by Janet I. Martineau
SAGINAW -- Five visitors from one of the world’s most ancient civilizations are headed to Michigan for a month-long visit -- starting Tuesday, March 15, with a four day stay in Saginaw.
As part of a Rotary International Group Study Exchange program, the contingent from Greece will attend a Saginaw Spirit hockey game, shop at the Birch Run Outlets mall, breakfast with members of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church and visit Saginaw Valley State University, Frankenmuth, the Temple Theatre, St. Mary’s of Michigan, the Saginaw Art Museum, Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum and the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History.
“The object of these annual exchanges is for young professionals, between the ages of 25 and 40, to meet and interact with their professional counterparts and get exposure to the cultural, recreational and governmental worlds of their hosts,” says Evelyn Mudd, president of the Rotary Club of Saginaw, which is co-hosting the visit with the Saginaw Sunrise Rotary Club and the Saginaw Valley Rotary Club.
Among the visiting Greeks are a professional translator interested in the performing arts, a civil engineer, a systems security consultant who contributed to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and a development manager for a social welfare agency.
“One year we hosted a physician who was in training in neurology and we set her up with Dr. Malcolm Field of the Field Neurosciences Institute, and she even went into surgery with him,” recalls Mudd of the annual exchange program.
Mudd has, in her years as a Rotarian, also worked on exchanges with France, India, Korea, Japan, Denmark, Brazil, Australia, Thailand, Brazil and Portugal. A team from Afghanistan was in the plans for last year, but ran into passport clearance problems.
Members of the three Saginaw Rotary clubs also will host the visitors during a joint luncheon meeting of their clubs, and have secured families for the lodging of the five visitors.
The month-long stay also includes visits to other towns in the Rotary district of which Saginaw is a part. From Saginaw the team will travel to Owosso, Oscoda, Alpena, Cass City, Caro, Mount Pleasant, Midland, Alma, Bay City and Sebewaing.