Servas International: An Interview with Jonny Sågänger

The 2018 CISV Global Conference attracted many guest speakers and presenters who, in one way or another, considered cooperating with CISV International. CISV International invited Servas International to join us during the Global Conference because of strong similarities to CISV.  The organization works in some ways like CouchSurfing but, like CISV, are a non-profit and non-governmental organization with a strong peace mission.

During the Global Conference Jonny Sågänger, President of Servas International, explained to us what his organization does and talked about a possible partnership with CISV.

 

Gosia Jaroń: Hi Jonny! Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.  Could we start with you telling us a little bit about why you think CISV and Servas would benefit from a partnership?

Jonny Sågänger: Hey, thank you for doing this! I believe that CISV has a very good offering in Peace Education. Servas International aims at building world peace, goodwill, and understanding by providing opportunities for personal contact among people of different cultures, backgrounds, and nationalities. This is similar to CISV’s mission to build global friendship.  CISV should be well-known for it’s Peace Education in communities around the world. I think it would be interesting for CISV members to use Servas’ opportunities because with us traveling is so much easier, and you make friends along the way, while also learning about other cultures and traditions. Just like in CISV.

 

GJ: That seems about right! Can you tell us then, what does Servas International offer and how could it work with CISV?

JS: Servas is a peace and hospitality organization. We have a global web-based platform to connect travelers with hosts. It is for people who would like to invite travelers into their homes and for those who try to find hosting, too. The incentive is that by getting to know other people, cultures, religions and just interacting across borders, you get an intercultural learning process that increases your understanding of other people. In the long run, we believe it can help build a more peaceful society on the whole. The standard procedure is for a guest to stay at the host’s home for two nights. You are social with each other, you are generous with each other and, most importantly, you are curious about one another.

 

GJ: That sounds really interesting. The idea of inviting someone into your home and sharing experiences together could definitely be beneficial to both travelers and hosts.  Now, what piece of advice would you give to CISV regarding finding possible partnerships?

JS: I would say, look for partnerships with organizations that have similar values but with a complimentary offering. I think many CISvers would appreciate a network where they can socialize and get to know everyday lives of people with similar values and life purposes.

 

GJ: Wonderful, thank you so much for this quick interview. Good luck and I hope to hear more about Servas!

JS: Thank you! Take care and congratulations on the Global Conference!

 

To learn more about Servas International, head to: https://servas.org/en/.

 

Photos from Mikiko Fukai, Pieces of Peace

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