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CISV International


CISV International was pleased to present awards to eight outstanding volunteers this year, who were nominated by their National Associations, Chapters and fellow international volunteers and staff. The winners were announced at our first ever Global Conference in Norway. You can read a little about each of the winners here, from the people who nominated them.

Chapter Volunteer of the Year
Anna Engstad, London Chapter, CISV Great Britain

Anna first heard about CISV through a friend, and sent her daughter to a Village in 2010 as part of another Chapter delegation as there was no Chapter in London; because of that experience, she decided to establish one. In only 5 years, CISV London has gone from non-existent to sending 2 Village delegations, participants to all other programmes (including organizing a Mosaic), running minicamps, and looking forward to hosting for the first time - a Seminar Camp in 2016 and a Village in 2017.

Over the last 5 years, she has dedicated herself to every aspect of running a Chapter despite starting only with her daughter's experience of CISV. She has spent her weekends at national meetings to secure invitations for London, being at (and running) every single event, manning stalls at school fairs promoting CISV, organizing travel for all participants to programmes and minicamps, attending an RTF for training to help her grow the Chapter, managing challenges that arise, visiting and bargaining for sites, offering her home for the Junior Branch to bake cookies in - the list continues. She has welcomed newcomers and old-timers, and built a successful committee in a short period of time. She has taken on all the responsibilities that are needed to make CISV London the success it is.

Chapter Volunteer of the Year
Sylvia Kamimura, São Paulo Chapter, CISV Brazil

Sylvia joined CISV in 2009 and in 2013 became chair of the Local Village committee, organizing and running orientation sessions to market CISV and educate the local community about the Village programme. In 2015 these orientation sessions attracted the interest of more than 200 families, of which at least 80 were completely new to CISV.  After she took office in 2015, the local Chapter received a total of 195 registrations for the Village programme, representing a 40% increase over previous years.  Thanks to her continuous efforts, this year 110 children were selected for Village, forming a total of 27 different delegations. 

Aside from being able to run such a “large scale effort” with efficiency and competence, what calls everyone’s attention the most is the way she operates. Her courtesy and care for everyone involved is a trademark. Her commitment and attention to details is flawless. Her dedication and respect for others make her an example to be treasured and shared with everyone. In short, she perfectly embodies the CISV spirit and greatly dignifies its mission!

National Volunteer of the Year
Mirjana Miklic, CISV Croatia 

Mirjana was a child delegate in a Village in Portugal in 1987. At that time she was selected as delegate in the spirit of exchange that existed between CISV and Youth Pioneer organizations that existed in socialist countries, because CISV was not present in her country.   That very first experience inspired her and she kept the flame of CISV burning in her heart and kept in contact with the friends she made at the Village. 

As an adult, supported by her former leader and a receptive community, she took the mission of bringing CISV to her country. For 6 years now, she has worked to create and build a Chapter, presenting CISV to the local community and authorities and keeping up with the demanding tasks such a big organization presents. Despite the country's difficult economic situation, the lack of confidence families have in allowing their youngsters to travel and sometimes lack of volunteer support, she never gave up the dream of creating a CMhapter of the same standards she saw in other CISV communities. Her constant and incredible efforts allowed CISV Croatia to host a Seminar camp in 2015, for very first time in its history. 

National Volunteer of the Year
Gustavo Cuellar, CISV El Salvador

The National Volunteer Award nomination for Gustavo came in the form of a thank you letter from his NA that we share here. 

"Thank you. Thank you for sacrificing countless hours of sleep. Thank you for enduring our drama and thank you for opening the doors of your home. Most of all we wanted to thank you for taking the leadership of our NA in a troubling time. You have done what the majority of people would be afraid of: renovation. You have helped implement new strategic plans, even though it required a great amount of effort. Under your leadership we have grown incredibly. 

We used to be a really small organization and now we are still small, but with a purpose to grow. You have managed to lead people with different personalities and ages towards a common goal. Thank you for being patient with all of us, even though we know you are not a very patient person. 

You brought life back to this organization, by showing us how much you believe in CISV. We have seen how much you believe that CISV is a place for growing leaders, where you create pathways for future leaders. We wanted you to know that your work does not go unappreciated and that you have certainly changed the lives of many people. Thanks to you, CISV El Salvador is now ready for the future.”

International Volunteer of the Year
Marty Petrone, CISV USA

Marty is relatively new to CISV and jumped right in by serving CISV International as a part of the Risk Management Working Group under the Training and Quality Assurance Committee.  The Working Group has the task of looking at our Risk Management training curriculum and materials.

As a professor of Intercultural Communications and a set of new eyes toCISV, she has been an invaluable asset. She has found many blind spots that experienced CISVers miss, bringing a very fresh perspective on how we are training and working with Risk Management in CISV. She has been instrumental in developing a brand new Risk Management training curriculum and companion Guide, using her experience from many years of coordinating international student exchange programmes and working with intercultural learning and communication. The curriculum and guide, which had a very ambitious timeline, were ready in time for a pilot test during the April 2015 RTFs. We believe her effort on this work will be of huge benefit to CISV for many years to come. She framed the work and guided the Working Group to develop trainings that are practical and will help CISV in creating Risk Management Plans.

International Volunteer of the Year
Lynn Faris, CISV Canada

Lynn was highly instrumental in organizing our first Global Conference this year and made a huge contribution to its success.  She serves various roles in her Chapter and on her NA’s Executive Committee.  And although her extreme dedication and willingness to help out with anything that needs her in CISV is impressive, the award is to honour her work for the Global Conference.  

Whether she was waking up at 5 and 6 AM to join weekly meetings for her committee and her working group, coming up with creative ideas about how to organize the materials and content, sending reminders to presenters and ensuring they all had what they needed (and then reminders of the reminders), or pulling together all of the content for the Global Conference brochure, she did it all with a sweet, patient, respectful way that models how we should all treat each other. No detail is too small, no request too big, and everything is double and triple checked to be sure things run as smoothly as possible.  We are almost afraid to ask how many hours she has spent on this first ever Global Conference.  She inspires others to get involved, and puts her heart and soul into all projects, which makes CISV a better, stronger organization.

Outstanding Contribution Award
Nina Johansson, CISV Finland

Nina has been active in CISV since 1964, when she participated as a delegate in a Village in Austria. It was one of the first delegations from her NA and the very first delegation from her Chapter. She has then been the trustee and National Secretary for her NA for various years, dedicating decades of her life for the good and mission of CISV. She has been an active member of her local Chapter Board since the 1960s, serving for many years as a Chapter President. She played a big part in organizing the first international programmes, not only in her Chapter, but also in CISV Finland.  She fills several roles at once – she is currently serving as National Risk Manager, managed to organize the NA’s 50th anniversary celebration last year while still contributing her time to help out with the Step Up being hosted in her Chapter.  Without her enthusiastic work for CISV over the last 50 years, her NA may not even exist today.  She holds an enormous amount of CISV history and knowledge, from ideology to practical matters. She is a true inspiration for everyone.

Outstanding Contribution Award
Arthur (Tuca) Carvalho

Tuca has contributed locally both as a CISV leader and as a trainer at the chapter level, but the biggest impacts he has made was at the National and International Level. He worked to change the governing structure of CISV Brazil, which gave the Chapters direct control over the Board.  He served as Trustee for his NA, keeping the goals and needs of both the NA and the International organization in mind.  As Trustee, he also took on several special projects, including revamping the hospitality point system.  

He was elected as a member of the first ever Governing Board, where he generously gave his expertise in finance to strengthen and update the organization’s financial practices.  Although he served only a one year term, he restructured the budget and established healthy policies for CISV.  He was repeatedly asked to run for a second term, but unfortunately his real job prevented him from doing so.  His legacy is a tremendous impact on the sustainability of CISV. He is dedicated, generous beyond boundaries and helps to keep things moving forward and fun.  He is a natural leader.  He cuts right to the chase, and always jumps in to support CISV when it needs it.

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