekly, Mondays||Interlaken, Switzerland||Bilingual meeting|
|Monthly; first Friday||Berlin, Germany||Stammtisch|
|September||Iasi, Romania||International Festival and Competition "George Enescu"|
|September 4||Denmark||Women’s trip to Estonia|
|September 11||Berlin, Germany||Bulgarian evening|
|September 11||Bern, Switzerland||English conversation evening|
|September 13||Zürich, Switzerland||Thank you hosts event|
|September 13||Berlin, Germany||Wine excursion to Werder|
|September 15||Sofia, Bulgaria||Deadline for Dedoodle contributions|
|September 25||Chester, England||Homestay from Croatia|
|September 29||Europe wide||Now We Move Campaign Flash Mob|
|October 15||Joyce Hall Scholarship application deadline|
|October 17||Iasi, Romania||HappILLY ever after (about coffee)|
|October 26||Denmark||Travel Café|
|November 1||Student chapters||Team Peace Challenge|
|November 16||Interlaken, Switzerland||Altjahrshöckand and "The Singing Revolution"|
|November 29||Berlin, Germany||Trip to Torun, Poland|
|February 1||PTPI Project Grant Deadline|
|June 6-8||Tirana, Albania||European Conference|
|July 18 – August 5||Denmark||Trip to Canada|
|September 17-20||Tainan, Taiwan||PTPI Worldwide Conference|
Find more under: www.ptpe.org/events
New Chapter - Skopje
We are pleased to announce that since mid-August, there is a new chapter in Europe and the second one in Macedonia: PTPI's Skopje, Macedonia Chapter! Angel Dimitrievski is the chapter president. He is the past president of Skopje Student Chapter. See also Skopje chapter report.
Joyce Hall Scholarship
The deadline for the Joyce Hall Scholarship is October 15. The scholarship aims to cover school and college costs, and there are five scholarships of each $2,000.00 USD. Applicants must have had previous experience with PTPI through participation in one of our various programs. www.ptpe.org/grants.
Art Knows No Boundaries – Dedoodle!
In June, PTPI's Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Student Chapter started an international project named "Art Knows No Boundaries". After the amazing success of the first international edition of "Dedoodle" – a magazine for art and literature, the chapter is raving to see your limitless art once again! The chapter encourages chapters to take part in the second international edition of "Dedoodle"! The deadline has been extended to September 15. www.ptpe.org/dedoodle
Partner Chapter Search
The El Dorado County, California Chapter is looking for a partner chapter, and they would like to know if there is a European chapter, which would be interested in a partnership. If your chapter would like to partner up with the El Dorado County chapter, please contact the European Office in Berlin.
In June and July, the three Swiss community chapters, Bern, Interlaken and Zürich, hosted 40-50 student ambassadors each. Both member families and friends of the chapters offer homestay for the visitors, which is one of the highlights of their European tour. In Bern and Zürich, the events were covered in the media
Language Ambassador Program
Two teachers and two chapters have participated in PTPI's Language Ambassador Program; Lugoj in Romania and Varna in Bulgaria.
Membership Directory online
PTPI members can access the online membership directory. Log in via www.ptpi.org. You can also indicate if you want to be included in the directory or not.
European Conference in Varna May 30 – June 2
For the first time the European Conference was held in Bulgaria. PTPI's Varna, Bulgaria (the Dolphins) Student Chapter hosted the event. In total 114 people from 19 countries took part in the various events. Prior to the conference a Romanian Tour was offered by Andrei Corduneanu by PTPI's Roman, Romania Chapter. Four people participated. Also prior to the conference 25 chapter leaders from ten different countries took part in a two day Leadership Seminar on among other things various brainstorming techniques and used the method of peer group counseling to find solutions for recurring problems. Early arriving participants could take part in the humanitarian programs at either School for Visually Impaired or take part in a Christmas card making workshop.
- The European Executive Committee presented the activities of the past year. The reports and finances were approved.
- As new PR Officer, Katarina Romanova of PTPI's Kharkiv, Ukraine was elected.
- Chapter reports were made by
- Chalks Coriette, Brussels, Belgium
- Dessislava Vassileva, Pravets, Bulgaria
- Elena Hristova, Nicole Pophlebarova and Tsvetiana Zaharieva, Varna, Bulgaria
- Mary Eisenhower made a presentation of PTPI staff and announced her resignation as active Chief Executive Officer within PTPI.
- Simeon Kostov, Varna Bulgaria, brought up issues, suggested changes and aimed results regarding financial, intercultural, political and structural matters. The matters were discussed among the meeting participants.
- The hosting chapter members, informed that they raised 265 Euros selling Christmas cards during the meeting and 255 Euros during the Thursday charity concert.
- The next European Conference will be held in Tirana, Albania June 6-8.
- The traditional Chapter Fair marked the end of the Council Meeting.
After the conference, 34 participants took part in the trip from Varna going west to Sofia. The guides Antoaneta Pophlebarova, Tsvetiana Zaharieva and Anita Metodieva gave a very good insight in Bulgaria, the country, its culture and people. On the way stops were made stops in Veliko Tarnovo, Plovdiv, Rila Monastery and Sofia. In Plovdiv and Sofia local chapter members met up for sightseeing and joint dinner.
Thank you Bulgaria - Thank you Varna - Dolphins and all Participants!
EYF 2013: Training Course "Film for Inclusion – Film as Universal Language"
The training course "Film for Inclusion – Film as Universal Language" united 30 participants from ten partner organizations in ten different countries. It was organized with the support of the European Commission in the framework of the Youth in Action Programme and took place in Werftpfuhl, near Berlin, Germany from July 27 to August 4, 2013.
The first two days of the training were dedicated to team building and intercultural learning. Participants discussed the problems that young people in their different communities and countries are facing, and identified types of marginalized people. The third day had a special focus on participants' experiences with inclusion projects and the lessons they learned by implementing those projects. Inclusion projects involve participants from diverse backgrounds, especially groups of people with fewer opportunities or marginalized groups of people. Then participants acquired knowledge and skills in film making and created their own films. The films aim at promoting inclusive activities by and for young people. Mar Vista Media provided trainers, equipment, and post-production services for the creation of the films. Once the films are completed, they will be made available for all our members, and participants will present them in their local communities.
The film "Under the Mask" is very metaphorical and without dialogue. A young man decides to take off his mask, discover his real self, and work towards inclusion. Unmasked, the young man leaves his room, walks through a house, and opens a number of closed doors, where he encounters different scenes of exclusion. All the people he meets remain under the mask, while he is exposed and open. His unusual appearance attracts curiosity and momentarily, distracts people from their own problems. One by one they start going after the young man. What will they do? Can the young man really make a difference for inclusion?
"Soap Bubbles" features three young people who dream about their future in the first scene, but ten years later find themselves in boring jobs, every one of them facing some serious issues in his or her private life. How come they are not included, not leading the lives they always dreamt of? Is there a way to change this?
View pictures and more details about this training course at www.ptpe.org/film-training2013!
It was a great pleasure for me to meet you all again at the European Conference in a sunny Varna. As usual we had a great time enjoying each other's company, meeting old and making new friends, discovering a new country, sharing experiences, ideas, spreading peace and understanding.
Thank you Antoaneta Pophlebarova and all of the members of the Varna chapter, for the excellent organization, hospitality, and unforgettable spirit, which we all were able to enjoy.
It is an honor for me to work together with the other members of the European Executive Committee. Thanks a lot to all members for your trust. I am looking forward to working together with you; I am open for any advice, suggestion, request, or complaint from your side and will do my best to meet your expectations.
I said together with you because I am convinced that only in this way can we achieve better PR for the whole organization. I see a successful organization PR in promotion outside and inside the organization. Some of our chapters are already very active in their PR, and promote their activities in a very professional way. Some chapters need more support. That is why it is so important to communicate, share experience and ideas, learn from each other, and work together and by doing so improve PR activities. That will help to find new ways to promote our organization as a whole all over Europe.
A few words about myself: I have been part of the PTPI family since 2006. First, I was involved as an adult advisor of PTPI's Kharkiv Student Chapter. In 2011, I became a Trustee of PTPI. During that time I was leading many projects: Days of Europe in Kharkiv, All Ukrainian Meeting, International Seminar "Learning to be tolerant," a Polish-Ukrainian Project, to name a few. This year we also opened a community chapter in Kharkiv, Ukraine where I was a co-founder.
Last but not least, I wish the whole People to People family a great summer, with new and interesting projects. Let the positive energy, which we experienced in Varna, inspire us for new wonderful activities.
Keep in touch and hope to hear from you!
Now We Move – to Get New Members!
We have the pleasure to present an awesome idea for how you can recruit new members to your chapter, have fun, and take part in a unique international movement: Present a flash mob in your local community on Sunday, September 29!
How? It is very simple. Just check out the video at http://nowwemove.com/flash-mob/!
Why? Last year, PTPI's Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Smiles) Student Chapter took part in the International Sports and Culture Association's (ISCA) annual MOVE Week. The organization is a non-governmental organization placed in Copenhagen, Denmark, which wishes to further the recreational activities of people worldwide. With the MOVE campaign, ISCA envisions to get "100 million more Europeans active in sport and physical activity by 2020." The objectives of the MOVE Week are to:
- raise awareness of the benefits of sport and physical activity among Europeans
- encourage broader participation in sport and physical activity
- increase accessible opportunities to be active by developing new initiatives
The MOVE Week takes place October 7-13. Last year more than 140.000 people from 23 countries participated. One of the ways people can get involved is through a Flash Mob. The aim of it is to promote the MOVE Week, attract attention, create a common experience for the participants and, most importantly, to have fun whilst being active!
Let's get inspired by ISCA and PTPI's Plovdiv, Bulgaria Student Chapter. Let's inspire others to MOVE and take action!
The Flash Mob will take place Sunday September 29 at 15.00. Participants are encouraged to film the event, so that ISCA can produce a video out of the contributions. The choreography can be found at http://nowwemove.com/flash-mob.
If your chapter would like to participate in this event, contact Verena Denk. The first five chapters to sign up for the flash mob will receive 10 MOVE Week T-shirts and 100 bracelets and stickers. So start planning as soon as possible!
This year nine members from our chapter took part in the European Conference in Varna. Hans-Dieter Robel went on the Romania Tour before the conference, together with five other PTPI members. They had fun with their good guide Andrei Corduneanu, the president of PTPI's Roman, Romania Chapter. Three other members started their trip in Bucharest, and met Gina Tataru and her husband for a nice sightseeing tour.
The days in Varna were full of action. All of the meetings, good discussions, a great chapter fair, a city walk and always tasty meals and drinks during the conference provided great variety. Many participants also went on the Bulgarian Tour guided by Antoaneta Pophlebarova and two young members of the Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins) Student Chapter.
June 15, we had our traditional barbeque. Karin and Christian Lehmann hosted the party in their summer house. It was a very nice meeting, which included good food and drinks in a wonderful atmosphere.
July 14, Wendy Haydon from PTPI in California visited Berlin. We met her at the Potsdamer Platz and went for a typical German meal.
July 18-20, we had three visitors from the Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins) Student Chapter. Tsvetiana Zaharieva had a homestay in Cathy Sulaiman's house and Elena Hristova and Vanya Gercheva stayed with us. Friday night we also met with some of our chapter members, and one of our sightseeing trips involved a visit to the Reichstag (German Parliament), which Ilona Schmidt and I had arranged. We had a short but good time together.
Sunday July 21, we went on a daytrip to Waren at Lake Müritz. Dagmar Schönbeck had arranged the trip. Eight members enjoyed the city walk and the boat ride under a hot German sun.
August 7, Natalia Medianaya from PTPI's Kharkiv, Ukraine Chapter visited PTPI's European Office. She wanted to know more about PTPI and our chapter, because she wants to come to Berlin with a group of young students in October. She made use of PTPI's Homestay Program, and spent the night at Dagmar Schönbeck's home.
Hannelore Büchler, President and Trustee
Berlin, Germany Student Chapter
June 31, our chapter took part in a 5x5 kilometers team relay in Berlin. Five of our members participated, and each of us had to run five kilometers. We reached rank 431 out of 1440 teams. However, our main goal was to raise money by finding sponsors for the race. This turned out to be quite difficult, but fortunately our community chapter sponsored us with five euros per kilometer. In the end we raised 125 euros. We donated the money to Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung, a German organization that helps street children.
June 23-26, we hosted a group of students from PTPI's Tallinn, Estonia Chapter. We showed them the most important monuments of Berlin, such as the TV Tower and the Berlin Wall, but we also did other things together like bowling and going to the cinema. PTPI's Berlin, Germany Community Chapter offered homestays for the youth. It was the first time we had visitors, and all of us had a very good time.
As a representative of our chapter, I attended this year's PTPI Training Course "Film for Inclusion" in Werftpfuhl, Berlin. There were participants from ten different European countries, which gave us the chance to learn more about different cultures. The project was called Film for Inclusion, and we therefore made two films about this topic with the help of two experts. We all had a lot of fun together, both whilst shooting the film, but also in general. We were therefore all pretty sad at the end of the project, because we became like a big family during the days we spent together, and to leave family members is not easy at all. It was a really good experience, and we all hope to see each other again as soon as possible.
Kieu Anh Dang, President
The long summer break is over, most schools have started in Switzerland, and PTP Bern is taking stock of the summer months and looking forward to the new season. Andrea Sommer and her team of host families can look back on intensive but happy days of student ambassador homestays in July.
All the host families have been invited to our annual Summer Party, which will take place as usual in Hinterkappelen.
Our English conversation group meets Wednesdays, August 14 and September 11, as always at Häberlis' restaurant in Münchenbuchsee. We begin promptly at 19.00, and try to be consistent in speaking English until 21.00. It would be nice to meet more fans of the English language! If you are interested in participating, just check with me to make sure that the date and time are still valid. Everyone is welcome!
Linda Rickli, Board member
June 27-28, the chapter offered concerts through its exchange with Lakewood, Colorado. This year Rebecca Moritsky, a young harpist, visited Chester. Young singers, pianists, and flautists from Chester performed, as well. Rebecca was also offered a homestay with Heather and Stuart Exell.
Heather Exell, President and Trustee
It was my first time I attended a PTPI conference and I am sure that we will have many more successful conferences like the one in Varna.
Here in Gjirokastra, we had a great training activity in April. We gathered approximately 25 students from different schools and grades, including Roma and Egyptian students. The aim of the training was to improve the negotiation and problem solving skills of the students. Therefore, the presentations and discussions evolved around life skills, including topics such as self-perception, self-esteem, effective and assertive communication, violence prevention, negotiation, conflict resolution, problem solving, and decision making.
According to the students, they rarely discuss these topics with their peers or teachers, at least not in such an open atmosphere, and with the aid of instruments such as drawing, quizzes, etcetera.
As the training gathered pupils from different grades of the school, the activity also served to create a special bond between them, through both the group work, but also the activities, which were used to encourage the pupils to share more about their lives.
During the summer, the chapter also had an idea that is very helpful for children in need, mainly the orphan children of Gjirokastra. As the English teacher Rudina Shajko also is the president of the Association of Orphans, we thought of having some free summer courses in English and other subjects. The children who had attended their first classes were very happy.
Besides the lessons, we also organized other activities, with the aim of ensuring that the children would have fun. We planned around 14 classes on different subjects. We started with English, and continued with classes in mathematics, arts, Albanian etcetera.
Evana Simo, President
Klina, Kosovo Student Chapter
June 1, we organized a Fashion Show for Children's Day. In May, we had dispersed event notices to all of the elementary schools in our city. We also went to all primary schools and selected 11 girls aged five to seven, who were going to take part in the Fashion Show. June 1, a lot of children came with their parents.
For the selection of the girls, we had made a jury consisting of some of our chapter members: Leonard Dushi, Isa Berisha, and a volunteer called Rozafa Raci. The girls made the first round one by one, then in pairs, and finally in the entire group. The jury first decided on five girls, and then three, who were rewarded with a prize. We were supported by the Youth Center "Ardhmeria" for this activity. They provided us with a room were we could carry out the Fashion Show.
Erestina Krasniqi, President
Wednesday May 22, we had a Happy Hour event in support of women's education in Mombasa. It was a great success, and more than 60 people turned up. The total amount, which was transferred to PTPI for the "Let's Fight Ignorance Project" was 2100 euros. We have done this kind of fundraising over the last three years, and provided very substantially to the education of the 23 girls that the project involves. Five of them will attend university now, and obtain degrees in medicine, economics, nursing, and so on.
Special thanks to Anna De Giacomi, Dolores Nodari, and Chiara Rosso who have always been a great help and, of course, to all friends who come and contribute generously for a project they the chapter members consider very important.
Valeria, President and Trustee
The PTPI European Office later received an e-mail from Franklin Okoth from the Mombasa, Kenya Chapter in August, who tells us about the donated money, and how it was spent:
The funds were channeled to the education of 13 poor girls, who cannot afford the school fees. The money was transferred to various schools, where our students are being taught.
The money was distributed equally among the 12 students, since one of the students was fully sponsored by Luciano Garavani, Valeria Magistrelli's brother. Every student received $208 USD. Nine students finished high school last year, and four joined various public universities in Kenya, in order to pursue their careers. They receive a loan from the Kenyan government for this.
We are very proud of PTPI for improving the lives of these girls, and especially the Milano Chapter, and all of the international friends, who contributed towards this noble project.
Franklin Okoth, President of PTPI's Mombasa, Kenya Community Chapter
At the end of the school year, June 22, the ceremony of the biology courses and knowledge of the human body took place for the children at the care center. Ioana Herghea, a chapter member and student in the 11th grade, taught this course during the school year 2012-13, inspiring the children to gain a passion for the science of life. Our volunteers offered handmade diplomas to the participants, and prizes sponsored by the chapter. The children were impressed, because they were recognized for their results, and for their work in the course.
This is not the only activity that our members perform at the center. One of our members, Bianca Manolache, always organizes parties for the children. This is financed by the funds raised during the fundraising last Christmas, when the members carolled through town.
Between June 22 and July 4, Teodor Bordei, Andrei Buhlea, Naiana Ciustea and Bianca Manolache participated in the "Recycle for Life!" project that took place in Costinesti, Romania. Sixteen teenagers from Macedonia and Romania, respectively, participated in the project. The theme was recycling, and the participants did some activities on this topic:
"We created a trash can structured in four sections: metal, plastic, textiles, and paper, and for three days we recycled different things. On the fifth day of the project we were asked to create art objects of recycled materials. The results were amazing because we made dresses, earrings, souvenirs, but also a small autorecycling "robot" (Teodor Bordei).
August 10, we organized an activity called "PTPI on Cycle" where people willing to move went on bicycles on a route in the woods, along which they found many surprises. This activity was received with open arms by the people in our town, and more than 40 people participated. Through this action, the members of PTPI wanted to encourage a healthy lifestyle among the young people, replacing the daily monotony with an adventure on bike.
Georgiana Birjovanu, Secretary and Madalina Spoiala, Member
Rome, Italy Student Chapter
Throughout the month of May, all members of the chapter promoted PTPI in the various schools of Rome, including high schools.
Cecilia Conte, Elena Borgato, and Francesca Massaro went to the middle school Domenico Purified, where they met with 13 year old students, who showed a great interest for PTPI. Benedetta Curci, Francesca Fioretti, and Fabiola Guacci met with students from the high school Montezemolo, where the boys asked a lot of questions about PTPI. Roberto Torrini, Marco Pappatà, and Alex Andrei visited the Baptists Middle School. The students were very curious, and said that they wished to work together with us in various activities in the future. Sara Nati, Alessandra Capecchi, and Valentina Ombres went to the Montanelli Comprehensive School, where the pupils were very open to intercultural exchanges.
May is almost the third month since our chapter began supporting a child to go to school through the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Italy, by a contribution of 30 euros per month. The child, who lives in Romania, has an uncomfortable family situation. Our advisor is in contact with the child, and through the Romanian Community of San Lorenzo, we are able to find out about the child's needs. We also received our tax money from the Romanian Diocese in order to have more transparency and clarity, but also to ensure that we are able to help those who really need it.
Alexandru Andrei, President
Skopje, Macedonia Chapter
My team and I are preparing for a very exciting adventure: starting up a PTPI Community Chapter in Skopje – the capital of Macedonia. We have prepared a program in the spirit of PTPI and Peace through Understanding. This includes humanitarian action for the SOS Children Village, movie nights, cultural events, healthy food workshops, and these are just parts of the projects that we have planned, and that will be our tools for building peace in our community.
Every single experience I have had with PTPI was an amazing journey and full of ever lasting memories. I have been part of the PTPI family almost two years, and since then I have gained international friends all over the globe. Every day, the first things that I see on my bookshelves are the presents from all across the globe. Every day, in the morning, I remember the good times with Tsveti Zaharieva from Bulgaria, Rawan Emad from Egypt, Barbara Capozzi from USA, or Bergi Xhango from Albania. PTPI has marked my life with many international friendships. Macedonia deserves to have a Community Chapter, and many people here in my city deserve to be part of the PTPI family. With our new community chapter in Skopje, we will bring the mission of PTPI much closer to the Macedonians. With this Community Chapter we will make dreams come true, connect cultures, and overcome problems of understanding and peace.
Angel Dimitrievski, President
Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Student Chapter
In March our chapter started an international project named "Art Knows No Boundaries". Members from five PTPI chapters participated in creating the first international edition of our magazine for art and literature; "Dedoodle." They shared their most secret thoughts, dreams, and beliefs in the form of beautiful poems, stories, photographs, and drawings. Everyone has the opportunity to explore this enchanting world, which was created by them, a world full of fairy tales, magic, and creativity.
We invite all PTPI chapter members to take part in the second international edition of "Dedoodle!" The deadline is September 15. More information can be found on our official Facebook page: PTPI – The Doves Chapter.
May 7, The Doves volunteered at the newest library in Sofia, "HotSpot Books & Art," in order to support the reading of books in this ever more digital age.
May 7, our chapter also held elections for new chapter officers. After the elections, we celebrated the graduation of our seniors, and gave them their certificates for being PTPI members.
June 1-2, ten of our members participated in the Children's Day celebrations, volunteering at the annual Children's Festival "I Believe in You." It is organized by the non-governmental organization "Azbukari." There were a lot of amusing activities and surprises for the visitors, and the children received many presents. Famous singers, dancers, and actors also contributed to the success of the festival.
June 4, our chapter organized a charity bazaar to celebrate the beginning of the first summer month – June. Dreams were shared about hot summer nights, lazy days, the smell of the sea... and, of course, a lot of delicious food! Our members and other students from First English Language School prepared tasty muffins, wonderful cakes, and small appetizing sandwiches. The "June Charity Bazaar" was declared a huge success, we raised 150 euros, and thanks to the small, but important donations of students and teachers, another 240 euros were raised, and then donated to our French teacher, who is suffering from cancer.
June 6 will remain a special memory for everyone who participated in the meeting with our PTPI guests. None of us have ever met such wonderful and inspirational people, so full of energy and will to life. Sofia was the very last stop of the Bulgarian Post Conference Tour, and The Doves Mila Tzoneva, Zornitsa Bankova, Lidiya Daskalova, and Stoycho Velev showed the participants around in the city. They visited some of the most famous sights, such as the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Ivan Vazov NationalTheatre, the Monument to Saint Sofia, and many others.
Tired, but satisfied, the group had dinner at a restaurant we had chosen. Violeta Ruleva and our Chapter Officers Vassil Andreev, Radoslav Naydenov, Iliyana Dadarova, and Fannie Krispin joined them for the dinner. And our chapter received the Chapter Membership Award! All of us fully enjoyed the magnificent day and the amusing evening. We will never forget these incredible international friends who gave us the best experience of our lives!
In June, our chapter organized a Book Donation Campaign to support a 22-year-old man, Svetli, who suffers from a very rare form of lung cancer. To raise funds for his treatment and give him a chance to live his dream, Svetli's friends came up with the idea of organizing a Book Charity Bazaar. More than 50 great books were sent to Plovdiv, where the bazaar took place.
In July we bought ten donation boxes, which will be lent to people in need. The first one to whom we will give the boxes is Svetli.
Iliyana Dadarova, Secretary
In April, the chapter started a two-year EuropeAid project "Makutano Junction: a multi-media approach to effective development education." Partners from Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, and UK will raise awareness in schools of the major development issues facing people living in sub-Saharan Africa, and the resulting implications and opportunities for action for people within EU partner countries. This will be done by using the Kenyan soap opera "Makutano Junction" within partner countries, as a catalyst to encourage learning, critical thinking and the challenging of attitudes. It will particularly focus on poverty, health, and environmental sustainability. We will develop resources based around the "Makutano Junction" series, including an innovative and engaging project website, and organize training of teacher trainers and teachers in the use of materials. We will also build a connection between schools in Estonia and six primary schools in Kenya.
April 16-23, the chapter organized the Youth in Action Programme training course "Young people as important actors in social media" in Nelijärve, Estonia. September 22-28, it will organize the training course "3C in youth work: Creative thinking - efficient Communication - active Citizenship" in Yerevan, Armenia, which aims to develop creative thinking and communication skills of young people and youth workers. They shall be multipliers and increase the awareness on active citizenship and intercultural dialogue, while working in multicultural contexts in youth organizations and in local communities. This seven-days training course will bring together 24 young people and youth workers from 12 EU and EU neighboring countries, plus three trainers and one facilitator from Estonia and Armenia.
Our chapter also participated with youth groups and individuals in a few other projects: the "Human Library: Fostering dialogue to combat discrimination and promote diversity" training course, the "Re-Cycle" youth exchange in Italy, "Greenhouses of the Future" study visits to Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany, the "Music and Singing as media for youth work" training in Croatia, "DARE" in Macedonia, the "Hello, Black sea" youth exchange in Bulgaria, ''Discussing Youth Employment in EU'' in Turkey, "Food and Sports to Connect European Youngsters" in Portugal, and also in PTPE's "Film for Inclusion – Film as Universal Language" youth training in Germany. We will send groups for youth exchanges and trainings in the two next months to Armenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Romania, Italy, and a few other countries.
Ruta Pels, President and Trustee
June 23-27, nine of our members visited Berlin. The visit not only entailed one of the most beautiful cities of Europe, but we also got to meet the nicest people, and got a lot of wonderful memories. We saw a lot of new and interesting things on the trips around the city; the beautiful streets and squares, the amazing views from the Victory Column (Siegessäule) and the TV Tower (Fernsehturm), the world famous Pergamon Museum, and the enchanting Nefertiti.
A rainy day did not stop us from visiting the famous Berlin Zoo, and the animals greeted us in a very friendly manner. We also visited the German Museum of Technology, where we learned about the development and progress of human reasoning. The first ever computers looked terrific, and the old airplanes looked as if they were part of a fairy tale or an adventure novel. One of the best parts of our trip was the bike ride around Berlin. It made us feel like true "Berliners."
However, the best experience was getting to know such welcoming and nice people! We truly cherished our walks together with our German hosts, the food, the shopping, bowling and entertainment, entertainment, entertainment... It was great! We were looking for new friends!
Thus, we are all very grateful to PTPI, our new German friends and our lovely and great host families, who took such good care of us, making this a pleasant, unforgettable and remarkable trip.
Anton Palmov, Konstantin Vlad, Alexander Butuzov, Pavel Sorokin, Ksenia Barkova, Elina Januskevitsute, Stefanie Blüm, Ilya Ryzhakov and Julia Samogina, Members
Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins) Student Chapter
Right after the PTPI European Conference, The Dolphins started their next campaign - an informational one about healthy eating. Here we showed which ingredients and products are dangerous for us, and what their harmless alternative could be. We had a stand at a local youth festival (FUNCITY) where we stood each day for a whole week (July 1-7), letting people know what they eat. We also offered them bio-bread and cookies, for them to be able to taste the difference.
July 13, The Dolphins had a Movie Night. We watched "Slumdog Millionaire" together with a few new members, in order to welcome them to the team.
August 1-3 and 8-10, The Dolphins joined the Greenpeace campaign "Save the Arctic" in Varna. The main aim for this campaign is to declare the Arctic a global sanctuary by making a petition. The Dolphins helped by volunteering at the Greenpeace stand, by informing citizens about the campaign, and walking around in an ice bear costume to attract attention.
After a short break, we will begin to prepare for our membership recruitment campaign, which is going to be held at the end of September.
Elena Hristova, President
Vaslui, Romania (Mihail Kogalniceanu) Student Chapter
Monday 3 June, the chapter celebrated Children's Day, as the children had not been in school June 1. Fourteen members went by bus to the village Munteni de Sus near Vaslui, where they walked to Satu Vechi (the Old Village). We bought sweets, colored paper, and balloons earlier, and some members gathered some toys and clothes for the disadvantaged kids. They spent three hours with the kids, where they taught them a modern dance; how to make a pointed hat; and played with the balloons. The kids had prepared a small show for our members, and they had a lot of fun together.
I am proud of the members as it was a very successful activity. The kindergarten teacher thanked the group, and was impressed that they went there, and dedicated some of their time to the kids.
Lilian Harhas-Ciobanu, Adult Advisor
Vilkaviskis, Lithuania Student Chapter
In May, we had an event where we organized a cleaning action, during which we gathered rubbish around our little town of Graziskiai. Afterwards, we said goodbye to one of our members, Kestutis Bulvicius, and the president gave him a diploma as, unfortunately, he is leaving our school soon. We also had a little picnic in order to celebrate the end of the school year, and we had a really good time.
Daiva Sitkauskaite, Adult Advisor
Yerevan, Armenia University Chapter
In May, Nelli Torosyan visited the PTPI's Warsaw, Poland Chapter. We highly appreciate such relationships with other chapters.
"This program was a really good opportunity for me to learn about a new culture, to compare and find common aspects in my native and foreign cultures." (Nelli Torosyan)
We would like to thank Danusia Kesick, Andrzej Rejman, and the president of the chapter, Zbigniew Piskorzin, for the great chance for Nelli to see Warsaw, and learn more about the Polish culture.
Tamara Torosyan, President