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