Description and dates fully updated late July 2007!
Significant improvements made to project and phase descriptions.
The presence of personal, human connections that cross boundaries of nationality, religion, economics, and background is one of the most effective ways of securing peace in our world. It is only when we are made aware of the resources, needs, and perspectives of those who are different from us that a sustainable world community can be built. Cross-cultural exchange, the active mixing of people from different cultures and/or integration into a new environment even if only temporarily, is an effective way of opening eyes to new perspectives and greater understanding.
Building sustainable communities within that larger picture is a second way of securing peace. Community can be actively built, as a result of shared experience guided by factors that influence community development, and it can be made sustainable with a bit of knowledge and attention paid to the way the community is organized and run. Sustainable communities provide a peacefully organized, meaningful, functional unit of society that can be used to support members and help bring wider attention to the principles and issues the community cares about. Communities also change a great deal in their structure and results during the (ever-ongoing) process of modernization. Each structure along the way has its own benefits and drawbacks. During this trip, I had the opportunity many different community forms and a variety of approaches to common challenges, along with their appropriate variety of results.
It is important to spread the word about these experiences, exchanges, and communities. Though it is not necessarily possible to bring every person into an international, cross-cultural exchange, one way to spread the experience is through a universal language of photography. This art form (as with most others) is a way of showing and spreading an appreciation for the beauty of the world around us. In the form I plan to share it, through a web site (photos.wbtproductions.com) which might hopefully be finished this fall, it is also quite portable and easily shared across a wide audience.
These are the three main channels for peacebuilding in this project: building sustainable communities, cross-cultural exchange, and photography. This project is an international expedition that will take place in Europe in 2007, in five stages which each begin at the end of the previous stage.[Top •1 •2 •3 •4 •5 ]
January 25-May 28, 2007: Based in Bremen, Germany
Stage 1 was heavily based on a study abroad program and serves as the base point for an introduction to European travel, as well as building foundational connections, experiences, knowledge, and added language skills. I studied at the International University of Bremen (IUB) in northern Germany, through a study abroad partnership with Lafayette College. IUB (now called Jacobs University Bremen) aims to be a mixing point for cultures, nations, and knowledge, and currently hosts 1,000 students from 86 countries.
Course selection for this semester includes “German Politics & Culture,” “German Language,” “Analog Circuits” (to keep on track with Lafayette’s Electrical & Computer Engineering degree program), “Engineering Professionalism & Ethics,” and “Civic Networks and Social Capital” (learning more about building sustainable communities).
Almost every weekend, I traveled (usually with other students) to other destinations in northern and central Europe, most of them within Germany. Five of these trips were sponsored by the University in connection with our German Politics and Culture course.
|Timeline: Stage 1|
|(Subject to change.)|
All dates not noted below indicate IUB.
|January 25-26||New Hampshire -> Bremen,|
via Newark & Frankfurt
|January 27-30||Orientation Days|
|February 1||Classes Start|
|February 23-25||Slovenia, via Salzburg|
|March 2-4||Hannover, Bremen, IUB|
|March 9-11||Northern Germany|
|March 29-31||Neuschwanstein, Fьssen, and Cologne|
|April 1-8||Norway: Oslo, Bergen, & Hiking|
(IUB Spring Break)
|April 20-22||Black Forest|
|May 4-6||Lower Saxony Area, IUB|
May 29-July 23, 2007
The completion of the semester at IUB marks the beginning of Stage 2, the first half of a backpacking trip in a clockwise loop around Europe.
The major distinguishing feature between Stages 2 and 3 has been erased (as plans are flexible, and must be!), so geography is all that is left: Stage 2 was mostly in Eastern Europe, while Stage 3 was "From the Mediterranean to Middle Earth: Traversing Southern and Western Europe."
Acquaintence Noelle Price jokes in her song July, "I make my plans and then my plans make fun of me." These plans used to change quite often. Since they are now history, these dates are accurate and won't change.
|Timeline: Stages 2-3|
|May 29||Werfen, Austria|
|May 30||Salzburg, Austria|
|May 31-1||Budapest, Hungary|
|June 2-4||Sovata, Romania|
|June 5-6||Southern Carpathian Mountains (Siania, Romania)|
|June 6-7||Bucharest, Romania|
|June 8||Ruse, Bulgaria|
|June 9||Veliko Tвrnovo, Bulgaria|
|June 10-12||Sapareva Bania, Bulgaria|
|June 11-12||Rila Mountains, Bulgaria|
|June 11-12||Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria|
|June 13-15||Ohrid, Macedonia|
|June 16||Thessaloniki and Litochoro, Greece|
|June 17||Mt. Olympus|
|June 18||Athens, Greece|
|June 19||Corinth, Greece|
|June 20||Patras, Greece|
|June 21-22||Naples, Italy|
|June 28||Rome and Vatican|
|June 29-1||Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia|
|July 4||Graz, Austria|
|July 5||Zurich, Switzerland|
|July 6||Barcelona, Spain|
|July 7-9||Spain / Portugal|
(La Fiestas de San Fermin/Running of the Bulls)
|July 18-20||Interlaken, Switzerland|
|July 21||Prague Czech Republic|
|July 22||Bremen, Germany|
|July 23||Bremen -> London|
July 24-August 9, 2007: Chelmsford, England
Good mental picture: The Olympics
The 21st World Scout Jamboree was held at Hylands Park just outside of London. 40,000 Scouts, Venturers, leaders, and staff from around the world joined together to share adventure, international friendship, personal growth, and development. A World Jamboree is similar to the Olympics in many ways (though it is a bit less competitive), if you don't know what it is. The theme for this jamboree was "One World, One Promise" and celebrated Scouting’s centenary: 100 years to the minute, among other celebrations of the peace-building and life-improving power of the Scouting movement. Key elements of the Jamboree program include the Global Development Village exploring current world challenges through workshops by the UN and other specialists, the Trash area exploring ways to reduce waste and recycle old materials into new and creative uses, the science-based Elements area, a Faiths and Beliefs zone, and a few World Villages each with different aims. Three off-site locations included Splash for water activities, Starburst for local community service projects, and Gillwell Park (the home of Scouting in Britain) for archery, rock climbing, rappelling, a long slip 'n' slide, Challenge Valley, and more. I joined the International Service Team, as an Eagle Scout with Gold Palm in the USA's contingent. Working as an IST member makes the event more possibly affordable, flexible, opens up great opportunities for meeting and working with other youth and adults from all over the world, and was a whole lot of fun. This event is a strong candidate for my "highlight of the decade."
|Timeline: Stage 4|
|July- Early||(Build period starts)|
|July 24||IST Arrival Date|
|July 25-26||IST General Training and site preparations|
|July 27||Participants Main Arrival Day|
|July 28||Opening Ceremony|
|August 1||Sunrise Day|
|August 7||Closing Ceremony|
|August 8||Participants Main Departure Date|
|August 9||Most IST depart|
August 10-20, 2007: UK & Ireland
The fifth phase featured an exploration of the British Isles, and followed the same style of travel as stages 2 and 3.
|Timeline: Stage 5|
|August 10-11||London, England|
|August 12||Kent, England|
|August 13-14||Rochdale, England|
|August 15||The Lakes District, England|
|August 16||Edinburgh, Scotland|
|August 17||Glasgow, Scotland|
|August 18||Dublin, Ireland|
|August 19||Bray, Ireland|
|August 20||Dublin -> New Hampshire,|
via London, Reykjavik, & Boston
|August 21-23||Litchfield area, New Hampshire|
|August 24||Shavertown, Pennsyslvania|
|August 26||This Plans page last updated|
This "Plans" page last updated 26 August 2007.
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