Middle East GSE enlightens U.S. team
Less than six months after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States, a Group Study Exchange (GSE) team from District 5490 (parts of Arizona and California, USA) embarked on a study tour of Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon in District 2450.
"I learned so much about the current political and economic situation of the region, as well as the role of women and the lives of both Muslim and Christian Arabs," says team member Jeanine Canty, program coordinator for the Adult Degree Programs at Prescott College in Arizona.
The team met with their vocational counterparts, toured several Rotary club projects, and made presentations at clubs throughout the district. They also made a presentation at the district conference in Manama, Bahrain.
"I found my week in Lebanon to be a true testament to the human spirit, surviving and even thriving in the face of historic adversity," says team member Richard Ullmann, a park ranger at Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park. "A most striking example for me was a Druze orphanage in the Baabda/Aley region. Almost 1,000 children were being cared for and educated, in no small part due to the Aley Rotary club's assistance."
Other project visits included a job fair sponsored by the Rotary Club of Alexandria Cosmopolitan, Egypt, and a hydrotherapy pool for disabled children provided by the Rotary Club of Baabda, Lebanon.
"So many of the clubs are relatively new to Rotary, yet their enthusiasm and good works are exceptional," says team leader and past district governor George Wheeler. "Many club projects were so worthwhile and used Matching Grants well."