Hospitality and Exchange Programme

Open Heart – Open Door

Hospitality and Exchange Programme


  1. What is Open Heart Open Door ?

The idea of Open Heart – Open Door was initiated and established in 1995 by  SIE’s then Coordinator of Goodwill and International Understanding Heidrun Konrad.

It is an exchange programme, where Soroptimists across the world find a Soroptimist friend whenever they are travelling to distant shores. In the spirit of Soroptimism the heart is open and so is the door. It is a chance as a Soroptimist to create and strengthen bonds of friendship worldwide!

The Open heart – Open Door programme has five options. The Soroptimist opens her home to sister travellers, offer home hospitality, be only a contact person and guide in the own town, take part in an exchange programme for leisure or on professional level, can exchange homes for short time (holidays) or participate in the youth exchange programme.

What connects two Soroptmists from two different corners of the world is that philosophy, the mission and vision, and the common goals to work for the women and girls in their communities. In a way she gives back to fortifying the philosophy of the Soroptimist Organization. This new travel experience gives a chance for an interface of a new kind.

It is an occasion to learn, observe a new culture, a lifestyle, see issues first hand, enjoy the commonalities and celebrate the differences.

It becomes an opportunity to make the world a little smaller; a little friendlier.

Thanks to the efforts of Heidrun, Lisbeth Hass and Henny Knap-Go this exchange program has proved to be successful. Today Soroptimists from all over the world are involved in this programme.

  1. Why have this initiative /programme


  • One of the pillars of Soroptmism is international goodwill. This forms the basis of Open Heart–Open Door. As an International organization present in 126 countries, this is an important component to forge Friendship beyond Borders – ‘AmitiésSans Frontières’
  • Soroptimist International has accreditation from the United Nations and its Programme Action is designed on the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs), one of which concerns international peace and understanding. What better way than a person to person contact to further these goals? Soroptimists can broaden their range of influence to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, practice tolerance and live together in peace. Firsthand knowledge of each other projects is facilitated and can be a source of inspiration.
  • The SI document of Where We Stand outlines the role for women for sustainable peace – which cannot be achieved without mutual cooperation and cross-country bonding The personal interaction OH–OD affords will go a long way in women easing tensions, building bridges through dailogue. Thus it is vital more than ever before that women use the energy of goodwill in the lives of relationship, individuals, communities, countries and indeed the whole world.
  • As a women’s organization – connectivity of members is very important – Joint projects to further goals of educate to lead. Through an interface promoting collaboration on projects becomes more amenable.


  1. Proposition

At present OH–OD is a project of SIE. 53 countries with 498 participants from all four Federations, but mostly from SIE are participating.

Mother Teresa said ,“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.“ Through Open Heart – Open Door lets start again to belong to the one world family.