FFNH Outbound Journey to the Niagara and Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario Clubs

posted Nov 14, 2018, 5:47 AM by FriendshipForce NHSeacoast   [ updated Nov 14, 2018, 7:08 AM ]

From September 20 to October 3, seventeen members of FFNH traveled to Ontario, Canada and spent a week each with the Friendship Force clubs of Niagara and Hamilton/Burlington.

A trip to Niagara would never be complete without a visit to Niagara Falls, including a ride to the top of the Skylon Tower and on the boat, Hornblower, to the base of the Horseshoe Falls. A tour of Fort Erie gave us all a history lesson on the War of 1812. We spent a few hours at the Reif Winery which included a tasting of several of their wines. We visited Willowbank, a lovely estate on the banks of the Niagara River which is being used as a living classroom in a diploma program for restoration arts.

We learned about the First Nations at the First Nations Peace Monument and spent some time meandering around lovely Niagara-on-the-Lake. Also very important to this area is the ship travel between Lakes Ontario and Erie. We got a walking tour of the areas of the first canals built between the two lakes and then went to the current canal where we were just in time to see a ship travel through Lock #3.

Our second week was spent with the Hamilton/Burlington club. We went to the famous theater town of Stratford and saw either Shakespeare’s ‘Coriolanus’ or ‘The Music Man’. We toured Dundurn Castle, guided by the ‘butler,’ who gave us an upstairs/downstairs view. In Toronto, we explored the University of Toronto, the Financial District and the Yorkville district. We saw an exhibition of Inuit carvings at the TD Bank. We visited the Burlington Art Gallery and had lots of fun with a ‘foot rally’ (scavenger hunt) through the town of Oakville. Many of us also visited the Royal Botanical Gardens on our free day with our hosts.

Many of us stayed with the ambassadors who we had hosted on their journeys to our club. It was a special pleasure to get to know each of them better and to deepen our friendships.

To read the complete journal compiled by the ambassadors who traveled to Ontario, click here.

A Tour of Kyrgyzstan

posted Sep 19, 2018, 12:09 PM by FriendshipForce NHSeacoast   [ updated Sep 20, 2018, 4:51 PM ]

At the invitation of the Open World participants from Kyrgyzstan who visited the Seacoast New Hampshire last fall, three of us, Gary and Beth Cilley and Angela Matthews, traveled to Kyrgyzstan to visit each of them, explore their country and culture and attend the World Nomad Games. What an experience! We often noted that each day's activities topped the one before. In the capital city of Bishkek, we arrived just in time for their Independence Day celebration; visited the Fine Arts Museum; the home of their most famous author, Chingiz Aitmatov; and walked through the beautiful city parks.

We were then on our way to Cholpon-Ata, the site of the World Nomad Games, with stops along the road at Burana Tower, all that remains of a mosque that served a city of 10,000 people and at the Nomadic Museum, funded in part by USAID. At the Games, we watched the Opening Ceremonies (the trick riders and their horses got the biggest cheers), traveled to the Ethno Village at Kyrchyn Gorge and saw the US Kok-Boru team (think polo using a head-less goat carcass in place of a ball) lose to one of the Russian republics 18-3.

Next we were driven to Emil's guesthouse in the Jyrgalan Valley. In addition to the outstanding food, we visited a waterfall at 8500 ft. above sea level, went horse trekking, fished in an alpine lake at 10,500 feet and visited an English class in the village school.

Our next stop was Karakol and the hospitality offered by Almaz and his family. We had a walking tour of the city which included a Dungan mosque. The Dungan are Chinese Muslims who were persecuted in China and immigrated to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia. That evening we enjoyed a Dungan family dinner with guests from all over the world. One course after another kept coming. Dungan hospitality requires that at least 8 different dishes be on the table at any time. We visited the Museum of Karakol, the animal and food markets, and prepared (and ate) the local bread. We strolled through Karakol River Park, the brainchild of Almaz and opened a year ago with funding from USAID. Following a sunset cruise on Lake Issyk-kul, the second largest saline lake in the world, with Almaz and his family, we were treated to dinner (more fantastic food) at their home.

As we had traveled along the northern shore of Lake Issyk-kul getting to Karakol, our journey back to Bishkek was along the southern shore. Our patient driver took us to a waterfall and rock formations that reminded us of the US Southwest. We had lunch in a yurt camp along Issyk-Kul.

Kyrgyzstan September 2018



Many, many, many thanks to our Kyrgyz hosts for sharing their country and culture with us. A trip we will never forget.

Hamilton/Burlington Club Visits NH Seacoast

posted Jun 25, 2018, 10:38 AM by FriendshipForce NHSeacoast   [ updated Oct 6, 2018, 5:54 AM ]



The Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast recently hosted 15 Friendship Force "ambassadors" from the Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario club from June 8-15, 2018. They stayed in member homes and got to know our region through daily activities organized by club members.

A Welcome party at a member’s lakeside home on Saturday was followed by a ‘free’ day for ambassadors and their home hosts on Sunday. Some of them traveled as a group to Canterbury Shaker Village. They learned of the Shakers very progressive philosophy and ingenuity, which led to many inventions and contributions to societal life. They then visited the New England icons of LL Bean and Newick’s Lobster House. Others traveled the New Hampshire Seacoast and explored the beautiful Fuller Gardens in Rye.

On Monday, the group traveled by train to Boston. They toured the old campus at Harvard where the highlight was the statue of John Harvard, also known as the ‘Statue of Three Lies.’ The statue is labeled as “John Harvard, Founder, 1638. There are no known likenesses of John Harvard so the sculptor used a student as a model, the College was founded in 1636 and John Harvard was not the founder but a benefactor (he donated his library and half his estate). They also visited the Swan Boats and the Duckling statues in Boston Garden, Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall and the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Tuesday was ‘Maine’ day. The ambassadors took a trolley tour of Portland, walked the Marginal Way in Ogunquit and visited Nubble Light. One of the ambassadors got some blueberry pie ice cream and pronounced it this new favorite flavor! Another new experience was the sight of lobster buoys led to a discussion of how they are caught.

Portsmouth Day (Wednesday) started at the Discover Portsmouth Center with a brief orienting film about the history of the city followed by a tour of the current exhibition, Gertrude Fiske:  American Master. Ambassadors moved from the exhibit and onto a walking tour of the Black Heritage Trail. At noon they boarded the M/V Challenger for a trip to Star Island where lunch was enjoyed in the historic dining room of the Oceanic Hotel. Despite the rain, a group of ambassadors and hosts climbed the hill to the highest point on the island and enjoyed a brief visit to the chapel, to Stone Village, to the conference lecture hall and to a cottage where all were able to view guest rooms furnished with original bedroom sets from the hotel.

On Thursday, the ambassadors toured the Woodman Museum in Dover and had a guided tour of the historic Dover downtown area. Thursday evening was our farewell dinner where the ambassadors sang the Canadian national anthem and the ‘Hockey Song’ for all of the NH Seacoast members in attendance.

Friendship Force is an international nonprofit organization, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, dedicated to the mission of building international understanding and world peace through people-to-people exchanges among clubs.. A network of 400 local clubs worldwide participate in annual exchanges which include home stays and rich cultural exchange. The local club, Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast, began in 1984. Our 70 members participate in many ways, from hosting ambassadors from other clubs or Open World programs to planning events and, sometimes, traveling themselves on an international exchange. Monthly club meetings are largely social affairs, bringing people with similar interests in international exchange together.

For more information visit www.ffnh.org or internationally www.friendshipforce.org. The local club meets monthly at 6 p.m. on the 6th of each month. Contact us at ffnh.seacoast1@gmail.com.

Open World Delegates from Kyrgyzstan Learn about Travel and Tourism in New Hampshire

posted Feb 3, 2018, 7:11 AM by FriendshipForce NHSeacoast   [ updated Jun 25, 2018, 10:41 AM ]

How do you attract visitors to a ski resort in the summer? How does one promote your country’s distinctive and unique culture? These and other questions about attracting tourists were at the heart of an 8-day Open World program organized by Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast. Five tourism professionals from Kyrgyzstan lived with Seacoast families while interacting with their counterparts across the Granite State. These delegates are emerging leaders who own and operate among the first tourism companies and guesthouses in Kyrgyzstan.

During their stay, the delegates met with representatives from the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism to learn how our government provides support for the industry and with faculty and students of the Hospitality and Recreation programs at the University of Hampshire to learn how we prepare young professionals looking to enter the field.

The high points of the week were the site visits to many of New Hampshire’s marvelous tourist destinations. The delegates were introduced to: four-season activities at Gunstock Mountain Resort, including a ride down the mountain coaster; vacillating weather conditions during a van ride to the top of Mount Washington (60 sunny degrees at the base, 33 degrees with 20-yard visibility and gale force winds at summit); Agrotourism at Butternut Farm, a popular Pick-Your-Own fruit farm in Farmington; an overnight stay at an Appalachian Mountain Club lodge followed the next day by a guided trail hike in the White Mountains which included information on trail development and maintenance; small, local museums highlighting unique facets of New Hampshire culture and direction on founding cultural museums in Kyrgyzstan; a “Foodie Tour” of Portsmouth; and a tour of the gallery of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, with advice on ways to highlight local crafts. Meals not provided by the members of our FF club were taken at local Farm-to-Table restaurants to emphasize another facet of agritourism.


FFNHS Hosts Open World Program

posted Jul 13, 2016, 6:44 PM by Douglas Hoff   [ updated Jan 13, 2018, 1:24 PM by FriendshipForce NHSeacoast ]



How do the Ukraine and the United States compare regarding the Role of the Media is Society? That was the topic of an 8-day Open World program organized by Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast. Five Ukrainian young professionals lived with Seacoast families while interacting with regional media professionals. These ambassadors were emerging leaders from radio, television, Internet and traditional print media. Their jobs ranged from war correspondent on Ukraine’s eastern front to TV anchor in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. The met with NH Public Television professionals, journalism students at Dover High and UNH, leaders of local Internet websites, UNH faculty and staff, local radio personalities, congressional staffers in Manchester and Foster’s Daily Democrat reporters, among others. The professional program was complement by daily social activities including a visit to Dover’s Woodman Museum and lobster at Newick’s.

 

In a note to the Ukrainian coordinator of the visit, Friendship Force club president Beth Cilley captured the value of the program to all parties. “We were remarking after your departure how much we enjoyed meeting you as we shared bits of our cultures, but it really reinforced why we participate in cultural exchanges like Open World and Friendship Force. The experience is an invaluable reinforcement of how much we all have in common and how much we can learn from each other when we take the time to talk and listen to each other. So rewarding, so satisfying, so comforting, and yet so rare.” For their part, Ukrainian ambassador Vadym Karpia wrote to the Open World program about the experience, “We’d like to emphasize how uniquely the Open World program is tailored in terms of homestays with the American families during the visit. This experience was invaluable for every one of us, for a week we became real members of the American families, we discovered that we – Americans and Ukrainians - share the same values and have so much in common, and will remain good friends with our hosts overseas.” Together these assessments go to the heart of the purpose of Friendship Force.

 

Friendship Force is an international nonprofit organization, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, dedicated to building international understanding through people-to-people exchange. A network of 350 local clubs worldwide participates in annual exchanges which include homestays and rich cultural exchange. The local club, Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast, began in 1984. Our 65 members participate in many ways, from hosting ambassadors from other clubs or Open World programs to planning events and, sometimes, traveling themselves on an international exchange. Monthly club meetings are largely social affairs, bringing people with similar interests in international exchange together.

 

Open World is a particularly appropriate activity for Friendship Force clubs. Open World is a program of the U.S. Library of Congress with a mission to “introduce rising leaders of emerging countries to the importance of legislative functions in creating and sustaining democracies.” This year’s Open World is the second that the local Friendship Force club has hosted. For information on Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast, check out www.ffnh.org or contact club president Beth Cilley at ffnh.seacoast1@gmail.com.


Aussies Enjoy FFNHS Hospitality

posted Jul 31, 2015, 9:54 AM by Douglas Hoff   [ updated Jul 31, 2015, 9:59 AM ]

  • The Australian ambassadors aboard the Gundalow Piscataqua.The Australian ambassadors aboard the Gundalow Piscataqua. Courtesy photo   

  • DOVER — The Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast recently hosted 14 Friendship Force "ambassadors" from the east coast of Australia, representing clubs from Sydney to Cairns. They stayed in member homes and got to know our region through daily activities organized by club members.

    Activities included group visits to Strawbery Banke, a ride on the Gundalow, a trip to Boston and up the Maine coast to Portland. While in Portland, the group attended a Portland Sea Dogs game. With their home hosts, our guests toured the Woodman Museum and explored Dover, went to Concord, the Shaker Village in Canterbury, Lake Winnipesaukee and Castle in the Clouds.

    Friendship Force is an international organization of almost 400 clubs around the world. Headquartered in Atlanta, members commit to the mission of building international understanding and world peace through people-to-people exchanges among clubs.

    Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast hosts two groups per year and travels internationally once each year to visit another club. In September, the club will host a similar sized group from New Zealand. In recent years the club has hosted clubs from Turkey, Japan, Brazil and Germany.

    For more information visit www.ffnh.org or internationally www.friendshipforce.org. The local club meets monthly at 6 p.m. on the 6th of each month. Contact president Jim Verschueren for information, jd.verschueren@gmail.com.

    Seacoast Friends Host Regional Conference

    posted Apr 30, 2015, 10:53 AM by Douglas Hoff   [ updated Jul 1, 2015, 1:43 PM ]

    Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast recently hosted the 
    Northeast/MidAtlantic Regional Conference for Friendship Force members from clubs as far south as Virginia. Held at the Sheraton Harborside Hotel, the conference featured training sessions for exchange directors, information on using social media for club promotion, and walking tours of several of Portsmouth’s most interesting sites and areas. About 50 members from nine different clubs enjoyed warm Seacoast hospitality. Friendship Force is an international organization of almost 400 clubs around the world. Headquartered in Atlanta, members commit to the mission of building international understanding and world peace through people-to-people exchanges among clubs. The organization will soon celebrate its 40th anniversary. More than 5,000 individuals travel annually on exchange visits among clubs.

    Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast hosts two groups per year and travels 
    internationally once each year to visit another club. In June 2015 the club will host 15 
    Australians, followed in September by a similar size group from New Zealand. In recent 
    years the club has hosted clubs from Turkey, Japan, Brazil and Germany. These 
    “ambassadors” from other countries stay in member homes and come to know our region through daily activities organized by club members.

    For more information about Friendship Force locally visit www.ffnh.org or 
    internationally www.friendshipforce.org. The local club meets monthly at 6:00 p.m. on 
    the 6th of each month. Contact president Jim Verschueren for information on meeting 
    locations, jd.verschueren@gmail.com. 


    Friendship Force club presidents from up and down the East Coast “put their noses to
    the grindstone” at Dover’s Woodman Museum.

    Open World Program Participants Hosted by FFNHS

    posted Oct 9, 2014, 2:45 PM by Douglas Hoff   [ updated Mar 25, 2015, 7:07 PM ]

    UKRAINIAN YOUNG PROFESSIONALS EXAMINE

    STATE, COUNTY & MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT

    DOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE

     

                October 4, 2014: Five Ukrainian young professionals participating in the Open World Program will spend October 24 – November 1, 2014 in Dover and Concord examining the U.S. government at three levels, citizen participation and political organization. Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast has organized the intensive program. Members of the local club will house the five delegates, their facilitator and an interpreter. 

     

    Managed by the Open World Leadership Center, Open World is the only exchange program in the U.S. legislative branch. Our five delegates are all involved in local and regional government in their home communities. Delegates will get an inside look at U.S. governmental jurisdictions and political organization while developing ties with the Friendship Force members who host them. They will also gain insight into how the free press operates relative go government and politics.

     

    While in New Hampshire, the visiting Ukrainian delegates jurists will tour the State House in Concord and meet with legislators; attend a county commissioners meeting, be briefed by county personnel and tour county facilities; meet with municipal officials and elected leaders; participate in political campaign activities; and meet with international students and international student staff at the University of New Hampshire.

     

                The visiting delegates are:

    Lukov, Vitaliy Dmitrovych, Mayor, Voznesensk, Ukraine

    Lyska, Oleksiy Hryhorovych, Department Head, Kharkiv Regional Administration

    Nyzhnyk, Volodymyr Valeriyovych, Executive Director, Kirovohrad Regional Assn.

    Rudenko, Nataliya Anatoliyivna, Leading Specialist, Kyiv City Council

    Tkachuk, Ihor Mykolayovych, Deputy Head of Administration,

    Odessa Regional Administration

    Bobyk, Yevhen Dmytrovych, Group Facilitator, Legal Counsel, AstraZeneca LLC

               
                The Open World Leadership Center has awarded a grant to Friendship Force International to administer this and similar exchanges in 2014. 

     

                The Open World Program is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress that builds mutual understanding between the emerging political and civic leaders of participating countries and their U.S. counterparts. It also exposes delegates to ideas and practices they can adapt for use in their own work. Founded in 1999 with a focus on Russia, the program has also in recent years hosted delegations from Lithuania, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Delegates range from first-time mayors to experienced journalists, from nonprofit directors to small-business advocates, and from political activists to high-court judges. Nearly 11,000 Open World participants have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states.  The program’s administering agency, the Open World Leadership Center, is a legislative branch entity with offices at the Library of Congress. 

     

                For more information, please contact Jim Verschueren, President, Friendship Force of the Greater Seacoast or Elena McCarty, Friendship Force International at 404.965.4354.  For more information on Open World, please visit http://www.openworld.gov.

    Dover City Council Declares Friendship Force Day

    posted Mar 18, 2014, 9:07 AM by Douglas Hoff   [ updated Mar 18, 2014, 9:07 AM ]

        The Dover City Council has declared March 18, 2014 FRIENDSHIP FORCE DAY in Dover.  Dover Mayor Karen Weston will be reading the city's proclamation at 6:30 PM during a celebration at the Dover Public Library on March 18.
        
        
    The Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast is hosting a public reception, inviting internationally minded folks to experience our exhibit of photos and memorabilia from our 30 years of international exchange at the Dover Public Library from 6 -8 PM.
     
        Don't know what Friendship Force is? In a nutshell, an international non-profit devoted to breaking down cultural barriers through face-to-face exchanges. Find out more at either our local club's Web site, www.ffnh.org, or the international HQ site, www.friendshipforce.org.
     

    Morocco Press Release

    posted Dec 6, 2013, 4:18 PM by Douglas Hoff   [ updated Jan 13, 2018, 11:58 AM by FriendshipForce NHSeacoast ]

    SEACOAST RESIDENTS CELEBRATE MOROCCO EXCHANGE

    Ten adventuresome souls returned in early November from a 15-day sojourn in the North African country of Fez, Marrakesh, Casablanca & Rick’s Café. Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast (FFNH) initiated the adventure; members were joined by 17 other Friendship Force club members from Canada, Australia and several other States. Founded in 1984, FFNH is one of 350 clubs in 58 countries. The heart of Friendship Force is bringing people together in friendship across the barriers that separate. As “citizen ambassadors,” each member has the power to promote good relations at a personal level.

    Typical Friendship Force exchanges are two weeks long and feature homestays with the members of host clubs. In 2013 the New Hampshire Seacoast club hosted groups from Turkey and Japan. Members are scheduled to travel to Brazil in 2014 and to host a large group from Australia.

    FFNH meets at 6:00 p.m. on the 6th of each month. At the November meeting the returning ambassadors exhibited a wide selection of cultural items brought home, shared their stories and enjoyed a Moroccan meal catered by the Moroccan owners of Café Med in Portsmouth. Highlights of the trip were an overnight stay under the stars on the Sahara (reached by camel ride), the beautiful mosque in Casablanca, two homestays with Moroccan families, the fabulous medina in Fez, a meeting with the president of the upper house of parliament in the capitol city of Rabat, baking bread and cooking tagine meals in a remote Berber village. The introduction to this diverse, Moslem country in full transition to a constitutional democracy, a model for the Arab world, was an eye-opening, exciting learning experience. The adventure closed with a delightful meal in Casablanca’s Rick’s Café.

    FFNH welcomes inquiries and invites individuals with international curiosity to attend a meeting. There are opportunities to plan activities and/or host visiting ambassadors as well as joining in international travel.

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