On April 25, 2017, a group of German politicians, business and media representatives visited the Artek International Children’s Center, and confirmed an unprecedented international level of natural environment, infrastructure and practices of working with children.
“I have been in politics for a long time; I've been to many countries and I've seen how various programs (for children) are organized, but I have never seen what I was shown in Artek,” CDU member Willy Wimmer said. Mr. Wimmer described Artek as “extraordinary” and underlined its importance for the development of children around the world: “I was delighted that the camp is actually an educational project, and greatly impressed by the school. I also see how much is being invested in sports and in child development in general. I am very glad that children from all over the world have the opportunity to stay at this camp.”
Andreas Maurer, member of the Left faction from the Osnabrück region, agreed that what he saw in Artek exceeded all expectations: “We had thought that everything would be fine, but we expected nothing like this,” Mr. Maurer said. Once back in Germany, the group will present their recommendations to their colleagues about sending children to Artek: “We will recommend it, it's simply a gem that you have here.”
Mr. Mauer noted that German children currently staying at Artek praised their experience with great enthusiasm in private conversations: “We could speak openly with children from Germany in German and ask them sensitive questions, and the children answered that it was all great.”
All members of the group without exception noted the high humanitarian culture of Artek: “In Europe we talk a lot about the need to be friends and live together. But you have actually shown how you can live in friendship and love,” Mr. Wimmer said.
The guests especially emphasized the absence of any segregation by country in Artek, which is a special factor making the place attractive for children from abroad. According to Mr. Wimmer, “In Artek, children from different countries learn and play together, and participate in events... foreign children here are accepted cordially by the children from Russia.”
Artek Director Alexei Kasprzhak confirmed that the children's open dialogue is a feature of Artek as a world center for children's diplomacy: “Yesterday, on the closing night of the session, Sergei Krikalyov, the world record holder for time in space, said that our Earth looks different from up there only because of one thing: you can see no borders from outer space. Likewise, there are no borders in Artek. In this sense, we are close to the universe and close to the future.”
Artek is open to foreign delegations, Mr. Kasprzhak pointed out, adding that the children's center is preparing to receive a group of foreign journalists this summer.
The visitors from Germany came to Crimea and Artek as part of the people's diplomacy program of the Russian National Charity Foundation.