President-Elect Ross Grantham opened the meeting at 12:35 pm, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.
Andy Cook presented the Words of Inspiration, a short poem on the value of a simple smile.
Secretary Mike Carmichael welcomed the following guests:
Host or Rotary Affiliation
*Michael Ramos
Bethesda Metro
*Alberto Avendaño
Bethesda Metro
Rolando Herts
Cleveland, MS
Bobbette Orr
Judith Henderson
Taylor Foster
Lisa Cohen
Brigette Bustos
Alicia Fougere
Daniel Freihofer
Asif Bhaly
Jill Kent
David Klaus
Manon Matchett
Lynn Holec
Deborah Sigmund
Abe Helal
* brought us a club banner
President-Elect Ross said he had been asked about his Rotary corkscrew pin.  He received it from a wine club within Rotary at the Seoul RI Conference and suggested we might have a wine group within our club.
Sergeant-at-Arms Ken Kimbrough then announced the birthdays of those Rotarians celebrating this week:
  • Heather Jaffan- June 6, Heather joined our club in August 2013 and has been a Rotarian since 1990 . She was sponsored by Abrahem Helal and her classification is Consulting: International Development.
  • Paolo Rondelli - June 6. Paolo joined the club in December 2011. Paolo is an Honorary Member and was sponsored by Erminia Scarcella.
  • Darren Crew - June 7.  Darren joined the club in December 2006. He was sponsored by Norm Coe and his classification is Law: Intellectual Property.
  • Jim Freeman - June 9. Jim joined Rotary in January 1979. His classification is Utilities: Gas and he was sponsored by Paul Reichardt. Jim is a Past President of the club, 1985-1986.
  • Marilyn Cruz - June 10. Marilyn joined our club in June 2015. Prior to this she was Rotaract President, 2014-2015. Marilyn was sponsored by Jennifer Hara and her classification is Law: Investigator.
  • Bill Simons - June 11. Bill joined our club in May 1978. Bill was sponsored by Lloyd Wilson and his classification is Insurance: Life. 
            Celebrating his Rotary anniversary last week was Donald Hense, who joined 1-June-13.  
Acting Treasurer Mike Carmichael reminded members we should have received invoices this week for the quarter beginning July 1.  Members who did not receive invoices by email should provide their preferred email addresses on a sheet at the members’ desk or email Sarah Elsamanoudi at
Tony Cusack reported this is the last month of the club’s Rotary Foundation drive.  Our goal is $27,000; please contribute $160 or more if you can. 
Brendan McGinnis announced a Rotary Hands Across Waters presentation of findings and next steps on June 22 at 10:30 am in the University Club.  Flyers were on the tables. Brendan said we contributed to this program three years ago.  A water education program, it brought together twelve schools in Israel with different cultural backgrounds, so Jews, Muslims, and others could get to know each other as people, supporting peace in the area.
President-Elect Ross announced the O’Brien Rotary Movie Night and said those who miss these events and the happy hours, miss out on a lot.
Alexander Kravetz introduced speaker Ambassador Thomas Pickering, noting that this truly was a person whose fame as a diplomat is legendary. Alex first met him when the ambassador was in El Salvador monitoring money flow, human rights, and helping end the civil war there. He is a master of languages with an amazing ability to multitask.
Ambassador Pickering  spoke of the foreign-policy challenges facing the next president. This is a time of galloping change. There is little time to think about the future as opposed to what happened in the last 20 min. Economies are as significant as political and security factors. The United States still has the central role in the world. Who else would the world go to for help and for leadership? The world is full of the interaction between things such as energy and ecology.
Pres. Truman once said that the only goals for the United States were survival and prosperity. We can look at large states as partners or rivals. Even with Russia we share some common interests.
The problems of the world are varied. There 15 island states where the water table is only 2 meters and they can face obliteration by rising seas. Fortunately nuclear weapons of mass destruction have not been used in war since 1945. We need to find ways to make the world safer. Ambassador Pickering said he was an active bystander in the Iran agreement and was involved in earlier side meetings. It was a good move, but banks are chary of being part of the improvement in economic relations with Iran because of the steps they might have to take should the agreement break down.
In the Middle East we have Israel, Palestine, Iran, the Islamic State, Iraq, Syria and Egypt-- all presenting delicate circumstances for us. Whatever answer we provide depends on the right balance of force and diplomacy. To negotiate you need military force, economic force, but also our principles and values as represented in our Constitution are a force in themselves. Under our Constitution the court system brings us back to our underlying values, but that is in danger under the current politicization.
The solution to Syria is not military.
The three challenges in the world are poverty, growth, and achievement. Populations need food, water, and education. We cannot do one thing alone and think that will work alone. We are big in helping with economic development, but the need to overcome governmental corruption and other problems in recipient countries is not being met.
The world economy, including the 2008 – 09 recovery, has been differential. We have not yet fully understood the full cost of the tools that were used to help our economy. Others around the world are not doing as well, and among other things that is threatening the future of the European Union.  We have to deal with overregulation driving economic downturns and under regulation which allows smaller problems to grow into crises. A new kind of international organization has come about in the global warming actions. Instead of having firm treaties, the participants are acting more like a Quaker meeting, and this is promising.
Amb. Pickering said that he would've thought and been more troubled by the fact our nation's ideas seemedlargely locked into 1947 thinking, but he has become more disturbed now by the actions of political parties not working in the national interest. There is the distaste of malevolent behavior.
It is discouraging that the US government is so disorganized and terms of trying to get things done, but the big election next year is not just in the US. It is in the selection of the next UN Secretary-General. We need to support research, service, etc. We need to understand the value of our immigrants. The majority of our recent patents in this country have gone to first-generation Americans.
Q: Has the US imposition of a no-fly zone over Syria led to a threat from Russia?   
A: There is no US no-fly zone. We make clear to the Syrians that we would not like them to fly close to our aircraft. I would've hoped back when the Syrian Air Force was bombing its own people we would have instituted a no-fly zone. I guess at that point the president was advised against doing that and having controlled airspace because some thought they would need to take out the Syrian air defense. Russia has taught us several lessons that use of its military as leverage. There have been 400,000 killed in the Syrian war and more ran away. We need to provide alternative help to reduce immigration.       
Q: If we cannot change our role in the world, how much does it cost in terms of GDP?  And how can we get that back?   With our trade agreements, how much is that costing us?
A:  The trade issue has impact, particularly on jobs, but that is both jobs lost and those gained. It is estimated that 25% of U.S. Jobs have some aspect of international income. Jobs growth in the US now is mainly due to innovation and good leadership. The job mix is always changing and we need to look at this on a very long, targeted basis.
President-Elect Ross presented Ambassador Pickering with a certificate stating that we would plant a tree in his honor in a national park area in DC.
Sheldon Ray won the raffle’s small pot of $62, but did not win the large pot of $794.
President-Elect Ross announced our June 15 program will feature DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson.  He thanked Jay Vilar for managing the raffle and Stu Shalloway for staffing the Hospitality Desk.  
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 pm.