Members share about their International travels: Khassan Saka on his talk at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland and Gordon Drake on his trips to Egypt, Jordan and China.
First meeting of 2020 welcomed two of our own members, Khassan Saka and Gordon Drake, as well as Gord’s “better half”, Mary Lou. Khassan spoke about his experiences as a speaker at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland in November, 2019. Although he had many topics to cover for the over 2000 people in attendance, he was given short notice requiring him to trim his speech down to 2 minutes. He explained the need for more programs and funding for new refugees who come to Canada after suffering extensive amounts of trauma. Many are simply not prepared to be thrust into a new life without aid, and programs like his Iraqi Canadian Group Organization are extremely important during this transition period. Khassan looks forward to being involved in the future to represent Canada at the UN, and thanks Rotary and his Rotarian friends for being important role models in his pursuit to serving humanity.
Gordon and Mary Lou Drake came up to the podium dressed in the traditional Egyptian clothing they had purchased from river merchants while on their boat on the Nile, setting the stage for their presentation on China and Egypt: A Comparison of Ancient Civilizations. The focus was on 4 main topics: Life after death, writing, money and tools and weapons. Beautiful pictures were presented throughout their talk, providing references for comparisons. As examples, the Main Pyramid at Giza and the Terracotta Warriors near Xi’an were both built primarily as structures for the afterlife of the Pharaoh (Egypt) and the Emperor (China). In terms of writing, the two civilizations differed in that Egyptian hieroglyphics unfortunately became obsolete and were hard to decipher, whereas the Oracle Bones script, the earliest known form of Chinese writing from the Shang Dynasty, is the oldest form of writing still in use today. The Drakes ended their talk with the idea that our ancient ancestors were every bit as smart as we are, the only difference being the lack of examples of how to do things better, “both in technology and sociology”.

Click here for more pictures from this meeting (courtesy of Gordon Drake)