We just returned from Europe where we truly enjoyed our 3 weeks in Bulgaria and Poland. It was so great meeting all of you at the Plovdiv Conference. Mary and I thoroughly enjoy the European conferences where we can visit with friends we have made in the past, and also meet many new ones. It is always great to see our students and young members that bring such energy and enthusiasm. Although the conference lasts only 4-5 days, the memories and friendships will last through the rest of our lives. We enjoy exploring new areas of the world, having discussions with people spanning generations, participating in a humanitarian activity, soaking up an area’s culture and customs, learning basic phrases in an unfamiliar language, eating local foods and drinks, dancing, touring, and even occasionally singing ) What a fantastic job the hosting Smiles team did in pulling off this incredible conference.
We really enjoyed: the traditional dance performances performed by the Provadia and Varna students, and the local Plovdiv performers; the personal challenges during the city tours; the Youth Hill ‘spider web’; the Bachkovo Monastery; and the dinner and dancing on Saturday night. The impromptu karaoke sessions were also great fun ) We were surprised and very happy to receive the Certificate of Recognition for our ‘continuous and meaningful support of PTPI youth in Europe’. We have met so many wonderful European students at the conferences and are honored to call them our friends.
After leaving Plovdiv we went to Sofia for a couple of days and then visited Krakow, Katowice, and Warsaw for 10 days. In Katowice Mike presented a set of lectures on data management to about 300 students. These lectures were an experiment to see how PTPI might add value to a student’s PTPI membership, and also as a potential recruiting tool for student chapters. Be on the lookout for additional information on this program in the future. If you have ideas on what would make a PTPI membership more meaningful for our students and youth do not hesitate to inform the European Executive Council (EEC).
We wish you all a productive, enjoyable, and fun year in school or any other endeavors you might pursue. In our troubled world today it is great to see organizations like PTPI promoting peace, and our students and youth bring us hope of a promising future with respect and dignity for all our sisters and brothers in a sustainable world.
Until we meet again – be it in Europe, Skopje, the USA (our home always available for travelers), or elsewhere!
Hugs from the USA!
Mary and Mike