Tiberius Braun, 64, one of the founders of the Rotary Club Moscow International, came to Moscow in 1990 for six months and has never left. The German national now works as general manager at travel group TUI AG.
Q: What is the mission of the Rotary Club?
A: To help those in need. The Rotary Club Moscow International mainly works with children and young people who do not have a strong support system in society. Besides the annual singing competition, we work with orphanages and have other social projects.
Q: Can you tell a bit more about the International Children's Music Competition that will be held this Sunday?
A: It's a musical competition for kids from eight to 13 that we organize every year. Every child who comes to our competition is sent by a Rotary Club in their local town. It's a nice project because it unites Rotary Clubs all over the world.
Q. How are the children selected?
A: Selection is based on talent — that is the first criteria. The second criteria, if we have two children on the same level of musical skill, is to give priority to children who are coming from socially disadvantaged homes, maybe with only one parent or a grandparent.
Q. Of the children who have participated in the last 10 years, how many have gone on to become musicians?
A: During the past two years, we have had three of our children play solos at Carnegie Hall, and one of them currently studies at Julliard. All these children are coming from music schools, so they're planning on music careers — either solo, in an orchestra, or pedagogy.
Q. What is the most rewarding part of your work with the Rotary Club?
A: I enjoy seeing the happiness on someone's face and knowing that we played a part in that. Spreading that message that help is out there — this is the main objective of a Rotarian.
Q: How can individuals support this organization?
A: They can either join the club itself, become a Rotarian, or they can sponsor a project or attend a charity event. There are many ways to support the Rotary. Even a small contribution is appreciated.
Q: Do you give money to panhandlers you see in the streets?
A: Only if I see very old people or people who really seem to be asking for money they need themselves. If I see some young people who are not handicapped but are only collecting the money for others, then I usually don't. You can tell based on how people are dressed, how they are carrying themselves.