Minutes of 21st Meeting of VINN
(Vermont International Nonprofit Network)

Thursday February 23, 2006 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Vermont Teacher Diversity Scholarship Program, Waterbury

Members Attending
Peter Ames, Consulting
Carol Casey, Vermont Council on World Affairs
Roger Clapp, ISC
Phyl Newbeck, Vermont Teacher Diversity Scholarship Program (host)
Carolyn Schmidt, ECOLOGIA
Charlotte Tate, Rohatyn Center, Middlebury College
Colleen Thomas, Project Harmony

Gabe Bobar, School for International Training (SIT)

Scott Atherton, Salzburg Seminar
Peter Coldwell, VFP
Meg Harris, Salzburg Seminar
Gwen Hallsmith, Global Community Initiatives
Justin Johnson
Curtis Koren, Vermont Intercultural Seminars
Randy Kritkausky, ECOLOGIA
Peter Lynch, Green Across the Pacific
Andi Mowrer, Animals Asia
Bill Ryerson, Population Media Center
Bob Sanders, Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program
Mike Wetherill, ISC

Thank you to Vermont Teacher Diversity Scholarship Program for hosting this meeting.


1. Networking & Introductions

Peter Ames, Consulting:
Peter has just finished up his organizational consulting work with Transcultural Exchange, a non-profit which works to promote cross-cultural understanding through art exhibits in different countries, on global themes. He has just bought a house in Woodstock, which locates him back in Vermont.

Gabe Bobar, graduate student at School for International Training (SIT), Brattleboro:
Gabe has traveled in Morocco, France, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Turkey and Southeast Asia; he has ties to an NGO, Pacific Village Institute, which works on issues of globalization in Morocco and in the US. As a student seeking internship and practicum opportunities, he would like to meet and learn more about the different internationally active Vermont-based non-profits. He is interested in arranging a VINN meeting at SIT, and in locating other students who would like to connect with VINN.

Carol Casey, Vermont Council on World Affairs (VCWA):
VCWA participates in the National Council for International Visitors, and has recently applied to do international exchanges in Vermont through the “Community Connections” program administered by World Learning and supported by USAID. VCWA has decided to create an “Executive Director: position, and is involved in a search for candidates. Carol is preparing to host a group of mayors and district governors from Turkey, and is working on the upcoming Great Decisions Program of readings/discussion of global issues, and next fall’s Global Symposium.

Roger Clapp, Institute for Sustainable Communities
ISC’s Middle Eastern “Youth Empowerment Project”, involving youth in the West Bank in projects such as building playgrounds and painting murals, has been put on “hold” by the State Department. With the election of the Hamas party to power in the Palestinian areas, there are questions as to US government support for such projects. ISC programs based in central Europe and Russia, are proceeding as planned. The Global Development Alliance, a consortium including ISC, Citibank, and BP, is working to extend ISC’s sustainable community approach to clusters of communities connected with pipeline development within Russia. In Ukraine, ISC is promoting community-driven development in cooperation with the World Bank. Also in Ukraine, ISC’s Citizen Action Network Project is working to lessen the stigmatization of HIV positive individuals.

Phyl Newbeck, Vermont Teacher Diversity Scholarship Program (host):
Phyl is organizing a workshop: “Creating a Welcoming Community: An Inter-professional Conference on Cultural Competency”, to be held from 9:00 – 3:34 on Wednesday May 31, at St. Michael’s College. Panelists include a Bosnian refugee, the first Burlington policeman from Vietnam, a member of Outright Vermont (for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and questioning youth), and an activist for the disabled community. The purpose is to discuss ways that our Vermont communities can become more supportive and welcoming of diversity. Cost for the day, including lunch, is $35.

Carolyn Schmidt, ECOLOGIA
– ECOLOGIA has received renewed support for its activities in sustainable development in China and public health programs in Lithuania, and is expanding its involvement with the field of corporate social responsibility. ECOLOGIA is one of only two US-based international NGOs accredited to participate in the ISO working group writing the standard on global social responsibility, and is organizing an informal ‘working group’ of advisors in preparation for the upcoming plenary session in Lisbon, in May.

Charlotte Tate, Rohatyn Center, Middlebury College
Charlotte’s recent activities have taken her to Washington DC. She participated in a World Affairs Council discussion of the role of rising superpowers – India, China, Brazil and Russia. She also participated in the National Audubon Society’s“Public Policy Training Program on Population and Habitat. This involved briefings on the relationship between human population growth and habitat destruction, and meetings with legislators on family planning, health and environmental issues, and national security.
The Rohatyn Center organizes lectures and events that complement the international curriculum. This spring’s special series is on the topic of “Religion, Nation and State”.

For more on these and other Rohatyn Center events, see their website, www.middlebury.edu/administration/rcfia/events

Colleen Thomas, Project Harmony:
Colleen highlighted some of Project Harmony’s current programs.
The Armenian Legal Socialization Program, funded by the US State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), involves Armenian education professionals and law enforcement officers to develop and co-teach a curriculum for secondary school on rights and responsibilities in a democracy. A delegation visiting Vermont this month will expand on the current curriculum and will research and plan for community outreach elements to the program. The group is working with Vermont experts and leaders in restorative justice projects to help them design and implement two community justice centers in Armenia.
The Vermont / Jordan Media Education and Democracy in Action Program (MEDIA) involves secondary school students from Vermont and Jordan in discussions of media education, media constructions of the ‘other’ and analysis of stereotypes, and skills-building for students in independent media production. Participants communicate online and in person. A delegation of 10 Vermont students will travel to Jordan in April, with the return delegation from Jordan coming to Vermont in July. Project Harmony’s partner in Jordan, United Palestinian Appeal, recruited and supports students from Jordan and Jordan-based Palestinian refugee camps to take part in this program.
PH has also embarked on several new USAID-funded programs, including recruitment for the Community Connections program in Russia, Ukraine and the Caucasus, and a large grant-making program for youth community action in Russia.
In internal news, Project Harmony is wrapping up its search for an Executive Director, to take the place of Barbara Miller who retired in December. Announcement of the new director should be made in the coming weeks.


VINN treasury has $53.98. All bills paid, all members’ dues paid for 2005 (15 organizations @ $50, one individuals @ $10) and one individual paid for 2006.

Motion (Carol Casey, 2nd Roger Clapp) to collect VINN dues by calendar year (rather than on the “as-needs” basis we had previously used). Motion passed 7 – 0 – 0.
The dues remain $50 per year per organization, and $10/year for individuals wishing to participate on their own behalf rather than for an organization.
Carolyn will be sending out your organization’s invoice for 2006. This can be paid anytime, according to your fiscal year and other financial constraints.

3. Report from Event Planning Committee – Global Citizen Group Awards
(Meg Harris, chair; Peter Lynch, Andi Mowrer, Carolyn Schmidt , Charlotte Tate) Award letters have gone out to our three groups: Change the World Kids (Woodstock), Magicians Without Borders (Lincoln), and Village Harmony (Marshfield). We are still in discussion trying to find a date that suits all three groups. The event is planned for Great Falls Art Gallery, Middlebury. (Now looking at June).

4. Next meeting time and place: (tentative) At School for International Training, Brattleboro, 11 am – 1 pm. Looking at Wednesday April 12 (not yet verified).