Regional Winners of 'Rotaract Outstanding Project Award' is announced. The International Winners will be announced soon
The Board of Trustees of the Rotary Foundation 2017 - 18
Regional Winners of 'Rotaract Outstanding Project Award' is announced. The International Winners will be announced soon
We are now more than a year into the process of revisiting Rotary’s strategic plan, a process that will allow us to examine our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in order to move the organization in a direction that will allow Rotary to thrive in the years ahead. Our new vision statement is the first lap in that three-year journey.
You may have seen the vision statement and wondered what its relevance is to you. If Rotary were a ship approaching land, our new vision statement would be the lighthouse that keeps us from running aground. Our vision statement explains what we want to achieve, in the same way that our mission statement explains our focus, and our strategic plan represents how we are going to get there.
Strategic planning is a process, not an event. And it is certainly not limited to activity conducted in the board room. Almost 30,000 Rotarians, Rotaractors, and alumni participated in the 2017 triennial strategic planning survey sent out last January. Our strategy office and our consultant partner, Grant Thornton, then conducted countless focus groups, in-depth interviews, and discussions with Rotarians, non-Rotarians, Rotary leaders, alumni, Rotaractors, and others to gather more insight. Over the course of all these sessions, more than one million individuals had an opportunity to provide input.
Out of these focus groups, different elements emerged that were then tested around the world to be sure they were culturally appropriate to both a Rotarian and non-Rotarian audience. These elements became our 24-word vision statement.
“Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.”
President-elect Barry Rassin did a masterful job of unpacking the vision statement to incoming district governors and other leaders at the 2018 International Assembly in January. More and more leaders and members are having a chance to see and hear the vision statement and think about how these words reflect the impact we wish to have on the world.
Entering the second year of the process, we will begin to test “priority concepts” that will move Rotary toward our vision statement. These concepts are being tested in every part of the world through additional focus groups, to ensure these concepts resonate in all geographies, all languages, and all cultures. In the third year, the rubber will hit the road. Strategies and tactics will be created and approved, and districts and clubs will be asked to try them and give us feedback.
Why is all this important? Let’s look at Amazon, a great example of the power of strategic planning. Amazon was the very first company to endorse free shipping. Amazon, researchers have noted, rose to power not by inventing a new product or service, but by analyzing the entire industry and making multiple moves into the future, much like a chess game.
Our three year-process allows for many checkpoints along the way to determine if we are still on the right track, if external or internal aspects have changed, and if a response to these changes requires altering our trajectory. When the strategic plan finally rolls out two years from now, there will be more than one million people who — because they had input — can say, “I helped shape that plan.”
What would we like you to do? Share the vision statement with your fellow club members. Think about what it means to your club. And look for opportunities to give your input into our strategic planning process. Help us chart a course for taking action to create lasting change.
- Rotary Voices
Mushaho has lived in Nakivale since 2016, when he fled violence in his native Democratic Republic of Congo. After receiving death threats, he crossed into Uganda and joined a friend in the 184-square-kilometer settlement that serves as home to 89,000 people.
The soft-spoken 26-year-old, who has a university degree in information technology, runs a money transfer service out of a wooden storefront that doubles as his home.
Business is booming because he offers his clients – other refugees from Congo, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, and South Sudan – the ability to receive money via mobile phone from family and friends outside Uganda.
He also exchanges currency, and his shop is so popular that he often runs out of cash. On this day, he’s waiting for a friend to return with more money from the nearest bank, two hours away in the town of Mbarara.
Sitting behind a wooden desk, armed with his transactions ledger and seven cell phones, Mushaho grows anxious. He’s not worried about missing out on commission – he’s worried about leaving his clients without any money.
“I don’t like making my customers wait,” he says, looking out onto the lively street of tin-roofed stores, women selling tomatoes and charcoal, a butcher shop displaying a leg of beef, and young men loitering on motorcycles. “There’s nobody else around who they can go to.”
As a young entrepreneur who is intent on improving the lives of others in his community, Mushaho is in many ways the quintessential member of Rotaract, the Rotary-sponsored organization for leaders ages 18 to 30.
Yet his story and that of his club are far from ordinary. Established in late 2016, and officially inaugurated last July, the Rotaract Club of Nakivale may be the first Rotaract club based inside a refugee settlement or camp.
Its founding, and the role it has played in the lives of its members and their fellow Nakivale residents, is a tale of young people who’ve refused to let conflict stifle their dreams; of a country that sees the humanity in all the refugees who cross its borders; and of a spirit of service that endures, even among those who’ve experienced unspeakable tragedy.
Read the complete story > > >
- Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa
At the Rotary Presidential Peace Conference in Atlanta last June, Bernice King gave a rousing speech about the hard work of fostering peace. She challenged her audience – both those in the auditorium and Rotarians worldwide – to think anew about how they define peace and how they interact with the people they disagree with. “Every member of our world society, even our adversaries and opponents, is worthy of being looked upon with dignity,” she said.
Addressing the current political moment in the United States, King noted how troubling it is that people are increasingly divided, with Republicans refusing to engage with Democrats and Democrats refusing to engage with Republicans. She called on people everywhere to reach across political divides.
King spoke from deep experience. The youngest daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. – assassinated 50 years ago this month – she has embraced the family’s legacy of social activism. Today she is the CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. Founded in 1968 by her mother, Coretta Scott King, the King Center carries on the work of Bernice’s father by searching for solutions to poverty, racism, and violence.
King’s career as a public speaker began in 1980 when she was 17 and, standing in for her mother, gave a speech on apartheid at the United Nations. After college, she earned graduate degrees in divinity and law, a combination that has shaped her vocation and her oratory, which evokes her father in both its style and its ambitions.
As a law clerk in the juvenile court system of Georgia’s Fulton County, King saw the way many teens, already disadvantaged by society, faced a legal system based on retribution rather than rehabilitation. Since then, she has dedicated herself to inspiring young people and teaching them about Nonviolence 365, the King Center initiative that encourages people to emulate her father’s principles every day of the year.
Bernice King continues to speak out: at the White House and in South Africa; at universities, corporations, and the U.S. Department of Defense. How, she asks, can right-minded people hope to change hearts and minds when they insist on casting their opponents as the enemy? In her conversation with senior editor Hank Sartin, King suggested ways we might realize an answer to that vexing question.
Q: How do you win someone over to your point of view when you are reaching out to someone whose actions and ideas you find hateful and wrong?
A: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice and not people. We must do something about injustice, but in the process of addressing injustice we always want to preserve a person’s humanity. The decisions and choices that people have made and the actions that they’ve taken may be hateful, wrong, and unjust, but at the end of the day they’re still a part of our human family.
The possibility of redemption is always available for individuals. When your mind-frame is geared toward that, then you go to work trying to find solutions that don’t denigrate and minimize a person. You go in seeking to understand first and then to be understood. Differences of ideology and opinion may not change. However, it’s our job to spend time trying to connect with and understand the other person.
Studies show that people don’t change cognitively; they change because of experience. When we say people are taught to hate, that teaching is also embedded in experience. People only change through a new and different experience. How are they going to get that experience? Those experiences only come from engagement; they come from encounters. So we must have courageous conversations between people of divergent perspectives. It’s not easy work, but it’s necessary work. It doesn’t mean when you leave those encounters that you will necessarily agree with people, but in the end you will develop a better respect for them and ensure that you always leave them with dignity.
Q: In your work, that means talking with people who are avowed racists, for instance. How do you get someone to sit down with you to begin that conversation when we’re in such a divided world and our positions are so firmly fixed?
A: We have to disarm. We don’t wait for the other to disarm. If you’re still armed and on the defensive going into the conversation, then it’s kind of like the law of attraction: You attract what energy you emit. There’s a lot of internal work that has to take place within an individual. What has helped me is really getting to know Bernice. When I get to know myself, I’ve had to learn how to love Bernice in spite of the things that I cannot stand about Bernice and the things that I know need to change in me. If I can get to a place where I can embrace and love myself in spite of all of that, then I have the capacity to do it with other people.
Q: What have you learned from working with young people?
A: I believe many young people have a very narrow focus. For them, nonviolence is the opposite of violence. But nonviolence really is a prescription to elevate you to a place where you start with understanding the human condition, the interconnectedness. Once young people open themselves up and are exposed to these ideas, they gain an entirely different perspective and can see how these ideas are very relevant and usable and livable.
Q: Why has racism proven so intractable?
A: First of all, racism at its core creates the notion of privileged versus unprivileged, and people who are privileged have a very difficult time giving up that privilege. Also, we’ve had a lot of people confusing the real issue of racism. Racism is prejudice plus power. The power levels are critical when you talk about racism; otherwise all you have is prejudice. So we just have to keep biting at racism generation after generation. Certainly we have made some inroads, but the systemic part of it is so difficult to address.
Q: How can we change people who are prejudiced?
A: It’s incumbent upon those of us who understand to be sensitive to that and think about how to help people navigate through their fears. Violence is the language of the unheard. We’ve got to think about where people feel unheard, feel that they are insignificant. We have to ask if that’s what they’re acting out of. I’m sure we would discover that in most cases that is true.
It is irresponsible to leave people in their hate. Most people who are very hateful can’t see that they’re hateful, because that’s all they ever knew. As a part of the human race, we have a responsibility to not let people be stuck in that kind of hate. We can’t just cut them off. Most of them are redeemable. Some of them are not, but you won’t know until you engage them. There’s a black man named Daryl Davis in Baltimore, Maryland, who asked, “How can you hate me if you don’t know me?” He decided to start encountering and connecting with some of the Klan in his area. Twenty-five of them ended up denouncing the Klan, turning over their robes to him. One of them, a former grand wizard, is now doing a lot of work in the area of race relations. So people are redeemable. If you automatically assume they’re irredeemable, all you’re doing is leaving the potential for them to sow further seeds of prejudice and hatred.
Q: At the Rotary Presidential Peace Conference, you said, “We need to re-explore the definition of peace.” Then you quoted your father: “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” How do we act on that insight?
A: Removing the immediate tension and the conflict is one thing, but getting to the root of what created that tension and conflict – and can continue to perpetuate it – is necessary. We need to redistribute power so that it is more equitable. In the work of peace, you don’t want people to just stop fighting. You want them to agree to a new covenant of how to live together with equitable circumstances. That means looking at how power is distributed and agreeing to come up with a strategy and a plan that creates equity among groups of people. It is what Daddy talked about: the revolution of values. We’ve got to reconsider how to embrace a different model of society.
Q: What advice can you give Rotarians?
A: First, I remind people that it is about focus. You have to identify where your passion lies and stay focused in that area. Daddy didn’t set out to change the world; he identified his passions. He was concerned, obviously, about segregation and the way people were treated in his race, and he wanted to see that change. But his calling was ministry, and so he opted to pastor. One thing led to another, and it catapulted him into a leadership role. But he was not seeking to be great; he was seeking to be faithful to the call in his life and the passion that he had. The key word is to focus – to focus in the area of your passion.
Alexandria Ritchie, president of the Rotaract Club at Virginia Commonwealth University. Illustration by Monica Garwood
When Interact club member Alexandria Ritchie enrolled in the engineering program at John Tyler Community College in Chester, Virginia, in 2013, she hoped to join a Rotaract club. There wasn’t one, so she reinstated an inactive charter, with the Rotary clubs of Brandermill (Midlothian) and James River (Richmond) as sponsors.
Now, as a pre-med student in her last year of the biomedical engineering program at Virginia Commonwealth University, Ritchie is president of the Rotaract Club of VCU, as well as a member of the James River Rotary Club.
She has focused on establishing more Rotaract clubs and building partnerships between clubs. Ritchie founded and now co-directs the Rotaract Atlantic Network, a multidistrict organization for the East Coast, and serves as District 7600 Rotaract chair. Ritchie, 22, spoke with us about what has kept her engaged in Rotary since her days as an Interactor at Clover Hill High School in Midlothian, Virginia.
Q: How did you get involved in Interact?
A: I didn’t really know what Rotary was. I needed the community service hours for college, and Interact looked cool. A RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) conference was my first real exposure to Rotary. It was something I wanted to be involved with in the long term.
Q: What in particular interested you about it?
A: Two things really stood out for me. First was that our sponsor, the Rotary Club of Brandermill, always had members at the meetings who were interested in investing in our service projects. Second, it seemed like an opportunity to create sustainable change. The service projects were based on long-term relationships with the community instead of one-time quick fixes.
Q: What do young people bring to Rotary?
A: Younger individuals have an authentic enthusiasm for service. Also, we have great ideas, new ideas, things we haven’t tried before. Aside from that, people my age are generally tech savvy, which is something Rotary can definitely benefit from.
Q: How can Rotary appeal more to the millennial generation?
A: Rotary already does appeal to the younger generation, in terms of the mission and the purpose of Rotary. Millennials want to change the world, right? They want to have an influence on their community, and that’s always been a Rotary mission. It’s just a matter of making it a more conducive environment for millennials, like being more flexible with attendance or with dues. The biggest thing is building the relationship between the more seasoned and experienced Rotarians and young members coming in.
Q: You’re a member of both Rotaract and Rotary. What’s the benefit of dual membership?
A: I wanted the chance to foster the relationships that I had made with my Rotary club partner. Being a member of both has allowed me to build bridges. I have seen firsthand that we both want the same thing – to serve humanity. Dual membership gives us a chance to create a long-term relationship based on trust, understanding, and mutual belief in Service Above Self. It allows Rotaractors to be liaisons between Rotaract and Rotary in order to foster this idea of partnership. And it benefits Rotary, because dual membership helps Rotaract become better integrated into Rotary International.
–Nikki Kallio in The Rotarian
The Rotary Club of Central Ocean Toms River, New Jersey, is a diverse club with a nearly equal number of men and women ages 30 to 89. The club has a robust list of projects because members believe it is important to be directly involved in service. Members have tackled nine projects (and counting) during the 2017-18 Rotary year by breaking into smaller groups to work on multiple projects at the same time. Members in 2015: 18; Members in 2017: 29
When Mike Bucca took over as membership chair of the Rotary Club of Central Ocean in July 2015, he knew the club had a problem. Membership was down to 18 and dwindling. Bucca persuaded club leaders to look seriously at membership.
“We want members to have a place in this club where they are contributing what they can – in time or finances,” Bucca explains. “It’s really worked.”
The Rotary Club of Central Ocean still has standard and corporate memberships, in which a local corporation or business joins with a specified number of qualified employees serving as its designees. Members in both categories pay $399 in dues every six months. The club also offers three alternative types of membership. The first is an introductory membership. New members can join at the rate of $99 for the first six months and $199 for the second. After the first year of membership, they pay the standard rate.
“When I joined, that was my biggest hesitation – the money,” says Bucca. “For $99 I would have joined the first time I was asked and not three years later.”
The second membership offering is a discount to family members of existing members paying the standard rate. Family members can join for $199 every six months, and that discount applies as long as another family member is paying the standard rate.
Again, Bucca drew from experience. “My wife and two other members’ wives wanted to join the club, but the family could not afford it. But half price made sense, so we gained three members.”
The third type is called a friendship membership. This is designed for members who are interested in helping the club and taking part in projects, but cannot commit to meetings. Friendship members pay $249 every six months.
“People felt guilty about not coming to meetings. This eliminates that,” Bucca says.
The results are clearly in favor of the new system. Membership climbed from a low of 18 in 2015 to 29 in 2017. Many of the new members are in their 30s and many are women, says Bucca. “In 2013, I was the only member under 40; now we have seven. Our club was No. 1 in the district for the number of women who joined.”
Most importantly, the new members have invigorated the club. “Our club was dying; we were in trouble,” says Bucca. “We turned it around and are thriving.”
– Susie Ma in The Rotarian
We are close to eradicating a human disease for only the second time in history. A global public-private partnership has reduced the poliovirus caseload by 99.9% over the last 30 years, but there’s still plenty of work to do.
Even before we reach that milestone, the knowledge and infrastructure built to fight polio is being repurposed to take on other global challenges.
3 countries where polio is still endemic
Fewer than 40 children were paralysed by polio in 2016, the lowest number in history. This is a dramatic decrease from the estimated 350,000 cases per year in 125 countries that the world saw in 1985 — the year that Rotary International initiated a worldwide effort to eradicate this terrible disease.
155: the number of countries involved in largest coordinated vaccine switch in history
In 1988, Rotary was joined in the effort by WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, UNICEF (and more recently the Gates Foundation) to create the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
Today the virus is limited to a few areas in just three countries — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
In response, Nigeria intensified surveillance activities to pinpoint where the virus is circulating.
In Pakistan, innovative tactics are being used to focus polio immunization drives. Health workers are trained in the use of cellphone data reporting, which allows real-time recording of immunization coverage and public health surveys of populations.
In Afghanistan, the program continues to adapt in order to reach the maximum number of children possible despite a volatile security situation.
155: the number of countries involved in largest coordinated vaccine switch in history
There are three different strains of the poliovirus. Once a strain is eliminated (type 2 was officially eradicated in September 2015), we have to match our vaccines to the remaining strains to protect children globally.
This transition is a massive undertaking, requiring significant funding and coordination to accomplish global health feats that have never been attempted.
To give you a sense of scale, the largest and fastest globally coordinated vaccine switch in history (to target poliovirus types 1 and 3) was successfully conducted over two weeks in April 2016, with 155 countries taking part........
May is Rotary’s Youth Service Month! Rotary’s programs for young leaders connect people ages 12-30 through service, friendship, and leadership development. Interact and Rotaract clubs empower young people to create sustainable change in their schools and communities both locally and globally, and young people develop leadership skills and international friendships in Rotary Youth Exchange, New Generations Service Exchange, and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA).
This passion for service drives our young leaders to create innovative and sustainable solutions to community needs aligned with Rotary’s causes, including peace and conflict resolution, disease prevention, basic education, and more. Through service young leaders gain invaluable experience while developing leadership skills.
Rotary International recognizes Youth Leadership All-Stars, young people making positive change locally and globally. Read how our 2017 All-Stars serve and lead their communities:
1) Nicolas Silva, member of the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen in Argentina, joined Rotaract for new friendships but found so much more. One of his favorite projects was “Todo Sirve,” in which his Rotaract club collected donations ranging from food and drinking water to bikes and beds for a nearby rural community.
He says, “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.” Read his full story.
2) Nipuna Ambanpola, member of the Rotaract Club of Armstrong State University in the U.S. and former member of Interact, became a global citizen through service. In 2016, he started an international nonprofit called IVolunteer International, which connects individuals with volunteer projects around the world.
He says, “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.” Read his full story.
3) Rebecca Weragoda, Chair of Rotaract Australia, learned about leadership and service through multiple Rotaract experiences ranging from attending science camp to serving in her current position.
She says, “I continue to be inspired by the chance to truly and meaningfully impact the world.” Read her full story.
4) Riley Benton, member of the Interact Club of Coffee County Central High School in the U.S., leads his club in projects ranging from bringing cupcakes to the elderly to fundraising to eradicate polio.
He says, “I had already participated in different service projects when I joined Interact my freshman year of high school. I have been a member all four years of high school, and it has shaped me into a servant leader.” Read his full story.
- Erika Emerick, Rotary Programs for Young Leaders Staff in Rotary Service Connections
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