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November 29 2021

Frank Bannister

Today our speaker today is our own member, Roger Owens: Land’s End to John O’Groats: A Charity Ride.

Forthcoming Speakers and Events

Next week Special General Meeting.
Dec 13th Christmas lunch.
Jan 5th Council meeting (on-line) @ 5.30 p.m.
Jan 10th Allan Kilpatrick: Men’s Sheds.
Jan 17th Sean O'Doherty: Family Carers.
Jan 31st Business meeting.
Mar 11th President’s Night at Dublin Castle.
Mar 25th-27th Visit to RC Bonn.
May 20th-22nd Premio Leonard Leonardo da Vinci weekend, hosted by RC Copenhagen.
May 9th Annual General Meeting.
Jun 13th Club Assembly.

President Alexander Kopf was in the Chair at our meeting last week and informed us that the Liquorice Allsorts on the tables were in German Christmas flavours such as chocolate, coconut, almond and vanilla.

The Thought for the Day was given by John Costello who extolled the virtues of living in the now.

Visitors and Apologies
Last week we had a total of 28 members in attendance.

Apologies were received from Rana Al Damin; Sinem Balta; Caroline Barnardo; Barra Emmanuel; Derek Bell; IPP Alan Davidson; PP Brian George; Dorothy Hannon; Alan Harrison; Dermot Knight; Patrick White and Willy Widmer.

We had four guests. Our Rotarian visitors were ADG Mike Connolly and Nasir Barakzai. Our other guests were the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Egyptian embassy, Nazly El Fayoumy and Ann Vaughan of the Dublin Samaritans.

Rotary Rangers’ Schedule
Forthcoming Rotary Rangers’ outings are as follows:

Nov 30th Deerpark, Powerscourt.

Hon Secretary’s Announcements
• There were no secretarial announcements.

President’s Announcements
• President Alexander reminded us that completed nomination papers for Club Officers for the coming Rotary year must be received by the Hon. Secretary no later than 2.00 p.m. on Wednesday 24th of November in order for the elections at the SGM on the 6th of December week to take place.
• On Tuesday 30th of November, there will be a Zoom meeting at 6.00 p.m. The guest speaker will be Rüdiger Skaletz from the Rotary Club Munchen-Harlaching who will talk about 3D Printing. The link will be circulated before the meeting.

Other Announcements
• Roger Owens gave us a brief explanation of the way that funds flowed between Foundation, RI, RIBI and Rotary in Ireland as best he could establish it. It seems that RIBI can take advantage of tax refunds in the UK, something that we cannot do in Ireland.
• PP Ethna asked for a show of hands of those who planned to come to the Christmas lunch as the hotel needs a number. About 30 hands went up.
• ADG Mike said that he was delighted to be with us. He mentioned the Forestry Project which was being led by District and suggested that our club might like to become involved with this.
• There were calendars from Zamda available, one for everybody in the audience and they were free.

Last Week’s Speaker
Our speaker last week was His Excellency, Khaled Ismail Sarwat, Ambassador of Egypt. The Ambassador was introduced by PP Mariandy who ran us through his long and distinguished career in both government and in the Egyptian diplomatic service. The ambassador’s wife had intended to attend the meeting, but she had been called for her Covid booster in UCD.

The Ambassador said that he was honoured to be invited to speak to our club. Egypt was a country with a long history and he proposed to speak about a small part of that history, from the Arab Spring up to the present day.

He then outlined the events of the past decade, starting with events of 2011 and the social and political unrest that led to the downfall of Hosni Mubarak. In the elections in June of that year, Mohamed Morsi was elected president, but he too soon ran into strong opposition. In April 2013 there was a petition calling for a new election and after 30 million protestors appeared on the streets, president Morsi stood down. There was danger of civil war and the military took over. In 2015 there were new elections and Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was elected president. Civil unrest continued and in the intervening years there have been attacks on both mosques and Christian churches. Under president Sisi, stability has slowly returned.

His Excellency described the progress that has been made by Egypt since 2015. This included a large increase in the amount of agricultural land, developing fish farms, bringing illegal immigration under control, creation of technology centres, a new administrative capital, vaccination of all those involved in the tourism sector, continuing modernisation and the completion of the largest hydroelectric scheme in the world at Aswan, something that had solved the country’s electricity shortage. Four pillars of human rights had been established and there is a continuing programme to empower women. For example, the number of women in parliament rose from 6% in 2015 to 25% in 2018.

Egypt faces three major challenges today. Egypt is said to be the gift of the Nile and there are currently potential problems with a dam being built on the river by Ethiopia that could affect water flows into Egypt. Negotiations on ongoing. The second is the long border with Libya, a country with many independent militias and problems in Libya can and do spill over into Egypt. The third is the Palestinians. Egypt supports the two state solution, but, again, there are many players and conflicting groups involved. Egypt is doing its best to make progress.

The Ambassador said that recent research suggests that the ancient Egyptians may have made it as far as Ireland. The Egyptian government would like to increase trade with Ireland. Some progress was being made before Covid struck. One causality of Covid was a planned direct Dublin to Cairo flight. It is hoped that this will be inaugurated soon. He encouraged us to visit his country, especially as a magnificent new museum is due to open on November 25th in what will be a spectacular ceremony*. It will house over 50,000 artifacts.

There were several questions from the floor including from Kevin McAnallan, Roger Owens, Derek Griffith and Frank Bannister. Kevin McAnallan gave the vote of thanks.

Before the meeting concluded, president Alexander presented a copy of Tony Keegan’s history of our club, First in Service, to the Ambassador. He then presented a cheque for €1,010 to Ann Vaughan of the Samaritans (both pictured below). The money will be used to support their training programme. Ann thanked the club and added that the Samaritans always needed new volunteers. Anybody who felt that they could do this work and could devote three hours a week would be more than welcome.

Photos courtesy of Eamon Allen and PP Bernadette.


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