In the Loop

The Newsletter of Federation EIL - Worldwide Network of The Experiment in International Living -December 2011
Stay In the Loop with the Worldwide Network of The Experiment in International Living

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.

The design used as the Experiment monogram is one of the oldest symbols in the world. It has been found decorating monuments at least 5,000 years old. The unbroken loops are symbols of infinity, symbolizing the peoples of the world living together in harmony.

In This Issue

Light Up the World with Volunteering
World Learning Alumna Wins Nobel Peace Prize
2012 GA on 80th Anniversary of the Experiment
Federation EIL at WYSTC in Barcelona
EIL Brazil Wins Latin Travel Award
EIL Spain Hosts Volunteering Training Event
EIL Ireland Introduces Innovative Fund for Volunteers
Experiment Italia Experiences Autumn in Vermont
EIL UK Announces Exciting New Programs
EIL Argentina Celebrates "La Casita del Quirquincho"
Introducing Cultural Canvass of Thailand
Field Report: U.S. Experimenter Heads to Turkey--Again!
Connecting the Dots: A Volunteer Report from the UN Conference in Bonn
UN Updates from Federation EIL Representative
Links of Interest

Light Up the World with Volunteering

December marks the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers when the UNV (United Nations Volunteers) launches the first-ever State of the World’s Volunteerism Report.

"During this anniversary year, a wide range of partners and stakeholders aims to promote the values of volunteering, to recognize the positive impacts of volunteering, to build and reinforce volunteering networks, and to facilitate people’s contributions to peace and the Millennium Development Goals through volunteering." (UNV)

Thaqafat Association, our Federation member in Morocco, was among those who celebrated International Volunteer Day on December 5th, inviting young Moroccans to volunteer for the first time in and around the capital city of Rabat.

The Director of Thaqafat, Farah Cherif D'Ouezzan, was also among those selected help develop the very first State of the World's Volunteerism Report. About fifty participants from 20 different countries were invited to participate, either as academic researchers in the field worldwide or in their own countries and regions, or as experts working in the field of volunteerism. The main objective was not only to write the report but to establish a vision for volunteerism and to initiate a report every 3-years. 

Thaqafat represents Morocco for Volunteers for International Partnership (VIP), a program of the participating members of Federation EIL. VIP combines international community service projects with language training and homestay opportunities in over 20 countries. To read more about volunteering initiatives from our member and selected partner organizations, click on the newsletter topics below:

EIL Spain Hosts Volunteering Training Event

EIL Ireland Introduces Innovative Fund for Volunteers

EIL Argentina Celebrates "La Casita del Quirquincho"

Introducing Cultural Canvas of Thailand

Connecting the Dots: A Volunteer Report from the UN Conference in Bonn

Established in 1954, Federation EIL has held consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council as a nongovernmental organization since 1978, and with The Council of Europe since 1981. In 1989, Federation EIL was recognized as a Peace Messenger organization by the United Nations Secretary General.

To read this quarter's report from Federation EIL's UN representative, Connie Crosson, click here.

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World Learning Alumna Wins Nobel Peace Prize

WASHINGTON (October 10, 2011) -- World Learning, our U.S. member, is proud to congratulate Yemeni democracy advocate Tawakkol Karman, an alumna of its Visitor Exchange Program, for winning this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee announced Karman’s joint award with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and peace activist Leymah Gbowee citing "their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work."

"This award recognizes the tremendous courage and tenacity that Tawakkol Karman and the women of Yemen have demonstrated in demanding a greater voice in their country’s future," said Adam Weinberg, World Learning president and CEO. "The creative leadership that Tawakkol has demonstrated in opposing repression and corruption serves as an inspiration to all of us who work to expand freedom and human rights worldwide."

Karman visited the United States in 2005 on an exchange program administered by World Learning and funded by the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. As president of the nonprofit Women Journalists Without Chains, she joined 24 working journalists from around the globe on a three-week program focused on the role and impact of responsible investigative journalism in a democracy.

In Yemen, Karman has vocally opposed the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh since 2007. Security forces briefly arrested the 32-year-old mother of three in January while she was leading student protests— an event that some analysts say helped fuel wider demonstrations in the country.

Her joint award is the first Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to a woman since World Learning Trustee Emerita and environmental activist Wangari Maathai won in 2004. Jody Williams, a graduate of World Learning's SIT Graduate Institute, shared the award in 1997 with the campaign she worked for, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

World Learning hosts 2,000 emerging leaders in the United States annually on behalf of the US State Department and the United States Agency for International Development. Each year, these professional, academic, and cultural exchanges attract participants from more than 140 countries.

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EIL Japan Hosts 2012 General Assembly on 80th Anniversary of the Experiment

SAVE THE DATE - EIL Japan will host Federation EIL's annual assembly, May 7-12, 2012 in Kobe, Japan. 

2012 marks the 80th Anniversary of the founding of the Experiment in International Living and the 55th Anniversary of the Japanese Experiment.  We look forward to celebrating both of these milestones with friends and colleagues from around the world.  

This year our Excursion Day will be an optional day tour to Kyoto on May 7.   With 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, more than 1600 Buddhist temples and over 400 Shinto shrines, Kyoto is also one of the world’s most culturally rich cities. Those wishing to join the excursion should plan to arrive in Kobe on May 6. For those looking forward to a post-GA Tour, plan to join the group for a 3-day trip to beautiful Yamaguchi, including a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Miyajima Island.

Director Yoshihiro Suzuki is visiting the International Office in December to finalize the plans for this year's gathering. Shortly thereafter full details including registration materials will be available. 

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Federation EIL at WYSTC in Barcelona

Several representatives from Federation EIL attended the 2011 World Youth Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) in Barcelona, Spain this past September. Experiment members from France, Germany, South Africa, Mexico, Guatemala, Spain and the UK were among the 800 attendees from more than 80 countries.

The Federation booth provided visibility for our overall organization as well as for each of our individually attending members. Each participated in workshops and met new partners--with an impressive number of pre-arranged business meetings with current and potential partners--over a hundred in all.

For many, this was a first time at WYSTC, and for new directors Victoria Perry of EIL UK and Clyde Hayward of SASTS (EIL South Africa), it was an opportunity to get to know the Federation first hand.

Jiong Duanmu of Xu Bo, our VIP organization from China, was also among the participants, and shared these photos with us. She heartily appreciated the opportunity to spend time with current partners.

Mark your calendar now for WYSTC 2012 in San Diego, California, USA from 18-21 September: "From nonstop networking with international companies to the latest technology trends and industry insights, you won't want to miss it." (WYSTC 2012)

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EIL Brazil Wins Latin Travel Award

Experimento Brazil has been awarded Language Travel Magazine (LTM) Star Award for the second year in a row.

"This award means a lot to us at Experimento," says Director Betty Woodyatt. "It gives us more inspiration to follow our day to day path of building an even better organization for our customers and staff--always inspired by our values of commitment, dependability, team work and customer service."

Language Travel Magazine is the flagship business publication for the study abroad sector of the travel industry. It covers language learning overseas, work experience and volunteering. The LTM Star Awards are unique awards in the international education industry where education consultants can vote for their preferred language school.

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EIL Spain Hosts Volunteer Training Event

~A Report from AIPC Pandora (EIL Spain):

From September 25th to October 1st, 2011, AIPC Pandora (EIL Spain), in conjunction with Drôles de Femmes (a French organization) and Club des Cinéastes Amateurs d´Hammamet (a Tunisian organization,) conducted an  international training course entitled, "Training Volunteers for a European Civic Community."

The objective of the week-long seminar was to prepare participants to be able to train as many young volunteers as possible on every level of society with this goal: to promote citizen´s participation for a greater social cohesion within the EU and with their South Mediterranean neighbours.

There were morning and afternoon training sessions daily, followed by a film and analysis. Intercultural Learning Educator, Farah Cherif D'Ouezzan, the Director of Thaqafat Association (EIL Morocco) presented the first workshop entitled, "Social, Intercultural, Active Community: Identity and Social Citizenship; Promotion of Voluntary Service." In addition to the participation of EIL Morocco, EIL Turkey sent four participants.

During this week-long event, youth leaders and volunteers from European and South Mediterranean organizations were trained to promote a plural, intercultural, civic community, open to the world and especially to their Mediterranean neighbours.

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EIL Ireland Introduces Innovative Fund for Volunteers

EIL Ireland is introducing a new initiative to support volunteers when they return home. The power of volunteering doesn't end when participants return home, says EIL Ireland, but it can be difficult for volunteers to continue their engagement.

The EIL Seed Fund Micro Grant Scheme helps volunteers overcome barriers, such as financial limitations,by providing successful applicants with funding, guidance and support to act on their experience abroad with their own awareness-raising projects.

The most effective way in which volunteers can truly make a long-term difference is to educate others about global justice and the lives of ordinary people in developing countries, says EIL Ireland. The Irish Minister of State applauds their new program:

"Irish Aid recognises the Seed Fund Micro Grant Scheme initiative as having the potential to ensure that the experience of short term volunteering has benefits beyond individuals through development education awareness activities. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you the best of luck on your development education programme and congratulations on the strong interest and commitment that the EIL members and volunteers continue to show in respect of issues facing those living in developing world."

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Experiment Italia Experiences Autumn in Vermont

Anne Elliott Vallana, Director of EIL Italy, led a contingent to the U.S. from homestay communities around Italy.  Local Representatives and teachers from San Benedetto, Cosenza, Desenzano, San Sebastiano, Asti, Treviso and Ravenna traveled to Brattleboro VT to meet with the U.S. Experiment staff. 

The focus of the gathering was to share new ideas about programming while getting to know one another. The guests were also treated to a number of classic New England experiences, including:  pumpkin carving, a pancake breakfast at a New Hampshire Sugar House, and visits to nearby art museums and attractions. The highlight of the outings was a Harvest Dinner of locally grown foods held at the Scott Farm in Dummerston; while the final evening introduced the guests to an old fashioned American pot-luck to which everyone brought a signature dish. 

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EIL UK Announces Exciting New Programs

EIL UK announces a series of new programs for groups of 10 or more, offered any time of year. Themes include: Football, Rugby, Theatre, Film, Gardens & Antiques, British Culture & Language, as well as Scottish Outdoor Adventure.

For over 70 years, EIL UK has worked with people from different cultures, breaking down barriers to mutual understanding and increasing cultural awareness.

With a solid track record in looking after international groups, EIL UK guides participants beyond the beaten track for an in-depth experience of Britain’s people, language and culture.

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EIL Argentina Celebrates "La Casita del Quirquincho"

~A Report from The Language Experience (TLE)/Experiment Argentina

We are extremely happy and very proud to be celebrating the third year of our project "La Casita del Quirquincho." Three years ago, on September 30th, during the program of our first Weltwärts volunteers, La Casita officially opened its doors to the children of the village of San Miguel.

Since then, incredible progress has been made thanks to generous donations, caring neighbours and friends; and of course the daily hard work, creativity and commitment of our volunteers! Recently, for example, we received a donation of a new stove which helps greatly in preparing the meals for all the children that attend.

Today, not only the children but also their mothers know that "La Casita del Quirquincho" is a place where the children are safe, well taken care of, and receive a daily warm, nutritious meal. And despite the occasional complaint, the children--and teenagers--love participating in the activities the volunteers prepare for them every day!!

At the moment, our three volunteers--Marieke, Carsten and Jan--are starting a new mini-project: a vegetable garden! The local people are a part of the effort and soon the planting of the vegetables can be started!

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Introducing Cultural Canvas of Thailand

Volunteers for International Partnership (VIP) is proud to welcome its newest partner, Cultural Canvas Thailand. It is an honor for VIP to be associated with Cultural Canvas Thailand whose mission is to generate awareness and volunteer support of the current social issues facing Chiang Mai, Thailand. Along with partner organizations, Cultural Canvas promotes equality, community interaction and social change through its focus on artistic outreach, hill tribe education, women's empowerment and refugee assistance.

One of their most unique programs is "Art Relief International (ARI)" an artistic outreach program that works with a wide-range of social and humanitarian organizations within the Chiang Mai community. Woravit (Wad) Rattanakit, Managing Director, has this to say about ARI:

"We believe in providing a voice for individuals by exploring various creative means, including visual, performance, and experimental arts. Our mission is to promote expression and cultivate the creativity that lives inside each individual. We use art to create an atmosphere of inclusion and belonging where often there is none. Typically, we run art workshops daily, involving painting, photography, music and crafts. Volunteers have the opportunity to work alongside organizations that specialize in a minority population that is marginalized in Thai society, including the mentally and physically disabled, Burmese migrant workers and refugees, single mothers with children, the GLBT community, and orphans. Our artistic outreach program is a fantastic way to get involved with the important issues that the community is facing today. We welcome volunteers from all walks of life, and look forward to working with you.”

Volunteers for International Partnership (VIP) is the international volunteer service program of the participating members of Federation EIL. Offered in 20 countries, VIP provides volunteer service opportunities for individuals or groups by combining the most important aspects of cross-cultural education with the values of service and commitment.

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Field Report--U.S. Experimenter Heads to Turkey--Again!

~Katie Sealey, U.S.A.

Many people in my country ask why Turkey? or why Istanbul of all the cities? I could have gone with the Experiment to another country,but after my first trip to Turkey, the thought never crossed my mind, not for an instant. I would return even if I had to crawl!

I chose Istanbul again because it has the atmosphere of a bustling city mixed with a contrasting influence of a far calmer and peaceful culture than I have ever known. It seems strange to say that I love the hour and half traffic from one side of the city to the other; the densely packed mini buses; the crowded bazaars. Instanbul is truly alive--you can see it, hear it and sense it with every car horn, at every bus station, or every street corner.

Yet while the city can be so busy, I have found more peace of mind from Turkish culture than I could ever find in the U.S. After a long day of being out I can go home and see my host family. We can make dinner just sitting and talking. The issue of different languages sometimes comes up but if there is confusion there is no problem. We are just enjoying the atmosphere. Maybe more friends are coming for dinner. There isn't really a plan but there is also no sense of worry. After dinner we can sit drinking tea or have a nice Turkish coffee. Maybe we are talking, maybe we aren't.

I chose Turkey again because I love the food, the people and the idea that you can just sit back and enjoy life. Every day doesn't have to be an epic adventure, but you can just be happy and appreciate what you have. I have tried to take this philosophy back to the United States as I think it is really something we need as Americans.

Being able to volunteer through the Experiment has been truly inspiring as well. This trip, I helped teach English. Though it was my first time, I found teaching so rewarding that I am considering teaching as a career. I have grown so much as a person from the Experiment. I went from being someone who was afraid to try anything to someone who challenges herself and wants to try everything. I would recommend the program to anyone with an adventurous spirit--like the one I have discovered within myself.

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"Connecting the Dots," a delegate's report from the UN Conference in Bonn

~Aislinn, EIL Ireland

Sonja (EIL delegate from Germany) and Aislinn (EIL delegate from Ireland) at the EIL booth at the UN conference in Bonn

Thanks to EIL Ireland, I had the opportunity to help represent Federation EIL at the 64th Annual United Nations NGO Conference in Bonn this past October 2011.

Bonn is a lovely host city, situated on the river Rhine; and is the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven. Bonn is also Germany’s UN City--with 850 men and women working in 18 UN organisations, programmes and offices, mostly in the area of sustainable development. This made it a very suitable host city for the theme of the conference: “Sustainable Societies, Responsive Citizens." Experiment Germany also has their office in Bonn.

On the first morning of the conference I met with the other members of the Federation delegation at the EIL booth in the main hall. Over the duration of the conference attendees of the conference were able to stop by the desk to learn about EIL and the volunteer programs. Lots of other NGOs and some UN agencies had desks set up where you could find out about their organisations and their work. 

The opening ceremony was very illuminating and set up the themes from conference. The slogan for the weekend was “Connecting the Dots” and the speakers at the ceremony gave their interpretation of how this related to “Sustainable Societies, Responsive Citizens. 

“Connecting the Dots” makes reference to a speech made last January by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. He spoke of “tearing down the walls between the development agenda and the climate agenda” and he spoke to his audience about “connecting the dots” between climate change, water, energy and food.

One of the opening speakers in Bonn remarked that “connecting the dots” meant that sustainable development is not just an environmental issue, but an economic and social one as well, as sustainable development needs finance and needs to be achieved alongside social equality.

Vandana Shiva, an Indian environmentalist and a keynote speaker at the opening ceremony, stressed the importance of connecting the anti-poverty agenda with an environmental agenda, claiming that hunger could be ended by using innovations in agricultural ecology which are also good for the environment.

The Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information, Kiyo Akasaka, remarked that we need only look at the famine in the Horn of Africa to see how hunger is caused by the intersection of climate, conflict and governance.

The opening ceremony also included a video address from Ban Ki Moon who spoke of the need to develop sustainable economies in order to achieve the Millennium Development goals and protect the environment. 

The conference consisted of a series of roundtables and smaller workshops where which sought to link volunteering, youth involvement and bottom-up approaches to the creation of sustainable societies and economies. Irish MEP Marian Harkin was among the speakers in a workshop on “Volunteering for a Sustainable Future” that I attended. She spoke of how economies weren't sustainable because they were no longer related to people. This workshop highlighted how volunteering should take center stage in the struggle to develop sustainable societies.

It was a great opportunity to attend a real UN conference and a huge thanks to EIL Ireland for the opportunity and the delegates from the German office who were there to welcome me on the first day. It was a wonderful chance to meet international members of Federation EIL and people from NGOs around the world. 

Click here for a video summarising the highlight of the conference.

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UN Updates from Federation EIL Representative

~Connie CrossonUnited Nations logo



NGO Briefings

Un News: Ban Stresses Role Of NGOs In Helping Transitional Countries Build Institutions

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Statement to NGO's

Beyond Durban: Fighting Racism, Ending Discrimination

Online community welcomes UN DES (Department of Economic & Social Affairs) : On 24 October, UN DESA officially launched its presence in social media. Responses have been pouring in from across the globe including: India, Australia, Iran, Italy, USA and Sudan. "We are honored to work with you and know that only together can we truly change anything," stated one NGO working to eradicate poverty through education.

Promoting peace, job creation and food security: The General Assembly's Second Committee has many pressing issues to address this fall including poverty eradication, agriculture development and energy efficiency. A new agenda item on "People's empowerment and a peace-centric development model" has also been introduced. DESA News (Department of Economic & Social Affairs) spoke with Ambassador Momen, who leads this important work.

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Founder Donald Watt's Daughter Visits International Office

During a recent visit to the Federation's International Office, Phyllis Watt Ingersoll, daughter of the Founder, was presented with an official plaque, sent by the Indian Experiment, designating her as an honorary Dr. Donald Watt Fellow. 

"To commemorate and perpetuate the memory and vision of Dr. Donald Watt, and to salute his deep rooted philosophy & contribution towards world peace, we (The Indian Experiment) have decided to honour all those Experimenters who have inscribed this philosophy in their hearts and contributed their might toward promotion of this noble cause.  We will confer the honour 'Donald Watt Fellow' to all those Experimenters who wish to avail of this opportunity."

While at the International Office, Phyllis was also presented with a rain cape from Experiment Germany which she obligingly donned for this issue.

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Links of Interest:

Federation EIL (FEIL)--Website for the Worldwide Experiment

Volunteers for International Partnership (VIP)--The volunteer program of Federation EIL

State of the World’s Volunteerism Report 2011--Universal Values for Global Well-being

EIL Ireland's Channel on YouTube

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

America's Unofficial Ambassadors Program --Featuring VIP & EIL programs in Muslim-majority countries.

UN Women--United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

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

NAFSA Resources for Study Abroad offices

WYSE Travel Confederation

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