March 10 - World Friendship Day

Join us as we celebrate World Friendship Day.  Think of the Anne Brown, at 2016 Celebration cultural impact we share and communicate;  the lasting impressions we gain from each country we visit.

Share an International recipe to share at the potluck.

Dress with International flair.

Invite interested (and interesting) friends.

Please note:  this event will start at 6pm at our regular meeting place:  First Christian Church, 2000 N. Lincoln, Loveland.  NOTE THE CHANGE OF TIME:  6:00 pm!

February 10 - Agricultural Engineering in Africa

Terry Podmore, CSU Professor Emeritus in Civil and Environmental Terry Podmore, program speaker Engineering, spoke with us of his experiences and his role in EMI (Engineering Ministries International).  This group specializes in sustainable agriculture, which Terry enhances with his specialty in Irrigation and Drainage.

Terry is a native of England who has enjoyed assignments in Australia, Canada and most recently Colorado.

A project in Uganda has been focused on sustainable agriculture at the EMI pastoral and agricultural training center.  This project has enabled crop and animal production for both food supply and training.

January 13, 2017 - "Orphan" of WWII

This is Ruth Cooper’s true story of her parents who left their two Ruth Cooper, program speaker girls in Germany at the beginning of WWII. Her parents felt compelled to go to China to be missionaries and left the two daughters behind to fend for themselves. There are few left who can relate this type of story regarding WWII.

We hope you were with us to hear Ruth speak of her turbulent childhood:  her travels and emotions during this dreadful historic period.

December 9 - Holiday Party

The annual Northern Colorado Holiday Social Gathering was celebrated on Friday, December 9 from 6 to 9pm at the Adriel Hills Clubhouse.Suzi Gossard, Party Organizer

Nearly fifty of our members attended the festive affair planned by Esther Johnsen and Suzi Gossard (left). They and their committee members produced a warm and delightful atmosphere for fellowship, food, and music.

The music came with a visit from the Acapella Choir from Fossil Ridge HS, directed by John Garner (son of our own Marilyn Garner).

November 11 - Exchange Examples

Our November meeting program featured in-depth looks at a few of the exchangNovember Exchanges progam participantses within Friendship Force International from Club members who had recently participated in exchanges as they shared their experiences.

Exchange examples included:  Whidbey on the Water, a themed global Exchange with FF Whidbey Island, WA;  FFNC to Ontario, Canada, an International Club-to-blub Cultural Exchange;  Peaks to Plains, a global Exchange visiting all 6 clubs within the Mountain States Region (2-3 days with each club - Cheyenne, N. Colorado, Denver, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Salt Lake City) ; and the 2016 FFI World Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco.

October 14 - Palestinian-Israeli Relations

Dr. Robert Tello has had great interest in the Middle East for most of his adult life.  Following an historical background of the area, Dr. Tello reviewed the historical, geographical and political transformation of the Israeli and Palestinian people.

In closing, Dr. Tello said he believes that peace between Israel and Pelestine will come from groups like Friendship Force and Rotary International and the people, not from politicians.

Sept. 9 - Water in N. Colo.

Gene Webb spoke to us about Northern Colorado's drainage system, water rights, water distribution and area growth.Speaker Gene Webb

Northern Colorado drainage includes the South Platte, Boulder Canyon, Poudre, Clear Creek and Big Thompson rivers.  Most dangerous is the Big Thompson, 75 miles in length, which through the narrows, runs 25 times faster than the Mississippi.

Water rights acquired by other states before Colorado was a state has put Colorado in a unique and unenviable position:  it's populace cannot save or use its water more than once due to pacts with down-steam states.

With 71% of our water utilized for agriculture, municpal growth has increased the competition for available water resources.

August 14 - Annual Picnic

Our annual picnic, in lieu of July and August meetings, was held with the Cheyenne FF club in Cheyenne.  FFNC was well represented, with 37 of us present.

Food:  Delicious.  Chicken, side dishes and dessert.

FF Cheyenne Judy Eatmon presented the Cheyenne clb's annual "Spirit of Friendship Force" award to David Larsen: a stained-glass wall hanging of FF clasped hands.

June 10 - The Peace Corps

Originally established with 50 volunteers sent to Ghana on August 30, 1961, the Peace Corps has endured enormous world changes and flourished for more than five decades. The volunteer service program continues to enjoy a defined place of acceptance among USA-sponsored goodwill efforts throughout the world. More than 220,000 volunteers have been involved since the organization’s inception.

Peace Corps Response, a short-term, high-impact service option for mature adults, will also be featured in the presentation. This program offers specialized assignments of 3 to 12 months each. More than 2,500 volunteers have now served in the Response Program, and nearly 40% of them have been over the age of 50.

Please join us;  learn how you might serve and make an impact.

May 13-14 - Regional Conference

Western Colorado FF members were superb hosts for our 2016 biannual Mountain States Regional Conference held in Grand Junction.  Of the 62 attendees, 18 were from FFNC (29%) we were well represented.

Conference in session

FFI was represented by Matthew Nidek (Director of Programs and Leadership Initiatives) and FFI board member, Dave Kalan (FF Milwaukee).  Matthew and Dave participated in the program of sessions and workshops highlighting the "New Directions" theme.

FFWC members Sue Moyer and Sue Palmer planned, coordinated and led this successful conference.  However, it was not all work and no play.  There were optional tours of downtown Grand Junction, the area wine country and the Colorado National Monument.

See "Regional" for more reporting and additional pictures.

April 8-Personal account of Iraqi refugee to Denver area

Speaker Dr Enas Alsharea


Dr. Enas Alsharea was our speaker, her topic “Fenced In: Personal Accounts and Causes of Internally Displaced Persons.”

Dr. Alsharea was born and raised in Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq War. She graduated from the University of Almustansirya with a degree in dentistry and the University of Baghdad with a master’s in orthodontics.  Enas now lives with her family in the Denver area.  She plans to continue studies in order to practice dentistry in this country.

Enas shared some of the decisions she and her immediate and extended families had to make in order to remain safe in Iraq and then to eventually get to the United States.

March 22-World Friendship Day and FFNC Happy 30th Birthday!

March is Friendship Force’s birth month, and this year’s celebration was extra special in Northern Colorado! Not only did FFI turn thirty-nine, but our local club also turned thirty! To mark the occasion, and also recognize World Friendship Day, FFNC transformed its monthly meeting into a festive evening of international sights, sounds, smells, and sharing. It was an exceptional affair for over eighty attendees, including twenty-seven guests.

The final delight of the evening was our afterdinner international student panel, moderated by Marcia Ross. We heard from three young Vietnamese (Van Hoang, Linh Chi, and Hung Nguyen), Kwami Noudemidjan from Togo, and Vishwal Shah from India. Marcia challenged the young folks with questions about their homeland and also their experiences in the U.S. (particularly Northern Colorado). The students were certainly up to the challenge!

Q&A with foreign CSU students

February 12- Wandering Botanist

Kathy Keeler is a self-described Wandering Botanist who writes and speaks about plants with a special emphasis on the travel and history that surrounds them. She is a retired professor of biology and now lives in Loveland. Kathy will be at our next meeting of The Friendship Force of Northern Colorado to address the history and biology of southern Spain, with special reference to the plants of the region.

Southern Spain, offers a different climate and a different history from the rest of Europe. Those differences are greatest along the southern coast, where temperatures are mildest and cultural ties to the Moorish culture are deepest.

Please join us for this interesting presentation. Let’s broaden our horizons together.

January 8, 2016 - Cuba

Cuba – New Horizons In The Caribbean was the subject of a presentation by Andrew and Lisa Haines Andrew and Lisa Haines. The couple took part in an educational exchange program to Cuba in 2015 and spoke about the rules that were in effect between the two countries just before and since the USA and Cuba began to restore diplomatic relations.

Andrew and Lisa's tour premise was two-fold: to learn more about Cuba and the changes that are taking place there, and to work toward building positive relationships with the citizens of Cuba..

December 11 Holiday Party

We met at Johnson’s Corner for the annual holiday dinner on December 11 at 6:00 pm. Anne Brown planned a festive gathering with a main course of chicken and roastbeef.Holiday Party Table - 2015
The tables were decorated with poinsettias that were given to attendees through a drawing of names at the end of the evening.

Our entertainment for the evening, Sterling Snyder played his guitar and sang holiday music.

November 13 - Peru

We hope you will join us to hear and learn about the incredibly rich and deep culture of Peru. Ambassadors have pulled together a visual treat and will relate experiences from our July 8-29, 2015 Peru Exchanges.

Machu Pichu, Peru

In July—14 Ambassadors joined Exchange Director Alice Gibson for a marathon of memories in Peru. Our hearts were first captured in the Spanish colonial city of Trujillo, located some 300 miles north of Lima. There we got an introduction to fascinating Chimu culture, learned about the Peruvian love of dance, and attended an exhibition of the Peruvian Horse show and dance of the Marinera Nortena.

A second jaw-dropping week followed when we joined the capital-city club in Lima
for an exchange packed with tours, museums, cultural performances, and friendship.

The last awesome days found us flying off to Cuzco to join a tour that included air,
bus, train, and boat travel. This adventure introduced us to Machu Pichu, the Sacred
Valley of the Urubamba River, and on between high mountains to Puno and Lake
Titicaca on the Bolivian border.

October 8 - Recap FFI World Conference

Cinda Clark, FFNC member and FFI board member, will provide a recap of the Friendship Force International World Conference, held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in August. 

Cinda will speak about the overall state of the Friendship Force organization, give an update regarding the current search for a new FFI President, and present a short overview of various conference workshops.

Join us to learn more about the future and direction of Friendship Force.

September 11 - Dioramas share History through Art

Andres Flores shared some of his dioramas with our club, sharing his passion for history and art.

At age 12, Andres developed an interest in WWII and military aviation. He built models of villages and planes, completing his first diorama at age 14. He exhibited his work in the Larimer County Fair, receiving very positive response & was featured in the Greeley Tribune.

Andres has created dioramas of German and Italian villages and cities, complete with intricate detail including all aspects of the life of each place, unique landscapes, homes and other buildings, vehicles and aircraft, bodies of water, and in every case, the focus is on people themselves. These strikingly realistic works of art bring history to life!

As a CSU student, Andres, has worked in inner-city Denver in teaching fellowships. He currently works for Frank Ward doing restoration and development of historical displays. He is involved with the Honor Flight program, and said that he has enjoyed the opportunities to interact with the veterans.

August 23 - Successful Annual Picnic

WOW!  If you missed the annual picnic, you missed a really fun event with a huge gathering of happy, friendly people and delicious food!  Joining about 57 members from FFNC and 15 from Cheyenne were 20 guests from New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada and Tennessee. It was truly a global event!  Besides all of the wonderful food, guests enjoyed conversation and fellowship, and several attendees had fun playing lawn games. It’s always such a treat to meet new friends from around the world. Inevitably when we compare exchange stories we find friends in common from all over the world.

2015 Picnic Participants

A big thank you goes to everyone who helped with set-up, clean-up, yard games, bringing ice, bringing drinks, hanging our banners, and interacting with our guests. Sue helped to keep the ambassadors and host up to date, Gary did a great job welcoming everyone, and we owe many thanks to Cindy Paulson and Cathy McCallum for taking photos of the group and of the hosts and ambassadors. Also, thanks to those who helped to accommodate our huge crowd by bringing extra tables and chairs, and to everyone for bringing such a wonderful array of delicious food. Luckily, the weather cooperated, too! The hosts and ambassadors enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the Benson Sculpture Garden after the picnic.

June 12 - Life in Donetsk, Ukraine

Between 1990 and 2000, Bill Cooper was an adjunct professor for Denver Seminary, teaching in seminaries in Moscow, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. He taught in Haiti for many years after that, and he and his wife were there during the 2010 earthquake.

Ukraine Map

What’s it like to live in Donetsk, Ukraine? What do the people there think of as normal? What does it mean there to “go shopping”? What would make you afraid if you lived there? What would you get paid for your work there?

Bill answered these and many more questions about Donetsk and Ukraine. Hope you were able to make it.

May 8 - Writer Teresa Funke

Teresa Funke is the award-winning author of six works of fiction for adults and children based on true stories from World War II, including her multi-cultural series for children and adult booksTeresa Funke Dancing in Combat Boots and Remember Wake. 

Teresa discovered that fifth grade children had not heard about WWII when they would skip recess to listen to her stories.  She has written four books for children ages 8 and up.  Teachers now create lesson plans to include her books.

Her blog, Bursts of Brilliance for a Creative Life, has led to radio appearances and speaking invitations.  Teresa also serves as speaker, presenter, and writer's coach (how to write, publish and sell your books).

She is active in the community, sponsoring programs and participating in events that serve at-risk, low-income and Hispanic children and their families, veteran groups and seniors.

As are our members, Teresa is an avid travel.  Wales is next on her itinerary.

April 10 - Identity Theft

At our FFNC April meeting, Jamie Sigley spoke to us about the various dangers present in our "normal" world.  Fraudsters seek opportunities to assume personal information that then leads to identity theft.

Jamie, a bank officer at a Loveland Wells Fargo office, reminded us of various schemes that permit thieves to steal pocket books and wallets, account numbers and pin numbers, and other information that can lead to theft from our bank and credit card accounts.

March 13 - World Friendship Day and Guatemala

The annual celebration of World Friendship Day was filled with fellowship and food! We started the evening with a fun social mixer, trying to name the country from which 22 hanging flags came (thanks to members Phil & Linda Smith for their flag collection). Unfortunately, no one was able to name all 22 countries...guess that means we need more travel!

Our programs on the “Mission Exchange” (Nancy & Ed Brigden) and the Habitat for Humanity efforts in Guatemala (Dr. Robert & Judy Kron and Paulette Weaver) were exceptional. We all learned more about the extreme poverty, medical, and housing needs of this nation as well as the happiness and beauty of its people. Thank you to all who helped make this evening a success!       Barbara Miller

February 13 - Compass USA

Jessica Cummings, from Compass USA, will fill us in on this wonderful program.  This program, similar to Friendship Force, brings teenagers from foreign countries to a different country for total immersion for one month.  With a family of another culture, these teens strive to "live and learn together to build bridges of understanding to truly appreciate our differences in an ever-changing world."

Join us to hear Jessica and Julia Togbe, a teacher in a Loveland middle school who led this program in Northern Colorado last July, fill us in.

January 9, 2015 - New Zealand

Gary and Sue Cummins presented an overview of their four-week journey through New Zealand, including a tour of the South Island, two one-week home stays on the North Island, and attendance at the World Conference in Auckland.Their presentation included photos of some of the most beautiful places they’ve seen outside of Colorado.

December 12, 2014 - Holiday Party

Approximately 50 members gathered to celebrate the upcoming holidays in grand fashion at Dorothy’s Catering in Loveland on Friday, Dec. 12th. As folks arrived, their brains were taxed with the Scrabble Letter ice-breaker... greeting each other, exchanging letters and making new words. Later in the evening fabulous prizes (thanks Kay T.) were given for:

Party Committee

Most 2 letter words (Bev Goering)

Most holiday words (Gary Cummins)

Longest word (Nancy Brigden)

Most words created:

3rd Place-Marcia Ross-75

2nd Place-Dennis Miller-93

1st Place-Donna Clark-107 words

The committee, Kay Thomas, Cheryl Stevens, Rona Baer, and Barbara Miller wish to thank all the members who were able to attend and support this social get together. It’s always time well spent when we can meet our new members (Barbara, Phyllis, Pat and Duane) and remember past trips with friends we’ve made along the way.

November 14 - Learn about FF Founder, Wayne Smith

Barbara Guilford, Mt. States Regional Field Rep, provided the program at our November 14 meeting. Barbara’s program, “Shining a Light on WayneSmith,” detailed the life of Wayne Smith, founder of The Friendship Force International. Mr. Smith, with support from Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, founded FFI in Atlanta, GA in 1977, and was instrumental in the organization’s development, leadership and growth for many years.

Program presenter, Barbara Guilford

After recent travels to Atlanta and Big Canoe, Georgia, Guilford has worked to compile a history of Wayne Smith’s life, including his remarkable work as founder of The Friendship Force, an organization which connects people throughout the world, through its signature homehosting program. “A World of Friends is a World of Peace.” Thousands of citizen ambassadors participate in Friendship Force exchanges each year.

Each year, Friendship Force International honors outstanding individuals who exemplify the goals and ideals of the organization with “The Wayne Smith Medal.” Wayne Smith Medals are awarded to deserving members by local Friendship Force clubs throughout the world. Seven members of FFNC have been honored with this award.

October 10 - Kenya Humanitarian Mission

Dr. Carl Olsen, Loveland ophthalmologist, participated in a three week medical and humanitarian mission in Kenya. His work was part of Samaritan’s Purse, a non-denominational Christian organization which provides aid to people around the world.

Dr. Olsen’s mission served patients needing treatments & surgeries for eye conditions and injuries. The medical group brought 15 bins of donated medical equipment & supplies for the hospital. Their work was based at the Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya. This 300 bed facility was founded in 1937 by World Gospel Mission and has since grown to be a leading provider of quality healthcare in Western Kenya.

During their time in Kenya, Dr. Olsen and his group saw and treated patients at the Tenwek Hospital and also at outreach clinics in SW Kenya. People who otherwise would not have access to basic medical and surgical care are evaluated at the outreach clinics and then are scheduled to travel to Tenwek to receive the needed treatments.

September 12 - Kiel, Germany & Ship Cruise along Norway and Sweden

Ambassadors of the Kiel Exchange shared their itinerary and impressions. While in Kiel, they traveled by train, bus, and ferries throughout the city, taking in the various sites such as: local cathedrals, churches, government buildings, the fish markets, and the Miniature Wonderland.

Exchange members were able to attend Kiel’s FF monthly meeting, where they presented a Colorado Flag. New friendships & many memories!  FFNC members may look forward
to hosting the Friendship Force of Kiel next spring.

Following the Kiel Exchange, Exchange members boarded the cruise ship to see Kristiansand, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Flam, & Stravanger Norway, & Goteborg, Sweden. Ambassadors enjoyed the luxury of spacious cabins with private balconies, nightly entertainment and formal dinners. At every port were several excursion options of bus tours, walking tours, shopping, dining, etc.

August 24 - Picnic - FFNC & FF Cheyenne

We hoped that you joined in the fun and comaraderie at the annual picnic for FFNC and Cheyenne members.  Participants had a great time as they met, greeted and networked among our many friends to the north..

June 13 - Regional Conference Highlights

We’ll be viewing a slide show about FFI put together by a Nebraska club member. FFI President Joy DeBenedetto used this to lead us through a bit of the past, the present, and what she sees as the future of our organization at the recent Regional
Conference in Salt Lake City.

And there is much more information you’ll want to hear from those who attended—we learned from various experts (including Cindy Paulson and Betty Jean DeMersseman from our club).

Come learn what those who attended learned about promotion and publicity, photography, packing and travel tips, recruitment, mentoring new members, and keeping new members engaged.

May 9 - Myanmar Global Trip

FFNC members, Dot Cada and Patti Stickler, shared their enthusiasm for their recent trip to Myanmar (Burma) from Febr4uary 19 through March 5.

All cultural Ambassadors brought aid, including donations from their respective clubs, Ambassadors were referred as "Trusted Partners", as "Force" is suspect to the authorities.

The people were very warm and welcoming!  The Ambassadors visited a remote village near Inle Lake, where a wonderful meal was prepared for 41 people, including village leaders.  The cost for this meal was about $75.00, and included the cost to feed the invited villagers.  While dining, Dot inquired about the women and children;  "...the women have children and children are too noisy".

April 11 - Egypt

Guest speaker Wahid Awad is a PHD student in Agriculture and farming and is the Director of Graduate Affairs, Associated Students at CSU. He updated us on the statistics of Egypt and its 83 million inhabitants (Over 8 million live abroad; primary religion is Islam-Muslim; food is mostly vegetables and rice with spices; capitol city is Cairo - 10 million people within 175 square miles; higher education is free; national sport is soccer; the Nile River - World's longest river at 4258 miles - traverses the City.) Program speaker Wahid Awad

Wahid was part of the Egyptian revolution. For 8 months he worked on higher education research, attended protest meetings, got into politics and taught. The reasons for the revolution were Hosni Mubarak’s intention to pass power to his son (no elections) and other factors, including emergency law, police brutality, election fraud and corruption, free speech and press restrictions, economic challenges, high unemployment and government corruption. The government of President Morsi disappointed many citizens when it excluded government positions for other than the Muslim brotherhood. Now an interim government is in power as citizens are awaiting new elections to be held soon.

We thank Wahid as a good-will Ambassador for his presentation on Egyptian culture and politics. Folowing his degree, Wahid plans to return to Egypt to become an associate professor at Cairo University or to start his own seed company.

March 14 - World Friendship Day Celebration

A 6:00pm potluck started our World Friendship Day celebration.  Many participants were  adorned with clothing and items acquired from many foreign cultural Exchanges.

Nita Koplyay and Mary Riney

Following the delicious international potluck, club President Marilyn Garner read a letter from the new national FFI President Joy DiBenadetto "wishing all a fulfilled life lived in friendship". Our club was honored to have Cinda Clark, who serves on the international board of directors for FFI, give her overview of the history,purpose and future activities of Friendship Force Internation.

February 14 - Jewels of Eastern Europe

Led by our own Cinda Clark, 27 Ambassadors embarked on a fall, 2013 tour through Central Europe, enjoying the rich history, incredible architecture and scenic beauty of the region.

David & Lana Bump

The Czech Republic (Prague), Poland (Krakow), Slovakia, Hungary (Budapest) and Austria (Vienna) offered many highlights and delightful experiences.  Our group members were Ambassadors for a homestay with Bratislava FF in this capital city of Slovakia.

Cinda completed the presentation with a poignant tribute to the contributions and companionship of a very special Ambassador from the group, the late Ed Jakubauskas, on his last Friendship Force journey.

January 10, 2014 - World Adventurers

David and Lana Bump presented an extraordinary program as they shared their adventures and insights from their 12-month travels through 34David & Lana Bump countries on 6 continents. 

For more pictures and more information, click on Newsletters, then February, 2014.

Hiking, snorkeling, touring and visits during the year included travel by plane, boat, bus, car, Jeep, scooter, tuk-tuk, bicycle, kayak, foot, balloon, elephant, camel and donkey.

What did they get from this grand effort?  A sense of perspective on their place in the world and their responsibilities.

December 13, 2013 - Holiday Party

We celebrated this holiday season with our FFNC group at Dorothy's Catering in Loveland.

Check out two pages of pictures and dialogue in our January newsletter:  Click on Newsletters, then January 2014.

November 8 - Cuba

FFNC member Paulette Weaver shared with us her February, 2012 trip to Cuba under the auspices of Global Exchange and Eco Cuba.  This customized experience focused on sustainable agriculture, farm cooperatives, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and environmental issues.

First dependent on the Soviet Union and then Venezuela, Cuba is now focused on developing sustainable agricultural and environmental practices to become more self-supporting.  Now the economy is slowly improving, due to tourism from Europe, Canada and the USA (from Cuban-Americans).

October 11 - Switzerland

Loveland resident Harry Love was the speaker for our October 11 FFNC meeting, where he presented a program entitled “Hiking the Swiss Haute Route - Verbier to Zermatt”. He shared what it was like to trek the Alpine mountain passes and his impressions of the scenery, culture and hospitality of Switzerland.

Harry and his wife Jody have traveled extensively both through their careers with a French oilfield services company, Schlumberger Limited, and for personal pleasure. They’ve traveled across the United States and in 30 foreign countries around the globe. Active community volunteers, they are especially committed to helping with projects that provide opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills required for self-sufficiency.

September 13 - Cancelled

Our September meeting was cancelled due to area flooding.

August 18 - Annual Picnic

Northern Colorado hosted the annual Regional FF Picnic at North Lake Park, Loveland  on Sunday, August 18.

The Northern Colorado, Cheyenne and Estes Park clubs came together for a joint picnic and an opportunity to socialize and network with nearby friends.  See the September FFNC Newsletter for a review and numerous photos.

June 14 Meeting - Harrisburg, PA Exchange

The June meeting included election of 2014 officers, a raffle drawing, a big welcome to our Willamette Valley, Oregon Ambassadors on an inbound Exchange for the week.

Ambassadors from our out-bound Exchange to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania shared their impressions from their May visit.  Gettysburg, Lancaster County (Amish country), Hershey and Harrisburg (Capital of Pennsylvania) were among the Exchange destinations.

May 10 Meeting - Myanmar (Burma)

Dot Cada (Exchange Director) and Ambassadors Harrison Cochran and Don Winters shared photos and information about their sojourn to and experiences in Myanmnar.

During three weeks of exploration, Dot and 23 Ambassadors traveled throughout Myanmar to meet with people to share the benefits of Friendship Force.  Four cities expressed interest in the FF concept:  Yangon, Mandolay, Bagan and Inle Lake.

Exchange members also delivered medical supplies to orphanages, water purification system materials (as a Rotary partner) and took pen-pal letters to Banagan children from a school in California.

Dot has plans to organize another FF visit to Myanmar, in Jnauary or February of 2014.

April 12 Meeting - Costa Rica

The April meeting featured an Ambassador-presented program on Costa Rica. We hope that you were among those who enjoyed this presentation that included pictures and first-hand accounts.

Ambassadors experienced warm people, great vegetation and amazing flowers, and saw most intriguing birds and animals.

March 8 Meeting - World Friendship Day

At our March 8 meeting, we were all treated to an international pot luck supper to celebrate World Friendship Day.  Although optional, many wore some international attire.

We were enthralled by a program about the culture of Thailand presented by Meike Presett, a high school senior at Fossil Ridge High School in Ft. Collins, who returned recently from a one-school-year Rotary Exchange.

February 8 Meeting - Brazil

       FFNC Ambassadors reported and shared their wonderful and Iguassu Falls exciting experiences from our September, 2012 Exchanges to Sao Jose do Rio Preto and Curitiba, Brazil.  They shared some stories, hitting the high points of what they saw, whom they met and the lasting friendships that they made.

       We also reviewed their five-day extension to Iguassu Falls and Rio de Janeiro.

January 11, 2013 Meeting - Syria ... a Failed State

Ed Jakubauskas, an FFNC member, presented a program on Syria, entitled “Anatomy of a Failed State”.  He introduced us to the history of the area and walked us through the events that bring us to current times.

Syria is in an ancient region formerly called Mesopotamia. It was once part of the Roman
Empire, then taken over by Arabs. Finally in 1453 the Turkish Ottomans occupied to spread their power over the Balkans and Northern Africa. In WWI the Turks sided with Germany so after the war (1918) they lost territory to France and Great Britain who divided the Middle East between them ignoring natural ethnic areas. Syria was under French Mandate and was first set up as a Hashemite Kingdom, like Jordan and some other areas. Lebanon was set up as a nation from this area to include Beirut.

In Syria, local family ties, religions, cities and regions are very important. The ethnic groups are Kurds, Arabs, Circassians, Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. The religious groups are the Sunnis, Shia, Alawites, Christians, and Druze. The political groups are the Baath party (Arab nationalists), and Muslim Brotherhood.

The Sunnis dominated the economy and the Alawites dominated the military. There were power struggles and the losers were killed or went into exile.

Within the Alawites, General Hafez Assad was a cunning, ruthless officer in the Air Force, and emerged as the dictator in 1971. His son, Bashar, was a student of ophthalmology in London when his older brother (Bassel) died in an auto accident in 1994. When Bashar became president in 2000, people who hoped for change under his rule were disappointed.