December 2010 Archives

Kiran's legacy is impressive, but theres still stuff to do.

If you haven't heard it yet, Kiran is leaving us by January 31st for a new challenge (good luck!). The IO and the IEC will have to go through the process of hiring a new Educational Officer for IO to take over Kiran's job...but wait, do they really? Is there any stuff left over at all to be completed by an educational employee? I'd say yes for three reasons: First of all, having had somebody with an Educational background at IO for the last 4 years has been a success story, and should be continued. Secondly, the educational development of CISV is an ongoing, continuing process. We'll always have to adapt our programmes to change. Finally, there's specific tasks that require some attention in the immediate future. And these are as follows:

1. Grand unifying theory

Albert Einstein started looking for it, but until this day, physicists still haven't found a formula to explain the universe. I hope for CISV we are more successful: While every single CISV programme makes a lot of sense by itself, we need a concept that unifies all of our educational goals. "Global Active Citizenship" is a good start, but isn't quite embraced by every CISVer. So, we either need a better theory, or a better understanding how every CISV programmes fits in. Last but not least, we need to articulate it in a way, that CISVers old and new, as well as non-CISVers can easily understand it.

2. Educational Department - ready, set, go!

With a bunch of personnel changes and restructuring the Educational Department is really still in its infancy. Under the leadership of a few volunteers and the new educational officer this department needs to be turned into a workhorse: This includes creating a defined distribution of responsibilities, terms of references, finding great people to take over the positions (and stick to them), maximizing output including  internal development as well as external publication in the world of educational research.

3. Activities - the key stone of CISV

At one end of CISV there's our educational approach: What we want to achieve, expressed in our goals and indicators. At the other end of CISV there's our programme structures: Camp-, interchange-, project-format, age-limits, timeframe. In the middle lies something that we haven't been focusing on too much, recently, and that's our activities. A great CISV programme is usually the result of great activities. I know there's an activity database - but it's outdated. Also, there activity handbooks - but they've never been evaluated. Somebody needs to take a look at our best activity templates, and try to make them better. What are the activities, that no Summer Camp should go without? What is explicitly important when running them, to make them most effective  and reach their individual goals? Maybe somebody actually has to go to a camp and watch how "Blue and Yellow" is being planned, conducted and evaluated. How can we manage to make every "Blue-and-Yellow" activity an impressive and lasting experience in every single camp?

That being said, I think that the job is a fascinating challenge, and maybe even somebody with CISV experience could apply. On the other hand, somebody that brings in new ideas may from other areas may be just as good or even better. We'll see.

Save as WWF.

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I'd like to correct my suggestion from an earlier post, and propose that CISV, in the light of the new environmental taskforce, adopts the WWF-format as a new standard:

The WWF format is a PDF that cannot be printed out. It's a simple way to avoid unnecessary printing. So here's your chance to save trees and help the environment. Decide for yourself which documents don't need printing out - then simply save them as WWF.

Editorial note.

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Our Internet was down for more than a week, so sorry for the lack of updates recently. Now it's back and the year is almost over,  so here's a few thoughts on FTB in December 2010:

CISV from the Balcony is now almost two years old. The number of readers is growing steadily, most of all the people following on Facebook. Over the years there have been times, when I was less motivated to come up with new stuff, or just too busy to wrap my head around CISV at all. But it usually comes back, and there are days when I search all recent Twitter updates for CISV for new inspiration and draft 5-10 posts for future publication.

I'm not sure FTB will continue forever - not only does it require some effort, but also I'm afraid my personal balcony may be moving further away of the CISV epicenter, since I'm to busy with other things, can't attend AIM, let alone a CISV programme. It does require a certain amount of "involvedness" and that also includes having friends and family deeply involved in the organization - which is another source of my input that is waning.

But for now, especially after being around at AIM 2010, I feel confident enough to comment on any new developments, keep firing out (devilish) suggestions, engage in discussions and criticize everything I believe could be better. So for 2011 you can expect another round of juicy posts that will keep you CISV brain busy.

I also hope people will continue commenting - preferably here on the website, but on facebook it's also o.k. I also appreciate input by e-mail, as repeatedly done by people like Lars/NOR, Sarah/USA and Helene/DEN. Thanks, keep the stuff coming!

One final Christmas wish: FTB's audience is growing, but still not huge. This is mostly because there's probably just not enough CISV nerds around the world to be interested in this stuff. But it would be a shame if people were, and hadn't heard of it. So if you're on facebook, please suggest the FTB facebook page to your friends  - once -  I won't ask again, promised! The more people receive the articles, the motivation I will have and the better the discussions will be.

Thanks and a good start into 2011, everyone.

CISV bubbles 2009.

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An update to the CISV statistics database.

I've been fiddling with this for a while, and not everything is where I'd like it to be: Entering new data turns our to be more work than I had hoped for, and also my good old five-year old PowerBook is challenged with so much data and a memory-thirsty GoogleDocs. Nevertheless I've added many more numbers to the spreadsheet, including the Balcony Index calculated for every year, EEC representation and indiviual programme hosting numbers. Most of the numbers are from the Annual Report, others were sent to me by Bebbe (thanks!), 2010, of course is not yet included. 

Here's the link to the raw data, and as usual, a more comprehensive way of looking at it, using Gapminder's great visualization software:

(Click here for a bigger view

I still have more numbers that date back to 1996 and I hope that it will be even more interesting looking at CISVs development over a longer timespan.   

I'm not attaching any kind of interpretation this time - these things will show up in future posts, when I look at specific questions.


CISV Norway Advent Calendar.

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Check this out: These guys apparently are making a video a day until Christmas - I can't understand a thing they're saying, and the experimental subtitle feature of youtube seems to have disappeared but the idea itself is fantastic.


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