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Club Information
Iowa City Noon Rotary Club

Service Above Self 

We meet Thursdays at 12:00pm
University Athletic Club
1360 Melrose Ave.
Iowa City, IA 52246

District Site

Usha R. Balakrishnan

Usha R. Balakrishnan
2016-17 Club President

Club Presidency Year Aspirations: click here 

Club Presidency Power Point Presentation:  click here

Club Presidency Year Theme:
Make Rotary a favored Third Place for professionals (active and retired) in the Iowa City area!

IC Noon Rotary Stories
Ray Klinginsmith, Past President of Rotary International
PDG Jill Olsen and PDG John Ockenfels introduced Ray Klinginsmith for today’s program.
“A Friend To Everyone He Meets”.
Ray Klinginsmith is Iowa born, lover of the Iowa State Fair, and Past President of Rotary International 2010-2011; and recently finished his term as the Chairman of the Rotary Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Ray was a Rotary Ambassador Scholar in 1961 at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
Ray participated and spoke at a July 17 symposium in Iowa City (organized by President Usha and Rtn. John Buchanan) on Rotary & Global Social Entrepreneurship with the 25 Mandela Washington Fellows—young entrepreneurs representing 18 different countries in Africa. Under this US State Department-sponsored program, 1,000 fellows from Africa were selected out of 46,000 applications in 2016. 46 universities across the country are participating. 25 Fellows came to the University of Iowa and and 25 Fellows participated at Drake University. Funding has been secured for 2017 so the U of I might have the opportunity to host the group again next year. For more information, please visit:
Ray passionately shared the context for why Rotary can and should continue to increase its presence as well as membership growth prospects in Africa. Rotary is a group of friends and made up of mentors who could help with the professional development and entrepreneurial aspirations of the Mandela Washington Fellows. What a natural combination to increase members in Rotary while also making positive impacts in local communities!
President Usha added that the current plan—an idea proposed by Rtn. John Buchanan—is to for each Fellow to use the Rotary Club Finder App and identify the Rotary Club closest to their place of residence. The Iowa City Noon Rotary Club will then make an introduction for each of the Fellows to these Rotary Clubs in their countries of origin and recommend them as program speakers so that they get the chance to share their Iowa experiences at Rotary Clubs in Africa. With the support of RAG4Clubfoot, a Rotarian Action Group founded by PDG Herb Wilson and co-chaired by PDG (D5970) Jill Olsen and PDG John Ockenfels, the Fellows can also help in raising even greater awareness for Iowa-born global projects such as the Ponseti Clubfoot Treatment Method.
Dimy Doresca, Global Grants Committee Chair and Director of the Institute for International Business, Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa
The two weeks spent in Iowa City has been most valuable to all of the 25 Mandela Washington Fellows as they work on projects related to a new start-up company or projects related to the expansion of an existing company. The time has been an exchange of ideas and the opportunity to bring global mindset to our campus. Dimy will track their progress for the State Department.
Our members heard from a few of the fellows during today’s program:
Nalituba Mudenda of Zambia is passionate about making Africa a better place. Stating “There is not a problem with the African mind but there is a problem with the African mindset,” Nalituba hopes to create a co-working space to work with ladies in the Copper Belt in his home country. He noted that 75% of the Fellow’s projects are in agriculture/farming while 25% are in creating co-working spaces. Nalituba was selected by the other 24 participants to speak at the Presidential Summit in front of President Obama and other dignitaries this fall.
Wilford Mwanza of Zimbabwe is a Rotaractor from the University of Zimbabwe in Harare. His group has done extensive fundraising to raise community support for orphans’ needs.
Ruth Mwangi of Kenya expressed significant interest in being linked to (and possibly joining!) a Rotary Club in Nairobi. She has already been in touch with Rtn. Patty Roberts (who also serves a a board member on RAG4Clubfoot) to get more of her friends in Nairobi get involved in the Ponseti Project.
Salum Kihemba of Tanzania responded to a question from the audience regarding the accessibility and cost of basic education as well as universities in Africa. Salum also went on to talk about Albinism which affects around one in every 1,400 births in Tanzania, far higher than the average around the world. Because of rampant superstition, Albino killings have grown at a startling rate over the past eight years. Salum is helping the government figure out better solutions to protect the safety of persons with Albinism.
In closing, President Usha profusely thanked Ray for making himself available to speak at the July 17 Symposium as well as at our Club as the world marked Nelson Mandela’s birth anniversary on July 18; and expressed gratitude to Dimy Doresca for suggesting the program with the 25 Mandela Washington Fellows. She thanked Patty and Dale Roberts for hosting a dinner for Ray at their home; for Dave Davis of Radisson for hospitality; and for West Bank, MidWestOne Bank, and the University of Iowa Community Credit Union for underwriting the lunch cost of the African visitors.
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