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Centrum Edukacji Międzykulturowej,
Aleja Wolności 23 (MOK),
33-300 Nowy Sącz

tel: + 48 602 476 108
tel: + 48 608 315 089

e-mail: cempolska@gmail.com

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CEM’s Board

Bożena Kocyk – President
Jolanta Kieres – Vice President
Joanna Wituszyńska – Vice President
Maria Baran – Secretary
Maria Janisz – Treasurer
Halina Komar – Honorary President

 

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February 2024
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    What Erasmus Plus Gives Us?

    Continuing our collaboration, after the death of Halina Komar, the longtime president of the Intercultural Education Center in Nowy Sącz a few months ago, the association has decided to reapply for funding from the Erasmus+ program in the ”Adult Education” sector.
The project title: „Knowledge of Foreign Languages Widens Horizons”.
    In recent months, new people have joined the association who, in addition to their interest in Esperanto, also want to improve their English language skills, which are very useful in the modern world, including for Esperantists. This is a group that has been meeting for several years for conversation classes at the Nowy Sącz City Library, and I (B. Kocyk) lead the group.
    Together with Polish language teacher Małgorzata Piluch we wrote a proposal to the National Agency for funding the participation of a group of 16 people in an English language course in Malta. Despite Malta being a small country with only 0.52 million residents, it specializes in various language courses. There are 42 schools with a global reputation, and the official languages are Maltese and English.
    The proposal was very well received and accepted, leading to a two-week trip in October 2023 in which board members and active members of the association participated. A basic knowledge of English was a requirement.
    We established cooperation with the Institute of English Language Studies during the project writing stage in January 2023. They agreed to accept their school as host organization, significantly enhancing the substantive value of the proposal and providing enough time for detailed agreements. This school has been operating for over 35 years, offering around 20 different English language courses and employing 150 qualified teachers.
    Progress in English will allow us to deepen international cooperation, introduce English translations on the website, and promote Esperanto in English-speaking communities as well. Before the trip, everyone had to complete an online test and participate in a brief interview with a teacher from the school we were visiting, using the Zoom application. This helped assess language proficiency.
    On-site at the school, we were assigned to 4 groups ranging from the least to the most advanced. These groups differed not only in age (although the youth predominated) but also in nationality. Participants came from South and Central America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Students from over 40 countries passed through the schools halls. In lessons, we learned many interesting things about our classmates countries.
    Our association team also attracted significant interest due to its age and funding through EU resources. Thus, we had the opportunity to tell the students about Esperanto as the main focus of our activities, which was entirely new to them. They wanted to hear sentences spoken in Esperanto and understand which languages it might resemble.
    The association activities were also intriguing for them, as at this stage of their lives, young people are not yet seeking opportunities to engage in initiatives that would allow them to develop their non-professional interests in various fields of science and culture.

    Another episode related to Esperanto was a conversation I had with one of the teachers during conversation classes. This elderly gentleman is of Iranian origin and practices the Bahái Faith. His family had to leave Iran many years ago due to persecution from Muslims. Bahá’ís have suffered persecution since the inception of their religion in the 19th century. At that time, he was studying in the United Kingdom; currently, he resides in Malta and his family has dispersed worldwide, never returning to Iran. In the past, Bahá’ís sought a language that would work well in their international community, and their choice fell on Esperanto.
Does it really? – nobody knows. There are approximately 5 million Bahá’ís worldwide, with their administrative and spiritual center located in Haifa, Israel. The idea of Esperanto among Bahá’ís was promoted in the interwar period by Lidia Zamenhof, the daughter of Ludwik Zamenhof. She became a Bahái in 1926 and in 1937 was sent to the United States, where she taught Esperanto and Baháí principles. Just before the war, she returned to Poland and perished in the Treblinka concentration camp along with her sister Zofia. The teacher mentioned above knows very well the principles and history of Esperanto, as well as important figures in the Esperanto movement; he was interested in the details of our activities.
    After very intensive lessons (6 per day), in the afternoons and weekends, we had time to explore Malta and its islands, Gozo and Comino.
Maltese history dates back thousands of years before our era. The oldest megalithic temples began to be built around 3600 BC so they are older than the Egyptian pyramids, although less attractive to tourists. Over the centuries, Malta was under the rule of the Phoenicians, ancient Rome, Arabs, the Kingdom of Sicily, the Knights of Malta and Great Britain; all leaving their marks. The capital, Valletta, is one large piece of history. With 320 historic sites, it is the densest historical area in the world. It is also a major passenger and commercial port, welcoming large ships, mainly sailing in the Mediterranean Sea.
The implementation of Erasmus+ projects involves not only foreign trips but also many obligations, starting from a well-defined idea, through the creation of numerous documents before, during, and after the activity. It requires finding a good host or cooperating organization, plan the budget well, strict adherence to Erasmus+ program guidelines, meeting all the required conditions specified in the financial agreement and achieving the goals outlined in the application. Writing the final report is a significant challenge as it must demonstrate that the funds were spent according to the intention and documented in accordance with both EU and national accounting principles.
    Success achieved through obtaining a positive opinion from the National Agency and then through project implementation, brings immense satisfaction to the authors and unforgettable educational, cultural, and integrative experiences to the entire group participating in the endeavour.

Bożena Kocyk

→ Link to Marysia Baran’s presentation

→ Link to presentations posted in the Google cloud (valid until the end of February 2024)

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