Rotary Day at UNESCO

RI President Gary C.K. Huang (middle) with young participants of the Rotary Day UNESCO in Paris.

RI President Gary C.K. Huang (middle) with young participants of the Rotary Day UNESCO in Paris.

By Kristin Brown, manager of Rotary Service Connections

I like to say I have one of the best jobs at Rotary because in Rotary Service Connections we are responsible for many of the programs and activities that help Rotarians connect, partner and serve to make the world a better place.

Last Saturday found me in Paris where, as part of UNESCO’s 70th anniversary celebration, the organization welcomed 400-plus Rotarians and Rotaractors from more than 20 countries for Rotary Day UNESCO. The conference highlighted Rotary’s history with UNESCO and ongoing work for peace, with particular emphasis on the role of intercountry committees (ICCs). ICCs are cooperative relationships established between districts in two countries to promote bi-lateral communication and cooperation between Rotarians, leading to greater understanding and peace between peoples. Continue reading

Rotary Peace Fellows are the connectors that build peace

150313_wendyBy Wendy Coulson, Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Class of 2015

We talked a lot during our first two weeks at the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University about connectors and dividers — what brings people or groups together and what drives them apart — in conflict situations.

As soon as our class of Rotary Peace Fellows arrived, we looked for ways to connect with each other. In fact, our tallest classmate found many of us on Facebook and began friendships and organizing workshops even before we arrived. We were so keen to meet each other that we threw open our doors to see who had arrived and threw open our arms to greet those we had only known virtually. Continue reading

A day at Chulalongkorn studying peace

Rotary Peace Fellows attend the first week of classes at Chulalongkorn, Bangkok, Thailand.

Rotary Peace Fellows attend the first week of classes at Chulalongkorn, Bangkok, Thailand.

By Marty Peak Helman, Rotary Club of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, USA

My husband, Frank, and I were recently invited to sit in on a day of classes during the first week of the current Rotary Peace Center’s certificate program, held at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. Every year, Rotary selects 50 mid-life professionals in a worldwide search to come to Bangkok for three months to study peace and conflict resolution.

As I looked around the room, I realized that
I was surrounded by professionals who Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

How your year-end gift to The Foundation does a world of good

Four hundred citizens in northeast China received free cataract surgeries in 2013 thanks to efforts by the Rotary Clubs of Warner Robins, Georgia, USA, and Shanghai, China. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Shanghai

Four hundred citizens in northeast China received free cataract surgeries in 2013 thanks to efforts by the Rotary Clubs of Warner Robins, Georgia, USA, and Shanghai, China. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Shanghai

By Rotary Voices staff

There’s still time to make your year-end gift to The Rotary Foundation. Here are a few ways your support is helping change lives all over the world:

Educating children: Rotary members in Maine, USA, and Bikaner, India, are using a global grant to educate hundreds of children in Bikaner who previously were not attending school, and provide professional development for their teachers. Learn more about the project, which also provided desks for the students. Continue reading

More amazing projects on Rotary Showcase

A boy in Belize holds the solar powered light that replaced dangerous Kerosene lamps, provided by Rotary members in Austin, Texas.

A boy in Belize holds the solar powered light that replaces dangerous kerosene lamps, provided by Rotary members in Austin, Texas.

By Rotary Voices staff

Rotary members in Nigeria banded together to provide 850 children in Nnewi, Anambra State, with medicine to kill a type of intestinal worm transmitted through the soil.

A single 400 milligram tablet of Abendazole deworms the children and kills the parasite, which is prevalent in many areas of Nigeria. The project is an example of Rotary’s work in preventing disease, but also in supporting education, as the parasite affects the children’s ability to concentrate on school work.

Members of the club distributed the tablets in October to an enthusiastic group of school staff and students. The project is just one of many that Rotary members have shared on Rotary Showcase. Continue reading

Courting Blakness — offering indigenous peoples a voice in art

The Courting Blakness exhibit showcased work by indigenous peoples.

The Courting Blakness art show included work by indigenous peoples.

By Bobbie Chew Bigby

Since beginning as a Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, earlier this year, I have found many opportunities to build peace and not even have to leave campus.

One of the most profound experiences thus far was volunteering to put together “Courting Blakness,” a curated art show that featured works by Australia’s First Peoples — Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The show was set against the backdrop of the Great Court, known for its picturesque grassy area and stunning sandstone pillars. Continue reading

Five reasons to give to The Rotary Foundation

Polio immunization activities in Ethiopia. Your generous giving supports our work to rid the world of polio.

Polio immunization in Ethiopia. Your generous giving supports our work to rid the world of polio.

By Rotary Voices staff

When you make a donation to The Rotary Foundation, you are helping Rotary members make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world, by promoting peace, preventing disease, bolstering economic development, and providing clean water and sanitation.

Here are just a few ways your generosity is changing lives. Continue reading

Amazing projects shared on Rotary Showcase

Women use Hippo Water Rollers in Africa to transport clean drinking water.

Women use Hippo Water Rollers in South Africa to transport clean drinking water.

By Rotary Voices staff

Rotary members in Juneau, Alaska, USA, are using their loose coins to create big change in different parts of the world.

The Rotary Club of Juneau-Gastineau collects nickels, dimes, and quarters from members in glass jars placed around the room during its weekly meetings. More than $8,000 has been collected since the program began. But more amazingly, the spare change has been turned into more than $39,000 in micro loans, by working through the microfinance website Kiva. Continue reading

Why your gift to The Foundation makes a difference

Brenda Cressey volunteering at a day care in Mexico.

Brenda Cressey volunteering at a day care in Mexico.

By Brenda Cressey, Rotary Club of Paso Robles, California

November gives us the chance to build greater ownership and pride in our Foundation. We have so much to celebrate. The new grant model, Rotary’s website, our publications, and our new branding effort all focus on building a strong message — the importance of contributing to and supporting our Rotary Foundation. Continue reading