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International Archives


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 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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