RI President's Window

Congrats Rtns of on being declared polio free by WHO &having names removed from list of endemic countries.@Rotary@EndPolioNow

RI President K R Ravindran’s speech at Mumbai

Benefits of Membership - RI President K.R. Ravindran's speech at the IA 2016

RI President K R Ravindran's Speech at CHOGM 2015, Malta

I am pleased to announce that His Holiness Pope Francis will officiate at a Mass to Rotarians at St. Peter’s Square, Rome, on 30 April. The Jubilee of Rotarians is a special event hosted by Rotary District 2080 and the Vatican. We will have 8,000 seats reserved for Rotary club members, as well as friends and family. I believe this event is a tremendous honor that will raise Rotary’s status across so much of the world, and it should bring us all great happiness to be a part of it, regardless of our own religions and beliefs. You can find more information and register here: http://buff.ly/1PgsL1G 

Organ concert at the packed Basilica di Santa Maria built by Michelangelo in 1562 brings to close jubilee.

Pope tells me vaccination against Polio very important. Urge Rtns to continue . May Godbless Rtns for the work they do. Ask Rtns pray for me

HH Just arrived

Packed St Peters square. All awaiting HH Pope Francis

Rome. Sarah Jane Morris sings "we'll bring you love' with children. Down load from iTunes. Proceeds to Polio fund.

Helping Refugees to Start over is the theme of this seminar. Full House. Rty and Vatican Radio doing it together.

Rotary Chat with RI President K R Ravindran, 19 August 2015

What is new

Pope greets Rotary members at special Jubilee Audience

Update on Strategic Plan by RID Manoj Desai

Council on Legislation Grants Clubs Greater Flexibility in Meeting, Membership

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

President Ravi asks CoL to be trustees of Rotary's tradition and also its future

For a polio-free world - RI President K R Ravindran in The Jordan Times 

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

The clean water and sanitation crisis: How we can do better - Gen.Secretary John Hewko in DEVEX

Dr. Hashrat Ara Moved to Action

Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi joins hand with Rotary India Literacy Mission

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

The Tale of the Pakistani Taliban Father Whose Baby Had Polio - A TIME Story

Minda Dentler, Ironman athlete, polio survivor and mother reflects on India's Success

2016-17 Theme Address by RIPE John Germ

Download 2016-17 theme logo and materials

Rotary's 2016 International Assembly coverage and resources

The TRF Trustees select Susan Davis for the 2015-16 Rotary Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award.

Sri Lanka honours RI President K R Ravindran

TRF Trustee Chair Ray Klinginsmith and incoming Chair Kalyan Banerjee speakes about the direction and long-term vision of the Foundation

Focus on polio cases - RI President K R Ravindran

Rotary Recognizes Ireland For Its Support of a Polio-Free World

R I President KR Ravindran has been conferred Doctorate in Business Administration by University of Korea, Dankook. Read his Speech

Rotary to Honour Six “Global Women of Action”

John Hewko and a team of eight RI staff members raises money for Polio Eradication

RI President K R Ravindran's Speech at Parliament of World's Religions

Celebrating A Polio-Free Nigeria - Michael K. McGovern, Chair, Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee

Polio: 'The Rotarian' Interviews Aseefa Bhutto Zardari

Rotary no longer an elite club - K R Ravindran, RI President


Rotary Global Rewards: Rotary's new member benefit program.

#RotaryChat with @JohnHewko, 5 August, 2015

Ian Riseley is the choice of the Nominating Committee as RI President for 2017/18

Government of Canada Partners with Rotary Foundation Canada to Eradicate Polio Worldwide and Reduce Poverty in Developing Countries

A Dozen Ways to Make the Most of Your Membership

Polio-free world forever - RI President K R Ravindran writes in Times of Malta

Nigeria's One Year Milestone

100 Years For Hawaii Rotary - 'Midweek' Cover Story

'For the Record: K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran' in The Rotarian

Pay It Forward - A profile of K R Ravindran

A winning combo: Rasheeda Bhagat interviews K R Ravindran for Rotary News Online

World should spend more on education, less on war - Former Costa Rican President , Oscar Arias

Presidents and vibrant clubs make Rotary, not RI leaders - RIPE K R Ravindran at MDPETS at Colombo

Rotary recognizes Japanese Prime Minister as leader in the global effort to eradicate polio

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May is Youth Service Month! And in over 20,000 Interact clubs around the world Rotary's young leaders are working together to build a more peaceful world.


President K R Ravindran’s Address at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore Closing the Jubilee Celebrations.

It has been a tremendous day for all of us in Rotary, and we have many people to thank for it.

I am very grateful to all of the Rotarians here in Italy , especially DG ‘Pino’ Perronne and the Rotarians of District 2080,  for organizing not only a memorable, but a historic event for us in Rotary: one that affirms the belief that we share with Pope Francis, in the  importance of humanitarian service—for which the need is more vital, more relevant, and more universal than ever before.

As we began this weekend together on Friday,  with a panel discussion on the refugee crisis, I was reminded of a story about a young emigrant family from Italy:

Rosa and Giovanni Bergoglio, and their six children. Fleeing Fascism here in Italy, in 1927 they sold their house and their coffee shop and bought steerage tickets on the Principessa Mafalda, bound for a new life in Argentina.

But the sale of their assets was delayed, and they had to change their tickets for another ship, sailing a month later. 

Waiting in Italy for their departure, word reached them that the Mafalda had sunk—taking with it nearly all of the hundreds of passengers in steerage.

Had the Bergoglio family not missed their departure, had they lost their lives at sea as so many other refugees have more recently lost theirs, none of us would be here this evening.

For the oldest son of Rosa and Giovanni was Mario, who grew up to be the father of Jorge Mario Bergoglio—now known, of course, as His Holiness Pope Francis.

In the months leading up to this event, I heard from many Rotarians, and even some outside of Rotary, who questioned me regarding our decision to hold a Rotary event on St. Peter’s Square at the invitation of Pope Francis.

After all we are not a religious organization, we have no religious affiliation, what are we doing having a Rotary event that involves a Catholic Mass?

To all of them, I have said and I say to all of you again,  that what makes Rotary unique is that it is a framework in which we serve others  not with, or through, or despite our religion  but in parallel to it.

In Rotary, you can have a dozen faiths in one room, and all are respected. With one caveat that we will not allow religion to split us.

We do not isolate ourselves from religion, but instead welcome adherents of all faiths.

My Rotary club in Sri Lanka has a Christmas party every year, at which the Hindus and the Muslims are just as welcome, and which we enjoy every bit as much, as the Christians.

This is exactly and absolutely the spirit of Rotary—that by sharing our traditions, by welcoming each other into our lives, we only strengthen the bonds of service, and our common humanity.

As a Hindu I have been honored and deeply touched to have had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis earlier today, and to have heard him tell DG Pino and me that we must continue with our immunization until Polio is eradicated and that may God bless us and in fact he asked us to pray for him.

It has given me even more pride in Rotary’s past, even more faith in its present, and even more optimism about its future, than ever before.

It has truly been a blessed day together.

And as we leave this evening, we know that our paths will cross again as He wills;

Ad we know that whatever your tradition, whatever your faith, your opportunity in Rotary, and your challenge, are the same: to put Service Above Self, and Be A Gift to the World.

Thank you.

Pope Welcomes Rotary To Jubilee Audience

RI President K.R. Ravindran is greeted by Pope Francis following the Jubilee Audience at the Vatican in St. Peter's Square on April 30, 2016. Photo courtesy of the Vatican.


Thousands of Rotary members, motivated by a special invitation from Pope Francis, gathered at the Vatican in Rome on Saturday to celebrate a message of compassion, inclusiveness, and service to humanity.

At midmorning, the group -- numbering some 9,000 members from 80 countries -- made its way through the congested streets of Rome, past the tight security surrounding St. Peter's Square, and settled into the area reserved for Rotary in front of St. Peter's Basilica for the Jubilee audience.

Francis, a 79-year-old Argentine, urged the crowd of more than 100,000, which included members of the police and armed forces from around the world, "to build a culture of peace, security, and solidarity around the world."

His message of peace resonated with Rotary members, including R. Asokan from Tamil Nadu, India. "His message about peace is about accepting. Rotary, which accepts all walks of life, can carry his message to all our clubs, therefore carrying his message to all our communities," says Asokan.

Though Francis is the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, his words often reach a wider audience. A poll published earlier this year found him to be one of the most liked and trusted world leaders.

That's what made this event at the Vatican so appealing, says Adriana Lanting, who traveled from California, USA, to attend. "To have such a transcending figure together with a transcending organization like Rotary in the same place is something I just couldn't miss," says Lanting, a member of the Rotary Club of Long Beach.

Madrid Zimmerman, another Long Beach member, isn't Catholic but says Francis has a knack for touching people's hearts regardless of where they're from. "Rotary has the same effect," she adds. "We may have different ways of expressing it, but our [Rotary] action in helping others comes from the same place.

"This event is a reminder that we only have one goal and that's to give service to those who need it. I think that's the message I want to bring back to my club," Zimmerman says.

After the Jubilee audience, Francis met with a small delegation of Rotary members led by RI President K.R. Ravindran. The pope spoke to Ravindran about the importance of vaccinating children against polio and encouraged Rotary to continue its efforts against this disease.

"I have been honored and deeply touched to have had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis earlier today, and to have heard him tell us to continue our fight toward polio eradication," says Ravindran, who is Hindu. "It has given me even more pride in Rotary's past, even more faith in its present, and even more optimism about its future, than ever before.".......

Read the report by Ryan Hyland, Rotary International in full

More Glimpses of the Jubilee of Rotarians event in Rome

Here's Why Vaccines Aren't Just Good For Your Health Alone — They're Also Good For The Economy - Part 3 of "World Immunization Week" series

April 24-30 is World Immunization Week and we at A Plus are proud to present a five-part series that celebrates the incredible impact vaccines have had on global health.

One of the biggest misconceptions about vaccinations is that they exist to pad the wallets of pharmaceutical companies. While it's true that vaccines aren't free, they're an incredible bargain compared to the costs of getting sick.

Being sick is expensive. In addition to the cost of seeing the doctor, running tests, getting medications, and a whole host of other direct fees, there are indirect expenses, including lost productivity from missed days at work and the effect of not drawing a salary.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that every dollar spent on vaccines saves $16 in associated costs of being sick. When the expanded economic impact is taken into consideration, the figure jumps up to $44.

This might sound a bit abstract to those of us privileged enough to have regular access to health care, but vaccines are absolute game-changers for those living in less-developed areas of the world.

There are many clinics in this world that have too many patients with too few resources to care for everyone adequately. By reducing the number of patients with vaccine-preventable diseases like polio, measles, or pertussis, the dedicated medical professionals working in these facilities can instead focus on necessities such as prenatal care, managing HIV infections, cancer treatments, and others.

In this sense, vaccinations aren't just useful in regards to the diseases they prevent, but for overall health and well-being.

Thanks to efforts from Rotary International and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, vaccinations have nearly wiped out polio from the planet. Polio was endemic in 125 countries in 1985 and today only 2 countries need to stop the transmission of polio. This means that for the last 30 years, doctors and nurses around the globe have been increasingly spared the time and expense of treating polio, allowing them to focus on other ways to promote health in their communities.

Every dollar spent on vaccines saves $16 in associated costs of being sick.

The same study from Johns Hopkinsfound that when looking at 94 mid-low income countries, $34 billion will be spent on vaccines from 2011-2020. Sure, that is a lot, but it will save $586 billion in medical fees. 

When all of the other economic savings are factored in, it totals a staggering $1.53 trillion. 

Instead of asking whether or not we can afford to vaccinate everyone, we need to understand that we can’t afford not to. 

Vaccinations have been shown to be safe and effective over and over again. Preventing infectious disease not only improves the quality of life of people around the globe, but it makes complete financial sense as well. 

Join the fight to eradicate polio by donating to Rotary International here. For every dollar that comes in, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will donate $2, which triples the power of the contribution. 

Check out the other stories in our World Immunization Week series:

Part 1: Vaccines 101: Everything You Need To Know About Our Greatest Medical Marvel

Part 2: The End Of Polio Is Within Reach. Here's What Workers Are Doing To Finish The Fight.

  in http://aplus.com/

Polio cases could be wiped out within 12 months, says World Health Organisation - The Guardian

With just nine cases of the virus so far this year – in Pakistan and Afghanistan – the WHO is confident the battle against polio is nearly won

The World Health Organisation is confident polio is in its dying days and could be eradicated within 12 months, despite challenges in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the virus is still endemic and vaccination campaigns are sometimes targeted by extremists.

If the virus is wiped out, polio will become only the second human-hosted virus to be eradicated since the end of smallpox in 1980.

“We absolutely need to keep the pressure up, but we think we could reach the point where we have truly interrupted the transmission at the end of the year or the end of the low season [winter] next year,” said Michel Zaffran, the WHO’s director of polio eradication.

“It is going to be an extraordinary achievement. This has been an ongoing effort since 1988. We started with 150 countries and we are now just down to two countries and nine cases [so far this year],” said Zaffran.

Since the start of the global polio eradication initiative in 1988, transmission of the wild polio virus, which used to paralyse hundreds of thousands of children every year, has ceased in all countries apart from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

There have been false dawns in this battle, such as in 2013, when the virus re-emerged in Nigeria, Syria and Iraq, where it had previously been eradicated. All three are now free from polio once again.

The WHO is concentrating its efforts in three areas known to be reservoirs for the virus – the Pakistani city of Karachi and two cross-border corridors, around Quetta Block and in the Peshawar district.

Zaffran said 47 districts in Afghanistan have been prioritised for vaccination and surveillance, of which 32 are under control of anti-government forces.

“In these cases it is difficult to reach the children. We are vaccinating at transit points but we are still confident, because we’ve only had two reported cases this year so far compared to 22 [total cases] last year. We know when polio strikes because when a child is paralysed, the parents seek help and when they cannot find it locally they move,” said Zaffran.......

Read the story in The Guardian

Rotarians impacting the lives of mothers and children in Nigeria and Pakistan

The Rotarian Action Group for Population and Development (RFPD) serves as a resource for clubs and districts around the world in the area of maternal and child health. The most challenging aspect of RFPD’s work is the simple fact that this isn’t an issue that can be resolved in merely five or ten years. It’s an ongoing effort with limitless opportunities to impact women and girls worldwide.

RFPD has established and will continue to maintain a database of population based projects. A number of projects have already been completed and provide direct benefit to less developed parts of the world. Our pilot project Improvement of Maternal Health (2005-2010) in northern Nigeria, funded in part by the Rotary Foundation, the German government (BMZ) and the Aventis Foundation, was a comprehensive approach and has been scaled up in three additional states of Nigeria.

Our 5-year-pilot project focused on the two northern states of Nigeria, Kaduna and Kano, with a target group of five million women. Our goal was to identify main risk factors for pregnant women and address them through advocacy and raising awareness at the grass roots level. The elements of our comprehensive approach included radio segments, training of healthcare personnel, delivery of medical equipment, improving the quality of structure and process of healthcare facilities and providing routine HIV/AIDS testing to prevent mother-to-child transmission.

Improving the quality of structure and process in hospitals is a prerequisite to improve the health of women and children. Our activities were aimed to establish an Institute of Quality Assurance in Obstetrics by:

  1. Analyzing the structure of the hospitals.
  2. Raising the quality of obstetrical services by making operating theatre and delivery rooms functional.
  3. Training doctors and midwifes to improve the quality of process and outcome for maternal and child health.

In addition, RFPD initiated and supported clubs working on a project in Pakistan that addresses family planning within its borders.  Pakistan’s opportunities for education, employment and access to good health care are being challenged due to the country’s continuously growing population.  Approximately one fourth of Pakistani women wish to delay the birth of their next child, and despite considerable demand for family planning, lack of services and contraceptives only contribute to the rising population crisis.  This project is also being replicated in Ethiopia.

The main objective of RFPD in the coming year is to communicate the importance of sustainability.  While many clubs and districts implement meaningful and worthwhile projects, they are unable to sustain the projects long term due to limited revenue streams and limited volunteers. RFPD has made it our goal to lead by example by ensuring that our projects are sustainable long term.

- Melissa Willis, Executive Director for Rotarian Action Group for Population and Development (RFPD) in Rotary Service Connections

Opening Doors in Cuba - Rotary Voices

Jeri Fujimoto, governor-elect of District 5150, displays some of the gifts delivered by the team of Rotary members.

Along with 40 friends and supporters of the H2OpenDoors project, I took part in an eight-day exploratory expedition to Cuba on 8 April.

Members of six Rotary clubs in District 5150 and their friends and family joined The Bay Area Cuba Community Alliance, starting on the far eastern side of the island for a visit and site survey at a small village in Granma province. Each person presented a suitcase of donations to the Town Delegate in an emotional ceremony.

Women with Cuban flag

Diana Henderson and Helena Marsh, members of the Rotary Club of San Rafael, hold up the Cuban flag.

Baseball equipment, animal husbandry tools, school supplies, and children’s clothing were among the gifts for over 550 residents. The town had been home to one of the best community baseball teams in Cuba, but they have been unable to play for over two years for lack of equipment. After a great ball game, the town elders hosted us for a lunch feast.

H2OpenDoors will return in December to install a SunSpring water purification plant to provide safe drinking water for the entire community, and an additional system in a similar community near Havana.

Following the visit to the rural colonies, our group hosted a cocktail gala at Havana’s iconic Hotel Nacional for Cuban entrepreneurs to start a dialogue about Rotary and the recent visit by U.S. President Barak Obama’s administration, and to build new friendships. The 120 participants broke out into four focus groups for lively discussions about the arts, education, water and infrastructure, and businesses.

Another 40 people will be able to join H2OpenDoors between 8-17 December for a similar schedule, including a day at the Havana International Jazz Festival. For more information go to www.H2OpenDoors.org or contact me at jon@H2OpenDoors.org


About the author: Jon Kaufman owns KL&P Marketing, a large agency in the Silicon Valley. He has been a member of the Peninsula Sunrise Rotary Club in Redwood City, California, since 2012. Jon started H2openDoors as a Rotary project to provide drinking water technology to the poorest villages and schools who spend up to a third of their daily income on bottled water.

- Rotary Voices

Polio-Free World in Sight as Largest Vaccine Rollout in History Kicks Off

Next week marks the beginning of the largest and fastest globally coordinated rollout of a vaccine into routine immunisation programs in history. Between 17th  April and 1st May, 155 countries and territories around the world will stop using the trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV), which protects against all three strains of wild poliovirus, and replace it with bivalent OPV (bOPV), which protects against the remaining two wild polio strains, types 1 and 3. This effort will provide better protection for children against polio, particularly those most vulnerable to infection.

This transition, referred to as the global vaccine “switch”, is possible because type 2 wild polio has been eradicated. The switch has been recommended by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation and endorsed by the World Health Assembly as a critical component of the polio endgame strategy.

“We’re closer than ever to ending polio worldwide, which is why we are able to move forward with the largest and fastest globally synchronised vaccine switch ever,” said Michel Zaffran, Director of Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization. “It is a massive undertaking, but it is testimony to how much progress is being made toward achieving a lasting polio-free world and to the commitment of all countries to make this dream a reality.”

The oral polio vaccine (OPV) has been used to stop polio in most of the world. On very rare occasions in under-immunised populations, the live weakened virus contained in OPV can mutate and cause circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV). More than 90% of cVDPV cases in the last 10 years have been caused by the type 2 vaccine strain. Withdrawing tOPV and replacing it in routine immunisation programmes with bOPV will eliminate the risks associated with the type 2 vaccine strain and, just as importantly, boost protection against the two remaining wild strains of the virus.

The switch must be globally synchronised because if some countries continue to use tOPV it could increase the risk of the spread of type 2 poliovirus to those no longer using tOPV. The switch is the first major step toward the eventual removal of all OPV after wild polio transmission has been stopped.

“This is an extremely important milestone in achieving a polio free world,” said Reza Hossaini, Chief of Polio at UNICEF. “Hundreds of thousands of vaccinators and health workers have been trained for the switch to happen quickly and effectively, so that children everywhere can be protected from this devastating disease.“

To ensure that the switch takes place as planned, thousands of independent monitors will confirm the absence of tOPV at public and private service facilities and cold chain stores.

“The switch is a massive undertaking and is only possible due to the tremendous collaboration of country governments, Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners, and the independent monitors. It is another example of the programme moving in the right direction toward global eradication,” said Jay Wenger, Director of the Polio Programme at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In countries at higher-risk of a polio outbreak, a dose of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) has been added to routine immunisation schedules, in addition to bOPV, to further boost immunity. To protect against the very small risk of an outbreak of cVDPV type 2 after the switch, a global stockpile of monovalent OPV (mOPV) type 2 is ready to be dispatched if an outbreak occurs.

“The stockpile of mOPV type 2 is like an insurance policy in case there is an outbreak,” said Stephen Cochi, Senior Adviser to the Director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s Global Immunisation Division. “A lot of time has been spent evaluating the possible risks and minimizing them.”

The switch is a significant milestone in the effort to achieve a polio-free world. In 2015, there were fewer cases reported in fewer countries than ever before. This year, the focus is on reaching every child with the polio vaccine and stopping the virus in its final strongholds. In order for that to happen, donors must continue to invest in the eradication effort.

“When Rotary started the campaign to end polio, more than 350,000 children were paralysed every year by this deadly virus,” said Michael K. McGovern, Chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee. “This switch is an important step, but we must maintain our support until every last child is safe from this disease.”

Click here to read a further comment from Rotary member Judith Diment, Chair of the Polio Eradication Advocacy Task Force and Member of International PolioPlus Committee.

- Reproduced from Rotary GB&I


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eFlash Rotary 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


Important Rotary Announcements

Rotary Districts Mobilize to Support Survivors Of Ecuador, Japan Quakes

After a series of three earthquakes -- two in Japan and one in Ecuador -- killed hundreds of people, injured thousands, and caused billions of dollars in damage late last week, Rotary members in those regions have created disaster relief funds to help survivors.

In Ecuador, the powerful 7.8-magnitude quake that struck Saturday night has killed more than 400 people, with 2,500 injured. Those figures are expected to rise.

Rotary District 4400 established a service fund to raise money for relief efforts. Contact  for information on how to donate.

In Japan, District 2720 created a disaster relief fund after two quakes hit southwestern Japan, causing landslides and killing dozens. Contact  to learn how to donate.

Register for a Special Jubilee of Rotarians Celebrated by Pope Francis

Rotary members worldwide are invited to join President K.R. Ravindran in Rome on 30 April to celebrate the Jubilee of Rotarians, a special event hosted by District 2080 and the Vatican. His Holiness Pope Francis will celebrate a Jubilee mass in St. Peter's Square, where 8,000 seats will be reserved for Rotary members, friends, and family.

This Jubilee, as established by Pope Francis, is a commitment to serve with joy and in peace across the world.

More information is available on the . The registration deadline is 15 March.


How Rotary creates lifelong friendships

I am constantly in awe of the power of connection. This is what Rotary is all about. We unite in friendship to realize truthful, fair, good-willed, and beneficial outcomes in our communities and the world. For Rotary members and people like me, our lives are forever transformed by this powerful network.

I was 17 years old when Rotary became a guiding force in my life. I was a young woman hungry to see the world outside my own country. Thanks to Rotary, I was granted the opportunity to live in Brazil as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student for a year. The experience was transformative for many reasons, the foremost being the people I met along the way who continue to be central figures in my life.

Chance meeting on a night bus in Brazil
One of these important figures is Kate Kimmer, who I first met 10 years ago in the middle of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, on a night bus. Instantly, we become friends —spending hours on end discussing the world and all the things we wished to do to make it a better place.

In June 2008, I reunited with Kate in the Atlanta airport on layover to Thailand. Kate had done a previous exchange in Thailand and was headed back, and I was lucky enough to join her along the way. On this trip I saw first-hand what life is like for many women in South East Asia (and more broadly for many women around the world) who survive by selling their bodies for sex. It was a reality I had been aware of previously. But like many things in life, it’s not until you see something first hand that you begin to comprehend the true reality.

We live inside the truth that the universe works in mysterious yet intentional ways that push us toward becoming the people we are meant to be.

Soon after, I headed off to India for a year to study international development in one of the most poverty and drought stricken areas in the country. Again, I had the opportunity to expand my understanding of  life. India is a place one goes to see everything and more.

Returning to the United States, I began over time to realize a reoccurring problem, gender inequality, existent in every place no matter how rich or destitute it was. I endeavored on a new trajectory, to bring female voices to life and make them publicly accessible from anywhere online. And so The Female Voice was born to give voice to women and girls from all different backgrounds, nationalities, and walks of life.

Hillary Caldis and Kate Kimmer.

Hillary Caldis and Kate Kimmer.

Meanwhile, Kate was also working hard to translate her passions and global awareness into work. After graduating from Indiana University, she eventually made her way to Portland where she began working to support victims of sex trafficking. With the encouragement and support of Rotary  members in Portland, she was selected as a Rotary Peace Fellow and began her studies at the International Christian University in Tokyo in September 2014.

As Kate was off to Japan, I continued to work on The Female Voice. Then it hit me. Why not go for the fellowship and further expand my work and mission? I did and a year later received the news that I, too, was headed for Tokyo.

Peace fellows in Tokyo
I have found amazing people, incredible culture, and critical academic exposure within my chosen fields in Tokyo. I continue to develop and realize my own dreams as a Peace Fellow alongside one of my best friends — Kate Kimmer — a person I would have never known if it were not for Rotary. The chance to study abroad with Kate for a second time has been a profound experience for both of us. Being a part of each other’s journeys for so long, we are able to support, encourage, and inspire one another in unique ways that often push us towards greater achievements.

In the process, we live inside the truth that the universe works in mysterious yet intentional ways that push us toward becoming the people we are meant to be. All of this, in the end, relies on the spirit of friendship — the essence of Rotary that I hold so dear and could never live without. To Rotarians worldwide, I thank you for making this friendship and so many others possible.

-Hillary J. Caldis, Rotary Peace Fellow in Rotary Voices

Retention Begins with Rotary International President Elect John Germ's ASKASKASK!

Rotary International and its member clubs serve niche markets. The most effective niche market public relations initiative is word-of-mouth.  That's why RIPE Germ's ASKASKASK has historically proved effective.  Before initiating ASKASKASK initiatives,Rotarians should understand that people, regardless of gender, generation, or ethnicity, join organizations because they want a problem solved, the occurrence to be positive, and the event to result in a relationship-building experience.  For the many Rotarians who are unfamiliar with it, that's the first Object of Rotary.


Rotarian should ASK someone to one or more club activities, keeping in mind that the invitee, from their viewpoint, is a Guest. They may not know many people at the activity.  Introducing them as a prospective member (even if they are) could make them feel uneasy, like they are being judged by this group of strangers.  Unknown to most members, Guest could get the impression that the club is desperate for members; that anybody could join.

If Guest asks for more information about Rotary, they now become Prospect.  If Rotarian believes Prospect might be interested in joining, Rotarian should obtain sufficient information to complete, without Prospect's knowledge, the club's Propose a Member form and submit it to the Membership Committee or Board of Directors.  Confidentiality and the second Object of Rotary are very important because if Prospect is a competitor of or not respected by one or more existing members inviting them to join the club could become a negative experience for Prospect and/or existing members.  If the proposal for membership is disapproved, no harm is done because Prospect should not have known that they had been proposed and should have a positive view of Rotary.


When approved, Rotarian should ASK Prospect to attend perhaps the most important public relations event the club has - an information meeting - which should include more club members(Page 14 - 417.en).  This is when Prospect should learn that Rotary is not an ordinary service organization but is a network of people who believe that service to their family, business, and community is a way of life - the third Object of Rotary.  Prospect, while being informed about membership opportunities and obligations, should be engaged in conversation and encouraged to ask questions.


Near the end of the information meeting, Rotarian should ASK Prospect to complete an application for membership.  If Prospect accepts, they should be inducted into the club and oriented intoRotary's Circle of Life.  The club should give them the opportunity to fulfill their expectation that joining the club is, and will continue to be, a satisfying, positive, relationship-building experience.  If Prospect declines, the word-of-mouth public relations and personal attention they received should leave them with a positive impression of Rotarians, Rotary clubs, and Rotary International.


Higher retention and attraction rates begin with ASK1.  Many clubs and Rotarians are unfamiliar with the ASKASKASK initiative as presented, an unintended consequence of Rotary's Recruiting Death Dance years.  During those years, leaders encouraged, even pressured, clubs to expedite inducting anyone who showed interest in order to meet growth goals by interim cutoff dates, actions that evolved into today's customs.  ASKASKASK may appear awkward and time consuming, but similar initiatives have a history of leading to stability and steady growth rates.  All membership initiatives should be evaluated from a non-Rotarian viewpoint, and Rotary leaders should lead the way.  

- Blog by Jim Henry in Zone 34 Rotary Retention Central

Building my kizuna with Rotary and Japan

Flanigan and ICU students

Mark Flanigan (back row third from right) with Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa during a program for ICU students in New York City in July.

When I arrived at International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo as a new Rotary Peace Fellow in the summer of 2010, I had no idea it would be the beginning of an ongoing relationship with both the University and Rotary.

I had lived in Japan before through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and as a U.S. Army veteran, and was happy to return almost a decade later, thanks to Rotary.

2011 tsunami
My initial peace fellow research focused on Japan’s role in UN Peacekeeping, but changed after the terrible triple-disaster on 11 March, 2011. I volunteered in the disaster recovery efforts in northeast Japan and shifted the focus of my work on Japan’s contributions to both domestic and international disaster response. My thesis analyzed how Japan’s civilian and military agencies coordinated with international partners during earthquakes in Sumatra in 2005, Haiti in 2010, and Japan in 2011. I found that Japan improved its response times, search and rescue capabilities, and collaboration each time.

I was contacted by an official at the Japan ICU Foundation in New York who wanted to interview students who had volunteered in the disaster recovery effort in Japan. The interview was featured on the foundation’s website, and as luck would have it, a position opened up at the foundation. Just two weeks after my ICU graduation, I was happy to begin a new job as program director.

We were shocked and saddened (by the terror attack in Paris), but strengthened in our resolve to delve further into our peace studies and find ways to make it relevant in our conflict-ridden world.

Since then, I have been very honored to be working directly with colleagues in New York City supporting ICU’s global programs. I help raise funds for grants and scholarships, recruit international students (including two new Rotary peace fellows), and develop global programs in partnership with ICU.

As a peace fellow and ICU alumnus, I enjoy building my kizuna (“connections” in Japanese) with Rotary and ICU. I took part in our Rethinking Peace Studies (RPS) seminar in Sri Lanka. It’s a partnership between the Japan ICU Foundation, ICU, and Rutgers University that grew out of the Aspen Cultural Diplomacy Forum on the ICU campus in 2012.

Rethinking Peace Studies seminar

From left: Professors Giorgio Shani of ICU and Alex Hinton of Rutgers, and Flanigan during the Rethinking Peace Studies seminar in Sri Lanka.

Need for peace
There have been two previous seminars in Tokyo and New York City. For the final RPS seminar, a group of international scholars met at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka to discuss peace and dialogue. It is a country that has suffered so much from its bloody civil conflict. Readings from Mahatma Gandhi, Hannah Arendt, and others were all the more relevant as we heard news of the terror attacks in Paris. We were shocked and saddened, but strengthened in our resolve to delve further into our peace studies and find ways to make it relevant in our conflict-ridden world.

A culminating conference will be held on the ICU campus in June, and it will be a special kind of homecoming for me. My experience has brought me full-circle: from prospective applicant, to peace fellow, to active ICU alumnus. It’s been a pleasure for me to meet and work with successive generations of peace fellows at ICU. They are forging their own paths of peace and justice. It is truly an honor and privilege to be living out Rotary’s pledge of Service Above Self.

- Mark Flanigan, Program Director, Japan ICU Foundation, and a 2010-12 Rotary Peace Fellow at ICU, Tokyo in Rotary Voices

RI Convention - Seoul 2016

28th May - 1st June 2016

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Venue: KINTEX – Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do Province

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