RI President's Window

RI President Ian Risely and Juliet

RI President Ian Riseley writes to Rotarians during Membership Month

RI President Ian Risley's 1.2 Million Tree Planting Challenge

Ian Riseley - The social networker

RI President invites you to Toronto

It was great meeting fellow Australian and Rotary staff member Andrew yesterday during our Miles to End Polio send-off rally. Best of luck to everyone this weekend! You can learn more about the Rotary cycling team and and help them meet their fundraising goal: https://www.endpolio.org/miles-to-end-polio


RI Director Board 2017 - 18

The Board of Trustees of the Rotary Foundation 2017 - 18

Presidential peacebuilding conferences

What is new

World Polio Day livestream event

2017 Champions of Peace to be recognized on Rotary Day at the United Nations

The Stories Behind the Data - Bill & Melinda Gates

RI President Ian Riseley is an ambassador of Peace of Guatemala

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

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

RI President 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

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

Three ways to redefine corporate philanthropy for the 21st century

Can We Prevent the Next Epidemic? - John Hewko

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

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

Latest Activity

Ambalakat Ram Mohan posted photos
Nov 26
Sunil K Zachariah posted blog posts
Nov 25
Ambalakat Ram Mohan posted photos
Nov 24
Ambalakat Ram Mohan posted a status
"Visiting Colombo for sight seeing and also for attending a Charity Banquet with RI President.Total 13 includes 3 from Dist 3211.Good trip."
Nov 24



15 December 2017: Last day for early-registration discount

Rotarian treks to the top of the world

Photo Courtesy of Olivier Vriesendorp

Though he grew up in the Netherlands, a nation that lies partly below sea level and has no mountains, Olivier Vriesendorp has long dreamed of high-altitude climbing. As a teen he was inspired by a National Geographic article about a Himalayan expedition. “I was very impressed by the men who climbed under extreme conditions where few people had ever been,” says Vriesendorp, who in May successfully completed an expedition to the top of Mount Everest.

A member of the Rotary Club of Amstelveen, Vriesendorp, 47, didn’t just climb Everest; by summiting the world’s highest peak, he reached his goal to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s continents, known as the Seven Summits.

The father of two was already in excellent shape from climbing the first six summits, but he upped the training for Everest. For eight months he did daily cardio and core work, and on weekends typically hiked 15 miles with a heavy backpack. For six weeks before the journey, Vriesendorp slept every night in a special tent breathing oxygen-reduced air to minimize the risk of altitude sickness during the climb. 

He traveled to Tibet in early April. The expedition team spent weeks adjusting to the mountain’s low oxygen conditions. Summit Day (21 May) lasted 18 hours and was the most challenging part of the climb, with extremely steep, exposed sections. “It’s super cold and you really need to be careful that fingers and toes don’t freeze,” he explains. 

Vriesendorp, who had Rotary patches sewn to his down suit, also carried a Rotary Foundation flag and took it out when he reached the summit, where he enjoyed 15 minutes standing on top of the world. (He couldn’t leave the flag because it would have been blown away or destroyed by 125 mph winds that whip the summit most of the year.)  

Says Vriesendorp of his latest accomplishment: “As a father of eight-year-old twin boys, I hope that what I did will inspire them and make them see that if you set a clear goal – any goal, it doesn’t need to be climbing – and you are determined to achieve it and prepared to work hard for it, you can.”

–Anne Stein

Source: The Rotarian


Rtn. Dr.Ramon Resa helping to raise a new generation of children

At three years old, an age when most toddlers are being assessed on how high they can count or how well they can recite their ABCs, Ramon Resa faced a different standard of measurement: how much cotton he could pile up in the farm fields of central California.  

And for many years, as he harvested cotton, walnuts, or oranges, Resa felt that he didn’t measure up. That feeling was reinforced by some who might have been his mentors and guides: Even though he graduated at the top of his eighth-grade class, he was told to let a white classmate give the valedictory speech. A school counselor tried to shunt him into wood shop instead of algebra.

But Resa persevered. Today, to visit him at work, you’ll walk through a door labeled Dr. Ramon Resa. A Rotarian and a pediatrician in Porterville, Calif., he spends his days in an office not far from the tiny box of a house where he grew up among 14 relatives.  

From farmworker to pediatrician

At work, Resa moves among four exam rooms, sometimes seeing more than 50 patients in a day: a three-year-old suffering from allergies, a two-year-old in for a checkup, a 10-year-old who hurt his thumb playing sports. Resa tickles a child lightly as he checks a throat or belly, switching from English to Spanish as needed. “I can out-stare you,” he jokes with a determined boy who has a sinus infection. 

“He teases the babies and the moms, and he builds their confidence up, ” says his office manager, Shirley Rowell, who has worked with Resa since he arrived in Porterville in 1985 with his newly minted medical degree. The children energize him, bringing out his jovial nature, but he’s also gentle and caring. When C-section newborns were moved from surgery to the maternity ward, Rowell recalls, Resa always carried them in his arms and talked to them. He never used the transport carts. “Of course it was against protocol,” Resa says. “But if I have a chance to bond with the baby, I will.”

In his own childhood, doctors were called only for the most severe ailments. Resa was the fifth child born to a mother barely out of her teens herself, and he never knew his father. He and two brothers were sent to live with their grandparents: The kids crowded in with “Ama” and “Apa,” uncles, aunts, and cousins, sleeping on mattresses on the floor and sharing one bathroom. Goats, pigs, and chickens lived in a side yard. Everyone had to pitch in........

Continue to read > > >

Rotary Advisors put polio on world stage

At the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta in June, world leaders were on hand to celebrate a historic $1.2 billion in commitments to finance polio eradication. It was a huge moment for the polio eradication effort. But how did it come about?

A group of Rotary volunteers has been hard at work behind the scenes: our PolioPlus national advocacy advisers. This team of Rotarians from donor countries has a mission to make sure polio eradication is on the global agenda. In the corridors of power, they relentlessly work their connections – lunches with government officials, phone calls with ministers – to garner money and support for ending the disease.

And they’ve been successful: Since Rotary’s advocacy program started in 1995, it has generated more than $8 billion toward ending polio. The United States is the leading public sector donor to global polio eradication with a cumulative investment that totals $3 billion through fiscal 2017, thanks in large part to the leadership of Past RI President James L. Lacy and members of the Polio Eradication Advocacy Task Force for the U.S. Their advocacy colleagues around the world have done remarkable work as well.

The national advocacy advisers always come through in knowing the right people to speak with in government and in arranging key meetings,” says Michael K. McGovern, International PolioPlus Committee chair. “No matter the political party in charge, the Rotarians are known and respected.”

This year, the pledging of funds wasn’t the only priority. Working with our Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners, the advocates had the ambitious goal of getting a commitment to polio eradication from the world’s most powerful nations. The advocacy advisers saw two unprecedented political victories when both the health ministers and leaders of the Group of 20, an informal bloc of countries accounting for 85 percent of the global economy, committed to strive to finish our work and end the disease. 

Rotary’s message about ending polio is reaching the key decision-makers. So how did our national advocacy advisers do it? We checked in with three of them to find out what went into their recent successes........

Continue to read - Meet three of the Rotarians putting polio on the global agenda

Rotary Day at the UN filled with peace champions and workshops

On the 99th anniversary of the end of World War I, more than 1,200 people gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, for Rotary Day at the United Nations. 

Representing 87 countries, they convened on Saturday, 11 November, at the Palais des Nations, originally the home of the League of Nations, and dedicated themselves to the theme enunciated by Rotary President Ian H. S. Riseley: “Peace: Making a Difference.”

Rotary International honors six champions of peace at the United Nations on 11 November.

“The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace have always been among Rotary’s primary goals,” said Riseley. “It is past time for all of us to recognize the potential of all of our Rotary service to build peace, and approach that service with peacebuilding in mind.”

For the first time in its 13-year history, Rotary Day at the UN was held outside of New York.

Rotary Day culminated Geneva Peace Week, during which John Hewko, general secretary of Rotary International, noted the “close and longstanding ties between Rotary and the UN in (their) mutual pursuit of peace and international understanding.”

Rotary members “can transform a concept like peace to a reality through service,” said Ed Futa, dean of the Rotary Representative Network. “Peace needs to be lived rather than preached.”

As a highlight of Rotary Day, Hewko introduced Rotary’s 2017 People of Action: Champions of Peace award winners. He praised them as “an embodiment of the range and impact of our organization’s work,” and saluted them for providing “a roadmap for what more peaceful, resilient societies look like.”

Rotary honored six individuals, who each made brief remarks.

The six peace honorees joined a stellar panel of speakers and experts in workshops devoted to sustainability and peace, as well as a workshop on education, science, and peace designed by and for young leaders in which Rotaract members from around the world played a prominent role. 

Dr. Michel Zaffran, the director of polio eradication at the World Health Organization, joined Her Excellency Mitsuko Shino, the deputy head of the permanent mission of Japan in Geneva and co-chair for the Polio Partners Group, Global Polio Eradication Initiative, to provide an update on efforts to eradicate polio. They noted the tremendous progress made by Rotary, WHO, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other partners in eliminating 99 percent of all global incidences of polio. 

Returning the focus to peace, Zaffran sounded a positive note. “This same international relationship (that’s eradicating polio),” he said, “can be used to achieve world peace.”

In his keynote address, Riseley made a similar observation. “The work of polio eradication, has taught us . . . that when you have enough people working together; when you understand the problems and the processes; when you combine and leverage your resources; when you set a plan and set your targets — you can indeed move mountains,” he said. “And the need for action, and cooperation, is greater now than ever before.”

- Geoff Johnson in www.rotary.org 

Youth Exchange alumni give back through Rotex

As a Rotary Youth Exchange Student, I spent a year in Thailand. This experience changed my life and my view of the world. When I returned to Germany, I wanted to give something back to Rotary because of how incredibly thankful I was for the opportunity I had been given. Joining our district’s Rotex club was my way of doing that.

A Rotex club is an organized group of Youth Exchange alumni that stay involved in Rotary by working closely with Rotarians in their district. Our Rotex in District 1800 was founded in 1989 and has around 80 active members. We organize about six weekends each year for inbound and outbound exchange students.

Nine countries in three weeks
One special weekend is our Outbound Orientation, where we prepare students for their experience abroad in different workshops that deal with intercultural communication, stereotypes, life with host families, attending a new school, and other challenges. We also hold a three-week long Europe Tour with inbound students, which is completely organized and run by about a dozen Rotex members each year. Our adventurous tour takes us through nine countries and 14 cities!

We enjoy doing these activities year-round. But a tragedy last year taught us we had the power to do even more.

In April 2016, a massive earthquake struck Ecuador while three Ecuadorian students were on their exchange in our district. They weren’t able to communicate with their families for days and were going through a difficult time. Sadly, one of the students even lost an uncle in the disaster. Our Rotex and the current exchange students wanted to help in any way we could. As one of our inbound students explained in a letter to the Youth Exchange chair, “whenever one part of a family is in a difficult situation, you stand together even closer.”

Every Rotary district should encourage alumni to give back. By taking action, our Rotex is living the principles of Rotary.

The exchange students, in cooperation with Rotex and the Youth Exchange team, reached out to Rotary clubs in our district. In addition to receiving donations from many clubs, we organized a day of service. Exchange students helped by baking cakes to sell at their schools, and even raised money on the street.

In the end, we were able to raise more than 20,000 euros (about $23,000) for victims of the earthquake. One of the students from Ecuador, Camila, later wrote, “seeing people who I only met recently move mountains for others filled my heart.” It was gratifying to know that our Rotex could help accomplish such a big task for Camila and the others.

A new project every year
Since then, we’ve undertaken a new project every year. This year we raised money for a school in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and met one of the South African Rotarians we partnered with at the Rotary Convention in Atlanta. It was so touching to meet him in person.

Rotex allows us to stay involved in our community and helps us do more through Rotary than we could as individuals. Every Rotary district should encourage alumni to give back. By taking action, our Rotex is living the principles of Rotary. Now that we have officially chartered as a Rotary alumni association, we are excited to see what the future will bring!

For more information about Rotex, or about chartering Rotex alumni associations, please write to alumni@rotary.org.

- Sophie Richter, 2012-13 Rotary Youth Exchange Student  in Rotary Voices

Project Fairs as a catalyst to international service

A District International Service Chair recently wrote to me about his struggle to get his clubs more involved in international projects. My response to him was to keep working at it – getting a club involved in international service can be a challenge. If you could get even one person from your district (even you!) to attend a project fair, the gained enthusiasm may be a valuable catalyst for getting involved in international projects. Here’s my story.

I had been a Rotarian back in New England, U.S., in the 1970’s. Then I changed jobs, moved to a different state, and dropped out of Rotary.

Years passed. Four years ago, I retired and moved to Guatemala for the winter (no snow to shovel). Fellow ex-pats brought me to several lunches with their local Rotary members. Then, the time arrived for the annual Uniendo America Project Fair, hosted in the nearby city of Antigua. Not knowing what to expect, I tagged along with a couple of members.

To say that my mind was expanded is an understatement. When I belonged to Rotary decades ago in the United States, I remember that my club raised money for college scholarships for local students, hosted and sent exchange students, and had lunch together. This was before the End Polio Now campaign, before women were allowed in Rotary, and before the spectacular growth of Rotaract and Interact clubs for younger people.

The Uniendo America Project Fair opened my eyes to the wonders of international service. Central American Rotary clubs hosted booths promoting projects reflecting Rotary’s primary priorities: providing clean water and sanitation, saving mothers and babies, supporting education, fighting disease, growing local economies, and promoting peace and conflict resolution.

We learned about club-led projects that were helping people in communities throughout Central America. We had the opportunity to meet local people and talk with them about their needs and projects. As an addition to the conference, I enjoyed a visit to a small school on the outskirts of Antigua which was seeking funding to support the growth of the school.

Meeting people and networking is always a highlight of any Rotary event. There were numerous international Rotarian visitors from the United States and Canada. Some of them had been coming to the project fair for years and shared their experiences supporting projects with Central American clubs as a result of the partnerships they had made at previous fairs. I learned from these “old-timers” the enriching impact international service has to individuals and to the clubs involved. Others, like me, were newcomers learning first-hand about the wonderful opportunities that were on display. Meals together, coffee-break conversations, and social events enhanced the experience.

My experience has been with Uniendo America in Central America. Other project fairs are held in Europe, Africa, other regions of Central and South America. I encourage you to attend any of these events that are the most convenient and interesting to you. View a list of all fairs and share them with the members of your club.

Rotarians are encouraged to bring their spouses and spend a few extra days exploring the host country. In Belize this year, you could go scuba diving and snorkeling in the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, go sailing on the Caribbean Sea, or visit Mayan ruins, to name just a few options.

The 2018 Uniendo America Project Fair will be hosted at the Best Western Plus Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel, 25-27 January. To take advantage of reduced rates, book your room by 31 December. Register for the fair online and contact me with any questions.

Blog Posts

RI President's Message - December 2017

Posted by Sunil K Zachariah on November 25, 2017 at 11:45am

Trustee Chair's Message - December 2017

Posted by Sunil K Zachariah on November 25, 2017 at 11:39am

Rotary Interact Spell Bee

Posted by C.J. Singh on November 17, 2017 at 2:00pm


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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



How we started a new Rotaract club

I was walking out of my accounting class this summer when I received a message from the dean of students asking if I would be willing to start a Rotaract club at the university for the fall semester. I knew nothing about Rotaract and very little about Rotary but Dean Gentry assured me he would be our club adviser and provide support, so I accepted. Sewanee does not have a plethora of clubs with the national or international recognition that Rotaract has, and I felt confident that students would be interested.

A week later, I met with Bill Davis, a local Rotarian who has orchestrated the effort to bring Rotaract to the university. Bill and I were determined to create a following for the club, so we spent countless time organizing, reviewing the Rotaract Handbook, and discussing how we were going to make it a successful club. I met with Katie Sneed, the president of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Rotaract Club, who graciously gave us advice. Her perspective and support has been crucial.

Initially, I advertised to students through the Activities Fair, to Greek Life organization, and any other student streams we could think of. I explained that Rotaract is an opportunity to create a network of connections and make a difference in the world. Pitching this in a positive light was critical because students will choose to invest their time where they receive the most value back. Therefore, I focused on the prominence and notoriety of Rotary and Rotaract, asking “Would you like to do good and make a difference within our community?” Students at Sewanee want to serve and help the community.

Samuel Kern, left, receives the club’s charter from District Governor Deborah Alexander-Davis, middle

After creating a viable student interest for the club, we held an information meeting and followed the Rotaract Handbook. Twenty-seven students attended our first meeting, and we felt there was enough support to move forward.

At an organization meeting I explained the structure of the club and asked for those interested in leading. Assembling the right leadership team was critical. I created nine positions adding on a Social Media Committee Chair and the Finance Committee Chair. These officers have been instrumental to our club’s success. Their efforts have allowed us to grow quickly and mobilize.

Perhaps the most important ingredient has been the support of Rotarians. Bill Davis, John Hill (President of the Monteagle-Sewanee Rotary Club), and Woody Deutsch have given their constant support, organizing the charter ceremony, and attending our meetings. Bill has supported me and been a great mentor throughout this semester. I have learned a lot about leadership, service, and life. He and the other Rotarians have been a great influence upon our Sewanee Rotaract Club.

We have held our charter ceremony, participated in service projects, received guest speakers, and are making an impact upon our community. Ultimately, the Sewanee Rotaract Club is here because of the students who make up the club. They are passionate about “making a difference,” and this mission and core value is what unites our club and allows it to succeed.

Samuel R. Kern, Rotaract Club of Sewanee, Tennessee, USA in Rotary Voices

Celebrating Positive Peace

Peace can be described as positive or negative. Negative peace refers to the absence of violence. Positive peace describes the attitudes, institutions and structures that, when strengthened, can lead to a more peaceful society. The Positive Peace framework developed by Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) identifies eight factors that create peaceful societies. They are:

A well-functioning government

a sound business environment

the equitable distribution of resources

low levels of corruption

high levels of human capital

the acceptance of the rights of others

the free flow of information

good relations with neighbors

Mexico conference spawns idea
In May 2017, IEP and Outward Bound Peacebuilding (OBCP) successfully collaborated on a Rotary-supported conference bringing together 300 peacebuilders in Mexico to learn about the Positive Peace framework. The event showcased the strengths of both our organizations – IEP, a global think tank dedicated to peace as a tangible measure of human well-being and OBCP, an organization committed to experiential learning and conflict transformation. At the conference, through an interactive activity led by Outward Bound Mexico, we brought the concept of positive peace to life for the peacebuilders in Mexico.

Over margaritas during a late June lunch, Michelle Breslauer, America’s Director of IEP and I had hatched an exciting idea. “What if we did the positive peace activity in New York City on the International Day of Peace?”

To bring the event to New York City, we reached out to leaders of organizations representing the eight pillars of positive peace. A team of amazing staff and volunteers led us through the challenges of organizing a public event in a big bureaucratic city. There was a moment in August, a month out from the event, when not one invited leader had accepted our invitation, the city’s parks department had not yet assigned us a space to hold the event, and there was no response to our media advisory.

Rotary comes through
Then Dr. Jasmin Cowin, president of the Rotary Club of New York, said yes. She would represent Rotary as Pillar #2: A sound business environment.  We were thrilled! Rotary is a powerful partner to IEP and OBCP.  Soon after, Laura Gonzalez-Murphy, director of the New York State Office for New Americans, agreed to represent Pillar #8: Good relations with neighbors. A week before the event we had eight fabulous leaders confirmed.

We celebrated Positive Peace on 21 Sept 2017, the UN-established International Day of Peace. Several dozen New Yorkers gathered under a bright blue sky on the city harbor to celebrate the people and organizations that make our communities safe and livable.

Quiet and hesitant at first, the group quickly jumped into the activity with enthusiasm. Each of the pillar leaders shared how their organization contributes to peace, reminding us that we all have a stake in keeping neighborhoods, cities, and countries peaceful.

Brightly colored ribbons connect the pillars of peace. Photo by KseniyaPhotography

Using brightly colored ribbons, the participants wove their way from one pillar to another – visually and literally connecting the group. In the final circle, people expressed their gratitude for having an opportunity to appreciate and physically embody the idea of positive peace. They all committed to coming back in 2018.

Ana Cutter Patel, Executive Director, Outward Bound Peacebuilding, and a 2016 Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand in Rotary Voices

Why satellite clubs can bring together all ages

It is always the young people who build our future. At the same time, we now live in an age where life expectancy can reach 100 years. Some say 80 can be the prime of one’s life. I envision a future where younger and older generations work together to promote the ideal of compassion and cooperation that we firmly believe in Rotary. Satellite clubs may be the best way to achieve that approach. This is our story. 

On 18 September, the Rotary Club of Goshogawara Evening was chartered in northern Japan. I served as advisor and helped from the club’s inception. We initially started as a satellite of an existing Rotary club. This is where members of the satellite are also members of the parent club and have two types of membership at the same time.

We started with 11 members in the satellite. Among them were a former president and a secretary of a club that had been forced to dissolve.  When I explained the satellite concept, they said “if we had known about this earlier, our club would not have had to dissolve.”

This former club president was an 80-year-old doctor who studied in the U.S. as an exchange student, sent by the Japanese Ministry of Education. They were both very excited about starting a new club with younger members. Daughters of past presidents of the parent club also joined. It initially looked like we would reach 20 members in no time, but after six months, we still did not have enough.

Then we decided to transfer six members from the parent club (and I was one of them).  Two other members from a neighboring club and some new members also joined. At 24 members, the club finally chartered in September. We now have 26. After a discussion, the members decided to have two meetings per month. There is no admission fee and the annual membership fee is much lower than other traditional clubs in Japan.

In order to welcome younger members, we started a sponsoring program for younger members under the age of 35. We collect donations of 5,000 Japanese Yen (about $44) from the sponsor club so we can exempt younger members from having to pay the membership fees. So far, we have raised 70,000 Yen.

Our founder Paul Harris once said, “The story of Rotary will have to be written again and again.” I really think satellite clubs provide a unique solution and would like to see more clubs try it.

Yoshisaku Shimamura, past governor of District 2830 and a member of the Rotary Club of Goshogawara Evening, Aomori, Japan in Rotary Voices

Who is your special Rotary mentor?

Part of what makes Rotary so special are the connections you make with fellow members and the impact that has on your life.

I first met Sir Durward Knowles in 1963. He was well known and highly respected in sailing circles having won the first Olympic gold medal for the Bahamas. This and his unwavering commitment to serving the needy made him an icon in our community.

The Knowles family after his Olympic Gold Medal.

Durward brought me into the Rotary Club of East Nassau in July 1975 when he was incoming club president. I knew a little bit about Rotary, but through Durward I was able to learn even more and get involved. Looking back, I realize the positive influence he’s had on my life and how his mentoring helped shape who I am. Durward was an outstanding example of what it meant to encompass vocational service by leading with integrity and contributing his expertise to the problems and needs of society.

During his year as president, Durward led his club to achieve great things. As president, he really stressed engagement and introduced new projects that encouraged fellowship, which in turn led to an increase in membership. Growth happened naturally as the club became more involved in fundraising, community service, and gained publicity from inspiring guest speakers.

He also got the club thinking big, doing larger community service projects and collaborating with other charitable organizations. A major project we worked on was fundraising for construction of the first phase of a school complex for children with special needs. The children were being evicted from the premises they had operated from, and the new site gave them the stability they deserved. Following his lead, the Rotary Club of East Nassau has since financed the construction of other buildings.

Durward, who just celebrated his 100th birthday on 2 November, continues to be highly respected in Rotary and our community. A great Rotarian, sailor and humanitarian – I am grateful that Durward introduced me to Rotary.

- T. Murray Forde, Past Assistant Governor of District 7020 and Past President of Rotary Club of East Nassau in Rotary Voices.    

What excites me about Miles to End Polio

On World Polio Day, I watched Rotary’s livestream event and realized that I really am in the middle of history in the making. As part of the Rotary staff Miles to End Polio team, I will be riding 106 miles on 18 November in the El Tour de Tucson. Riding that far is not something I’ve ever done before. But it gives me a great sense of accomplishment to feel like I can be a part of an effort that is having such a significant impact. As I watched Bill Gates announce his belief that this year will be the one where polio is finally stopped, I realized how close we really all.

The support I have received from family, friends, fellow staff, and fellow Rotarians has been amazing. Beyond contributions, they have asked me about my training and preparation, offered tips on the right gear and proper nutrition to keep me going, and otherwise helped me get ready for what will be a long 8-hour day of cycling through the hills of Tucson.

Peace Corps experience

Kea Gorden as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zimbabwe.

While I am relatively new to long distance cycling, I do have some experience with long rides. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Zimbabwe, I sometimes had to cycle for hours to visit various projects I was involved with as a small business development volunteer. I worked primarily with women basket weavers, teaching bookkeeping, helping them to negotiate contracts with curios shops in Bulawayo, and finding sustainable sources for the ilala palms needed for the crafts they made.

On my visits, I would frequently pass large colorful tents that dotted the countryside amid the thatched rondavel huts. Most often, this was a sign that a funeral was taking place, a reminder of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country.

A rondavel is a traditional round African dwelling with a conical thatched roof.

During my time in the Peace Corps, 30 percent of the adult population of Zimbabwe was HIV positive. The terrible disease was ravaging families in the rural villages I visited, but I was powerless to do anything to stop it.

Impacting communities
What excites me about the Miles to End Polio ride is that I feel like now, many years later, I do have the chance to impact communities regarding a communicable disease, this time polio. As a member of the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club and on staff at The Rotary Foundation, I have seen the power of volunteers and global institutions as they have devoted themselves to eradicating this disease. And when it is gone, the world can turn its attention to combating other diseases using the lessons we have learned from this effort. I am so grateful to The Rotary Foundation for the opportunity to be part of the final push to end polio.

Kea Gorden is a planned giving officer for RI and one of several Rotary staff members who will join General Secretary John Hewko and Rotarians from District 5500 and around the world in El Tour de Tucson in Arizona 18 November to raise money for polio eradication. Learn how you can support the team.

- Kea Gorden, planned giving officer of RI in Rotary Voices

Rotary Convention 2018

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