//Amplifying Words: How Language Technology Can Address Humanitarian Crises

Amplifying Words: How Language Technology Can Address Humanitarian Crises

Meeting for the week of February 03 – February 09, 2020

This Meeting at a Glance:

Program: Amplifying Words: How Language Technology Can Address Humanitarian Crises

Speaker: Sharda Sekaran

Is this your first time to visit us? If so, welcome to our weekly online meeting! To complete our meeting, please continue reading from here to the bottom of this page.

Each Monday our week’s meeting is posted early in the morning, U.S. Pacific Time. These meetings are designed so that you can read and watch what we post anytime during the week. The entire meeting takes about 60 minutes to complete, with the video conference recording of the program being the bulk of the time.

Note that you can easily read this meeting with your favorite device, so feel free to take our meeting on the go with you. Please also make sure to complete the attendance form at the bottom and leave a comment. Enjoy!

To properly attend this meeting, please:

  1. Read and watch the content below in its entirety.
  2. Complete the attendance survey.

Everyone is also encouraged to leave a comment in the Disqus section at the bottom of the page.

Table of Contents

Welcome to the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley!

Here’s a message from President Tzviatko:

ReCSV President’s Message for the week of Feb 3, 2020

President, Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley

Guests, we are happy to have you join us this week!

As we see it, our flexibility as an online, asynchronous club allows a special type of service to Rotarians around the world: we make it easier for anyone to strive for and maintain 100% attendance. That keeps you engaged with Rotary’s events and ideas, and provides a moment of inspiration for devoting your creativity, talents, and resources to good causes.

You are certainly not required to pay anything in order to attend our meetings. However, if you would like to make a small contribution to our service efforts, you are welcome to do so in our secure Happy Dollars section down the page. This could be what you normally pay at your own club’s meetings for lunch, for example. Any amount is welcome, but first and foremost, we’re happy you’ve joined us, and hope you will share with others who we are and what we do to help inspire Service Above Self.

And don’t forget to fill out our attendance form so you get an email you can pass on to your club’s secretary!

The Four Way Test

The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships.

Of the things we think, say or do

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

The Four Way Test – Olukunle

Olukunle from Lagos, Nigeria

Club 5 Year Anniversary Reflections

The club has given me the opportunity to be a part of an organization I knew was doing good things but was still an outsider. The learning we do each week has broadened my scope of understanding not only of Rotary but of the many, many good things people are doing to improve the lives of others around the globe. There’s something that inspires me each week. I’ve also taken a lot of pleasure in getting to know members of our club, a dynamic group of caring individuals that always leaves me feeling good about knowing them. (esp after CWR and online socials I can attend)

And there’s Rushton. Before he brought me into the club I knew him as an inspiring educator that I looked up to. I now look up to him even more, and as a mentor for doing the right thing and genuinely caring to make a difference. What a guy.

Nate from Nagoya, Japan

🎂 🎈 🎉 🎁 🍾
Happy Birthday!!

Mark Dohn (Feb 8)

From around the world,
Wishing you all the best, on your birthday and always!

🎂 🎈 🎉 🎁 🍾

Members and guests, consider donating in their honor in our Happy Dollars section below.

Weekly Funny with the Lady of Laughter (LOL)

We believe laughter is an important part of life, and we should all make time to laugh a little. This segment of our meeting is meant to tickle you just enough. These funnies are curated by member Yvonne Kwan, our “Lady of Laughter!”

Following last week’s mousey jokes, here are a set of purrfect follow-ups!

What is a cat’s favorite musical?
The Sound of Mewsic!

How do cats stop crimes?
They call claw enforcement!

Why did the cat wear a fancy dress?
She was feline fine!

Weekly Inspiration

Every week we start our meetings with a short video highlighting innovation, inspiration, entrepreneurship, or social change.

The residents of Hikkim—a high-altitude village in India’s Himalayas—don’t have cell reception, or internet access. But they’ve got mail.

The tiny village is home to the world’s highest post office. Rinchen Chhering has been the devoted postmaster since it opened in 1983.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night keeps Chhering from getting to work every day.

The World’s Highest Post Office

World of

Event brings together Peace Fellows, Nobel laureates

Learn more at https://blog.rotary.org/2019/12/16/event-brings-together-peace-fellows-nobel-laureates/

Through a Rotarian’s Lens

Sometimes a photo can capture an amazing moment. In this section Member Keith Marsh shares his incredible photography!
If you’d like to submit a photo for this section please contact Keith.

I have been taking photos of Rotary projects for 30 years. In 1997, I traveled to Colima Mexico to work at Project Amigo with several members of my club. Started by Rotarians Ted Rose and Susan Hill to help the poor children of the area, it has been one of my favorite International Projects. Project Amigo recentedly recognized my support as a sponsor with this flyer showing the small shelter we built for a poor family in Cofradia.

Learn Something New

This section is curated by members Shags Shagrin and Rushton Hurley and aims to teach our members and guests something new, fun and useful! If you have any ideas on a fun trick or skill you’d like to share please contact Rushton or Shags.

My Favorite Kitchen Toys, Part 2

Cooking low and slow works wonderfully to prepare great meals, but often it take time — and attention to details such as constant basting or turning food in the braising liquid. An alternative is something called sous vide (French for “under vacuum”), cooking items in a sealed, air-free plastic bag submerged in a constant-temperature water bath. According to Wikipedia, “The use of temperatures much lower than for conventional cooking is an equally essential feature of sous-vide, resulting in much higher succulence at these lower temperatures, as cell walls in plant-based food do not burst.

In the case of meat cooking, tough collagen in connective tissue can be hydrolysed into gelatin, without heating the meat’s proteins high enough that they denature to a degree that the texture toughens and moisture is wrung out of the meat. In contrast, with the cooking of vegetables, where extreme tenderness or softness is seen as undesirably overcooked, the ability of the sous-vide technique to cook vegetables at a temperature below the boiling point of water allows vegetables to be thoroughly cooked (and pasteurized, if necessary) while maintaining a firm or somewhat crisp texture. While the cell walls will generally not burst, the de-polymerization of the pectic polysaccharides that connect the vegetable cells together and the gelatinisation of starch in the vegetable can be achieved without overcooking.” A bit technical, but spot-on. Here’s a short video with some great ideas!

Coffee With a Rotarian

A natural part of Rotary is the networking and the fellowship you get out of meeting other Rotarians. Coffee With a Rotarian is a monthly program of our club where we match participating club members for one-on-one virtual (or in some cases in person) coffee meetings, so they can learn more about each other. This program is organized by member Tzviatko Chiderov.

This week we have Ferheen from Santa Clara, CA, USA reporting on a chat with Nan from Penngrove, CA, USA

I am so lucky to have Nan Herron in my life. She is one of my inspirations, along with a second mother!! I asked Nan to look over my personal statement for med school and she gave me such important advice!! For our CWR, we talked about a book called “”Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth”” and, fun fact, Nan is in it!!!

When she was in medical school, she spent time in a hippie commune that was dedicated to childbirth, and her time there was documented in the book along with her picture! Isn’t that absolutely wild??

To make things even better, Nan sent me that book and another on childbirth. As a future OBGYN, I am looking forward to reading them!! I am so excited to one day become a doctor just like Nan 🙂

We encourage all club members to participate in Coffee With a Rotarian. You can sign up here!


Hi eClub members and guests! 
So excited for our first annual ReCSV Oscars pool. Join us in guessing the winners of each category. We donate $10 per form with the potential to win $50 for the most accurate guesses! All other proceeds go toward building our international service project fund. Sign up via Happy Dollars and please indicate Oscars Pool in the memo by February 8th so you’re in time for the Oscars on the 9th!
Thanks so much for supporting Rotary’s efforts to make more sustainable and impactful projects around the world!

Service Report

Tell us about service you’ve done recently in your community.
Click here to fill out The Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley Service Survey


  • D’Garay-Juncal, Raquel: Clothing drive
  • D’Garay-Juncal, Raquel: TRF Interim Monitor Visit
  • D’Garay-Juncal, Raquel: Conduct research for potential projects for our club.
  • D’Garay-Juncal, Raquel: Picking up Rotary Int’l VIP’s at the airport
  • D’Garay-Juncal, Raquel: Supported ShelterBox during the 2020 RI Peace Conference in Ontario, CA
  • D’Garay-Juncal, Raquel: Spent the morning cleaning up Balboa Park at the MLK Day of Service Interfaith Project.
  • Hurley, Rushton: My wife, several friends, and I spent time on New Year’s Eve serving dinner at a homeless shelter for families in San Jose.
  • Singh, Hardeep: Weekly mentoring with a group of middle school girls in the city of Rialto, CA. Creating and implementing session plans that teach life skills, values, leadership, etc. Empowering them to succeed in school and beyond as strong women.

On the first meeting of every month, we feature service reports from club members for the previous month. Thanks for your service everyone!

Club Announcements

Our Events & Projects

We hold our meetings online, but we do regular service projects and social events in the Silicon Valley! This section is updated every week with our upcoming events. We welcome guests to all of the events and service projects listed here.

Past Events:

January 2020 In-Person & Online Social

Upcoming Events:

All times are Pacific Time! (San Francisco time)

District 5170 Events

Area 8 Service Project – Rise Against Hunger
Feb 29, 2020, 10am-12pm
Monta Vista High School Cafeteria, 21840 McClellan Rd., Cupertino, CA 95014
More info at https://tinyurl.com/area8serviceproject

All times are Pacific Time! (San Francisco time)

More events coming soon! All events are open to guests, unless otherwise mentioned. Feel free to join us! If you ever have questions, please email inquiries@siliconvalleyrotary.com

Happy Dollars: Do Good by Sharing Something Good

Each week we ask our members to share stories with the club and toss in a few dollars to support our efforts. The primary goal of this section is to provide a fun way of getting to know each fellow members and guests, while giving back to a good cause.


Happy dollars is an opportunity to share something positive that has happened in your life whether it is personal or business. Think of it as your opportunity to brag a little, but also put a little bit into a karma jar. The money donated through happy dollars is put to charitable use, and the message that you leave for happy dollars will be posted in our online meeting the following week for the entire week for folks to see! (Pending that it’s appropriate!)

Here are the happy dollars contributions from last week!
This section is usually updated on the early hours of Saturday, so contributions made over the weekend may not be listed here.

Rory Olsen made a $20 donation.
Sun is shining again today with the high forecast to be in the high sixties. It is hard to believe that is still January. Jazzmine is snoring happily in the window. All is well.

Please apply my gift to Polio Plus.

Catherine A made a $20 donation.
Thanks to Keith Marsh for the camera purchase tips. Took my first photos of old, rusted vehicles and farm tools (my passion ) and the camera he suggested corrected all of my user errors!
(Please send money to club projects budget line.)

Sandra Stabile made a $10 donation.
For the Academy Awards Pool/Fundraiser

Tzviatko Chiderov made a $10 donation.
For the Oscars fundraising pool.

Nan Herron made a $25 donation.
Happy Birthday to our wonderful club!!

Tzviatko Chiderov made a $25 donation.
TRF contribution for our club’s birthday

Monique Ziesenhenne made a $20 donation.
Happy Anniversary!

Ferheen Abbasi made a $20 donation.
$10 to TRF! Happy 5 year anniversary, club!
$10 Oscar Pool! Great idea for a fundraiser!

Heather Shaw made a $25 donation.
Happy 100th eClub!!!

Rushton Hurley made a $25 donation.
Happy birthday, us!

Brett Sham & Angela Hoang made a $20 donation.
Happy 5th Birthday to our club (and President-Elect Raquel)! Please direct towards TRF.

Brett Sham made a $20 donation.
Happy 5th Birthday to our wonderful club. We (Brett & Angela) love being members of this club and are so fortunate to have met so many of you lovely people and made such great friends. Also happy birthday to President-Elect Raquel! Please direct towards TRF.

Vandana Agrawal made a $100 donation.
Making a token donation to Polio Plus- Rotary Foundation in response to the Club President’s request on the occassion of our Rotary eClub’s birthday.

Fill out my online form.

Selected Comments

Every week at the bottom of our meetings, there is a comments section for members and guests to tell us what they enjoyed about the meeting or to ask questions to the speaker. We select a few comments every week from last week’s meeting to be featured during this week’s meeting.


Here are the comments selected from last week’s meeting.

Nan Herron  said:

Sean, Thank you for a fascinating and practical perspective on planning ahead!
Keith, amazing photo as always! We are so lucky to have you!
I loved the video on South Korea,
and getting to know Mark through photos! That sure is a high dog:person ratio.
And….maybe now I should look into air fryers, huh?
Happy Birthday, Raquel!!

Nathan Gildart said:

Sean, that was a deeply interesting presentation. I’m a teacher and a disposition we hope our kids learn is resilience. We want them to understand how to adapt and ‘reinvent’ themselves, and that this is not something to fear. (I’m sure all of us watching your presentation have reflected back on times in our careers in which the present wasn’t the future we had imagined and had to indeed, adapt) I’ve recently been reading more on AI and the potential for it to be the next big economic ‘disruptor’ in our lives. We’ll see. Fascinating discussion.

*Loved the Great Big Story – been to South Korea several times and have taught the historic dynasties, so it was cool to see the Koryeo and Chosun statues. Way cool.
*Seeing Mark’s photos reminded me of how Rushton is some really super glue that keeps us together!
*Happy Birthday, Raquel!

And finally, I’ve noticed we have 97 subscribers on YouTube. Three more and we can get a channel channel name in the url. Pressing stuff? Nah. Cool? For sure! I challenge our members to click ‘Subscribe’ this week and get us over 100 before I open my other gmail accounts and do it anyway. Ready…. Go!

Mitty Chang said:

Happy birthday Raquel!

Shags – Cool video about air fryers! I’ve been thinking about getting one.

Sean – Thanks for presenting to our club! We appreciate your time and your insights!

Manuj Mittal said:

Happy Bday Raquel in Advance, Have a blast! Thank you Sean for an insightful program.
I had no clue that we have member on the east coast. @MarkDohn I live in Rochester and travel to the city a lot. Lets plan to Catch up soon…

Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this week’s meeting after you watch the program below, and perhaps you’ll see your comment featured next week!

Program: Amplifying Words: How Language Technology Can Address Humanitarian Crises

Speaker: Sharda Sekaran

Every week we bring to you a new program on innovation, entrepreneurship, and education, and how those contribute to service to others. Special thanks to member Roger Plested for leading our club’s Programs Committee in finding us amazing speakers each week.

The Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley seeks to explore perspectives on service from across the world. The views of the speakers in our programs are their own, and unless stated otherwise, are not necessarily reflective of the views of our eClub nor Rotary International.

If you have an idea for a cool speaker, please feel free to reach out to them directly
or submit THIS FORM so our Program Committee can contact them!

Over half of the world’s population doesn’t have access to knowledge and information because it’s not available in their language. This language gap prevents people from accessing information to help lift them out of poverty, get health care, recover from a crisis, or understand their rights.

This is why Translators without Borders (TWB) is developing innovative, scalable language technology for marginalized languages. So far, TWB has developed the first and only machine translation engine for Kurdish languages; a glossary app for key Rohingya words and phrases; and Kato Speak, a text and voice translation memory system. In this talk, we’ll learn more about how TWB is harnessing machine translation and other language tech to address the world’s most pressing humanitarian issues.

Our speaker, Sharda Sekaran, is a New Yorker living in Copenhagen, Denmark. She joined Translators without Borders in August 2019. Sharda has two decades of experience working with non-profit organizations and foundations. She has served as an independent consultant for a number of campaigns and projects, and as an in-house communications and marketing director. Sharda co-founded a human rights group called the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI). In addition to American English, Sharda speaks decent French, usable Spanish, and slowly improving Danish.

Members and guests, please welcome Sharda Sekaran!

Additional Resources

Share your thoughts or ask our speaker a question in the comments at the bottom of this meeting page!

Upcoming Program Recording Schedule

All of our guest speakers and programs are recorded live online over Zoom video conference. We welcome members and guests to join us in one of these upcoming recordings. Recordings are approximately 30 minutes long and are subject to change without notice.

Our online video conference room link for these recordings is always https://zoom.us/j/5104080000. You are welcome to join us! Please note the timezone listed for all recordings is US Pacific Time (San Francisco, California, USA).

If you can’t join the live recording, please send your questions for an upcoming speaker to programs@siliconvalleyrotary.com.

You’re Almost Done! Please complete The Attendance Survey…

Thanks for reading and watching this week’s meeting. You have two last things to do before you’re done.

We have a very short attendance survey below for you to fill out to record your attendance.

Visiting Rotarians, this is how you can get an email receipt to pass along to your club’s secretary as proof that you’ve attended our meeting if you need it for makeups.

Non-Rotarian Guests, we would love to see who is dropping by our meetings! This part is optional for you. If you think you may want to join our eClub at some point in the future, we would strongly recommend you fill out the attendance form as it will improve your chances of success for your membership application.

For all members and guests — we strongly recommend and ask that you leave a comment in our comments area below. Tell us how you enjoyed the program. Ask this week’s speaker any questions you might have. Or just stop by and say hello and tell us where you’re from!

Important: Once you submit the Attendance Survey below, please make sure you see the confirmation message. If you get an error message instead, please try the ‘submit’ button again, and if that doesn’t work, please refresh the page and it should work fine. Thanks!

2020-02-03T00:53:43+00:00February 3rd, 2020|0 Comments