Athili Sapriina during the annual Rotary Peace Fellow seminar at the University of Queensland, Australia.
By Athili Sapriina, 2013-2014 Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia
I first became aware of Rotary Peace Fellowships during a trip to the Rotary Peace Center at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US, in 2008. I had previously attended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City and over the years witnessed an increased involvement of Rotary with indigenous peoples issues. I am honored to be the first Naga to be awarded a Rotary Peace Fellowship.
The three million Nagas are indigenous peoples of the mountainous frontier between India and Burma. Since the end of British colonialism, Nagas have fiercely defended their independence resulting in the death of thousands — Indians, Burmese and Nagas.
A woman stands in front of her toilet block in Sogav, India.
By Atul Bhide, immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Thane Hills, India
Less than 80 kilometers (49.6 miles) from the urban centers of Mumbai and Thane, India, lies the village of Sogav in Shahapur Taluka. Here, like in many villages in India, women and girls face the daily indignity of having to walk miles in the early hours to find a safe and discreet place to relieve themselves.
A simple bodily need that many of us take for granted exposes these women and children to hygiene and safety risks every day. It is a difficult situation under normal circumstances, but when these women experience any kind of sickness or health concern, their experience becomes appalling. Continue reading
Members of the recently chartered Rotary Club of Plaza Matriz in Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo courtesy of Erin Mills
By Erin Mills, Rotary Scholar and charter member of the Rotary Club of Plaza Matriz in Montevideo, Uruguay
A little over six years ago, I packed my luggage and boarded a plane for Montevideo, Uruguay, as an Ambassadorial Scholar from Arizona, USA, to that tiny corner of the world I now call home. It’s where I teach future English language educators at the University of Montevideo, where I teach middle school children from around the world at the American International School, and where 24 young professionals and I are taking Rotary into the next generation. Continue reading
Youth Exchange students in Europe.
By Augusto La Colla, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from Villa Regina, Argentina, to Muenster, Germany
Through my Interact club in Argentina, I learned of an opportunity last year to go on a Rotary Youth Exchange to Muenster, Germany. I want to echo what others have said on this blog, that Youth Exchange is an unforgettable experience.
I had the pleasure of staying with two families in Germany — the Kirchhoffs and Beikers — and I consider both part of my family. Getting to know the German culture, to be a part of it, and to be immersed in it, I developed a new appreciation for my home country, and the world beyond. It made me realize just how amazing this world is, and gave me a desire to work to make the world a better place. Continue reading
We would like to thank all of you who have contributed stories to help make this blog inspiring and captivating since our launch in 2012. With your help, Rotary Voices won a silver 2014 EXCEL Award from Association Media & Publishing for general excellence in the blog category of Web Publishing. Continue reading
Larry Goodwin on his boat.
By Larry Goodwin, past president of the Rotary Club of Palm Desert, California, USA
This recent Fourth of July, I had a close call which taught me a valuable lesson. I share the story hoping it will help others.
The day began like other holidays have, with me fiddling around my boat, when I began having trouble breathing and felt a pain in my chest. It wasn’t that hot out but I was already sweating. Sitting in the shade didn’t help, or drinking a bottle of water, or sipping on a Coke either. Continue reading
By Teree Bergman, an assistant regional Rotary Foundation coordinator
A new Rotary year began 1 July, and that means it’s time to begin a new effort to have our members participate in Rotary’s work by donating to the Annual Fund. Rotary’s Every Rotarian Every Year (EREY) initiative empowers every Rotary member to be part of the humanitarian accomplishments of The Rotary Foundation.
Let me share a number I find unbelievable. During the year that ended 30 June, only 44 of the 666 clubs in the southwest region of the United States where I serve as coordinator earned an EREY banner. That’s a whopping 6 percent! (And keep in mind, not every member has to give $100 to qualify for the banner; the banners go to clubs that achieve a $100 average per member with every member giving some amount, however small.) Continue reading
Rotary Peace Fellows take part in a leadership retreat.
By Pamela Broussard, 2007 Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
It has been more than 10 years since Rotary started training Rotary Peace Fellows around the globe. Today there are over 800 alumni working in a range of careers such as: international development, relief work, refugee services, military, government, education, and local grassroots organizations. If you have seen a crisis in the news, or on the Continue reading
Victoria Alvarez and other youth exchange students during their trip to the West Coast of the United States.
By Victoria Alvarez, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from Argentina to the United States
Most of you have probably heard of Rotary Youth Exchange, and maybe some of you have even been involved with the program. I recently completed my exchange year in the United States, and wanted to share the perspective of someone who has just taken part in one.
I come from Argentina, a little country on the edge of South America that you may have heard of recently because of the World Cup. It is in many ways very different from the United States. In signing up for an exchange to America, I stepped out alone into a culture unlike any I had experienced, in an unfamiliar environment, in a house I did not know, to live with people I did not know. Leaving behind family, friends, and most of what was familiar. Continue reading
Hands of Peace students during their visit to California.
By Kelly Mellos, fine artist and member of the Rotary Club of Encinitas Coastal, California, USA
“People don’t get along because they fear each other. People fear each other because they don’t know each other. They don’t know each other because they have not properly communicated with each other.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
These words deeply resonated with me when the director of Hands of Peace came to speak to my club, explaining his dream of launching a grassroots peace project in our area, an expansion after 10 years in Chicago. Two years later, after our club’s initial alignment with Hands of Peace, the program is off the ground! Countless hours went into raising funds, recruiting volunteers and host families, and creating a three-week program, based on our mission of building peacemaking and leadership skills through the power of dialogue and personal relationships. Continue reading