U. S. Servas

promoting world peace one conversation at a time…

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TEDTalk of a Female Nomad

Long time Servas traveler and author of her memoir, Tales of a Female Nomad, Living at Large in the World, Rita Golden Gelman shares her joy of travel, Servas and stepping outside her comfort zone! Watch her TEDTalk here:



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3 Generations of Servas Members

Maureen Mortenson

We just received (and LOVE!) this photo of 3 generations of Servas members! Servas interviewer, host, and traveler, Maureen Mortenson, shared her photo with us and we’re excited to share it with you. Pictured is Maureen’s daughter Gabrielle Burns, Maureen Mortenson, her mother Rita Mortenson and her older sister Rita Graybill.

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Peace Project Updates

We’ve been lucky to volunteer at some wonderful events so far this year.

For our January Peace Project we gathered together to celebrate and honor Martin Luther King Jr’s impact on civil rights, social justice and peace by volunteering at the MLK Day Bowl of Beans Benefit. This event was sponsored by Arcata Recreation, Arcata Elementary School and News Channel 3. Proceeds benefited Arts in the Afternoon and Arcata Elementary School (near our office in Northern California.) Our volunteers helped prepare a meal of rice, beans, cornbread and salad and helped assist children color and put together an MLK mural.

MLK mural


Our February Peace Project involved participating in a very important, global event on February 14th. One Billion Rising is a world wide initiative to stop violence against women. Our staff joined together with many community members and friends to rise up and dance to harness our power and imagination to rise for justice. Together we made a statement that we will not tolerate violence against women and children in our community and around the world.

feb 2014 peace project


In March we were excited to volunteer at a fund raiser that brought in $61,000 for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)! CASA speaks for children in the foster care system in court because all children have a right to live in a safe, healthy and secure environment. CASA’s Big Night Dinner and Auction is one of their biggest fundraisers and we got to help! Our Peace Project Volunteers enjoyed helping usher and keep the auction running smoothly.

march peace project


Stay tuned for updates on future Peace Projects and feel free to contact us with any ideas for projects or to share peace initiatives you’ve participated in!

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2014 Servas Youth Meeting Kyrgyzstan: save the date!

We hope you will consider attending the upcoming Youth Conference in Kyrgyztan and encourage other youth in your area to attend as well! This will be an exciting event spanning 5 days during the last week in July.

More details to follow regarding registration process, funding possibilities, conditions and program as soon as we confirm the venue. Till then – please, save the date, be patient and stay tuned @ http://servas.pl/Kyrgyzstan/


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NewGround Gathering

On a warmish sunny Sunday afternoon Nov. 17th Servas Los Angeles gathered at the home of host Linda Mansouri in Valinda, California.  Linda’s home is a tribute to her numerous trips abroad.  She has collected tribal and ethnic textiles, clothing and articles from all over the globe and displayed them beautifully throughout her home.  It made it the perfect atmosphere to have a Servas meeting.

People came from all over Southern California—from as far south as San Diego and north to the Simi Valley.  We had 38 people who came to partake of a delicious pot luck lunch and listen to two wonderful speakers.  Our Friendship Force friends Sharon Lavenberg and Sharon Levy joined us too.  Many of us ate outside in the yard but, squeezed comfortably into Linda’s living room for the program.

Our speakers, Fares Alhassen and Ben Gertner, are alumni from NewGround.  NewGround began in 2006 as a response to the climate of tension and mistrust between Jews and Muslims in Los Angeles.  But more importantly, NewGround was founded to create a national model for healthy relations, productive engagement and social change between American Muslims and Jews.

To transform the landscape, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and  Progressive Jewish Alliance joined forces to create a fellowship for emerging Muslim and Jewish leaders to change the tone of the conversation.  Today, NewGround is an independent group fiscally sponsored by Community Partners and housed at the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission.

Fares and Ben shared their personal stories and what it has meant to part of NewGround.  They are both fathers now and this will be undoubtedly be passed onto the next generation.  You are invite you look at their web site http://www.muslimjewishnewground.org/