Mission Statement: AWISHhellas is a nonprofit organization registered in Greece and in the United States (Washington State) for educational and charitable purposes. AWISH's objective is to promote understanding and education concerning matters relating to community sustainable development. The Corporation’s activities include:
- Develop model programs, applied research, seminars, workshops and activities which demonstrate sustainable community development that promote a community’s social, economic and environmental well being, including activities that promote: Individual and community wellbeing; Community social-interaction and self-determination; Community service; Environmental justice; Environmental education; Community energy sustainability and recycling; Cultural and architectural resources protection; and Creative artistic expression.
- Facilitate communication among public government agencies and other non-government organizations that develop and promote environmentally sustainable communities which can be replicated by other communities.
- Develop studies, projects and programs that foster sustainable economies in agriculture, natural resources, and tourist economies which can be integrated within environmentally sustainable community development models.
- Provide technical assistance to facilitate the development of environmentally sustainable housing, agricultural, economic development, and community development projects. Such assistance will include aid in project design, strategic planning, program financing, social and environmental justice, and environmental impact assessments related to such models.
- Serve as a resource of information and written material on matters as they relate to environmentally sustainable community development and individual and community wellness and wellbeing, and serve as a vehicle through which member organizations share relevant information.
- Engage in public education activities designed to better inform the local, domestic and international community on matters relating to development of environmentally sustainable communities.
- Develop and promote models of sustainable community development that integrate environmental education, social and economic development, and individual physical, mental and spiritual health and wellbeing.
- Promote education and knowledge that advances awareness about sustainable development best practices through seminars, workshops, and collaborations with government, non-government organizations, and private businesses.
- Promote programs through academic training, field studies and applied research projects and student internship programs that engage students in sustainable development education. Collaborate with domestic and international institutions of higher education to accomplish this objective.
AWISHhellas is a nonprofit educational corporation (NGO) registered in Greece and in the United States (Washington State) organized to promote understanding and education in community sustainable development. AWISHhellas administers a U.S. sponsored university program on Kefalonia,emphasizing applied research in sustainable development practices. AWISHhellas’ objective is to promote understanding and education in community sustainable development.The NGO’s activities include the development of model programs, applied research, seminars, academic programs and university partnerships, workshops and activities which demonstrate sustainable community development to promote a community’s social, economic and environmental well being.
Programs and Activities
EUROMED Sustainable Community Connections: The project, funded under the Anna Lindh Foundation, establishes the network of organization for long term Euro-Med network partnerships for the benefit of marginalized local rural communities in our project local communities of Jordan, Palestine, Greece, Tunisia, and Italy by conceiving, developing, and implementing culturally appropriate and economically viable forms of sustainable community development. The project partners are non profit organizations from each of the participating communities and include AWISHhellas (Greece, lead organization), APNEK (Tunisia), LHAP (Jordan), PHG (Palestine), Me.Dia.Te (Italy) and SD-MED (Greece). Institutional supporters to the project include the United Nations University (Amman) and The Hellenic American University (Athens). The project results in a new Thematic Regional Network to guide the development of sustainability benchmark criteria that are appropriate to the region of local Mediterranean rural communities. The criteria guide the development of economic venture projects that: 1) advance economic, environmental, and social equity in communities, 2) reflect the common values, traditions, needs, and expectations of local communities, and 3) promote the interests of marginalized peoples, especially advancing the role of woman, youth, and minorities in rural community development.
Kefalonia Academic Program in Sustainable Community Development: AWISHhellas operates an academic university program,a well-integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to field studies designed for upper division undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of sustainable design and urban planning, environmental studies, landscape design and architecture, natural resources management, community development, social anthropology, and sustainable economic development. The program emphasis is on applied studies, and students work locally to create sustainable redevelopment plans for the reconstruction of Farsa Village, which fell during the 1953 island earthquake. Developed during long-term Venetian occupation, remnants of Blue Village's glorious past remain and include masterful ochre and blue plastered walls of pedestrian village structures. Students work on the reconstruction of this once sustainable community by contributing to redevelopment plans which apply best management practices and energy systems while preserving the historic design and customary uses of the historic community. Surrounded by an economic base of oil orchards, which will once again help sustain its rebirth, Blue Village, along with other island offerings, makes Kefalonia the perfect location for the study of sustainable community development.
AWISHhellas Professional Services: AWISHhellas provides technical assistance, sustainability training, and strategic planning services to public service clients. AWISHhellas, through its affiliatation with AWISH International, assists corporations, government, and nonprofit organizations in transitioning to a sustainable future by working within their comfort zones and exciting the expertise dormant in each organization in helping to create momentum that capitalizes on a new paradigm and vision of possibilities for sustainable futures. AWISHhellas provides Design Charrette technical services to local and regional communities. An international, interdisciplinary professional team evaluates sustainable community development potential in several host communities in Greece. Each Charrette is hosted by a local community. The emphasis of the investigation is to identify strategies towards sustainable community development for the case study communities, with emphasis in green building practices, energy self sufficiency, smart growth, urban containment, regional design, environmental resource management, sustainable economic development, and historically and culturally appropriate urban design.
Youth Exchange Programs: Funded under an EU grant, AWISHhellas operated the “Heritage and Environmental Protection” project as attracting youth from Slovenia, Spain, the Czech Republic and Greece. Students lived and worked in the Village of Farsa during their 10 day stay in Kefalonia, and provided volunteer assistance to the local community.
Recycling Education: A recycling education program was initiated in July 2007. AWISHhellas recycling program activities promote education in environmental recycling in Kefalonia.The project distributed literature on recycling, coordinated with local governments on the development of a community recycling project in Kefalonia, developed educational curriculum on recycling in the public schools, distributed cotton bags to area food stores to replace the reliance on plastic bags, and curated an art exhibition on plastic garbage held in May 2008 at Kefalos Theatre, Argostoli.
Mediterranean Clean Water Project: AWISHhellas sponsors summer environmental education workshops in Kefalonia and Ithaca, Greece. The seminars target educators throughout Greece and explore current topics in environmental education and sustainable development. Seminars are co-sponsored by Huxley College of the Environment; our faculty is comprised of educators from Greek and American universities.
Environmental Education in public Schools: Under a grant through the Greek Ministry of Labor, AWISHhellas launched a recycling education program on the Island of Kefalonia in 2007.The program involved the promotion of knowledge about recycling and educational curriculum suitable to elementary school programs. Educational programs involving elementary school age students focused on problems of landfills and ways to promote composting and recycling of waste.
Environmental Education Summer University Seminars: AWISHhellas sponsors summer environmental education workshops in Kefalonia and Ithaca, Greece. The seminars target educators throughout Greece and explore current topics in environmental education and sustainable development. Seminars are co-sponsored by Huxley College of the Environment; our faculty is comprised of educators from Greek and American universities.
Links to Additional Information
A W.I.S.H. Hellas, Greece web site: www.awish-hellas.org
Nikos Zaferatos, President and CEO
Cynthia Zaferatos, Treasurer
Michael Karp, Secretary
Nikos Zaferatos, President and CEO
1301 Taylor Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225 USA