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Chris Blackwood is a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, working in the Youth Development sector. He works with the Ministry of Youth in Morocco, serving as an English teacher, youth program developer, and an aid in the promotion of cultural awareness. He is conducting his service from September 2007 until November 2009, in Tinjedad, Morocco.

 

We facilitated a workshop to identify, breakdown, and correct, common stereotypes about Americans and Moroccans. 20 youth, and five youth leaders participated in the two-hour discussion.

 

Andrew's Perspective - Tim's Perspective

Moncef Ben Gharbia is the Mayor of Bizerte, Tunisia. Currently serving his second term, he is passionate about the development of his city. He's a career politician who has dedicated his life to improving his community.

We interviewed him, discussing important issues relating to the growth of his city and it's inhabitants. We also talked about Tunisian and American relations and politics, gathering his insight on how America can improve it's foreign development policies.

Andrew's Perspective - Tim's Perspective

A group of 15 students from Insat University (Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology) in Tunis, Tunisia, who participate in at least one of four extra curricular clubs: the Biotechnology, Chemistry, Theater, and Radio. 

We facilitated a round-table discussion about the students' values and goals. We talked about how stereotypes are roadblocks to these ambitions and how to overcome them.

Andrew's Perspective - Tim's Perspective

The vision of Youth Association for Population and Development covers a wide range of issues including: women and children, volunteerism, health, information and international communication, environment, education, rural-urban immigration and training throughout Egypt. Through all these areas, the organization attempts to serve youth and encourage their participation in building their society.

We discussed the various motivations the volunteers implement to become involved in their communities. We talked about volunteering, its benefits, and how to get more people involved.

Andrew's Perspective - Tim's Perspective

Resala is an unconventional youth-fueled charity organization in Cairo, Egypt that focuses on youth volunteering to help other youth. Some of the programs they offer are: computer courses, literacy courses, free lessons for school students, services for the blind, the deaf and special needs children, hosting and raising orphaned children, collecting and distributing used clothes to the poor, distributing food for the poor, a regular monthly blood donation campaign, direct assistance to poor families, and free medical checkups.

We spoke for a few hours with 15 volunteers of this organization to learn how their values, motivations, and endeavors in life are influenced by Islam.

Andrew's Perspective - Tim's Perspective

The community of Deir Mar Musa has three priorities. First, to create an ambience of silence and prayer and emphasize that monastic life is an essential element of both the Christian local soul, and of the cultural, symbolic, and mystical world of Islam. The second priority is living in harmony and full responsibility with Creation and the surrounding society. The third priority is that of hospitality. They seek to give up a culture of separation in order to build a culture of communion. The perspective is that of building a positive Christian-Islamic relationship. The monastery is also engaged in organizing workshops and seminars, which will facilitate the exchange of experiences and ideas. Their hopes and dreams are far-reaching and open lines of communion to numerous parts of the Islamic world.

We had an in-depth conversation with Padre Paolo about the goings on of Deir Mar Musa and the endeavors of it's harmony building goals. We discussed religion, history, politics, struggles, successes, possibilities, connections and hopes for the future. 

Andrew's Perspective - Tim's Perspective

Future Foundation is an organization in Rakitovo, Bulgaria that aims at developing and educating the Roma minority in the community.

We worked with Future Foundation to facilitate a community discussion as well as two discussions in a local school about different perspectives on Bulgarian accession into the EU.

Andrew's Perspective - Tim's Perspective

The Yo Ho Hostel in Varna, Bulgaria is run by four environmentally passionate, just-hearted folks. They are constantly involving themselves in community actions, environmental workshops, and even green/eco-construction.

For our Earth Day celebration, Supercross08 worked with the Yo Ho Hostel to organize the best beach clean up that Varna, Bulgaria has ever seen!

Andrew's Perspective

The Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development (PECSD) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in December 1995. Our mission is to promote the process of sustainable development in the “human-society-environment” system by converting conservation of the environment into the prominent interest of everyone.

Supercross08 helped with PECSD's paper recycling campaign and assisted in the installation of a solar collection system as part of their alternative energy campaign.

Andrew's Perspective

The Council for Unity is an organization of around 60 youth leaders who participate in organizing and implementing community events in the areas of mass media, sport, and culture. Some examples of their activities are: a big brother/big sister program with the local orphanage, summer sports camps, running a school newspaper, debate competitions between students and teachers, community cleanups, as well as anti-smoking and HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns!

We spoke about their motivations for volunteering and being active in their community. We discussed problems in their community and potential ideas to overcome these problems.

Andrew's Perspective

The mission of Metropolitan Library System of Ulaanbaatar is to provide quality materials and services in a professional and courteous manner to people of all ages and backgrounds and to actively participate in the cooperation activities of an international library community.

As the first public library in Ulaanbaatar of it's kind, there's an issue over community interest and participation. I facilitated a brainstorming session for ideas to effectively get the community involved in library activities.

Andrew's Perspective

CouchSurfing seeks to internationally network people and places, create educational exchanges, raise collective consciousness, spread tolerance and facilitate cultural understanding.

Throughout the entirety of the Supercross08 project, we were able to use the Couchsurfing project as a way to gain valuable insights into local cultures. We established discussion groups, broke down stereotypes, made friends, and facilitated culture exchanges with this simple and friendly tool.

Andrew's Perspective