At 12:30, President Shaun called the meeting to order. He asked for phone ringer silence, which was observed, except for the speaker’s phone later in the meeting.  (We forgave him, imagining national security implications.) American members pledged allegiance to the flag.
 
Ed O’Brien gave a reading from the book “Justice” by Michael J. Sandel, an essay on the nature of lying and the need to preserve the integrity of the truth.  Immanuel Kant is unbending on this, we learned.  The excerpt actually included practical advice on truthfully diverting hostile or easily wounded questioners, which made the crowd chuckle.   Examples:  “I have never seen a tie like this before!”  Or, if a fugitive is in your attic, “I believe I saw him in town not long ago.”

Secretary Tim Hurd introduced the guests of Rotarians:  

  • Gary Urra, Executive Director of CAFRED, was the guest of Jennifer Hara.
  • Millree Williams, owner of Millree Communications, the guest of Abe Helal, is a prospective member.

Visiting Rotarians from Overseas hailed from many continents:

  • Professor Jose Estrada teaches at the University of Montevideo and is a member of the Maldonado Club.
  • Sachint Lal is a surgeon from Penrith, Australia, and a member of the Penrith Valley club.
  • Benny George is president of Success Unlimited in Cochin, India and a member of Cochin West Rotary Club, whose banner he presented to President Shaun.
  • Carsten Jensen is a veterinarian and a member of the Vandrup Rotary Club in Denmark.
  • A Visiting Rotarian from the US was Scott Lekman, a surgeon and past president of the Salt Lake City Rotary Club.

Sergeant at Arms David Treadwell announced the birthdays:  

  • Gladys Antezana, Oct. 6. Gladys joined our club in 2006, sponsored by Mary Ann Blackwell. Her classification is Development: Construction.
  • Bill Busker , Oct. 7.  New member Bill was sponsored by Sam Hancock when he joined our club in August. His classification is Consulting:  Fundraising & Legal.
  • Glen O'Gilvie, Oct. 12.  Glen was present to receive felicitations. He joined our club in 2012, sponsored by Alexander Kravetz. His classification is Association: Nonprofit Organization Management.
  • Marlene Thorn, Oct. 12. Marlene was sponsored by Dick Pyle when she joined in 2004. Her classification is International Development: Human Resource Advisor.

Deraux Branch gave a new member talk, though he pointed out he was in fact a 12-year Rotarian in Syracuse NY, where he returns home on weekends.  His wife is at Syracuse University, and he hopes that she will be able to move to the DC before too long, given the 5-1/2 hour commute. In addition to his career as a banker, he has numerous responsibilities in government, education and charity.  He put in a plug for Breast Cancer Awareness, and suggested we look at the items linked to that cause available at NFL.com. Several members of the Branch family have played for the Oakland Raiders.

In announcements, Andy Cook reported that the DC Kiwanis Club is ready to challenge our members to a golf tournament, which may take place the first week of November. He asked for volunteers for the Community Services Grants committee, which will distribute more than $100 thousand this year to local organizations.  Peter Sawyer is the chair.

Jennifer Hara asked for help in the process of reviewing applications for the Rotary Scholarships.   Volunteers are needed for the Grate Patrol October 15 and 19. Member and Journalist Andrea Ghiaroni will serve as chair of the Public Relations Committee, and he also came to the podium to receive his blue badge.

Erminia Scarcella introduced our speaker, Italian Captain Corrado Cantatore, founder and president of DICE International Security Services which specializes in the world’s most politically unstable and unpredictable regions. DICE advises leaders through such services as intelligence reports, new market entry analysis and trend forecasts. Captain Cantatore gained wide-ranging expertise in foreign policy and intelligence as he worked within Italy’s government and military. Erminia described his impressive achievements and heroic military service. Delayed by a terrible traffic accident before the meeting, they were not able to set up the computer part of the presentation.

Captain Cantatore’s focus was the Arab Spring, a vital concern of Italy, the US, and all the 26 members of expanded NATO.  He compares its long term impact on the region to the French Revolution of 1789.  No country in the Middle East is immune to its implications, though some have suffered more drastic effects than others.  He pointed out that the first real constitution for France did not arrive until decades later in 1848, and predicted that there will be many difficult times ahead – indeed the Arab Spring has progressed to grim winter for many.

He suggests that the discovery of a vast new oilfield will create more tensions and problems.  He described the religious background for the region’s history.  He summarized the issues posed by Iran’s nuclear development and agrees with President Obama that a nuclear weapon is only a year away. Even without the help of a computer display, the picture painted by Captain Cantatore was fairly dark and troubling.

In responding to questions, he expanded his description of Sunni /Shiite conflict and endorsed the findings of an investigatory commission into the 2005 death of an Italian officer in the rescue of a journalist -- his commander, it turns out.

President Shaun presented the tree certificate, and Joan Bristol appeared with the raffle container.  The $22 pot was won by Bob Watson, a large pot winner last year.  He drew for the $162 large pot but the 6 of hearts signified no repeat of last year’s luck.   

The Hospitality table was staffed by Stu Shalloway, Ted Hamady and Balraj Gupta.  The greeters were Howard Davis, Walter Seichrest, and new member Mike Robinson.  The meeting was adjourned.