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News from SCI International Archives informs about recent activities and insights or ideas around archives and the history of SCI.

Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Oct 17, 2016

In one of the many boxes I got from the IS two years ago, I found this sober sheet of paper in DIN A3 format, containing a diagram that shows all relevant international bodies of SCI in handdrawn rectangles and their relations in various lines, also drawn by hand.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Sep 23, 2016

The first Wednesday in September every year is the moment when volunteers gather at the SCI Switzerland office in Bern for packing the freshly printed small booklets called 'Agenda' (pocket calendars, or diaries, or planners, indeed) which are then mailed to all members of the Swiss branch as well as to some subscribers who live abroad. And later in spring, Swiss delegates carry dozens of these booklets to international meetings in order to sell them to other branches.




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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Jul 12, 2016

Cover Crossing Border Resource Pack"If the number of displaced people in the world is swelling as they are forced to run from civil war, oppression or plain poverty, the response should not be to reinforce the walls of the rich-world fortress.

This sounds like a statement to the recent so-called "refugee crisis" in Europe. In fact, it is a quote from a 20-years old document, edited by SEED – the Solidarity, Exchange & Education for Development, or simply the North-South Commission of SCI International.






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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Jun 21, 2016

First discussions on how SCI should celebrate the centenary of the first ever international voluntary peace service near Verdun in 1920 have just started – and the second edition of the probably one and only monography on the SCI movement’s history is not less than half a century old.

The 167-pages paperback written by Hélène Monastier (parts 1 and 2) and Alice Brügger (part 3) in French language and self-published by SCI. The title Paix, pelle et pioche means in English Peace, shovel and pick; the essence of the movement from its existence: The ideal of peace combined with two tools used for the construction of paths and other practical work.

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Posted by Meri Paunonen on Jun 15, 2016

KVT - illustration of diary Autti workcamp 22.6.-22.8.1946This year is the 70th anniversary of the first KVT workcamp organised in Finnish Lapland and next year it will be 70 years since the establishment of KVT, SCI's Finnish Branch! Anniversaries bring various kinds of programme and sneak peeks to KVT’s history! The very first workcamp started in the village of Hirvasvaara (near by Salla) on the 15th of June 1946.

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Posted by Nigel Watt on May 31, 2016

Arthur GilletteIn May Arthur Gillette, a longstanding activist for international volunteering passed away. He started as SCI volunteer in 1958. In 1963 he become CCIVS director and later director of the Youth department in UNESCO.




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Posted by Heinz Gabthuler on Apr 12, 2016

Page of Friedland work camp diary 1946The document I am presenting in this text is actually just a copy: I had donated the original to the recently opened Museum Friedland ( which is documenting the history of the transit camp for refugees and other migrants near the former border between West and East Germany. And when I visited the museum at its opening day, I was happy to see the SCI Archives’ donation having become part of its permanent exhibition.

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Posted by Heinz Gabthuler on Feb 8, 2016

Belgian French-speakers say souper whereas the French prefer to dîner. In Minsk, the capital of "Belorussia", a restaurant called "Jubileinaja" close to the Metro station Nemiga is recommended, however with no comments. A train ticket from Bonn to Köln costs 7,80 DM, whereas a big meal in Rome may easily cost 24’000 Lire. In Budapest, "it is better to ask an agency to help in cheap accommodation as they are overcrowded in summer” Belfast is neither "a natural home of the beer connoisseur nor over-endowed with theatres, cinemas or major musical venues". The section on Catalonia is safely separated from the one on Spain by well over 60 pages, reflecting the fact that an SCI branch in Catalonia existed well before the branch in Madrid was established. The Finnish capital Helsinki "has got many faces: cold and warm, east and west, and especially in the north", as well as "rich and poor". And "McDonald’s" is called "McDonald’s" in the otherwise pretty exotic-looking local language.


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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Oct 27, 2015

SCI Sri Lanka Anniversary BookletAs the ICM in Sri Lanka is approaching, it should be reminded that SCI activities in that country had started well over 55 years ago. The nice booklet the branch had issued for its 50th Anniversary in 2010 reminds, at the same time, of the then 90th Anniversary of International SCI activities.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Jul 7, 2015

During my private trip through India, I had the opportunity to meet with several activists and veterans of the Indian SCI branch in different places. In Bangalore, Valli Seshan invited me to her apartment for tea and sweets, and of course for a fruitful and interesting chat. Together with young SCI India activist Janak Gor we went there to reveal the “secrets” of the functioning of SCI’s International Secretariat in the late 1980s and early 1990s when, for the first and last time, it was located outside of Europe.


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