In 2016, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets visited the Artek International Children's Center and left a ceramic plaque to mark her stay there. Since then, an entire Wall of Friendship listing children from all Artek camps has emerged along the Artek waterfront. During the latest session, children from 60 countries created a multi-color panel with the symbols of their states on this wall, thanking Artek for the happy days they spent there.
A motley array of state flags decorates a retaining wall right opposite Suuk-Su Palace, which is highly popular with all children staying at Artek. Participants in the Our Home is Earth international festival, which is held during this session and sponsored by the International Camp Fellowship and the Artek Support Foundation, presented the center with a new art object. From now on, Artek will forever preserve the fond memories of children from various countries who have created the most international panel here.
“Just imagine: Artek hosts children from countries accounting for 25 percent of the world’s population. Today, this is evidenced by multi-color and multi-style ethnic clothing that the children have brought to Artek. We want children all over the world to know that Artek is a unique chance to make friends with people from all continents, and its expanses are always open to children from all countries,” said Executive Director of the Artek Support Foundation Andrei Makarov.
He attached a plaque with the name of the Our Home is Earth festival that brings together children from dozens of countries in the wall’s central section. After that, people started putting up heart-shaped flags, manufactured at the camp’s ceramic workshop, around the plaque. “To my mind, the shape of the flags has a profound meaning because each of us leaves a piece of his or her heart in Artek,” Christina Witke from Sweden noted. “Children from various countries meet here, and they learn more about each other. I personally was amazed with the traditional evening chant. People staying in Swedish camps simply go to sleep in the evening. But here, we sit in a circle, and we share our impressions of the day’s events and our emotions. This tradition effectively unites us. Today, girls from Korea and China told me that street vendors in Asian countries sell food from carts. There is nothing like this in Sweden. Although these seem like mere trifles, they expand our perception of the world,” she added.
Alexandra Frankhauser from France also noted the unique essence of Artek. “I can see that Artek brings together children from all over the world, and this is simply wonderful. I have never seen anything like this in France. It is an honor for me to represent my country during today’s event. This is why I have donned my national costume, and I am ready to tell other children in Artek, no matter where they come from, about French culture. Other French children and I are now preparing for the National Cultures Fair, due to take place July 30 on Russkaya Polyana (Russian Field). We will perform national French songs and dances, and will prepare a table with some snacks. I hope this will be fun,” she noted.
Nasim Al-Wedyan from Jordan, who studies at the Water Spring cultural center in his home city, also attached his country’s flag to the panel. He likes folk songs, and he listens to Russian-language radio broadcasts. “I felt a bit scared, while going to Artek because my Russian is not very good. But everything turned out just fine, and these were the best 10 days of my life. To be honest, I wish I had learned about Artek a bit earlier because I will soon be 17 years old, and I will be unable to spend another session here. In the future, I will be happy to come here as a volunteer or camp counselor. I want everyone to know that Arab countries are beautiful and very hospitable. I try to make friends with everyone in Artek, and I will invite everyone to visit my country, so that as many people as possible would become convinced of this.”