Author: Marie Smidstrup Page 1 of 6

Snail Mail vol. 3

Hey Alumni of IPC!

The third Snail Mail Reunion ever is taking place these following months!

What is Snail Mail Reunion?
Snail Mail Reunion is a refurb of the awesomeness that is physical mail (=snail mail). If you choose to be a part of it you sign up to write one letter to another alumni, whose address you will receive from us. Then as you are writing your letter, another alumni (not the same as the one you are writing) is writing a letter to you.

It might take time for it to travel to you, but it will eventually get there.

At Snail Mail Reunion vol. 2 our letters travelled to 143.000 km around the world (impressive, huh?). Let’s make it even more this year!

How to participate?
Send an e-mail (non snail mail) to named ‘Snail Mail 2018’ and write your name and the address of your current place of residence.

Last date for signing up is November 14th!

When you receive the information on the alumni you have to send your letter to, you should send it within the next month (so around December 14th). Write about your time an IPC – best stories, good memories. And maybe if you have had some good alumni experiences, you can share them with your new pen pal.

We hope you will join in!

Hugs from the Alumni Board

IPC Alumni Situation Report

Dear Alumni,

2 weeks ago, Marie, Esben and I took part at the School council meeting as representatives of the IPC Alumni and all of the former students. What the school council discusses is big overall strategies and principles of the school and as we are also part of the school we are always included in these discussions. We also give a report on what we are doing, and I can tell you that every time I’ve been at these meetings, the school council is very impressed with all that we are doing!

A curious thing we found out at this meeting was how old the IPC Alumni actually are. Yes, we are almost as old as the school itself, 93 years. In 1925 the IPC Student Union was founded and that’s what today is the IPC Alumni.

Naturally we are not the same Student Union today as we were in 1925, and I’d like to tell you all a small story to perhaps illustrate this. It’s a story I’d like to call “the Alumni Reform” and it’s about how the IPC Student Union turned into the IPC Alumni. And it features two of our most distinguished members, our two senior advisors Rod and Nikolaj.

Student Union to Alumni

So, in 2008, 10 years ago, Rod, Nikolaj and a handful of others were wondering why there was no association for former students of IPC and no organisation supporting continuous connection with the school. Well, of course there was the Student Union. But at that time there were only around 30 members and a board that was unfortunately not very active. At that time the Student Union also had a hut in the IPC forest which unfortunately burned down. There was going to be a lot of insurance money and the Student Union also discussed the possibility of selling the land that the hut was on to the school.

In this situation Nikolaj, Rod and the others decided to act, so that the insurance case and selling of the land would run smoothly. So they took initiative and got elected into the Student Union board.

This event 10 years ago marks a turning point for the Student Union. It is also when the Student Union became the IPC Alumni! And this story perhaps also illustrates very well the question that I’d like to revolve this report around:

“Why do we need the IPC Alumni?”

Here I’d like to perhaps try and give a first answer with paragraph 1 of our charter:

  • 1     The aim of The Alumni is to bring together former and present students in common activities with The International People’s College and to spread knowledge about the school.

The last 10 years have been revolving around this task and there has been a constant growth in activities and engagement. Reunion Weekends were introduced. And an ambassador project was started.

The last 2 years this process of increasing our activity has taken a sharp upwards turn with several ambitious new projects being started as well as old projects being revised and improved. Take for example the Reunion Weekend.

Reunion Weekend & Summer Camp

My first Reunion Weekend was 3½ years ago and it was amazing! I was a student here and it was great to meet a ton of different students who told so many cool stories about when they were here. And we had a huge party on Saturday. But in many ways that was it.

What we have been aiming at these last 3 years has been moving the focus from the Reunion Weekend as a big party to making it a deeper IPC experience. I hope a lot of you attended the workshops this afternoon and got some good debates about identity and how we handle the meetings between different cultures. And I also hope that my report here gives you some ideas and thoughts that will lead to fruitful discussions later today.

Don’t get me wrong – I still expect you to give it all you’ve got at our party tonight and make sure we have a scorching hot dancefloor!

But being an Alumni means more than coming back to IPC once a year and having a party. That’s one of the reasons why we introduced the IPC Alumni global week in 2011 which has since grown into the IPC Alumni Summer Camps. We have now had 4 of these camps in total and another one is happening this year! I know that at least a few of you have been at one of them and I hope you agree when I say that they add a tremendous value both to IPC and the Alumni community!

The Summer Camps give you an opportunity to come back to IPC for a week in summer and both do some manual labour at the school as well as engaging in discussions and making new friends across the globe.

A new challenge for the Alumni

The two activities I just mentioned are probably our core activities. But they can also be criticized. For does focus on Reunion Weekend and Summer Camp include ALL the students that have been at IPC? Two comments from the weekend of the school council meeting perhaps illustrate this quite well. Under the meeting Claus pointed out that the Alumni suffers under the problem of any former student association, that it only reaches back around 5 years. Have a look around. How many former students from over 5 years ago do you see? I don’t think there’s more than maybe 10.

Nonetheless we are an association that is almost 100 years old. But we don’t reach back that far.

Another comment you might have noticed was our fellow Alumni Osman’s post on our Facebook page. He pointed out that both the constellation of the Alumni board as well as the activities are often focussed a lot on Europe. E.g. Not everyone can come back to IPC as easily as those living in Copenhagen.

New projects

It’s valid criticism and it’s not a new problem. We’ve been discussing it regularly for the last 10 years and searching for solutions. As a result of this discussion we are at this Reunion Weekend launching two new initiatives that have been under way for some time.

The first program is aimed to tackle the problems facing a global association based in Denmark. It’s called Alumni World and aims to establish local Alumni organisations across the world.

Some of you have perhaps heard of how some of our former students are starting a new folk high school in Korea? We also have active Alumni communities in countries like Mexico, Japan, Hungary, or Belgium.

With the Alumni World project we want to facilitate Alumni organizing local activities connected to IPC. Hopefully we can then host a global Reunion in 2019 with Reunion Weekends happening at the same time around the globe!

Another project we are launching is our Volunteering Database! It grew out of a first attempt at setting up a system for the activities of former students that was started in 2011. This time we are integrating it into our website and putting some energy into making it easier to use!

We are collecting information on all the different NGO’s that Alumni are involved with and setting up a big database to facilitate contact between Alumni and all the NGO’s that we work with.

We’ve been working together with Gertrud on contacting Alumni from development management that have started projects and are always happy to hear from you if you have some yourself. Go have a look at our website to check out how you can add your NGO to the database!

A project that was introduced in 2015 is the Alumni scholarship. We raised the membership cost from 100 dkk to 200 dkk, and let the increase go into an Alumni scholarship fund. For the first time we will be supporting a student from Myanmar for the upcoming autumn term 2018. This student would not otherwise have had the possibility to come to IPC so it’s good to see that the effort of 3 years finally is sprouting into concrete results!

Volunteering with IPC Alumni

And now that we are on the topic of volunteering: It’s been a recurring theme for us that we ourselves are engaged in various projects around the globe and at IPC. Namely we have our 2 Erasmus+ volunteers, Magda and Lucile, that are making a real difference at IPC! It’s now the 3rd time we have our own volunteers at the school and we hope to continue with the project! You can see a lot about the project on our website. Or you can ask some of them here at the Reunion Weekend as we have both Anita, Tomas, and Pip here, all former volunteers!

Some of you might also have noticed that we sent 3 Alumni to the Philippines in Autumn 2017! This project has also started bearing fruits as we are integrating the IPC Alumni into the global network of NGO’s working together to change the world.

We are still continuing to have our very valuable trainings at the Asha centre in England where you can engage in issues of global citizenship, environmental challenges and human rights.

On that front we are also ourselves waiting for confirmation about a human rights project that we are arranging in Sarajevo!

You might wonder why we are engaging so much in volunteering opportunities? It is quite natural for us that connecting Alumni to the school also includes how we as the Alumni continue working with the core values of the school. We want to facilitate the future work of IPC students and we believe that offering volunteering possibilities is both good for the school and the Alumni.

Ensuring a healthy organisation

All this increase in activities that we have seen over the last 3 years would of course not have been possible without some dedicated Alumni on the board. We are currently 9 + 2 senior advisors that each put a lot of hours every week into making all of this happen. So I’d like to warmly thank all of my colleagues both for the good and for the difficult times. For the late evenings where we sit and plan how 120 Alumni fit into an already filled up school. And for the long Saturdays when we after 10 hours of meeting still power through to discuss how we best design the volunteering database. And also for the trust that you have put in me, the honesty you show me and the professionalism you have put to the day. And let’s not forget the nights over a box of white wine either!

But all the spirit of the world doesn’t matter if you don’t have a structure to put it in. We have been working a lot with structure. Experimenting how we get the most of our meetings. Discussing which way of doing things is the right way of including all our members. And expanding the amount of Alumni that are engaged in our activities.

For instance, Morgane has joined us as graphic designer. This model of engaging students with specific skills that don’t need you to be at board meetings is a model we are trying to work more with. Having subcommittees focused on specific tasks such as the Summer Camp, Reunion Weekend or internet-based activities is a model we aim to explore in the future.

But be patient with us. We are a small organisation and only have so many resources available to us. I can assure you that every one of the board members is working very hard for all of you!

To keep the IPC Alumni a well-functioning organisation we not only need to be well coordinated internally. There are also rules and restrictions we need to live up to. For instance, there are new EU data laws taking effect in a few days. That means we can’t keep a database of members without the explicit consent of these members. This is an organisational task that lies ahead of us, and therefore we will very soon be asking this consent of all of you.

100 years of IPC

At the last General Assembly I addressed the topic of how we as the Alumni will be engaged in the upcoming 100 year anniversary of the school. At the school council meeting two weeks ago Toni from the school board promised me that we will be engaged with the 100 year anniversary.

It is an opportunity for us to look back at the former students of 100 years that are our fellow Alumni. It’s an opportunity to explore the footstep that we have left on the world.

It is also an opportunity to for us to set high goals for the future. That we engage Alumni across the globe and across generations. That we bring IPC and the core values to the world and that we bring the world to Denmark!

What format the 100 year anniversary celebration will take we don’t know yet. Perhaps it’s going to be an even bigger, better and more exciting Reunion Weekend? Perhaps it’s a whole big Summer Camp? Or an IPC festival? There are many opportunities to explore!

So to come back to the question: Why do we need the Alumni? Well I think that if you look around again you will see the answer in each other’s faces. We are a unique community that spans across all of the world and almost 100 years. IPC lives off of mouth to mouth propaganda, so the better the Alumni have it, the better the school will have it!

Thank you for listening to me for these many minutes. I can assure you that every one of them represents at least 20 hours that the board and I have put into this organisation. But that’s nothing compared to the energy that all of you are giving eachother and us! I hope you have a blast of a Reunion Weekend.

Thank you.

Lars Heidtmann, Chairperson

Project Database

Behold Alumni!

New initiative staring up within the IPC Alumni Organisation. Stay put and read on.

In the Alumni Board we are working on creating a platform where all alumni of IPC can have their projects collected.

This will enable any member to get their projects exposed to the entire alumni network and thereby ask for volunteer help, promotion, crowdfund, offer one’s help etc etc.

All the projects will collected in the newly set-up volunteer database on the webpage: You can already check out one project in there.

WHAT do you need to do now?
Ask yourself if you have a project or organisation you would like to have in the database – or if you know someone who has; you can poke them and present the database.

The information needed to be in the database is the following:

– Photo or logo
– Name of the organisation/project.
– Synopsis/description of the project/org including: location, methodology, objective/goal.
– Help needed: location of the helper, expectations and work load
– What is provided for the volunteer (if anything)
– Location of project
– Time frame of the project
– Contact information to the Alumni connected to the project/org.
– Link to further information.

Write an email to with the information above – or if you have any questions.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

The Alumni Board

EVS Volunteers Spring Term 2018

In January IPC Alumni and IPC welcomed the two new EVS volunteers to the school. They are Lucile Trouchaud and Madgalena Potrawiak and in the two months they have been here, they have made a lot of projects. The Human Rights café is up and running and the infamous EVS-hot chocolate is back! Lucile and Magdalena live among the 100 international students at the International People’s College, so their days are filled with people and activities. They help the kitchen setting up for meals, they act as technical support during cultural evenings, they have a key role in the planning and participating in the forth coming Alumni Reunion Weekend at IPC in April and at the same time they learn Danish, hang out and run smaller projects of their own.

Sounds busy?

If you want to follow their activities, the volunteers have set up their own platform for the Human Rights Café project, where updates, events and vlogs will be posted as the project develops.

Click here to see the platform.

Lucile wrote a small introduction to herself;

“I am 22 years old and I am from Toulouse, France. I like riding sports, spending good times with friends and family, and listening/playing music. I am in a long term relationship with food, and specially casual food, street food and all kind of melted cheesy meal. You can also call me a pizza lover. I’ve got a Bachelor Degree with a major in marketing and communication.”

…and here is Magdalena’s introduction:

“I was born and raised in Kraków – the cultural capital of Poland. My first big passion was dance. I’ve been a ballet dancer for almost 10 years. In the meantime I also fell for English and travelling. These two things are still an integral part of my life. I graduated from university with a master degree in American studies and English Philology, specialization: translation and I’ve been working with languages ever since. I worked as an interpreter at Auschwitz Memorial and Museum, taught English at the University of Sevilla to finally turn into a translator specialized in audio visual translations. Before coming here, I was an office manager at one of the publishing houses in Kraków. My interests are non-verbal and intercultural communication, problems and strategies of translating culture-specific content, Scandinavia.”

We in the EVS coordination team and the rest of the IPC Alumni are happy with our volunteers and are looking forward to the rest of the project!


IPC experience in Korea

An interesting, alumni-related event went on in Korea recently. Some alumni of IPC and another folk high school, Krogerup Højskole, created a two week long programme in the folk high school-spirit mixed with a Korean spirit for Koreans who has not attended a folk high school. The event was a success and the participants and organisers would like to do it again sometime.

Maybe this initiative in the future will lead to more events linked to IPC Alumni in Asia and other parts of the world – as a part of expanding the IPC Alumni activities outside Europe.

Hye Sun Chung from South Korea writes about the event here;

“Another good news from S. Korea with a lessening of tension between both Koreas. A folk high school spirit is in the air. A twelve-day program inspired by Danish folk high school has been created and successfully finished their first term on 7, Jan. 6 Koreans(including former IPC students Haegyun, Leo, Min and former Krogerup Hojskole students Seokwon) initiated and organized this program. 20 participants and 2 volunteers were deeply immersed in a variety of programs such as morning fellowship, coffee mix, classes, washing up, cleaning up and of course party! The facilitators basically adopted folk high school theme and structure in the program, however they put a lot of effort to implement it in a Korean way. And it worked! The familiar folk high school magic happened in Korea too. There’re already some people who are waiting for the 2nd term. We still don’t know when the 2nd term begins. Let’s wait and see!”

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