March 2010 Archives

CISV mess at Facebook.

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Check out the results of a search for "CISV" pages and groups:

Can't we get rid of the 5-years out-dated logo - ironically used by the page that has the largest number of fans. Why a group that asks for a network, when there already is one? And can anybody guess, which of all these is the official one? I know Facebook is all about communities and bottom-up, but I just wish some Facebook lord would clean up this mess...

Denmark 1998.

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Highlights from old IBM documents.

While clearing out my old room at my parents place, I discovered three folders titled "IBM 1998", "IBM 1999" and "IBM 2000". To those of you who haven't been around for long on the international CISV scene, IBM (International Board Meeting) was the old name for AIM. And yes, in those days, people came home from AIM with fat folders of documents.

Before trashing those folders, I spent some time flipping through the stuff, and here are the most interesting "artifacts":

The Paper Swan (Newsletter for the 1998 IBM No. 1 August 8th):

Ms Tine Isen from the Department of Organisation and Industrial sociology at Copenhagen Business School was here to tell us about Voluntary Organisations and their ways of working and making decisons. [...] Seen from a simple point of view there are two kinds of organisations; the traditional hierachie one and one build up as a "satelite".

Satellite, satellite? Sounds like starfish to me!

Photocopies 27651

After day one??? That's insane. At least they didn't have to worry about setting up a Wifi-network for 300+ facebook-addicts.

The Paper Swan also included the suggested changes to the Peace Education Circle I mentioned earlier.

IEC-98-IBM DOC 08-4

(a) We conclude that CISV's greatest opportunities continue to exist in programmes aimed at the 11-16 year old age group
Bang! That's what the IEC thought in 1998. It caused quite an uproar. Today I think the notion is not so far-fetched, but just in terms of "core-competence", not the focusing on an age-group.


I won't quote anything here, but this is an extensive educational "audit" done by the educational guru Alvino E. Fantini together with the EDR. It contains a fine list of recommendations. I've never heard of an "educational audit" being done ever again, but think this could be something worthwhile: Having outsiders check on our educational performance.

CAN-98-IEC DOC 37-7

This document is a thorough analysis of the London, CAN chapter and the implications for fundraising and the fee structure.

...limiting considerations appear to be:

1) Fundraising capacity [...]
2) Human resources capacity [...]
3) Recruitment capacity [...]

That's a very interesting way of looking at the potential of CISV on any level. It's a bit in the line of thought of the "fee balance". If you increase the participation fee, you reduce the recruitment capacity, but increase the fundraising capacity (because less is needed) and possibly the human recources capacity (because you can employ a cook instead of recruiting parents).

NOR-98-ECT DOC 44-3

This is the historic document that inaugurated todays e-mail system with the addresses. It's a shame that today, more than 10 years later, still not all NAs participate in it. On a more positive note, the host of 1998, CISV Denmark finally joined a few months ago.

USA-97-IFC DOC 47-2

The first page got lost, but apparently this was a motion for a new fee system: It's amazing that already in 1997 (this motion was tabled that year) people tried to standardize the fee structure. A GBP 25-40 fee per programme week was suggested. It took CISV another 11 years to get it right.


Hmmm. I don't think it's particularly accurate to judge an AIM from a collection of documents, but all in all, there is a bit of a "history-repeating"-feel to it. Also, it seems as if ideas take a long long time until they materialize.

Sometimes I wish I had a perfect memory, so I could remember all the details from those days and contribute to today's discussions. So many things have been said before, but we seem to start anew every single time. The good news, however, is that all three IEC-candidates for the presidency (Lene, Brett and Graeme) have been around in 1998.

Watch out for part two (Brazil 1999, which accidentally got published last weekend in a draft version) and three (Austria 2000) coming up...

Rest in Peace Education Circle.

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4 main content areas replace the decades old core educational document.

PEC.pngIt was printed on the back of every Local Work Magazine and included in many a leader's information package. Some educationally minded staffs made big posters of it to remind the leaders of what was the content of their camp. It's name changed several times, but most people referred to it as the Peace Education Circle. I remember a bunch of smart juniors challenging the content during the IBM(AIM) in Denmark 1998 - however the Brazilian former Local Work chair of the times, who claimed to have invented it (alone?), fended of this assault easily. Today this seemingly holy part of CISV philosophy, the Peace Education Circle, has disappeared from the latest documents concerning Education, the CISV Passport and Big Ed.

The four main areas of Peace education now are as follows:

Explores the identity of the individual and then asks us to consider ourselves within our own and the wider community.
Human Rights
Considers how human rights af fect ever y aspect of our lives and how violations can lie at the root of problems such as poverty, violence and lawlessness.
Conflict and Resolution
Helps us to understand how conflicts can arise deliberately or other wise and what can be done to help bring a peaceful resolution.
Sustainable Development
Looks for integrated ways to promote economic and social well-being, while protecting the environment through the responsible use of natural resources.

4areasofeducation.pngWhile 2009 CISV focused on Human Rights, 2010 is the Year of Diversity. A great chance to dig deeper into the 4 areas and to become more precise in what CISV can make of it. 

Personally, this is really a great achievement. Not only can anybody easily remember the four areas, but it all makes a lot more sense. Who the hell ever understood what "Small Peace Education" was supposed to be. The PEC was very complicated, but also exclusive towards certain themes, i.e. Homophobia got dumped in the "etc." of prejudices.

Something I really like is that "Sustainable Development" has achieved a more prominent status. It's all to easy to delegate areas such as global warming and nature conservation to other organizations such as WWF and Greenpeace, but really, it is a core part of our own educational philosophy.

The only thing that I miss at the moment is some form of graphical representation of these areas, that look a bit more professional than the silly comic pictured above.

(For nostalgic folks, the PEC can still be found on the Resources CISV Saskatoon's website...)  

Hockey players wanted.

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GOOD magazine is starting a new series offering practical advice on how to bring good ideas to live:

Most ideas never fully happen. It's a sad truth. There are probably more half-written novels in the world than there are novels, and the majority of new business ideas and solutions to society's gravest problems will never see the light of day. Yes, you may conceive something brilliant, great execution is rare: Without sound leadership, our natural creative tendencies become obstacles. Idealists, driven by a passion for what is right and good, are especially susceptible to obstacles that obstruct our progress. "Making Good Ideas Happen" is the first in a series of columns about transforming well-intentioned vision into reality. We will examine how some individuals and teams are defying the odds and pushing the world forward with their ideas. We will not talk about ideas. No inspiration here! Instead, we will focus on the key realizations and methods that are making ideas happen. Meet Michael Karnjanaprakorn. You might know Karnjanaprakorn for the social innovation conference known as The Feast, the "professional introduction" service By Association, or the new creative agency Lovely Day--to name only a few of his projects. Karnjanaprakorn is a creative genius, and all of his businesses are fascinating. But was his surplus of great ideas becoming a vice? I asked him just that over lunch recently: Would the sheer quantity of his projects compromise the impact he would ultimately make? Karnjanaprakorn shared the same concerns. He had plans for his next conference,...

ice-hockey-player.jpgI guess the "idea-to-idea"-syndrom is also what CISV suffers from occasionally. And I'll have to include the FTB blog here as well, because I'm offering ideas only, no action. However, I've always admired people who made things happen - more than those who claim to have had the idea first. In the internet age, there's an abundance of ideas on any possible topic, but "walk the talk" makes a difference. CISV, like any other organisation, needs people who can listen to others, filter out the realistic and worthwhile ideas, and turn them into reality. My friend Sanna once told me that in Sweden you call these people "hockey players".

This summer we'll have elections for the IEC (International Executive Committee) and IJRs, of course. Look out for the hockey players!

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A wiki-based database of the ethical standards of companies. (NGOYSK)

brought my attention to Tarek has summarized it all beautifully, so please read his article.

knowmore.pngI especially like their graphic color-coded display of the 5 important ethical areas, as seen in here in the Microsoft example.

I spent a few minutes entering the names of companies of products that I could spot in our living room, and discovered that there is still some work to do: IKEA and Kenwood for example aren't even listed yet, Philips is, but has no ratings.

How about a Mosaic-minicamp spent on researching companies and entering them into the Knowmore database?


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Interns in Cairo.

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Two CISVers have become social entrepreneurs in Egypt.

Not too long ago, a whole bunch of my friends became "fans" of a facebook page called Interns in Cairo. Without looking deeper into it, I simply thought it was a probably a...TV show. I know, you're laughing, but don't you think a bunch if international students doing internships in various companies and organisations would yield in an entertaining daily soap?

It turns out, Interns in Cairo is a company founded by two CISVers, Laura/ITA and Mathilde/FRA, who somehow got stuck in Cairo, after - exactly - doing internships there. The basic idea is to offer a service to both students interested in an internship abroad and to companies in Egypt, who longed for international input. You can get a better idea by visiting their (beautiful!) website.


Now, even if Interns is obviously a service company, there's something genuinely CISVish in there. In fact, to me, it's the true incarnation of what CISV's education should lead to. (Check out the post on Sachi's Bordercrossers for another great CISV spin-off.)

Here at FTB, I've been arguing before that these kind of ideas deserve support, so I hope mentioning their project here will help spread the news.

I was curious to learn more about their ideas, so I did an interview with them. Here it is:

FTB: How did you end up in Cairo?

Laura: I personally moved to Cairo on February 13th 2009. I've been living the year before in Paris, learning French and working with an NGO. After it I  should have gone back home, but it would have been to hard because of the love-hate relationship I have with my mom. After Paris I went staffing a Seminar in BA and there I started looking for an Internship abroad...I confess the Cairo choice was mainly due to love related issue as the boyfirend is a "product" of the Cairo Chapter.

Cairo it's hard to deal with sometimes, so I started begging Mathilde, one of my closest friends, to come over. And surprise-surprise she did it, for reasons she'll explain better but mainly to take a gap year and do an experience abroad.

Few days before Math came me and my flatmates were kicked out of our house as apparently we were having orgies every day. ( in the egyptian culture is not very socially acceptable a girl living alone having guys friends over. It always depend on the landlord, and we haven't been lucky.) But "serendipitly" me and Mathilde ended up living together in a really nice place ( must thank our IJR and friend Rowan El Shimi who totally helped us in this).

Maybe if we weren't living together we wouldn't have spent so much time talking about culture and differences and acceptance,and we would have never came up with this project.

Mathilde: I just graduated from university last December for that to happen I needed to run a 3 months internship over the summer. I was applying to things in France without being convinced, was hard to find something relevant and rewarding for such a short time. I wasn't sure I wanted to take a master right away after my bachelor or taking a gap year and living abroad for a while was something I wanted to experience. I decided to go for the gap year abroad. Egypt had always been a country on my to do list because of all its wonders, CISV friends and Laura. But the choice of Egypt is mainly because at this time I was looking for an eye opening and surprising experience, something new and extremely different from the western culture. There I go, I moved to Cairo beginning of june 2009.

FTB: Do you perceive Interns in Cairo more like an NGO offering an exchange programme or a for-proft company that will pay your salaries?

Laura and Mathilde: Well actually the non profit idea was our starting point: living in such a different environment is really challenging and there is a huge social / cultural gap within egyptians. However the bureaucracy here in egypt is something crazy: said with easy words the government is really protective in general towards its communities so something labled as NGO run by 2 girls foreigners such a conservative place is not easy at all.
So the lawyer (that we would have need anyway for any establishment) told us to go for a LLC (limited liability company....which has no minimum capital as we are "poor" as we are 2 students and we put our own money in this) told us that under this lable in the eyes of the government we are investors in the country and not trying to "corrupt" the society. Still one of the main goals is to give the possibility to western minded young people to experiment such a new and different culture and learn from it (and vice versa of course) as a tool to build bridges towards cultures, taking a step forward other than CISV which is mostly limitated into camps and put it in "the real world". Of course the money we get out of it are also for
- afford our expenses to make this possible and get back all that we invested in this
- for all the time we are spending trying to make it happen for real
As you can see programs that do the same thing (sometimes without providing the flat) are costing between 600  and 1500 USD ...we ask only for 350E a student for everything.

FTB: Sounds like "social entrepreneurs" to me! Great. Now, how has the response been so far?

Mathilde: We are still in the process of developing our companies data base and internship opportunities. But lately companies has started approaching us to get interns.
Concerning application the next past weeks we have been receiving a lot of application. At the moment we are working on 6 applications but we still didn't welcome any interns yet. If things are doing well, we might make the first pick up at the airport beginning of april.

Laura: Yes "inshallah" how we say back here. It' s actually understandable tho (in the sense that it's not upsetting people did not come here yet) as we started being operating Jan, and it's not that people decide to move abroad in a week ...unless they re Mathilde :) The only little problem we have is that our tools to spread the project are kind of limited: we don't have a "marketing" department and it's just the two of us running it and counting mostly on our friends support at the moment.

FTB: Thanks and Good Luck

Editorial Note.

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If somebody wants fresh, juicy content in their e-mail inbox, you can now subscribe to CISV From The Balcony by e-mail. (You'll receive one e-mail per post, nothing else.)

I've also switched the RSS-feeds to Feedburner, which gives me a little more feedback on how many people are following and reading posts through an aggregator. So if you are subscribing already, please redirect your RSS-reader to the following feeds:

Comment Feed:

I may discontinure the old feeds in the future. (Evil me!)

All links can be found further down in the far right column, for future reference.

20100227specialreportcov.jpgShould CISV get into the data mining business?

The latest edition of The Economist has a special called "Data, data, everywhere" (full-text PDF for download free at the moment!). It's about the fact that things like digital cameras, Walmarkt records and your footprints on the web create more and more information that can be stored and used for different purposes: Private companies build internet tools on free Government data (like crime reports), Google built a spell check created from trillion spelling mistakes made in the search box and Amazon "knows" what books and movies you may like by mining through other customers data.

Of course one of the articles also refer to one of my favourite guys, Hans Rosling and his Trendalizer software*, which I used to create the CISV bubbles. Yet, one of the most interesting paragraphs of the special report was the description of an emerging executive job:

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) have become somewhat more prominent in the executive suite, and a new kind of professional has emerged, the data scientist, who combines the skills of software programmer, statistician and storyteller/artist to extrac the nuggets of gold hidden under mountains of data.

This is exactly what I've been trying to do, with all the "Statistics Nerd" posts here at FTB. But whereas my amateur attempts may have sparked a few ideas, I wonder if CISV should take the issue more seriously. How about building a database, that contains much more than just how many camps where hosted by whom in which year? Let's add cancellation data and  evaluation data. Let's try to track down costs (of travel and hosting). Finally, how about getting somebody into IO who's good working all this out to benefit CISV?

Of course collecting and handling such data will lead to privacy and security, even legal issues. Already now German parents find it difficult to register their kids at CISV friends. But I'm sure there's so many things we aren't aware of, that could be extracted: Maybe some camps in some chapters are way more expensive than others? Or maybe there is a quality trend, that summer camps for 15y olds are much worse than the others? With that information, maybe trainings and programme development could be applied in a more targeted way?

On a different note, the special report also contains the following paragraph:

Best Buy, a retailer, found that 7% of its customers accounted for 43% of its sales, so that it reorganized its stored to concentrate on those customers' needs.

It reminded me that Arne-Christian/NOR, then IFC-chair, told the board in 2002 that 10% of the NAs were hosting 60% of all camps. Should CISV concentrate on those NAs needs?

*The artilcle calls the software "Gapminder", which is in fact the name of his organization, which shows that the mighty Economist is sometimes a bit sloppy in checking their facts.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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