Today we welcomed back Javiera Orellena, a past Rotary exchange student who came to Plymouth from Chile....
Members: Denise, Sharon, Bill, Omer, Mike, Paul, Ben, Lisa, Steve, Sara, Braden, Alex, and Ken. 
Guests: Brenna Lynn: PSU student Civic Club project; Isabel Thorne
Speaker: Javiera Orellena - Past Rotary exchange student to Plymouth from Chile
Ben opened the meeting with the pledge, prayer and song. 
Happy Birthday to Bill and Happy Rotary anniversary to Gail.
Sharon introduced Javi as an Interact student from Chili who traveled here as our Plymouth rotary exchange student in 2014-2015.  
Javi thanked us all for hosting her then as it was her first trip away from home and a huge positive experience. She feels the friends she made here are family forever. She returned to finish an extra year of school in Chile and is now in her 3rd year of law school. She feels her connection to Rotary has impacted her decision to major in Humanitarian Law. She started a Rotaract Club in college and was pleased that her brother also became a Rotary exchange student to Germany. She stays connected with her American and RI friends and had a visit from Isabel in Chile. Chile is currently in partial shutdown due to COVID, the health minister was forced to resign over his lack of performance. Nearly all education is done remotely now.
The biggest news from Chile is that for the past 18 months the country has been focused on protest to fight for a new constitution. Over 2 million people gathered for their largest demonstration. Areas of most concern are the rights of the Mapache, a native indigenous population, equality for women, LGBTQ, and the disabled. The fight to change laws that discriminate women's legal status after marriage, and provide an end to violence against women is driving a lot of the direction in this protest. Parliament has created a Peace Agreement with guidelines on how to craft the new Constitution. A public vote was held as to who would make up the writers of the new constitution and was overwhelmingly won by the decision that 100% of the "writers" would be citizens and not parliamentary members. 50% of the writers will be women with representation for all minority groups. This long process will result in a referendum that all citizens will vote on to ratify. 
  • Steve asked about her law focus and Javi stated her time in the US influenced her decision to target human rights.
  • Lisa commented on how pleased she was to see the country's progress.
  • Steve asked about the large numbers of women involved  and how it began. Javi explained that previously, women had been involved in Feminist protest and strikes to reduce the brutality, abuse and discrimination.
  • Sharon asked about her connections to other RI students, and Javi told us she had traveled to Spain to visit RI friends. 
Ben spoke about the District Leadership seminar on Saturday that he, Mike, and Denise attended. The guest speakers topic was improving diversity within Rotary.  Ben also spoke about the Presidents meeting and invited members to join today's noon meeting on Polio and a meeting next Tuesday where the new RI president will be the guest speaker. All information and sign ups are on the site.
Ken gave a PGT wrap up with huge thanks to Sara for making it all happen and Lisa for the idea. $20,000 has been generated and checks are being mailed out to the category winners. 
  • Alex asked if the format would be easy to reuse next year and Sara felt it would. 
  • Denise asked if PGT could be repeated but not as a primary fund raising event if the Penny Sale was to be held to avoid double dipping from our Sponsors. Sharon commented on the virtual platform promoting inclusion. 
  • Paul asked if we could recruit an assistant to support the hours Sara contributed next year.
Ben reminded us that we are meeting on the Common on Saturday the 28th at 9am to decorate. Alex and Steve asked to present information and request support for a Drive- thru- Holiday event December 19th. They will present their ideas at Friday's board meeting. 
Respectfully submitted,