Minutes/notes of the MRF - Conference in Sarnico September, 24-26, 2021

The first in-person and plenary conference of the “Multilateral Rotarian Forum” (MRF) was held in Sarnico from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th September 2021, preceded by a long preparatory work, with regular online meetings of the Governors of the three Districts since the spring of 2020. The three Districts 1710, 1830 and 2042 were represented in Sarnico by their respective Governors, Sébastien Desitter (1710), Thomas Preisendanz (1830) and Edoardo Gerbelli (2042), accompanied by the co-Presidents of the MRF, the PDGs Jean-Luc Perrin (1710), Joerg Wolff (1830) and Giuseppe Navarini (2042), as well as the members of the MRF Secretariat, the DISC Patrick Fassnacht for the District 1710, the PDG Jan Wagner for 1830 and DISC Alberto Barzanò for 2042. As regards the Clubs, for the host District (2042), RC Bergamo Ovest (partner of RC Stuttgart Solitude), RC Lecco (partner of RC St. Etienne) and RC Sarnico and Valle Cavallina (partner of RC Esslingen Neckarland). The clubs representing District 1710 were RC Lyon Part Dieu (partner of RC Stuttgart Fernsehturm), RC Saint Etienne (partner of RC Lecco). Two representatives of Rotaract were also present. The delegation of German clubs was made by RC Stuttgart Solitude (partner of RC Bergamo West), RC Esslingen – Neckarland (partner of RC Sarnico and Valle Cavallina), RC Aalen Heidenheim (partner of RC Villefranche-en-Beaujolais).

The Mayor of Sarnico, Prof. Giorgio Bertazzoli, welcomed the participants in the early afternoon of Friday 24 September in the City Council chamber. The Mayor gave to the guests, accompanied by Giuseppe Venuti, member of RC Bergamo Terra di San Marco, a volume on Art Nouveau villas, the most important monuments of his municipality. Exceptionally, it was finally possible to visit the “Gianni Bellini” Museum, which remained closed since the beginning of the pandemic. The guests then moved to the “La Montina” estate in Monticelli Brusati, where, thanks to PDG Giuseppe Navarini, they were able to visit the cellar and taste different qualities of Franciacorta wines.

The conference itself began with the welcome dinner, opened by a moment of strong emotion, when the video of “An Irish Thank to Bergamo” was shown and some photographs relating to the pandemic in the city and the province were projected. This was also the occasion for the delivery to Eberhard Trumpp of the PHF that the RC Bergamo West had awarded to him for the solidarity help given during the worst moments of the pandemic, while the President of the RC Stuttgart Solitude, Hans-Peter Burghof, received the PHFs awarded to Dieter Berg, member of the Board of the Stiftung Stuttgart, and Ute Grassinger, President of RC Stuttgart Solitude during the 2019/2020 Rotary year. The opening speech was delivered by Prof. Frank Baasner, member of RC Tuebingen, speaking not only as a Rotarian, but also as Director of the « Deutsch-Französische Institut (DFI) in Ludwigsburg. He insisted on the need to promote european cooperation, in particular among the youngsters.

Work proceeded in several sessions, divided between plenary meetings and group work, along the guidelines illustrated by prof. Baasner. As a matter of fact, all of the first three joint projects which have been developed together by the participants and will be promoted in the coming months (with a transversal commitment of several clubs from the three countries) concern the exchange and valorisation of young people; first the Trinational School Project, then the RES (Rotary European Stars) and finally the promotion of Trinational Twinnings.

At the end of the conference, on Sunday morning, the Steering Committee and the MRF Secretariat met and decided, given the success of this first conference (which, by unanimous assessment, ultimately led to results that went far beyond the even more optimistic initial forecasts), to organize plenary editions in the future that will be progressively extended to new Clubs. These plenary editions will be held every year in autumn, alternately in the three Districts (District 1710 will organize the 2022 meeting in Lyon) and will be preceded by a meeting of the Steering Committee in the spring, every year always in the same place (the Italian-German Center for European Dialogue in Villa Vigoni), to take decisions regarding the themes and organization of the plenary conference in the following autumn. In the early afternoon of Sunday, a large group of participants took part in a visit to the biomolecular laboratory of Calcinate, created during the pandemic by the clubs of the province of Bergamo with the contribution of the Rotary Foundation, but also of the District 1830, of the Stiftung Stuttgart and of RC Stuttgart Solitude. After the visit to Calcinate, the friends of RC Sarnico and Valle Cavallina organized, thanks to the availability of their PP Arturo Ziliani, a visit to the Berlucchi winery, finished with a tasting, before the farewell dinner and goodbye to France offered by the host clubs Bergamo West and Sarnico and Valle Cavallina.