PTPI Blog


PTPI Chapter Project Grant: Yerevan, Armenia

January 28th, 2015

PTPI provides Chapter Project Grants so that our global chapter network may develop projects that will make a significant and lasting impact. Chapter Project Grants support projects that exemplify the mission of PTPI: to offer multinational experiences that foster cross cultural learning, develop global leadership skills, and connect with an international network of people committed to making a positive difference in the world.

Chapter Name: PTPI’s Yerevan, Armenia Community Chapter 

Project Name: “Community’s Young Voice”

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Members of PTPI’s Yerevan, Armenia Community Chapter

Number of Beneficiaries: 300+

Project Description:

6 members of PTPI Yerevan Armenia Community Chapter investigated the needs of young people in 10 different Armenian communities (Small Vedi, Byurakan, Shenik, Hrazdan, Vanadzor, Arapi, Gandzakar, Jermuk, Shaki, Martuni). The members found that each community was experiencing low youth involvement, including low employment rates.

Therefore, the purpose of this project was to promote youth involvement in Armenian communities by providing them with training to improve their communication/media skills for future employment, and encouraging volunteer work.

Two seminars on the topic of “Usage of social media in civic journalism” were organized in Noyan-Tapan mass media center which was addressed for the development of IT and Media in Yerevan and other regions of Armenia.

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Outcomes and Impact of the Project: 

The project had a great impact on both the young people as well as the rest of the communities. Each community has a group of active beneficiaries who, as a result of project participation, have acquired new skills in research and  Information Technologies. At the end of the project, the beneficiaries assessed other community issues, made public decisions, passed on their gained knowledge and experiences to other members of the community, and successfully communicated with other youth groups in Yerevan.

Overall, the project was a success in the following ways:

  • Developed research, creative, and Information Technologies skills for 300 young beginner journalists in 10 communities of the Republic of Armenia.
  • Proposed a possible solution to unemployment problem for the successful beneficiaries in the communities.
  • Increased level of knowledge in the field of journalism by means of the created distance educational process.
  • Raised level of  youth self-confidence and self-consciousness in communities
  • Created and developed a communication platform where our beneficiaries will share their ideas, skills and experience with others.
  • Prepared and disseminated information about the Center and its activities
  • Nurtured cooperation and development between our beneficiaries from Yerevan and other communities.
  • Familiarized society with articles and materials prepared by our beneficiaries
  • Recruited new members to the PTPI Yerevan, Armenia Chapter for chapter development

Reflection on Lessons Learned:

At the end of our project, we found that it is best to:

  • Conduct meetings by means of games, to quickly and effectively involve youth in discussions
  • Organize frequent meetings for further development of the communities.

Grants are awarded twice per year and applications are due February 1 and/or August 1. All applicants will be notified within 30 days following the application deadline and funds will be distributed in March and September. Chapters may apply for and receive more than one grant in a year. Preference will be given to chapters who have not received a grant within the calendar year.

To learn more about People to People International, visit www.ptpi.org or check out our Facebook Page.

 


Discussion Questions for 10% Happier – The Voice in Your Head

January 23rd, 2015

Question answered by Liz Wegman, Director of PTPI’s Global Chapter Network

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This book has a long title: 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works – A True Story. I guess Dan Harris wanted to make it clear that his book had a lot to offer, I don’t know. I do know that one element of that sentence following the colon appealed more to me than the other two: the part where Harris indicates that he successfully tamed the voice in his head. (His use of the Oxford comma was also appealing, but that’s neither here nor there.)

In my early childhood I distinctly remember wondering whether everyone heard a voice in their head. I do not recall taking any sort of issue with what the voice in my head was saying back then, yet as years have gone by, I have begun to take issue. The idea of doing something about that voice – seeing it as a separate entity from myself – is one that I’ve begun to explore. It occurs to me now that I rarely, if ever, talk about inner voices with friends, family, or colleagues. Again I find myself wondering about other people – does everyone take issue with what the voice in their head is saying?

On the book jacket for 10% Happier, the second paragraph states: “We all have a voice in our head. It’s what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we’re not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us assume we’re stuck with this voice – that there’s nothing we can do to rein it in – but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that.

What I dislike most about the voice in my head mainly relates to it’s attitude. It’s a very critical voice. Not long ago, I read a book called The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself  by Michael A. Singer, and what stuck with me most from it was the way he wrote about the inner voice. I had never considered it this way, and I think it’s very powerful:

“How would you feel if someone outside really started talking to you the way your inner voice does? How would you relate to a person who opened their mouth to say everything your mental voice says? After a very short period of time, you would tell them to leave and never come back. But when your inner friend continuously speaks up, you don’t ever tell it to leave. No matter how much trouble it causes, you listen.”

If you’ve read his book, you’ll know that Harris is a proponent of meditation – that’s the “how” referred to in the title – to help quiet the voice in your head and improve your overall happiness. Will it work for everyone? (More on that in my next post…) Regardless of the answer to that question, I feel heartened that Harris and his book are helping to make this a topic that will perhaps begin to be more widely discussed.

People to People International’s Global Book Club is a way to connect with your global community. Global Book Club members communicate about valuable, international topics and gain unique insight and understanding of various cultural views in relation to those topics. For more information on People to People International, visit www.ptpi.org or PTPI’s Facebook Page. #globalbookclub

The opinions expressed by PTPI staff and other book club members are entirely their own and are not necessarily the views of  PTPI or its Officers, Board of Directors and Board of Trustees.


Discussion Questions for 10% Happier

January 16th, 2015

Questions prepared by Liz Wegman, Director, PTPI Global Chapter Network

1. The on-air panic attack suffered by author Dan Harris is central to his personal story, and the story he tells in his book. Had you heard about the incident prior to the book, or even perhaps witnessed it? (If you have not seen it, watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qo4uPxhUzU) What is your reaction to seeing this? Are you reminded of any situations you have been in that were similar?

2. Harris is very forthcoming about the level of skepticism he had for religion in general, and how that affected his interviews when he first started exploring and covering the topic of faith. How did you react to his initial attitude? What were your thoughts as he began to change that attitude?

3. Due to the nature of his career, Harris is able to spend time with individuals that most of us will never meet in person. Did you enjoy reading about his experiences and the way in which he described them?

4. Of the individuals that Harris turns to as spiritual advisors, was there one in particular whose advice or message appealed to you most? 

5. Do you think certain personality types are more prone to worrying about their personal happiness or analyzing the thoughts that run through their mind? 

6. Do you think focusing on personal happiness is a luxury, or do you think it should be a priority? Have you ever taken steps to try and improve your own happiness? If so, what did you do and how successful were you?

7. Bhutan is the only country in the world to use a measure of Gross National Happiness (GNH) instead of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – it uses levels of citizen happiness as a measure of prosperity rather than the traditional measure of wealth. (Learn more about this measure here.) Do you find it interesting that one of the measures used is the frequency of meditation? 

8. The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network published the first World Happiness Report in 2012. (Read the 2013 report here.) Have you visited any of the countries that were found to have the highest levels of happiness? (Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden.) What are your thoughts on why those countries are happiest? Do outside factors come into play?

People to People International’s Global Book Club is a way to connect with your global community. Global Book Club members communicate about valuable, international topics and gain unique insight and understanding of various cultural views in relation to those topics. For more information on People to People International, visit www.ptpi.org or PTPI’s Facebook Page. #globalbookclub

The opinions expressed by PTPI staff and other book club members are entirely their own and are not necessarily the views of  PTPI or its Officers, Board of Directors and Board of Trustees.