Thanks to the “Sustainable peace through sport” Master  program at IUM, Metsakartano my hosting organization in Finland and Chabibeh sporting Club my sending organization from Lebanon, I was able to accomplished one month of the European volunteer service “Poke the globe”.

 Poke the globe experience

My willingness to serve the international community took me this time to the up north of the globe. Metsäkartano is a stunning retreat situated in Finland’s Lakeland region, the perfect setting for a fabulous holiday. Metsäkartano is part of a national network of 10 youth centres specialized in youth work. Their function is to develop the methods used in the field of youth work, to act as centres for furthering the skills of the youth, and enable young people’s traveling domestically and abroad.  Finland’s Youth Centres are regulated by government acts and decrees concerning youth in Finland and Youth Centre operations are financed and overseen by the Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture. Metsäkartano operates according to environmental ethics on principle of sustainable development. In the near vicinity there are extensive Natura 2000 and other ecological areas open to visitors either on their own or with a guide. Metsäkartano has EU’s Eco-label for its accommodation services.

Purpose of Metsäkartano Youth and Wilderness Centre is to promote:

-international youth co-operation

-non-formal education

-environmental education

Poke the globe experienceMetsäkartano provides also international youth information services for the youth in the region. The goal is to improve the internationalization of the Finnish youth, as well as to provide unforgettable non-formal learning experiences for the visiting international youth groups. The purpose of all the international youth work is to promote acceptance of difference, feeling of community, cultural understanding, cultural awareness, and intercultural dialogue. Consequently, Mestakartano staff  Maija Jeskanen, Antti Korhonen  International coordinators and  Tanja Airio Coordinator  of the Poke the Globe project managed to gather 14 volunteer from six different countries: Lebanon, Spain, Palestine, Greece, Algeria and Belarus. We all shared one house during the month. We lived, worked and had memorable time together, we exchanged our cultures, traditions, and languages in a magical way we created a perfect international platform, and for this I am also thankful for Mestakartano staff that prepared us in the beginning of the project through the training course, directions and behavior during the whole month (PS: “NO” does not exist in their dictionary!!). We mirrored our  cosmopolitan feeling to the Finnish youngster through many activities; we planned, implement and evaluate workshops in 5 different school visits through which we reflected our cultures and countries.  These non-formal activities are set to encourage young people positive attitude towards different cultures.  At the end of this project we created, organized “Poke the Globe” international event in which 200 youngsters between 15 and 20 years old participated.

During this month we interacted with more than 1000 youngster, we meet people from all over the world, and we shared moments that will all ways remind us that we  all share human values that have generated an international Family in the Finnish forest.

Poke the globe experience

Here I am at the end of my program, and I would like to say special thanks for IUM, Upeace, Chabibeh-Club Lebanon,  UC at Berkeley “Summer peace institute”, “Kekoldi” reserve Costa Rica , Metsakartano “Poke the Globe” Finland to offer me the opportunity to discover how beautiful our world is through the eyes of the people I met during my journey.

Reported by Ziad Kanaan, Master in Peace through Sport student