Fuquay-Varina Mayor John Byrne met this past week with a group of medical practitioners visiting the U.S. from France under a Rotary sponsored Group Study Exchange program. A reception for the team was held Thursday, April 26, at the home of former mayor Bob Barker. Members of the Holly Springs Rotary Club and both Fuquay-Varina Rotary clubs participated in providing a warm welcome to the visitors.
The Group Study Exchange (GSE) is a worldwide program operated by Rotary International and local Rotary districts. Young professionals in a particular field are paired with other professionals in a similar field in another country. Each team spends four weeks in the host country visiting various organizations and facilities in their area of specialty. The teams get the opportunity to meet and discuss common issues. They also get to meet and interact with typical families and develop some insights into the local culture. Not incidentally, they often form long lasting friendships.
Team members are hosted by local families for one week at a time. The team from France stayed with Ed and Jeanne Ridpath and with Bob and Pat Barker while they were in the southwest Wake and Harnett county areas. The local committee coordinating the activities of the inbound GSE team was co-chaired by Fuquay-Varina Rotarians Jill Schnake-Roeder and Linda Williford.
The French participants are engaged in medical research and clinical practice in their home communities. A complimentary team of professionals will depart from the U.S. for northern France on May 18 and return on June 17. They will stay in the same area that is home to our current visitors, and will meet with them while in-country. The U.S. team consists of an MD, an RN nurse practitioner, a clinical pharmacist and public health professional. They will travel with Rotarian Rod Frankel from Cary, NC, who will serve as facilitator and program coordinator. The committee chairman for selecting and organizing the outbound team is Holly Springs Rotarian William Rousseau.
The program is free for all participants, and is funded by grants from the Rotary Foundation, the charitable programs arm of Rotary International. Rotary has 32,000 clubs and over 1.2 million members world-wide. The web site for the Holly Springs club can be accessed at www.hollyspringsrotary.com .