What is new

Rotary Advisors put polio on world stage

Rotary Day at the UN filled with peace champions and workshops 

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

Speeches

President's opening remarks

President's closing remarks

President-elect's speech

President nominee's speech

Trustee chair's speech

General secretary's speech

Reports

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

Rtn. Gajendra doshi is now a member of eflashonline
Apr 13
Ambalakat Ram Mohan posted photos
Apr 13
SOMANATH S NAIR posted photos
Mar 27
Sunil K Zachariah posted blog posts
Mar 26

Members

 

Regional Winners of 'Rotaract Outstanding Project Award' is announced. The International Winners will be announced soon



Rotary.org has been nominated for a Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Visit the webbyawards.com and vote!!

 

Our new vision statement: why should you care? - Stephanie A. Urchick, chair of Rotary’s Strategic Planning Committee

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

A group of young Rotaractors healing wounds

It’s Monday morning in one of Uganda’s largest refugee settlements, Nakivale, and the line at Paul Mushaho’s shop is out the door.

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   > > >

A passion for justice - Bernice King on what it takes to reach across political and racial divides

- 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. 

The Rotarian

From Interact to Rotaract to Rotary

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  

Rotary Club of Central Ocean Toms River, New Jersey

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. 

The club board held three membership summits where they discussed why people join Rotary and why they stay. The result was a proposal to dramatically alter the club's membership structure to attract new members by lowering the financial commitment. 

“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

6 key numbers in the fight to end polio - RI General Secretary John Hewko in Medium

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........

Read the article full in Medium

Recognize youth leaders!

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

Blog Posts

RI President's Message - April 2018

Posted by Sunil K Zachariah on March 26, 2018 at 7:55am

Trustee Chair's Message - April 2018

Posted by Sunil K Zachariah on March 26, 2018 at 7:52am

Trustee chair's message - March 2018

Posted by Sunil K Zachariah on February 26, 2018 at 8:03am

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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

 
 
 

About

Plant trees, we’ll plant seaweed

In early March, members of my club joined the Operation Crayweed team at Mona Vale Beach to restore the denuded reef on the Sydney shore coastline. We decided to help plant a Crayweed forest as part of our unique response to RI President Ian Riseley’s challenge for Rotary members to plant trees around the world. Underwater trees, you see, are just as important, if not more so, to restoring the health and vitality of the world’s oceans.

Time and development have not been kind to the Sydney reefs. Pollution killed off a lot of the Crayweed before better sewage treatment and extended outfalls were put in place in the late 1980s. The quality fo water has improved dramatically. Unfortunately, seaweed forests do not return all by themselves. Enter Operation Crayweed, which has already had great success in eight sites around Sydney. The Mona Vale reef site will be the ninth seaweed forest planted.

Club members gather, measure, and record.

Club members gathered, measured, weighed, recorded and observed the quality of marine life on the individual kelp plants. These had been transported there from an earlier collection in the day from well-established reefs south of Sydney. Fifteen healthy plants were then put into each of nine pre numbered labelled green mesh bags then closed and fixed with cable ties. Three scuba divers from the University of New South Wales/Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences of Operation Crayweed(including leader, Dr ‘Ziggy’ Marzinelli and his team) floated them out from the beach to a predetermined reef site and anchored them down with clips and ropes with five preplaced stainless steel anchors to 45 bolts in the reef.

They were placed into about three to four meters of water, which took several. Our members were busily engaged in their scientific activities and sealing the mesh bags and carrying them to waiting divers. After repopulation of the reef, these nets and anchors will be removed.

The sites will now be revisited periodically. The Crayweed ‘forest’ that will emerge in the next 6 to 12 months will gradually take over the reef in coming years allowing the return of crayfish, fish, and all manner of other marine life to restore the natural underwater habitat lost in past years and for future people to enjoy.

Individual plants don’t have the effect a forest will, but clubs or members wishing to help can purchase these underwater “trees” to contribute to a future planting by contacting our club. Look at it as a way of responding to Riseley’s challenge if you wish. There is plenty of shoreline reef off of Sydney in need of restoration.  Operation Crayweed will give us periodic updates on the health of the forest of weed.

-  Parry Monckton, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia in Rotary Voices

Daniel Vankov fills the participants in on his club’s activities.

At the Rotary Club of Brisbane, we attempt to be the motor behind major community initiatives in our community, in Queensland, and beyond. As members, we have a duty to continue our impact and expand it. Getting a good measure of the club, our strengths and weaknesses, so we can build on them is not easy. For humans, we can look in a mirror to do a self-assessment. At least externally. But organizations don’t have it so easy. We knew we needed to create the right mirror to get a good look inside our club.

The Queensland University of Technology launched an “Ideas Factory” in 2016 which provides future business leaders, executive level MBAs and other MBAs an opportunity to leverage their experience, insight, and collective efforts to solve real world industry problems. Our club quickly recognised the potential synergies. Are not those future leaders our target group; the people we would like to see as members? We seized the opportunity and assembled a room full of these individuals to help us answer this question: How can we promote community engagement amongst Brisbane professionals in the central business district through the Rotary Club of Brisbane?

Twenty-three participants, divided in five groups and supported by two facilitators and four Rotarians, pushed their collective brain power to the limit for a day. All sacrificed their weekend to make sure the Rotary Club of Brisbane can prevail in its mission. A structured process ensured that participants got results. We made available to them in advance a summary of the club, including membership data, club history, club strategy and other relevant information. As president, I spoke to them about Rotary in general and the club in particular. I had to answer quite a few tricky questions, but it paved the way for fruitful and creative work later on.

Each of the five groups had its own “cave” to look for “light.” Our Rotary team had the task of moving between the groups and answering any questions that came up. The results were impressive. They were video recorded and are currently being shown to our members one video per meeting. As a result, every meeting we learn something new about what the world around us thinks and believes both about Rotary and about our club.

Even if that might sound like a nice end to our exercise, it’s actually just the beginning. What was learned will be turned into a comprehensive strategic plan for our club. We’ve recruited a strategy consultant to assist. She will be working in close cooperation with 1) our president-elect and president-nominee to incorporate their views and aspirations for the coming two years, 2) the Ideas Factory participants themselves and 3) all club members including some former members. We will grow as a club, together with the people we serve!

Daniel Vankov, president of the Rotary Club of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in Rotary Voices

The key to attract young professionals to Rotary

I think most would agree that Rotary has struggled to attract and retain young professionals. At a district conference in 2016, my district governor, Eric Gordon, asked me to put together a program for “YP” development. This was a new committee, so I was starting from scratch. I was 38 at the time and two years into my Rotary journey. The only thing I really knew was that I had a lot to learn.

My first step was to gather data. My district, 6930, has 6 percent membership in the “under 40” category. I put together a survey of ten questions designed to get at the core of what brought those members into Rotary, why they stay, what they want, and what the challenges are for them. Club presidents from all over the district helped get their YP members to complete my survey.

The process was fantastic. I knew why I was in Rotary, but I needed to know if my experience was similar to others, or anomalous. Reading through scores of submissions I began to see some distinct trends.

  • Younger members were drawn to Rotary through a friend or business contact.
  • They value networking, for personal but primarily business purposes.
  • Many are interested in developing relationships with community leaders, those who could offer guidance or mentorship.
  • Some identified time and financial commitments as ongoing hurdles.
  • Only about half identified service as an initial motivation for joining, but to most it is clearly an important factor.

Surveys can help put an issue into context, but how can clubs turn this into a strategy for YP membership development?

I think it means knowing what Rotary has to offer. It’s putting together a Value Proposition that can effectively pitch Rotary to the YPs in any community.

This pitch comes down to one idea, Leadership. Rotary is a unique environment wherein YPs can learn, practice, and exhibit leadership skills. This is an immeasurable benefit for one’s personal and professional development. Their values can be made clear; they learn to work with others and pay it forward.

Engaging Younger Professionals, a new online toolkit, helps clubs better understand younger professionals. From ideas for outreach and engagement to long-term benefits of becoming a Rotarian, this toolkit helps clubs rethink their membership, from a broad perspective down to a tactical level.

- Michael Walstrom, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Downtown Boca Raton, Florida  in Rotary Voices

My return to Minneapolis after 7 years

On Thanksgiving week in November 2017, I visited Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, where I was accredited as a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar seven years ago. This short trip brought me so many precious moments in reconnecting with amazing people that I had met through Rotary, that I had to share them.

After being nominated by the Rotary Club of Ashiya, I was sent to the Rotary Club of Minneapolis City of Lakes, Minnesota, as an ambassadorial scholar in 2010. Studying public policies for immigrants, refugees, and homeless people at the University of Minnesota, I took part in a variety of Rotary activities; presentations in and out of the state, volunteering for communities, and taking part in fundraising events including jumping into a frozen lake. The entire year was full of excitement, surprises, and learning.

One of the main purposes of my return trip to Minneapolis was to visit all the people and friends who I had met through Rotary and Rotaract. Starting with Jim Eaton, my counselor, and Tom Tamura, the only Japanese Rotarian in the club, many familiar faces and even new faces welcomed me at the meeting. Since it was the day before Thanksgiving, everybody shared what each of us were grateful for: having a family to celebrate together, having a job, and precious friendships with Rotarians that had passed away that year. I was very blessed being able to show my gratitude to the bonds Rotary helped me create and to the Rotarians for their warm and dedicated hearts.

Ueda, right, with Connie Gotthilf

The highlight of the trip was meeting with Connie Gotthilf of the Rotary Club of Edina.  After I visited her club for a presentation, she kindly held a Japanese tea ceremony party, took me on a trip, and remained very close until we lost track of each other a few years ago. I was extremely worried about her, but when I discovered where she lived and found her in good health, I could not help but burst into tears of relief and joy.

In retrospect, my scholar year was definitely a turning point. All the experiences made my life more open to the world, more colorful, and more hopeful and bright. Adding the fact that my father was also an ambassadorial scholar, the impact Rotary has had on me is indescribable.

All of the Rotarians that I met are happy to serve locally and globally. They spared no effort in offering me advice, showing me directions, giving praise, and encouraging me both as a professional and as a human being. I treasure the life-long friends I have gained through Rotary. Minnesota has become a second home to me.

In the spring of this year, I am going to start my master’s degree to become a clinical counselor to use my psychology training to support people regardless of their nationality, background, and economical or social circumstances. I will continue my current job at a robotics laboratory at Osaka University. I will work the best I can to give back not only to Rotary, but to the global world for the better.

Anna Ueda, 2010-11 Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar 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.    

Rotary Convention 2018

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