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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 Philipp Rodriguez on Dec 27, 2019


In 2020 it will be one hundred years since – on Pierre Ceresole’s initiative – a few volunteers had begun an international service for peace and reconstruction. 100 years of Service Civil International are a reason to celebrate, to look forward but also to look back upon our long history of international voluntary service for peace. This is the purpose of this book on the history of SCI!



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Posted by Wilbert Helsloot on Oct 30, 2018


Many people would call us weird or crazy: while it is was beautiful autumn-weather in Switzerland, nine SCI-activists chose to work voluntary inside the archives of SCI, located in the local library of La-Chaux- de-Fonds. Our aim was to do research for the planned publication on occasion of the 100th anniversary of SCI.

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Posted by H. Gabathuler on Jul 8, 2018

I recently got approached by a student from England who is writing her Master Thesis on SCI’s past involvement in Southern Africa. She was interested in a brochure by Franco Perna with the title "SCI involvement in Africa" – and luckily enough I found an extra copy of the brochure I could send to England by post instead of scanning all of its content. This inspired me to take a bit a closer look at this booklet, published by the International Secretariat, based in Canterbury in 1983.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on May 21, 2018

Het JUBELboekje 1979"33 years SCI, 10 jaar VIA" says the cover of "het JUBELboekje!", drawn in black and blue and, at least to my taste which is around half a generation younger than the one of its makers, making a rather depressing and not at all jubilating impression. VIA, the Dutch branch of SCI, indeed has been founded in 1969 – but what is meant by "33 years SCI", as everyone nowadays thinks that SCI exists since at least 1920? Indeed, SCI as we know it, an international organisation consisting of national and regional branches, exists since the end of World War II – one could take 1945 (first International Delegates Meeting) or 1949, first International Constitution as the starting date of SCI. Why the "Jubelboekje" editors chose 1946 is not explained anywhere, and I guess it was just because 33 was seen as a catchy number.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Apr 23, 2018

It has been more than three years now that I started to present various objects in the From the Archives section of this E-zine. I have written on printed brochures and reports, medals, calendars, resource packs, handwritten workcamp diaries and even a postcard: All kinds of remarkable objects I had expected to attract the readers’ attention. They came from different decades in SCI’s history, from Europe as well as from Asia.

But most of the International Archives are actually simple and pretty ordinary stuff: Typewritten letters, circulars, minutes, grant applications, participants lists, newspaper cuttings. The Report on Burma, dated Kuala Lumpur, June 24, 1961 and signed by Devinder Das Chopra SCI / ASAS which apparently means Asian Secretariat or Asian Secretary), at first sight appears as such an ordinary, even boring document.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Mar 20, 2018

SCI Nepal Diary (2002) front pageThe diary, or pocket calendar, issued by SCI Switzerland since 1953 ( is pretty famous among SCI folks all over the world. Probably less people are aware that also the Nepalese SCI branch once issued a booklet called Diary with Directory 2002 – celebrating the International Volunteers’ Year of 2001.

I assume that this issue has been the only one edited by that branch – at least the International Archives do not have any other in their holdings. It is slightly larger than the Swiss one (14,5 x 10 cm compared to 12,5 x 9 cm), and it is printed in high quality white paper, whereas its Swiss counterpart is printed in shabby grey recycled paper.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Feb 18, 2018

My recent encounter with these nice small objects from SCI’s remote past has been indirectly triggered by a visit to the International Secretariat (IS) in Antwerpten a few weeks ago: When I mentioned that due to the digitalisation of most of SCI’s everyday documents (proceedings, correspondence, pictures, videos), the International Archives would put a stronger focus on the collection of physical objects such as printed brochures, business cards, T-Shirts etc, Ossi asked me whether I was interested in official address stamp the IS had used at previous locations. So I took, among other objects, two outdated stamps back to Switzerland.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Jan 20, 2018

They may not be the most meaningful objects in the SCI Archives from a strictly institutional point of view, as they do not provide us with answers to the core questions about the history of our movement. But for me they were some of the most astonishing, and actually nicest discoveries I had made during my time as an Archives Coordinator: The bunches of children drawings in postcard format stored in a simple envelope by my pre-predecessor Ralph Hegnauer.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Dec 17, 2017

During more than two years, SCI had provided me with kitchen wall decoration, in addition to the usual SCI pocket diary issued by my own branch each year . The first one was edited by the International Secretariat. Sasha Laziuk, an LTV from Belarus who had been working there, signed the intro together with Finance Officer Nico Verzijden, and as far as I remember (but Mihai knows more precisely, I am sure!) the compilation of photos, texts and quotes from SCI’s history and day-to-day activities was mainly Sasha’s work.


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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Nov 25, 2017

Review - Revue 1971-1974 and Annual Report 1975From the International Secretariat, I recently received its latest Annual Report. When I filed it to the Archives, I took the opportunity to look into older IS Annual Reports. I noticed that until the early 1970s there were no such documents – of course the IS regularly reported to ICM and IEC, but the Archives have no separate collection of reporting documents, apart from the ordinary mailings of the respective meetings. Then Theodor (Theddy) von Fellenberg took over the post of International Secretary from Ralph Hegnauer; the IS physically moved from Zurich to Bern (Theddy’s home town), later to Monti di Bodio, a mountain village in the South of Switzerland.

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