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From Our GRSP Alumni
Open Letter to District 6900 Rotarians from GRSP Class of 1996-97

from Carolina Mateus, Class of 1996-97, sponsored by Rotary Club of Americus

Carolina Mateus was Carl and Judy Tott's GRSP student in 1996 when Carl was Americus Rotary President. Carolina married their son Glenn a number of years later. In Carolina's text to Carl following a group chat with her GRSP class, she stated "After the situation in DC on Wednesday [January 6, 2021], the GRSP class of 1996-97 decided to write a letter to GRSP headquarters mentioning our love and deep belief in US democracy and thanking the program for shaping us to be ambassadors of peace as we moved into our adult lives. After sending the letter, many other GRSP classes joined in signing it and we have since received warm responses from Rotarians." Carolina shared the information and following letter with Carl:

7th of January, 2021

Dear Georgia Rotarians and Our Beloved Host Families,

As GRSP students, we love Georgia and it will always have a special place in our hearts. Through this program, we have embraced the values of diversity, integrity, peace and understanding among nations and people, respect for different perspectives, and collaboration towards shared goals and values.

We, as members of the GRSP Alumni, were deeply shocked and saddened with what took place in Capitol Hill yesterday. Nonetheless, we are relieved that democracy has prevailed and that Georgia has taken center stage in the national debate.

Independent of anyone's personal political opinion, we are saddened by the deep division we have seen in the United States.

Georgia Rotarians showed to us how they welcome diversity and the move towards peace from the founding of the program in the aftermath of the war.

We are only ambassadors to the lessons of peace and understanding we learned in Georgia from you.

We have had challenging and successful careers, and raised happy, diverse and open families since we left your wonderful state. We have always carried the message that peace is possible. In these divisive times, we would like to offer our assistance if needed. We would be happy for instance to have an event to update you on how we are and how our year in your state made us more open, accepting, and loving; which is what the world needs.

We are confident and counting on you to continue to be the beacon and guiding light of unity and respect, and the leaders of democracy, integrity, law and order for Georgia and the world.

Our thoughts are with you. Georgia is always on our minds.

Sincerely, GRSP Alumni 1996-97

Seda Tokcan (from Turkey, living in France) Roberto Futuro (from Brazil, living in Crete) Meike Leisink (from The Netherlands) Peter Makszin (from Hungary living in Qatar) Maria Andreeva (from Russia) Olga Balezina (from Russia) Iwona Dost-Gorecka (formerly Gorecka) (from Poland, living in The Netherlands) Anna Marie Balle (formerly de Vera), (from the Philippines, based in Germany) Carolina Mateus (from Colombia, living in the US) Luciana Cury (from Brazil) Misja De Schepper (from Belgium) Simen Olstad (from Norway) Jan Jaap Badon (from The Netherlands) Jessica Holmquist (formerly Eriksson), (from Sweden) Dr. Adamantia Moschou (former Skarlatou), (from Greece) Ieva Smilgaine (from Latvia, living in Spain) Cecilia Freaza, (from Argentina in London,UK) Juliana Polastri (from Argentina, living in London, UK). Eric Larsson, from Sweden in London Jenny Wollin (former Nilsson), (from Sweden) Marlena Hartfiel (from Germany) Lakshmi Nidamarthi (from India) Raul Marques (from El Salvador, living in Miami)

Posted by Angela Smith
February 5, 2021

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