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Service Civil International

Service Civil International (SCI) is one of the world's largest international volunteering organisations dedicated to promoting a culture of peace through the organisation and coordination of voluntary projects all over the world. SCI has been organising international voluntary projects since 1920.

SCI Archives

The historical archives of SCI in the Bibliothèque de la Ville La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland) provides an extensive documentation on international volunteering for peace.


Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Oct 29, 2017

Archives Collection SCI Germany Vol.1Even though a German branch of SCI has been founded only after World War II, with the help of British conscientious objectors from IVSP following the first Friedland refugee camp project (see my article from April 2016), SCI activities in Germany have started much earlier. Bertram Schröter, one of the oldest veterans of the movement in Germany, being active mainly in the 1950s and 1960s, has done an enormous job in compiling all available documents (and even transcribing some of them) from the branches pre-history in the 1920s until the mid-1970s.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Aug 27, 2017

One more report from a seminar on workcamp organisation and leadership from the deep 1980s. The seminar took place in a nice place outside Helsinki and it was called The Finland Seminar. Finland was not just a country among others in Europe, it was also an in-between space back then, in between the East and the West in the Cold War.



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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Jul 25, 2017

This is somehow typically 1980s: A lot of critical reflection mixed with funny cartoons, a sloppy layout compared to 21st century standards, and above all a very grassroots approach behind it. The readers are warned as early as in the preface on page 2 that this report is quite boring, as it was mainly written for the participants of the SCI seminar on workcamps that took place for a whole week in October 1985 in Linlithgow, Scotland. Copies were distributed to all branches for filing purposes, in order to fulfill our minimal bureaucratic duties. Even though I assume that most of us who are reading this will find it pretty funny and relaxed, it is hardly imaginable that one of the perfectly professionally layouted, carefully edited, and heavily subsidised brochures international SCI bodies are issuing nowadays would even dare to use such language. (And thanks God, even the generation before us took their bureaucratic duties seriously enough to leave one copy for the International Archives!)

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Jun 20, 2017

"The evolution of SCI over the last forty years can be compared to the growth of a plant. The movement has spread from country to country and from continent to continent, taking root here and there. SCI has made various experiments in the field of voluntary work thanks to the energy and the generosity of men and women who deeply believe in SCI ideals and methods."


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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on May 27, 2017

Not long ago, I received a request from a European SCI branch, asking me for the "first international constitution (1920)".

As everyone is aware that 1920 has been the year in which it all started (therefore we will soon be able to celebrate 2020!) the request somehow seems logical. But on the other hand, Pierre Ceresole and the friends who had organised the first international voluntary service for peace in a devastated French village two years after the end of the First World War surely had other priorities than to draft a constitution before even starting with practical work.

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