Servas Open Doors
||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (July 2012)|
|Type||Non-profit, Interest group|
|Founded||July 1949 by Bob Luitweiler in Askov, Denmark|
|Key people||President: Jonny Sågänger (Sweden); Vice President: Ann Greenhough (Britain); General Secretary: Jaime Alberto Romero (Colombia); Peace Secretary: Danielle Serres (France); Treasurer: Mirek Wasiliewski (Poland); Hostlist Coordinator: Arnoud Philippo (Netherlands)|
|Service(s)||hospitality among members, some meetings|
|Method(s)||Peace, Travel, Friendship, Human rights|
|Motto||Open Doors for Peace and Friendship|
File Servas International is an international, non-governmental, interracial hospitality association present in 128 countries and run mostly by volunteers. Founded in 1949 by Bob Luitweiler and his friends as a peace movement, Servas International is a non-profit, worldwide, cooperative, cultural exchange network bringing people together to build understanding, tolerance, mutual-respect, and world peace. Servas International promotes world-peace by encouraging individual person-to-person contacts.
Servas means "to serve", in the sense of "serve peace", in the language Esperanto. The organization was originally called Peacebuilders.
It operates through a network of hosts around the world who are interested in opening their doors to travelers, and through open-minded travelers who want to know the countries they visit from within. Travelers and hosts are usually interviewed when they apply to join the organization according to branch (member country) practice; travelers write a self-introduction on a special form valid one year, that is shown to hosts upon arrival.
Servas International has consultative status as a non-governmental organization with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, currently with representation at many of the UN's hubs of activity.
There are over 16,000 Servas 'open doors' scattered throughout almost every country in the world. Because having a conservative basis, Servas has not grown as most similar hospitality organizations born recently. 30 year ago, Servas had 8,000 members worldwide; it has just followed the general increase of population in each country. There are not official general statistics, but in Italy in 2007 the average age of members was 52 years old with a slight predominance of females.
- 1 Activities
- 2 Contribution policy
- 3 Officially Registered Servas countries
- 4 Servas International organisation
- 5 Servas International Exco Elected in General Assembly in Piaski, Poland, 2012
- 6 Servas international conferences
- 7 First Servas international Conference
- 8 Criteria for deciding where the Servas International conference is to be held
- 9 Events
- 10 Servas Youth Meetings
- 11 Servas countries
- 12 Notes
- 13 External links
Servas activities may vary depending on the country, but they mostly consist in hosting and traveling (or both). Unlike many other hospitality exchange networks, Servas requires that potential members be interviewed and approved.
Decisions on activities (like meetings, election of representatives, fees required) are taken within local, national or international assemblies or from an elected group of members. The 2006 General Assembly established a set of Financial Policies since updated, which provide the basis of annual audits, and which include procedures for preparing and reporting on expenditures, officer reports, and revenues through fees.
Why costs? All SERVAS employees work voluntarily. Nevertheless, there are still costs that need to be covered, e.g. printing of host lists, phone calls, postage, office material, etc. Furthermore, a part of the income is sent on to SERVAS International, in order to foster international contacts and to support the SERVAS representations that are in the process of being planned.
The individual fee (decided by the national committee) is AR$500 ($90) per year for new International Travelers and AR$250 (45) for travelers having more than a year as a host or Day host in the organization. Host lists have an also a cost of AR40 for each one ($8) non refundable.
Host and national travelers within the county are not subject to fees.
Traveler fee for one year is AU$ 100. There is no host membership fee. See the website of Servas Australia for specific information
Traveler fee for one year is DKR 130. There is no host membership fee. See the website of Servas Denmark for specific information
Traveler fee for one year is Reais 100 ($50) There is no host membership fee. See the website of Servas Brazil for specific information
Traveler fee for one year is 25 to 35 Paunds ($34 to $48) Host membership fee in 12 Pounds ($18). There is s special Youth traveler fee in which cost 10 Pounds ($14). See the website of Servas Britain for specific information
Traveler fee for one year is EUR 20 ($26) Host membership fee is EUR 10 ($13). See the website of Servas Germany for specific information
Traveler fee for one year is 600 Indian Rupee ($11). There is no host membership fee. See the website of Servas India for specific information
Traveler fee for the first year is MX$ 300 ($24) and MX$ 100 ($8)for the following years. Host membership fee in MX$ 350 ($28). See the website of Servas Mexico for specific information
Traveler fee for one year is CR$ 200 ($38 to $53) There is no host membership fee. See the website of Servas Norway for specific information
Traveler fee for one year is 1500 rubles ($50). There is no membership fee
Traveler fee for one year is EUR 18 ($23). Host membership fee is EUR 13 ($17). See the website of Servas Spain for specific information
Traveler fee for one year is CR$ 400 ($60) but hosts pays CR$ 300 ($45). Host membership fee in CR$ 100 ($15). See the website of Servas Sweden for specific information
The annual fee of CHF 30 ($32) per host family includes documents to travel for all members of the host family. Lists are given out upon request only. They are valid for 1 year from the date of delivery. For the lists, a deposit of Fr. 100.-- needs to be paid. Non Servas Hosts travelling up to 12 months should pay a contribution of CHF 80 per person + CHF 100 as a refundable deposit for the Host Lists. See the website of Servas Switzerland for specific information
Traveler fee for one year is about $20 A membership fee ($33) is required only for new members, there is no annual fee.
Servas United States
The most common activity in the U.S. branch is the Domestic and the International Travel. The individual fee (decided by the national committee) is for the Domestic Travellers $50 per year (or $25 for college students), and $85 per year for International Travelers. Within the travellers yearly membership, there is no limit to the number of trips even in different countries one can make. Members schedule their own trips and pay for their own travel expenses.
Host are not subject to fees, a $40 donation is only suggested (see official site  for more programs information).
Officially Registered Servas countries
- Servas Italy
- Servas Germany
- Servas Netherlands
- Servas Poland
- Servas Switzerland
- Servas USA
- Servas France
- Servas Spain
- Servas Sri Lanka
- Servas Hungary
- Servas Canada
Servas International organisation
SERVAS MEMBERS from Member countries are represented by their respective National Committees at SI General Assembly
- General Assembly
- Servas Branches
- Executive Committee (President, General Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, Peace Secretary, Host List Coordinator)
- Officers reporting to EXCO:
- Newsletter Editor
- Committees reporting to EXCO:
- Development Fund committee
- Statutes and Job Description committee
- Area coordinators
- Youth Committee
- Conflict Resolution Committee
- Committees reporting to General Assembly:
- Audit Committee
- Information Communication Team
- Nomination Committee
- Officers reporting to EXCO:
Servas International Exco Elected in General Assembly in Piaski, Poland, 2012
President: Jonny Sågänger from Sweden
Vice President: Ann Greenhough from Britain
General Secretary: Jaime Alberto Romero from Colombia
Peace Secretary: Danielle Serres from France
Treasurer: Mirek Wasilewski from Poland
Hostlist Coordinator: Arnoud Philippo from Netherlands
Servas international conferences
First Servas international Conference
- Seeds of servas, Bob Luitweiler
First Peace Builders International Conference, Hamburg, Germany Out of which came the name "Servas" (1952) (L to R) Folke Hertling, Germany, Chris Smith, UK; Nana Fundar, Denmark, Claus Weiss, Germany, Leticia Grove, Bob Luitweiler, USA, Dagny Ingvorsen, Esma Boroughs, UK, Connie Jones, UK, August Budinski, Helmut Hertling, Germany, Krisun Ingvorsen, Denmark
Should I continue my planned trip through South East Asia, the Philippines and Japan or retrace my steps back to Europe? I canceled my plans to continue around the world and took the next ship back to Europe. The first International Servas gathering met at Claus Weiss' and the Hertling's house near Hamburg. Gertraud Hertling who had sowed the first seed for our program was not there but her father took us in like his family. Only England, Denmark and Germany were officially represented. Besides agreeing on some basic procedures, we settled on a name for our program. Esther liked "Open Doors." I liked "Peace Builders" but did not like using an English title. Esma Boroughs, the first International Setvas Secretaty, chose "Servas" that is Esperanto for "serve," in the present tense. We all agreed. The thought was that people who traveled would learn from their hosts how they could more effectively serve in their home communities to develop programs and human relations that were free of the seeds of war. At no time did anyone suggest that choosing Servas meant we would abandon our original purpose of peace building. The story that choosing the name Servas meant we wanted to alter the aim of our program is wrong. We just wanted a name that was more international then Peace Builders which was exclusively English. By the time I returned from India, Claus Weiss with fellow students Joachim Wessloh and Gertraud's brother Volker had established a German working committee and had already gathered around 40 hospitality addresses. Joop van der Spek was leading the program in the Netherlands. Nana Funder who had an outstanding preschool in Denmark and had been a Servas traveler in the US along with Kristen Ingvorsen a manufacturer of roofing tiles, ran Servas in Denmark for many years.In those early years the leadership of Servas in most countries changed frequently.
Criteria for deciding where the Servas International conference is to be held
The 2001 GA in Thailand adopted a set of criteria for deciding where the Servas International conference will be held. The criteria are:
- 1973 UN placed Servas International on its roster
- 1972 Statutes were drawn up and accepted by 13 Servas branch countries, Wetzlar
Servas Youth Meetings
- August, 2012, Tylicz (near Krynica-Zdrój), Poland
- July, 2011, Kampala, Uganda
- July, 2011 Hvalsø (near Roskilde), Denmark
- October, 2010 Bahia, Brazil
- March–April, 2010 Xochicalco, Mexico
- July, 2008 Istanbul, Turkey
- July, 2007 Yorkshire, England
- July, 2006 San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
Servas International is a federation. Each country has its own rules and structure. Diversity is quite complex. Each National Servas country can have its own website, usually reachable from the main international site.
The Servas member-countries who have a website:
- "Servas Workings." Accessed August 2011.
- Servas International countries list
- Servas International Statutes in Current Use
- SI HandBook
- SI Newsletters
- Information regarding SI Committees
- Volunteers Information
- The Seeds of Servas - A personal recollection of the earliests days of Servas by Bob Luitweiler. Editor Richard Piro - San Francisco - 1999
- sets forth postings specifically concerning the governance, finances, the SI Executive Committee, and generally compliance with national laws, membership initiatives, and best practices in non-profit organizations