Click on "Read More" for President Gerard Year In Review Address


Dear Fellow Member of the Rotary Club of New York,


The past year and a half has been an ordeal for all of us.  The leadership of our club has been particularly aware of the needs of our members and the limitations forced on all of us by the pandemic.  Of course, we all miss the comfort, support, and warm friendship of each other that we were always able to share at our UN Breakfasts, luncheons, and evening events, not to mention being able to cooperate with each other in voluntary efforts in the community.  I am most grateful and impressed with the extraordinary efforts put out by our Executive Director Andreas Runggatscher, and the members of our Executive Board and others who expended many hours arranging, preparing, and presenting ZOOM programs for all of us throughout the entire year, four times each month.  They deserve our support and applause.  For anyone who missed any of the ZOOM programs, Andreas recorded them and they are available for viewing on You Tube.  Following is a brief outline of this past year's club events:

* We hosted Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams in an hour and a half presentation with questions and answers in January.  We booked this event before he declared his candidacy for Mayor. because of his many years of experience in leadership in the NYPD.  I can say with a great deal of certainty that Mr. Adams will be our new Mayor in the City of New York in November.  He has committed to continue working with us in the club's efforts to bring reconciliation and dialogue between our communities and the NYPD.  Our club will include cooperation from the leaders of the Rotary Club of Chinatown, and the Rotary Club of Harlem. The NYPD Commissioner has agreed to work with our club on this matter.  Our club of course, is prevented from making any political affiliation.  We are however, very proud of Mr. Adams' accomplishments.

* Professor Sarwar Kashmeri of the Foreign Policy Association made an engrossing and impressive presentation on China and its Belt and Road Program.  His work on this issue will now be the subject of a special report to the White House, and the Professor has invited all club members to become informed of the progress, use the link below

Sarwar Kashmeri

Fellow Foreign Policy Association

Host, Polaris-Live


China’s Grand Strategy, A New Silk Road to Global Primacy


A China Agenda For President Biden (FPA Report) 19 July 2021

T: Sarwar_Kashmeri

* Amiri Anderson, a young New Yorker who experienced the trauma of the city's foster care system for almost a decade published a book on the subject while in college (Five Feet of Water - the Story"  order at  and was our guest speaker at a ZOOM town hall meeting. The reactions in the audience were electric  The audience had no idea that approximately 25,000 foster care children in our city often live in some of the most Dickensian conditions imaginable.  In fact, less than three percent of these children go on to some sort of higher education. The failure rate is abysmal.  Your Board of Directors decided to adopt this issue as one of the Club's signature projects this year.

RCNY Vice President Levent Ozkurt who serves on the Board of the Shriner's Children's Hospital In Philadelphia, PA proposed the idea for the project and has headed up the effort this year.  The RCNY proposed to the Administration for Children's Services (ACS) the NYC agency in charge of all our foster care children, that if the medical staff of the agency could identify children in need of the medical care the hospital provides, our Club and the Shriner's Hospital will arrange free round trip transportation and hotel accommodations for the child and foster care parent to Philadelphia where the child would receive the free expert medical care needed.  Levent has even set up a procedure between the hospital administrators. and ACS to arrange for on-line interviews and care between the medical staff and the patients.  I and our Board are committed to a constant follow-up for this much needed project for our children.  The Club is planning a conference with city officials and the public to address these pressing issues, as soon as it is safe for public meetings again.  Expect reports, and opportunities to participate in the future.

*.Families for Safe Streets made a presentation to our club earlier this year about their efforts and successes in confronting the horror that well over three thousand New Yorkers are run down by vehicles in the city each year.  The organization is composed of the families, loved ones and friends of the victims and has made great strides over the past ten years in passing legislation and making the world aware of this urgent issue. Please follow their progress on line, they are doing it for all of us.

* COVID has had such an impact on our lives that it was often the subject of our ZOOM meetings.  Dr. Marya Ghazipura, an epidemiologist for New York City and her husband Dr. Tanzib Hossain both made several appearances for us to provide expert advice and guidance in coping with the medical threat.  They are the experts and are now members of our club.  We are grateful and most proud of them and welcome their continued participation.  Marya continuously updated us as to the challenges of the vaccine uptake. 

  Andreas has arranged for us to meet Sandra Navidi who enlightened all of us in her presentation about the response comparisons to COVID 19 across the United States. She is also a past member of our club and we hope to have her back soon.

   Bolor   brought us Anthony Fieldman and Josh Sirifman, both experts in urban planning and architecture who made presentations about the future of our cities after COVID 19.  

   She also arranged for us to be honored with presentations by Lorenzo Borgogni on the Impact of COVID on the Deal World, and PP Jan Brown on COVID'c effects on US Immigration.  Ms. Tumurchudur has accomplished a amazing amount for the Club this year, and has proven herself to be an invaluable resource for all of us.  Thank you.

* We were treated to presentations by 

   Joel Brown and Jenae Green, both experts who spoke on "Understanding C-Span."

   Colin Coleman, a most successful investor and analyst who brought us up to date on developments in South Africa.

   Wolfram von Heimnitz lectured on all the recent developments in the European Union.  We look forward to hearing from him again in the near future.

   Thomas Missong brought us up to date on what we need to know about Credit Rating Agencies.

   Bill Mehleissen showed us how to benefit by Finding Balance in Life.

   Phil Penman entertained us with his artistic works - Street Photos in New York City.

   Olivier Ponthur from France reminded us of our own frailties in his film production on 911.

   Thilo Von Debschitz a German Rotarian introduced us to the creations of Fritz Kahn whose incredible medical works and writings are only now being understood for their value and contributions. 

   Christian Mambelli Head of Operations for the Il Molino Restaurant Group introduced us to all the complexities and difficulties of running a successful restaurant venture in a place like New York City.  We plan to take him up on his invitation to one of the very finest restaurants in our city (Il Mulino) so stay tuned!

   Scott Olson enthralled our audience with his real time experiences in the FBI, his role in cyber security, especially in the Middle East, and the training programs he developed for the agency to encourage and improve leadership for the FBI.  He now heads up his own company, Glen Haven International.

   Levi Browde Executive Director of the Falun Data Information Center presented his expert analysis of the current political conditions and threats to personal freedoms in China.

   RCNY member Elira Karaja and Irena Zubcevic presented a whole set of Sustainable Development Goals as envisioned by the United Nations.  Elira will head up a committee task force for our club this year to highlight these goals and help implement sustainable activities to produce the desired results, focusing on the UN recommendations.


*  Membership Committee Chair Bolor Tumurchudur inaugurated a new series of presentations in cooperation with Global Shapers from the World Economic Forum.  They are young successful professionals from all fields that volunteer to make a better world and share experiences and knowledge improving our lives.  Aside form the programs previously mentioned she began the year with an incredible presentation by 

   Prof. Nouriel Roubini an international economics expert who honored us with a Macro Economic Outlook for the world, and Vivian James Reigney who dealt with economic performance goals.

   Erwin Valencia presented a program  entitled Hacking Mental Health that is especially relevant during the pandemic.  He was accompanied by So-Young Kang who discussed the Art of Applying Transformational Design Thinking.

   Jean Sini presented a great program titled "Investing in Tech Innovations" coupled with a program conceived by Oliver Oullier titled "Understanding Your Brain's Health."

   Dr. Mustafa Hussein enlightened the entire audience about the latest advances and the future of Artificial Intelligence and our healthcare while Thanos Papaioannou informed us about the latest Advances in Biotech.  We have been fortunate in getting some great advice about the challenges we faced with COVID and the future of our health care.

   Along these same lines Chandran Nair challenged our thinking in the topic of The Great Reset in the near future.

   Chris Deri discussed the Impacts of ESG on Business and Jonathan Levav presented his forecast on Consumer Behavior Outlook.

Should you be interested in seeing and hearing any of these presentations, they were recorded and are available on You Tube.

*  Since the onset Of COVID 19 there has been a most disturbing and alarming rise in the number of anti-Asian racial incidents in our country.    The RCNY invited Flora Feng to lead a great dialogue on Fostering Community Conversations to Stop AAPI Hate.  The club will continue to present topics on this matter and connect with other Rotary clubs in our District.

*  Every third Wednesday of each month at 9:00 AM our Club's UN Breakfast Committee hosted a virtual ZOOM meeting with Ambassadors, UN Delegates and Foreign Counsels General from a series of countries.  We thank committee chair Jasmin Cowin for her excellent service to RCNY as Chair of the committee.  Beginning in the fall with a meeting with Poland's Counsel General in New York marking the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Solidarity movement in Poland that led to the end of communist rule in that country, we were privy to the most current thoughts and intents of various world leaders.  Dr. Cowin has now relocated and will no longer be able to host what we expect to be live breakfast meetings beginning in September.  Thank you Jasmin for your care, expertise, and leadership  in our Club.  In September, the Chair of the Committee will be Malika Abrous. We remember that Josef Klee and Francis Dubois have created the UN Breakfast meetings initially.  Malika spent a lifetime in the service of UNICEF and we are proud to have her as a leader and source of inspiration in our Club.  We expect the breakfast to be live, in-person at the United Nations itself.  This year we are planning to include a ZOOM component to our live UN breakfast to enable members of our sister Rotary clubs in Mexico City, London, Munich, Rome, and Cairo to join in with us - live.  Please stay tuned and plan to join us - in person!

*  Board member Kalman Angus Clark was precluded from having in person dinners at the Veteran's Shelter on E 119th Street because of COVID restrictions, but has advised that he plans to resume that activity in the fall, hopefully given what we know about the pandemic.  This will be an outstanding and most rewarding activity for all members to participate with Kalman in saying thank you to the men and women who served to protect all of us, and have now fallen on hard times.  These are memorable events that make all of us proud to be Rotarians, and thank Kaman for his graciousness and devotion to those often overlooked.

*  We have several new outstanding members and will be reaching out to them individually.  I am proud to have your confidence for this year with our President Elect Alex Litvinov serving alongside.  There is much we were prevented from doing because of the pandemic, are proud of what was accomplished by our members nonetheless, and are encouraged that we will have the opportunity to move forward this new term.  Financially, the Club is on a very sound footing, and the Foundation is also.  We recently approved support for a project in India bringing screening for breast cancer to women for whom it was not previously available.  We have agreed to sponsor international Global Grant Scholars, including the latest, Manny Zhang who will continue her studies at Columbia.  We will invite her to share with us at our live meetings.   Please accept the standing invitation to become involved in everything your Club does, to make suggestions, criticisms, to volunteer whenever you are able to do so, and to join us as we all celebrate life at our live meetings coming up.  Please invite friends and colleagues to join with us.  We are planning for a gala event early in September to which everyone will be invited.

We aren't out of this pandemic yet.  On behalf of all the Officers and Board Members please stay safe, be well, you are loved and appreciated - be with us always.  Thank you.

Yours in Rotary 

Gerard Schriffen