July 2020

Take your SCI involvement to the next step!

An excellent opportunity arising for members of SCI Branches and Groups!

By Gośka Tur

International President, Service Civil International

Dear friend,

As a recipient of the Peace Connection newsletter, you are surely a person interested in the topics of peace and reconciliation. You are also probably a volunteer of a Branch or Group of SCI – maybe an activist or a board member, maybe a person involved in some projects, but it is also likely that you would call yourself “an old volunteer”, not so much busy with the current activities of your home organisation. I guess you also share a passion for SCI values and work.

If you nodded your head at least once while skimming through the above paragraph, please read on! I have an excellent opportunity arising for you!

I am inviting you to take your commitment for the peace values to the next level. To start having a global impact and contribute to something big and meaningful. To join a 2-year adventure which will make you develop and grow. Last but not least, to make new friendships and have a lot of fun!

In short: I am inviting you to become a member of the International Executive Committee of SCI – the board of our global movement!

There is limited time to decide, as your deadline for applying to become the candidate for the IEC term of 2021-2022 is 15 September 2020. And of course, it will take you time to decide for yourself: am I fit for this role? What are the benefits and what are the risks? So start thinking now! And to help you in this process, I include a few useful links, and a few personal reflections:

All SCI Branch and Group volunteers can register at our repository of organisation’s knowledge: the Members Area. To learn more about the IEC, have a look at the section dedicated to the IEC, and you can start with the general explanation on the IEC role and way of functioning.

Please also have a look at the Invitation Letter for IEC Nominations that was circulated among the SCI movement in mid-July. You will find all the technical explanation on the procedure there!

Now you know all the theory. But what about the practice? Let me share with you some observations – as a person who is soon to finish my 6th year in the SCI board I have seen and experienced a lot!

First of all, good news: you don’t need to be a superhero to become a board member of our global peace organisation. IEC is always built by “just humans” – from various countries and background, with varying family situations, and in my IEC life I worked with members whose aged ranged from 23 to over 70.

It is also not so much about the knowledge of the international SCI level. You can always catch up, and the more experienced team members can become your tutors and mentors. Of course, previous portfolio and skills are not to be ignored, and it is good to have some management experience at a local level. Still, I have seen many less experienced members learning a lot in a short period – if you have the motivation, you can really learn and achieve so much within just a few months!

Yes, motivation. The magic word in every team! To me, it is the key to success for an IEC member! If you are motivated, you will always find a way to deal with a number of IEC responsibilities that this involvement brings. You will know how to prioritise in life, and how to say “no” to some other opportunities which arise within the period of your IEC term. Some of past board members failed to perform well in the IEC because they always had time for hours of Netflix or social media, additional commitments, new scholarships, starting huge projects in their private lives, or even becoming politicians, but they never had time for SCI, even when it was really needed. And even though being on the SCI board is fun and learning and wonderful, it is also a responsibility, hard work, and a 2-year period (or in my case: 6 years) when you constantly say “no” to some things, because you said “yes” to SCI.

I would say that you need at least 5 hours per week on average to attend to ongoing online IEC discussion. If you have 10 hours per week, you can start developing your own projects within the IEC which improve the overall functioning of SCI. And some of us volunteer 20-30 hours per week, because we chose so. In this way, we can achieve more and we decided we are ready for this contribution to our organisation.

Don’t worry! We don’t expect you to be a superhero and volunteer for SCI almost full time! The key is to be able to realistically assess your life situation and decide on your possible level of commitment. And prioritise SCI commitment in your life over some other temptations.

As a reward, you will receive a unique opportunity to steer the oldest volunteer movement in the world. You will work in an intercontinental team and travel to places you would never dream of. You will feel that thanks to you, SCI spirit is keeping alive and kicking! And that will be your small-big contribution to a more peaceful world.

Feeling inspired and curious? Read the materials to which I directed you above, take some time to think about your situation in 2021 and 2022, and if your heart and mind agree and tell you “yes, this is the right time”, then don’t wait for the final deadline but start preparing your motivation letter already in August!

Good luck with the process!