Back to Upcoming Speakers

November 29, 2018
7230 DG Krishnan Chittur

topic: TBA

Rtn. Krishnan Chittur is a lawyer in private practice.  A gold-medallist from University of Bombay and a graduate of Harvard Law School, he is admitted to practice in Mumbai, India, in several jurisdictions in the United States, and in the U.S. Supreme Court. He was also an arbitrator with the New York Stock Exchange and with the National Association of Securities Dealers.  Having litigated in India and the United States, Mr. Chittur has extensive international litigation experience. He is the “little guy’s lawyer,” focusing on protecting the interests of consumers and small businesses.

Rtn. Chittur’s involvement with Rotary began in 1972 when he joined a Rotaract Club in India, a vibrant Club which was awarded the “Best Club” in the District the next year. In 1981, he was selected by R.I. Dist. 314 (Mumbai and neighboring areas) as a member of the Group Study Exchange Team to visit Southwestern Pennsylvania (R.I. Dist. 733).  He formally joined the Rotary Club of Briarcliff Manor in 2010, becoming its Vice-President (2011-‘12), and President (2012-13).

As President, he started several new projects in Briarcliff Manor, such as “Preventative Health Series” to increase consumer awareness of health issues.  He also started the “ElderAct” club, the sixth ElderAct in the World, and the first in our District. With that ElderAct Club, and the Interact Club of Briarcliff Manor, he organized a three-generation gardening project involving ElderAct, Rotary, and InterAct. In 2016, he started an InterAct club at St. Christopher’s, Inc., a school which provides residential programming for teens with learning challenges, which has since then become one of the most vibrant InterAct Clubs.

Rtn. Chittur started the Friendship Exchange Program in our District in 2012-’13, with a Friendship Exchange with Bangalore, and with Turkey (2014-15).  He was Chair of our District’s Friendship Exchange Committee from 2012 - 2015.

He was given the District Award for Community Service (2012-13), and District Peace Award for International Understanding (2012-’13).  He is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow, and a member of the Paul Harris Society.  He is a sought-after speaker and has addressed many Rotary audiences in U.S. and elsewhere in joint club meetings, seminars, and District Conferences.

His five-year goal for District include a 10% annual increase in membership, and well-established and systematic participation in Rotary’s international programs such as Peace Fellowship Program, Vocational Training Team Program, Youth Exchange Scholarship Program, and Friendship Exchange Program.

November 8, 2018
President-Elect Larry Cohen

topic: Rotary Mission to Panama

Our Nov 8th luncheon meeting speaker will be President-Elect Larry Cohen who will share with us details of his very recent Rotary Mission to Panama. (Oct 27 - Nov 2) which included construction of a bridge to help the city of El Paredon, Panama.

And a bit out of the norm - we'll be holding the meeting at the UN Church Center, 777 UN Plaza. 2nd floor.

September 27, 2018
Gordon G. Chang

topic: Trump and China: War or Peace in Asia?

Gordon G. Chang is the author of Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World, released by Random House in January 2006. Showdown focuses on nuclear proliferation in general and the North Korean crisis in particular. His first book is The Coming Collapse of China (Random House, August 2001).

He is a columnist at The Daily Beast and a contributor at He blogs at World Affairs Journal.

Chang lived and worked in China and Hong Kong for almost two decades, most recently in Shanghai, as Counsel to the American law firm Paul Weiss and earlier in Hong Kong as Partner in the international law firm Baker & McKenzie.

His writings on China and North Korea have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Far Eastern Economic Review, the International Herald Tribune, Commentary, The Weekly Standard, National Review, and Barron's.

He has spoken at Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Yale, and other Universities and at The Brookings Institution, The Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, RAND, the American Enterprise Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, and other institutions. He has given briefings at the National Intelligence Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the State Department, and the Pentagon. He has also spoken before industry and investor groups including Bloomberg, Sanford Bernstein, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia. Chang has appeared before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Chang has appeared on CNN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, CNBC, MSNBC, PBS, the BBC, and Bloomberg Television. He has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and is a regular co-host and guest on The John Batchelor Show.

Outside the United States he has spoken in Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo, The Hague, London, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver.

He has served two terms as a trustee of Cornell University.

July 21, 2018
Alfred C. Cerullo III

topic: TBA

Fred Cerullo is President/CEO of the Grand Central Partnership and a Commissioner on the New York City Planning Commission.

Over the course of his career, Cerullo has been an elected and an appointed official, as well as a board member of many non-profit organizations. Cerullo began his career as Counsel to the Minority Leader of the New York City Council. He became one of the youngest ever New York City Council members, winning his first of four consecutive elections to the New York City Council representing the South Shore and portions of the Mid-Island communities of Staten Island, while also holding the position of City Council Minority Leader.

Cerullo became one of the youngest ever New York City Commissioners when he was tapped to run the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and later became the City Commissioner of Finance, after running both agencies simultaneously for six months.

Cerullo served on the Mayoral Transition teams of Rudolph W. Giuliani and Michael R. Bloomberg as well as serving on the Mayor’s Committee on Appointments. Prior to his appointment to City Planning, Cerullo was a Member of the New York City Campaign Finance Board for more than four years, having the distinction of being the first Board Member to have participated in the landmark campaign finance program.

Presently, Fred serves on the Boards of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, the Staten Island Foundation, the American Museum of Natural History Planetarium Authority, the St. George Theatre Restoration, Inc. and St. John’s University School of Law Alumni Association. He is also a Board Member of the NYC BID Association and is an active member of numerous organizations citywide.

Cerullo, who resides in the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island, was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Great Kills, Staten Island, and is a graduate of the New York City public school system. He received bachelor’s degrees in English and American Studies from St. John’s University. A member of the bar in New York, New Jersey, California, and Washington D.C., he earned his law degree from St. John’s University School of Law. He has received numerous awards over the years, including the St. John’s University Pietas Medal and the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Medal. He also received the President’s Medal from both St. John’s University and the City University of New York College of Staten Island. Most recently Fred was named one of New York City’s “50 Over 50” by City & State Magazine, and also landed in the Top Ten of Staten Island’s Most Powerful People by the same publication.

Fred Cerullo is a member of SAG/AFTRA appearing in daytime dramas, films, movies made-for-television and cable, and has had starring roles in numerous stage productions.

June 28, 2018
Dan Devone

topic: Today's Professional Athlete And Their Political Agenda

I'll talk about the cross section where athletes, sports, and politics come together. It's a look at topical issues that often divide our country with polarizing perspectives (sexism, racism, nationalism, etc) and how sports serves as a platform for these 'hot button' issues. I discuss whether an athlete has an obligation to enlighten others about matters not related to sports. Its also a retrospective, a look back at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin Germany, the 1968 Olympics in Mexico and how these events provided historical political moments!

June 14, 2018
Dr. Mikal Finkelstein

topic: TBA

Dr. Mikal Finkelstein is on the board of Directors and serves as medical director for CapraCare, a Haitian relief organization. Dr. Finkelstein has a deep commitment to advancing health equity in low resource settings with a particular focus on maternal child health. She has worked in private practice in NYC and has also had global public health experience in Haiti, Africa and Central America. She is a Pediatrician and Supervising Physician in the School Based Health Program at Morris Heights Medical Center in the Bronx, NY. She has also served as a consultant to UNICEF in Health Systems Strengthening and Health Equity. Dr. Finkelstein earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Master of Public Health at New York University. She completed her medical training at New York University Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital.

May 10, 2018
Dr. Afshan Haque

topic: Getting To Know American Muslims and Their Faith

Dr. Afshan Haque volunteers as an interfaith speaker in New York. She is affiliated with the non profit organization Islamic Networks Group (ING) based in California. The mission of this organization is to promote peace and mutual understanding through education. Dr. Haque received her DDS degree at NYU College of Dentistry. She attended NYU College of Arts and Science for her undergraduate degree and is a Stuyvesant High School alumna. She opened her dental practice in 2013 in West Harlem. Dr. Haque has volunteered in developing countries around the world providing dental care to underserved populations. She has worked with humanitarian NGO’s such as Medico, CDRS, and SOS Children’s Villages. In her free time, Afshan loves to dance, travel, and spend time with friends and family. The presentation is called "Getting To Know American Muslims and Their Faith". The presentation covers where Muslims live in the world, the history of Muslims in the US, beliefs, practices, and common misconceptions. There will be time for questions.

Apr 23, 2018
Miriam Christina Groß

topic: Germany Day

Miriam Christina Groß, pastor of New York's historic German Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Paul in Chelsea will be helping us celebrate Germany Day.

Throughout its history, St. Paul's Church has been the spiritual and social home to many immigrants from Germany.

Right in the middle of New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood is an active remnant of the neighborhood’s immigrant past. The Church of St. Paul’s is the the oldest continually operating German-speaking church in New York City, and continues to be the only Lutheran church where services are held entirely in German.

Although the great influx of German immigrants into New York City would not begin until the 1850s, there was a significant population as early as the 18th century. On August 22, 1841 a group of German Lutherans were organized by the Rev. F. W. Geissenhainer as the “German United Evangelical Lutheran Church of the City of New York.” The church was dedicated in 1842.

The current Church of St. Paul’s is located at 315 W. 22nd Street and was dedicated on February 13, 1898, With the dedication, the church changed its name to the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Paul in the City of New York.

Mar 22, 2018
Chetachi Nwoga-Ecton

topic: Combating Malaria in Nigeria: A Humanitarian Approach

Chief Chetachi Nwoga-Ecton is the founder, CEO, principal funder and moving spirit behind the aptly-named When in Need Foundation (WIN). The honorific Chief was bestowed on her by local potentates in her native Nigeria in recognition of what she has achieved in mustering assistance for WIN’s beneficiaries; the underprivileged and forgotten orphans in Nigeria.

Her own story is a powerful tale of overcoming obstacles and, in the end, turning business success into a humanitarian and philanthropic initiative that focuses on promoting education, health and food security throughout the disadvantaged communities of Nigeria and around the world.

Chief Chetachi Nwoga-Ecton came to the United States while still in her teens. She worked her way through school and started her own family. Like every hard-working immigrant who comes to the shores of the United States, she struggled to provide for her family, at one point holding down four jobs until she made it in the real estate and entertainment industry.

One of her first humanitarian ventures was a healthcare agency that provides services to intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals. On the way, she earned Bachelor of Science and postgraduate degrees in social work from Widener University.

Dr. Chetachi Nwoga-Ecton remains committed to turning obstacles into stepping stones through her global humanitarian and philanthropic initiatives.

Feb 22, 2018
Simeon Hein

topic: Yaliens Meet the Multiverse

Dr. Simeon Hein is the director of the Institute for Resonance in Boulder, Colorado. The Institute is devoted to the study of subtle-energy sciences including remote viewing, crop circles and related subjects. Dr. Hein has a Ph.D. in sociology and has previously taught research methodology at Washington State University. Dr. Hein first learned remote viewing in 1996 and subsequently became involved in crop circle research. He believes that all crop circles, regardless of their origin, create magical effects by virtue of their shape and the subtle interaction between humans, plants, and sacred geometry. In addition to assisting with Institute for Resonance crop circle tours he continues to teach remote viewing in Boulder and in Japan. A recent book by Dr. Hein is "Planetary Intelligence: 101 Easy Steps to Energy, Well-Being, and Natural Insight", a simple primer for anyone interested in connecting to subtle-energies on a daily basis.

Feb 8, 2018
Ellen Chilemba

topic: Women's Access to Educatiion - Malawi

Ellen Chilemba is an award-winning activist and social entrepreneur. She is recognized for her work in promoting women’s access to education in Malawi. For her efforts, Ellen is Glamour Magazine's 2017 College Woman of the Year. She is also one of Forbes' Africa 30 Under 30, a We Are Family Foundation’s Global Teen Leader, a Powell Emerging Leader, an Ashoka Future Forward Winner and a Global Changemaker.

Ellen is the founder of Tiwale, a youth-led organization that empowers Malawian women through business and health education workshops, micro-finance loans, vocational skills training programs and education grants. Ellen founded Tiwale at eighteen years old in January 2012.

To date, Tiwale has trained 150 women in business education programs, trained 66 women in vocation skills programs and enabled 40 women to start successful businesses through micro-loans. The organization is currently building a women’s center for education and entrepreneurship.

Jan 25, 2018
Michele Abeles

topic: An introduction to the work of the Charities Bureau and General Guidance
          for Directors and Employees of Not-for-Profits

Michele Abeles is an Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau. She has worked in the Bureau since 2001, primarily in the areas of enforcement and transactions and has oversight of the Bureau’s responses to Freedom of Information Law requests. Prior to joining the Charities Bureau, Ms. Abeles worked in private practice as a corporate transactional lawyer.

Jan 11, 2018
Shailly Agnihotri

topic: The Restorative Center

Shailly Agnihotri is the Founder & Executive Director of The Restorative Center, an organization which facilitates community circles as a way to nurture bonds, repair harm, and heal rifts.

Shailly Agnihotri spent more than 20 years as an attorney, and has developed an expertise in criminal justice through working as a prosecutor (Orleans Parish), teaching (Georgetown Law School) and as a public defender (New York City). She had the privilege of studying (as a Prettyman Fellow) with Professor William Greenhalgh whose love for the Constitution and the rights it affords the accused inspired her legal career. She has come to understand the power for individuals and communities to come to a deeper emergent wisdom of justice through a facilitated circles. She is a trained facilitator in Restorative Practices and a Certified Mediator, has a J.D. (cum laude) from Tulane Law School and a LL.M. (Prettyman Fellowship) from Georgetown Law.

Shailly has presented at conferences around the world on TRC's vision for an independent free-standing model for Restorative Justice which is codified as the Newburgh Model.. She has lead Trainings in TRC's distinct model of RJ for community members, Teens, social workers and attorneys. She has facilitated RJ circles in schools, community centers and the workplace.

Shailly also completed advanced training in yoga and meditation teaching (500 RTA), and studied techniques of breath work, restorative yoga, yoga nidra, yin yoga and meditation. Shailly is grateful for the privilege of studying with Alan Finger, a Tantric mystic and the founder of ISHTA Yoga, whose teaching--of the necessity of the discipline of surrender that meditation brings to our life--inspires her deeply.

Also an artist, Shailly has directed a documentary (Three Soldiers), published stories and has a play in development (Cosmic Dancer). She is grateful to be mentored by Bernard Kop-- a generous genius of British theatre.

She is a mom of two amazing kids who never cease to dazzle her.

About the Restorative Center

The Restorative Center's mission is to develop a community-centered model of restorative justice that creates the structure and space for communities to discover and activate their ability to work together toward their own well-being.

TRC uses Community Circles as the means for opening up a new kind of community dialogue and inter-connectedness, to create a social foundation from which to pursue common goals and address common problems.

Once a community has built its bridges and connections, the community has the capacity to handle conflicts amongst its members through circles (Restorative Justice).

TRC seeks a viable alternative to the adversarial system, a better way to resolve and deter conflict, to promote individual and community healing, and to reclaim justice.

In fact, TRC is insistent that the ideals of Restorative Justice must not be co-opted by the criminal justice system but reside best in the power of individuals and communities.

We envision a future in which the majority of issues currently routed through the criminal justice system and family court are resolved by the communities where those issues arise.

TRC’s program team studied a range of circle practices used in the United States, Jamaica, South Africa, and Brazil, and pulled elements from each to form the basis for our model, also employing our team’s expertise in systems theory, psychology, social work, mediation, law, curriculum development, narrative medicine, childbirth/parenting education, and yoga/meditation to inform the model’s structure. Thus the Newburgh Model of Community Circles was born and named in honor the city which hosted its development and implementation.