President David opened the meeting at 12:30 pm, led in a pledge of allegiance to our flag, and introduced John Jackson to present the Words of Inspiration.
 
John told us the story of a meeting in which was asked, “What is the most meaningful gift you’ve ever received?”  Joe Jack Pierce an 84 yr. international racquetball champion, raised his hand to speak. This is what he said…
 
“Several months ago I received a phone call from some boys I coached on a High School Basketball team.  Now in their 70’s they were having a reunion and they called to tell me how much I had meant to them and and that I had helped shaped their lives… That might just have been the nicest gift I have ever received”. That meeting ended with a prayer John Jackson took the opportunity to remind us all to share the gift of thanksgiving and encouragement (as well as to come to Grate Patrol next week!)
 
Secretary Mike Carmichael welcomed visiting Rotarians and guests:
Visitor Information
Invited By:
Milton Clipper
Atlanta Rotary
Visiting Rotarian
 
Ken Ingram
Whiteford, Taylor & Preston
Guest
Mike Carmichael
David Warr
Warr Consulting
Guest
Lisa McCurdy
Jim Reidy
Savills Studley
Guest
Mary Goldsmith
Ronnie Goodall
United States Tennis Association
Guest
Michael Harper
Kevin Mathees
Global Grant Scholar
Guest
Jennifer Hara
 
Sergeant-at-Arms Ken Kimbrough recognized the following Rotarians celebrating birthdays this week:
 
Balraj Gupta - Sep 10
You'll find Balraj behind the hospitality table each week, a position he's held in our club for many years. He was sponsored by Jim Magee when he joined our club in 1992. His classification is Computers: Information Technology.
 
Peggy Garrett - Sep 11
Bingo Co-Chair Peggy also joined our club in 1992, sponsored by Robert Chambers. Her classification is Medicine: Psychiatry.
 
Violet Habwe - Sep 12
Another medical professional, Violet was sponsored by Clara Montanez when she joined our club in 2009. Her classification is Medicine: Nephrology.
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
Stanton Elementary tutoring has started. The time we have spent with the children over the past 6/7 years is having a positive impact. We have helped to increase the scores of the students in the classroom in both math and reading (Prior Chairman Don Messer has records of this). Tutoring can be scheduled individually for an hour and the teacher can help organize the sessions to fit your schedule. ………………………………………………………………………………………………… Shaun English
 
This Saturday is the ribbon cutting for the Habitat for Humanity house our club and foundation sponsored as our centennial project. This house is extremely energy efficient and is very close t Net Zero. The ribbon cutting is at 3:00, you will know the rotary house by the cherry tree we have planted in the front yard. Following the ribbon cutting will be a Happy Hour at the Dubliner near Union Station. Please register online on our website. ........................................................ Howard Davis
 
Ed O’Brien Movie Night is this Thursday, September 10 at 6:30 p.m. The movie is “Steve Jobs.” Meet
in the lobby of the Landmark E Street Cinemas at 6:30 to pick up tickets, move at 6:50.......................... David Treadwell
 
Quick Poll: September 23 meeting during Pope’s visit. It was decided that the meeting will be held as usual. Attendees are encouraged to make scheduling adjustments as necessary to deal with commuting concerns............... David Treadwell  (PLEASE NOTE: SINCE THE 9/9/15 MEETING, WE HAVE DECIDED TO CANCEL THE 9/23/15 MEETING).
 
 
New Member Talk: Michael Onyemelukwe
 
Michael joined the club last month. For Michael, It was never a question of if he should join but when. While vacationing with his family his mother, a fellow Rotarian, advised that when he came to the nation’s capital for work, the club to join was the Rotary Club of Washington D.C.
 
Michael, a product of an international boarding school, The University of Maryland and Cornell University, is now working as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley. He gave us a brief overview of his welcomed obligation to help his clients create wealth in a meaningful way. Michael specializes in strategic planned giving which he described in laymen’s terms as “carving out ways to disperse wealth but at the same time preserving wealth for the next generation.” He believes that “the purpose of having a financial advisor is the have someone that can walk with you through the complexities of life, but also make sure that you have time to focus on your family and pursue your philanthropic interests.”
 
Our speaker for the day was was introduced by Judith Henderson.
 
Dr. Hans Peter Manz has served as Austrian Ambassador to the United States since December 2011.  His Foreign Service career began in 1979.  Overseas postings included work in Switzerland, the United Nations, and Iran.  He also worked in foreign offices, or state departments, in Vienna.  Manz earned a Doctor of Law degree from the University of Vienna.  Attendees were informed that his speaking topic would cover current European and Trans-Atlantic challenges from the Austrian perspective. 
 
Below are some of the key points from Ambassador Manz’s presentation.
  • There are many serious issues going on in the profession that leaves people wondering where to go from here.The issues and relations that are not being discussed could have an effect on the longest running alliance in recent history.
  • The Middle East situation includes a number of crises, including getting Iraq to work, the Syrian civil war, the rise of ISIS, the Iranian situation, the frozen peace negotiations with the Israelis and Palestinians, and the issues with Egypt’s leadership.
  • All of these issues have contributed to refugees and migrants moving across the Mediterranean and looking for a new place to settle.
  • The TTIP was a treaty process initiated to improve Trans-Atlantic economic growth and international trade.
  • The difference today, from earlier years, is America’s focus has turned to the Pacific starting back in the Clinton Administration.
  • After the fall of the Iron Curtain (1989) European problems seemed resolved and no longer a primary focus.
  • The Trans-Atlantic relationship is taken for granted, both in US and Europe.
  • In the US, the idea is that Europe has to shoulder the burden in the fight against communism, and take care of Africa and the Middle East (excluding Israel).The lack of communication has prevented this message from getting from the US to Europe.
  • There is an all-around lack of leadership at the moment, where the focus has shifted to getting richer, and things have gotten too easy, which Manz refers to as Fukuyama’s Curse.
  • He visited New York in 1994, when it was believed the UN would start working as it was intended to, where everyone would start working together, for a new era of peace, love and constructive cooperation.But it didn’t last very long.
  • There are many difficult problems that must be tackled, but we are ill prepared to handle them.It is not too late, however.
  • It seems that there is a general disinterest in international affairs from both sides of the Atlantic.
  • The impact of the financial crisis caused a shift in focus, which is a natural reaction.
  • It’s very easy to pose sides against each other, and soak up emotions.This does not help international relations.According to Manz, there has been a lot of advice shouted from one side of the Atlantic to the other.In his opinion this is not the best approach.
  • Manz asked the attendants to choose which topic they would like to discuss, an audience member suggested the migrant problems, as shown in photos, including the Syrian toddler.
  • Pictures are available in real-time now, in particular the drowned boy on the Turkish beach, which has galvanized public opinion.
  • The problem is huge, requiring a huge effort of Syria’s neighboring countries trying to take on the refugees.
  • Syria is not the only source of people fleeing nations; he mentions Afghanistan and Iraq, as well.The situation is that a repressive government, and ourselves, look on as the government is forcing their own people to leave.
  • There is an operation underway to clean up the Mediterranean.Manz met with a former ambassador to Libya who mentioned the coastal areas where boats are being built to traffic people to Europe.The organizers of these transports rejoice the idea of a new European Union, as it would make the transporting less expensive, as this is very dangerous and many people have died in the process.
  • There is a potential for half a million people to enter Europe this year, which may not seem like a lot, however, they are all interested in going to a handful of particular areas, which is a problem.
  • Europe has denied being an immigration continent.For the last decade there has been a manageable migration that was not mentioned.There are groups that are taking the current migration and blowing it up as a security issue, which could help them gain support in the upcoming elections.
  • You can’t force people to go to countries they don’t want to, but there has to be a balance.
  • There are security issues and checks that must be carried out to evaluate who exactly is coming into the country.
  • This is not a one-time issue, this is something that will repeat, and we won’t be able to do it the same way next time.There will need to be a better approach next time.
  • Manz is interested to see what the US will do in this particular situation, because so far there has been little support to relieve the stream of migrants and refugees.
 
Ambassador Manz fielded several questions from the audience prior to being presented with a certificate of thanks and acknowledgement of a tree being planted in his honor on public land in Nations Capital.  I have listed a few of the interactions below:
  • Q: An audience member mentioned the migration map, where it shows that Turkey has taken in over 1 million Syrian refugees, while Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait have taken in zero.  Additionally, the audience member questioned why diplomacy has not been able to facilitate these countries in providing a home for these refugees.
  • A: Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon are bearing the brunt of refugees, because they are the immediate neighbors of Syria.  Those who want to return will not go too far away, they will stay in the refugee camps until the civil war stops.  Manz feels that the people who travel to Europe are looking for resettlement.  The chances of them going back are slim.  For example, the 90,000 Bosnian conflict refugees have not returned.
 
  • Q: An audience member asked for  Manz’s view in regards to Hungary’s decision to refuse refugees travel through Hungary, and the subsequent construction of barbed-wire fences to prevent this from happening. 
  • A: The leader of Hungary is not the most tactful speaker in Europe.  As a student leader he was crucial in getting Hungary away from communism.  He is one of the good guys, despite his well-deserved, bad press.  It is easy to blame him in this situation.  He was doing his job in protecting the external border of the European Union.  The fence was constructed to force people to use designated transit points.  Syria and Hungary form a border of the European Union, so by law they are obliged to defend this border.  Because Hungary makes up the external border, they are responsible for registering refugees that cross that border.  If a refugee is arrested in Germany without papers, they are sent back to Hungary.  After Germany said they won’t apply the Paris rules for Syrian refugees, Hungary allowed refugees to travel through.  This was a logical response for Hungary, and something they had to do, legally. 
 
  • Q: An audience member commented in regards to immigration in Italy.  Italy has absorbed a lot of refugees from Eastern Europe, and migrants are taking jobs that Italians are no longer doing, including taking care of elderly, taking care of youth, cleaning homes, and farm work. 
  • A: Often times refugees find work that residents no longer want, for example, citrus growers in California.  What’s important is the skill-sets that refugees bring in with them.  Many times the refugees consist of young men, who come with their own culture, and the challenges are great. Many times families will send one family member out as a refugee, and later want to join them.  This potential for being overrun by the poor, public masses is something that effects rich societies.  There are millions of displaced people in Europe.  Before, when these situations took place, it was not as big of a deal as it seems to be today.  It is difficult to feel empathy for people that come from thousands of miles away.  But we owe it to ourselves to find middle ground. 
 
CLOSING:
Raffle:Gail Hamill won the small pot of $93 but did not win the large pot of $1,775.
 
President David announced our next program Wednesday, September 16, 2015 will feature Aleta Margolis who is the founder and Executive Director for the Center for Inspired Teaching.
 
He thanked Michael Onyemelukwe for conducting today’s raffle, Stu Shalloway, Balraj Gupta & Johnny Allen for staffing the Hospitality Desk, and Michael Harper for writing today’s Meeting in Review.
 
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 pm