Dear Experiment Friends,
The holiday season is upon us once again, and there is much to celebrate. Read about EIL Ecuador and CEI France's celebrations of significant anniversaries this fall. EIL Argentina also plans an event in May of 2008 to mark 45 years of intercultural learning and exchange. Our colleagues in South Africa - South African Students' Travel Services - also celebrated their 35th anniversary in 2007. The final dinner during the upcoming General Assembly Meeting in South Africa will be an opportunity for us all to join in recognizing their distinguished role and many important contributions to the field. Federation members and friends planning to attend this year's General Assembly should remember that the registration forms and payment for the GA should be sent to SASTS by January 30 - right around the corner! More information is available on the member resouces website.
Once again we will be offering a special volunteer program for staff, alumni and friends that will run parallel to the General Assembly. It will be an opportunity to learn about South Africa, contribute to a specially selected volunteer service project and be part of the exciting excursions and cultural activities we are arranging. This year’s service project will focus on literacy and education among the youth in the local Kayamandi community. We encourage you to make this opportunity known to the wider Experiment community so that this will be a truly international experience. The details and forms are on the Federation website. More information will be coming to you over the next couple of months.
In October, Federation EIL was well represented at WYSTC (World Youth Student Travel Conference) held in Istanbul, Turkey. Members from France, Thailand, Morocco, Germany, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa were all present to help represent the Federation to potential new partners and members. Both the Federation office and the individual members are following up with many of these organizations and we hope that several will accept our invitation to attend the GA as observers. A further report will be shared with Federation members.
Also, an important reminder that the deadline for submitting applications for the Jack Wallace Memorial Scholarship to Ecuador - January 15 - is rapidly approaching. Please help to ensure a quality pool of applicants for this generous opportunity.
Finally, we wish you all a joyous holiday season, and health and happiness for you and your families for the coming year. Warm regards to all and enjoy the newsletter!
Ilene Todd and Elaine Stiles
Federation EIL International Office
1935 - Great Britain received its first group of Experimenters
1936 - The first incoming Experimenters to the US, a group from Germany, were placed in Colorado.
1937 - The Experiment Handbook and Leaders' Handbook were written and produced to ensure careful planning and preparation for successful intercultural interactions. The first salaried employees began working, replacing the entirely volunteer staff.
1938 - Italy received their first group of US Experimenters. The Watt family moved to Vermont and established the national headquarters in Putney.
1941 - Brazil received their first group from the US, even as WWII raged on in other parts of the world.
1951 - In an antique shop in Vienna, Dr. Watt found what became the symbol of the Experiment. Significant in culture and art throughout the world, it was adopted as the Experiment logo signifying peoples of the world living together in harmony.
1954 - The Experiment's first international constitution was approved in Heiden, Switzerland. Chile and Turkey received their first groups from the US.
Our 30th Anniversary was a happy occasion with 350 persons attending. It brought together our host families, past and present experimenters, long time friends, associates and collaborators. The celebration opened with a power point tribute to the Experiment´s founder, Dr. Donald Watt, and the birth of the Experiment in 1932. This was followed by a local choral group singing Dona Nobis Pacem with the audience joining in. We then presented a photo illustrated summary of EIL Ecuador´s trajectory over the years for a welcome and necessary up-date on the diversification of our activities and current programs.
German Civil Service Volunteers working in different parts of Ecuador also did a power point presentation depicting their work in rural schools and in conservation of the environment. On behalf of Fincas Tropicales, an organization in Puerto Quito that hosts many of these volunteers, our local representative, Edwin Bustamante, presented us with an engraved plaque honoring our 30 years of building peace through understanding.
Board Member Pablo Espinosa ended the presentation with a toast to the future and how essential the Experiment ´s role is in bringing us closer to our highest aspiration: a world in peace with justice for all in which all nations collaborate for their mutual and balanced development. Pictured celebrating the anniversary, left to right: Justin Trullinger, Director English Department, Jenny Torres, Carla Llerena, Christian Buenaño, Carolina Pasquel.
Last October 24th CEI celebrated its 60th anniversary at the Paris 6th district city-hall. For this special occasion, CEI edited a book relating its history. Recognized as an intercultural institution, CEI had the privilege of having our current Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign affairs preface the book.
The book is divided into 4 time periods to relate the CEI history. A parallel is drawn between each time period implying its political situation and the programmes offered by the CEI. One of the highlights of the last period was joining the Experiment Federation.
CEI was created in 1947, right after WWII to build friendships between German and French youth. Throughout the years, CEI’s main purpose was to create and develop new cultural and linguistic programmes abroad as well as in France. CEI and Club des 4 Vents (founded in 1953) merged in 1992.
Over 300 participants attended the 60th anniversary celebration. The aim was to gather the founding CEI members, the formers employees, “animateurs”, instructors, centers directors with all the current ones along with faithful partners. The national government was represented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Paris District major.
After speeches by Guillaume Dufresne, General Director and Mr. A. Ohrel, CEI president, there was a cocktail party and a video presentation of the history of CEI. It was a moment full of emotion, and the perfect time to share good memories, friendships and exchangse about future projects. Pictured in the photo above: Mr. Jean-Pierre Lecoq, Paris District major, Mr. Guillaume Dufresne, Mr. Alain Ohrel, Mr. Etienne Madrange, Director of Youth and Sports Ministry. The photo at left was taken at the cocktail reunion at the city hall.
Special volunteer program comes to an end
Three volunteers sent by EIL Germany and one from the USA sent by ERDT have finished their contribution to the special volunteer program developed by EIL Chile and UTEM (Metropolitan Technical University in Santiago) in a joint venture to help promote the practice of English oral and speaking skills among public university students. The final evaluations showed that the overall experience of the volunteers was very rewarding and the bonds created with host families an unforgettable aspect of their stays.
Ministry of Education, UNDP and EIL Chile at volunteer program closing ceremony
The volunteer English teaching assistant program 2007 ended in a very emotional ceremony held at the United Nations building in Santiago, Chile, on November 29th. Our two volunteers, who had an extremely positive experience in southern Chile, were distinguished among all other participants for their empathy with the program and their contribution to the local communities and schools. Emma Barber and Sybilla Warrington, sent by EIL UK, initially came for a semester but decided to extend their programs for a whole academic year.
Language and Cultural Center developed by EIL Chile
In January 2008, EIL Chile will start operations of a new educational branch called C.L.C. (Center for Languages and Culture) to develop language and cultural instruction for foreigners and locals. The new facilities will also host the TESOL certification program with SIT. Available programs will be sent to each EIL office very soon.
First Germans on Volunteer Civil service in Chile
EIL Germany and EIL Chile's joint effort to develop the Volunteer Civil service program in Chile has proven to be successful with the arrival of the first three volunteers in November. After an induction and language training in Santiago, they are now working on their projects in Chile’s IV Region around La Serena city and towns.
A great new chance and challenge
New call for 2008 native English speaker volunteers to contribute to Chile’s efforts to foster the use of English among public and semi public schools! We have made an extra effort this year to maintain our support and relationship with the Chilean Ministry of Education in spite of the low response from EIL offices to recruit volunteers. This is a great chance to put into practice our mission. Last year there were over 300 volunteers from different countries and world wide institutions, though only two came from Experiment offices.
During programs, ranging from 4 to 8 months, volunteers live with host families and work in public schools as English-language teaching assistants. They learn Spanish and have a total immersion into local culture. There are chances to place volunteers in three different geographical zones: north, central, and south Chile. If you need more information, contact: Claudio Le Roy, Program Director, email@example.com
EIL Turkey Hosts EVS Participants
The Experiment in Turkey is hosting five participants in the EVS (European Volunteer Service) program in Istanbul - two of them from EIL partners in Germany and Ireland. They arrived on October 31st.and will be leaving Turkey on 1st.of April 2008.
They are working in "Kadikoy Public Education Center" in our project called "Living in Turkish Culture". They are receiving various courses like Turkish handcrafts, learning a Turkish musical instrument as well as learning Turkish and assisting teachers in language classes in return.
A joint meeting of the Board of Experiment Germany and the Board of EIL Ireland took place in Dublin on September 29 and 30th. It was the first ever joint meeting between the two boards and both sides thought it was a huge success. The agenda was very practical and included sharing information on the role and work of board members, the involvement of alumni, the key programmes in each country, possible scholarship programmes, funding possibilities, VIP programmes, orientation methods and so on. There was a very lively exchange of ideas and lots of interesting suggestions. It is hoped that this will be followed up with other meetings over the coming years. "This was a hugely motivating experience for members of the Board of EIL Ireland - we learned so much from our German colleagues in such a short meeting" according to Paul Conway, Chairperson of the Board of EIL Ireland. Praises also came from Experiment Germany Board President Engeline Kramer: "The hospitality of the Irish Experiment was amazing and we think that these joint board meetings are a great way to share best practices and to strengthen the cooperation between Federation members. We want to say "Vielen Dank" to our Irish friends for a motivating and fun weekend in Dublin!"
Pictured above, back row left to right: Kevin Hickey, Nina Guenther, Mary Golden, Daire Hickey, Cordula Kleidt, Anne Maria O'Sullivan, Johannes Schmiedebach, Jan Kuerschner. Front row from left: Judy Roche, Paul Conway (President EIL Ireland), Engeline Kramer (President EIL Germany), Bettina Wiedmann. return to top
Engeline Kramer, president of the German Experiment accepted an invitation from the government of the Ivory Coast and the University of Abidjan and travelled to Abidjan at the beginning of November 2007.
"In May 2008, join us to celebrate our 45th anniversary committed to intercultural learning. We wish to get in touch with former participants: whether you remember us from calle Volta, Maipu, Larrea, Uruguay or Humberto 1°, traveled through Experiment, ELS, Au Pair in America, Aspire or ERDT, or experienced Argentina as a Volunteer, Elderhostel, Robertson Scholar, SA or SIT, please contact us so we can keep you updated on our celebration."
firstname.lastname@example.org - Phone: +54 11 4300 4286 - Fax: +54 11 4300 6190
The US Experiment is launching a program in Mongolia for Summer 2008 working in conjunction with the Academic Director from SIT Study Abroad. The focus is on community service and nomadic culture. Following is the catalog description:
Under the endless blue sky of central Asia, windswept grasslands, rolling dunes of the Gobi Desert, and the most hospitable people you will ever meet await you in Mongolia. During your rugged journey, take part in the magnificent Naadam festival, live with a nomadic family in a traditional ger (yurt), ride horseback through the open steppe, and embrace one of the last truly unspoiled lands on earth.
Orientation in Ulaanbaatar
Ancient Traditions and Festivals
Community Service and Nomadic Homestay
Travel and Exploration
The International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development (IVD) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 17 December 1985. Since then, governments, the UN system and civil society organizations have successfully joined volunteers around the world to celebrate the Day on 5 December. IVD offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to make visible their contributions - at local, national and international levels.
Some Federation offices held celebrations in their offices to commemorate the Day. In Turkey, the EVS volunteers, pictured above in the story of their service in the "Kadikoy Public Education Center", were invited to the office along with other past volunteers to celebrate and share their experiences "in Turkish", as Nevin has informed us!
To celebrate the day in Morocco, Thaqafat Association hosted over 70 guests and speakers, including a past volunteer from Ireland, several representatives from NGO's in Morocco, homestay families, researchers in the field of volunteerism, and university students. Topics included 'Volunteer Work from a Hosting Perspective', 'Difficulties and challenges of Volunteering in Morocco', and 'What do we expect from a Volunteer'. Also present was a representative from the United Nations Development Program.
In Germany, Experiment e.V. hosted a volunteer breakfast. Volunteers from around Cologne/Bonn, where the office is located, were invited to visit the office to chat with other volunteers and the Experiment staff and where they were honored and thanked for their continuous support, help and dedication to the Experiment. Fifteen volunteers from the area made time to come by and enjoy a fun morning in their office. Click on the International Volunteer Day logo above to visit their website.
Last Call to Save the Planet was an international youth exchange organised by AIPC Pandora and held in Toledo, Spain, 26 November – 1 December 2007. There were 28 participants in total, from EIL Federation, of Spain, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and Turkey, ranging in age from 17 to 35, from a host of different backgrounds and professions/studies. The week was conceived of as a time for young people to meet and exchange cultures, whilst discussing and learning more about the highly topical subject of environmental issues.
All the participants threw themselves into the exchange, both in terms of the workshops and the socialising! The Spanish group was comprised of young people both from Spain and immigrants from Morocco and Ecuador, which really added another dimension to discussions and the cultural side of the week. The language was a barrier to begin with, but with patience, determination and a lot of gesticulating, integration and participation were eventually achieved – plus one of the participants is now having English classes and plans on going over to the UK through EVS!
Nearly all the British group knew each other through their work with the Warwickshire Association of Youth Clubs, and they have certainly taken a lot of ideas back with them – for instance, after our trip to Las Barrancas where we did some litter picking along the river, they are hoping to organise a Youth Initiative between the UK and Spain to teach people about water shortages and inspire young people to do more conservation work in their local area.
The Irish group was put together at the last minute and therefore didn’t have a leader, but they worked together and shared responsibility really well to make sure this wasn’t a problem. Each came from a different background in terms of their careers or studies, and so their diversity of background knowledge and opinion was an invaluable asset. Passion for the cause and some lively debate certainly characterised their group.
The German group had the huge advantage of simply being from Germany(!), a country where environmental issues are at the forefront of public awareness. All were very keen to exchange ideas and opinions, and to promote the idea of cooperation and codevelopment as crucial solving the climate crisis. Their knowledge of the political side of things, and also of new technologies, was indispensable.
Finally, the Turkish group – pretty much all of other the participants would admit that they had a certain hole in their knowledge when it came to the environmental situation in Turkey, so this group definitely made a great contribution. Despite the language barrier, they shared a lot about their culture (the dancing was memorable and the sweets tasty!) as well as the environmental problems they face and the Turkish position in terms of international environmental politics.
The week itself was very varied, both in terms of the nature of the activities and their contents. We began with a brief run down on the history of EU environmental policy, whizzing us right through from the first Environmental Action Plans in 1972 up to the most recent developments of Kyoto protocol. Two guided visits, one round the bridges and towers of the city and the other around the Sephardic Jewish museum, really opened everyone’s eyes to the history and culture contained in Toledo. The short talk on different types of pollutants and the science of global warming was very informative. We watched An Inconvenient Truth, and followed it with a debate about the issues it raises and also about film and mass media as methods of spreading the environmental message. The trip to the plant nursery, Taxus, was very popular and after learning about a variety of different trees and herbs, we had the chance to get practical and make various things (baths salts and herb baskets) to take home with us. This methodology of combining theory, observation and practice was used also in terms of the three R’s: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. We had a fruitful debate about reducing our consumption: both why and how (theory), a workshop about how we can reuse what we would otherwise throw away (practice), and a trip to the local recycling plant to actually see - and smell! - what happens there (observation). The NGO, “Ecologistas en Acción”, gave us a talk about the environmental situation of the River Tajo, and also led us on a walk around the nature reserve of Las Barrancas and on a litter pick by the river. A couple of sessions of group work thinking about ideas for posters, t-shirts, TV spots and lesson plans produced some great results that can hopefully be used for future environmental campaigns. All in all, a great week!
Silke Staak from Germany volunteered in Nigeria for three months this year and wrote a short description of her stay.
"In the three months here in Nigeria, I worked at Kings Kids, a Motherless Babies home. There are 63 children...ages between 0 – 20. Ten of them are disable;, there are five babies and the rest of the children go to school between 8am and 2pm. I play with the children, I read books (to) them, I try to teach them colours, numbers etc., and sometimes, I (just) talk to them. It is important that there is someone who is there for the children and gives them love. When there (are) no volunteers in Kings Kids, there is no one who plays with them. I know when I’m back in Germany, I’ll miss the children, but when I remember them I think about the smiles on their faces and now much fun I had with them.
I saw beautiful places..., waterfalls, etc, and (got to know) the culture of Nigeria...The journey... was a good experience for me, and now I know how important electricity and running water are! I’ll never forget the journey to Nigeria and I hope I can come back next year to visit... again."
Staff Introductions from EIL Germany
"I would like to take this opportunity to briefly introduce myself to all of you. My name is Martina Luis and I am now responsible for the VIP program at the German Experiment office since Miriam Schwarz has left us.
As I have been assisting Miriam and Manja with this program for a few months as an intern, I am actually already familiar with the VIP program and am excited to be able to work with our partners and participants more closely now.
To my academic background: I studied political science at the University of Bonn and completed my degree in the end of 2006. During my studies, I traveled to various Latin American countries and worked as an intern there for the German embassy in Panama and the Goethe Institute in Mexico. Now I am happy to be able to be working with young people who want to go abroad to get to know a different culture.
I am really looking forward to working together with all of you on the VIP program as well on the new German government program! " The picture above left shows the Working Experiences team: Manja, Martina and Ana
"My name is Katharina Meissner and I will start working full time at Experiment Germany starting this coming January. I have just finished my studies at Bonn University with a major of North-American studies and Art-History and Psychology as minors. While working for Experiment on an hourly basis during the past couple of months I already gained some experience in the various departments.
The fact that I am a CBYX alum and that my brother went to the US on an Experiment program definitely also helps to understand what these programs are all about. I am very much looking forward to working with all of you and my colleagues here at Experiment e.V. and I’m hoping to be a supporting part of the Experiment team!" Pictured above at right, EIL Germany's AYP Outbound team. From left: Sabine Stedtfeld, Katharina Meissner, Amelie Zimmermann, and Angela Berg.
EIL UK has introduced two new websites - just for volunteering
Dear Friends of EIL;
With the down side of less AY participants comes down sizing of our office staff. Kathleen is now part time and Jessica and Gail are full time. However Jessica is also attending classes at a college in Vancouver, taking Marketing and Business Management courses to get a Business Management Degree in two years. Jessica is taking on a lot but I know the benefits will be well worth the added work.
VIP: this can be a lot of work but I know that hard work and a great deal of effort to market this program can make this one of our biggest programs in Canada. We have seen the writing on the wall; with AYP getting smaller we need to improve our VIP. So we have printed some very nice brochures and have sent out a package to every university across Canada. In the New Year we will do another huge mail out to all the colleges. We have also contacted a marketing firm and a number of companies who already send groups of university students to do volunteer work in a number of countries. They are very interested in learning about the Federation and what we can offer them.
University is out in April until August so that is the time most of the students will be able to travel. Any programs you are offering during that time period will be the ones we will be promoting first. To help our participants to pay the cost of travel we have found an agency that is reducing the fares for anyone traveling to do volunteer work. This will be a huge benefit to all our participants.
Jessica and I are looking into the possibility of hosting the GA in the near future. We continue to look for new partners within the Federation so if any of you are interested in more information about any of our programs please get in touch. We are back to answering our email within one or two days of receiving it.
Gail & Jessica Sangster
Experiment Germany launches volunteer photo contest
To honor the 75th anniversary, Experiment Germany launched a photography competition among all of their (former) volunteers. The slogan is “My project” and they received about 80 great pictures from participants. To see all the pictures visit the gallery www.experiment-ev.de/fotovoting. You can vote on the best photos until the 15th of January 2008. The winners will receive prices and there will be a small exhibition at the German office.
Update from Morocco
A warm welcome to Fairouz El Hamdaoui, the first full time employee at Thaqafat Association. Fairouz joined as a part time trainee last summer; she most recently worked with other members of Thaqafat to organize the International Volunteer Day event held early in December. She can be reached at email@example.com
Thaqafat Association has also launched a new website: www.thaqafat.org.ma
Update from Poland
Experiment Polska has named a new Executive Director. Slawomir Bakalarz is 28 years old. He studied economics at Nicholas Copernicus University in Torun, and is now working on his PhD thesis at the same university. He has worked for several years for the Regional Agency of Development in Torun. Previous director Grzegorz “Greg” Borek is still with Experiment Polska and serves as a founder and works on selected projects.
Update from Japan
Masaru Hayashi has resigned as EIL director due to illness. He remains on the Board and will continue to help in the office after his recovery. Koji Satoyoshi is the new National Director. His previous work has been in the field of international exchange. Nobuko Kamiya has resigned as a Deputy National Director and will now serve as a Board member. She is still working and supervising in the office four days a week. Sachie Endo is the new Deputy National Director.
The Experiment is a Circle - Go to OUR WORLD, and read Chuck Kennedy's (France '60) account of how he and Anne Dodge (Italy '69) met and retraced their connections to the Experiment
World Learning partners with Language Corps to promote citizen diplomacy in Ecuador and Mexico
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Federation EIL News