A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
Being a member of PTPI is a great honour for me.I was president of Pravets, Bulgaria Student Chapter for 2 years and this school year I’ve been elected as an Honourable President in charge of a think-tank group for youths’ initiatives. My memories go back to 2011 when after achieving B2 level in English fluency our teacher encouraged us to further develop our knowledge about other cultures and traditions and take part in non-formal training for young leaders. Then she introduced us the mission and the opportunities offered to people from all over the world by the international organization People to People International with headquarters in Kansas City.
And then, there was a whole chain of challenges that have to be overcome:
Workshops on interactive communication and the setting up of a youth club
Election of officers
Presenting our planned activities to town councilors
Applying for the International camp in Berlin “Interacting diversity”
Sleeping in one room with foreign students and falling in love with them all to such an extent that I forgot my mobile while taking goodbye
Participating in the international conference in Varna, Bulgaria
I cherish the memories that bring back old friends and unforgettable moments:
Introducing Bulgarian dances and songs and learning and appreciating other people’s cultural acquisitions
Initiating Youth in Action projects and taking part in exchanges in Czech Republic and Ireland. We were involved in workshops for retelling our stories about youths’ activities in our communities and shared our experiences with students from UK, Romania, Malta, Italy, Poland, Lithuania, and Ireland.
Regular visits to the houses for disabled children and the shelter for children deprived of parental care. We planted trees with them, bought musical instruments, take part in their rehearsals for a concert and invited them to the specially equipped classroom for our meetings.
Christmas and Halloween bake sales and St.Valetines postcards sale.
Hosting a delegation from PTPI's Roman, Romania Chapter.
Implementating the project “Generations’ meeting via ICT” that started at the Global Youth Service Day 2012. We provided laptops for the Day centre of Adult people and taught our grandparents to work with computers.
I also take pride in organizing a delegation of 35 people from our community to participate in a town twinning projects in Slovak Republic. During the preparation stage we formed a folk dancing group and took part in an International performance in Nitra.
And last but not least in importance, my membership with a PTPI Chapter marked the choice of my future profession. I am a second year student at Sofia University – Specialty – non-formal education. For me, the path to successful careers starts from PTPI. Understanding and valuing others makes for our personal self-consciousness and happiness.
We have 23,700 members around the world, and each has a story to tell. Discover the drives, dreams and ambitions of our PTPI network members, and then share your story with us. It’s how we break down barriers to peace and understanding.
MERRILL EISENHOWER ATWATER
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Thank you for your ongoing support for our mission at People to People International. We, as a whole, continue to strive to live up to the legacy of world peace. But every day we make a choice to make a difference. That difference cannot be made without you and your contributions. Only together can we create everlasting peace and only together can we strive for and achieve greatness.
Merrill Eisenhower Atwater joined People to People International as the Chief Operating Officer in January 2018 and in April of that same year, he became Chief Executive Officer.