Posted by Jim Fitzgerald
An article in the Marshall News Messenger, dated June 3rd, 1981, describes the experience of the first Rotary Group Study Exchange program in Rotary District 5830, in East Texas, when a group of six men from District 136 in Iceland were hosted by the Rotary Club of Marshall for a few days in March of 1980.
Rotary districts in one country send a team out one year and the next year receive a team from their paired district, which in this case was led by Gene Terry, a lawyer from Jefferson and member of the Jefferson Rotary club.  The GSE program does not benefit Rotarians or relatives of Rotarians, so the other five members of the team were selected on the basis of their own professional or business.
Group study exchange, an educational activity of the Rotary foundation,  offered a unique person-to-person opportunity for friendly relations, by providing travel grants for the exchange of teams of young business and professional men between paired Rotary districts in different countries, enabling them to study the institutions and ways of life of their hosts and to develop personal acquaintances and, as the name implies exchange ideas.
Through such exchanges The Rotary Foundation hopes to promote better understanding and friendly relations among the people of the world.  Each district selects its own Group Study team.  Five men between the ages of 25 and 35, representing a cross-section of business and professions in the district are carefully chosen based on recommendations and interviews. 
Transportation costs are paid by the Rotary foundation. Hey house Rotary district provides meals, lodging and travel expenses in the country. Souvenirs and uniforms were bought District 5830.  Each team member is responsible for personal expenses clothing and incurrence.
In 1980-81 The Rotary foundation sponsored approximately 135 group study exchange team Come up with 675 men, at a cost of $1.3 Million.
The Rotary Club of Marshall has been involved in one way or the other, almost every year since then, but often with little or no public recognition to document it.
The next GSE exchange occurred in 1985 when Sam Moseley was in charge of planning and direction a 6-week tour of East Texas and schedules a week in Marshall in July.  The team leader was a prisoner of war interred in Paris Texas.
Marshall members have acted as Team Leader on several occasions, including Sam Moseley, who led a team to Uruguay, PDG Cecil Tomlinson, who led a team to India, PDG Ben Agnor, who led a team to Tasmania, and Kenneth Fitzgerald, who led a team to South Korea.
Marshall has hosted GSE teams from a multitude of countries, including: Africa, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Iceland, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Mozambique, Philippines, Sweden, South Africa, Tasmania, and Uruguay.
Uncounted friendships and a deeper understanding and appreciation of and awareness of needs beyond our borders, have come from the Group Study Exchange experiences, and will be long remembered and celebrated August 24, 2919, along with thousands of other equally life-changing experiences remembered and honored from the past century.