Trip report from San Diego

As some of you might remember, our "Young Friends" project was the only Norwegian Rotary project which was presented at the Rotary International Assembly in San Diego on January 18th 2012. Here is my trip report: - Petter (Rasch) (09.02.2012)

Already in October 2011, Oslo Vest RC presented the "Young Friends" project at the House of Friendship at Lillestrøm and one week later at a Rotary District Conference in Oslo. Our IT expert, Kristian, put up both stands and could control the presentation from home, if necessary. Early in the new year, Anne Torsvik started to modify our Power Point presentation adding several slides from Steinar Bryn from the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue. From last autumn's experience, it seemed that more pictures and less text would make an even better presentation.

The last few days before departure I was quite busy with preparations. I knew Kristian wasn't coming and I had never handled the whole presentation by myself. I am really an engineer by training, but in chemical engineering, and IT is not my strong point.

On Monday January 16th, we flew to San Diego via Newark. On the 17th I had time to get to know the hotel, get my PC connected and on the 18th, the presentation was due to start at 14.10 and last an hour-and-a-half. Setting up the stand couldn't start earlier than an hour before. Amongst the many documents I had been loaded up with before departure there were reminders such as:

  • Exhibitors have to check in with the Assembly office at 12.30 to pick up a badge. Only those with a badge will be allowed into the room prior to the allocated time.
  • Electrical outlets are available at a first come first serve basis.
  • On site requests are not recommended.
  • Exhibitors are not permitted to solicit funds at their display!

But everything went as planned. Kristian and I had numerous long sessions together in the days prior to the trip. We had found several ways of tackling problems and if I said "Yes, but..." his answer was "There is no but" So there... Skyping between Oslo and San Diego, him and me, was incredibly good, both picture and sound, and helpful. And to boot, it is free!

RI Director Barry Matheson suggested that the "Young Friends" project should be  presented at the Project Fair in San Diego. Here he poses to the left of Lillan, my wife, and myself.

The Manchester Ballroom, a room that is 40 x 50 meters, housed 13 stands with projects. As I was totally focused on our stand and who visited it, I had little opportunity to check out the others. But there is no doubt that our stand got a lot of visitors during that hour-and-a-half. All our literature vanished, and at the end I saw a couple of people taking photos of our power-point presentation as the pictures rolled on slowly. I rarely saw the DGE's other than at the hotel as they were "attending a course". Nevertheless, a few of them had the same bad habit as my wife and I....They went outside the hotel to have a smoke. We did that too and there we chatted with some of them, particularly the DGEs from Western Balkans (and I have their calling cards among others).

Finally, it is fantastic for our "Young Friends" project that the RI President Elect Sakuji Tanaka declared that his motto for the 2012-13 Rotary year would be Peace through Service!

I would like to thank each and everyone who contributed to the progress of our "Young Friends" and that I got the job - or rather the honour - of presenting to hundreds of DGE's in San Diego what we, in Oslo Vest RC, do for Peace and Reconciliation!


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