Speaker Date Topic
Matt Miller, Bureau of African Affairs May 19, 2021 12:00 PM
U.S. Relations with Africa
U.S. Relations with Africa

Matt Miller, Acting Director, Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Matt Miller arrived in the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the State Department's Bureau of African Affairs in August 2020 after three years as the Public Affairs Officer in Dakar, Senegal. Matt joined the State Department in 2001, and his previous assignments include serving as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs; Senior Watch Officer in the Operations Center; Assistant Public Affairs Officer in Bratislava, Slovakia; Information Officer in Yaoundé, Cameroon; Watch Officer in the Operations Center; Political Officer in Paris, France; and Consular Officer/Staff Assistant in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Matt was born in Western Pennsylvania but spent the formative years of his youth in South Carolina, where he studied English, History, and Political Science at Presbyterian College. He speaks French, Portuguese, Slovak, and Haitian Kreyol.

Mr. Miller will provide an overview of U.S. relations with African countries. He will answer questions on specific areas of interest on the African continent.

Erin Bagniewski, Kenneth Kagame & David Musinguzi Jun 02, 2021 12:00 PM
Discussion with Rotarians from the Rotary Club Mbarara
Discussion with Rotarians from the Rotary Club Mbarara

Erin Bagniewski, Kenneth Kagame and David Musinguzi (President Elect.) Kenneth (KK) and David are both members of the Rotary Club of Mbarara

One of our very own, Erin Bagniewski, first joined Rotary when living and working in Uganda. Since then she has continued to stay in touch with her former club. Erin will be back in Uganda for a visit and to do work with her nonprofit, Africa Strong Inc., and will be joined by two Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Mbarara: Kenneth Kagame, a retired eye doctor who is still very active in the community, and David Musinguzi, a dedicated Rotarian and the President Elect of Rotary Club of Mbarara. The Mbarara Rotary Club hosts several annual "run raisers", including a Cancer Run, a Mothers Run to raise money for a local hospital's NICU and maternity ward, as well as an annual TRF fundraiser, to name a few.

This special Rotary meeting will be an excellent opportunity to connect with Rotary Clubs around the world.

Colleen Ronnei, ED, Change the Outcome Jun 09, 2021 12:00 PM
Finding grace, justice and purpose in the midst of tragedy
Finding grace, justice and purpose in the midst of tragedy

After losing her 20-year-old son to an overdose, Colleen’s world collapsed. Since that fateful day in 2016, Colleen has devoted her life to turning her personal tragedy into a commitment to ‘change the outcome’ for others. These efforts led to the creation of Change the Outcome, a non-profit organization that has met with more than 40,000 educators, young adults and parents throughout Minnesota. Colleen Ronnei is an advocate for critical change in the ways organizations address the opioid epidemic.

Impassioned by the loss of her son, Colleen established Change the Outcome in 2017. As Executive Director, Colleen works with the FBI, DEA, County Attorney’s Offices, Steve Rummler Hope Network, Hennepin County No Overdose Campaign, County Sheriff and Police Departments statewide, Community Coalitions, school districts and others to positively impact those effected by the opioid crisis. Colleen’s first-hand experience as a parent navigating law enforcement, the court system, hospitals, mental health providers, treatments and insurance aspects related to substance use disorder (SUD) provides her with a broad understanding of the interplay and influences of these diverse organizations and places her in a unique position to support and seek justice for families fighting to change the outcome for their loved ones. Through Change the Outcome, Colleen strives to create understanding and awareness of the impact opioids and other substances (even legitimately prescribed medications) are having on the lives of young adults.

Russ Michaletz - District 5950 Fundraising Chair Jun 16, 2021 12:00 PM
A Guide to Rotary Giving
A Guide to Rotary Giving

Russ Michaletz has been a member of the Minneapolis City of Lakes Rotary Club since 1986. He is the Rotary District 5950's Fundraising Chair for 2020-2021 and was District Governor from 2019-2020. Mr. Michaletz has served on many illustrious boards including for the American Swedish Institute, Lutheran Social Services of MN, Gustavus Adolphus College, and Minnesota Private College Council. He has worked with United Way of the Twin Cities on it's Endowment Campagin Committee and is Judge of the Student Division of the Minnesota Entrepreneur cup from 2015 to present. Mr. Michaletz is married to Jan Michaletz and hs four adult childen (including three Rotarians), and four grandchildren. 

Russ Michaletz focus as fundraising char is to help District 5950 adapt to the needs of its customers: the Members. There is no club in the District that doesn't have a retention challenge. Mr. Michaletz may make some members uncomfortable. He may make radical suggestions. But progress and growth never comes from complacency without some stress. Mr. Michaletz' goal as District Governor, and Fundraising Chair, with the help of other district leaders, is to help club presidents maximize the value they can bring to club members through focus and change. He will start by (1) understanding what brings value to our club's current and prospective members, (2) promise that value to them, and (3) work together to execute on strategies that will "Enhance the Value of Rotary Membership." Mr. Michaletz will share various ways that Rotarians can participate in giving back to Rotary. As a strong and growing organization, we will be able to live up to our motto: Service Above Self.

Sean Poppoff-Exec. Director-Lions Gift of Sight Jun 30, 2021 12:00 PM
Lions Gift of Sight: The Past, Present and Future of Eye Banking
Lions Gift of Sight: The Past, Present and Future of Eye Banking

Sean and his family moved to the Twin Cities just over four years ago. Prior to moving, Sean worked in a variety of positions at the University of California, San Diego (where he graduated), the University of Washington, and Seattle Children's Research Institute. Sean moved here to serve as Dr. Erik van Kuijk's administrator in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences. About a year into Sean's tenure in Ophthalmology Dr. van Kuijk deployed Sean to Lions Gift of Sight to help with some business challenges. It is there that Sean found his passion in life to restore sight. Sean lives in Cottage Grove with his wife Haylee and their four children: Jestina (12th grade); Brinlee (10th grade); Emmeline (3rd grade), and Gabriel (K).

Sean will introduce eye banking and the importance of restoring sight. He will then give a brief history of eye banking focused on Lions Gift of Sight; present challenges (2020 in particular); and the direction that eye banking is headed. 

Henning Schroeder, PhD, Professor, U of MN Jul 14, 2021 12:00 PM
A Reasonable Doubt On Jury Trials
A Reasonable Doubt On Jury Trials

Henning Schroeder, PhD, Professor, College of Pharmacy; Affiliate Professor, College of Liberal Arts (Dept. of German, Nordic, Scandinavian & Dutch), University of Minnesota

Henning Schroeder is a former vice provost and dean of graduate education at the University of Minnesota. His current teaching in the Department of German, Nordic, Slavic & Dutch focuses on cross-cultural comparisons between the United States and Europe. He grew up in West Germany in the 1960s and 70s and received his doctorate in natural science and pharmacology from Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 he returned to Europe and joined the faculty at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in former East Germany. He has been living in Minnesota since 2007 and has recently published articles on how societies in Europe and the United States are dealing with history, heritage and "working through the past." 

Most countries outside the US have abandoned trials with lay juries and replaced them with panels of professional judges. To people watching from Europe, the O.J. Simpson trial or the current Derek Chauvin trial, the selection and questioning of jurors are fascinating spectacles, yet hard to understand. But then jury trials are not the only difference between American common law and Continental European civil/statutory law. Does the jury system really make sense? Since I am not a card carrying legal expert I very much look forward to answers from the audience and a lively discussion. 

Rick Olson, Grants Team Lead, Prior Lake Rotary Jul 21, 2021 12:00 PM
Providing Safe Drinking Water in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, Uganda
Providing Safe Drinking Water in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, Uganda

Rick Olson is the Founder and President of Best Future Center  formed to support the Best Future School in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, a school built and founded by the refugees with about 570 elementary school kids that would not otherwise have a chance to go to school. Rick has travelled to 41 countries including Uganda in February 2020 and March 2021. Rick has been a Rotary member for 3 years and has led Rotary tours through 8 countries in Eastern Europe in 2019 and will again in May 2022.Rick is the incoming Co-Chair of the Prior Lake Rotary's "Lakefront Music Fest" with which the club netted $435,000 in 2019, but had to cancel the event in 2020.

Nakivale is now "home" to approximately 140,000 refugees who fled from violence in surrounding countries to survive. There were about 60,000 refugees as recently as 2014. The water supply and distribution is little changed from 2014 and totally inadequate for the current population. We plan to change that. Food is also scarce and sanitation is undesirable (at best). 

Robyn Coquyt, ED of Africa Classroom Connection Sep 22, 2021 12:00 PM
Africa Classroom Connection - Building the Future in South Africa
Africa Classroom Connection - Building the Future in South Africa

Robyn Coquyt is a long-time supporter, volunteer, and Board Officer of Africa Classroom Connection (ACC) and is currently leading the nonprofit organization as its Executive Director. She has visited ACC's rural South Africa classrooms during ACC Learning Tours, delighting in the people the organization cherishes. Robyn is passionate about community involvement and volunteerism, actively and enthusiastically lending her time and talents to many nonprofit organizations. 

The purpose of the presentation is to introudce club members to a Minneapolis-based nonprofit, Africa Classroom Connection. ACC builds schools in rural KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa where deserving students are living on the margins of society, still reeling from the after effecs of apartheid. ACC works with local communities to build much needed classrooms to give these determined children the fundamental right of an education. 

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