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ROTARY CLUB OF
On Monday, February 8th, Andrew Staunton will speaking virtually to the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs.
Andrew Staunton took up his appointment in Atlanta as Her Majesty’s Consul General in June 2018. Andrew is the senior UK government representative in the Southeast United States responsible for relations with the states of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama. He leads a team which works to promote UK-US trade and investment, support British nationals, conduct public diplomacy on key issues, and build scientific and research co-operation. He also sits on the Marshall Scholarship selection committee.
Before taking up his posting in Atlanta, Andrew served four years as Deputy Head of Mission and Economic Counsellor at the British Embassy in Athens. He was also Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Dublin from 2009 to 2013. Throughout both postings, Andrew’s main focus was on the economic crises in Greece and Ireland, boosting bilateral relations, promoting the UK’s interests, and working on a range of issues linked to the European Union. Prior to this, Andrew worked in the Foreign Office as Deputy Director responsible for Security.
Andrew joined the UK’s diplomatic service in 1987. He has also served overseas in China, France, Romania and Canada.
Andrew was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He is accompanied in Atlanta by his wife, Rebecca. They have two adult children, both living in the UK.
Please join us and give Mr. Staunton a warm Rotary welcome.
Our speaker this past Monday, February 1st 2021, was Michel Gerebtzoff. He is the Consul General of the Kingdom of Belgium. The Belgium consulate has been in Atlanta for forty years. Michel explained that his primary job is to attract local investment in Belgium. The wrong has born much fruit as there are many Belgium companies with offices in Georgia. He noted that the state of Georgia and the country of Belgium have many similarities. They are both about the same population and the city of Brussels and Atlanta are both melting pops of ethnicity and cultures. However, one of biggest differences, he explained, was that while living in Brussels for four years he never owned a car. He was able to ride his bicycle wherever he needed. Anyone living around Atlanta knows we are not the most bicycle friendly city.
In photo: Michel Gerebtzoff, the Consul General of the Kingdom of Belgium.
In the photo from left to right: John Neill, 2020-2021 President Rotary Club of Sandy Springs and Michel Gerebtzoff
Michel spent much of his presentation talking about the European Union and the challenges of blending the EU countries together. Because each country and culture are unique and has different issues and needs, it is a challenge to get everyone on the same page. Finding ways to live together safely with COVID-19 this past year has highlighted the need to find common goals between the EU member countries and the US.
Michel was asked to participate in a twenty-person board representing the EU countries with the goal of finding the major needs created by the COVID-19 crisis and to then provide solutions. He spent almost six months with this group with much success. He explained the EU countries work and meet continuously to create long term goals that benefit all the member countries. They also have ambitious energy goals that they are implementing. For example, the EU countries are currently working a deal to buy natural gas from Russia. Naturally, there is some conflict between some of the EU countries, but the board continues work hard to recognize and solve each conflict.
The Rotary Club of Sandy Springs would like to thank Michel for visiting with us and explaining how important it is maintain healthy working relationships even during a pandemic.
These photos and more can be found, for free and in original resolution at: https://rotaryclubofsandysprings.zenfolio.com/p894145926
The Rotary International Convention, scheduled for 12-16 June 2021, in Taipei, Taiwan, will now be a virtual event in response to the ongoing threat of COVID-19.
We are sorry that we will not see you in Taipei this year, but this decision, made by the Rotary Board of Directors, is necessary to protect the health of everyone involved.