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Newsletter 2013-4

PTPI Experiences | Message from the Regional Chair | Coming Events | PTPI Updates | Chapter Reports | As PDF Document

PTPI Experiences

Global Youth Forum

At this year's Global Youth Forum (GYF) which was held November 6-10 in Washington D.C., United States, the following European PTPI members participated: Grace Rogerson (Downpatrick, Northern Ireland), Iason Vratimos (Tripolis, Greece), Karolina Oles (PTPI's Katowice, Poland [Silesian] Student Chapter), Georgiana Birjovanu (PTPI's Roman, Romania Chapter) and Karyna Lyashenko (PTPI's Cherkasy, Ukraine [Light the Way] Student Chapter). Two participants describe their experience:

People have asked me to sum up my experience at the GYF in one word. I have told them that I could not fully sum it up in a thousand. Words like inspiring, life-changing, eye-opening, crazy, fun, and amazing spring to mind, but the best description I can give is "unforgettable."

GYF 2013

From getting to know the delegates, whom I proudly call my friends, to discussing the importance of education, to volunteering with the two NGO's - United Way and Wrap 4 A Smile - it is safe to say that it was a truly unforgettable week. We learnt about the impact of education on every aspect of life, and we were challenged to think of ways to reduce the number of children not receiving a primary education, while hearing inspiring stories from international speakers.

GYF 2013 Lincoln Memorial

When people ask how we plan to make a difference, one story is particularly prominent in my mind, and it is a simple one: A man is walking along the beach, and he sees thousands of starfish washed up on the sand. He starts throwing them back into the sea. Another man comes up to him and says "What are you doing? You're never going to make a difference." The man picks up another starfish and throws it back into the sea before saying "I did to that one." While this story is simple, it highlights the importance of hope and trying. There are still 57 million children not in primary education and if we do not try, then what hope do we have of reducing this number?

For me, it was a real privilege to work with such an incredible group of likeminded, but completely different, young people from across the world. Learning about other cultures and experiences was fascinating and helping with the service projects was fantastic, as we had a chance to really give back to the community around us. The GYF has provided me with many friends who inspire and challenge me daily, while it also has changed how I think and has inspired me to seek to strike for Peace through Understanding both in Northern Ireland and globally. I can never express my thanks enough to PTPI for awarding me a scholarship to attend the GYF; it really has changed my life.

Grace Rogerson

I never thought that I would have an opportunity to participate in the Global Youth Forum, but thanks to my adult advisor Mr. Janusz Woźniak, I was persuaded to apply for a scholarship. When I read the email that I had been chosen to attend the GYF, I could not believe it. I was so ecstatic about it, because I have never been to Washington, D.C. before, and I did not think that I would make it.

On the first day, I witnessed the most inspirational speech I have ever heard in my life. After having conquered many obstacles, Dr. Tererai Trent accomplished her lifelong dream of obtaining an education for herself and her children. Her story made me reflect on my own life, and it helped me to better understand the world's problems. In fact, all of the speakers at the forum inspired me to do something new for myself and my local community.

However, GYF is not only about speakers and learning all the time. I had the pleasure to meet all of the 102 delegates at the conference, and they all turned out to be wonderful human beings, who are going to accomplish magnificent things in the future. Each group's presentation about global education was great, and it only proves that people who are attending such conferences are the ones who are going to make a difference. Moreover, I will not forget about the PTPI staff and delegation group leaders, who made these four days so wonderful.

When I think about the GYF, I must say that it changed me a lot. I never thought it would have such a huge impact on me, but it turns out that it actually has. I met a lot of wonderful people, who inspired me to be even more active in my own chapter. I heard great speeches that helped me to understand the world better, and what it needs right now from people who are more fortunate than others. If you are thinking about attending the GYF, do it and do not hesitate at all. It has many benefits and will change you as a person. Thanks to GYF I found motivation, passion, and my future, and I am not the only one who was influenced by attending it.

Karolina Oles

Language Ambassador in Romania

Over the course of the summer 2013, Lucas Thomas from Madison, Mississippi, United States taught in Romania in the framework of PTPI's Language Ambassador Program. Here is the account of his experience.

When I first applied to teach English this summer, I had very few expectations. I did not know what the country would be like, or the people, or any other thing that I take for granted because it is all I know. I was born in America, and I am an American through and through. Like almost everyone in this country, I lived on a cultural island, and knew almost nothing about the vast world outside of my country's borders.

Lucas Thomas

But that was before I spent a month living with and working by some of the most welcoming, generous people I have ever met. They took me into their homes, they fed me, and they taught me about a wonderful country that I never would have heard of. All in exchange for just a few hours a day of English classes.

For over a hundred years now, America has been one of the richest and most materially successful countries on the planet. But that success has made us weak, and over time we have grown used to being taken care of. We can refuse to pay attention in school and still pass classes, we can chose unemployment over a difficult job and still eat, and all because of the hard work of others.

In Romania I met children who do not grow up with safety nets. Children who work hard both inside and outside of their schools, and who want to learn English because they see the world their parents have grown up in, and they believe that they can build on that world and make it better. It reminded me how little I deserve the life I have been given and how little I have done to improve it. If you are ever aware of an opportunity for me to help people like those I worked with this summer, I would be more than happy to once again give up some time and money to volunteer.

I want those children to succeed, and I believe that given the right resources and attention, they will. I look forward to the day when they grow up to be leaders and can travel the world representing their country and spreading its culture, because it was a wonderful country, and I am proud to have been able to learn about it while volunteering this summer.

Lucas Thomas, Madison, Mississippi, United States

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Message from the Regional Chair

Dear Friends,

Once again I am here wishing everybody a Merry Christmas! Time is really flying away!

Let us start with the Board of Trustees (BOT) Meeting held in New Orleans in connection with the Board of Directors and the Americas Regional Meeting, August 28-31. It was very successful, and I am happy to inform you that we had a certain number of members who participated from different chapters in Europe: Chester, Berlin, Stockholm, Bern, and Milano. Thanks to all of them for representing us at the BOT. I am also honored to inform you that eight new Trustees from Europe were elected on the Board, making it a total of 42 representing our part of the world, with ages ranging from 19 to 60. Congratulations to all of them, and of course we are very happy that some of our most active members have been recognized and included on the Board! We also had another important event: Stuart Exell from PTPI’s Chester, England Chapter was elected to the Board of Directors (BOD)! Congratulations to him and to his wife, Heather, the president of the Chester Chapter, a very dear friend of us all! We are sure, knowing Stuart so well, that he will be an extremely important new addition to the BOD!Valeria, Mary

As you all know, Mary Jean Eisenhower decided to leave her position as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PTPI starting June 1, as she informed all of us during the European Conference in Varna. The new CEO, Mr. Clark Plexico, has started his service in November! We congratulate him and welcome him to our big international family! We are sure he will put all of his knowledge, experience, and ability into leading our organization and helping us out of the difficult period we are suffering. We are looking forward to meeting him, and now we ask him to save the dates to participate in the 2014 European Conference that will be held in Tirana, Albania, June 5-8.

We are very spoiled because we have always had so many friends joining us from the United States and of course our President and CEO Mary, so we hope to be able to welcome the new CEO next June!

And now a few words to Mary! We are honored to have you as president and of course, we ask you to save the date of the European Conference too. You have always been with us, and we are sure you will not miss our conference! Thanks for all that you have done for PTPI since you became part of it and best wishes for your new life from all European members!

There is a lot of activity going on already between PTPI’s European Office and Tirana to make arrangements for the next conference. We all remember the one we had there in 2005, and we are looking forward to going back!

As in the past years, our most successful program was the European Youth Training. Thirty young people participated in Berlin and we must thank Verena Denk for this great opportunity, because it is to her and her hard work that we owe the funds, 22,000 euros, which this program received from the European Commission. The European Executive Committee (EEC) added 1,500 euros, but that was not even 10 per cent of the total cost. The outstanding result of that week was the realization of two films about inclusion that everybody can see on PTPE’s website. It was a very good job of all the participants to create films in one week without previous experience and to do it all by themselves: write the script and learn about film production, filming, and acting. I am sure it was, and still is, an incredible experience for all of them!

There is a lot of activity going on in our chapters in Europe, and I am happy to report that PTPI’s Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Student Chapter reported that they have reached the goal of 70 members! Congratulations!

The EEC encourages you to send in projects and programs! We were very happy to support one very interesting project from the new community chapter formed in Skopje, Macedonia: “Bridges Connecting Cultures.”

Wishing you all happy holidays!

Your friend,

Valeria Magistrelli

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Coming Events

Date Chapter Event
Weekly Interlaken, Switzerland  Monday Bilingual Meeting 
Weekly  Brussels, Belgium  Wednesday Networking 
Weekly  Brussels, Belgium  Thursday Coffee Meeting 
Monthly, second Wednesday Bern, Switzerland English Conversation Evenings
Monthly, first Friday Berlin, Germany Round Table
December 12 PTPI European Office Christmas Dinner
December 22 Vilkaviskis, Lithuania Event for elderly without relatives
2014
January 9 Berlin, Germany Israeli Evening
May 9 Kharkiv, Ukraine Children of War: Historical View
June 5-8 Tirana, Albania European Conference
July 7-13 Interlaken, Switzerland Visit to Romania
June 10-22 PTPI World Headquarters IMPACT Morocco
July 18-August 5 PTP Denmark Visit to Canada
July 25-31 Berlin, Germany Visit to Sweden
September 17-20 Tainan, Taiwan Worldwide Conference

European Conference – Save the Date: June 5-8

The European Conference 2014 will take place in Tirana. Members and non-members from any country are welcome back to the Albanian capital, where the conference was held in 2005. Invitations will be sent out in December or January. For your early planning, here are the key details:

Kruja LunchJune 5: Arrival and Optional Programs
June 6:
Arrival, City Walk, World Café, Opening Dinner
June 7:
Council meeting, Chapter Fair, Gala Dinner
June 8:
Excursion (return at 15.00), Departures
June 9:
Departures

After the conference, a four-day tour is planned through South Albania to among other places:

♦ Apollonia
♦ Saranda
♦ Gjirokastra
♦ Butrint
♦ Vlorë

We will return to Tirana at 13:00 on June 13.

Gjirokastra and Butrint are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In Gjirokastra, we will be met by members of the local chapter. Along the very beautiful
coastline, we will also stop to enjoy the beach.

For more information, please visit www.ptpe.org/tirana2014.

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PTPI Updates

Awards

The following European members and chapters were recognized at the Board of Trustees Meeting in New Orleans and the Global Youth Forum in Washington, D.C., United States:

Outstanding Leadership Award for the European Region: Richard "Chalks" Corriette (PTPI's Brussels, Belgium Chapter)
James T. Doty Memorial Award: PTPI's Tallinn, Estonia Chapter
Chapter Leadership Award: Susanna Grigoryan (PTPI's Yerevan, Armenia Chapter)
Outstanding Adult Advisor: Janusz Wozniak (PTPI's Katowice, Poland [Silesian] Student Chapter)
Student Chapter Leadership Award: Tsvetiana Zaharieva (PTPI's Varna, Bulgaria [The Dolphins] Student Chapter)
University Chapter Leadership Award: Tamara Torosyan (PTPI's Yerevan, Armenia University Chapter)
Chapter Membership Award: PTPI's Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Student Chapter

Congratulations to all of you and thank you for your good work!

Board of Trustees Election 2013

At the recent Board of Trustees Meeting in New Orleans, new members were elected. From Europe, the new trustees are: Evana Simo, Ani Melkonyan, Richard (Chalks) Corriette, Anita Metodieva, Kaloyan Stoyanov, Stuart Exell, Aleksei Smulski and Andrei Corduneanu. They will all hold the position for a three year term. A list of all European Trustees can be found at: www.ptpe.org/trustees.European Trustees 2013

Global Youth Murals WinnersMural

This year PTPI has received 68 Global Youth Murals from 28 schools in 13 countries, including three European PTPI student chapters: PTPI's Kharkiv, Ukraine (Children to Children) Student Chapter; PTPI's Novosibirsk, Russia Student Chapter; and PTPI's Konotop, Ukraine (Unity) Student Chapter. Students from the following European countries also submitted a mural: Armenia, Denmark, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine.

From all those great contributions, the following European groups won awards for their murals:

  • Middle School Level: the Ferdinand I School from Bucharest, Romania received an Honorable Mention with their mural "Peace in Our World."
  • Secondary Level: Students from the Traku r. Lentvario Motiejaus Simelionio Gimnazija in Lentvaris, Lithuania won with their contribution titled "The White Dove."

Congratulations to these two schools, and thanks for all of your great contributions to this fun project!

PTPI Logos and Style

PTPI has updated its logos. New logos will be sent out to chapters shortly along with guidelines.

Logo

Visit to Vilkaviskis, Lithuania

On November 20, Verena Denk visited PTPI's Vilkaviskis Student Chapter in Lithuania, which has been chartered one year ago. In a special leadership workshop, chapter members and officers learned about important aspects of successful team work, goal setting, and leadership styles. They also viewed and discussed two films created during the training course "Film for Inclusion – Film as Universal Language" in Berlin. A journalist from the local newspaper participated in the workshop and conducted a short interview with Verena.

In the late morning, Verena presented PTPI to non-members of the school, located in Graziskiai. She also had the pleasure to meet the director of the school, representatives of the local municipality, as well as the priest of Graziskiai. In the afternoon, Verena visited a school in the city of Vilkaviskis and presented PTPI to the students there. Afterwards, the adult advisors Daiva Snipaitiene, Edita Migliniene, and Vilija Zajankauskiene of PTPI's Vilkaviskis Student Chapter, the school director Grita Launikoniene, and the German teacher Aldona Adomaityte showed Verena some interesting sights in Vilkaviskis and Marijampole.

We thank the members of PTPI's Vilkaviskis Student Chapter for bringing People to People International to Lithuania and for their hard work and dedication to our cause! We also compliment Daiva Snipaitiene and her colleagues for their excellent organization and team work!

Vilkaviskis

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Chapter Reports


Berlin, Germany Chapter

The last months were full of activities for our chapter. In August, we organized a trip to Gotha, an old German town with unique buildings and a great history. We also enjoyed the surrounding nature by hiking to the top of the Inselsberg Mountain.

Berlin

At the end of August, I attended the Board of Trustees Meeting in New Orleans, USA. The program was full of attractions, such as enjoying the Mississippi River from a boat and attending a gala dinner, where all participants were wearing masks.

On September 11, we held a presentation in Berlin about the European Conference in Varna, which three of us had attended, as well as the pre-conference tour through Romania and the post-conference tour through Bulgaria. We prepared a slideshow with diverse photos and information about Bulgaria and Romania and their cultures.

Only a few days later, some of our chapter members went to a little village close to Berlin, Werder, which is known for its wine.

From October 31 to November 2, we had the pleasure to meet guests from PTPI's Kharkiv, Ukraine (Children to Children) Student Chapter in Berlin. One of the events was a visit to PTPI's European Office, where they heard about PTPI, its programs, and members.

On November 17, we met at the Memorial Church for a city walk and a good cup of coffee in a nice restaurant. Later in the afternoon, 28 members and friends came together for the traditional "Gänsebratenessen."

At the end of November, nearly 20 members went for three days to Torun, a nice old city in Poland, famous for gingerbread and the scientist Copernicus.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you!

Hannelore Büchler, chapter president and PTPI Trustee

Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria University Chapter

Blagoevgrad

Our chapter has elected a new president, Tsvetiana Zaharieva, who was previously the president of PTPI's Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins) Student Chapter.

On October 2, we held a presentation in order to recruit new members. We will also be carrying out another recruitment activity in the near future to attract more members.

On November 6, we had a pumpkin carving session, and the following week we arranged a World Café at the university.

Tsvetiana Zaharieva, president

Botevgrad, Bulgaria Chapter

Some of the priorities of our chapter include volunteering in the day center for adults, the house for disabled children, and especially the house for children deprived of parental care. We want to make a difference by spending more time with the children, who have isolated and fully institutionalized lives. For two years now, our members have been organizing joint events, involving the children in dancing and singing shows, taking them out of their institutions for a while. Playing with the children, inviting them to our houses, supporting and encouraging them to be active participants in shaping their own future – this is what makes us happy.

The idea of volunteering at the houses for children came from the music teacher, Iskra Trayanova, who is one of the most active members of our chapter, and Tsvetoslava Traikova, the former president of PTPI's Pravets, Bulgaria Student Chapter, who is studying special pedagogy now and works as a volunteer trainer for the NGO "One Heart" in Plovdiv.

Botevgrad

In our work with the children, we have also made use of the classroom which we helped PTPI's Pravets, Bulgaria Student Chapter to renovate in August. We wanted to make a contribution to the disadvantaged people's transition to real life. Now the out-of-institution atmosphere that the classroom provides is an ideal environment for our non-formal workshops and music therapy sessions, where we have fun, sing, and dance.

November 15-16, we hosted a workshop about the United States, as well as education and career development for 50 language school students. The event also involved a visit to the American University in Blagoevgrad.

Hereby, we want to express our gratitude for the funding provided by PTPI for the classroom, and to the European Office for the enormous support to our voluntary work and timely information about project initiatives.

Maya Arnaudova, president

Burgas, Bulgaria (The Vectors) Student Chapter

On September 28, 10 students from our chapter helped renovate the yard benches at our school.

On October 23, we organized a membership recruitment project, where we gave a presentation about PTPI and the chapter at our school. As a result of this event, two new members joined.

Michaela Ivanova, president

Cherkasy, Ukraine (Light the Way) Student Chapter

On September 18, we celebrated the International Peace Day. It happened to coincide with the visit of 13 students from Israel to our high school. Chapter members showed the international guests the school and told them about its history. Then there was a workshop on "Systems of Education – What I Would Like to Change and Why." Summarizing the extra-curriculum activities held in our school, Karina Lyashenko, our president, told the Israeli guests about People to People International and about our chapter, its work, and achievements. Thereafter, more than 50 students took part in the flash-mob "From Heart to Heart," and finally there was a charity fair with national dishes of different countries cooked by the students. The chapter members raised almost 210 euros and donated it to the city dog shelter "Friend."

During September and October, we regularly visited the city orphanage "Warm House," conducting play hours for the children. We also organized a collection of waste-paper and earned nearly 190 euros, which were spent on writing materials for the orphanage.

On October 4, Victoria Baibuz, our vice-president, coordinated "Elderly People Day." Together with 10 chapter members, she encouraged the students of our school to collect humanitarian aid and deliver it to the retired school teachers.

We would like to greet everybody connected with People to People International and wish them good luck, sunshine, and peace!

Pavlo Svitlychnyi, adult advisor

Chester, England Chapter

Well, our eight students from PTPI's Oroslavje, Croatia (The Eagles) Student Chapter arrived with their two teachers at the end of September, coming by train from London.

OroslavjeThursday was our first full day, so we took a train into Liverpool. We were very lucky with the weather, as we had sunshine every day. We ate our picnic lunch outside the Metropolitan Cathedral, sampling traditional pork pies and scotch eggs. That evening we went to a rural pub, where we had two teams competing at the skittles alley, whilst we ate "pub grub." Friday we went to our local high school in Tarporley. The English teacher had organized three classes for us to attend - two English lessons and a media studies lesson. Petra Trauber, the homestay coordinator of PTPI's Oroslavje Student Chapter, managed to excel with her poetry.

The evening in Tarvin saw the youth go to the family home of Frances and Rob, whilst the older ones had a pint in the pub, just to be traditional again! On Saturday, the Farr family and Kate and Ryan took everyone to the Dee Estuary, where they walked across the sands to Hilbre Island. On their return, they had barbecued sausages and played rounders on the beach.

The following morning, the last one, Pauline organized friends to take everyone to the local Catholic Church, which is in a tiny village. The congregation was able to enjoy the wonderful singing of the Croatian national anthem. We so much enjoyed hosting our Croatian visitors and hope they enjoyed being here. What a shame we cannot get any younger people more involved in our chapter. We have a young American visitor coming for the weekend of December 6-8, so we hope to see our members coming for a Sunday Pub lunch to meet him.

Best Wishes to all our friends for a Happy Christmas and New Year!

Heather Exell, president

Elista, Russia Student Chapter

Our chapter members have returned to school again, and on September 18 we held our first meeting of the new school year. We carried out some team building exercises, made a presentation about the chapter, and told new members about the different steps involved in organizing an event. It was seen as a very successful start, as everyone went away from the meeting happy.

Olga Magneeva, president

Interlaken, Switzerland Chapter

On August 24, the three PTPI chapters from Zürich, Bern, and Interlaken held their yearly Swiss Meeting on the Niederhorn Mountain in the Emmental Alps. Special international guests came from Stockholm, Berlin, and Romania.

The weather, unfortunately, impaired the view from the mountain top. Instead, the participants witnessed the rescue mission of a deer which had ended up on a steep mountainside, and eventually was saved by a helicopter.

Except for a minor slip, the participants smoothly ascended the steep and partially stony mountain path, even the guests from flat Berlin! Just before the rain began falling, everybody arrived at the mountain restaurant "Vorsass." In the cozy restaurant, they enjoyed the typical Swiss food "Älplermakkaronen," a dish consisting of noodles, potatoes, cream, cheese, and onions.

Daniel Rüegsegger, our chapter president, was happy that there was such a good turnout and atmosphere despite the rain. The meeting was also a great opportunity for the members to exchange experiences and to make new contacts.

The Swiss meeting of 2014 will be organized by the Zürich Chapter. A big thank you for organizing the chapter meeting goes to Charlotte Scheller, the vice-president and treasurer of our chapter, and Gabriela Moser.

Robert Aemmer, member

Katowice, Poland Student Chapter

In September, our chapter organized meetings with two classes from our school, which resulted in the recruitment of 15 new members.

On October 5, we held a charity run with the "Run With Heart Foundation" in Gliwice. It was followed by a Halloween Fair on October 31, where nearly 30 students promoted PTPI and sold cakes, raising roughly 170 euros for charity.

Karolina Oleś, president

Kharkiv, Ukraine Community and Student Chapters

In May, the chapters took part in a great event called "European Days" in Kharkiv. Here, the members were able to introduce PTPI to the students of the Kharkiv City School and to talk with representatives of different countries, such as Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, and Russia.

In June, the German volunteer Liane Franke taught German to students during our session at the Summer International Language Camp. In July, volunteers from Spain, Austria, as well as New Zealand taught English and participated in different sports and cultural activities. Chapter members explored the culture and traditions of the countries of the volunteers, and built great friendships with them.

In August, community chapter member Diana Ofi and chapter president Lyudmila Romanova took part in a course called "21st Century Leader" held at the International Camp in Krakow, Poland.

The chapter also carried out a teambuilding project for members and teachers from the Boiko School. Members were able to communicate with each other and attract new members for future joint activities. September 21, we celebrated International Peace Day. We organized activities for the school students, such as peace lessons for all classes. The students also created a mural for PTPI's Global Youth Murals project, as well as other artwork.

September 23-29 was a Sports Week. The chapter held a football and volleyball competition for students from grades 6 to 10. September 5 to October 8 marked the Weeks of German Culture in Kharkiv. The chapters carried out several activities during this event, such as a historical competition among students in cooperation with the Ukrainian-German Center in Kharkiv. A "Night of Science" took place on September 28. The student chapter participated in this event and presented different science experiments.

On September 30, Serbian volunteer Milyana Chorovich carried out quizzes and competitions dedicated to the theme of Peace through Understanding in her German classes. On the same day, the student chapter successfully started a project with a school from Cincinnati. We are planning to implement joint cross-cultural projects in the near future.

On October 18, the student chapter showed other students national food specialties from different countries. The food was very tasty and nobody left the event feeling hungry.

On October 21, the community chapter successfully implemented a charity project dedicated to domestic animals that had gone missing. The members also donated some food to one of Kharkiv's animal shelters.

Finally, the community and student chapters enjoyed a cultural trip to the capital of Ukraine, Kiev. We were able to see all the cultural sights of the city. Moreover, after visiting Kiev, we organized a great tour - "Kharkiv – European City" for ten pupils who visited us from the Revius Lyceum in Doorn, Holland. During their visit, we were able to discuss joint future projects with them.

Dmitriy Muratov, vice president, and Ludmila Romanova, president of PTPI's Kharkiv Chapter, as well as adult advisor of PTPI's Kharkiv (Children to Children) Student Chapter

Kharkiv, Ukraine (Children to Children) Student Chapter

During October and November, we visited two beautiful countries: Poland and Germany. We began our trip in Warsaw, where we met members of PTPI's Warsaw, Poland Chapter. We also visited the Old Town, tried traditional cuisines, and explored paintings from the Louvre at the Royal Castle.
We spent the following two days in Berlin. We had lots of chances to take pictures of famous avenues and buildings, parks, and the zoo animals. We also visited the high school of some of the members of PTPI's Berlin, Germany Student Chapterand PTPI's European Office, where some of our members presented our chapter to the German community.

Thank you Berlin!

On our way back to Ukraine, we stopped by Katowice in Poland. Here, we were met by the friendly members of PTPI's Katowice, Poland (Silesian) Student Chapter and their always good humored teacher, Janusz Wozniak. We were hosted by families in Katowice, who let us experience the Polish culture, and who did absolutely everything to make us feel at home. We drove to Krakow as well, where we enjoyed the underground museum tour. We also visited the school of the Katowice members, which was a unique experience. It is a very advanced education facility, with a friendly and warm atmosphere; it felt really nice to be there.

Andriy Borovskiy, adult advisor

Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine (Young Leaders) Student Chapter

In September, we had a meeting which included officer elections as well as the recruitment of new members. During the meeting, we discussed problems, challenges, plans, and opportunities for the chapter. On September 10, chapter members and other active students organized a flash mob in support of people with physical and mental disabilities. Together with exercises, juniors were being told about tolerance and understanding for people with different opinions, practices, races, religions, nationalities, and so on.

The following day, which was the Day of Sport in Ukraine, our chapter organized sport competitions, which enabled students to learn about the importance of sport in their lives and taught them how to combine exercises with fun. On September 13, we organized a drawing contest on the asphalt surface around the school, which was also devoted to the Day of Sport.

September 16-18, the chapter took part in the nationwide Conference for the Pupils of Schools of Ukraine, which had the UNESCO theme of "World Water." September 20-21, our members participated in a conference on European Integration, where we learned about the European Union and its contribution to peace all over the world. We also prepared and held a Euro quest on September 30. The implementation of different tasks and a presentation about European countries including their sights and culture deepened the students' knowledge and broadened their horizons.

On October 11, teachers and members of the chapter organized the Charity Autumn Fair, which was attended by almost 400 students. We sold nuts, apples, pears, and products made from natural materials to the pupils of our gymnasium. During October, we also ran another project called "Save a Child's Smile." The photos of happy children taken by the young photographers of our school were exhibited in the school hall and more than 600 students joined the charity. The proceeds from both events were sent to the hospital to support children suffering from cancer.

Iryna Besaga, adult advisor

Kiev, Ukraine Student ChapterKiev

From April to November, our chapter ran a creative flowers project. We cleaned polluted lawns and planted flowerbeds. During the same period, we organized a project entitled "Video Clip on the Rollers," which focuses on the places where youth spend their free time.

On September 20, we presented the activities of PTPI and its chapters at the project market. From October to December, we organize monthly charity fairs, where we raise money for Christmas presents for the benefit of the Home for Disabled Children in Urupinsk. We have also volunteered at the home for two days.

Yevgeniya Shulga, president

Kurchatov, Russia (Friends Meeting Friends) Student Chapter

On September 26, our chapter organized the Intercultural Dialogue Day (IDD) at our school for more than 50 middle and high school students. Elena Tarlovskaya, our adult advisor, ran an extra-curricular activity in English and French. Furthermore, the members of our chapter organized a post card exhibition devoted to the European Day of Languages and the IDD, and prepared presentations entitled "New York - the City that Never Sleeps" and "Spotlight on the UK." They also shared results of the project work "Issues of Cross-Cultural Interaction," and their experiences of the participation in the International Writing Program "Between the Lines."

Our chapter was also actively engaged in environmental activities. On October 10, nine members took part in the municipal's socio-ecological activity "Clean Lakeshore." As a result, seven 120 liter bags of trash were collected on the shores of the lake of Kurchatov. One week later, we spent 66 hours cleaning and beautifying the high school premises.

On October 24, 23 chapter members organized the municipal charitable drive "Help Neglected Kids Get Ready for School," raising 70 euros to buy stationery for the local orphanage.

On October 29, our chapter participated in the municipality's ecological activity "Green Town," planting trees in the newly-constructed recreation area.

Alina Vazhenina, president

Milan, Italy Chapter

I have been busy raising funds for the girls from Mombasa, Kenya, who the chapter supports, so that they can finish their school year. At the end of September, Franklin Okoth, the president of PTPI's Mombasa, Kenya Chapter, asked us for further help, as he did not have enough funds to help all of the 23 girls he is sending to school. Nine girls could therefore not end their school year. I started a fundraising action again, but the amount needed was rather high, almost $4000 USD. So I thought of involving other PTPI chapters as well. I had already spoken about the project with PTPI's Bern, Switzerland Chapter when I visited them in August. They were interested to help, and so was PTPI's Rome, Italy Student Chapter.

The Bern board met and decided to support four of the girls. They have also decided to become sister chapters with Mombasa and continue their support! The young people in Rome collected 300 euros. Finally, our chapter raised $2987 USD which concluded the whole thing.

I am very proud of this and also of starting this collaboration amongst chapters, which I think has been done for the first time ever! I am now working with Mombasa to see if it is possible to help them build some classrooms for the girls.

Valeria Magistrelli, president

Novosibirsk, Russia Student Chapter

In September, 14 members attended the action "The Helping Hand." The main idea of this event was to help Primorye citizens who had been victims of a flood. On October 1, our chapter participated in the city festival "Singing Novosibirsk" during the International Music Days. We organized a "Street Theatre" where children were singing and playing different musical instruments and games.

On October 15, 14 students took part in a day of community work organized by our chapter. By collecting waste and paper for recycling, we raised $50 USD for the House of Children. Moreover, at our charitable concert, we managed to gather more than $100 USD, which we donated to a nursing home.

Nearly 30 people attended a lesson on "The Travel of Wafer" arranged by our chapter on October 23. The aim of the activity was to study recipes from many different countries.

Finally, in October, we organized an event called the "Decade of Arts," which involved several artistic and cultural activities such as an intellectual game entitled "With Art through Life" and an exhibition named "Art Is Opening the World." We also decorated the fame wall, ran creative workshops, and organized a competition for hand-made articles from vegetables.

Veronica Karpova, president

Oroslavje, Croatia (The Eagles) Student Chapter

September 23-29, 10 members visited England. After three days of sightseeing in London, they were hosted by members of PTPI's Chester, England Chapter. Here is the report of Petra Trauber, the chapter's homestay coordinator.

On September 23, our dream came true. We went to England. After a relaxed first evening in London, we got up quite early and went on a city bus tour. We saw several of London's famous attractions, such as the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral, and many more. We also had time to go shopping on Oxford Street. On our third day, we went to the British Museum. It was extremely interesting to see the exhibitions.

"All stories which say that London is amazing and one of the most beautiful cities in the world are true." (Petra Trauber).

Then we took a train to Chester, where our hosts, our dear Heather and Stuart Exell, welcomed us and took us to meet the Lord Mayor. It was a brilliant experience. Maja Vdović, our chapter president, and Dubravka Gredičak, a member, gave a lovely speech to thank the Lord Mayor for the warm reception. Petra Trauber sang a Croatian song that reminded the Lord Mayor of her wonderful time in Croatia.

Oroslavje in London

The following day, we went to Liverpool. It was a wonderful and well spent day. On our fifth day, we visited Tarporley High School. We attended three of their classes for three different age groups. This was the best experience in our opinion. We got to see how their school system works and compare it to ours.

"Their schools are very different from ours. They have to wear uniforms." (Ivana Kacavenda).

After school, we went to Wales to see Conwy Castle and we saw the smallest house in Great Britain. In the evening, we went to dinner in the "Bickerton Poacher" with our host families and members of PTPI's Chester, England Chapter. We played Skittles, ate tasty British dishes, and met Ken Holding, Chester's very friendly chapter secretary. The following day was a family day, so we all went to Hilbre Islands Nature Reserve. In the evening, we had a get together at the house of Heather and Stuart. We sang our traditional songs, and they sang theirs. We also played typical British games and had a lot of fun together.

Sunday morning, we went to a mass held by Father Joe. Pauline Bedington had her friends from the church choir come to the mass and sing for us. In the afternoon, we had to part and say goodbye. It was really emotional to say bye, but we have stayed in touch with our new friends and are hoping to see them in Croatia. All in all, this was an amazing experience. We had a great time, and we met the nicest people ever. It is a life time experience and we would do it all over again.

"After London, we went to Chester where we were hosted by the kindest people. In my opinion, that was the best part of our trip." (Dubravka Gredicak)

We have seen many sights which ordinary Croatian teenagers only dream of, learnt about cultural differences and the British school system, tried tasty food, and sang English, Welsh, and Irish songs. More importantly, we have made great friends with so many wonderful people, and once again PTPI has proven the great value of understanding and direct contact between people.

"I met a lot of nice people who marked my life forever. I will always remember how they were careful and good to us and how they tried to show us as much as possible." (Ena Mikulic)

We would like to thank our donors: the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport, as well as PTPI. Also, thank you Heather, Stuart, Pauline, Kate and Ryan Massey, the Farr Family, and the entire Chester Chapter!

Petra Trauber, homestay coordinator

Pravets, Bulgaria Student Chapter

August 1-5, our chapter initiated a town-twinning project and organized an international meeting with citizens from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. It was a real generations' meeting to celebrate diversity of cultures. The event also involved a Festival of National Folklore, which included presentations of national dances and songs.

In September, the chapter went to visit the EU center in Sofia, where the members learned about EU policies and the EU's motto of being "United in Diversity."

Throughout August, we were busy renovating a special classroom and office for the chapter, which had been funded by PTPI. The reconstruction work was already completed at the beginning of September, as members of PTPI's Botevgrad, Bulgaria Chapter helped us out.

From October 26 to November 2, three members of the student chapter, two adult advisors, and members of the community chapter went to a training of youth workers in Ireland. This was a great chance for us to exchange experiences, to promote PTPI and to make friends with youths from Ireland, Italy, the UK, Malta, and Romania.

Pravets in Ireland

We have also successfully submitted an application for a Youth in Action Programme of the EU. The project is entitled "Women Marching Equal." We will work on the project with partners from Greece, Poland, Romania, Italy, and the UK in December, 2013. Our task will be to do research about women's rights in Bulgaria and to publish articles about successful women. The final outcome of the project will be four magazines.

Having observed the positive effect of international cooperation on the development of youth, in particular the programs of PTPI and the European Conference in Varna, I am convinced that this is the best way for bringing active citizens capable of challenging decision makers to hear the voice of young people and achieve peace in the world.

Maya Arnaudova, adult advisor

Roman, Romania Chapter

RomanAutumn brought an activity to our members, which was for the first time ever held in our county. In the evening on September 1, 30 teenagers started off on a city tour on bicycles equipped with flashing lights and brackets. This activity was possible thanks to the local government that offered two police cars to escort us throughout the route. The aim of this event was to promote a healthy lifestyle and the rights of bikers in traffic.

For the project "Acting European," the chapter members took part in two non-formal learning activities. On September 11, the first activity took place. It offered open space for more than 30 teens to debate the values and benefits of volunteering regarding personal development. The second activity was a World Café encouraging volunteers and representatives of the local authorities to discuss European citizenship. The mayor of Roman joined as a special guest, and the teens were thrilled about this opportunity.

On September 28, 15 members from our chapter joined 500 other volunteers in Roman for the ecological action "Let's Do It, Romania!" This event was held nationwide, taking place in different cities of the country on the same day.

To celebrate Halloween, a team of 20 members from our chapter organized a Halloween Party that was attended by more than 200 guests. The "rule" of the night consisted of wearing a Halloween costume. Otherwise, the guests had to donate a sum of money at the entrance. Thus, we managed to collect approximately 100 euros, money that will be donated to a children's center. The party was a lot of fun, especially the games that were organized during the evening. The big prize for the scariest Halloween costume was a tablet.

Madalina Spoiala, member and Georgiana Bîrjovanu, secretary

Skopje, Macedonia Chapter

The chapter has had a very dynamic start of spreading Peace through Understanding in Macedonia. Our chapter was formed in August 2013. In our first three months, we have already implemented activities that are having an impact on our community.

Our project "Bridges Connecting Cultures" was accepted for funding by the European Program Fund of People to People Europe. This project involves actions related to humanitarianism, education, and culture. The main purpose of the project is to support cultural diversity in our country and to make many people start spreading the idea of Peace through Understanding. So far, we have completed the first action of the project. We had workshops for healthy food in a kindergarten and in the Counselling Center for Children and Parents. In the kindergarten Detska Radost, we learned about the concept of healthy food together with 20 six-year-old children. Afterwards, we held the same workshop at the Counselling Center, which is visited by children from socially vulnerable families. We handed out brochures about healthy food to the parents, who are responsible for preparing the food.

The first action of the project "Bridges Connecting Cultures" was a huge success. We have started with the preparations for the second action, so now we are searching for young people who want to become the future Ambassadors of Peace in Skopje.

In September, volunteers from our chapter took part in the Body, Mind and Spirit Festival in Skopje.

On October 9, we had a presentation about PTPI at the biggest Career Expo for young people in Skopje. The Expo brought together a big number of NGOs and young people.

The chapter also has a new website. We invite you to visit www.ptpiskopje.org and see the news coming directly from Skopje.

Angel Dimitrievski, president

Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Student Chapter

To celebrate September 21, the International Day of Peace, our chapter made a Tree of Peace, which was an awesome poster with 30 famous quotes and sayings about peace. We placed it on a wall in our school and thus everyone could stop, take a look and join us in spreading international peace and friendship! On October 8, our chapter held a presentation about PTPI. We informed the participants about our chapter and showed them a video with exciting photos from our projects. About 50 people attended the event and 40 of them joined us straight away!Sofia

On October 10, our chapter participated in the Second Clubs Exhibition which took place in our school, the First English Language School. Our school fellows had a great opportunity to learn more about PTPI, our chapter, and our past and future projects. Within a few hours, 20 people decided to join the chapter!

To sweeten the rainy autumn days for our schoolmates, we organized a charity bazaar on October 24. There was a wide variety of delicious and colorful homemade food, such as chocolate muffins, yummy apple-pie, peach cookies, and the traditional Bulgarian dish banitsa. One of our members had even cooked moussaka, a dish which is very popular in the Balkan and Mediterranean kitchens. We also gave a presentation with amazing autumn pictures showing the magnificent beauty of the season. The corridor of our school was turned into an autumn forest thanks to interesting and creative decorations. At the event, we managed to raise more than 150 euros.

On October 27, the Doves volunteered in a community kitchen where more than 300 poor people are given food each week. Pamela Popov, a Dove, said that the atmosphere of working with other volunteers was really impressive and that this wonderful charity day brought happiness and made everyone's day sunnier. On October 24, our first Bulgarian Cinema Night took place. One of the rooms in our school was transformed into a cinema hall, where nearly 30 schoolmates enjoyed the famous Bulgarian movie "Yesterday" from 1988. The great success of the Cinema Night inspired us to make it a weekly event and give the opportunity for young people to experience old Bulgarian movies. The second cinema night took place on November 14. We presented the movie "A Dog in a Drawer" (1982). The plot is about a small boy who wants to have a dog. Our choice is not accidental – this Cinema Night is part of our campaign "Hope for BOGROV," which supports a dog shelter near Sofia: the Animal Rescue Sofia.

What better way to spend your Saturday than playing with some joyful dogs? On November 9, the Doves volunteered at the shelter, which is the biggest shelter in Bulgaria with 500 dogs. The people who work in the shelter are all animal-lovers, dedicated to the cause of stray dogs. Unfortunately, their shelter is being shut down, and there is a real risk that they might stop working, as there will be soon no place to do so. We will do our best to help them in raising money for purchasing a decent farm nearby, where they will be able to continue their amazing work.

Iliyana Dadarova, secretary

Tallinn, Estonia Chapter

Yerevan Pavel

During the beginning of September, our chapter was glad to meet and host a group of ladies from People to People Denmark. Their busy program included a visit to the Danish Cultural Institute in Tallinn, a meeting with Ilvi Cannon from the Estonian Women's Studies and Resource Centre (ENUT), an excursion to the Old City with a Danish guide, visits to the KUMU art museum, and much more. We are looking forward to hosting another Danish group next September.

September 22-28, the chapter organized the "3C in Youth Work: Creative Thinking - Efficient Communication - Active Citizenship" training course under the Youth in Action Programme in Armenia. It was our first training organized abroad. This seven-day training course brought together 24 young people and youth workers from 12 EU and EU neighboring countries, as well as three trainers and one facilitator from Estonia and Armenia. As a result of the training, the participants got new approaches and tools based on the 3Cs to concretely act as creative entrepreneurs and active citizens in their local contexts.

YerevanIn the EuropeAid project "Makutano Junction: a Multi-Media Approach to Effective Development Education," our chapter works on raising awareness among teachers, teacher trainers, and students of the major development issues facing people living in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the resulting opportunities for action for people within the EU partner countries. We organized two workshops about the project and the use of materials for teachers, media experts, and NGO workers.

November 16-24, our members coordinated the Global Education Week 2013 under the title "Go for a Sustainable Life Style" organized by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe. Ruta Pels participated in the annual meeting for national coordinators of the GEW Network in Brussels, where she shared her experiences from the "Makutano Junction" Project. She also took part in the European Development Days.

Our chapter has also been active as a sending organization in the Youth in Action projects, where it sent groups to Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, and Turkey, amongst other countries.

Ruta Pels, president and PTPI trustee

Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins) Student Chapter

VarnaThe last months have been very busy for our chapter. On October 9, we started working on a project together with the Bulgarian Association for Car Accident Victims. "Save the Zebra" was the first of many events yet to come: our members and the partnering organization went into the city, crossing the streets carrying a big poster saying "Thank you for stopping" to the drivers. The aim of this project was to raise awareness about safe driving and the crossing of roads. The second part of the project took place the following day. We and members of "Open Youth" went to one of Varna's dangerous streets to create a list of the problems that we noticed. This was then sent to the local government in the form of a petition.

On October 13, our chapter organized its annual Membership Recruitment Campaign at the Youth Center Varna. As a result, 32 new members joined. We also organized a Halloween play for the children from the "Knyaginya Nadezhda" orphanage on October 31, as well as a freeze flash mob on November 1, the Bulgarian Day of National Leaders.

Elena Hristova, president

Vaslui, Romania (Mihail Kogalniceanu) Student Chapter

On October 26, six of our chapter members went to visit the city prison. The main purpose of this action was to do something different during the International Day of Tolerance and to see how these people live. The new experience was interesting and educational at the same time.

The visit consisted mainly in the prisoners' interactive theater play based on the Forum Theater method. The acting was resumed scene by scene, and any of the spectators could take the role of a character and change the character's action. Afterwards, the chapter members visited the actual prison, even one of the cells, to see the conditions in which the prisoners live.

On November 17, we had a fundraising event in the mall. We organized a "minishow" with three of our chapter members singing. The proceeds were given to a very sick girl in the countryside who has only one parent. For December, we plan another fundraising activity for this girl.

Liliana Harhas-Ciobanu, adult advisor

Vilkaviskis, Lithuania Student Chapter

On September 2, there was a festival for the beginning of the new school year in Vilkaviskis. Our chapter joined the event and our president, Greta Griskaityte, gave a speech, after which we released balloons into the air. They had the words "For Friendship" written on them.

The speech included the following words:

"Don't you think that we, people, are often stuck in troubles and do not notice people around us? And even if we do notice, we rarely look at them more deeply... It is sometimes quite hard to remember it, because we are surrounded by love, but there are so many people around us that need love. Thus, in the name of the whole organization People to People International, I suggest: let's be considerate to each other this year, don't be afraid of saying good, encouraging words and showing sincere smiles; also, let us forget everything that was wrong, because a new school year means a new beginning."

Vilkaviskis

Daiva Snipaitiene, adult advisor

Yerevan, Armenia Chapter

In the frame of the "Community's Young Voice" Project, four of our members have visited 10 regions in the Republic of Armenia as coordinators. As a result of the meetings, online centers have been formed.

During the visits, the four coordinators have presented PTPI's mission and activities, the project's goals, objectives and activities, and its importance for the communities' development process. They gave netbooks to regional groups for coordinating future work effectively and fast. Twenty-five beneficiaries ages 14 to 18 from each region participated in the regional meetings. Group leaders were chosen by taking into account their age and knowledge in the sphere of media. Each leader of the regional groups coordinates his or her region's work, discusses the current issues and achievements in the region, and connects with young people from the other communities, who are also interested in media and journalism.

The project has enhanced the young people's involvement in the process of communities, IT, and media development, as well as volunteering and active participation. With joint efforts, urgent issues of communities were named, and then they suggested unique ways to overcome them.

Susanna Grigorian, vice president

Zalishchyky, Ukraine Student Chapter

On September 10, our members held a membership drive at the school, where three new members were recruited. On September 15, eight members were involved in a flash mob.

On September 14, we hosted a charity disco. The proceeds went to a boarding school. Our chapter members also participated in a concert for poor children at the boarding school. At this event, we presented books and other gifts to the orphans.

On September 22, all of the chapter members celebrated the Ukrainian holiday "Day of Partisan Glory." We prepared a short performance and were dressed in Ukrainian national clothes, including embroidered shirts.

Zalishchyky

During the last week of September, our chapter organized a bake sale at our school. We gave the proceeds to a local orphanage.

We also organized a party for Halloween which included a concert with disco, and everybody was disguised.

Marta Jumaha, president