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Date: Tuesday, June 30th

President hand-over

This meeting was held at one of our members’ homes. The delicious food was catered by the Spice Gals. What a fantastic evening to conclude a successful club year!


Date: Tuesday, May 26th & June 9th

Planning the African Benefit Evening on June 13th


The last two regular meetings of the Rotary Year were dedicated to the planning of our big event, the African Benefit Evening on June 13th in the Geertekerk Utrecht. 

Date: Tuesday, May 12th

Marion Uitslag about Mediation

Marion Uitslag’s talk will be about mediation and the background of it. In her opinion there is a strong connection between conflicts and losses. People often avoid conflicts because they are afraid to lose a relation, a friendship and so on. Employees will often avoid a confrontation with their employers because they are afraid to lose their job if they end up in a conflict with their superior. The interesting thing is that when people are involved in a conflict, they seem to forget that there is a risk of loss. They only see that the other party is the one to blame.

Marion Uitslag mediates in custody cases, labour cases and criminal law cases. She wants to share her expertise and opinion with us in an interactive meeting.


Marion Uitslag is the director of HU Mediation Centre of conflict resolution of the University of Applied Science, Utrecht. In this centre they mediate, train mediators and do research on mediation.


Date: Tuesday, April 28th

Our Serbian member Nenad Dulanovic giving a talk in the series “Sharing a cross-cultural experience”

Nenad comes from Serbia. He has been in Holland since June 2012. He works for Novo Nordisk in Alphen aan den Rijn. Novo Nordisk is a Danish company and is a leading producer of insulin. He has been a member of the club since May 2014 and is now a member of the programme committee.


Date: Tuesday, April 14th

Team building workshop by our two members Sonia Drannikova and Elisabeth Wetzel


Date: Tuesday, March 31st

Business meeting, preparation of the Kenyan event

The project group ‘Kenyan Event 2015’ will

  • present the (preliminary) program of June 21st
  • discuss points that still have to be decided
  • ask for ideas where still needed
  • ask engagement of all members: for smaller or bigger tasks, for fundraising, selling tickets and invite family and friends.


Date: Tuesday, March 17th

Antony Otieno Ong’ayo about Kenya, the country, culture, society and challenges of today

In his talk Antony gave an outline of the history of Kenya and its main transitions, with setbacks and progress. Concerning the contemporary situation he focused on sustainable development and the role of charity organisations.

Antony Otieno Ong’ayo is a Researcher at the International Development Studies, Utrecht University. His PhD Thesis examined the contribution of diaspora organisations to development in the countries of destination and origin. He is a member of the research group “Globalisation, Ageing, Migration and Care” (GAIC) at Tilburg University.
He holds a Master degree in Politics and Development and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Stockholm University, Sweden. He is a Research fellow at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), African Migration and Development Policy Centre (AMADPOC) in Nairobi and Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. He teaches Theory and Practice of Development at Utrecht University College, as well as Political Inquiry, International relations and Research methodology at Webster University, Leiden.

Read more about Antony Otieno Ong’ayo on the website of Utrecht University.

Read a small summary of his talk on our page here.


Date: Tuesday, March 3rd

Joint meeting of the Rotary Clubs in Utrecht, with the topic of Tour de France / Grand Depart

In the past years there has been the tradition for regular joint meetings of all Rotary Clubs in Utrecht. This year, Rotary Club Utrecht-West is organising an evening for the clubs on March 3rd. Apart from networking and having a good time, the topic of the evening will be Tour de France / Grand Depart.

On July 4th this year, the 2015 Tour de France will start here in Utrecht. This is a unique event, which puts Utrecht in the spotlight worldwide. Something no one living here should miss.

Keep up to date on recent developments of the Grand Depart on http://www.tourdefranceutrecht.com/en


Date: Tuesday, February 17th

Aybike Meelis, owner of the newly founded Aybike Meelis Consultancy and Between Friends, on how to deliver excellent Customer Care

ANRC Spitsuur: Portret Aybikeybike Meelis is a customer care consultant, who is passionate about helping business owners to provide the best service to their customers and engage in loyal customers. She does this by drawing upon 13 years of experience in retail and customer service in multinational companies around the world.

She has started her own company in July 2014, after spending time in the business world in different roles such as: retail designer, manager, retail design team leader, sales personal & store manager training manager, regional customer service care taker. You can read more about her services on www.aybikemeelis.nl. She also founded the non-profit platform Between Friends, which supports her business as customer care consultant.

She has a degree in Architecture and a Master’s training in Retail Design and Services, beside all the trainings she had in customer service and satisfaction.


In her talk she will focus on challenges of today’s business world. In the century of technology (Internet), globalization and the increasing number of competitors, business owners are forced to find new ways to survive in the competition. That’s why, in the last decades, customer satisfaction has become more important for especially retail and service related businesses. What does a customer care consultant do? How does it help companies to engage in loyal customers? What does A.M.Consultancy do?

A sneak preview of the talk:

  • Customer Service in Retail
    Window displays, store environments/designs, the approach to customer by the sales people.
  • Customer Service in Start Up Businesses
    Why a good relationship from the beginning with customer is important.
  • Evaluation of Customer Services in sales/service points by mystery customers
    What does mystery customer mean? Why do businesses need mystery customers? How do they help to improve the service provided by businesses?
  • And to finish the evening with nice memories, a couple of beautiful, fascinating and perhaps funny store window displays….


Date: Tuesday, February 3rd

Sonia Drannikova in the series “Sharing a cross-cultural experience”

Sonia’s talk will be about Russia and Saint Petersburg where she was born and grew up. About Russia as a country, Russian history and culture and the highlights of the beautiful city, often called the Northern Venice because of numerous channels and rivers.

And of course about the similarities and differences in cultures of Russia, the Netherlands and Canada, where Sonia’s family lives for the last 20 years.
“… But Sonia was from Russia, where the sunsets are longer, the dawns less sudden and sentences are often left unfinished from doubt as how to best end them.” (Virginia Woolf, Orlando)

Sonia joined the club in 2008. She is now the chairman of the new programme committee.


Date: Tuesday, January 20th

Thirsa de Vries, Rotary peace fellow, on “Armed violence and capacities for peace in Iraq: history, causes, and response”

Thirsa shall explain the background of the conflict in Iraq (timeline, root causes and triggers etc) and the context in which ISIS has emerged, the other groups fighting, give a bit of profile on what ISIS is exactly (it is different in Iraq from Syria), the current situation and the international response. In addition she will tell about the peace building needs required to get out of the current status quo.

Thirsa de Vries (33) works for the Dutch peace organisation PAX as programme leader Iraq. PAX specialises in support to local peace activists in conflict areas around the world. Thirsa has a background in Middle East Studies and travels to the region regularly, also to Iraq. Last year, with the support of Rotary Netherlands and our club, Thirsa was awarded a Rotary Peace Fellowship to Chulalongkorn University in Thailand for their Professional Centrficate Program course in the summer of 2015.


Date: Tuesday, January 6th

Visit by the District Governor Marion van den Brink

There are 492 Rotary Clubs in Holland and they are divided into 7 districts. Each district has a District Governor, who like the president of a club has the job for one year. One of the duties of the District Governor is to visit all the clubs in the district. Our governor has 74 clubs to visit in the year.

The governor will be accompanied by the Area Governor Regio Het Sticht, Bauke Boersma.

Marion van den Brink is a member of Rotary Club Op Seyst te Zeist. Bauke Boersma is member and Outgoing President of Rotary Club Utrecht West.

About Marion van den Brink


Christmas break


Date: Tuesday, December 16th

The club’s Christmas Dinner at Coffeemania

For the occasion, Coffeemania will serve a meal out of the ordinary, and we will enjoy a cheerful Christmas Dinner in a nice and relaxed atmosphere. Partners are invited.


Date: Tuesday, December 9th

Work meeting

The different project groups will give an update regarding their progress with organising the fundraising, Lustrum and Kenyan event.


Date: Tuesday, November 25th

Vivian LeBlanc sharing a cross-cultural experience

Vivian will tell us about different phases of her life, the things she still finds amazing about the Netherlands and a bit of what makes up the wonderful state of Mississippi she grew up in.

Vivian joined the club in November 2013 and is a member of the recruitment committee.


Date: Tuesday, November 11th

Talk in the series “Sharing a cross-cultural experience” by our Dutch member Tom van den Boogaart

A lighthearted introduction into some of the cultural and international experiences that has moved me from Groningen to San Diego to Norwich and back, from being a molecular biology university scientist to a sales-driven-marketeer from a partying single to a devout father and boyfriend, from a dime-a-dozen-holidays to put-things-back-into-perspective-backpacking-adventures.


Date: Tuesday, October 28th

Katie Miller on Working for NGO’s

Due to sickness, this talk had to be cancelled.


Date: Tuesday, October 14th

Anna Schefzig on “Issues in international taxation for expats and companies”

Keywords included in the talk are:

  • Personal income taxation of individuals within the European Union (working in two countries, changing tax residency, double tax treaties)
  • Social security within the European Union (simplifications and benefits for every single person through European decrees, transfer of acquired rights between member states)
  • Tax optimisation within the European Union (parent-subsidiary directive, interest and royalty directive, Netherlands as a favoured holding company country)

Anna Schefzig studied a double master degree in “Economics & Law” and “International Business Administration” at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. From the same university she holds a PhD in Economics, with specialisation on taxes. From 2007 to 2014 she has been working for KPMG, in October 2014 she will start in a new position at bpv Hügel Rechtsanwälte OG. She is a certified tax lawyer since 2012.


Date: Tuesday, September 30th

Business meeting on how to organise this year’s projects

Mario Halfhide, Martha Mghendi and Franziska Luxhøj are organising a workshop with the purpose to come up with definite goals and a plan on how to proceed with fundraising and the Lustrum.


Date: Tuesday, September 16th

Our member Tony Hearn will give a talk on Fundraising

The talk is based on previous experiences of the club with Fundraising. Tony has been one of the founding members of the club. Rotary Utrecht International has welcomed many new members in the past years, and he will share ideas on:

  • How to raise money from other people
  • How we have done it in the past
  • How we could do it now

Members are invited to contribute with new ideas.


Date: Tuesday, September 2nd

Our member Martha Mghendi, founder of the Beyond Innocence Foundation, on “Lending a healing hand”

My hope is to share with you through this talk my way, the only way I know how to make a difference. You will see what the Beyond Innocence Foundation (BIF) is about, what the main objectives are, why it all started, the situation on the ground, the updates on what has been done so far, and the future plan of BIF. The foundation is building a safe house for abused minors in a remote place in Kenya called Taita. Through this talk, I hope you will have a clear understanding what BIF represents and what it stands for, and hopefully through this, you will understand the BIF way of Lending a Healing Hand to the innocent.

Martha is also involved in: Wadawida Education Fund (WEF), The Expat Women NL and several other projects.

Martha joined the club in June this year. She comes from Kenya and has been here since 2008. She works in finance for an American Company called TSYS as a Client Advising Manager for Banks.

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