RI President's Window

RI President Ian Risely and Juliet

RI President Ian Riseley writes to Rotarians during Membership Month

Ian Riseley - The social networker

RI President invites you to Toronto

It's wonderful to see so many Rotary clubs participating in my tree planting challenge. Be sure to share your club's story with #pledgetoplant.

- Ian Riseley in facebook


RI Director Board 2017 - 18

The Board of Trustees of the Rotary Foundation 2017 - 18

Presidential peacebuilding conferences

What is new

Barry Rassin selected to be 2018-19 RI president

Mark Daniel Maloney selected to be 2019-20 Rotary president


RIPE Sam F. Owori Dies

Help honor Sam Owori's legacy

Norah Owori Pays Tribute to late RIPE Samuel Owori at the Funeral

A Tribute to Sam Frobisher Owori by PRIP Jonathan Majiyagbe

Eulogy of PRIP KR Ravindran at late RIPE Sam Owori's funeral

RI Vice President Dean Rohrs reflects on Sam Owori's Funeral Ceremonies

Remembering Sam

Sam Owori’s legacy will live on - PRIP Rajendra K Saboo

Sam F. Owori Memorial to Polio

Dallas pays tribute to fallen Rotary Icon Samuel Frobisher Owori

The story of the TRF Centennial Bell



Polio Eradication Efforts Acknowledged by G20 Heads of State

Bill Gates outlines final push to end polio

The Atlanta Convention

Presidential Peace Conference

$1.2 billion pledge to end polio

The power of one - A light on the issue of modern slavery at the Atlanta Convention


President's opening remarks

President's closing remarks

President-elect's speech

President nominee's speech

Trustee chair's speech

General secretary's speech


General secretary's report

Treasurer's report

Winners of The Rotarian photo contest announced

Rotary Foundation named World's Outstanding Foundation for 2016

Sustainable projects earn top Rotaract honors

What makes a great global grant project

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

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

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

RIPE Ian Riseley on attracting new members, building strong clubs

Rotary women inspire

Japanese diplomat earns Rotary alumni award

India is enthused....about giving

PRIP K R Ravindran on The Benefits of Rotary Membership.

International Assembly 2017

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

Watch International Assembly speeches

2017-18 Presidential Theme Address (RI President-elect Ian H.S. Riseley) (PDF

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

Surgeons from India bring relief to underserved patients in Rwanda

Rotary's 31-year struggle to wipe out polio

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

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

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

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

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The 5th annual World Polio Day event, co-hosted with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is on on 24th October, 2017. The program will be streamed live from Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle.

RI President Ian Risley's 1.2 Million Tree Planting Challenge

Ian Riseley

President 2017-2018
T +1.847.866.3467 
F +1.847.866.3390 

Dear fellow Rotarians:

For many years, one idea remained at the heart of our service is sustainability . Sustainable service means that our work will continue to have a positive impact long after Rotary's direct involvement ends. We did not dig wells and then we left; But we ensure that communities are able to maintain and repair them. If we build a health center, we make sure that it has the necessary resources to continue working with...out our continued support.

My tree planting initiative is one way you can contribute to our quest for sustainability. To that end, I urge you to plant a tree for each member of the club, starting today until April 22, 2018, when we celebrate the Earth Day. The Rotary Action Group for Environmental Sustainability is a great resource to kick-start this initiative. Share your progress online using the #pledgetoplant hashtag.

I hope that the result of this effort will outweigh the environmental benefit that the 1.2 million new trees will bring, a meritorious cause in itself. I think the maximum result will be a Rotary that recognizes our responsibility, not only to those who inhabit the planet, but to the planet itself, in which we live and on which we depend.

This year, during my six presidential conferences, environmental sustainability will be one of the many issues we will address. Each conference will focus on how peace relates to one of five other areas of Rotary's interest. My wish is that attendees feel inspired, take action and develop new initiatives after participating in the conferences. For more information on conferences and how to register here .

We have a lot of work ahead of us to do; So we must combine our efforts to embody our motto. Rotary makes a difference.


Ian Riseley
President of Rotary International 2017-2018

(Translated from French by Google)

RI President Ian Riseley appointed as ambassador of Peace of Guatemala

Rotary International President Ian Riseley was named today by the Government of Guatemala as Ambassador of the Peace of the Central American country, in recognition of the charitable works that the organization has deployed in the nation.

"It is a real and effective work that they carry out in Guatemala, for the construction of a culture of Peace," said Lourdes Xitumul, head of the Secretariat of Peace of the Presidency of the Republic.

"Thank you friends of Rotary International for your outstanding work in the country," she said, inviting Riseley to make the symbolic Change of the Rose of Peace at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The purpose of the act is to recognize Rotary International's support to Guatemalan children and youth through quality education with sustainable projects for the country's development.

In this context, the Seminar on "Promotion of Peace and Conflict Resolution" of the Official Mixed Rural School No. 86 Green Jewel and Official Men's School No. 10 Pedro de Betancourt was closed.

The main table was chaired by Secretary Xitumul; The Deputy Minister of Education, José Inocente Moreno; The Deputy Minister of Education, María Eugenia Barrios, and the president of Rotary International, Ian Riseley.

Guatemala suffered a 36-year armed conflict between 1960 and 1996 that left more than 200,000 people dead and 45,000 missing, according to figures from the UN Commission on Historical Clarification (CEH).

Today, Guatemala honors institutions and individuals who have demonstrated their support for Guatemalans and the cause of peace, with the symbolic act of Changing the Rose of Peace on a monument symbolizing the signing of the ceasefire on December 29 Of 1996.


Source: http://agn.com.gt/index.php/2017/08/21/presidente-de-rotary-international-2017-2018-nombrado-embajador-de-la-paz-de-guatemala/

Toronto, the capital of nice: Impressions on Rotary's 2018 convention city

We’re lost. My phone battery is low, so I don’t risk draining it to consult Google Maps. Instead, we duck inside a coffee shop and I pull out a paper map while my nine-year-old daughter orders a hot chocolate. The clerk smiles and asks where we are trying to go. On a small sheet of paper, she begins drawing a map of the area – complete with landmarks – so that I will know how to get to Kensington Market. It reminds me of the hand-drawn maps in a Rick Steves guidebook. I thank her, and as we leave, my daughter says, “Wow, they are so nice in Canada.”

It’s true. The people of Toronto gave us a warm reception on our visit to the city that will host the 2018 Rotary International Convention. Toronto has been shaped by immigrants, who have added new languages, customs, and foods while boosting the economy. Condo buildings are going up rapidly, and beyond downtown’s skyscrapers, Toronto is a sprawling network of neighborhoods: from ethnic enclaves such as Little Italy and Little India to Kensington Market with its bohemian cafés and Yorkville with its postcard-perfect Victorian houses. But despite its size, Toronto is safe and easy to navigate. The streets are clean. And the city’s 2.8 million residents – half of whom were born in other countries – speak more than 140 languages. The result is a cultural convergence that makes Toronto feel like home no matter where you’re from.

Once you touch down at Pearson International Airport, you can grab a taxi to the city for about $55, an Uber for $35, or the Union Pearson Express for $12 directly to Union Station near the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC). The ride is 25 minutes; trains run every 15 minutes and offer free WiFi. If you fly Porter Air, you’ll land on the Toronto Islands, which are a short ferry ride from downtown (unless you opt to reach the city via the new pedestrian tunnel, which is full of moving walkways and escalators, making the total trip about six minutes). 

Hotels are abundant near the two convention venues: the MTCC and Air Canada Centre, which are within a 10-minute walk of each other. Just be sure to book early: Toronto is a convention magnet, and rooms fill up quickly in the warmer months. The MTCC and Air Canada Centre are close to Toronto’s Lake Ontario shore, where the Waterfront Trail is popular with cyclists and a boardwalk draws those who would rather stroll along the water’s edge. Boat tours offering views of the skyline or a cruise to the Toronto Islands leave from the Harbourfront Centre. But the main attraction is the CN Tower: Like the Space Needle in Seattle, it defines Toronto’s skyline. 

The views from the Bishop Airport ferry of the CN Tower (left) and from the tower itself (right) are spectacular. 

Opened in 1976, the tower was a product of necessity: New skyscrapers made it difficult for TV stations to broadcast their signals across the growing city. The tower was built to solve that problem, but it symbolized much more – it projected the strength of Canadian industry as the world’s tallest tower, a title it held for more than 30 years. 

As a tourist attraction, the CN was the first tower in North America to add a glass floor experience – a spine-tingling look straight down to the street 113 stories below. Signs reassure visitors that the glass is strong enough to hold “14 hippopotamuses,” yet I still had a hard time venturing onto it. But this is a spot that kids love. They skip, jump, and lie down to take selfies. 

When now-RI President Ian H.S. Riseley toured Toronto in May, he didn’t merely step out on the glass floor. He did the EdgeWalk: Imagine being fitted with a harness and strolling around the tower on a tiny ledge without a railing 1,168 feet above the ground. Sound terrifying? Exhilarating? Either way, a GoPro camera on your helmet captures it all so you can relive it later...........

Read more > > >

Eight Rotary donors changing the world

People donate money to good causes for all sorts of reasons; it could be a personal connection to a community in need, a debt of gratitude for a past kindness, or a desire to leave a legacy. We asked eight people around the world what motivates them to give to The Rotary Foundation — and to keep giving — and the answers were as diverse as our membership. Here are their stories.

My gifts help young people lead healthy lives

Ignacio Holtz, Rotary Club of Cuajimalpa, Mexico

Nearly 20 years ago, Ignacio Holtz was suffering from chronic kidney disease and in need of a transplant. His wife, Beatriz, made the lifesaving donation of a healthy kidney. When he joined a Rotary club a few years later, he talked with fellow members about how to help less fortunate patients in the same situation. 

Ignacio Holtz, right, has helped save lives with an organ donation program.

Working with the Heart 2 Heart program, a decadelong collaboration among clubs in Mexico and the United States, Holtz led efforts to provide 10 disadvantaged young people with kidney transplants. The program has since saved more than 500 lives, with help from six global grants from The Rotary Foundation and matching funds from Sólo por Ayudar, a local nonprofit. 

Holtz and members of his club work with local hospitals to screen potential donors and recipients, negotiate rates, and offer logistical support to participating families.

The inspiring stories of recovered patients motivate Holtz to keep giving. Holtz is still in touch with the first patient they helped, then a 15-year-old girl whose uncle donated a kidney to keep her alive. The project covered the fees for the operations, and today she is the healthy mother of a young daughter.

“It took me some time to discover the miracles that Rotary can achieve. By multiplying what we give, The Rotary Foundation gives us the opportunity to make a better world,” says Holtz.

My gifts build goodwill and understanding among countries

Toni Polsterer, Rotary Club of Wien-Nordost, Austria

The way Toni Polsterer sees it, The Rotary Foundation’s greatest strength is its ability to forge international connections to improve lives.

Toni Polsterer has helped advance peace and reduce conflict.

Polsterer serves on the executive council of Intercountry Committees worldwide, a network of 250 groups, each made up of clubs and districts from two or more countries. Group members work together to build goodwill and plan projects, particularly those that support peace and conflict resolution.

In early 2016, Polsterer worked with the intercountry committees to organize a contest for global grant projects focused on peace and conflict resolution, offering a $5,000 prize to each of the two winners: a vocational training team of women peacebuilders, and a music therapy program for young people affected by conflict.

A member of Rotary clubs in Vienna and Moscow in the 1980s, and later governor of a diverse multinational district during the heated ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslavia, Polsterer has seen firsthand how Rotary can bring people together.

“Sometimes the best peace projects don’t focus on the conflict itself but rather initiate communication and cooperation between two parties,” he has said. “Experience in our district has shown that intercountry meetings and projects not only lead to better understanding between Rotarians but can also act as a catalyst for clubs within a country with a longstanding history of internal conflict.”

My gifts help keep Rotary going strong

Marilyn Masiero, Rotary Club of Larchmont, New York, USA

Marilyn Masiero joined Rotary when she was living in Florida in 1994. A former art therapist and textile designer, she relocated to New York upon her retirement and joined a club there.

“When I moved, I didn’t know anyone until I was invited to join a Rotary club. Then I knew I had found a new home,” she says. “Rotary is nonpolitical and shows no bias to creed or religion. In this complex world, it is very nice to have a place where that is clearly understood — an oasis in the middle of turmoil.” 

Recognizing the need for stability and sustainability in a changing world, she directs her giving to the Endowment Fund, which ensures The Rotary Foundation’s future, and the World Fund, which provides the necessary funds for critical humanitarian projects around the world.

“I want Rotary to be around for a long time, to keep doing good works,” she says. “I am personally unable to solve the world’s problems, but my desire to help is strong. By giving to The Rotary Foundation and encouraging others working toward the same goals, I know I’m doing my part.”........

Read the story by Sallyann Price in rotary.org

"We are the greatest story ever told", says the former Vice-President of the Rotary, Jennifer Jones.

If your Rotary club project is a "secret" known only to members, it probably will not have the expected impact nor reach its full potential. The success of fundraising campaigns, social actions or promotional initiatives is the result of intense publicity and the involvement of as many people as possible.

Former vice president of Rotary International, Jennifer Jones, believes it is extremely important to share the history of our organization. According to her, "we are the greatest story ever told."


"For a long time we have done our good deeds in silence, without seeking recognition," he explains. "Although it was noble, it did not help people understand the work we do and the reason we exist." For her, telling our story right is the key to motivating others to join us.

So what is the most effective way to tell the story of Rotary? Here are some tips to follow:

- Describe a challenge or problem, and explain how Rotary came on the scene to help. See an example here .

- Explain the benefits of transformation and the impact of Rotary on the community. Visual resources are always welcome! Use high resolution photos, videos or pictures that show how we make a difference.


- Include real examples and touching and inspiring accounts. Nothing like a captivating story to gain a place in people's minds and hearts.

- Adapt the story according to your audience. Is he familiar with Rotary or does he barely know the organization? It is important to customize your message to ensure the expected result.

- Avoid jargon or acronyms of Rotary. If the person has to stop to think about the meaning of what you are talking about (or worse, search for acronym after acronym), your message has already lost its force. Clarity first, always!

- Tell a story short enough to hold the audience's attention. These days, people want quick information. So do not wrap up, do not delay or overextrate too much. Create an efficient, brief, high-impact message.


- Oh, and do not forget to use social media to reach even more people! Who is not connected nowadays? Use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or your favorite social network to spread the story of your club, a project, or Rotary in general.

To help you with your outreach efforts, use the materials from our new People in Action campaign. It was created specifically to publicize the work of Rotarians by showing how they make it happen. Download Promotional Materials at Brand Center today!

Source: https://rotaryblogpt.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/uma-boa-divulgacao-faz-toda-a-diferenca

Google translation from Portuguese

Growing membership through service - Rotary Service Connections Blog

What is Rotary?

“I have no idea.”

“That’s a type of phone, right?”

“Oh, I’ve heard of Rotary. I don’t know what they do though.”

The statements above aren’t uncommon when we ask non-members if they know what Rotary is. We know there’s a lack of awareness in our communities; some parts of the world have been seeing a decline in membership. How can we expect clubs to grow if people don’t know who we are?

I’ve been volunteering since I was a child. I thank my parents and local church for fostering my commitment to service. And yet, having an interest in service from a young age, I never knowingly encountered Rotary throughout middle school, high school, university, and all the way into my late twenties. How did I make it that far without knowing anything about Rotary? While we didn’t have local Interact or Rotaract clubs, we did have nearby Rotary clubs. The problem was, we were never made aware of volunteer opportunities with clubs within my communities.

In the past, a Rotary club may have avoided speaking openly about the community service they provide for fear of appearing braggart. But there’s a missed opportunity in not sharing. Turn your talk of service into an opportunity to raise awareness, make a greater impact, and inspire potential members.

As part of the Regional Membership Officer team at Rotary International, we see this issue affecting clubs and districts all over the world. To help broaden your next service project, I’ve created a checklist of things to consider to bring awareness (and, therefore, more support) to your club and engage prospective members:

  • How will this project build awareness of the service needed in the community and of my club?
  • How visible is my club in this project? Is it clear that my club is Rotary (shirts, aprons, hats, etc.)? Is there an opportunity to leave our club’s mark (signage, club logo)?
  • Is my club extending volunteer opportunities to non-members including families, students, businesses, and local leaders we’d like to engage?
  • Are we utilizing traditional or social media? It’s important to share volunteer opportunities through these platforms beforehand and after to share project photos and end results.
  • What do new members or non-Rotarian volunteers experience when they join us for a project? Do volunteers understand the project? Do they understand my club’s role? Do they feel welcomed, included, and engaged?
  • Is there an opportunity to share the benefits of becoming a Rotarian and the opportunities my club offers? For example, other ways to give back may include supporting new or existing projects, fellowship, networking, professional development, etc.
  • What’s the take-away? Do our non-Rotarian volunteers know how to get in touch with our club after the project? Do they know about other upcoming events?
  • When my club thanks our members for their service, do we also thank non-member volunteers? Are we able to collect contact information for non-members, and follow up to thank them as a nice personal touch and to open the line of continued communication?

There are now more resources to help your club inspire your community, bring attention to all the good work you’re doing, and invite others to join you. Check out the new Rotary People of Action materials in the Brand Center on My Rotary to help explain your club and your good work.

Julie Aubry, Regional Membership Officer at Rotary International

Rotary Partners with IAPB Members to Prevent Eye Disease

About 80 percent of the world’s 285 million visually impaired people have treatable eye diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Rotary and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) aim to promote eye health to underserved communities.

Under the one-year partnership signed today by Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko and Vice President of IAPB Victoria Sheffield, Rotary clubs can partner with IAPB member agencies to provide access to continuous eye care and blindness prevention services. These could include eye exams, cataract screenings and treatment, and diabetic eye examinations and follow-up services.

“IAPB champions the belief that in the 21st century no one should have to live with avoidable blindness or sight loss,” said Rotary General Secretary John Hewko. “Rotary also sees global health as a core priority. With IAPB’s expertise, and the power of Rotary’s volunteer network, we will help transform the lives of millions of people who live with a visual impairment.”

“The impact of blindness prevention efforts is lasting and has a palpable effect at the local level. This service partnership agreement will help eye care agencies and hospitals tie-up with local rotary clubs to deliver positive, lasting eye care to local communities” noted Victoria Sheffield, CEO, International Eye Foundation and Vice-President, IAPB. “Eye care work will greatly benefit from the passion, energy and support of Rotary members worldwide”.

IAPB and Rotary

IAPB’s mission is to eliminate the main causes of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. IAPB achieves this by bringing together governments, non-governmental agencies, academic institutions and the private sector to facilitate the planning, development and implementation of sustainable eye care programmes.

Rotary members develop sustainable projects that fight disease, promote peace, provide clean water, support education, save mothers and children and grow local economies. The recent partnership will help clubs further their efforts to provide disease prevention and treatment and maternal and child health programs worldwide. Over the past three years, nearly a quarter of a million people benefited from Rotary’s interventions for disease prevention and maternal and child health, supported by almost $100 million awarded through its grants programs.

IAPB joins a list of Rotary service partners including, the Peace CorpsDollywood Foundation, the Global FoodBanking Network and YSA.

About International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness 

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) is the coordinating membership organization leading international efforts in blindness prevention activities. IAPB’s mission is to eliminate the main causes of avoidable blindness and visual impairment by bringing together governments and non-governmental agencies to facilitate the planning, development and implementation of sustainable national eye care programs. 

Source:  Rotary International


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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



10 tips to attract and retain quality members

Since 1 July, 2016, my Rotary club has recruited and brought in 31 new members. Eleven of these new members are women and eight of them are under 40 years of age. The club has gone from being classified as a “medium” sized club of 68 members in our district to being classified as a “large” club of 93 members in just over nine months. How did this happen?  Here’s our tips:

  1. Know your club’s strengths. If you meet in the morning, you will probably be a good fit for a 9 to 5 employee. But if you meet at noon, you’re more likely to appeal to retirees or parents of school-age children. If someone doesn’t fit your format, recommend them to another club. They won’t forget you and may send you someone another day. Let all the clubs in your area know you are looking for members, and they may send you some that better fit your format than their own.
  2. Keep a list of potential recruits. It doesn’t matter if it’s a paper list or if it’s kept on the desktop of your computer – it just makes you think about those people and others that may be a fit for your club.
  3. Make recruiting the top priority in your club. You can’t do everything as a club president, and knowing that will give you some freedom to focus on the most important thing.  Having new members – with new energy – will help you have more people to raise money for The Rotary Foundation, serve on your committees, and invite additional members/more smiling faces to your meetings and fun event. Let your members know this is the top priority so they can all help.
  4. Create a letter that lists all the great things about your club. List your star members, the advantages of where your club meets, how many members it has, etc.  Make sure to tailor the email/letter to the wants of any potential new member.
  5. List potential areas of responsibilities. Potential members will want to know how they can fit in and what opportunities there are for serving.
  6. Be persistent. There will be times that it takes literally a dozen requests to get someone to a meeting. Keep asking. They may come to a meeting, or tell you they can’t join now because they are too busy, or they aren’t interested in joining at the moment. These are all fine answers as long as you keep track of them and keep in touch. How many times did you have to be asked? (It was over a course of two years for me)
  7. Talk about Rotary wherever you go. At church, temple, work, neighborhood gatherings, family gatherings, parties, etc. You’ll be amazed how easy it is after you practice for a while. Getting a lot of “no” answers built my confidence because it didn’t hurt as bad as I thought and most people were actually happy I asked, even if they responded negatively. It’s always a good time to recruit.
  8. Celebrate when you get a new member. This gets the club excited about getting more members. Our club makes a poster of the individuals after they’ve been voted in and we put it in the front of the room at our next meeting. We do the same thing when we induct a new member.
  9. Realize there is no finish-line. Even if you are at the size that your club wants to be, there are always reasons people leave. And new insights always benefit a club. You’re either growing or you’re dying.
  10. Be vibrant. Wear a turkey suit before Thanksgiving (it’s only your dignity you stand to lose), wear a lanyard with lots of “flair”/Rotary pins (it gets people talking to you), make outrageous centerpieces for your meeting tables (it gets people talking to each other), greet people outside the building you are meeting in and hold the door open for them (it lets people know you care).

These really work. Try them out.

Throughout Membership and New Club Development month, we will be featuring blog posts that focus on club flexibility. From a hybrid club to dual membership, these posts feature clubs who have benefited greatly from restructuring or implementing new membership options.

Tom Gump, president of the Rotary Club of Edina Morningside, Minnesota, USA, and a District 5950 trainer in Rotary Voices


Trees that spread peace

On 12 June, during the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, we planted a Ginkgo nursery tree at The Carter Center, founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The tree is a descendant of one that survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.

When I saw this young tree for the first time, I was blown away by its vigor and beauty. The sapling was cultivated from its mother tree by Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiativeled by UNITAR Hiroshima, and cared for by Steaven Leeper and Elizabeth Baldwin for nearly six years before they brought it to Atlanta for the ceremony.

The day of the planting included heavy rain, so the ceremony was held inside. Then Rotary President John F. Germ, Past President Sakuji Tanaka, and the CEO of the Carter Center attended. A certificate was presented to Past District Governor Jiro Kawatsuma from Hiroshima. Visitors can now see the tree in a beautiful garden at the Center.

A few days prior to the ceremony, during the Presidential Peace Conference, our group presented a breakout session called “A Hopeful Future with Green Legacy in the Nuclear Age.” Guest speakers included Tanaka and Ira Helfand, co-president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. During the session, Kawatsuma also shared his personal account of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. His story deeply touched the audience.

A sapling planted at the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden in Pasadena.

As a team leader from Japan, I presented about the partnership between the Rotary Club of Tokyo Yoneyama Yuai and UNITAR Hiroshima and its Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative. It was moving for me to see the way the audience eagerly received the information, taking photos of the slides and recording speeches.

More and more Rotarians are joining our initiative. In 2016, a sapling taken from a tree that survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima was planted at Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden, Pasadena, California, USA. Our goal is not only to plant trees but also seeds of peace in people’s minds around the world. It is most important to tell our stories through these trees, so that people understand the importance of peace and nurture the trees as a symbol of life and hope.

I encourage you to visit one of these trees if you are in their area and reflect upon their message of peace.

- Hiroko Seki, Rotary Club of Tokyo Yoneyama Yuai in Rotary Voices

Enjoying the benefits of dual membership in Rotary and Rotaract

Driven by a desire to help my local community, I discovered Rotaract when I was attending the Faculty of Law at the University of Niš, Serbia. In the Rotaract Club of Nis, I met a number of young people who, like me, shared an interest in improving our community. It made our actions easier that we all shared the same goal, and we took part in many projects that made us visible in the community.

Belonging to Rotaract basically gives you free access to great mentors in your host Rotary club. They are always there to point you in the right direction and assist you in discovering better ways of doing things.

I did not know it at the time, but every project I was a part of and every meeting and event I organized helped me for my professional work as a lawyer. By working on service projects, I learned much about correspondence, negotiations, and drafting documents, all things I now do on a daily basis. Wherever I went, whether Berlin, London, or Split, Croatia, I had somebody to call, someone local to meet, or to show me around. Our network is as diverse and global as it possibly gets.

For me, life without traveling is meaningless.

In addition, I love to travel. For me, life without traveling is meaningless. Rotaract gave me so many opportunities to travel around the world, taking part in service projects, and meeting interesting people. In fact, it was memories of all my great travels with Rotaract that compelled me to seek out and join the Rotary Club of Nis, Serbia, when I learned about the new rule changes that allow Rotaractors to also become members of Rotary at the same time.

Petar Pešić and other members at a marathon organized by Rotarians and Rotaractors in District 2483 to raise awareness for people with disabilities.

Both Rotaract and Rotary have given me so much. In Rotary, I meet people who have more experience in life than I. Being in their company even for a few minutes a week allows me to hear from their different perspectives. I am learning to embrace diversity. That is the “school of life,” as I like to call it, that you get in Rotary.

Also, because Rotary members generally have access to greater resources, everything in Rotary is bigger. Projects involve more people and have a deeper impact on society. That is why I am excited to step up and expand on what I have learned in Rotaract as a member of my Rotary club.

I have just completed serving as my district’s Rotaract representative covering Serbia and Montenegro. At the age of 25, and now a Rotarian, I am looking forward to meeting new people across the globe, organizing new projects and spreading the idea of “Service Above Self.”

Petar Pešić, a member of the Rotary Club of Nis, Serbia in Rotary Voices

TRF Contributions Exceeds the Target

Rotarians contribute more than $300 million to The Rotary Foundation during its centennial year

Rotarians and friends contributed a total of $304.3 million (unaudited) to The Rotary Foundation during the centennial year, a celebration of the Foundation’s 100 years of Doing Good. This amount surpassed the goal of $300 million we set to mark the centennial in 2016-17.

Your generous donations to the Annual, Endowment, and PolioPlus funds are empowering Rotary members to continue... fighting disease, reducing poverty, providing clean water, promoting peace, and advancing economic development in communities all over the world.

Rotary launches a new strategic partnership with the Institute for Economics and Peace

What do we mean when we talk about peace? Is it possible to measure peacefulness? What conditions foster peace, and how can Rotary help create them?

Rotary is addressing those questions and forming a strategic partnership with the Institute for Economics and Peace, a leader in the study of peace and conflict.

The institute has pioneered a conceptual framework for positive peace, which identifies and measures the attitudes, institutions, and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies. They include, for example, a sound business environment, a well-functioning government, and the free flow of information.

Through this partnership, Rotary will work with the institute to create:

- An online learning platform, with webinars and interactive tools, that Rotary members and Rotary Peace Fellows can use to build on their expertise. It will teach them how to apply new peacebuilding methods and mobilize communities to address the issues behind conflicts.
- Positive peace workshops, funded by global grants and hosted by Rotary clubs around the world, to provide training in the framework of positive peace. The goal is to foster community-based projects in peace and conflict resolution that are both practical and meaningful.

This partnership will enable Rotary members, peace fellows, and others to design and execute stronger peace projects and promote peace more broadly, which is crucial to meeting our humanitarian objectives in every community.

- Rotary International

3 meeting formats that increased our member participation

As one of the largest clubs in our district, we knew we had to do something to address our declining attendance and meet the needs of our diverse membership. Beginning in 2015 with a club visioning exercise, we began looking for ways we could be flexible and innovative. Here’s what’s worked for us.

One of the first things we did was revise our attendance guidelines to stress that attendance is more about participating than attending meetings. We ask members to have 50 percent attendance. But taking part in any of our club’s many service activities qualifies, as do our club’s leadership or committee meetings, other Rotary club meetings anywhere in the world, or any Rotary activity. We know Rotarians will benefit more from membership when they participate more regularly, so we ask our members to consider the many ways they can participate.

We also introduced two new meeting formats beginning in January 2017. DuringService First Thursday on the first week of each month, we gather at the Rochester Public Library to volunteer. The location is easily accessible; parking is free; and we work together to support the Library in its efforts to strengthen community and enrich lives through engagement and learning.

We also introduced 1905 Meetings on the third Thursday of the month. These meetings pay homage to Rotary’s beginnings, when the first Rotarians gathered in small groups at each other’s places of work. For the business portion of the meeting led by our club president, we are all linked via a live Facebook feed from a central downtown location. Then we disconnect and at various remote locations, a board member or program committee member leads a small group discussion around a video presentation focused on the Rotary theme for the month.

Some of our willing Rotarians host these meetings in their places of work. These are “brown bag” lunches. We imagine that Paul Harris held his meetings in much the same way, except that we are using different technology!

The many benefits include having a cost-free meeting for those on a budget, providing meeting locations closer to a variety of people’s workplaces, creating better opportunities for meaningful dialogue in small groups, and allowing people at home, at work, or traveling to take part. While our weekly attendance is around 60 members per meeting, our Facebook live and recorded live videos for our 1905 Meetings have generated 1,169 views for three of these meetings!

Finally, we introduced a Speed Networking meeting. Members sit across from other members and have four minutes to visit on a few selected topics. After that, one side of the table moves down one seat to talk with another member. One side stays put to accommodate members who have a harder time with mobility. The room is filled with energy and chatter, and local and visiting Rotarians alike have enjoyed this meeting format, some asking us for materials to take back to their clubs.

We have made the meeting changes in the spirit of innovation and flexibility, but keeping key values of service, being globally focused, community, fun, and friendship in mind.  We are highlighting that there are many ways to serve and even more ways to regularly get together to encourage fellowship with other Rotarians.

Stacey Vanden Heuvel, The Rotary Club of Rochester, Minnesota, USA in Rotary Voices

Rotary Convention 2018

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