In the Loop

The Newsletter of Federation EIL - Worldwide Network of the Experiment in International Living - June 2009

In This Issue

Thaqafat Association hosts General Assembly Meeting
“Weltwärts” partner organisations visit Bonn
1964 Group Leader Returns to Ireland
Update from FEIL's UN Representative
Working for Trade Justice and Fairtrade
SASTS receives endorsement from SA Educational Department
EIL Ireland Travel Award Presentations
News from EIL Turkey
Microprojects 2009
Experiment Germany welcomes new team members
Volunteers at the GA in Morocco "Share Everything"
WYSE Travel Confederation Youth Travel Industry Monitor
Links of Interest

General Assembly Meeting in Rabat, Morocco

Group photo in RabatFederation EIL's 2009 General Assembly took place in Rabat, Morocco from April 20 - 25.  Special thanks to Farah Cherif d' Ouezzan, Fairouz El Hamdaoui and all the staff and volunteers from Thaqafat Association for the superb job they did hosting and welcoming delegates from 23 different countries.   

Among the highlights of the conference was a video presentation on trends and developments in youth travel by David Jones, Director General of the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation.  The GA was also honored to have Chris Gould, Chief Executive and Founder of Child Safe Charity in the UK as part of a three-person training team addressing safety, security and risk assessment.  Other workshops included Attracting New Participants, Volunteer Program Trends, Social Networking, Responsible Travel, Student Safety: Sexual Abuse Awareness and Protection, Travel and Exchange for Adults, and Responses to Trends in Migration, Development/Study Abroad and Cross Culture/Educational Tourism.  

Importantly, The General Assembly unanimously approved the application for full membershipFull member certificate being presented to AIPC by President Rashid Toefy of AIPC Pandora in Spain. Pictured are FEIL President Rashid Toefy, center, with Ana Eseverri, left, Director of AIPC, and Chantal Mayer, right, President of AIPC, receiving their certificate of full membership at the farewell party on Friday April 24.  

Delegates also had an opportunity to learn first hand about life in a Moroccan family when everyone was graciously welcomed into the home of a local host family for dinner.  Professor Abdelhay Moudden offered a very informative lecture on Politics in Morocco and the Arab/Islamic World and a fascinating day was spent visiting the 13th century Medina in the imperial city of Fes.  We look forward to seeing friends and colleagues at the next General Assembly which will be held next year in Paris, France.

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"Weltwärts" Partners meet in Bonn

Twenty two representatives of “weltwärts” partner organisations visited Bonn, Germany from 18th to the 21st of May. In addition to Experiment representatives from Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Ghana, Nigeria, Turkey and South Africa, new and old partners from Guatemala, India, Mexico, Peru, Thailand and Togo were also present.  During the conference, lively discussions took place about the programme, the rules, cooperation between the countries and the volunteers themselves. A workshop on conflict management and mediation as well as a workshop on Health and Safety issues were also part of the program. The evenings were used to find out extensively about local culture, food and … “dancing”. Group photo in Bonn

All welcomed the opportunity to meet their partners personally. In her feedback after the conference, Cecilia Gamez of PEI/Coalicion Mexico wrote: “I loved the feeling that every workshop left us with practical knowledge on the program and a deeper knowledge of the rest of our partners. There was a closeness and participation that is not easy to find in other occasions. During the conference we were real partners and we openly shared experiences, mistakes and successes in a unique way.”  Pochy Villaroel (EIL Chile) and others shared this impression “It makes cooperation so much easier”.

One of the highlights of the week, though, was not the workshop but the surprise-birthday reception in the Bonn office for Pochy. All “Experimenters” celebrated her with fresh strawberry cake and “Bienenstich” (a cream cake called bee sting, please don’t ask, why…) and the obligatory glass of “Sekt” (German “champagne)!

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1964 Group Leader Re-visits Ireland

The first ever Experiment group arrived in Ireland on July 1st 1964. Forty five years later on May 25th of this year the leader of that group made a return visit to Ireland and spent an emotional John McNichols with some staff at EIL Ireland day in the EIL offices in Cork. John McNichols was originally scheduled to lead a group to Mexico, but was switched to Ireland at the last minute and history was made as the first ever Experimenters left for Ireland.

John, a retired high school teacher and football coach, now spends much of his time broadcasting sports commentary and teaching sports journalists in Monterrey, California. It was his first trip back to Ireland since 1964 and he spent four weeks retracing much of the itinerary of the original Experimenters. John told the EIL Ireland staff that he was "deeply moved to see how the Experiment had grown in Ireland". He said he is still in touch with some members of the 1964 group and that every one of them still feels their summer in Ireland was a "defining life changing and character forming experience". Unfortunately John's father died suddenly shortly after he returned from Ireland and his plan to lead to lead Experiment groups to other countries over the following years had to be abandoned. John is pictured 4th from the right along with EIL Ireland staff.

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Update from the UN by Connie Crosson FEIL UN Representative

I so enjoyed meeting many of you at the Annual Meeting in Rabat and learning more about your interests at the UN.  Most of your inquiries had to do with the UN Volunteer Program.  I am working on setting up a meeting with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Liaison Officer for their volunteer program related to the Millennium Goals.  I will report back to you in the next newsletter about what opportunities may be available.

The main emphasis for the DPI/NGOs is the upcoming 62nd Annual Conference called: For Peace and Development: Disarm Now! to be held in Mexico City from September 9 -11, 2009.  This is part of the UN’s effort to take the issues “on the road” and to involve more Central and South American NGOs.  The Conference aims to highlight effective ways in which civil society, in partnership with local government and other NGOs, can contribute to the advancement of disarmament and peace, and as a result promote sustainable development.  There will be round-table discussions, break-out sessions, interactive dialogues, workshops and caucuses.  The Conference will be located in the cultural section of Mexico City and will involve the major museums and cultural centers.  All activities and events will be located within walking distance of the UN Conference on CyberHateConference venue.  The organizers are planning special travel and hotel packages for delegates, and a great deal of attention has been given to safety and health concerns.  If you are interested in attending, please contact Ilene Todd at the FEIL International office for the forms and registration information at federation@experiment.org.  More information will be forthcoming once the Conference website is launched. You can check the DPI/NGO website soon, and look for the Conference website link from there.

DPI has offered several briefings in the last few months, including: Disarmament and Development; Worldwide Autism; Disability: Implementing the New Convention and Challenges Ahead; Women in Peacekeeping; Children in Armed Conflict; Forced Labor: The Cost of Coersion; and the Ozone Layer and Climate Change.  I also attended a conference on Cyberhate: Topic of Unlearning Intolerance, which encouraged parents and teachers to take a more active responsibility for what children and teens are exposed to on the Internet, from cyberbullying to cyberhate.  Various websites were noted for further information: Wired Safety is a charity that runs www.stopcyberbullying.org  The Anti-Defamation League also works on cyberhate issues and has resources on its website: www.adl.org.  Another site soon to launch is www.un.org/en/unlearningintolerance The photo above was taken at the UN conference on cyberhate. Have a good summer! Connie Crosson

Working for Trade Justice and Fairtrade

During the last Network weekend, EIL Ireland members met in Dublin and participated in a workshop on "Working for Trade Justice and Fairtrade". EIL Ireland conducting surveys

The workshop helped EIL members appreciate the need to examine the impact of  policies, political and economic decisions made in one country or region on people in another country.

Following this workshop, EIL members took action by conducting a survey with people they met in the street of Dublin city centre. The purpose of the survey was to find out the shopping habits of people as well as informing people on some trade issues.

The EIL members interviewed more than 100 people in just one hour... the result of this survey will be published on the EIL Ireland website soon!

Caterina Totaro
Development Education Coordinator
EIL Ireland

SASTS receives an endorsement from the South African Educational Department

South African Students Travel ServicesIn April 2009 SASTS received an endorsement from the Minister of Education in South Africa for it’s Cultural Exchange Programme.  The Minister stated in her letter that she was “pleased to inform you of my support and endorsement of SASTS Cultural Exchange Programme… (it) makes it imperative for higher education students to be afforded opportunities for educational experience and understanding geared towards the production of a global citizen. This could be realized through opportunities for traveling and working abroad, which are at the core of SASTS activities”.

Alex Bleach, SASTS Director, said that even though it was a lengthy and frustrating process to achieve this endorsement, it was well worth the effort in the end as it gives the programme and SASTS a weight and legitimacy amongst its partners as well as a competitive edge by receiving this kind of support from the Government of South Africa.

EIL Travel Awards 2009

Mr. Billy Kelleher, Minister for Trade and Commerce in the Irish Government presented the EIL Travel Awards 2009 at a ceremony in Cork on Monday June 8th. At a cost of over 50,000 euros 32 young Minister Billy Kelly with Karen Reganambassadors will travel to Japan, South Africa, Ecuador, Argentina, Hong Kong, Mexico, the USA and Germany in 2009.

Some will spend time exploring the rainforest in Ecuador, living with a local family and attending secondary school in Japan, another group will debate world issues with young people from Vermont and 12 really lucky people will take part in an exchange between young people in Hong Kong and in Ireland.

Judy and Kevin with the MinisterFor others these trips of a lifetime are designed to seriously challenge and even push people to their limits. Those joining the VIP Volunteer programme will come face to face with extreme poverty, others will get to share their lives with people living with HIV and Aids in South Africa and in Nigeria, one will live with indigenous peoples in a very remote island in Mexico and another will work with children in Santa Fe in Argentina.

"The Awards challenge young people to explore some of the most exciting cultures in the world in a responsible and meaningful way. The results can be life changing! Since EIL founded the Travel Awards in 1994 we have assisted over 542 people at a cost of €430,000 to explore other culture in a way that immerses them in the lives of ordinary local people." Judy Roche chairperson of EIL Intercultural Learning.

News from EIL Turkey Camilla Rjosk from Germany at her project

Camilla Rjosk, pictured at right with a group of her youngest students, is from Germany/Weltwärts program teaching English in a Turkish village called Deydinler in the Anatolian part of Turkey.

Camilla is here on Weltwärts program and doing fantastically well. She has three groups: children, teenagers and adults. Both Camilla and the people of the village are very happy about the project. She is staying with village family.

EIL Turkey has also started to work with GeoVisions on their “Conversation Partners” program . Our first volunteer, Zach Williams, already arrived in Turkey . He has finished his two weeks in Istanbul and is in Izmir for another two weeks. We are also very please that four more volunteers are coming in July and August.

Microprojects 2009

Federation EIL Microproject in Salta, Argentina

EIL/TLE Argentina began a project with rural schools in Salta, wheChildren from Salta Schoolre they detected that the children and their parents have literacy and nutrition problems due to their isolated location and lack of economic resources. Initially the project consisted in the reconstruction and maintenance of the schools and the setting up of a sponsor care system to provide financial aid for the children. The third stage of the project is “the family and the environment”, which consists of enabling thecommunity so that they can become sustainable and produce their own resources, such as milk, fresh fruit and vegetables. The priority for 2009 is to create and develop a community garden and greenhouse, which two or three local families will share in the responsibility of maintaining.

The microproject is to design and construct the community garden and a greenhouse. The volunteers will provide the building materials, funding and know-how to make this happen. This is a pilot project and if successful, it will serve as an example when implementing this model in other locations with other families. Read more backgound information on our website: http://www.experiment.org/multinational.html

Guatemala Microproject: Educational Centre in Chiquimula

AIPC Pandora (Spain) has been working for the past seven years with ACUDE, a local non governmental organisation in Guatemala. ACUDE is an organisation dedicated to the social, economic and educational development of its local population. Each year AIPC Pandora sends volunteers to Guatemala to help determine the specific needs and problems present within the community in order to design projects to improve their living conditions and opportunities. Last year ACUDE, with the help of volunteers from AIPC Pandora, built and opened an Education Centre in Chiquimulato offering reading and writing classes to its residents.

In August 2009, AIPC Pandora will be sending 12 volunteers to the Education Centre in Chiquimula to participate in this second micro project, which looks to extend the range of facilities, resources and available training courses. Each year the project evolves in accordance with the local needs and demands. AIPC Pandora offers continuity to this project by sending volunteers each year that contribute towards the local development. The project also acts as an intercultural exchange experience as locals and volunteers share information about their culture, customs and ways of living. This information helps us to adapt and improve the project for the following year.

Experiment Germany Welcomes New Team Members - Change – yes we can!

The German Experiment has made some changes during the last couple of months and we want to use this edition of “In the Loop” to bring you up to speed about what is going on here in Bonn. At this year’s National Assembly in April, Experiment Germany elected a new board. The new president is Manfred Glocke who some of you may still know from his time as Federation President during the 90s. Experiment Germany has also recently welcomed several new team members in its Bonn based office.

Petra Keller is responsible for the newly created Public Relations department. Before Petra joined the office on the 1st of May she worked as PR coordinator for an international film production company specializing in action film and stunts. We thought that this background makes her most qualified for our thrilling “environment”. If you want to know more about Petra, feel free to contact her at keller@experiment-ev.de.

Another new Experiment team member is Lisa Els, who joined our ‘School Year Abroad’ team. Born in Bonn, she was abroad several times before finally returning to her home city. After a high school year and a Work & Travel programme in Australia, she worked as an educator. When working in a kindergarden at a hotel in Egypt she decided to go to Vienna where she studied Hotel & Tourism Management and then worked for the Hilton Hotel Group.  Having worked in guest relations is the perfect preparation for dealing with worried parents and demanding students – so if you want to know her secrets on how to stay calm, even during the perfect storm, feel free to contact her at els@experiment-ev.de

Christina Guth has joined theExperiment e.V. Germany School Year Bettina with the 'new team'Abroad Team. She was an exchange student to the US in 1997-98 and spent a great year in a little town in Virginia. That year has had a profound impact on her and inspired her to pursue a degree in North American Studies at the University of Bonn. During her studies, she went back to the US to study at Washington State University and to work as an intern in San Francisco. Please feel free to contact Christina at guth@experiment-ev.de.

And last but not least, we also welcome Laura Urban to our High School in Germany team who has started on June 1st as a program manager but who has been an intern with us since November of last year. Laura has spent a high school year in the US, two semesters at an American university and – most importantly - she has been a participant in our Volunteer Program with EIL Chile, so she knows the Experiment and its programs and will be a great addition to our team. Should you want to know more about her, please contact her at urban@experiment-ev.de.

While you might think that one has to be female to get a job here, we want to assure you that this is not the case: We just always choose the best – and very often they happen to be female. Pictured from left to right, Bettina Wiedmann, Laura Urban, Christina Guth, Lisa Els and Petra Keller.

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In Morocco, we share everything!

"In Morocco, we share everything" - be it tea, couscous, the best ways to haggle in the markets, or the best ways to hit on girls, we, the German participants of this year's volunteer group have experienced a very intense cultural exchange in Rabat, Volunteers playing soccer in SaleMorocco's capital during the GA in April. While GA delegates had to work hard, we discovered a Morocco apart from the usual tourists' paths together with our volunteer colleagues from India, Japan and the US. It was especially interesting to get to know the projects in Rabat's neighbour city Salé, where we taught English, worked in a park and played Hokey Pokey with street kids. Each encounter did not just involve an invitation to a meal, but it also provided an opportunity for great conversations and fascinating impressions that we will never forget. Our two group leaders from Experiment Morocco, Badrdine and Naoual, were perfect examples of Moroccan hospitality - even if we grilled them about Moroccan culture until early in the morning.

Besides many great memories, and lots of pictures and teapots that we have bargained for in the market, we have also acquired a fantastic skill: How to roll couscous into little balls with one hand. You should try it some day! Thanks for this great time! Pictured are some of the volunteers in green t-shirts with their new friends in Sale.

Lisa, Ben, Magda, Annette and David from Experiment Germany

Youth Travel Industry Report

The results of the third WYSE Travel Confederation Youth Travel Industry Monitor have been published. A panel of experts from the youth and student travel community continue to share their experiences on how the current economic climate affected business during the period of March-April 2009.  The third issue of the Monitor also provides insights on how our industry is utilizing various marketing methods to adapt to market changes. Positive and negative influences and response actions are also described, along with opinions as to when a turn-around is expected. Click here to read the report.

 

Links of Interest:

UN Economic and Social Council 

UN Millennium project

UNESCO Culture of Peace  

Council of Europe

Every Human Has Rights Campaign

NAFSA Resources for Study Abroad offices

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