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Servas Executive Committee 2012-2015
Photo credit: Amir
Poland August 2012
Servas International General Assembly elected new EXCO
Left to right:
SI Vice President Ann Greenhough, Britain
SI Host List Coordinator Arnoud Philippo, The Netherlands
SI President Jonny Sågänger, Sweden
SI Treasurer Miroslaw Wasilewski, Poland
SI General Secretary Jaime Romero, Colombia
SI Peace Secretary Danielle Serres, France
Jonny Sågänger, president 2012-2015
Jonny Sågänger, elected president at the General Assembly 2012 in Poland. I’m a Swedish citizen and I became a member of Servas in Colorado, United States, in the winter 1983-84. I’m a journalist by profession, and since January I work as executive editor for a company called Svenska Nyhetsbrev in the area of specialized journalism and information. One of my main objectives when I decided to run for the post as SI president was to try to make it easy and safe for travellers and hosts to communicate via Internet. It’s my aim to try to make all contacts with Servas as an organization easy and as hassle-free as possible. I would also like to be instrumental in giving Servas a clear and unique profile as a peace oriented organization with the special feature of offering hospitality. I would also like to increase the transparency of Servas workings, especially in the areas of economy. All prospective members should also in the future be screened to ensure that they understand and subscribe to the principles of Servas prior to approval as Servas members. In short: the interview/informative talk should be kept. To keep the use of a document or other equally secure means to establish the credentials of a Servas traveller that must be presented immediately upon first meeting a Servas host. But today’s Letter of Introduction, LOI, could well have another shape. These priorities aim at making sure that the members feel proud of being members of Servas and that they are convinced that they get value for their membership fees. It’s important the the member groups and national groups maintain their role as the centre of activity in the Servas federation. • For me it’s crucial that Servas International’s website will be modernized and that it will incorporate a global service which will facilitate for travellers to find hosts, for members to manage their own personal data. In short this means the completion of the development of the prototype ServasOnline for Internet based services. I would like Servas to be the preferred choice when members of other organizations in the area of peace, human rights, sustainable development and environmental protection decide which hospitality organization they should join. • What is important to me about Servas as a peace organisation? That Servas should promote a world where people can live in peaceful coexistence thanks to respect and understanding of different cultures, equality between men and women, differences in skin colour, ideology and nationality. The essential tools for promoting peace is the Servas program for hospitality and peace projects that are initiated and run by members groups. Even though it is my main goal to give Servas a distinctive presence on the Internet and increase the use of digital tools, it’s important to avoid that Servas discriminates individual members and member groups that don’t have access to modern means of communications. It’s important that I will be able to combine a leading position in Exco with a family and working life. I’m married to Kristina and we have three teenage children (Gustav, Agnes and Hanna). I’m working full time in my position a manager and executive editor.
Danielle Serres, peace secretary 2012-2015 Born in 1948 in Toulouse, a beautiful city in the South West of France, I started travelling at an early age and discovered I wanted to be a citizen of one peaceful world. Raised in a community-involved family, I have been familiar with the principles of justice, democraty, tolerance and solidarity. I lived abroad in different countries for several years, and I speak French, Spanish and English, plus some Portuguese. When my children were young, we hosted several students from different countries. I am a volunteer with several organizations, advocating for human rights –particularly women rights- peace and non violence. For the last 16 years, I have been working as a translator specialized in human rights. I believe that misery, poverty, unemployment, inequity, illiteracy, ignorance and lack of democracy are a menace to peace and to people's safety. In 2007, when I heard about Servas, I thought it was such a great way to meet many people from all over the planet and share our experience and our dreams. I started hosting many people from different countries, then became a Servas traveller. I attended all 5 Servas France General Assemblies so far and helped organizing last year regional meeting in Toulouse. In 2008, I became involved as an interviewer in Servas France. All this helped me realize how unique Servas was, not only as a traveller network, but most of all as an important way to build real sharing and understanding among all human beings. In 2010, Servas France Peace Committee was created in Strasbourg General Assembly, and I became the Peace Committee Coordinator. With this committee, we work as a group at peace mainstreaming within Servas. In September 2011, I had the opportunity to participate as a Servas delegate to the UN DPI NGO Conference in Bonn, Germany. As such, I was able to make contacts with many groups accredited to the United Nations, among them Peace Women Across the Globe, a women initiative for peace. In November 2011, I welcomed EXCO invitation to fulfill the SI Peace Secretary position until the next election, which happened in August 2012 in Poland, where I was elected. I look forward to raise peace awareness within Servas, building upon the very foundations of Servas to find ways to serve peace. I would like to promote a vision of travelling not only as a cultural and human experience, but also as a social responsibility. As Peace Secretary for Servas International, my aim is to strenghen the links set up with the UN observers in the different venues, working with and involving more local representatives. My commitment would be to keep supporting Servas members countries peace activities and build upon them, strenghening the connections between us through an organized network. I believe in strengthening our local networks as well as developing partnerships with other organizations. Through a better understanding of others, we can make a better world. Let’s build understanding, tolerance and world peace. Let’s all be ambassadors for peace!
The short form of my name is Mirek and it is much more popular among friends. My first contacts with Servas date back to 1984. I became Servas host in 1987. Later on, when Servas Poland became a registered association in Poland, I became an interview and I was elected to be a member of our Internal Audit Committee. I attended several Servas meetings abroad, like Servas Summer University in Askov or Baerenthal. Later on I was on the organizational committee of Servas Summer University in Olsztynek, Poland. In 2006 I was elected to Internal Audit Committee of Servas International and after SI General Assembly in Mar del Plata in September 2009 I became Treasurer of Servas International. I have very nice memories from my Servas travels in Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and France where I met lots of nice and interesting Servas hosts. I work in a bank and I do some freelance financial journalism and lecturing as wel
I ride a motorcycle from time to time and I like sailing and horse riding. Travelling and meeting people and their cultures are my interests, too.
I would like to introduce myself to you. My name is Arnoud Philippo. I was born in the western part of The Netherlands (1956). I studied physics and mathematics in Amsterdam and was teacher at highschools (ages 12 to 18) and schools for higher education (ages 18 and up). Many of my students will be nautical engineer, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer or teacher at elementary schools or highschools.
I like to travel and meet people because I am curious about other people, other countries and other cultures. In 1984 I joined Servas Netherlands and in Japan I got my first experiences with Servas. As a traveler (in 5 continents) and as a host I met many Servas-members. These experiences, who broadened my horizon, had a great positive impact on my life. Now, I have many friends (because of Servas) worldwide.
I was active in the local working group of Amnesty International (AI) in my town. This is a global movement of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in more than 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights. I am still an active member of AI, because every year I work on fundraising.
Later I was volunteering for the Netherlands Intercountry Child Welfare Organisation. This organisation is a member of Euradopt, an association of adoption organisations in 12 Western European countries. Up to 4,000 children receive new homes each year through these organisations.
Since 2003 I am the National Secretary of Servas Netherlands) and since this year as the webmaster of the website of Servas Netherlands. In Argentina, Denmark, India, Poland and The Netherlands I joined international Servas-meetings. Because I am elected in the board of Servas International, my boardmember-friends and me have the opportunity to make this wonderful organisation even better. This is my challenge for the next three years!
Jaime Alberto Romero
JAIME ALBERTO ROMERO INFANTE
The Engineer Romero has dedicated his professional life to the development of infrastructure services in which it has occupied important positions as Project Manager for concession system projects, public service projects and Environmental Production and sustainable development projects in housing, infrastructure and construction in general seeking human needs. Today is one of the experts of the United Nations Latin American and Caribbean region on Sustainable Consumption and Production (Marrakech Process ) leading the UNEP (United Nations Plan for the Environment) and UNIDO (United Nations industrial development). Also, spent part of his career as a manager, researcher, teacher and entrepreneur Universidad El Bosque in Bogota DC Is a Civil Engineer from the University of Los Andes, Specialist and Dottore in Ingneria from the prestigious Politecnico di Milano in Italy and Project Management Specialist, University El Bosque in Bogota and Masters in Management from the University of Quebec, Canada. His teaching career has played through the development of lectures, papers, books and research projects at the University of the Andes and Universidad El Bosque which occupies the chair of Introduction to Environmental Engineering, Clean Production, Project Management and Environmental Management from other academic activities. He has lectured in addition to the above universities, at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, University of Buenos Aires, as well as a speaker at numerous national and international events. Today is an Associate Professor in Engeneering School and Director of the Environmental Management Master of the University El Bosque. Upon personal volountering activities, he is the National Secretary of the Servas Colombia organization and a member of "main board" Servas International (www.servas.org) as area coordinator in South America and has been popularly elected as the General Secretary on the world wide organization; he is one of the founders of the nonprofit Foundation, fundammas, which deals with the promotion and development of projects of Health and Environment in the West of the Sabana de Bogota and is a member of several boards and committees of the University Forest, plus partner consulting firm in Colombia. In Europe has been a partner of engineering and architectural firms and design director of major projects in Italy and southern Europe. Currently has several academic publications and articles in international journals.
Ann Greenhough, elected as vice president at the 2012 GA in Poland.
I was born in the North of England and for many years I have lived in Yorkshire with David (Asher), my husband, where we brought up our two daughters, Ruth and Laura, now grown up. Our first grandchild was born in 2012 and we are lucky to have her living nearby so we can see her grow day by day. David and I first became Servas travellers in our mid-twenties and we have been hosts and travellers since then. In 1992 I became National Secretary in Servas Britain. Over a number of years we enjoyed travelling with our daughters and went together as a Servas family to a number of international events around the world. In 2000 I organised a European meeting in Britain where young people acted as volunteers to run a special programme for teenagers and children. Interest grew in promoting young people’s involvement in Servas at a time when alternative hosting organisations were first emerging on the internet. We had a young people’s forum at the GA in Thailand and after retiring as National Secretary I was appointed as the SI youth coordinator to organise a young people’s programme at the 2004 GA in Barcelona. From there Servas Youth was created and I continued first as joint youth coordinator then later as youth development officer until 2009. I have enjoyed the challenge of developing new projects and being involved in organising international events. In 2007 I coordinated a youth and family meeting in Yorkshire which brought together young people and families of all ages. Following my recent retirement from a demanding job I now have more time and space to focus on being part of an international committee, as well as enjoying being a Servas traveller. I have had a long and varied working life as a social worker in child protection and in the family courts. I am trained as a family mediator and my work has brought me into contact with families from many backgrounds and cultures. I am very pleased the 2012 GA has put everything in place for Servas on Line to be set up as soon as possible. It will make Servas more accessible and appealing, opening up new possibilities for hosts and travellers to enjoy time together. It will also give us opportunities to promote what is special about Servas as a peace organisation and what makes it different to other internet hosting networks. Whilst keeping two night stays at the centre of host/traveller contact I feel there is also scope for travellers to sometimes pre-plan visits and so be able to engage with host families and their communities at a deeper level, may be through sharing a mutual interest or contributing as a volunteer for a short or longer time. Alongside the youth meeting in Britain in 2007 we experimented with young people going to work camps, doing work experience and long-term volunteering. I believe such activities can make real and practical contributions to world peace-building.
I look forward to SYLE (the youth language experience) and other projects becoming more available to Servas travellers of any age. I am also keen to encourage the development of the ideas for cultural and environmental projects that were presented at the GA through linking regional and national groups who share similar ideas and interests.
Having been involved in the Servas Youth project from the start I see Servas as having much to offer families with teenagers and younger children as well as young adults who can travel independently. I hope the new website will be able to promote Servas as a family friendly organisation and that activities for young people and families can continue to be at the centre of Servas and remain open to all.
Servas International Executive Committee, elected in September 2009. From Left to Right: Pablo Colangelo, Pramod Kumar, Gary Sealey, Penny Pattison, Mirek Wasilewski, Kim Jong-Soo
Gary Sealey (Resigned January 15, 2012)
Gary Sealey, SI President This is my second (and last) term as President. I have been serving Servas International since 2001 when I was made Main Representative of Servas to the UN in New York. At the General Assembly in 2004, I was elected as Peace Secretary and helped organize the General Assembly of 2006 where I was first elected President. My emphasis as a Servas executive officer has been on helping Servas become a modern civil society peace-building organization, with improved teamwork, outreach and consultation and better information for decision-making on SI priorities and programmes, as well as cost-recovery of General Assembly expenses. In Ottawa, Canada's national capital, my personal activities include environmental advocacy, and politicking for human development and human rights. I enjoy playing with my dog in the garden, canoeing and boating, motorcycling, skiing and world literature.
I have been a member of Servas for over 25 years. My first Servas travel experience was in India in early 1984. It was much more difficult to communicate with hosts in those days! I moved to Victoria, British Columbia on the west coast of Canada and became a Servas host in 1985. I live here with my husband, Chris Jones. I enjoy singing in a choir, outdoor activities, gardening and theatre, and I am involved in several other activities in Victoria, including mentoring a little girl in elementary school, and volunteering with our Community Social Planning Council. For work, I have been in the Information Technology area for many years, and I am currently working as a Project Manager and Business Analyst.
I love travel! Servas gives me the opportunity to experience a country from the inside, and I treasure these experiences. I feel very fortunate to have friends all over the world because of Servas, who have taught me so much about their lives. While I enjoy the fact that we have so many things in common, I also really like to experience the differences in our different cultures!
I was National Secretary for Servas Canada for 7 years. That ended at the end of 2009, but I will continue to be a Servas Canada interviewer. I wanted to become SI General Secretary because I really believe in Servas, and I thought that I could contribute at the international level.
In peace, Penny Pattison General Secretary Servas International
I discovered Servas while on a hitch hiking tour of Europe in 1978 and got my first Letter of Introduction from Servas Britain. Immediately after returning home, I became a Servas Host in India. I have been actively involved with Servas work and have served as Youth Coordinator and Host List Coordinator of Servas India besides being the the General Secretary of Servas International from 2006 to 2009. I consider my visit to a country incomplete, unless I can make some friends in that country. Servas gives me the opportunity to do so. I am an engineer by profession, am married (to an economist) and have a daughter (who is a lawyer).
Pablo H Colangelo
I have been active with Servas since I visited several wonderful families in many European Countries. it was after my graduation as an Architect in 2002 when I become a member. It was an extraordinary experience and after coming back I felt very encouraged and enthusiastic to help in Servas, this is something it is worth helping to grow.
So first as a Day Host and after as a Host I started collaborating by updating the Servas Argentina host list for some years and after this I had the chance to become a Deputy. It was there when I learned a lot about how Servas works and the officers duties and responsibilities. We hold many locals and regional meetings and I hosted many travelers and helped also neighboring countries in their development. So, 3 years later I was elected as a NS.
Now after more the 10 months working very hard to make the 2009 GA dream come true in my country, I'm very happy to had been elected as a SI Host List Coordinator. I feel comfortable helping Servas in this position, and I´m committed to perform a good job. That’s because all of you to give me this amazing opportunity!
Thank you so much I appreciate it and I´ll do my best!