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News from the World Servas Community

Articles of Interest from Servas International and Other Servas Organizations Arond the World

International News

Many International Servas Groups provide US Servas with news they would like us to distribute. These can range from events like the disastrous earthquake in Türkiye to efforts to build a permanent Peace Academy. This page also includes items from Servas International that might be of interest to US Servas members.

Featured Articles

Unique peace and justice articles submitted by Servas members that are particularly well-written and/or might be of special interest to members. Tell us about it. Submit your stories here.

Click here to send in your story.

Click here to contact the US Servas Peace Secretary.

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  • June 09, 2023 6:59 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    graphic - poster for Pyrenees TrekAugust 25 to 31 , 2023

    There is a tradition of inter-Pyrenees meetings, and this year Servas members will meet in the Núria Valley near Andora. It is an ideal place to visit, relax, see nature, go hiking... The plan is to spend a few days together, live together, get to know each other, exchange and share experiences in the surroundings of the Pyrenees. 

    Click HERE for details, housing options, and registration. 

  • June 09, 2023 6:54 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    photo of Vaasa in FinnlandServas members of Finland will gather on an island in the beautiful Maxmo Archipelago, off the west coast of Finland near the city of Vaasa. The group will be staying in the quaint Wästinn Hotel, located by the sea, complete with traditional sauna and fishing facilities. There are only left 4 places available for international friends, and altogether there will be about 30 people. Events included are sharing friendship in Servas spirit, hiking on the seashore trails, international dancing, and enjoying sauna, swimming, and tasty local cuisine. 

    From abroad, you can fly directly to Vaasa or fly first to Helsinki and then take the 4-hour train from Helsinki to Vaasa. Before or after the meeting you can stay with some of Servas families in Vaasa. From there, there's transportation with private cars to the meeting place some 50 km north. Contact: Arja Sigfrids for more information. 

  • June 09, 2023 6:44 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    photo of Santo Domingo MonastaryOctober 12 - 15, 2023 Caleruega (Burgos) 

    Servas Spain will hold their 2023 national assembly at the Santo Domingo Monastery in Caleruega in the foothills of the Pyrenees in north central Spain. The monastery is a sanctuary of Dominican friars and offers a calm place for reflection and prayer to those who wish to withdraw for a while from daily occupations and find themselves more deeply with themselves. It has ample space for the activities and an assembly hall to celebrate the gathering.  

    Caleruega is a municipality with fewer than 500 inhabitants, located in the region of La Ribera del Duero, about 160 km. from Madrid. A few places of interest in the area are: Clúnia, an archaeological site, La Yecla Gorge, Santo Domingo de Silos, Covarruvias, Lerma, the small old village of Peñaranda de Duero, Wineries in Gumiel de Izan, Museum of Human Evolution, and the Unesco archaeological site of Atapuerca. Follow this link for further information. 

  • May 04, 2023 2:13 PM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    photo of Paige LaCombe & Alvany Santiago by Paige LaCombe & Alvany Santiago

    After the four-day UN Commission on the Status of Women CSW67 conference in NYC, see OD article, Paige LaCombe (US Servas), and Alvany Santiago (Servas Brazil) flew to Santiago to share their experience with women attending the XIII Congreso Latinoamericano de Investigación sobre la Paz (CLAIP), i.e., Latin American Peace Conference.It was held at the University Alberto Furtado in Santiago, Chile from April 18 to 24, 2023. Attendees were thrilled to have these two powerful women make their conference presentation, “UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW): The Experience of Servas Representatives”. 

    Paige LaCombe is the former peace secretary for Servas International. She holds a BA in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena, California.She’s taught in Los Angeles for more than twenty-five years to maximize opportunities for migrant children and their families. She also has a keen interest in gender issues, particularly the rights of girls to participate in sports, as well as supporting equal opportunities for education and wages for women. She served as the Servas International Peace Secretary from 2019 to 2023 and focused on organizing the attendance of Servas International Women at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and developing partnerships with men’s group that support gender equality. 

    Alvany Santiago is a Servas Brazil member, a founder of SantiagoEcoAmigas, and a member of the Conflict Resolution Team for Servas International. She is a professor in the postgraduate program in Development Dynamics of Semi-arid Regions and Public Administration at the Federal University of Sao Francisco Valley, Brazil. She is the leader of the research group Laboratory of Career and Competences Development (LCDC) and a member of the research group Governance for Sustainability and Carbon Market Management at Federal University of Bahia, Brazil. She was a visiting fellow at the University of Birmingham, UK and at the University of Tampere, Finland. Her studies revolve around the contribution of people and organizations to sustainable development, including gender equality, circular economy and business ethics.  

    Like the New York CSW, the Chile conference included people from diverse groups within Latin America, not just Servas members. Their first objective was to inform attendees about Servas and describe efforts to address gender and diversity issues within an international peace organization. To achieve this, they introduced Servas International, described the strategy of action, and analyzed Servas International’s participation in CSW. Their presentation conveyed the energy and relevance of the CSW as they shared some of the key sessions and presentations from the UN conference, including the presentation hosted by Servas Canada member, Julie Cormak, entitled Women and Girl's Access to Education in Afghanistan, and Türkiye Servas International Peace School. See video. 

    During their time in Santiago, they stayed with wonderful Servas hosts Javier Heusseur, National Secretary Servas Chile, and family, and with Emilio Caicedo, Peace Secretary, Servas Chile.  Many thanks for their hospitality, conversations, meals, and true Servas camaraderie! 

    Paige Lacombe, Alvany Sanitago and Javier Heusser attending Servas SYLE online

    L-R - Christine, Javier, Emilio and Alvany (Servas hosts and traveler) 

    photo of Emilio Caicedo and Paige Lacombe Emilio Caicedo and Paige Lacombe 

  • May 04, 2023 8:49 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    Die schwelle logo - stylized dove with olive branceOn May 31, 2024, the schwelle Foundation will confer the 11th International Bremen Peace Award for exemplary commitment to Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation. The award is given with the aim of honoring people and organizations that set an example through their work contributing to reconciliation, human rights, overcoming racism, social justice, sustainable handling of nature and environment as well as to intercultural and inter-religious understanding.The patron of the Bremen Peace Award is Bremen’s former mayor Karoline Linnert. For more information about the Peace Award and the schwelle Foundation click HERE. 

  • April 27, 2023 6:55 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    photo of N building with colorful flagsBy Julie Cormack & Kent Macaulay

    Did you know that Servas plays a role at the United Nations?  

    As an organization promoting peace, Servas International has “consultative status” with the UN.  This means that Servas can name 15 official representatives to the UN and can participate in and contribute to various UN conferences and discussions.  In return, Servas members are requested to learn about and support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2015-2030 and other UN initiatives.

    One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is gender equality.  For the past few years, Servas members have been delegates to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conference held at the UN in New York every March.  This year, over 40 Servas members from around the world registered as delegates for CSW67.  Some of them attended a portion of the two-week conference in-person, while others participated online.

    Join The Discussion on ZOOM

    Sunday, May 7, 2:00 pm Eastern (11:00 am Pacific)

    Hear what Servas members gained from CSW67 and how they contributed to it. Discuss how Servas International could increase its participation in next year’s CSW and other UN events and activities.

    Click HERE  to join the discussion

    Hosted by

    Julie Cormack and Kent Macaulay

    Servas Canada members and Servas International Reps to the UN

  • April 04, 2023 7:51 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    Servas International Peace Secretary, Francisco Salamón Luma, will host a new online "Servas Peace Forum" on April 22, 2023. These meetings will occur quarterly and will allow our members meet online and have regular cultural exchanges without flying.  Topics will vary, but don't miss this opportunity to connect with other Servas members throughout the world. The 1st Servas Peace Forum is open for registration now. You are welcome to join us. Please register by April 8th. Here is the registration link.

  • April 04, 2023 6:21 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    Servas Türkiye held a Solidarity Meeting on March 12, 2023, and received wonderful participation from all around the Servas world. Twenty-five countries and more than 100 people, shared their support and suggestions for the earthquake survivors and Servas Peace School. During the meeting, Mehmet Ateş, proposed a permanent facility for the Servas Peace School. Like an academy, it would function all year long and would be open to any Servas projects and would be available to the local community as well. This idea received a good amount of support. After the meeting we came together with the Servas Turkish team and decided to move ahead with the idea as well as take some concrete steps. 

    We believe that this would be a great dream come true for Servas and should not belong only to Servas Türkiye but the entire Servas world. Therefore, we invite all Servas organizations to be part of this dream and work together as a project team of volunteers to take part in each phase of the project. Our immediate need is to create a work team of architects, project developers, fundraisers, educators, recycling project experts, environmental scientists, and those who have a huge heart who just want to do what will make this project happen, make this dream come true. 

    If you believe that you can be a part of this project with any kind of contribution based on your abilities, please write to usa bout what your contribution might be. We will then initiate a working group of volunteers to decide on next steps. 

    Read Mehmet's vision and goals for the Servas Peace School Academy. Mr. Ateş notes are preliminary and will be further developed together with the volunteer team. 

    The huge earthquake destroyed not only buildings but the veins of the cultural diversity and treasures in Antakya. Servas Peace School Academy will mitigate the loss and even remake the earthquake area as a valley of knowledge and skills. 

    It will be a permanent, year-round, sustainable, environment-friendly academy where children will discover the diversity of the earth. Adults will be able to join activities and volunteer as trainers. The academy will function as a Servas international center, too. 

    In addition to the topics that emphasize Servas values, the academy will cooperate with local farmers, other producers, and human resources and include them in learning and sharing processes. Volunteers will stay with local families for maximum exchange opportunities. Now, we need to: 

    • Search for funded land, or buy or rent a piece of land if possible.
    • Build houses (ecological with local/modern architecture) 
    • Invite volunteers to help with planning, organizing, and building 
    • Start a donation campaign. 

    Our goal is to build this academy with the support and sources of Servas members and Servas friends all around the world. This way, it is going to be our Servas home. Let's not postpone our dreams. Let's share what we know with younger generations and different cultures. Let's teach and learn. Let's stand up and start to change life for good. Let's work together to build together. Let's give ourselves a chance to realize our values. It is possible when we work together. 
  • April 04, 2023 6:04 AM | Bill Magargal (Administrator)

    By now, we have all heard about the catastrophic earthquake in southeastern Turkey and, in Syria. Radha Radhakrishna, President of Servas International, reached out to members in Turkey about the disaster. US Servas members have asked how they can help with this huge humanitarian crisis. Below are suggestions from two Servas Türkiye members. 

    Message from Mehmet Ateş, coordinator of the Servas Peace School and member of SI Youth and families Committee 

    This is Mehmet Ateş, coordinator of Servas Peace School in my village of Ekinci, Antakya-Hatay Turkey. The epicentre was in Gaziantep.  Gaziantep is around 200 km from Ekinci. Images from nearby town of Dyarbakir on TV shows how terrible it is. The problem is that the buildings are not earthquake proof, otherwise the loss of human lives would not have been so dramatic.   

    The region is Antakya. The nearest airport to Ekinci is Hatay airport, which is now closed because the destroyed tarmac uplifted, due to the tremors. So, the runway has been closed for flight operations. 

    My village and Antakya are 60 km far from the border with Syria. We have casualties but less than in the city center. Victims in city center urgently and desperately need more search and rescue teams. Secondly, heaters, tents and blankets. The best way to send help is to do it via reliable organizations who act fast to reach the earthquake zones: Turk Kizilay Is one we choose. Thank you …  Servas is a real solidarity... 

    Message from Gülşen Elyak, National Secretary, Servas Turkey and member of SI Internal Audit Committee 

    Dear Radha and all the Servas members who are so intent to help and who reached out immediately to let us know that we are not alone... our gratitude is indescribable. As Mehmet, Esra, Tuana and the other witnesses of this disaster point out, we really need help physically and spiritually. Thank you so much for giving your support so freely and so humanly.  

    Unfortunately, hundreds of aid organizations appear after every bad incident, so we will share with you the aid channel we trust most.  Visit the  Ahbap  (Dude) website make a donation. 

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