Spoke Newsletter – 09-17-2020

Spoke Newsletter – 09-17-2020


Professional Indian diplomat DR. SUSMITA GONGULEE THOMAS with 39 years of experience in international political and economic diplomacy has served in Spain, Japan, USA, Cote d’ Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Chile and Turkey. As India’s Ambassador to Cote d’ Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, she successfully repatriated thousands of stranded Indians from these war-torn countries, extending timely humanitarian help. Indo-Chilean bilateral relations experienced a meteoric rise during her tenure as India’s Ambassador. She was the driving force behind the negotiations for the bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement. During her tenure, trade between the two countries grew from USD 200 million to USD 2.5 billion. She diversified the bilateral trade relations into new fields like pharmaceuticals, IT, alternative medicine, distance education, space and Antarctica research. As Consul General to San Francisco, her jurisdiction covered 15 states of the western seaboard of the USA. She was the first CG to visit Guam and connected with almost all Governors in her jurisdiction to enhance bilateral economic and mutual understanding. As Ambassador in Turkey, she increased trade to USD 7 billion. She ensured visits by President and Vice President of India improving mutual understanding. AMBASSADOR THOMAS holds a Masters Degree in Chemistry. She studied US Foreign Policy Process in University of Maryland, USA under a Ford Foundation Scholarship. She was recognized by the Project Management Institute USA as an influential diplomat who has contributed substantially to spreading the message about the importance of Project Management. She helped create Project Management discipline in Universities of Santo Tomas and Desarollo, Santiago. The University of Santo Tomas Chile honored with a doctorate honoris cause for her work in strengthening international relations. She is perhaps the only Indian ambassador to have traveled to both the Arctic and Antarctic circles. 


We enjoyed having Congressman PETE AGUILAR with us, zooming from his backyard as at that moment his two sons were distance learning at Moore Middle School and Redlands East Valley High School. Pete was upbeat as ever, discussed a lot of Covid related support and funding before fielding several questions all over the political road map. He also talked about some of the more interesting committees he has been appointed to. Great to have you with us Pete! 


HEATHER ROSS from Mission Assistencia will talk about this unique property in its newest iteration. This 200-year-old facility has a lot of history and has survived a lot of changes in ownership and use. Hopefully, HEATHER is as knowledgeable as some of our members about this unique property and its place in our town and history. 


Have you tried out the al fresco dining experience downtown during the weekends on and around State Street? Since it was not 110+ degrees like Labor Day weekend, we decided to give it a try. With fellow Rotarian TOM CUTLER and our spouses, we settled upon a nice State Street venue. Saturday evening, lovely temperature, lovely couple to share a meal with. There were lots of people of all ages downtown enjoying being out and about engaged in many activities. Music was plentiful including the ensemble we sat near who were trying to drown out anther band about 50 yards west, both in competition with some kid and a boom box in Ed Hales Park. Musical mashup and smoke aside, the next couple months could be great times to get out Thursday through Saturday evenings. 


As FORREST HOWE or any good planned giving specialist can tell you, if you want to live a long time make a charitable gift to an institution that does not receive until you pass. Another way to ensure longevity coupled with job security is be our club secretary. This s a very important job, with little, okay no, pay. For us right now that responsibility falls on the shoulders of RALPH FELLER. Ralph has been doing this for us for a long time. However, once upon a time our club secretary was Don Kleckner, who did it even longer than Ralph has, something like 20 years. Then again if you go back farther in time there was the Y director and circus founder, Roy Coble who was club secretary for like 40 years. Now that is Service Above Self. 


It has come to my attention that some of you have had a difficult time getting on the Zoom meetings. In fact, our Congressman had difficulty last week. I have been setting up meetings several meetings ahead of time. This may have caused some problems. So, I will only be placing one Zoom meeting on my personal account each week. This should result in your receiving only the Zoom meeting link for that Thursday. If you are unable to access the meeting for any reason please let me know as soon as possible. Our unusually low attendance continues. So, we need to do all we can to make sure those who want to be at the meeting will make it without problems. 

Editor – Neal Waner – Edition No. 12, September 17th, 2020

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