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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 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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