Posted by Mark Ellis AM
According to Geoff Widmer, Columbia is not the hot spot we used to know. My impressions of Columbia were CIA and Romancing the Stone movies, so it was refreshing and important to note that Columbia has cleaned up its image. Certainly, Geoff, who was the honorary consul for Columbia, was able to guide us though the tourism, government and economic prospects of a health nation. As per usual, the best talks come from our home grown sources and we were not disappointed.
It was a delight to finally induct Garfield Lee into our “family” and more is to come with the induction of Ms Sudha Saini tomorrow. A comment has been made that there was a lot of congestion in that room and 1.5m spacing wasn’t at its best. One reason is the late notification of people that they are coming to the meeting. Our Club Director must have numbers to let Kooyong TC staff know, so they can supply a bigger room if necessary. So please let Rod know and pay well in advance.

Terrace Party – We are hoping on March 29th, we can have our annual BBQ on the terrace. Outside, so COVID friendly. Keep in your diaries since it is always a great social  fellowship night. We will need a show of hands soon if coming. Thanks to Rod Smith for setting this up and the impeccable taste of Lynette Spencer to organise this gourmet BBQ.
Changeover Date – We have set the date for our Changeover as June 14th. Please place this date in your diaries for the big social event on our calendar.
Mental Health Golf Day – On May 24th is the inaugural Kingston Heath Golf Day set up by our member Elisabeth Dumonic with proceedings going to Rotary Mental Health. We as a club really need to get behind her and support this. I thank the committee formed to assist Elisabeth realise her dream. The flyer should be out soon, and the day is aimed at corporate as well as Rotarians, so please spruik the event.
Afghan Music Event – Through David Fallick’s contacts, the Board has decided to consider backing the efforts of the Fred Smith Afghan Fund. In 2022, Australian diplomat, songwriter and author Fred Smith will be playing a series of concerts to help Australians make sense of our involvement in Afghanistan. You will remember that Fred has presented to the club already. These shows will be an opportunity to welcome the over 4000 people recently evacuated to Australia from Afghanistan, and to recognize the efforts of Australian Defense Force members and public servants who helped get them out.
Our club is presently looking for members to be involved in organizing this Melbourne arm of the concert tour most likely for Aug 26th to coincide with the anniversary of the Kabul evacuation. Please ask David or Mark Howlett for information.
District Conference – Albury 22 to 24th April. Please consider coming especially the new members, since this is best way to gain insight into the immense exciting world of Rotary. On the Friday night we have booked a restaurant for the club in the main street, so please let us know who is coming so we can share the details.
Rotary leadership learning and development – There is so much to Rotary that you will miss if you just come as a “knife and forker” and attend the occasional Farmer’s Market. Apart from thanks and a continued encouragement to all for the Farmer’s Market, I encourage everyone to look at the “My Rotary”, District 9800 Learning and Development and the District 9800 Website (gaining access via Member’s resources on our Glenferrie Website.). There is a Rotary Leadership Institute that conducts very well resourced and researched leadership courses. I have asked for the dates but awaiting a reply.
Proposed Cluster Reshuffle – For the time being, this is not going ahead. Clusters need to be reassessed and this will with consultation in probably a future Rotary year but not in the next term of office.
From a recent Cluster meeting with RC Hawthorn and Kew.
International Women’s Day Breakfast (RC Hawthorn) is on Tuesday 8th March from 7.30 am to 9.00 am. The cost is $42 per head and members of Cluster clubs are cordially invited to attend. The guest speaker is Ms Susan Campbell, President/Chair of the Board of the Olive Baden-Powell Society. This Society is a dedicated supporter of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting. Susan is also member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) Capacity Building Team.  
President Mark