Rotary Peace Fellow: storytelling can build peace

Kiran Sirah speaks at the International Assembly 21 January. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Kiran Sirah speaks at the International Assembly 22 January. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Kiran Sirah is the executive director of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee. He graduated from the Rotary Peace Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013 with a Master of Arts in Folklore. The following is a excerpt from his speech 22 January at the International Assembly, a training event for incoming leaders in San Diego, California, USA.

There is a saying: The world is like a book, and those who do not travel will only ever have read the first page. For me storytelling is a way of traveling the world. Why? Because it enables us to be inspired, to follow our dreams, and to realize that our stories belong to a world full of stories just waiting to unfold.

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Why telling Rotary’s story is so important

Rotary Director-elect Jennifer E. Jones talks about the importance of Rotary's brand.

Rotary Director-elect Jennifer E. Jones talks about the importance of Rotary’s brand. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

By Ryan Hyland, Rotary editorial staff

More than a year ago, Rotary leaders launched the Strengthening Rotary initiative to enhance and simplify the organization’s story, visual identity, and digital experience. While Rotary’s recognition on the global scale is strong, our image can still use strengthening in local communities.

Speakers at Rotary’s annual training event for leaders in San Diego, California, USA, this week challenged incoming district governors to champion Rotary’s brand in their districts and make sure that their clubs support the effort to tell Rotary’s story in a clear and compelling way. Here’s what a few incoming governors had to say about the initiative: Continue reading

Sesame Street health crusader visits Rotary leaders

Past RI President Bill Boyd and Raya

Past RI President Bill Boyd and Raya. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

By Ryan Hyland, Rotary editorial staff

Rotary leaders received a surprise visit Monday from Raya, one of Sesame Street’s newest puppets, during their annual training exercise in San Diego.

Raya joined past RI President Bill Boyd on stage during the third general session of the 2015 International Assembly, joking about how cool Rotary’s emblem looked and chatting with Boyd about toilets.

Sesame Workshop introduced Raya last year with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to teach the TV show’s millions of young viewers in Bangladesh, India, and Nigeria about sanitation and hygiene.

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Incoming district governors excited to ‘be a gift’

150119_themeBy Ryan Hyland, Rotary editorial staff

Incoming district governors enthusiastically greeted the presidential theme for 2015-16, Be a Gift to the World, during a dinner 18 January at the International Assembly, Rotary’s annual training event for future district leaders. RI President-elect K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran is asking Rotary members to use their talents, expertise, and leadership in the coming year to transform the lives of others.

We caught up with incoming district governors after the theme was announced to get their thoughts. Continue reading

How does Rotary fulfill your need for service and fun?

Evan Burrell

Evan Burrell

By Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales

I’ve been volunteering with Rotary ever since I was a kid. Well, since I was 18. Originally, I joined for my own selfish reasons. I wanted to meet new people and find a girlfriend. I didn’t join because of some great desire to help change the world. I hadn’t had much experience with that at the time. But I soon realized what a difference I was making. Continue reading

Get the latest Rotary news on Flipboard

Monica Kinyua (right) and her sister, Jane Wanjiru, founded the Children's Peace Initiative Kenya. Read more about them in our flipboard.

Monica Kinyua (right) and her sister, Jane Wanjiru, founded the Children’s Peace Initiative Kenya. Read more about them in our roundup on Flipboard.

By Rotary Voices staff

Check out our latest roundup of news and feature stories from Rotary News and The Rotarian magazine on Flipboard. You’ll discover how Rotary members in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, gathered 40,000 people to make the world’s largest human national flag as a tribute to India being polio-free; how a Rotary Scholar is building peace among pastoral tribes in northern Kenya; why Matt Damon is using his star power to bring safe drinking water to those who lack it, and more. Get up to date on Rotary news by reading the roundup.

Recycling old shoes to protect the environment

Shoes collected during the drive.

Shoes collected during the drive.

By Anit Thapaliya, president of the Rotaract Club of Pashupati Kathmandu, Nepal

We collected more than 1,100 pairs of used shoes to be recycled and reused as part of our project “Yes Dear, You Change Before the Climate.” It proved that we can teach others to change their behaviors before our climate changes, for the worse.

We set out with the help of Working Hands, a local nongovernmental organization, to convince people to give us their old shoes
instead of throwing them away. Shoes take Continue reading

Motorcycle rally targets illiteracy in India

RI President Gary C.K. Huang (left) waves the flag for the rally to proceed.

RI President Gary C.K. Huang (left) waves the flag for the rally to proceed.

By Bhavnesh Mehta, past president of the Rotary Club of Bhavnagar Royal

Our team of seven Rotary riders crossed India and Nepal in December on a motorcycle rally to support education and raise awareness of efforts to combat illiteracy in India.

Leaders in District 3060 (India) came up with the idea following last year’s rally, a grand success, which celebrated Rotary’s triumph over polio. After the eradication of polio, Rotary members in India are most keen to see illiteracy eliminated. The Rotary India Literacy Mission, chaired by past RI Director Shekhar Mehta, has a clear objective of making India 100 percent literate by 2017 through the TEACH program: offering teacher support, e-learning, adult literacy, child development, and the formation of happy schools. Continue reading

My life was forever changed by Rotary

Pammy Godoy

Pammy Godoy

By Pammy Godoy, Rotary Club of Mandaluyong-Pasig-San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

In 2006, I took part in a Group Study Exchange (GSE) to Argentina. It was a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity funded by Rotary International which allowed me to travel outside of the Philippines for the first time, learn about Argentinian culture, and interact with Argentinian youth about their issues in relation to relationships, sexuality, and teen pregnancies. Continue reading

Celebrating 20 years of service by Rotaractors in Lithuania

Rotaractors in Lithuania during their annual conference in District 1462.

Rotaractors in Lithuania during an annual conference.

By Laurynas Suodaitis, chair of the council of Rotaract clubs for District 1462 

This past year, 2014, was special to us because not only did it mark 80 years of Rotary in Lithuania, but 20 years of Rotaract in the country. The first Rotaract Club was chartered in Kaunas. There are now eight active Rotaract clubs in Lithuania, drawing together nearly 200 young leaders eager to make a positive change in society. Continue reading