Art provides a universal language of peace

Hands of Peace students during their visit to California.

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

Together, Let’s Light Up Rotary

Gary and Corinna Huang at Rotary's annual training event, the International Assembly, in January.

RI President Gary C.K. Huang and his wife, Corinna, at the International Assembly, Rotary’s annual training event, in January.

By RI President Gary C.K. Huang

As we begin a new Rotary year, I would like to tell you that I’m honored to be your Rotary International president and to stand with you as Rotary members.

Being a Rotarian is about a way of approaching the world and its challenges. There are many people in this world who need help and many changes that need to be made. It can be overwhelming.

Confucius and Rotary share similar ideas, and one idea from Confucius is that “It is better to light one single candle than to sit and curse the dark.” To me, this means that we shouldn’t lose hope and do nothing. Continue reading

Multi-club project honors D-Day veterans

Chris Burns

Chris Burns

By Chris Burns, Rotary Club of Hendersonville, North Carolina, USA

In 2005, HonorAir founder Jeff Miller asked me to help realize his dream of taking all surviving American WWII vets to their national memorial in Washington D.C. What started as a small local project has now spread nationwide, thanks in no small part to many Rotary clubs that made it their own project.

About a year ago, Jeff had another dream. This time it was to take all surviving Normandy Invasion Campaign (D-Day) veterans to their national memorial for the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of D-Day. Through the partnership of the Asheville and Hendersonville Rotary clubs, a team was pulled together to turn this idea into a reality. Continue reading

Mediation in the life of a peace builder

Dimitra Messini, left, discusses mediation with another participant of the workshop.

Dimitra Messini, left, discusses mediation with another participant of the workshop.

By Dimitra Messini, a 2013-15 Rotary Peace Fellow at International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan 

Having chosen to pursue human rights as a lawyer, mediation has been a major part of my life. Even in my home country of Greece where mediation is not a popular practice, I have used mediation to resolve issues, helping married couples in prolonged disputes or companies with substantial lawsuits. Every kind of law, from criminal to civil, has a place for mediation.  Continue reading

Rotary Peace Centers build a better future

Rhett Sangster

Rhett Sangster

Chris Offer, Rotary Club of Ladner, Canada

I recently visited the spring conference at Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center, one of six worldwide. As a supporter of the Rotary peace centers program, I had an opportunity to see firsthand how our support is being used.

Rhett Sangster, a Saskatchewan nominated for the program from my Rotary district in Ottawa, was one of twelve graduating peace fellows delivering a presentation that day. His unique and innovative explanation of the ongoing treaty negotiations with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples, known as First Nations, changed my ideas and perceptions about the process. Continue reading

Reducing violence in St. Thomas

Erinma Bell during a panel discussion at the 2013 Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal.

Erinma Bell during a panel discussion at the 2013 Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal.

By Erinma Bell, a graduate of Rotary’s Peace Center program at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand

Revenge and retaliation killings amount to 60 percent of street violence/homicides in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

By any standard, historic or comparative, the Virgin Islands experiences extremely high levels of violence. Reducing violence was cited as the territory’s number one priority in a recent survey of citizens. Violent crime, and the fear of it, has changed the way people live.

I was asked by the Rotary clubs of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Thomas Sunrise to come Continue reading

Clubs celebrate Rotary’s 109th anniversary

Gallery

This gallery contains 17 photos.

By Rotary editorial staff From Panama City, Panama, to Visakhapatnam, India, Rotary members found creative and diverse ways to celebrate Rotary’s 109th anniversary the week of 23 February. They illuminated buildings, held health fairs, took part in swimming fundraisers, handed … Continue reading

The room where Rotary began

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By Dick Galitz, president of the 711 Club, at the rededication of Room 711 on the first floor of RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA

It’s very special to be standing in front of the rededicated Room 711 on this occasion. It is a special room. When you go into the room, you can just feel, I can feel, the atmosphere and sense of four guys getting together and saying “let’s build a fellowship.” Continue reading

How is your club celebrating Rotary’s anniversary?

The Rotary Club of Lahore Sharqi, Punjab, Pakistan, celebrates Rotary’s anniversary in 2013 with a cake. Photo courtesy of Faheem Asghar

Rotary clubs in Lahore, Pakistan, celebrate Rotary’s anniversary in 2013 with a cake. Photo courtesy of Faheem Asghar

Sunday, 23 February, will mark 109 years since Paul P. Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram E. Shorey gathered in Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago for what would become known as the first Rotary club meeting.

From a swimming marathon organized by Rotary members in England to a balloon launch in Portugal, Rotary clubs are observing the occasion. How is your club or district planning to celebrate? Send us photos of your event, and we will create a special gallery on Rotary Voices. Continue reading

Incoming district governors excited to Light Up Rotary

140114_themelogoBy Daniela Garcia, RI editorial staff

Incoming district governors enthusiastically greeted the theme for 2014-15, Light Up Rotary, during the first plenary of the International Assembly, Rotary’s annual training event for future leaders. RI President-elect Gary C.K. Huang explained he was inspired by the teachings of Chinese philosopher Confucious who said: “It is better to light a single candle, than to sit and curse the darkness.”

I asked several of the future leaders their thoughts about the theme, moments after it had been unveiled here in San Diego, California, USA. Here is what they said: Continue reading