FFNHS Hosts Open World Program

posted Jul 13, 2016, 6:44 PM by Douglas Hoff   [ updated Jul 13, 2016, 7:07 PM ]

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.

    FFNHS to Host Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference

    posted Mar 25, 2015, 7:04 PM by Douglas Hoff   [ updated Mar 25, 2015, 7:08 PM ]

    The NH Seacoast chapter of Friendship Force International is proud to act as the host chapter for the 2015 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional conference - "Charting Our Course".  Hosted along the NH seacoast in Portsmouth, the conference will occur from April 17 - 19 with an optional homestay available for a limited number of participants through Wednesday morning April 22.  Interested chapters or members can find the links to a copy of the conference agenda as well as a registration form below.  Come join us in beautiful and historic Portsmouth for a weekend of learning and friendship.

    Open World Program Participants Hosted by FFNHS

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





                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.

    Seacoast Chapter to host Northeast Regional Conference

    posted Aug 29, 2014, 5:41 PM by Douglas Hoff   [ updated Aug 29, 2014, 5:42 PM ]

    The Friendship Force of New Hampshire Seacoast Chapter has been selected to host the FF Northeast Regional conference.  Members from chapters throughout the northeast will be convening in Portsmouth in late April 2015 to participate in a variety of workshops and seminars.  An optional home stay will be hosted by the members of the Seacoast Chapter.  For additional information please direct your inquiries to the chapter email address at ffnh.seacoast1@gmail.com.

    UNO Pizzeria and Grill Fundraiser 11/06/14

    posted Aug 3, 2014, 2:27 PM by Douglas Hoff   [ updated Aug 29, 2014, 5:43 PM ]

    The Seacoast Chapter of the Friendship Force will be holding a fundraiser on Thursday, November 6th at the UNO Indian Brook Road location in Dover.  Click the link below and print out the coupon to receive up to 20% off your total dining bill.  Coupon is only good on the date and at the location indicated.

    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.

    Dover Chamber of Commerce highlights FFNHS

    posted Mar 12, 2014, 10:57 AM by Douglas Hoff   [ updated Mar 12, 2014, 10:58 AM ]

    In a recent publication from the Dover Chamber of Commerce the Friendship Force of NH Seacoast's 30th anniversary celebration was mentioned.  Click the link below to see the article.

    Morocco Press Release

    posted Dec 6, 2013, 4:18 PM by Douglas Hoff   [ updated Jan 3, 2014, 8:20 AM ]


    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. For future meeting locations, please contact President Dorie Sterndale, 742-9118 or sterndale@comcast.net, or vice president Jim Verschueren, 343-4652 or jd.verschueren@gmail.com. Club news is available on our web site: www.ffnh.org.

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