Community Grapevine

Peace Corps extends its commitment to Slovakia

The Peace Corps' Slovakia operation is undergoing significant changes with a new director and a renewed four-year commitment. Bob Blenker is leaving the Corps and his responsibility as country director for Slovakia and Hungary after far outlasting the American volunteer organization's "five year rule" by working abroad with them for more than eight years. He will be replaced by Edward Block, who comes from directing Peace Corps operations in the three Baltic nations, on September 1.

Earlier this year, the Corps signed a contract with the Slovak Ministry of Education renewing its commitment to this country for four years. Blenker said that after a new group of volunteers is sworn in on August 28, there will be 81 Peace Corps volunteers across Slovakia and that number could rise to nearly 90 in the coming years.

Those of you out there interested in attending school abroad, take note of these dates for entrance examinations:

- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The test will be held in Košice and Bratislava on October 26, and the registration deadline is September 9.
- Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), held in Bratislava on October 12. Registration deadline August 30.
- Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), held in Bratislava October 19. Registration deadline August 30.

For more information on how to take the tests - or what to do with the scores - check out one of the offices of the Slovak Academic Information Agency (SAIA). They have books on test-taking tips, study abroad programs, and catalogues for hundreds of universities on paper and CD-Rom. Their offices are: Bratislava - Na vŕšku 8, 07/533-3010 or 3762; Banská Bystrica - Tajovského 51, 088/737-810 or 811; Košice - Hlavná 8, 095/622-9641; Nitra - Samova 5, 087/242-54; Poprad - Nám. sv. Egidia 11, 092/620-15; Žilina - Predmestská 1, 089/635-860.

Remember a few months ago we mentioned that UNICEF was starting up a children's hotline? Two months into practice, with minimal advertising, the line is now averaging 300 calls a day, mostly from kids between the ages of 15 and 18. Great job for an obviously needed service.

One of Great Britain's leading youth orchestras, the Essex Youth Orchestra, will kick off their ten-day European tour with a concert in Bratislava on Friday, August 26, at 19:00 in the Concert Hall of the Slovak Radio building at Mýtna 1. The 72 musicians, all under the age of 22, will be playing pieces from Rossini's Barber of Seville, as well as Dvořák, Korngold, and Berstein. Tickets will be sold at the door, or pick them up in advance from the Istroart Agency.

As promised, here is more information on activities planned by the Slovak Bahai group in Bratislava: they are organizing a pop-rock concert by Canadian guitarist and songwriter Farzin on Sunday, August 25. The concert will be held at Dom Kultúry Ružinov, Ružinovská 28, Malá sala; tickets cost 20 Sk each. Throughout the following weeks, the group will present documents from the Bahai International Community to mayors of each district of Bratislava, and will hold a series of lectures, also in the Dom Kultúry Ružinov, in room 217. For more information, contact the Bratislava Bahai Center at 07/531-8191.

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