by Gerry Kosanovic, District Governor-Elect
In 2013 Rotary International withdrew their support of the Group Study Exchange (GSE) program, which was officially established in 1965. Despite the Policy change of Rotary International, District 5110 continued to fund and support organized exchanges with like-minded GCE international districts of Rotary. GSE was later formally changed to GCE, Group Cultural Exchange.
The planned GCE exchange for 2020-2021 with District 9400 in Africa was understandably postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was anticipated that the GCE would travel in the spring of 2022. However, the indefinite spread of the COVID-19 variants in the world makes international future travel unpredictable at best, and at worst, dangerous and unsafe. While some of us may be safe, we need to have all of us safe.
Due to the pandemic, Rotary International has paused the global Youth Exchange Program for 2021-2022. Regrettably, District 5110 will also pause the support of all international travel with the Group Student Exchange as well as the Group Friendship Exchange (GFE).
I know that this announcement will disappoint Rotarians in our district. The experience that many share as either a team member, team leader, committee member, host family, or simply as a club member enjoying visiting citizens from other countries, has enriched us in many ways.
I thank past chair of the GCE, Rae LaMarche, for her dedicated support of this program for many years. I also thank the current GCE chair, Dr. Mark Clark for his understanding. Appreciation is extended as well to Chair Camille Ronzio for her continued enthusiasm and commitment to the GFE program.