Speaker Date Topic
Bruce W. Burtch, Producer, Youth Poster Contest Oct 28, 2021 12:30 PM
Youth Poster Contest and Working with at Risk Youth

Bruce W. Burtch

Producer, pro bono

Youth Poster Contest



Bob Kuchem, US Naval Officer Nov 11, 2021 12:30 PM
The South China Sea – An Area of Current Special Importance

The Talk: The South China Sea – An Area of Current Special Importance.  Is this a topic about which Americans today should be concerned?  Although few Americans might be losing any sleep because of the South China Sea, China and other nations are in heated disputes over who should control the South China Sea.  The results could include acts of war, global inflation, supply chain delays, and other events of consequence  to our country.   


Bob Kuchem is a local Rotarian who has previously given Rotary talks to the Ignacio Rotary Club, but his talk today was created for a local foreign affairs discussion group.  After graduating from college in 1961, he was  commissioned as a U.S. Naval officer.  His active duty service aboard U.S. Navy vessels involved with the Vietnam War provided personal experience in the South China Sea.  With his additional years as a Ready Reservist, he completed 24 years of total service and retired in the rank of Captain.

Hilton Obenzinger, Ph.D. Stanford University Nov 18, 2021 12:30 PM
Chinese contribution to the Transcontinental Railroad

Hilton Obenzinger, Ph.D.
American Studies, Stanford University
Associate Director, Emeritus, 

Stanford Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project

Chinese contribution to the Transcontinental Railroad and a local perspective from the fact they all came thru San Francisco to start their American journey.

Jonna Palmer, Educator, Librarian Dec 02, 2021 12:30 PM
Building a (Virtual) Bridge to Afghanistan

Jonna will discuss how her students learned about life in Afghanistan before and after the Taliban takeover, how they are helping their Afghan friends, and what the current situation is for the young women refugees. Her students have been lucky enough to Zoom with a group of young Afghan women mountain climbers for the past two years. They slept on the floor of their office (due to the time difference as it was always very late for them) to give her students a window into another culture. The Afghan women even agreed to talk with her students via video call just days after they finally escaped to a transfer point for refugees. Students at Mill Valley Middle School live very different lives from young women and girls in Afghanistan. Yet, after connecting with a group of  young women mountain climbers in Kabul via video calls, they found they had much in common. Those young Afghans are now refugees after having escaped the Taliban. But their friends in Mill Valley are working to stay in contact and help them adjust to a new country, new culture, and speaking a different language. Jonna is raising funds to help the four young Afghans start a new life outside their home country.