By Kris Martinsek
The Milwaukee Rotary Club has been selected by
Rotary International to participate in an exchange and
partnership program through the Open World Leader
Center (OWLC). The OWLC is an independent government agency of the US Congress and the program is
designed to enhance understanding and cooperation
between Congress, American communities, and global
From September 27 through October 5, our Club will
host a delegation from Serbia travelling to the US to
learn about Watershed Management and Wastewater
Treatment. The delegation will include five delegates,
a facilitator and a translator. Our challenge is to
create an educational program as well as entertainment and social activities spanning the nine day visit.
Rotary members are also being asked to provide home
stays for the delegates. It’s a big job but we know
our members will rise to the occasion.
Program: The World Service Committee has been
working with organizations including MMSD, the City
of Milwaukee Water Department, UWM School of
Freshwater Sciences, the Water Council, Menomonee
Valley Partners, River Revitalization Council, and the
Harbor District to create tour and education opportunities. We will finalize the September 27-October 4
program in the coming weeks.
Social Events: We have time the weekend they
arrive (September 27-29) and weekday evenings to
plan some cultural and social activities. Again, several
generous club members have offered to host dinners
and the delegation will be our guests at the Tuesday
Rotary lunch. Open Doors Milwaukee offers some fun
options, museums, and shopping are all possibilities.
We hope to round out a schedule later this month
when we receive bios on each delegate and learn
more about their backgrounds and interests. But right
now we know that since 2012 about 40% of delegates have been under 30, and more than half have
been federal, regional, or local government officials.
So if you have suggestions or can step up to plan or
host an activity, please contact us.
We will divide each of the 12 hour days into three four hour shifts, morning, afternoon, and evening and will
need lots of volunteers to make this work. We will
need a 12-passenger van driver and hosts every day
to accompany the group all nine days. By the end of
August, we hope to have a detailed schedule so we
can begin to slot volunteers and be more specific about
duties and timing. For now, please just consider participating and let us know when you might be available
and your area of interest – providing a room, driving
the van, hosting a meal or an event, accompanying the
group for a morning or afternoon, or anything else you
feel would enhance the experience and enrich their
time with us.
Please contact the Rotary Office if you would like
to volunteer your time.