President David opened the meeting at 12:30 pm, led in pledge of allegiance to our flag and introduced Jim Freeman to present the Words of Inspiration.  Each fifth Wednesday of the month the Inspiration covers Rotary history.
 
Jim Freeman described a time in the late 1800’s when the Army Core of Engineers named “Twining Lake” in honor of Major William Johnson Twining (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), Washington DC's first Engineer Commissioner. According to testimony given to a Congressional subcommittee in 1917, it was Major Twining's idea to create a tidal reservoir and use that water to help "flush" the Washington Channel, and the design was carried out by Colonel Hains.  The Tidal Basin which exists today was not laid out until after World War II. It was built in 1949.  The Japanese gave cherry trees to the U.S. in 1912 which were eventually diseased and subsequently destroyed.  3,020 trees were then planted again.  After the atrocity at Pearl Harbor, the trees were renamed “oriental” trees.  Mikimoto designed the crown for the Queen at the Cherry Blossom festival. Incidentally it was so heavy that she wore it briefly and took it off.  In 1990/1991, then President of the DC Rotary Club introduced the RI president to former President George H.W. Bush. The theme that year was Save Planet Earth.   At that time our club started donating funds to the Park Service to plant new trees.  In conclusion, it is evident that true Rotary transcends the sovereignty of nations.
 
Secretary Mike Carmichael welcomed visiting Rotarians and guests.
 
Visitor Information
 
 
Invited By
Kelvin Garvane
Rotary Club of Westchester
Visiting Rotarian
 
Sheryl Shavyhensy
Fairfield, Connecticut
Visiting Rotarian
 
Dr. Yohannes Abate
Campus Dean, Strayer University
Guest
Ken Brown
Edmund Breitling
Campus Director, Strayer University
Guest
Ken Brown
Awad Moraan
Financial Advisor, Ameriprice
Guest
Lisa McCurly
Andrew Buws
VP, Dakota Guardian Trust
Guest
Chris Teras
Christopher Kikus
CEO, King Connections
Guest
Sam Hancock
Sharla Thomas
Massage Therapist, Equinox
Guest
Abraham Halel
Chris Thompson
CEO, Brand USA
Guest
Abraham Halel
Dana Frix
Managing Partner, Chadbourne & Parker
Guest
Scott Love
Will Bolhen
VP, Podesta Group
Guest
Dr. Erminia Scarcella
Corrado Cantatone
Dice International Security, Inc.
Guest
Dr. Erminia Scarcella
Margarita Rosenfeld
Incite International
Guest
Kathy Bailex
Matthews Kevin
Johns Hopkins University
Guest
David Klaus
 
Sergeant-at-Arms, Ken Kimbrough recognized Rotarians celebrating birthdays this week and also those with club anniversaries.
 
Donnie Shaw—Sept 27   Career Fair Chair and Board Member, Donnie Joined our club in 2003, sponsored by Max Salas. His classification is Youth Services: YMCA.
 
Susan O’Neil—Sept 28 Our member "in absentia" Susan supports our club from afar in Scottsdale and Aspen, CO. Susan joined our club in 2000, sponsored by David Hamod. Her classification is International Development: Philanthropy
 
Lynn HolacSept 30th Happy Birthday TODAY, Lynn! Our Community Service Grant Chair and Board member Lynn was sponsored by May Gwinn O'Brien when she joined our club in 2007. Her classification is Consultant: International Trade Litigation.
 
Marjanne Ann Scott, Oct 2nd Embassy Relations Co-Chair, Marjorie joined our club in 2007, sponsored by Phill Bradbury. Her classification is Volunteer.
 
Howard Davis is celebrating his 15 year anniversary of joining Rotary this month. Congratulations, Howard!
 
Octavian Ionici is celebrating his 10 year anniversary in the club this month. Congratulations, Octavian!
 
Announcements
 
Akiko Murai talked about the Rule of 35.  She is a former DC club Rotarian, but subsequently moved to Seoul, Korea and is now a Rotarian there.  Interestingly, they are the only English speaking club in Seoul.  Abe Helal presented the idea of the Rule of 35 and it has been wildly successful in Seoul.
 
President David introduced several committee chairs and made quick appeals to members to support the work of each.
  • David Klaus, Rotary Foundation
  • Tony Cusack, Rotary International Fund
  • Lisa McCurdy, Duck Derby
  • Abe Helal, Membership Chair
Past President Jennifer fondly described the Italy trip that she and other Rotarians recently participated in.  She described the guided tour of both the Vatican and the Bank of Italy that they experienced. She specifically thanked Erminia Scarcella and Clara Montanez for the Italy trip arrangements.  The Rotary club in Italy sent back several kind gifts.
 
Sterling Hoffman, who chairs the Membership Retention Subcommittee, kindly invited new Rotarians to join him for coffee after the club meeting (his treat!). 
 
Donnie Shaw described the Roosevelt High School Annual Career Fair.  He showed a great video of the interaction, which he described as “likely having future Rotarians in the audience”.   They will have a brand new building next year.  Interestingly, both Rotarian Doris Margolis and her father attended Roosevelt years ago.
 
President David read aloud a letter from the Salvation Army thanking us for the new van that that they purchased with large support from our club’s $20,000 grant.
 
Alexander Kravetz announced happy hour at the University Club pub at 6:00 pm on October 1st.
 
Program
 
Erminia Scarcella introduced the speaker, Jean-Claude Masangu Mulong, former Governor, Central Bank, Democratic Republic of Congo.   She expressed how impressed she was by his capacity to inspire serenity and seriousness while talking about important and difficult subjects.  She described him as a man of strong moral and ethical principle and one that fights for justice and for human rights.  He has 33 years of financial and economic expertise, having worked as a CEO of Citigroup in the DRC and as governor of the Banque Central Du Congo.  He is also an international speaker who chaired the intergovernmental group (G24) of the IMF and World Bank at the height of the international financial crisis in 2008.  His list of achievements are quite lengthy, including implementation of a successful monetary reform in 1998 that introduced the new currency, the modernization of the banking system and the introduction of new products and services such as ATM’s, bank cards, and mobile banking.  Mr. Masangu Mulong has also written several books, including a “A Contribution to the Congolese Financial System Stabilization” in 2004 and “Why I believe in Africa’s Progress” in 2009.  Most recently, in 2015, he wrote an encyclopedia entitled “A Governor’s Word.”
 
Below is a summary of Jean-Claude’s presentation:
 
Jean-Claude stated that there are 26 rotary clubs in 17 cities in Africa.  Their programs include such priorities as ending polio and the education of children.  The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is in the heart (center) of Africa.  Importantly, it is the 2nd largest country in Africa and equates to a quarter of the size of the U.S.  Fifty percentage of the country is comprised of males and fifty percent is comprised of females.   The median age is 18 years old. 
 
We learned about the DRC transportation network.  15K Kilometers of water waste exist with the DRC, 3K kilometers of paved roads, 2 ports and 1 airport.  The Congo River is 2,9000 miles long. It is the second only after the Nile River and the ninth largest in the world.  Currently, there is a project underway to provide $14B worth of electricity.  He shared that there are two animals which are only found in Congo—one is tall like a giraffe, but with stripes like a zebra and the other resembles a monkey. 
 
The climate in the DRC consists of both a rainy summer season and a dry winter season.  There are 200 tribes and official languages within the DRC.  The predominant religion with the DRC is Roman Catholicism - 50% of the country practices.
 
As it relates to the economy specifically, the GDP is very low—$550.00 per person on average.  However, they have an abundance of natural resources, especially minerals, including gold, silver, etc. They are seeing 9.2% growth which makes them the 2nd fastest growing economy in the world.  Prior to that they experience negative growth due to the excessive fighting.
 
95% of the banking deposits are comprised of foreign money. They absolutely love the dollar!  They have $6.5B in national debt. Prior to that they wrote off $10B upon receiving debt relief in 2010. 5% of their exports go to North American (not the U.S. specifically).  Their primary trading partners are China, the European Union, and other African countries.
 
Q&A
 
Q: Tony Cusack stated that he previously spent time in Zimbabwe.  Considering all the mineral resources, those that own and benefit from the mines, how DRC capitalize on it properly?
A: They try to attract investors and employers. The growth rate is driven by those companies.
 
Q: Heather Jaffan asked a question about the recovery of DRC. And the upward trajectory they have experienced.
A: It changed a lot of things and helped them leap frog. The banking sector was changed because of the technology improvements.  At one time they had less than one million account holders, but after the mobile banking initiative they grew to forty million people with bank accounts.
 
Closing:
 
Raffle: PP Andy Cook won both the large ($1,909) and small pots ($95.00). Congratulations, Andy!
 
President David announced our next program on October 7th will feature a visit from our District Governor, Ken Solow.  He thanked Mary Goldsmith for doing the raffle and meeting in review and Stu Shalloway and Balraj Grupta for staffing the hospitality desk.
 
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 pm