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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
President Usha made the following remarks after acknowledging that the first three months of her Club Presidency have pleasantly transpired.
1.Rtn. John Kenyon was commended for the brilliant Book Festival he put together. President Usha remarked, “After 30 years of being here, Iowa City marvelously continues to dazzle all my senses!  I love our town, the only UNESCO-designated City of Literature in North America.”
2.Rotarians are encouraged to participate in a collaborative Rotary Social on Oct. 25, 5 to 7 pm at the Coralville Radisson. This Rotary Social is aimed to cultivate collaborations with local and international writers and poets, young and old. 
3.We are invited to review the video by Rtn. Ryan Bell showcasing Rtn. Chet Woodman and Rtn. Jody Braverman’s remarks at the Polio Awareness-Raising Social earlier this week.  We have so many many Rotary-heroes in our own Club who can keep us inspired all the time!
4.Rotarians are encouraged to participate in the Annual Road Trip to Rotary Headquarters organized by John Lee and Cyndy Crider on Friday, Oct. 28. A 47-seater coach bus will leave at 7 am from the University Club and will return at 9 pm.
5.President Usha received notification from The Ponseti International Staff directed to the RAG4Clubfoot Board members and friends. The dedication event previously scheduled for Saturday, October 22nd at the Iowa River Landing has been postponed to a future date. Unfortunately there was a scheduling conflict at the University of Iowa. Information about a new date and time will be forthcoming, The staff apologizes for any inconvenience.
Goat-Rider: Julie Brinegar shared her background and connection to Rotary.
Committee Moment by: Global Grants Committee Chair Dimy Doresca
Dimy’s approach to the Global Grants Committee is one of action and he welcomes ideas and input from any Club Rotarians. In July, he took the lead in organizing our Rotary meeting program with the Mandela Washington Fellows and sees immense prospects for developing Global Grants initiatives relating to the Ponseti Clubfoot Treatment Method in the 18 different countries of Africa from which the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows participated. Given Dimy’s own Haitian origins, he had been in touch with officials in the locations in Haiti which experienced severe damage due to Hurricane Matthew. Provision of clean water is a big challenge all across Haiti. Dimy introduced Chris Buresh (an emergency medicine doctor at the UIHC) who founded the Community Health Initiative (CHI) and has been committed over a decade to making a difference in the lives of Haitians. Annie Vander Werff (visiting Rotarian from District 5970) who manages the CHI’s partnerships in Haiti shared that they are seeking sponsorship to conduct a survey to identify locations for the construction of wells. Based on the survey (for which funding still needs to be secured), the idea would be to develop a Global Grant project that could be designed between Clubs in Cedar Rapids and the Iowa City area.
Program: Raj Rajagopal, UI Professor & Founder-Director, India Winterim Study Abroad Program
To offer some added perspective for the program, President Usha provided the following context regarding our speaker: “Among my very best friends in my life today, are those whom I met by sheer chance because I chose to reach out in a simple Random Act of Kindness. On an especially cold morning in October 2003, around the same time when I was inducted into this Rotary Club, I dropped off my daughter Uma, a third grader, at Horn Elementary School and was heading to work. At the bus stop on the corner of Sunset and Melrose, I see this tall gentleman huddled in his parka. I recognized him as the geography professor Rajagopal, but I knew only his name then. I offered a ride to Professor Rajagopal that day, and my life changed forever. Professor Rajagopal presented me with David Bornstein’s book on Social Entrepreneurs and he and I have ever since been story-making so many aspects of the challenges of being a blended academic-practitioner and Collaborative Doer for Humanity. As the earliest supporter of the India Winterim program, my nonprofit CARTHA has helped raise and distribute nearly $50,000 in fellowship support and student travel stipends. The connection to Rotary and the possibilities for leadership development are immense. Just as an example, in the first India Winterim course in 2006-07 in Madurai which focused on Dr. N. Sethuraman, a social entrepreneur in health care and microfinancing for women entrepreneurs, CARTHA provided Fellowship support of $500 to Luke Juran, a native of Dubuque, Iowa. Luke, who complelted his Masters and PhD at the University of Iowa, went on to win the Rotary Ambassador Scholarship the very next year, and then the Fulbright award, and then the Best Dissertation Award from the American Association of Geographers. Luke is now an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech specializing in Water Resources Research and wants to remain connected to both CARTHA and to Rotary.” President Usha thanked Rajagopal and his entire family for their support and for having shaped the trajectories for CARTHA.
Downing Thomas, Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs at the University of Iowa introduced our program speaker and shared that the University of Iowa’s India Winterim Program was recognized in 2016 with the prestigious Andrew Heiskell Award from the Institute for International Education. He described Professor Rajagopal as someone possessing near-magical prowess and inspiring people of all ages to participate in the India Winterim Program! Since the launch of the first course in 2006, over 1,000 students and faculty have participated in these 3-week experiential courses, and the University of Iowa has become well-known in this regard as the top US institution that sends the most numbers of US students each year on Study Abroad journeys to India.
Speaker Remarks: Professor Raj Rajagopal acknowledged that President Usha has been a big supporter of the program right from the beginning. Professor Rajagopal expressed that he is having the greatest time of his life championing the India Winterim Program.
*India Winterim is an intensive, three-week field-based program that provides 40-80 students with the opportunity to learn from and directly interact with leading social entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations and academic institutions within India’s diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and geographical mosaic. Each course in the program is based in one of several locations throughout India. This program is designed for undergraduate students, graduate students and community members with related interests and experience. Each section is led by one or more UI faculty and has its own disciplinary perspective, for example: healthcare, engineering, education, business practices, social work, sustainability of natural resources, art and architecture, and others. 
The India Winterim Program has been described as a life changing program from both professors, students, and community members as it propels all participants into service. Raj has witnessed that the capacity for service is universal.  In his director role, Raj describes his work as the connector between academia and community. The students who engage in this program have went on to become scholars, Fulbright award winners, many go on to medical school, or go on to do critical work in rural areas.
Raj spoke with respect and appreciation for one particular supporter: the late Jo Eland, UI Professor of Nursing. Jo was a professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa for 41 years. Her knowledge and passion for children’s pain management was legendary and reached globally - including extensive work taking students to India. When she contracted breast cancer and was being treated with chemo & radiation, Raj asked her if she wanted to take a break from traveling to India. Jo stated that she would go to India with or without breasts until her death–the work is that important!
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Mandela Fellows

July 21, 2016 with RI Past-President and young entrepreneurs from Africa.

Oct 27, 2016
Mark Nolte
Iowa City Area Development Group
Nov 03, 2016
Verne Folkmann, Past DG Jacque Andrew, others
The Rotary Foundation: Doing 100 Years of Good Around the World!
Nov 10, 2016
Vonda Birchmier
The Challenge of Human Trafficking Issues in Iowa
Nov 17, 2016
Alex Taylor, Woofables
Celebrating and connecting our local entrepreneurs to Rotary
Nov 23, 2016
Wednesday Luncheon Program with Coralville
(Thanksgiving Week: No Thursday meeting!)
Dec 01, 2016
Connie Mutel
A Sugar Creek Chronicle; Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland
Dec 08, 2016
Steve West, Ryan West
West Music-75th Anniversary
Dec 15, 2016
"Rotary's Got Talent!" to Celebrate Festive Season
Musically-inclined Club Rotarians will perform fun short pieces with audience joining in!
Jan 05, 2017
Azeez Butali, with introduction by Deb Kacmarynski
Healthcare Apps for maternal and child health-a model in Nigeria
Jan 12, 2017
Jan 19, 2017
United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties
Katie Knight, Curt Heideman, Renda Greene-Fishman

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