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P.O. Box 48358, Bentall Centre
Vancouver, BC V7X 1A1
admin@rotaryvancouver.org 
www.rotaryvancouver.org
Vol. 103 No. 36
Gerry Glazier, President
Gabby Dickert, Secretary

UPCOMING MEETING MARCH 30, 2021
Katy Harandi, President, Board Chair, PALS Autism Society

Katy is the mother of two, one of whom has autism. Since 1995, she has devoted her time toward helping her daughter overcome many of the challenges with this condition. She has investigated educational and biomedical treatments for autism and has researched the field extensively. Katy supervised and actively participated in her daughter’s home-based ABA program, receiving many hours of training from educational and behavioural specialists as well as experts in the fields of speech and occupational therapy. She was the YWCA 2012 Women of Distinction nominee for her contributions to our community and recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada. Katy is a member of the Vancouver Board of Trade Women’s Leadership Circle and a member of the Sauder School of Business Women’s Leadership Council. She is also a director of the board of the Adam’s Apples Foundation and the Stanford University Alumni Club in BC. She received her B.A. degree from Stanford University in Computer Science and holds an MBA from the Sauder School of Business. Katy is one of the co-founders of PALS.
 

UPCOMING MEETING APRIL 6, 2021
RCoV Youth Service Committee Auction 

Get your paddle ready for some fierce bidding. All proceeds to benefit the RCoV youth programs.
 

UPCOMING MEETING APRIL 13, 2021
Jonathan Crossen, Associate Professor, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, and
Emmy Stavostrand Neuls, Manager Graduate Programs, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, USask 

Indigenous People of Norway, the Sami
 

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CLICK HERE TO WATCH DAVE'S INVITATION

A Live Virtual Event!
Celebrate Community, Connection and Learn!
Friday June 4th and Saturday June 5th

The theme for the conference is Rotary Family.  This is your chance to find out much more about Rotary and how it makes a huge impact beyond our local community.
 
Each year, members who attend the District conference find that it's an opportunity to see Rotary from beyond their club and it's very worthwhile experience. This year it's now possible because of the virtual program, for EVERY Rotarian to attend the District Conference.
  • No travel!
  • No hotels!
  • No other costs, beyond the $79 registration fee!
We can't think of a better way for us to show our support for DG Dave Hamilton than by registering for the 2021 District 5040 Conference, homed in his hometown of Terrace, BC.
If you have any questions, contact our President Gerry Glazier, or our Assistant DG, John Bathurst.

CLICK HERE to register and more info

___________________________________________________________________________
Upcoming Events
CONTACT COMMITTEE CHAIRS FOR UPCOMING DATES
please click on the titles for more info for specific events
Community Service Committee meeting (contact community@rotaryvancouver.org)
Apr 13, 2021 1:15 PM
 
International Service Committee meeting (contact international@rotaryvancouver.org)
virtual ZOOM meeting
Apr 15, 2021 7:00 PM
 
Public Image committee meeting (contact media@rotaryvancouver.org)
virtual ZOOM meeting
Apr 16, 2021 10:00 AM
 
Food on the Corner
Apr 17, 2021 11:00 AM
 
Youth Service Committee meeting (contact youth@rotaryvancouver.org)
Apr 20, 2021
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Membership Committee Meeting (contact membership@rotaryvancouver.org)
virtual ZOOM meeting
Apr 27, 2021 8:30 AM
 
Investment Club (contact Chair for updates on meeting dates)
Apr 29, 2021 6:00 PM
 
Public Image committee meeting (contact media@rotaryvancouver.org)
virtual ZOOM meeting
Apr 30, 2021 10:00 AM
 
Community Service Committee meeting (contact community@rotaryvancouver.org)
May 11, 2021 1:15 PM
 
Public Image committee meeting (contact media@rotaryvancouver.org)
virtual ZOOM meeting
May 14, 2021 10:00 AM
 
Food on the Corner
May 15, 2021 11:00 AM
 
Youth Service Committee meeting (contact youth@rotaryvancouver.org)
May 18, 2021
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
View entire list

MEMBERSHIP MATTERS

 
Mark Zhou Mar 23rd
 
 
at our Club
Graham Coleman 5 years
Peter Clarke 16 years
 
 
wedding
none this week
 

Last Meeting March 23, 2021

Gerry Glazier, President, chaired the meeting.
Gabby Dickert, Secretary, hosted the meeting via ZOOM & introduced guests.
Miya Otake played O Canada on the harp.
 
President’s Announcements:
  • Welcome to our guests, new and returning, as well as our own members who have taken the time out of their busy lives to be with us today. Thank you for joining us.
     
  • As of 2:30 p.m. on March 20th (last Saturday) we entered a new century of the Solar year. Iranians, Afghans, and all Zoroastrian (ancient pre-Islamic religion of Iran founded in the sixth century b.c. by the prophet Zoroaster) faiths around the world celebrated the start of spring. We are now in the year 1400 on the Persian calendar. Thanks to Parisa Adrangi for sharing this.
     
  • Another reminder to register for the District 5040 conference. A live virtual event, cost of $79. No better way that we can think of to show our support for DG Dave Hamilton, who is currently in the fight of, and for, his life.
     
  • March 24th there was another D5040 People of Action Pilot Connect Session: featuring Rotarian & registered clinical counselor Kathleen Beaton sharing some tips for resilience during the pandemic and also leading a discussion of what we want our post-pandemic world to look like.
 
Secretary's announcements:
  • reminders of upcoming events/meetings (see above)
  • birthdays, member club anniversaries, wedding anniversaries (see above)
     
Member moments and special announcements:
  • Mekdes Gete: showed some pictures from the arrival of the RWH container with medical equipment for a new hospital in Ethiopia.  It contained over 7 million birr or CDN$280,000 worth of medical equipment was shipped for the Kombolcha General Hospital. The container had a long journey to Ethiopia and finally reached its destination on March 11, 2021. They were lucky in that the container was able to go directly to the hospital for unloading, versus at the port. There were a few challenges to be dealt with but relatively minor due to the strong relationship with the organizing groups.

    Kombolcha is a city in north central Ethiopia, located in the south Wollo zone of the Amhara Region. The Kombolcha General Hospital which was recently completed will provide healthcare services to over 5 million people in Kombolcha and the surrounding region. It is expected that the hospital will accommodate over 200 beds. The hospital will begin taking patients at the end of March 2021.

    Mr. Kebede Hailemariam who is the resident of Burnaby, BC initiated this project to collect and send this vital medical equipment to the hospital. He was supported by the Ethiopian diaspora in Canada and the US as well the Surrey and Vancouver Rotary Clubs. The whole community in Kombolcha have expressed their gratitude for all of the equipment and support from the North American community – Ethiopian diaspora and Rotary clubs.

    CLICK HERE to view the slides.
     
  • Joan Posivy: update on the youth auction, April 6th. They have received some really exciting items. A big thank you to all of the contributors. Everyone will receive an email showing the items on offer within a week. Take the time to review and come ready to bid!
     
  • Peter Clarke: As District Awards Chair, Peter wants you to mark your calendar – DG Dave Hamilton will be hosting a special award ceremony on April 11th. It won’t take more than an hour, details will be forthcoming. Join us in celebrating our fellow Rotarians.
     
  • Rotarian face masks are still available, $10 a piece. Contact Gabby or Carolyn to order.
 
Program:
Gerry Glazier introduced our speaker, Scott Ansell, VP Project Development with Sun Peak Metals.
 
Scott Ansell has an engineering background with over 25 years of expertise in project management, feasibility studies, permitting and mining finance. Scott was most recently VP Project Development for Sunridge Gold where he managed the completion of prefeasibility studies, feasibility and environmental and social studies for the Asmara Project in Eritrea, which led to the awarding of a mining license by the government of Eritrea. Scott was previously Technical Director of Studies and Manager of Consulting, Geology and Mining for AMEC Americas, located in Lima, Peru and Vancouver, Canada. He has previous experience in Africa with Nevsun Resources as Project Manager in Mali and Eritrea.
 
Scott has been involved professionally in Africa for over 20 years. Africa offers interesting challenges and opportunities, and lots of adventures. There are tough long, bumpy roads to navigate. Things like accessing power and other things we take for granted here, just don’t exist there. The major cities have power even if inconsistent, but the infrastructure breaks down quickly outside city limits.
 
Health is an issue for all workers there on a continual basis. Anything from mosquito borne illnesses, parasites, and other histoplasmosis are common features of working there. There are also other tragic events, particularly traffic/road accidents. Islamic terrorists also pose a problem. Scott has sadly lost colleagues over the years to a variety of causes.
 
The local people there are beautiful, friendly, and welcoming. Most Canadian companies offer locals employment opportunities, and the training that comes out of it for the staff is at a very high level. The geologists from Canada pass on their skills in all areas, including technical, health and safety. Scott and his colleagues have experienced a welcoming into the communities and families there. Invited to and attending many weddings and baby showers over the years.
 
The experience in Africa has been very rewarding despite the challenges.
 
Sun Peak Metals is currently working in Ethiopia. A country with a colourful history. It is one of the more interesting countries Scott has worked in. He and his team decided to move into Ethiopia in 2016 looking for opportunities. Geologists after only a few short days realized that what they had seen in other parts of Africa in terms of geological success, was present in Ethiopia. They decided to move forward. It was then that they started to find out just how difficult working there was.
 
Navigating the government bureaucracies, etc. led them to a number of years of figuring it out before getting to a point where they could apply for exploration permits. They did eventually get granted some ground where they wanted. They also needed to navigate working with other companies in the same space.
 
The metal exploration companies are very capital heavy – lots goes in before any returns are seen – high risk, high reward. This is one thing that the Ethiopian government has not been able to grasp. They need to bring in a lot of small players, put in a lot of money, sometimes with no rewards.
 
Aside from the artisanal mining, this industry is very methodical and structured. Not only do they have to find available property to explore, have to get proper permits to begin work, and have shareholders to answer to.
 
It took two years, 2016-18, to be able to pick up four exploration licenses covering an area of approximately 900 square kilometre in the Arabian Nubian Shield. In 2019 they put together a team of 35 people to explore the district-scale Shire Project in the Tigray Region of northern Ethiopia.
 
Considering the history and uncertainties that come with working in Africa, Sun Peak Metals brought in a safety/security advisor as part of their team. They used MS Risk, based out of the UK. They specialize in securing infrastructure projects throughout the world protecting the people and projects.  MS Risk has experience dealing with situations involving armed conflict, terrorism, and organization crime. They visited the property and, together with the Sun Peak Metals management team, set up protocols for all imagined possible scenarios.
 
Up until the end of 2020, the pandemic was a serious setback. Particularly for companies working outside of Canada, due to the international travel and other restrictions put in place. Scott flew back to Canada in August, while there were not many people travelling. Despite the challenges, they were able to get drilling companies to show up at the time. All was going quite well until he remembers sitting down to watch the American election news on Nov. 3rd.
 
Back in Ethiopia during the night between Nov. 3rd & 4th, where Sun Peak Metals had the property they were in the process of exploring, there was an escalation of a conflict in the Tigray region between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). This had been brewing for some time.
 
Scott got a call on Nov. 4th from his general manager at the site: something bad was happening and they need to implement evacuation plans for the safety of the staff. Everyone was asked to evacuate to their main office in Addis Ababa.
 
Quickly after than they were in touch with MS Risk who supplied an intel report citing that the violence and unrest was escalating quickly. They knew that the situation was going to get worse before getting better. All communication was lost with the team. Their geologists, thankfully, had Garmin GPS systems, two of which were equipped with an add-on system, similar to Twitter in that they could send and receive brief messages to and from anywhere in the world. In the local town with 60-80K people, these were the only two devices able to communicate. The Ethiopian government shut off all communication with Tegray, making these devices even more vital. Otherwise, Scott and the rest of the management/exec team would have no way of knowing if their people were safe.
 
The company secured a Dash-8 to be ready should anyone be able to leave. Scott proceeded to Ethiopia a week later to have boots on the ground in the effort to evacuate the team out. The process was long, but was moving along. Communicating with the various stakeholders in the area, including the UN, and the Canadian embassy was ongoing. The Embassy was not the most helpful. It wasn’t until Scott arrived did they get some traction, and an embassy employee took responsibility for getting the team out.
 
It was planned to have a convoy drive out with a UN group. On Friday the 13th, they found out the UN had left without them. Seven Canadians were there, somewhat stranded. Needless to say this created a lot of stress. The team was ready to jump in a vehicle to drive anywhere, they just wanted out. They knew that something bad would happen soon, they heard the fighting in the distance and listened as it came closer. Scott kept them calm for another 24 hours to check the route they should take. They would be using land cruisers that could be thought of as being on the “wrong side” so needed to ensure the powers at be knew who they were so they wouldn’t be bombed off the road.
 
They left the next morning, and were tracked with their GPS systems. Within 10 minutes they stopped and remained stopped for 2 hours, then 4 hours, with no communication. Finally Scott received a message that they were in a bit of a bind, stopped at the first checkpoint without a letter authorizing them to move through. They did secure the documentation they needed and as they were finally able to move through the UN showed up. They were flagged through and were able to accompany the UN convoy the rest of the way, tagging along right behind them.
 
From then on, all went well on to Mekelle. There they checked in at the UNICEF post where lots of different diasporas were present seeking safety. The numbers were swelling quickly with people showing up by the hour, doubled from 150 to more than 300. The convoy going to take them out was delayed until the next day due to the growing numbers needing transportation.
 
It was interesting that the W.H.O. had communication, the UN did not. Scott’s team continued to communicate with him via their GPS systems. Scott was the intermediary with the Canadian embassy. Just as soon as they were told to it was time to leave, the air force started bombing around the Mekelle location. This caused a lot of panic, however, this was quickly communicated back to the embassies who then let the Ethiopian government know that a convoy was due to leave, halting the bombing. At least until another aircraft arrived and started attacking. The convoy got on the road.
 
Everything went well over the next 16 hour drive. When they showed up in a town near near Djibouti they had to go through check point with a thorough search. The GPS were discovered. The Canadian embassy helped to navigate through that challenge, and thankfully they were able to continue. It took approximately 40 hours of driving for them to arrive at their destination, but they did, and they were safe.
 
Two weeks after the incident they started learning that everyone came out, mostly ok. A fair bit of celebrating was to be had. Their team of locals were not permitted to leave the area. All fled to various locations and remained safe. Sun Peak Metals has continued to support these workers throughout.
 
Ethiopian news has been slow to get out. The timing due to the American election was a factor with all eyes on the U.S. at the time. Also the government shut down all communication in Tigray so news was travelling via mouth only. There is some power and services coming back on-line. There have been atrocities that have occurred but not where Scott’s company was located thankfully.
 
There is still a State of Emergency in effect in the area that was put in place on Nov. 4th in the Tigray Region. Sun Peak Metals’ Shire Project work has been suspended and will remain so until the state of emergency is lifted, and the area is deemed safe for their workers. How long it will be before work can resume is still undetermined.
 
They don’t know what the villages that they have worked with in and around the area look like now. What remains of the people that they worked with is to be determined. All hopes are that they are okay though they’ve heard of various atrocities unfortunately.
 
Scott’s recounting of this experience certainly expressed how harrowing it was. Thankfully the Canadian team escaped safely. Hopefully the rest of their local Ethiopian team are safe as well.
 
It has been reported that this war has created “an immense humanitarian crisis, with 4.5 million people – most of Tigray’s population – in urgent need of assistance, United Nations and local officials say. The turmoil is spilling over Ethiopia’s borders into Eritrea and Sudan in a manner that could destabilize the entire Horn of Africa region.” (source: The New York Times, March 19, 2021, Why Is Ethiopia at War With Itself?, CLICK HERE)
 
More information:
  • Sun Peak Metals website, info about the Shire Project, CLICK HERE
  • Sun Peak Metals website, 2020 news releases, CLICK HERE
 
 
Meeting adjourned with a toast to world peace.
 
 

April 16, 2021

ROTARY OPENS OPPORTUNITIES

Gerry Glazier, President
admin@rotaryvancouver.org   Gabby Dickert, Secretary