In the Loop

The Newsletter of Federation EIL - Worldwide Network of the Experiment in International Living - January 2011

The mission of the Federation EIL is to facilitate its member organizations in the lifelong involvement of individuals in intercultural learning experiences. This process helps develop understanding of and respect for people throughout the world.

Contributors to this issue include:

FEIL, Chile, Germany, Switzerland, VIP, Morocco, Turkey, France, Mexico, UN Representative, Argentina, Korea, UK, and Ireland.

 

In This Issue

Happy New Year from FEIL's New Administrative Assistant
GA Chile'11 Coming Soon!
EIL Chile Pioneers New Program for At Risk Youth
Christmas in Germany with Mulled Wine, “Glühwein”
Celebration in Zurich with Experiment Switzerland
FEIL Launches On-Line Guide for Volunteers Teaching English
Recognition of VIP Continues to Grow!
EIL Morocco Recognized for Volunteer Programming
EIL Turkey Hosts SIT Graduate Students
World Learning Staff Visit Mexico
LAMAT Summer Program to the Middle East
News from Yes International in Korea
Changing Minds Program with EIL UK
EIL Ireland Launches its First Photo Competition!
ACTFL Conference
UN Report from EIL Representative, Connie Crosson
Argentina Sponsors Wallace Scholarship
Mexico, Mexico, Mexico! More News from Volunteers...
Links of Interest

Happy New Year from FEIL's New Administrative Assistant

  What an "experiment" it was to pull this newsletter together for the first time! I am humbled by the creative and powerful work that The Experiment is doing around the world, and it is an honor to highlight some of those endeavors with this New Year's publication of In the Loop. I hope you are as inspired as I am by the contributions below.

In the few weeks that I've been at FEIL, I've appreciated your warm welcomes from around the globe. Already I'm seeing the world differently--from languages, to time zones, to sides of the equator. The mission of The Experiment is indeed alive and at work!  

A depth of gratitude goes out to FEIL Director, Ilene Todd, whose gentle guidance continues to usher me into this Worldwide Network of The Experiment--as well as Elaine Stiles, FEIL's previous assistant, whose experience and skill have been invaluable as I am oriented to the work of the Federation Office.  

Kelly Salasin, Administrative Assistant, Federation EIL

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GA Chile'11 Coming Soon!

EIL Chile is busy planning for the arrival of colleagues and friends from around the world.  Register NOW to take advantage of the early bird special for the Federation's General Assembly Meeting in Santiago, April 10-14, 2011. Apply the reduced rate when you register with payment by January 31.

Every year the GA brings together the National Directors from Federation EIL member countries as well as invited guest Observer Organizations. Our time together includes joint planning, program development, and the opportunity to share information and expertise on various aspects of international education and exchange.  In addition to the business of the GA, those attending will have plenty of opportunity to learn about central Chile and enjoy visits to Valparaíso City (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the resort city of Viña del Mar.

The optional post GA excursion is aptly called, From the Andes to the Pacific: Chile’s geography and its secrets."  On this tour, you will depart from Santiago...into the valleys where fruits and wines are grown... through semi-deserted areas... across the Andes...and on to a small fishing village along the Pacific coast.  Finally, you will navigate along the 3 islands of the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve where the biggest colony of penguins this far north can be found!  A trip not to be missed!

Contact us at federation@experiment.org for more information.

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EIL Chile Pioneers New Program for At Risk Youth

EIL Chile has been chosen to carry out a pioneer initiative to develop intercultural education programs for young high school students from one of the most vulnerable neighborhoods in Santiago City, La Pintana. 100% of these programs were financed by the mayor and local council in order to reinforce the importance of education among the local youth from public or semi-public schools and to serve as a stimulus to low income families who are highly committed to education as a concrete tool for social and economic change.  

More than 180 students senior high school students applied for the 40 available spaces. A long process of screening and selection brought together the winning recipients--a group of powerful students filled with expectations who are thrilled by the idea of knowing other places, cultures and people.   

The program was launched in November with a welcome ceremony (pictured above.). Both the Mayor of La Pintana and Agustín Castellón from EIL Chile addressed the audience of selected students, parents and local authorities. Awardees were given a certificate of acceptance and a symbolic baby tree, followed by a celebration complete with cake!  

This program with EIL Chile has been a great opportunity for other members of the Federation network to provide intercultural opportunities for students at risk. Proposals came from EIL organizations in Germany, UK, New Zealand, Ecuador, Brazil, and Mexico, as well as others which has served to reinforce the Federation's presence with these Latin American participants.

The final destinations chosen by the selection board include Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, and Mexico. 5 groups of 8 students each will set out with local leaders. A series of training sessions is being developed by EIL Chile and the group leaders with the support of EIL member offices abroad to prepare the students for their travels.

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Christmas in Germany with Mulled Wine, “Glühwein”

Bonn’s Christmas Markets attuned the Experiment team to the festive days. An unmistakable smell enchanted the town center~a mixture of gingerbread, potato pancake, fried sausage, burnt almonds, Koelsch beer and Glühwein--mulled wine (see recipe below.)

Not only the fragrances of the central and district Christmas markets make them attractive, but also the hustle and bustle of people and the good mood that reigns in these nicely decorated "Christmas Villages.” It is also a feast for the eye. Despite the admittedly commercial background, the markets have an emotional impact on even those with less romantic inclinations.

*Mulled Wine Recipe: “Glühwein” is popular in German-speaking countries.  It is the traditional beverage offered on Christmas. It is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus and sugar. Fruit wines such as blueberry wine and cherry wine are rarely used instead of grape wine in Germany. Glühwein is drunk pure or "mit Schuss", which means there is rum or liqueur added.

News from EIL Germany

NEW Scholarships: In addition to the Experiment scholarships that we offer each year for participants in financial need,we’re happy to announce that our great travel agent Skylink in Frankfurt will sponsor two spots in the International High School Program! So if you have a student who would like to spend a year in beautiful Germany and is in need of financial support, please send us the application and there is a good chance that either Experiment or Skylink will sponsor the student!

Back to Work: After a wonderful maternity leave with my daughter Valentina, I am happy to be back in the Experiment office in Bonn! Together with Laura Urban and Stefanie Lankau-Stolte, I’ll continue my work in the highschool-inbound department where we welcome many exchange students from around the world ~Angela Berg

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Celebration in Zurich with Experiment Switzerland

Former and future volunteers and friends of Weltweitblick gathered around a winter fire in snowy, ice cold Zurich this December, celebrating their first year sending volunteers from Switzerland around the world!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Everyone!

Martina Schmitz, Director, Experiment Switzerland

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FEIL Launches On-Line Guide for Volunteers Teaching English

Federation EIL takes great pride in announcing its new on-line publication: The EFL Teacher's Aid - A Guide for Volunteers in English Teaching Projects.   Since many volunteers are not experienced teachers, we've created this easy-to-use guide to help develop and deliver language courses.

The Federation is indebted to Alvino Fantini, Professor Emeritus at the SIT Graduate Institute and Educational Consultant for Federation EIL for sharing his expertise in the development of this manual; as well as Experiment e.V. and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development for the funding support that made this project possible!

Located at the Federation EIL website, this new guide is available to use online or downloadable as a PDF. Subject headings are linked in the table of contents to provide ease of use. (Note: The guide is a work in progress. We look forward to contributions from volunteers in the field--over time their comments, questions and suggestions will help create a more dynamic and useful resource.)

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Recognition of VIP Continues to Grow!

Since the members of Federation EIL launched VIP (Volunteers for International Partnership) in 2005, volunteerism has continued to expand--and is now one of the fastest growing areas in the international exchange field!  Equally important is the fact that volunteerism is broadly viewed as a means of forming people-to-people partnerships, yielding mutual understanding and the building of better futures. VIP has recently been recognized by two promising programs:

National Geographic's Global Action Atlas

In September 2010, VIP received its final acceptance from the National Geographic Society as an official Global Action Atlas participant.  The vision of the program is "to tap the worldwide reach and convening power of National Geographic to mobilize a vast corps of concerned world citizens to support thousands of local projects that will collectively bring positive change to the world."  The Atlas spotlights local, cause-related projects from around the world. As an official participant, VIP will be able to bring its projects to the attention of volunteers, as well as to potential donors, advocates and fans. 

Creative Learning Inc's America's Unofficial Ambassadors

VIP has also been selected by Creative Learning, Inc to participate in their new program, America's Unofficial Ambassadors (AUA). AUA aims to promote American volunteerism across the Muslim World with the goal of "1000 American professionals, scholars, students, recent graduates, retirees, and community volunteers to commit to at least two weeks of service and partnership in or with a Muslim-majority country."

In February, 2011 AUA will launch its online directory profiling approximately 40 recommended organizations that offer non-specialized opportunities to volunteer in Muslim-majority countries. VIP programs in Albania, Morocco, Nigeria and Turkey will be among those featured.  

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EIL Morocco Recognized for Volunteer Programming

Thaqafat Association Helps Launch Center for National Volunteerism in Morocco
Thaqafat Association, along with other national and international organizations, has been selected to work with the Ministry of Development and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to help launch a Center for National Volunteerism based in Morocco. This effort aims to promote a culture of volunteerism in Morocco and to help reduce unemployment by developing a type of gap year--encouraging young people to volunteer first within Morocco and then elsewhere.

Because of her involvement with this ground breaking initiative, Farah Cherif was recently invited to participate in a Multi-Regional Consultation Meeting to develop the State of the World's Volunteerism Report. (Scroll down below to read her report from this meeting.)

International Volunteer Day Celebration in Morocco

Morocco, along with many other countries throughout the globe, celebrated the International Volunteer Day on Saturday, December 4th, 2010. Thaqafat Association, Experiment Morocco organized a half-day activity for the celebration in collaboration with its partners, including:United Nations Volunteer Program (UNV), France Volontaires, Collectif Marocain du Volontariat (CMV) and Agence Belge de Développement. The day was an occasion to launch the celebration of 2011 as the European and International Year of Volunteerism and the 10th anniversary of the International Volunteer Day.

Volunteers, NGO members, young Moroccans, institutions, and international organizations gathered on that day to discuss fruitful topics including the concept of "structured" and “unstructured" volunteering--to promote the understanding of the concept in its diversity; to promote volunteerism in Morocco (particularly among Moroccan youth); and to understand the impact of volunteerism through the testimony of volunteers and beneficiaries.

Thaqafat Association Recognized by UNDP

In recognition of their efforts to promote volunteerism, Thaqafat Association received a special prize given by UNDP (United Nations Development Project.) In this photo, the Thaqafat team proudly displays this important award which highlights the symbol for the 2011 European and International Year of Volunteering.

From left to right: Rajae Jriri, Assia Ben Abdelkader, Youssef El Gourd, Reverien Gahinyuza –UNV Program Officer-UNDP Morocco, Fairouz El Hamdaoui, Badrdine Boulaid, Nabil Akabli, Rachid Qasbi.


  • Update from the Multi-Regional Consultation Meeting for the First State of the World Volunteerism Report (SWVR)

    The meeting was organized by the UNDP main office of Bonn, UNV section, aiming at writing and producing the very first State of the World’s Volunteerism Report (SWVR) ever. About fifty participants from 20 different countries have been invited to participate either as Academic researchers in the field worldwide or in their own countries and regions, or experts working in the field of volunteerism or UN volunteers who will be in charge of organizing further regional meetings throughout 2011 to complete the report that should be published by December 2011.

    The meeting that took place on 29-30 October 2010 in Gebze (Istanbul area) consisted in dividing the large group into geographical regional sub-groups who worked together for two days to discuss the general meaning of Volunteerism in the global context and to highlight the specificities of every country and its different forms of volunteerism based on an understanding of each country’s background, culture and socio-political system.

    The main objective was not only to write the report but to establish a vision for volunteerism and to initiate a report every 3-year. Another goal that the meeting aims to achieve is networking between the different NGOs and institutions present at the meeting and through them with their partners’ organizations or other organizations they may suggest in their regions or elsewhere. The meeting was funded by E.U Commission.

    The main questions addressed in all workshops during the exchange of experiences were:

    How is volunteerism perceived and misperceived in every country?

    What are the motivations and constraints for volunteerism in your country?

    How do you see volunteerism in the future in your country?

    Is volunteerism contributing to enhance livelihoods in your country?

    Does volunteerism contribute to promoting social inclusion in your country or not?

    Besides the very rich exchange of information gathered during those meetings, the conclusions reached were more recommendations as to what needs to be done in every region to help promote volunteerism, sustain it and organize it better.
    All groups agreed that the challenges that face volunteerism in the world are the same and they are summarized in:
    -lack of infrastructure,
    -need for research in the field
    -recognition of volunteers and volunteerism by all levels and categories (community, government, education…)
    -work on legal frameworks (less bureaucracy, more efficiency and definitely more democracy and not necessarily integrate all forms of volunteerism in an organized frame)
    -include civic engagement in education
    -need of a common understanding of Volunteerism with capital V that would be the umbrella under which all forms of volunteerism fall


    It was also emphasized that all forms of volunteerism that exist in the world from ancient times, and from the most informal to the most formal, ought to receive the same recognition; and that except for the Western European region, all other regions called upon looking back in their past and learning from existing forms of solidarity in their cultures to adapt it in order to have volunteerism as an integrated part of people’s lives. Finally, unanimity was around the fact that each region, country, community had to keep its specificities as its strength and that there should be no attempt to standardize volunteerism.

    Farah Cherif D’Ouezzan
    Thaqafat Association – EIL Morocco

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EIL Turkey Hosts SIT Graduate Students

27 SIT graduate students and two Academic Directors will arrive in Turkey late January, residing with host families in Istanbul. The U.S. group will enjoy a full-day tour of the city as well as many other cultural activities. They will meet students and attend lectures at the University of Istanbul on the topics of Islam, secularism, and women in Turkey. Before finishing their program, the students will travel to a village for a homestay, gaining a first-hand experience of rural life there.

More news from Turkey:

Tim Hauscild arrived from Germany last August on the Welwaerts program. His project is “Teaching English” in Seferihisar near the city of Izmir on the Aegean coast. Tim has been doing excellent work with adults, young people and children. He is very well known and loved by the community. He's also participated in a local music group and is learning Turkish folk music. A concert was performed for the community, and Tim sang a solo--in Turkish! His performance was exceptionally good.  

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World Learning Staff Visit Mexico

From October 29th till November 7th, LAMAT Mexico received a group of 5 staff members from World Learning. For ten days See Hoon Ahn, Fred Breunig, Jeanette Staley, Kathy Sylvester and Phil Zorian were able to experience a taste of what the Experiment in International Living participants live during their summer abroad while they discover life in Mexico. The dates couldn't have been better as they were able to witness the importance and the magnitude of The Day of the Dead in Mexico, one of the most culturally important and visually attractive celebrations in our country.

The program started in Mexico City where they stayed at a sustainable eco-friendly Bed & Breakfast. During their time in the city they were able to visit the Historic Downtown, the Anthropology Museum, The Frida Kahlo Museum and several colonial neighborhoods. They began to discover Mexican gastronomy and all sorts of artistic expressions going from the Folklore Ballet all the way to street performers and handcrafts created for the The Day of the Dead. They also had a one-day trip to the pyramids of Teotihuacan where they were rewarded with a stunning view of the site after climbing the Pyramid of the Sun all the way to the top!

After three busy days in Mexico City, the staff went to the colonial city of Puebla for a short homestay.  Their families shared the city’s important history, their well-known handcrafts, and their proud cuisine. Some of the most famous Mexican dishes like the mole and stuffed chiles are from this area. The homestay was very exciting for all of them and an eye opener to see why this is such an important part in every program. They experienced how challenging it can be for the participants to adapt to a new family and culture as well as the rich insight that it gives you about real life in a foreign country.

Their final stop was the city of Oaxaca, in the south part of the country. Here they met with SIT colleagues and learned about their on-going projects in this city. In Oaxaca, the group was able to discover pre-Hispanic Mexico while visiting archeological sites like Monte Alban or eating challenging treats like the tasty worms and grasshoppers, which are an everyday snack in this region!

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LAMAT Summer Program to the Middle East

During the summer of 2010, LAMAT Mexico--in coordination with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM, one of Mexico’s top universities)--developed a program for college students to the Levant--visiting Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

This was a very successful 4-week program where the group was accompanied by two full time PhD professors from ITAM who specialize in the region and who gave our group several lectures during the trip. The program was divided in three parts:

Jordan

During their stay in Amman our group volunteered with The Jordan River Foundation (JRF), established in 1995 and Chaired by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan. The JRF’s mission is to promote the development of a dynamic Jordanian society by initiating and supporting sustainable social, economic and cultural programs that empower communities and individuals based on their need and priorities.

The Jordanian Government was very supportive and granted our group visas without entrance fee, and facilitated all of our educational activities such as visits in Amman, Mount Nebo, the Dead Sea, and Petra; as well as helping us organize a soiree with the Bedouins from the south part of the country.

Syria

Syria was the main part of the program. The group was based in Damascus where we rented an amazing historic antique Ottoman house in the center of the city. The program in Syria consisted in three parts:

  1. working with the UNRWA for a summer camp that our group financed and coordinated for the kids at a refugee camp on the Mediterranean coast;
  2. volunteering during the mornings in a school for refugee children in Damascus;
  3. exploring different cultural activities in the afternoon, such as: Syrian music soirees, poetry reading (in Arabic and English), guided tours to main sites of the city, and weekend tours to Palmyra, Aleppo, the Dead Cities, Hama, and the Crac des Chevaliers.

The most important part of the afternoon activities was developed in an arrangement with the Instituto Cervantes of Damascus. A chosen group of students from their institution joined our group every afternoon so that they could practice Spanish and our group could hang out with young Syrians their own age and exchange their cultures and points of view. Some specific workshops/debates were conducted by teachers of the institute as well as by the Mexican teachers leading the group with some very interesting outcomes.

The last week of their stay in Syria our group moved to the Mediterranean coast with other UNRWA volunteers for the summer camp for refugee children. For ten days our participants and volunteers organized different activities based on the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals. They shared in the day-to-day living of the camp: sleeping, eating and experiencing a refugee’s every day life. This really connected them to the people and sensitized them to the issues they faced.

Lebanon

Lebanon and Mexico have a long-standing friendship which as been maintained through the ages, providing good diplomatic relations as well as a substantial cultural and economic exchange.

For this part of the program, both the Mexican and the Lebanese Governments were extremely supportive. While in Beirut, our group was able to meet with the Mexican Ambassador to Lebanon; meet businessmen who maintain commercial relationships with our country; and learn about the ongoing cultural exchanges between our countries.

Our group also met with students from the American University of Beirut and enjoyed special guided tours to the city's main sites, as well as day tours to Baalbek and Byblos. This was a great program with very interesting outcomes. The students' evaluations and reflections on the program tell us how much they learned and grew during this past summer.

Following their trip, the students presented a video documentary that they made about the program, with special emphasis on the refugee summer camp, to the academic community of the ITAM, and some other special guests. The purpose of this presentation is to sensitize people about the refugees' issues and support this program in the future.

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News from Yes International in Korea

Experts on Human Rights & Environment Gather in Korea

During the week when the Korean government was hosting the G20 Summit; YES International partnered with its sister organization, International Workcamp Organization(IWO) to organize an international training of “G26” along with the Council of Europe (CoE) and Asia-Europe Foundation(ASEF.)

YES International focused their cooperation on an issue that is important and relevant for the Asia-Europe context and for the globalized world: environmental human rights.

Experts on environment, human rights and youth workers gathered in Korea for five days to explore issues related to environmental rights and the contribution that non-formal education and youth work can bring to this area.

The training was very productive as participants were able to gain a lot of new insights and perspectives on issues related with environment and human rights. Participants with diverse backgrounds were able to inspire one another to take initiative to make a constructive difference in the world.

Year 2 of NSLI-Y Korea Program in Action

YES International hosted 50 American scholars under the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) in Korea. Similar to last year, the students had 6-weeks of intensive language learning followed by life in a Korean high school. They participated in various cultural activities while living with host families. After the end of the summer, with 30 of the students returning to America, 18 of them were placed in Korean high schools. It wasn’t easy for American students to adapt to the completely different life but they were able to understand the Korean education system and learn more about the culture through various cultural activities.

As of December 15, 10 students have left with the end of the Semester Program and 8 of the NSLI-Y scholars will remain in Korea until June 2011. With the winter break just around the corner, the 8 scholars are all looking forward to learning more in depth about the language and culture.

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Changing Minds Program with EIL UK

EIL UK has been developing a new local program looking at different cultures within certain towns in the UK. This Changing Minds’ project brings together young people from different backgrounds within the same town to learn about each other and break down barriers. The young people also discuss youth issues and meet policy makers and people who can affect their lives.

Our change of government and budget cuts have made it a very challenging project this year, but the change in the young people makes it worthwhile. When one young person said “I now understand what a stereotype is” we remembered why we do this!

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EIL Ireland Launches its First Photo Competition!

Photivation--Human Rights Captured--aims at raising awareness of human rights through photography. The winner of the competition will have their photo published in the Irish Times and take part in a workshop with a professional photographer, Edmund Ross, shadowing the work of his studio and also have their portrait taken by him. The deadline for submissions is midnight Irish time, Monday, 17th January 2011.

Members of the public are invited to vote online and rate the photos. The public vote will be open until midnight Monday, 31st January 2011, Irish local time. This voting will shortlist the images and the top 10 will be adjudicated upon by a panel of independent guest judges by Friday, 5th February 2011. Read here for more details.

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ACTFL Convention--Boston, November 2010

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is one of the most important conventions for teachers of foreign languages organized in the USA. It brings together around 6000 teachers, associations and organizations related to language education.  At the same time there is a World Languages Expo which is open to national language organizations, embassies, publishers of books and teaching materials, as well as educational travel organizations.

Federation EIL participated to promote the programs of all members with special emphasis on language immersion, group travel, high school summer and academic programs. Federation EIL shared a booth with French member, C.E.I. -- Centre d’Echanges Internationaux.  We had a booth of 9m² and were represented by Ilene Todd and José L Ponti.

Farah Cherif D'Ouezzan from Thaqafat Association in Morocco and Beatriz Fantini from World Learning, who where participating as teachers, came during their free time to help us to inform visitors to our booth.  

Alvino Fantini was also there as a representative of Federation EIL and as a Conference Presenter. He delivered a session on “Developing Intercultural Competence: An Expanded Role for Foreign Language Educators” which was based on the Federation EIL research project-"Exploring & Assessing Intercultural Competence." 

Approximately 160 teachers visited the stand to request information about the different offices and programs. The visitors we received were: French and Spanish teachers, approximately 33%, German 7%, Chinese 5%, Arabic, 3%, Japanese 3%, Italian 2%, other 17%. We took enough time to explain our programs and to get visitor names and e-mail addresses for follow up. National offices interested in using this information in order to promote their programs should contact the International Office.

The other exhibitors where National Language promotion organizations. The two most important where China and Spanish, followed by German, Italian, Japanese, French, etc.

We were located in the area where most of the American competitors where located, like EF, ACIS, Teachers Love Travel, Youth for Understanding, A la carte Travel, Travel and Education, Vistas in Education, etc, etc. Many who passed by already knew the Experiment and were happy to find the Federation taking an active role in this event!

I think it was a very good investment for the Federation to participate. Besides promoting our programs, it gives us an opportunity to see what other organizations propose, how they are organized and how they promote their programs. I think we should renovate this participation and/or study similar ones.

José Luis PONTI – Déc. 15th 2010

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UN Report from EIL Representative, Connie Crosson

September at the UN was dominated by three main events: The UN/NGO Conference on Health in Australia, the observance of the International Day of Peace and the UN Summit on the Millennium Goals.  UN Briefings through the Fall included Homelessness in Today's Cities, Mysteries of the Cosmos, Food Security to Fight Global Hunger, Violence Against Children.

The UN International Day of Peace

This UN year (August 2010-July 2011) was designated by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for Youth.  He stated in his announcement, “This year, Peace Day is dedicated to young people. The future of the world – its problems and opportunities alike -- is in your hands.” 

The International Day of Peace, observed each year on 21 September, is a global call for ceasefire and non-violence. This year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on young people around the world to take a stand for peace under the theme, Youth for Peace and Development.  Peace=Future was the campaign slogan.  To see stories, photos and video clips, please go to the UN International Day of Peace Facebook page at www.facebook.com/unpeaceday.

Millennium Development Goals Gap Task Force Report

This year, the International Day of Peace (IDP) fell within the same time period as a major Summit on the Millennium Development Goals--the world’s largest anti-poverty campaign. The Summit brought world leaders together at the United Nations in New York from 20 - 22 September, where they examined their prospects for completing their development goals by 2015.  The MDGs are aimed to have member states greatly reduce their levels of poverty, hunger, disease, and maternal and child death.  Many delegates to the Summit sited the Global Economic Crisis, resulting in reduced aid payments to the MDG Fund, and affordable medical drugs, as two of the main challenges, as well as countries which suffered severe flood and earthquake damages as a result of Climate Change. Below are listed resources for further information on the Report.

PDF MDG Report 2010 En 20100604 r14 Final.indd 

Statement by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations on the MDG Gap Task Force Report.
[Webcast: Archived Video - 6 minutes ]

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Argentina Sponsors Wallace Scholarship

C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Beatrice Walker\Desktop\inet\argentina.pngIn 2010 EIL Argentina sponsored the John A. Wallace Scholarship which was awarded to Beatrice Walker from Germany.  The scholarship program honors the memory of John (Jack) Wallace, the former Secretary General of Federation EIL, Executive Vice President of The US Experiment in International Living and founder of the School for International Training (now the SIT Graduate Institute). Beatrice was selected from among a pool of international candidates to participate in a three month Program volunteering in the schools of Chicoana, Salta, Argentina. Here is her report:

Viva Argentina!

C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Beatrice Walker\Eigene Dateien\Eigene Bilder\2010\Südamerika\Peru\Oase\DSCF3087.JPG

Ready for the adventure!

28.06.2010 my cell phone rings…Hello this Martin Paulsen from Experiment. I’m glad to tell you that you got the scholarship to live and work for 3 months in Argentina!“ I can’t believe it. I’m so happy that my dream of going to Argentina is becoming reality!! I could hug the world.

Two months later, 28.August 2010. I’m sitting at the airport waiting for the crew to start the boarding, sad and excited at the same time. On the one hand I’m missing my friends and family but on the other hand I also know that the adventure of my life begins!

Buenos Aires here I am!

C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Beatrice Walker\Lokale Einstellungen\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word\DSCF4360.jpgThe first two weeks I spend in the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires. Here I take Spanish classes every day. That’s good because I hardly speak any Spanish. So it’s time to study, study, study… AND get to know the great city!! Time to go to all the monuments, museums, tango shows, to the park … and spend time with my wonderful host family…playing “jungle speed” or drinking mate. Two weeks are passing way to fast!  And my travel goes on…Chicoana is waiting for me!!

C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Beatrice Walker\Eigene Dateien\Eigene Bilder\2010\Südamerika\Argentinien\Chicoana\Chicona\DSCF5077.JPGChicoana

After a bus ride over 23 hours I finally get to CHICOANA, a beautiful village at the north of Argentina. Here I start working in a small primary school. The first days I’m the attraction of the whole village and the school. Everybody wants to talk and get to know me…

C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Beatrice Walker\Eigene Dateien\Eigene Bilder\2010\Südamerika\Argentinien\Chicoana\Escuela Cooperativa\Semana de Educacion Especial\DSCF5673.JPGAfter the first day at the school I know that I’m at the right place. School in Argentina means not only to study. There is also time to celebrate, to play, to dance and to pray. For example, the first day of spring is an important day at school. A lot of students get dressed up, bring food, music and drinks. And at the end one student gets to be chosen as the queen or king of spring.

C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Beatrice Walker\Lokale Einstellungen\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word\DSCF5259.jpgAfter my first week, I start having my own classes, English and Art. At the beginning the communication with the students is difficult, but by using my hands and drawings it works out. And soon my students are able to talk about the weather, the date and the time in English.C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Beatrice Walker\Eigene Dateien\Eigene Bilder\2010\Südamerika\Argentinien\Chicoana\Escuela Cooperativa\Clase de Artistica\DSCF5341.JPG

In Art Class we’re drawing flags, making masks and bracelets… Besides that, there is always something to do for example preparing a dance with the students for another “fiesta” or taking part in the project“planting more trees”. The affection of the students is amazing. Almost every day there is a kid who draws, paints something for me or just wants to share his lunch with me.

C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Beatrice Walker\Eigene Dateien\Eigene Bilder\2010\Südamerika\Argentinien\Chicoana\Cowboy Fiesta\DSCF6136.JPGC:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Beatrice Walker\Eigene Dateien\Eigene Bilder\2010\Südamerika\Argentinien\Chicoana\Reiten\DSCF6187.JPGBesides working in the school I found a new hobby: horse riding. In Chicoana, there are still living cowboys like I only used to know from the movies. And a lot of people use horses for transportation. With Tono, one of the cowboys, and Rahel, an artist, I go and discover the mountains and the fields around!

And at the weekends it’s time to discover more of Argentina. C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Beatrice Walker\Eigene Dateien\Eigene Bilder\2010\Südamerika\Argentinien\Chicoana\Cafayate\DSCF5859.JPGSo for example I drive with the highest train in the world or discover mountains that are bright red! And at night I especially enjoy typical music of Argentina! The restaurant in which I’m eating every day is owned by an amazing musician. And at the weekends he plays with his group until late at night… so it’s time to dance, sing or just relax until the next morning!

Time to say goodbye

C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Beatrice Walker\Eigene Dateien\Eigene Bilder\2010\Südamerika\Argentinien\Chicoana\Escuela Cooperativa\Clase de Ingles\Spielplatz\DSCF6868.JPGThe 2.5 months are passing fast… and suddenly it’s already time again to say goodbye.  My last day at school is a big party… cake, empanadas, drinks, music and a couple of tears… I don’t feel like celebrating – but I’m enjoying being around with the teachers and students who really became important for me! But I know that it’s not a goodbye forever! I’ll come back…as soon as I can!! So it’s only “Hasta luego!”

Beatrice Walker        August - November 2010

THANK YOU EXPERIEMENT E.V. and especially Jean Wittman and Maria C. Cadena for making this amazing experiment possible for me!!!

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Mexico, Mexico, Mexico! More News from Volunteers...

 

"Some moments when I walk with the kids through the garden I think, 'Yes, this is exactly what I wanted to do here in Mexico."

~Laura Margowski, German Weltwaert volunteer in Amecameca, Mexico-P.E.I., A.C. 2010

 

 

My first month in Mexico
After a 14 hours flight from Germany, I arrived on Saturday, 7th of August at the airport of Mexico City, where Carmen and Cecilia, our coordinators, waited for me and the two other German girls.

During the orientation seminar, which lasted seven days, we stayed in Mexico City. There we visited many museums and got to know a lot of the Mexican history, which was very interesting.

After this week I was introduced to my new host family and the project in Amecameca. The city is in the Estado de Mexico near the Popocatepetl Volcano and has got 2400 inhabitants, a lot of bike taxis and no traffic lights. My hostparents, two hostbrothers and my hostsister are very nice and they welcomed me with open arms. They tell me a lot about the Mexican culture and help me a lot with the Spanish language.

My project is at the CAM Frida Khalo, a school for children with special needs and it is also in Ameca. From Monday to Friday I assist the teacher in preschool, where the youngest kids are educated.

I really enjoy my work there. We draw pictures, do handcrafts and sing songs (of course in Spanish)! It is so much fun, because the kids are really motivated and always have a smile on their faces. The teachers and the head of the school, Professor Juan, are very kind, open minded and they ask me a lot about Germany and our culture.

Right now, the school is preparing for the Independence Day on 15 of September. We decorated our classroom with a lot of little Mexican figures and flags in green, white and red. On 14 of September we will have a great party in the school with all pupils, teachers and parents,Mexican music, and of course, Mexican food. But I have to warn you: When Mexicans say : No pica mucho ( It is not that spicy), then it is for sure!

Hasta pronto!
Laura


¡Viva Mexico!

The three of us German volunteers (Sophie, Maggie and Laura) were very lucky to receive the invitation from our local coordinator to join the big celebration of the Bicentenary of the Mexican Independence on September 15th and 16th in Mexico City. After working for a while with the kids of the library in the little beautiful village Barra de Potosi, we were looking forward to these exciting four days in the capital.

Since Mexico is a huge country, it took us about twelve hours to reach our destination. Therefore we had to rest a little in the morning of the 15th. But in the late afternoon we headed for the “Zocalo”, the city center. Finally we did`t reach this place, where approximately 60 thousand people had been waiting for hours in order to get a good view of the spectacle.

At first we admired the magnificent procession with a lots of wonderfully creative costumes such as colorful flowers, stalking grasshoppers, dancing cows and giant shoes. Moreover, there were parts that showed Mexico´s indigenous heritage e.g. huge skeletons accompanied by mystic sounding music.

After listening to a concert of famous Mexican bands, the long expected “Grito” was shouted from the balcony of the National Palace. The President Felipe Calderón spoke the two words, with which Miguel Hidalgo initiated the fight for the Mexican Independence 200 years ago, in 1810: ¡Viva México!

Entire Mexico shouted with him. It followed a huge spectacle of fireworks in the Mexican colors green white and red, acrobats forming the letters M-E-X-I-C-O and  little movies, which were projected at the façade of the cathedral, showing different independence heroes. Although we saw this historical moment on a huge screen, it was very impressing.

The next two days we got to know better Mexico City and we also visited the biggest old-indigenous city discovered so far: Teotihuacán.

Our host Carmen was so kind to provide for us her son Otho as tour guide through our trips in and around Mexico City.

Thank you for this wonderful experience!

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Links of Interest:

Federation EIL (FEIL)

Volunteers for International Partnership (VIP)

World Learning Spotlight: World AIDS Day 2010

EFL Guide for Volunteer Teachers - Newly developed FEIL resource for volunteers teaching English

 National Geographic Global Action Atlas -Featuring VIP offerings.

Creative Learning's America's Unofficial Ambassadors Program --Featuring VIP programs in Muslim-majority countries.

Summit on the Millennium Development Goals "We Can End Poverty by 2015" 

UN Economic and Social Council 

Council of Europe Education Newsletter

NAFSA Resources for Study Abroad offices

Traveling Naturally and Green Earth Guides -Newest guide: Switzerland

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Federation EIL News