Presenting Pablo Chufeni Servas Traveller And A Champion Of Cross
Border Youth Exchanges

Presenting Pablo Chufeni Servas Traveller And A Champion Of Cross Border Youth Exchanges



I met Pablo at​ the​ Canada-US Servas Conference that was held at​ the​ beginning of​ August in​ Vancouver where I had a​ chance to​ spend about an​ hour and a​ half with him to​ find out more about his involvement as​ a​ volunteer for Servas,​ an​ organization with hosts and travellers in​ more than 130 countries whose motto is​ "Travel for peace" to​ promote greater inter-cultural understanding and tolerance. Pablo is​ one of​ those people who always has a​ smile on​ his face and he is​ filled with an​ incredible amount of​ energy. Through Servas he has travelled through a​ variety of​ European and North and South American countries.

As a​ volunteer for Servas,​ Pablo has tried to​ harness the​ international network of​ Servas in​ new ways,​ and most recently he has created an​ initiative that allows young Servas members to​ go on​ language exchanges free of​ charge that are facilitated by other Servas travellers. Both accommodation and language training are provided free of​ charge by local Servas hosts. So far his network of​ participating countries includes Argentina,​ Brazil,​ Uruguay,​ Mexico,​ the​ United States and Canada which will provide no-cost language study opportunities to​ young Servas members in​ Spanish,​ Portuguese,​ French and English.

In addition he is​ also organizing a​ youth summit for Servas,​ to​ be held in​ January 2018 in​ the​ resort town of​ Bariloche,​ Argentina. And he does all these activities part-time,​ after work,​ as​ a​ volunteer. Meet this bundle of​ positive energy - Pablo Chufeni.

1. Please tell us a​ little bit about yourself. Where are you​ from,​ what is​ your profession,​ where do you​ live now?

I'm 27 years old and I work as​ a​ theater professor in​ various institutes. I also study politics at​ the​ university as​ well as​ French and Portuguese. This year I started to​ work for the​ Developing Bank of​ the​ Americas in​ a​ social program here in​ my city,​ Rosario,​ in​ Argentina,​ where I currently live nowadays. I work in​ the​ capacitation department as​ a​ tutor for teenagers who are at​ risk. For 7 years I worked for the​ local TV station as​ a​ general producer,​ but that took up all my time,​ so now I prefer to​ use my days in​ a​ different way. I also work for a​ foundation that works with cultural promotion here in​ my city.

2. you​ have been a​ Servas member for a​ few years now. How did you​ hear about this organization and what was your first travel experience like?

I heard of​ Servas by acident,​sitting at​ a​ coffee table. First I went to​ Europe as​ a​ traveller,​ but after that I organized my own local group of​ Servas hosts here in​ Rosario,​ and I got involved in​ the​ running of​ the​ organization. I have been to​ official meetings in​ Canada,​ Spain,​ Argentina,​ Mexico,​ UK and Uruguay. the​ Servas experiences are so deep and so profound that it​ is​ quite complicated to​ talk about them in​ a​ few lines. What I have experienced is​ simply amazing,​ it​ has changed my life.

3. What countries have you​ travelled to​ through Servas? What kinds of​ people from what places have you​ hosted in​ your home? What makes Servas travel so
special to​ you?

I have traveled with Servas in​ Argentina,​ Uruguay,​ Mexico,​ Canada,​ Spain,​ Belgium,​ France,​ Ireland,​ Portugal,​ and the​ UK. But I´ll make my list larger as​ soon as
possible!!! at​ my place I have hosted people from the​ USA,​ Germany,​ France,​ Spain,​ the​ Netherlands and Brazil. My house is​ open to​ Servas travellers all year long.

It´s not only the​ bridge that Servas builds for you,​ but also who is​ waiting for you​ on​ the​ other side. All the​ people in​ Servas are great and interesting,​ otherwise they wouldn't open their doors and use their time to​ chat with you​ and show you​ their world.

4. Please tell us about your 3 favourite or​ most memorable travel stories.

I met a​ nice couple in​ Lisbon,​ she was Mexican and he was born in​ Angola. the​ time I spent with them was great. They originally met trough Servas when she was a​ traveller staying at​ his house. And now they are married!!!

I also met a​ guy in​ Brussels who ate food without cooking it​ and had strong opinions on​ flavours and health and how human beings developed the​ art of​ cooking only by following their tongue. I had another interesting travel experience with an​ Arab person who lived in​ Paris. This was simply amazing. We went together to​ see a​ show in​ Paris of​ Ute Lemper,​ a​ German singer that I always liked,​ and one day I saw signs in​ the​ streets of​ Paris,​ announcing one of​ her concerts. Unfortunately the​ signs said SOLD OUT! But when I returned to​ his house he told me,​ Pablo,​ I've got tickets to​ a​ show tonight in​ case you​ want to​ go. We had a​ great time at​ the​ concert.

5. Please tell us about your 3 favourite or​ most memorable hosting experiences.

It´s hard to​ say,​ all my guests have been great in​ their own way.

6. you​ are very actively involved in​ harnessing Servas as​ a​ network for learning experiences for young people. Please tell us about the​ language learning opportunities that you​ have created through Servas.

In 2003,​ Servas South America organized an​ essay contest about “The role of​ Servas”. I participated and ended up coming in​ first place. as​ a​ contest winner,​ I was able to​ attend the​ Youth South American meeting in​ Montevideo (Uruguay),​ also visiting Santa Teresa (Uruguay) where activities were developed for three days. Here I met Camile Costa from Sao Paulo (Brazil) who had taken Spanish classes in​ Chile. it​ was then that the​ idea of​ using Servas as​ a​ platform for developing language study exchanges for young people through Servas was born.

The program is​ organized in​ four modules,​ with respective classes. All the​ classes are weekly and 1 ½ hour in​ duration. the​ modules are: A) Language - B) Arts - C) Social - D) special Events. the​ young people particpating in​ these programs get a​ fully rounded picture of​ their host society.

7. you​ are also organizing the​ first international youth meeting of​ Servas in​ the​ southern hemisphere,​ called "Patagonia 06",​ to​ be held in​ the​ beautiful resort town of​ Bariloche in​ Argentina during the​ 3rd week of​ January of​ 2018. Please tell us about this initiative.

Working hard with the​ help of​ SERVAS Argentina,​ the​ first international youth conference in​ the​ southern hemisphere will be held January 15 to​ 22,​ 2018. PATAGONIA '06 will take place in​ Bariloche in​ the​ heart of​ Argentinean Patagonia. the​ landscape is​ simply amazing. Although our focus is​ not on​ the​ landscape,​ it​ provides an​ additional incentive to​ attend the​ conference.

SERVAS YOUTH is​ not only for people under 30,​ if​ you​ are interested in​ youth issues and want to​ help us and develop youth projects in​ Servas,​ you​ don't need to​ be a​ teenager. the​ meeting will cost only U$D 160,​ which will cover four meals a​ day,​ access to​ every single activity,​ accommodation in​ bungalows or​ tents (no transportation from BsAs included).

This youth meeting will help us a​ lot to​ continue developing the​ position of​ youth in​ SERVAS and at​ the​ same time to​ grow as​ people. There will be three different topics during the​ meeting. the​ specific topics of​ Youth in​ Servas are: how to​ develop the​ youth position,​ how to​ reach more young people,​ the​ programs that we are already working on​ and how to​ make them grow,​ how can we help developing the​ local activities in​ our national group,​ and how to​ get young people involved,​ new programs that we can start implementing,​ and everything linked to​ the​ Youth issue inside Servas.

Here is​ the​ link to​ the​ PATAGONIA'06 Conference: www3.telus.net/SC/SERVAS/index.htm

8. Despite having your hands full,​ you​ are already thinking of​ other ways of​ harnessing the​ Servas network to​ provide internship and job shadowing
opportunities for young people from across the​ world. Please tell us more about that.

This is​ an​ idea for the​ near future. First I want to​ reach my personal goal with PATAGONIA '06 and the​ international youth exchanges. Then I want to​ use
the Servas network to​ provide job opportunites to​ young people abroad to​ develop their resume and their skills.

9. you​ also host local "diversity meals". What are they and what is​ their purpose?

I heard about "diversity meals" from Mary Jane at​ the​ United States Servas office. She told me about an​ activity they have in​ San Francisco where a​ number of​ meals are organized at​ various Servas members´ houses,​ where they become hosts to​ a​ diverse group of​ indivdiuals. I decided to​ borrow this idea and import it​ to​ the​ youth branch of​ Servas in​ Argentina.

Although the​ participants come from different cultural and educational backgrounds,​ commonalities surface quickly. Diversity meals are intended to​ foster tolerance and understanding,​ not just through international travel,​ but locally with local participants. it​ is​ not necessary to​ visit Bali or​ Nicaragua to​ find a​ different
way of​ understanding the​ world. Our neighbours next door are an​ equally valid option.

10. When you​ are not volunteering for a​ good cause,​ how do you​ spend the​ rest of​ your time?

Honestly I do not have any free time. I work 10 hours a​ day,​ so frequently I work on​ Servas projects at​ night,​ that´s why all my emails get sent out at​ weird times. I also go to​ the​ gym daily. in​ addition,​ my mother has a​ life-long medical condition,​ so I have to​ help her and stay close to​ her all the​ time just in​ case.

11. What are your upcoming plans,​ travel and otherwise?

It is​ always a​ challenge for my try to​ find a​ way to​ be involved in​ the​ kind of​ activities that I am participating in,​ considering the​ fact that I also have to​ earn money. if​ one day I find a​ way to​ get my economic needs met while working at​ Servas and anothers NGOs I would be absolutely happy. I always have the​ feeling that I´m wasting my time when I am working,​ thinking of​ all the​ things that I could be doing if​ I had the​ time to​ spend working on​ Servas projects. This is​ my personal challenge.

Thank you,​ Pablo,​ for taking your time to​ explain all your volunteer activities with us. We wish you​ the​ very best for you​ international youth language exchange program and for the​ Servas Youth Conference,​ Patagonia '06. you​ are actively helping to​ spread the​ message of​ intercultural tolerance and peace to​ the​ next generation.

For the​ entire story including photos please visit http://www.travelandtransitions.com/interviews/servas_pablo_chufeni.htm




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