Peace pres­i­dent vis­its Blen­heim

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - MIKEWATSON

Meet­ing strangers and shar­ing ex­pe­ri­ences is sec­ond na­ture for Jonny Sa­ganger, the Swedish­based pres­i­dent of global peace fel­low­ship or­gan­i­sa­tion, Ser­vas In­ter­na­tional.

Jonny meets a wide range of peo­ple from dif­fer­ent back­grounds as part of his job work­ing as a busi­ness jour­nal­ist in Stock­holm.

In his free time he helps ad­min­is­ter Ser­vas In­ter­na­tional in his role as cur­rent world pres­i­dent.

With his wife Kristina, Jonny was in New Zealand dur­ing Oc­to­ber at­tend­ing the Ser­vas in­ter­na­tional tri­en­nial congress held in Mata­mata.

Ser­vas In­ter­na­tional was foundered in 1949 as a vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tion to pro­mote peace in the world through hos­pi­tal­ity among friends and strangers and pro­mot­ing per­son-to-per­son con­tact.

The per­son-to-per­son con­tact is helped by mem­bers of­fer­ing their homes for other mem­bers to stay in for up two nights.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion was recog­nised by the United Na­tions in 1972.

It was for this rea­son the Swedish cou­ple found them­selves in Blen­heim ac­cept­ing the hos­pi­tal­ity of Phillip and Sue Bin­nie, who are also Ser­vas mem­bers, and be­ing ini­ti­ated into a na­tional pas­time of watch­ing the All Blacks.

The former hu­man rights ad­vo­cate was at­tracted by Ser­vas’ aim to pro­mote peace, he says.

‘‘I had been a jour­nal­ist since I was 17 start­ing as a sports reporter, be­fore mov­ing on to re­port on hu­man rights is­sues.’’

He now wrote on eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal as­pects in the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal’s and med­i­cal de­vices for read­ers work­ing in the industry, he says.

Jonny and Kristina were among 180 Ser­vas In­ter­na­tional mem­bers at­tend­ing the con­fer- ence in Mata­mata-the first time New Zealand had hosted the or­gan­i­sa­tion, he says.

Fol­low­ing the con­fer­ence the cou­ple vis­ited Ser­vas mem­bers in New Zealand, in­clud­ing Phillip and Sue Bin­nie.The Marl­bor­ough wine­mak­ers have been Ser­vas mem­bers since the 1980’s.

PHOTO: MIKE WAT­SON/FAIR­FAX NZ

Ser­vas In­ter­na­tional pres­i­dent Jonny Sa­ganger, third from left with wife Kristina, stayed with Marl­bor­ough Ser­vas mem­bers Phillip, left, and Sue Bin­nie, far right, fol­low­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tions in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence held in Mata­mata.

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