In this edition....
  • News and Updates
    • Support for Ukraine
    • Violence Against Women Webinar
    • Africa Strong Update
    • World Health Day - "Accelerating Health Equity by Design" - Global Minnesota/World Health Organization Symposium
    • PolioPlus is Engaging Reluctant Communities by Addressing Basic Needs
  • A Member Moment with Kae Takaoka
  • Community Service - Announcing Refugee Family Mentorship
  • Club and Meeting Information 
  • A Thought




Violence Against Women

Local to Global
Webinar Sunday, March 27th, 2022
                                             Register Here
 Posted by Senator Sandy Pappas, MURC Member
Gender-based violence (GBV) is an issue that affects millions of women around the world. What does GBV work look like at local and global levels, how are women leaders and women-led organizations working to combat this widespread issue in the legal and nonprofit sectors? As the rates of violence against women have worsened throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, how can we better educate ourselves about GBV and the work that needs to be done to end it in our communities and across the world?
Join Forward Global Women's latest webinar on the work locally, in Minnesota & the USA, and globally to address and combat violence against women: featuring Cheryl Thomas from Global Rights for Women and Minnesota State Senator Mary Kunesh, author of and co-chair of the Task force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
Duration: one hour including Q&A.
Featured Speakers
Cheryl Thomas is the founding Director of Global Rights for Women. Since 1993, Cheryl has worked with partners around the world to promote women’s human rights and achieve effective legal reform to end gender-based violence. She has participated in the drafting of new laws on violence against women and girls and trained legal and community professionals to enforce such laws in dozens of countries, including Morocco. She has worked closely with the United Nations to develop model standards on legal reform on GBV. In 2008 Cheryl co-chaired the meeting to draft UN Handbook for Legislation on Violence against Women. In 2011, she was recognized by Newsweek magazine as one of 150 “Women Who Shake the World”. In 2021, the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) awarded her Arabella Babb Mansfield Award for her professional achievements for women in the law.
Senator Mary Kunesh was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2016 and to the Senate in November 2020. She is not only a Senator but was an educator in the Minnesota public education system for 25 years.  Senator Kunesh is the first woman of Native descent to be elected to the Minnesota Senate. Kunesh is the daughter and granddaughter of members of the Standing Rock Lakota Sioux Tribe.  She is committed to supporting positive legislation for American Indians and marginalized people in Minnesota. She is the author and Co-Chair of the comprehensive Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force in Minnesota. 





 Posted by Erin Bagniewski, President MURC
 I was fortunate to visit Rwemiyenje Primary School in March with some of my family.   We were there for the dedication of the girls' bathroom that MURC helped fund. We   were welcomed by the school leadership (headteacher, school management committee,   and PTA), teachers, and the students. We had a tour of the school, leadership   team members thanked us, and students sang and danced for us. It was a truly   fantastic visit. Thank you again to MURC for your generous donation and for     supporting Africa Strong and the Butakara Foundation in our efforts to improve the   quality of education for the students at Rwemiyenje Primary School.

 Pictured top left: Erin Bagniewski at plaque dedication; right: new plaque; center left: Erin and family       with the school teachers; bottom: student performance.       



Rotary is known worldwide for our extraordinary work in global health - from clean water and polio  eradication to our own club's support of eye clinics in Chile and Mexico. 

 Posted by Mark Ritchie, President - Global Minnesota and MURC Member
 Global Minnesota partners with the World Health Organization each   year on World Health Day, April 7th, 2022, to highlight success stories in   health, wellness, and well-being. 
 Please let your friends, family and colleagues know about our free-to-the-   public and virtual World Health Day symposium that will focus on   “Accelerating Health Equity by Design.” 
 Click here to explore World Health Day 2021 in Global Minnesota's   archives: 
 Click here to register for World Health Day 2022:
 For more information email Mark Ritchie at

Rotary's PolioPlus is Engaging Reluctant Communities by Addressing Basic Needs



 Khadim Solangi Goth, a   community on the outskirts of   Karachi, Pakistan, sits in   one of the last remaining polio   reservoirs on the planet. More   than 40,000 people live   in improvised dwellings made   of earth or other   found materials. For some, a   cotton sheet is all that protects   them from the hot sun and   monsoon rains. “The poorest   of the poor are living in this   area,” says Asher Ali, the project manager for the Pakistan PolioPlus Committee.

 Polio is especially resilient in this community, which has been one of the most resistant   to eradication efforts; the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has   designated Khadim Solangi Goth one of its highest-priority areas.

 In Pakistan, 53,000 children under age five die each year from diarrhea caused   by contaminated water. 

 And the Pakistan Polio Eradication Initiative classifies Gadap Union Council 4,   the administrative district that the community is a part of, as “super high risk.” 

 What makes polio thrive in this place? The piles of trash and open sewers are one   reason; the poliovirus gets transmitted through contaminated water. But another   major factor is the area’s low vaccination rate. In a community whose basic needs   aren’t met, residents see the polio vaccine as a low priority.  “The refusals are   not for the sake of religion but because civic amenities are missing,” says Aziz Memon,   chair of the Pakistan PolioPlus Committee. “They ask us, ‘What are you doing here?   You come again and again and again to give us polio drops.  You never tell us how   you’re going to help us with electricity, roads, or clean water.’”   

 Still, the polio eradication program has seen a boost to its credibility in   the past couple of years, thanks to the installation of water filtration plants in Karachi   and several other areas of the country, including in Khadim Solangi Goth in   December 2020 — part of the GPEI’s effort to install a total of 36 such plants in   Pakistan. Since 2012, Rotary members have been working to install plants through a   variety of channels, including a partnership with Coca-Cola Pakistan, Rotary   Foundation global grant projects, PolioPlus Partners grants, and partnerships with   Rotary districts or other entities. More construction is in progress or in the planning   stages.

 “Now that the community has access to clean water, polio workers are giving us   feedback that when they are going to homes, the mothers bring their children to   be vaccinated. The workers now have easy access to get into the area,” says Ali.

 Reaching Khadim Solangi Goth had been a challenge because of security   concerns. But the polio workers persevered. Rotary members met with elders,   women, and other stakeholders in the community to find out what they needed most   and how Rotary could help. “Once we gained their confidence, then we moved   forward,” Ali says.

 Read More

 This story originally appeared in the December 2021 issue of Rotary magazine.


Interested in supporting this and other Rotary projects?  

Click here to donate to The Rotary Foundation.    

 MURC has a goal of each member contributing each year.

            If you choose to give, please open an account and
     choose the Annual Fund so that your donation is counted
toward MURC's contribution goal.




My name is 宛先 - Kae Takaoka

 I received my Master of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota in 2004, and I   returned to Japan where I worked as a high school teacher for 13 years.  I also taught   in Washington state as an exchange teacher, and while in Washington I was inspired   to seek a Ph.D.  It had always   been my dream to come back to   Minnesota, but I never thought it   would be possible, especially after the   pandemic began.  However, in 2020   I applied for and received a Rotary   Global Grant in Japan.  I was able   to come back to Minnesota   last summer, 2021, with my   daughter, to seek a Ph.D.   degree at the University of Minnesota. I   am an affiliate member of the   Minneapolis University Rotary Club.  

 When my research at the University   is fully underway, I intend to use my   teaching experiences in                               Japan and the U.S. to study and understand the role of education and the impact of   teachers when different cultural values and cultural competencies are present   between the teacher and students. I am also interested in the interactions of   cultural ethos and culture-script on the formation of teacher identity. I am hoping,   in particular, to study more about the relationship of schooling and Japanese teacher     identity, and especially the impact of the indigenous worldview of Japan called   “reading the air” - sensing nonverbal signs to make communication.  

 Being a student again in the U.S. is such a special experience for me with discoveries   every day. Sometimes I do wish I could continue being a student forever. Compared   to the time I was here more than 15 years ago, things seem a little different for me with   new buildings (so many new apartments!) but I am glad that I could show my second   home to my daughter and be back at the University campus, despite the ongoing   regulations around the pandemic. 

 My daughter is 12 years old and we have been able to enroll her in a middle school   that seems to be a good fit for her.  She had some struggles at school in the beginning,   but she is doing better now.  I am proud of my daughter for trying her best because I   know it is very tough, especially at the middle school level where she would not only be   challenged culturally but academically. We take a bus every morning to get to her   school bus stop, and while waiting for the school bus which sometimes comes late, we   think we might be frozen before the bus comes! Even with this freezing experience,   my daughter and I are enjoying Minnesota and feeling very happy to be here. 

 We love hiking and walking around enjoying nature. One of our goals for this summer   is kayaking. Since the last summer has gone so quickly after moving from Japan, we   are hoping to have some fun activities this summer for us to try. I would love to know   the ways to enjoy the summer (and winter) in Minnesota. I know it is still not easy to   meet in person, but I am looking forward to meeting you all someday and getting   involved in Rotary activities more in the future. 

 Thank you for this opportunity today to introduce a bit of myself and my daughter.   I hope you are all safe and well and wishing the best for all of you.





Refugee Family Mentorship
 Posted by John Bantle, Co-Chair MURC Community Service Committee

We learned recently from Cori Ertz, Director of Development at the International Institute of Minnesota and Hayat Mohamed, Volunteer and Community Partnerships Manager at the International Institute of Minnesota that they continue to work on developing a group mentorship program for families arriving in the Twin Cities from Afghanistan and other countries. We at MURC will be their prototype mentorship group. A number of other Rotary clubs are interested in following our example.

We expect we will be assigned a family in mid-April.  A group of MURC members who have had background checks and received training would interact directly with the family. This will include meeting the family, assessing needs, helping set up their household (e.g., trips to Target), teaching the family how to use public transportation, helping with supermarket trips to get groceries, tutoring family members in English, if necessary, and showing the family Minnesota.

We hope the family will enjoy a group activity(ies) with our club members, such as a picnic (who doesn't like a picnic?), and all of us could attend and have a chance to meet and interact with the family.

If you wish to volunteer to work directly with the family or have questions, please contact John Bantle  at    


Thank you to everyone who donated in support of this effort!


MURC Members and Friends Volunteering at the
Simpson Food Pantry on March 18!
Club meetings are held via Zoom.  To get the Zoom link, email us at
 -April 6, 2022, Noon to 1.15 p.m.   
 Topic to be announced.
 -April 13, 2022, Noon to 1.15 p.m.  
 Speaker Don Stiles, Rotarian, will discuss The Rotary Foundation
The Rotary Foundation
 Don joined the Bloomington Rotary in 2001 and served as its President from 2007-2008. He has held various positions at Rotary District 5950 level including District Rotary Foundation Committee Chair, Global Grant Chair, District Grant Chair, STRIVE Chair, and District Grant Treasurer.  He has visited Rotary grant projects in India, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, Guatemala, and Germany (as well as many in the USA), and he has administered polio drops to local children while in India.  Don has written, reviewed, or resolved hundreds of Rotary grants at the Club, District, and TRF levels over the years.  A fun fact; Don performed off-Broadway and toured nationally in musicals as a singer/actor/dancer 48 years ago!

Don will step through the various foundations associated with Rotary and how the flow of funds coming from Rotarians ends up in projects in Minnesota and around the world.  He will also describe the Peace Fellowship Program and how Rotarians can get involved in scholarships and in District leadership activities. 

 -April 27, 2022, Noon to 1.15 p.m. 
 Speaker Laila Abed, Palestinian Center for Democracy Life in Gaza, will speak about 
Life in Gaza
Life in Gaza

Laila Abed, International Relations and Fundraising Manager, Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution-PCDCR. 2021 Humphrey Fellow at the University of Minnesota

Ms. Laila Abed has worked with the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR) for the past 14 years. In her current role as International Relations and Fundraising Manager for the organization, her primary responsibilities include developing proposals and concept notes for donors; developing fundraising strategies; and developing and monitoring evaluation plans for various projects. PCDCR works to shore up social structures and promote democratic principles, peace and reconciliation, and increase civic participation. Ms. Abed is committed to the cause of preserving civic peace in the Palestinian Territories, and plans to improve her knowledge of human rights and conflict resolution methodologies, and bolster her leadership skills during her fellowship year. She hopes the knowledge and leadership skills she gains during the Humphrey Fellowship will position her as an integral part of the next generation of leaders of PCDCR. Ms. Abed holds a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Communications Control and an MBA in Commerce/Business Administration from the Islamic University of Gaza. 

Ms. Abed will present about life in Gaza - traditional food, dress, and the beautiful places to visit. In addition to that, she will talk about her work for the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution-PCDCR, a non-governmental organization which promotes the principles of democracy, rule of law, and access to justice, as well as enhances the civic peace in Palestine. 



 We are a small and mighty group of local professionals and we are part of a global network of 1.2 million Rotarians.
We meet some Wednesdays, noon-1:15 p.m.  Club meetings are held via Zoom.  To get the Zoom link, email us at



Newsletter Editor
Lori Simpson
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