It was great to be back doing the Meeting in Review. We had a very full and rowdy house today to hear our speaker. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Eric Fraint and Howard Davis. I also got to sit up at the head table today, to fill-in for Secretary Tim. President Shaun called the meeting to order at 12:30 pm, with the help of Sergeant-at-Arms Dave Treadwell. Shelley Williams gave a very nice inspiration. David announced the birthdays this week (see celebrants below).
As acting Club Secretary, I gave the secretary’s report today, welcoming the guests of Rotarians this week, including Corrado Cantatore (President, DICE International Security) and Francesco Menonna (Global Grant Scholar and student at SAIS) who were Erminia Scarcella’s guests; Andrea Ghiaroni’s guest his wife, Silvia Musiani (CEO, Itala Group); Monish Dutt’s guests Nitin Mehta (Managing Director, EMEA, CFA Institute London) and Kalpana Mehta (Journalist, London); Russ Savage’s guest Kwasi Agyeman (Student, Georgetown University); Deraux Branch’s guest Ed Husuey (District Manager, Clearant); and Sam Hancock’s guest James Butler (CEO, Guardhouse). We also had international Rotarians visiting from South Africa and Rome, Italy.

Announcements: There were quite a few announcements this week. Shaun presented a blue badge to very active member Haleh Vaziri and thanked Gladys Antezana for her hospitality this past weekend. Nancy Riker gave an update on the Dictionary Project. Dictionaries will be available for pick-up starting the week of October 21 from the office. Our Rotaract Club President Stephanie Spivack announced the Rotary Rotaract Networking Dinner at La Tasca in Chinatown on Tuesday, October 8. Ed O’Brien invited everyone to the celebration of the International Day of Peace this Saturday at the west side of the Capitol. Paula Delo announced a new fellowship event in coordination with our monthly happy hour called a Dine Around. Sign up on the website. And finally PP David Klaus presented his certificates of appreciation to Bill Dent for his work with Trees for the Capitol and RYLA. Andrea also gave his new member talk and did a great job! We celebrated the birthdays of Monish and Hal Vaughn both on September 16, PP Howard Davis - September 18, Ralph Winnie - September 19, and Ed O’Brien - September 21. Happy Birthday!

Erminia introduced our speaker today, Admiral Paolo Bembo by speaking to his old and distinguished family history in Italy. Admiral Bembo became acquainted with the United States when he was assigned as the National Naval Representative and Navigation Teacher at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in the early 1990s. Admiral Bembo spoke about the explorer Christopher Columbus and his use of maps to guide his ‘discovery’ of the Americas. He gave a presentation showing many maps from the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries and he posed some very interesting questions. Did Columbus really discover America? Were the Chinese in fact the first explorers to come to our shores? What information did Columbus have (perhaps from the Chinese) before he left Europe? We were not able to reach any conclusions but the history is very interesting. Columbus may have known more than we have given him credit. Admiral Bembo stayed to answer questions as we ran out of time. Shaun presented him with the Tree Certificate and we had the raffle, managed this week by Gail Hamill. New member Andy Koval won the small pot today and he donated it back to the Club.