8 June 2015 — Working Against Corruption


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SUNDAY, JUNE 28 — 12:30pm to 2:00pmOur FOURTH SUNDAY meeting for June! Special Guest Speaker: TBA. We gather in The Fireplace Room at Denny’s, 5525 Sepulveda Boulevard in Sherman Oaks.  BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING precedes the main meeting and begins at 11:15 a.m.





This month’s Rotary E-Club E-wareness campaign presents information about diabetes.  Throughout each month our Club will provide resources gathered by our Club Members.  The information will be helpful to you and to the people you care about. Click here to visit the Campaign page.










Our newest Club Member, Jorge Vazquez, and his wife Selene hosted a small gathering recently to meet Aniket Chorge, a Rotary Exchange Student who has just completed a one-year visit to Mexico from India.  (He is now spending a week in the U.S.)  During the evening, Aniket showed us the PowerPoint he created to teach his hosts in Mexico about his country and his family, just as we had learned a week ago from our local visitor Joao.

Strikingly, even in his capacity as in informal ambassador for India on his Rotary-sponsored visits, Aniket was open about the corruption in the Indian parliament and his desire to be part of the solution to eliminate it in the future.  He says he has no interest in politics or being an elected official–just in working for better lives for the people, and that requires honesty in government.

This got us thinking: of how much relief aid sat at the airport in Haiti after the earthquake there, but Rotarians could get ShelterBox through (albeit, anecdotally, often because Rotarians knew which government palms to grease); of the occasional careful comment by our Nepali Rotary friends, in the aftermath of their very recent earthquakes, about how the alleged rampant corruption in the Nepali government is preventing aid from reaching people in need.

Rotary Clubs are apolitical.  But is corruption in politics a political issue?  Or is the underlying question: “First, is it the truth?”  Should governance–national, regional, state, city, even Rotary–be as fair as possible to all concerned?  Can it be so with too many secrets?

This week’s program is inspired by Aniket’s raising the question  The following TED Talk (recorded in 2012) presents an interesting view, focused on the British Parliament but branching out to worldwide issues.  Food for thought: should Rotary Clubs back up our rote recitation of The Four-Way Test with actions in this regard?  Tell us what you think.


If the embedded video does not work, please click here to view it on the TED Talk website.

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6 responses to 8 June 2015 — Working Against Corruption

  1. Interesting talk but I think there is a great difference between the need for transparency to expose dishonesty and corruption and the leaking of routine diplomatic messages. I don’t think it’s a good thing for private comments or discussions of diplomats to be stolen and broadcast to the world. I see no public benefit in that kind of transparency although the speaker didn’t seem to draw any distinction.

    • I was struck by that same factor. The theft and leaking of certain private comments serves little purpose of transparency. That became mostly gossip. But the rest of it made sense…expense records and the like. (I messed up…this is Mel’s comment, not “the Club’s,” I logged in on the wrong browser…sorry…)

  2. What is done on tax payer’s time = transparent.
    What is done off tax payer’s time = private business.

    • Hmmm, on that I mostly agree…but there are the off-hours things that have legal or moral implications, those need to be covered, a a matter of good character, too.

  3. I agree that the right to know is also balanced by the right to know, to have lies and half truths spread as truth. In terms of the question of Rotary’s role, yes I do think it has a role in fighting corruption. For example I am giving to Nepal, but through a personal friend because she has contacts in Nepal and knows personally where the money is going to. Personally there is sometimes a fine line between feeling it is political and “service above self”. For example (all it a pipe dream) I would love the signature project for RI to team up with Bono to wipe out AIDS on the face earth. However that probably will not happen because of the stigma and politics of AIDS.

  4. Originally, I thought this program was about the City of Bell! Lol
    Rotary is welcome in so many Countries because we don’t want to change governments, but help its people. That’s why we also aid in conflict resolutions, we are suppose to be political neutral. I think we do greater good in helping those in need than getting involved in politics.

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