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RI President John F Germ - Biography

Whenever John Germ saw a need in his hometown, he engineered a solution. He'll bring the same can-do attitude to the office of RI president.

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RI Board of Directors

TRF Trustees

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President Germ looks back on a productive year

Time to finish the job of eradicating polio - Paul Martin, former PM of Canada.

RIPE Ian Riseley on attracting new members, building strong clubs, and forming friendships that last

Rotary International to receive the Annual Bill Foege Global Health Award

What does it take to eradicate a disease? Just ask India.

 

Rotarians meet with EU officials to examine Rotary’s role in achieving peace

PRIP KR Ravindran was conferred with the nation's prestigious honour of " Sri Lanka Sikamani" at a ceremony in Colombo on 20th March.

PRIP Ravindran received the award from the President of Sri Lanka

RIPE Ian Riseley on attracting new members, building strong clubs

Rotary women inspire

Samuel Owori will become first Ugandan to head Rotary International

Japanese diplomat earns Rotary alumni award

 

India is enthused....about giving

PRIP K R Ravindran on The Benefits of Rotary Membership.

International Assembly

2017-18 RI President Ian H.S. Riseley announces his presidential theme, Rotary: Making a Difference

Watch International Assembly speeches

Giving Tuesday Winners Announced

3-H: A Bright New Dawn for the Rotary Foundation

Surgeons from India bring relief to underserved patients in Rwanda

Rotary Staff Members Help Keep India Polio-Free

Reasons to Love Rotary Right Now - The Rotarian staff

Rotary's 31-year struggle to wipe out polio

ShelterBox and Rotary clubs take action following earthquake in Italy

Hall Of Fame Singer Donovan Becomes Rotary Polio Ambassador

Polio resurfaces in Nigeria

First wild poliovirus cases in Nigeria since July 2014

Government of Nigeria reports 2 wild polio cases, first since July 2014

WHO plans mass polio vaccination in West Africa

Fresh polio cases embarrassing – Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima

We will redouble our efforts towards eradication of Polio from Africa - Past RI President Jonathan Majiyagbe

Polio will be eradicated - Michel Zaffran, Director of Polio Eradication, WHO

A live Q&A on the Polio response in Nigeria, with Dr Michel Zaffran, Director of Polio Eradication, WHO

Cases in Nigeria: What’s the Outlook? - Interview with Michel Zaffran, Director of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative

RI President John Germ and Vice President Jennifer Jones Facebook Live chat.

Raja of Rotary - An account of  55 years Rotary journey of  PRIP Rajendra K Saboo by Rasheeda Bhagat, Editor, Rotary News Online

RI President-elect Ian Riseley on the progress in ending polio in Radio National, Australia


PRIP K R Ravindran's Farewell Message

PRIP KR Ravindran's Farewell Remarks

 John Germ is a man of commitment - The Rotarian Q & A Session

Poverty rates are creeping back up in Latin America. Investing in entrepreneurs can help change this - John Hewko

6 key numbers in the fight to end polio

HowDo You End a Global Disease - John Hewko in Medium

What can we achieve within our children’s lifetime?

To create peace we need to look beyond the causes of conflict

What defines a Rotary club? You choose

Rotary helps women in Honduras to successfully build their businesses and future - John Hewko in Medium

What is ‘global competence’, and is it the key to inclusive growth? - John Hewko

Creating Sustainable Peace - John Hewko, RI Gen. Secretary in Diplomatic Courier 

What’s Love Got to Do With It? - RI Gen Secretary John Hewko's Special Contribution to the Parliament of World's Religions

Pope greets Rotary members at special Jubilee Audience

Council on Legislation Grants Clubs Greater Flexibility in Meeting, Membership

What should you know about 2016 CoL

The Council on Legislation - First day comes to an end

The Council on Legislation - Second day of action draws to a close

The Council on Legislation – The third day completed

The Council on Legislation – Fourth Day Concluded

The Council on Legislation Comes to an End

Canada & The Polio Story: A Will, A Way, And A Healthier World - Past Rotary Polio Chair Dr. Bob Scott

We’ll see an RI woman President in five years - RI Director Jennifer Jones

2016-17 Theme Address by RIPE John Germ

Download 2016-17 theme logo and materials

Rotary's 2016 International Assembly coverage and resources

 

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Rotary Internacional District 4400 Convention

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Global Leaders Throw Political Support Behind Polio Eradication and Transition

Health Ministers of the Group of Twenty have emphasized the importance of polio eradication and transition planning efforts at their inaugural meeting in Berlin, Germany

The first-ever G20 Health Ministers’ meeting has issued a declaration on global health, including recognition of the historic opportunity that exists to contribute to global polio eradication, and the important role played by  polio-funded assets in achieving broader health goals. The declaration also called for the timely and effective application of these assets to other programmes once eradication is achieved, to help countries maintain their ability to meet their obligations under the International Health Regulations (2005).

This is the first time that public health has been included on the G20 agenda, in recognition that health security contributes to socio-economic stability and sustainable development. The inclusion of polio in the inaugural Health Ministers’ declaration is symbolic of the global effort to stop polio and how close we are to achieving our historic goal, as well as the contribution the programme makes towards many other areas of public health.

This declaration comes ahead of discussions on the status of global polio eradication efforts, and polio transition planning at the World Health Assembly later in the month.

The G20’s acknowledgement of polio eradication and transition planning efforts comes off the back of sustained political commitment and financial support from the governments of the three remaining polio-endemic countries – Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan – as well as the long-term commitment and support of G20 members Australia, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

- End Polio Now

“It’s good to celebrate the best of people in the world” – Champions of Change 2017

Lord Hague headlined a list of dignitaries at the House of Lords who helped celebrate Rotary’s annual Champions of Change Awards.

Rotary International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have contributed more to the health of the people of the world than any nation.

That was the message which former Secretary of State, Lord Hague of Richmond, had for Rotarians and their guests when they met for the annual Champions of Change Awards at the House of Lords.

The event came exactly a week after Lord Hague had met with Bill Gates when they discussed the need for overseas aid.

The former Foreign Secretary said it was important that countries supported development aid. “I can really identify with much of the work that has been done by these awardees here tonight,” said Lord Hague.

“I have been to the most vile places; spoken with war lords and seen the very worst of the people of the world, so it is good to be involved with this event and to celebrate what is the best of people in the world.”

In presenting the awards to the 11 Rotary Champions of Change, he said: “To be part of the work in Rotary International you should be extremely proud.”

In addition to the four domestic and seven international Champions of Change, this year for the first time, there were Community Champions — five non-Rotarians who had been selected from those nominated by Rotary clubs throughout Great Britain and Ireland.

There were two other special awards presented – the first by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland President Eve Conway was the first ever Presidential Award which was made to Cardiff Rotarian George Mercer.

George, who will once again be President of his Club in what is the centenary year of Rotary in Wales, was cited for recognising a need for a new innovative style of club to attract younger members.

In spite of initial rejection of the idea, George continued to push forward and took the motion through the Rotary International Council of Legislation, opening up the opportunity for clubs worldwide to create satellite clubs.

Former Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore, was made a Paul Harris Fellow to recognise his part in the creation of the Champions of Change Awards themselves.

Through Rotary connections he realised the potential of this Awards night and arranged for the first one to be held in the Scotland Office persuading the then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to make the presentations and thus giving the event recognition.

Michael’s Award was received on his behalf by Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, a former Rotary Scholar, who went to Stanford University and regaled his audience with tales of Flower Power California in the Sixties.

The event was hosted by Baroness Harris of Richmond, who said it had been a privilege to welcome everyone to the Palace of Westminster.

There were cheers from the audience for Lord Hague and Lord Campbell when they both announced that they were Honorary Rotarians — Hague at Richmond and Campbell in Howe of Fife.

- Rotary GB & I

20 noteworthy global grants

To celebrate its 100th year, The Rotary Foundation is recognizing 20 global grants that  exemplify what a project should be: a sustainable endeavor that aligns with one of Rotary’s areas of focus and that is designed in cooperation with the community to address a real need. These noteworthy projects demonstrate how your club can leverage the resources of the Foundation to do good in the world. 

Equipping a neonatal intensive care unit in Brazil

Area of focus: Saving mothers and children

Host sponsor: Rotary Club of Registro, Brazil

International sponsor: Rotary Club of Nakatsugawa, Japan

Total budget: $172,500

Background: Neonatal mortality rates were significantly higher in the Ribeira Valley area of southern São Paulo state than in other regions.

Scope: The Rotarians worked with the Hospital Regional Dr. Leopoldo Bevilacqua in Pariquera-Açu to determine the best approach. The grant provided equipment for the hospital’s neonatal ICU and provided prenatal care and breast-feeding workshops for pregnant adolescents. 

Impact: Infant mortality in the region has been halved to seven per 1,000 live births. 

Supporting Rotary Family Health Days in Uganda

Area of focus: Saving mothers and children

Host sponsor: Rotary Club of Kiwatule, Uganda

International sponsor: District 5500 (Arizona, USA)

Total budget: $97,750

Background: A health care summit in Uganda, funded by a district grant, uncovered a need for improved prenatal diagnostic capabilities in rural communities and for better nutrition for expectant mothers.

Scope: A combination global grant provided humanitarian supplies for Uganda’s Rotary Family Health Days and a vocational training team for health care workers at the health camps. 

Impact: The team trained 23 nurses, midwives, and other health care practitioners to use ultrasound scanning devices to diagnose abnormalities in pregnancies and other life-threatening conditions.

Fun fact: Ten Rotary clubs in Uganda each adopted a rural health care center.

Collecting donated human milk for newborns in the Philippines

Area of focus: Saving mothers and children

Host sponsor: Rotary Club of Chinatown-Manila, Philippines

International sponsor: Rotary Club of Tomobe, Japan

Total budget: $82,000

Background: The Rotarians conducted a community needs assessment and decided to fund the creation of a human milk bank at a hospital in Manila.

Scope: The facility collects, screens, processes, and distributes milk to premature and sick newborns, and to well babies whose mothers cannot provide their own breast milk, at Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital. It will also supply milk to infants in communities affected by natural disasters throughout the country.

Training young community leaders in Guatemala

 

Host sponsor: Rotary Club of Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala

International sponsor: Rotary Club of Manhattan Beach, California, USA

Total budget: $39,873

Background: Students attending overcrowded schools in poverty-stricken areas of Guatemala face bullying and street violence. Crimes stemming from gang and drug activity are common. 

Scope: Project sponsors worked with Alianza Joven, a Guatemalan organization focused on preventing crime and violence, to train students in four municipalities around Guatemala City on techniques for deflecting aggressiveness, strengthening leadership, making decisions, and serving their communities. Teachers, principals, and parents were involved.

Impact: More than 6,500 teachers and students received training. 

Fun fact: The project sponsors connected at a project fair in Antigua, Guatemala. 

Teaching peaceful problem-solving in Israel

Area of focus: Promoting peace

Host sponsor: Rotary Club of Haifa, Israel

International sponsor: Rotary Club of Coral Springs-Parkland, Florida, USA

Total budget: $161,750

Background: Israel faces challenges with water scarcity and ongoing conflict. 

Scope: This water project has a “hidden” peace component: Water challenges form the basis of a science curriculum that helps schoolchildren from different backgrounds in Haifa find solutions peacefully and creatively. 

Impact: Students from 10 schools worked together to present 38 science projects focused on water and sanitation. One project involving students from three schools won first prize in a national competition. Schools also participated in 15 cross-cultural activities. .......

Read more >>>

What makes a great global grant project

Rotary members share why their global grant projects worked so well – and what other clubs can learn from their experience.

To celebrate its 100th year, The Rotary Foundation is recognizing 20 global grants that are sustainable, align with one of Rotary’s areas of focus and was designed in cooperation with the community to address a real need. The Rotarians who helped bring these projects to life share advice.

Q: What made your global grant project successful?

Carolina Barrios, Rotary Club of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
The involvement of the Rotary Community Corps of Leticia, Colombia, was essential. The RCC proposed the project, helped select the beneficiaries, coordinated and supervised the construction of the sanitary facilities, and participated actively in promoting the program to everyone in the community, not only the direct beneficiaries. Our partnership with the Universidad San Buenaventura Cartagena, which provided training and donated educational materials, was also vital.

Stephen Baker, Rotary Club of Key Biscayne, Fla.

Our methods had been tested in a series of smaller anti-malaria mosquito net projects, so that by the time we were ready to do a global grant, we had a clear plan of what we were going to do and how we were going to do it. 

Patrick Biswas, Rotary Club of Padma Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Establishing an effective working relationship with the community based on understanding and trust, and being aware and respectful of social traditions, especially because the project dealt with village women. 

Patrick Coleman, Rotary Club of Luanshya, Zambia
Rotary participation was publicized from the outset. The Rotary name adds integrity to any project.

Philip J. Silvers, District 5500 (Arizona)
First, the commitment and funding from the Ugandan Rotary clubs: Ten clubs adopted rural health care centers, and the district contributed $10,000 in district designated funds and $20,000 in cash. Second, the blended vocational training team, composed of medical professionals from India, Israel, and the United States, anchored by Ugandan health professionals: The host professionals knew the clients and the health care delivery systems, and the international team members were seen as partners rather than as “missionaries.” Finally, our comprehensive and effective monitoring and evaluation.

Vasudha Rajasekar, Rotary Club of Madras East, India
Identifying a nongovernmental organization already well-ensconced at the grassroots level that we could cooperate with; working hard at fundraising; and, as an old and well-networked club that has been doing Foundation grants for more than a decade, having methodical systems and processes already in place.

Read more >>>

Rotary Foundation named World's Outstanding Foundation for 2016

The Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized The Rotary Foundation with its annual Award for Outstanding Foundation at its 2017 conference in San Francisco.

The award honors organizations that show philanthropic commitment and leadership through financial support, innovation, encouragement of others, and involvement in public affairs. Some of the boldest names in American giving — Kellogg, Komen, and MacArthur, among others —are past honorees.

The announcement came on 15 November, known to industry professionals since the 1980s as National Philanthropy Day. The award was presented 2 May at the AFP’s annual conference.

Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair-elect Paul Netzel accepted the award on Rotary’s behalf, and Eric Schmelling, Rotary's chief philanthropy officer, also attended the conference. The event drew more than 3,400 senior-level fundraising professionals from 33 countries.

“In our Centennial year, we are deeply honored to receive this recognition from the Association of Fundraising Professionals,” said Netzel.

AFP’s committee of judges cited Rotary’s comprehensive campaign to eradicate polio as a major driver of the selection.

“With the generous support of our members and partners, we’ve taken on some of the toughest humanitarian challenges in the world, none more so than the devastating disease of polio,” said Netzel. “We will defeat polio, and it will be a landmark achievement for global public health.”

The committee also mentioned that Rotary applies a methodical, purposeful approach to support a wide variety of causes, from providing clean water to educating the next generation of peace professionals.

“This award helps to spread our belief that service to humankind truly changes our world, and for that reason, it is the greatest work of life,” said Netzel.

- Rotary International

Rotary to premiere latest virtual reality film

Following the success of its first virtual reality film, released in October, Rotary is working with Google's virtual reality team to offer an experience that showcases the impact of compassion to a global audience.

We're producing a three-minute virtual reality film that emphasizes the two themes of polio and peace, and how Rotary's work to eradicate the disease is increasing stability across the world.

We'll premiere the film on 13 June during the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. It will be widely released in time for World Polio Day on 24 October.

We invite convention attendees to this limited-seating, ticketed event, which promises to be one of the largest simultaneous viewings of virtual reality held to date. Using Google's virtual reality viewer, Cardboard, Rotarians from all over the world will witness the extraordinary journey of a child whose own world has been torn apart by conflict.

The film will immerse viewers in this child's world, and they'll experience for themselves the impact that small acts of compassion, protection, and kindness can have on others.

Rotary's first virtual reality film, "I Dream of an Empty Ward," premiered on World Polio Day last year. The film takes viewers to India, which has been polio-free since 2011, to follow Alokita, a young woman paralyzed by polio as a child.

Traveling through the streets of Delhi, viewers get a close look at life in India, and what's being done to keep the country polio-free. And, through a visit to India's only polio ward, at St. Stephen's Hospital, they witness Alokita's triumphant first steps after 11 years.

District 5160 (California, USA) helped fund Rotary's latest virtual reality project.

- Rotary International Announcement

Sustainable projects earn top Rotaract honors

The 2017 Rotaract Outstanding Project Award recognized the Rotaract Club of the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, for launching a three-year project to improve lives in the rural community of Ranugalla. The club, which represents Rotary District 3220 (Sri Lanka), hopes to empower residents through sustainable education and economic development initiatives. 

During its first year, the club opened a library and science lab for the local school and helped students prepare for college entrance exams and careers. It also targeted infrastructure, bringing clean water into homes and building bridges to link neighborhoods flooded during the rainy season. To stimulate economic growth, the club opened a weaving cooperative for female entrepreneurs.

"Rather than initiating a project to donate materials, we thought a project to address all the issues in the village would be much more beneficial to all,” says Chamal Kuruppu, president of the University of Moratuwa Rotaract club.

Best multidistrict project went to Rotaractors in Brazil for their campaign to combat hate crimes in online communities. More than 1,000 Rotaract members from 34 Brazilian districts planned activities during World Rotaract Week in 2016, adapting the campaign to their communities — such as partnering with a university to design a workshop series on Internet hate crimes — and using their social networks to spread messages of diversity, inclusion, and peace.

This year, over 300 projects were nominated in 52 countries. The awards recognize the best single-club project, best multidistrict project, and outstanding service projects in each of six geographical regions. The best single-club project and best multidistrict project receive $500 each for future service activities and will be invited to inspire other Rotaractors at the Rotaract Preconvention in Atlanta.

These clubs received regional recognition:

Asia Pacific: Rotaract Club of ePerformax, District 3810, Philippines

The Rotaract Club of ePerformax, in collaboration with its sponsor Rotary club, the Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery, and local police, developed a curriculum to support young people’s emotional and physical well-being. Club members not only trained young people to recognize bullying and defuse situations that could become dangerous, but also created a school garden to keep them active, healthy, and self-sufficient.

South Asia: Rotaract Club of Lote, District 3170, India

For years, the rural community of Gavathan, India, has had a river winding through it, but no clean water or electricity. The Rotaract Club of Lote sought to harness the river’s natural resource to improve lives. Its project resulted in the construction of a small dam, pipes for irrigating crops, and a turbine-operated plant that is powering 61 streetlights.

Europe, Middle East, and Central Asia: Rotaract Club of Izmir Ekonomi, District 2440, Turkey

The ongoing conflict and refugee crisis in Syria has affected nearly everyone in neighboring Turkey, including its schoolchildren. To help Syrian and Turkish students overcome their differences and focus on their shared human rights, the Rotaract Club of Izmir Ekonomi hosted workshops in two primary schools. After the workshops, which were organized with help from the Council of Europe, the European Law Students’ Association, the United Nations, and child psychologists, the young students were asked to express their feelings through painting. “We saw in the paintings that their thoughts changed in a positive way,” said a member of the Rotaract club.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Rotaract Club of Cotonou Phare, District 9102, Benin

The Rotaract Club of Cotonou Phare undertook a multiphase project to bring clean water and improved sanitation facilities to a local orphanage. The first phase involved drilling a well for the facility’s kitchen and bathrooms. In the second, club members worked with their sponsor Rotary club and other service organizations to refurbish the toilets.

Latin America: Rotaract Club of Pau dos Ferros, District 4500, Brazil

More than 25 organizations and businesses supported the Rotaract Club of Pau dos Ferrosin its efforts to boost the rural community of Varzea Nova. Over 13 months, the club helped establish Internet connectivity in the town, provided medical exams and services, led childhood education sessions for infants and parents, organized vocational training for adults, and hosted a cultural festival.

USA, Canada, and Caribbean: Rotaract Club of the University of Lethbridge, District 5360, Canada

Rotaractors from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta raised $36,500 to update kindergarten facilities in the community of Mazatlan, Mexico. By collaborating with the local government and Rotary clubs, Rotaractors ensured that the funds were used for teachers’ salaries and for buying new plumbing and classroom spaces for about 70 students.

- Sallyann Price in www.rotary.org

New Rotarian Action Group takes on hepatitis eradication

According to the World Health Organization, viral hepatitis is the seventh leading cause of death worldwide. Together, Hepatitis B and C kills close to 1.4 million people every year. Around the world, 400 million people living with chronic Hepatitis B and C, the most serious forms of viral hepatitis, don’t know they are infected. Untreated cases cause serious damage to the liver and result in death.

I was once one of those 400 million people in good health and without a single symptom while my liver was being taken by cirrhosis. In 2010, before a trip to the South Africa FIFA World Cup, I visited the doctor to ensure my vaccines were up-to-date. Apart from the vaccines, the doctor also tested for Hepatitis B and C and there it was: hepatitis C.

I received treatment and a second chance at life. I knew I had to do something to help the millions of other people who were still suffering. I started to research the disease and found that 3 million in my country of Brazil shared my same problem. They showed no signs of a damaged liver, but were living with the terrible disease. I became president of the Brazilian Association of People with Hepatitis (ABPH) which established five free clinics in Brazil with a the sixth one soon opening in Mexico focused on prevention and treatment.

Using point of care blood testing, we started offering screenings all over the country. We performed half a million tests and identified 5,000 people like me living with the disease with no symptoms of infection. We helped those testing positive for hepatitis connect with treatment options.

My Rotarian friends accepting my invitation to join the mission. We engaged Rotary clubs throughout Brazil, and have now spread to all of Latin America. Over 1,000 clubs are working with us, performing low-cost and convenient tests to detect the disease. Lives are being saved and each infected person now has a chance to get treatment and be cured. Today, treatment is easy and effective in almost 100% of cases. The biggest challenge is finding those who are infected with the disease.

The Hepatitis Eradication Rotarian Action Group was formed to help clubs and districts with hepatitis screening and testing campaigns. Join our group and volunteer to help us form a committee in your country to conduct testing. The group is open to Rotary members, their families, program participants, and alumni with expertise or a passion for a particular service area.

Contact me for more information and to join our efforts!

-  Humberto Silva, Chair of the Hepatitis Eradication Rotarian Action Group and member of Rotary Club of São Paulo-Jardim das Bandeiras in Brazil in Rotary Service Connections

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www.eflashonline.org is an initiative of Rotary Club of Kalamassery,  R I District 3201, India. Since 1999, eFlash spreads Rotary news and stories online to members from over 100 countries. 

Founder Editor: PDG Sunil K Zachariah

This community operates in accordance with Rotary International policy, but is not an agency of, nor is it controlled by Rotary International

 
 
 

Sunil's Corner

eFlashOnline is now on Facebook

ROTI Chair Elect (2017-19) Chris Sweeney has had to stand down due to health reasons. 

The ROTI Board have unanimously agreed that Madhumita (Madu) Bishnu (the only other nomination for Chair 2017-19) should become our new Chair Elect and she has accepted the post.

Why I Am a Rotarian - Sunil

Keynote Address by PDG Sunil K Zachariah on 9 Sept 2012 at the RCGF of District 3190 at Bangalore

Rotary Institute, Cochin - 2009. PDG Sunil K Zachariah welcomes the gathering

Make someone smile, and see how it changes you

Four years ago, our club undertook a project called “Todo Sirve,” which literally means “’everything serves.” We collected donations in our city, including food, drinking water, clothes, children’s toys, bikes, and beds for an aboriginal low-income community, the Qom village, located in Formosa, a northern province of Argentina.

I will never forget hearing the word “gnashek” (Qom for ‘thanks’) from a woman who I was giving a box of donations to.

In that moment, my whole world stopped, and I understood how interconnected we all are. So many things that I take for granted, others need and sometimes have to do without.

More than friendship

I joined the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen in 2013 looking for new friendships, but I’ve come to realize that Rotaract is so much more. I’ve been president, vice-president, and currently treasurer of my club. And I find that being in Rotaract is also a way to feel; to enjoy; to share; to serve; and above all, to learn with friends.

In spite of all the hard work that this project took – organizing meetings, sending letters, searching for people who want to join, receiving and sorting donations – I came to understand better the opportunities Rotaract provides. When we traveled within the community, we were accompanied by our fellow Rotaractors from Formosa, making the project easier and more enjoyable. Traveling 1,400 kilometers (about 870 miles) became like nothing, because we were going to serve alongside our friends.

The project taught me that we need to work together to change lives. I can assure you that if you make someone smile through service, it will change you forever. It certainly changed me – that’s when I fell in love with Rotaract.

- Nicolas Silva, member of the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen, Argentina in Rotary Voices

Deeply wounded world needs Rotary Peace Centers

After months of anticipation, I finally arrived in Brisbane, Australia, where I will be for the next 18 months while I pursue the Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland Rotary Peace Center.

I quickly felt at home after being picked up by our “Australian parents,” who have been extremely helpful in our transition.  I have enjoyed the pros and cons of Australian living as I have quickly adapted to 30 degree weather in March and travelling via a ferry that feels more like vacation than public transit. I have also survived Cyclone Debbie (experiencing my first ever rain day) and have been sure to watch my step for snakes and spiders.  I have also learned to stay out of the Brisbane River.  Bull Sharks are everywhere!!

The staff at the University of Queensland Peace Center have been incredibly welcoming and helpful. I was rather anxious returning to studying after six years, but after only one month I feel inspired and prepared to undertake my program. I’m both honored and intimidated to be on this journey with nine amazing Peace Fellows from all over the globe. Each Peace Fellow brings vast knowledge and life experience.

This semester I’m enrolled in four peace and conflict related courses. The course work is both challenging and exciting. I’m excited to learn not only about peace and conflict theories but also practical skills including mediation. Furthermore, I was excited to be a part of a seminar for Class 14 this past week. These peace fellows presented on their AFE (applied field experience).  It was an enlightening experience and I am excited for my opportunity to apply some of my newfound knowledge into the field.

In a world deeply wounded by conflict, I feel more than ever that peace education is essential. I’m thankful for my sponsoring Rotary Club of Tavistock, Ontario, Canada, and my host Rotary Club of Balmoral Brisbane, Australia, for their continued support, and look forward to keeping in touch!

Is a peace fellowship right for you?

About the author: Marie-Paule  is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. She immigrated to Canada 16 years ago. Over the last ten years she has worked with marginalized populations in various community initiatives in Ontario, Canada. Her career goal is to contribute to recovery and mental health in the aftermath of armed conflict, and in the long term, to promote peace and equality through global policymaking.

Marie-Paule Attema, a Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia in Rotary Voices

Why the good you do will do good to you - Rotary Voices

Volunteering has been a very satisfying component of my life. When I volunteer, it’s always about contributing my time and skills to enhance the quality of life of others in my community.

I joined the Interact Club of Royal College, the second oldest club and the oldest continuously functioning club in Sri Lanka in 2009. Since then I’ve been involved in Rotary through Interact and Rotaract. I served the Interact Club of Royal College for four years and the last year I was appointed as the president of the club. Then, I went on to accomplish my duties in the Interact District 3220 as the District Interact Secretary for 2013-14.

Studying in the United States

In 2015, I got a scholarship to study in the United States through the Georgia Rotary Student Program, a youth scholarship program established to promote peace and understanding across the globe. Last year, I took the initiative to start a Rotaract club at Armstrong State University, the college I’m currently studying at. Right now I’m working with the Governor of District 6920 to connect Rotaract and Rotary clubs in the district.

Receiving a warm welcome in Georgia.

Servant leadership has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I live by the quote:

“The good you do to society will do good to you.”

Volunteering has been the vehicle of hope that I’ve used to connect myself to the world. When I volunteer, I meet new people, make new friendships and learn about new cultures.

In 2016, I initiated an international non-profit organization called IVolunteer International. It is a registered non-profit organization in the United States. IVolunteer International strives to elevate the quality of human life across the globe by connecting individuals with volunteer projects around the world. We hope that when we connect volunteers to projects, we not only create an altruistic community but also empower people to be sustainable and grow together.

Being a global citizen

Another thing we do is empower charity organizations in the world who are in need of volunteers. Since 2016, we have connected about 900 volunteers for over 25 projects around the world. We are small but I’m hopeful to build communities united by service.

Rotary has provided me with a global view. When I look at a global issue or when I engage in a conversation, I represent myself as a global citizen without limitation of nationality, religion, economic status or any other category. I have learned to look for the best interests of everyone around the world even if I haven’t ever met them.

Rotary has taught me that no matter where people live or what faith they believe in, we all strives for the same things – happiness and love. It has changed my world view and my perspective of life and has so far been the motivation for my contributions to community, country, and the world.

Nipuna Ambanpola, a member of the Rotaract Club of Armstrong State University and former member of Interact in Rotary Voices

Serving with Rotary brings joy to my life

If you would have told me a few years ago that I’d be lugging 15 bags of cement in the high mountains of Cusco, Peru, to help local villagers, I would not have believed you.

It sounds a little cliché, but Rotary has helped me come so far, in so many ways. It’s helped me grow as a person in ways I never thought possible. It’s brought joy back to my life.

Taking a break to hug a child.

This was my second service trip with the Rotary Club of Lake in the Hills, Illinois, within a short period of time. Traveling so far away from home with many hours in a plane and airports is not necessarily my idea of a good time. Further, having what seems like just come back from an amazing trip to India and new friends there, not to mention the incredible work we did, then turning around and getting on more planes might seem crazy to some of you.

But I can tell you it’s totally worth it! Seeing people who have nothing makes you appreciate everything. Being able to learn from them and learn that your project is going to be duplicated in other pueblos as a success story is beyond belief. Working in very hard conditions at high altitude with our Rotarians friends here at the Rotary Club Julio J. Delgado Cusco and our own members creates a bond like no other.

Relationship building

Travel stress, miles and miles and miles of narrow mountain roads, seeing our Indian Rotarians comment on our work here and our Peruvian Rotarians comment on work we did in India — builds life long relations and bridges. Not walls. (Although we actually are building walls for buildings). It’s the gift you give to others that gives back to you.

Rotary is not what I thought it was. It’s so much better, and so much more.

One day, I carried 15 bags of concrete on my shoulders, dug a trench three feet deep by three feet wide, wired parts of the building for electricity, drank more water than I ever thought possible, and pumped more blood than my heart even thought possible while breathing. In mountain air at altitudes higher than the alpacas that roam here. My body ached, but my heart was full, and even though it’s beyond my ability to convey what this is like, I hope some of the pictures show a glimpse of what we are doing.

All in all, I have my luggage, clean clothes and health and next to that everything else is a bonus. You can read more about our service trip and see photos at #RotaryPeru2017.

 - Jack Bechaud, Rotary Club of Lake in the Hills, Illinois, USA in Rotary Voices

How I gained friends through Rotary’s programs for young leaders

Before joining an Interact club in 2010, I had a difficult time dealing with people I didn’t know. That’s probably why I didn’t have a lot of friends in school. But as a member of Interact, I learned a lot about fellowship.

I still remember the day I stood on stage in front of a large group of people for a speech competition for the first time, my legs shaking. It was really a nervous moment for me. That day I realized I am not perfect. But day by day, I began developing my skills and becoming an active member of Interact.

Working together to plant trees.

I served as president of the Interact Club of Gomoti in 2012-13. In the same year, I was appointed as Interact Secretary of District 3280 and the next year elected 1st Interact Representative of District 3282.

I made Interact friends in many countries, founding the Global Friendship Project in 18 other districts. We worked together to plant trees in different countries at the same time and with the same banners. I have always believed the actual duty of a member of Interact is to learn and develop by spreading fellowship.

A second family in Rotary

After completing Interact, I joined the Rotaract Club of Comilla Premier, but within a few months I moved to Dhaka City to continue my education. In 2015, I became the charter president of the Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchids. I found that Rotaract was not that different than Interact, but our responsibility increased. In our charter year we successfully completed 18 club projects in our community. We distributed clothes, food, educational instruments and scholarships for needy peoples. We also formed an Interact Alumni Association of South Asia, chartered in 2015.

While attending Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), I had one of the best experiences of my Rotary life. It was like finding a second family in Rotary. I made new friends, received support from others, and was inspired to develop myself further in order to bring change to my community, and globally.

Becoming a leader

Throughout this journey, I really don’t know exactly when and how I became a leader. But I think it came about through learning the importance of working with others to bring about change or establish peace. The day I joined Interact, I had just two best friends. Today, I have thousands of friends in every Bangladesh city, and in at least 36 countries around the world!

Thanks to Rotary, I can proudly say that I am a Youth Leadership All Star. But my journey is not finished. I want to represent Rotaract and join Rotary to serve our community on an even a bigger scale.

Rotary Convention 2017

Seoul Convention Digest

Join Fellow Rotarians in Atlanta for the 2017 Rotary Convention and the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Foundation. 

Important deadlines

6 June 2016: Last day for special centennial discount ($265 Rotarians/$70 Rotaractors)
15 December 2016: Last day for early-registration discount ($340 Rotarians/$70 Rotaractors)
31 March 2017: Last day for preregistration discount ($415 Rotarians/$100 Rotaractors)
14 June 2017: Last day for online registration ($490 Rotarians/$130 Rotaractors)

http://www.riconvention.org/en/atlanta

2016-17 RI President John F. Germ invites you to Atlanta

Future Rotary International Conventions

2018: 24-27June, Toronto, Canada

2019: 1-5 June, Hamburg, Germany

2020: 7-10 June,Honolulu, USA

2021: 13-16 June, Taipei, Taiwan

2022: 5-8 June, Texas, USA.

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