A peace fellow’s experience at the Peace Forum in Honolulu

Rotary Peace Fellow Marios Antoniou at the forum in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Rotary Peace Fellow Marios Antoniou, right, at the forum in Honolulu, Hawaii.

By Marios Antoniou, a 2008-10 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

It was an honor, and a pleasure, to be invited to address the attendees of the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Honolulu. These people travelled from across the world to the Hawaiian Islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to share their thoughts and actions for peace, in the spirit of Aloha.

Three days went by fast, perhaps too fast! Continue reading

Hawaii peace forum builds bonds

Rotaractors Andrea Tirone, left, and Jennifer Petrichenko, right, with RI President-elect Ron Burton at the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Hawaii.

Rotaractors Andrea Tirone, left, and Jennifer Petrichenko, right, with RI President-elect Ron Burton at the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Hawaii.

Editor’s note: Rotaractors Andrea Tirone and Jennifer Petrichenko were among more than 1,800 participants in the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Honolulu, Hawaii, 25-27 January. The forum held a special focus on getting youth involved in the peace process. We asked Tirone and Petrichenko to share what inspired them about the event.

Tirone: Having been involved with Rotary as a Rotaractor and Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, I have had many opportunities to see how peace is built through club and district projects, events, and initiatives around the world. I’ve also had many opportunities to attend conventions, and sometimes ask myself “will I benefit from attending yet another?” Continue reading

Interact postcard contest winner inspired by Hawaii peace forum

Interactor Haley Lavergne, left, meets with Sylvia Whitlock, the first female president of a Rotary Club in 1987.

Interactor Haley Lavergne, right, meets with Sylvia Whitlock, who in 1987 became the first female president of a Rotary club.

By Haley Lavergne, a member of the Interact Club of West Feliciana High School in St. Francisville, Louisiana, USA.

I was delighted to attend the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Honolulu, Hawaii, 25-27 January, with my mother as the winner of the grand prize in the Interact Peace Through Service Postcard Contest. The most powerful moment for me was to hear Aung San Suu Kyi speak about the power of individual kindness and compassion.

Personally, at times I feel overwhelmed how much need and suffering is in the world. Continue reading

Everyone has a role in peace

Kai Nestman, right, with RI President Sakuji Tanaka, center, and other Rotaractors at the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Kai Nestman

Kai Nestman, left, with RI President Sakuji Tanaka, center, and other Rotaractors at the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Kai Nestman

By Kai Nestman, a member of the Rotaract Club of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

This past weekend I was fortunate to participate in a Rotary Global Peace Forum in Honolulu, Hawaii. The forum placed a heightened emphasis on young people as catalysts for peace. Workshops brought together participants from around the world to discuss and engage in peace education, technology, intercultural understanding, peace through humanitarianism, and world peace through personal health, among many others. Young people offer us the greatest opportunity to move towards world peace. Continue reading

Rotary Youth Exchange promotes cultural understanding

Derek Osborn addresses the third plenary session of the 2013 International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA. Rotary International/Monika Lozinska

Derek Osborn addresses the third plenary session of the 2013 International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA. Rotary International/Monika Lozinska

By Derek Osborn, a member of the Rotaract Club of Norman, Oklahoma

I believe that everything Rotary does is important. However, I also believe that nothing is more important to Rotary’s future than the programs of New Generations. Encompassed by New Generations are all of Rotary’s programs for people under the age of 30. Interact is for students 12 to 18, Rotary Youth Exchange is for those 15 to 19, Rotaract is for individuals 18 to 30, and RYLA  — Rotary Youth Leadership Awards — is for anyone 14 to 30 years old.

I have been fortunate enough to have known about and participated in Rotary for about 15 years. I was in elementary school when I got to participate in my first Rotary community service project, and it had a profound influence on me. Continue reading

Incoming district governors discuss 2013-14 RI theme

The 2013-14 RI theme, Engage Rotary, Change Lives

The 2013-14 RI theme, Engage Rotary, Change Lives

By Daniela Garcia, RI editorial staff, reporting from the International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA

Incoming district governors broke into applause as RI President-elect Ron Burton announced the 2013-14 RI theme, Engage Rotary, Change Lives, during the first plenary of the International Assembly, Rotary’s annual training event for future leaders.

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

RI President Tanaka’s Rotary moments in December and January

By Sakuji Tanaka, in English and Japanese

As I traveled in 2012 to Rotary clubs and projects, I saw the joy of being a Rotarian. I noticed that the deeper your involvement with Rotary, the more you can grow as a person. Furthermore, I believe that Rotary can mean something different to each Rotarian, and it’s a part of our journey to discover that meaning. My wish for 2013 is that Rotarians discover what this organization means to them, and then share it with others. These personal experiences are our Rotary moments. Here were some of my Rotary moments from the past few months. Continue reading

Group Study Exchange made me the Rotarian I am

Ana Cáceres become a Rotarian thanks to taking part in a Group Study Exchange.

Ana Cáceres became a Rotarian after taking part in a Group Study Exchange.

By Ana Cáceres, a member of the Rotary Club of Autonomia, Argentina

Being part of a Group Study Exchange (GSE) team to District 5420 (Utah, USA) and District 7510 (parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, USA) provided me with the main ingredients I needed to become a Rotarian. More importantly, the experience shaped my life.

On 15 March 2007, I began my exchange period in Utah. I knew enough English to communicate but adjusting from almost 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit)  in Santiago del Estero to the chilly American spring was rough! Continue reading

My Rotary Moment from the peace forum

Peace Fellow Anne Riechert speaks during a panel at the peace forum in Berlin.

Peace Fellow Anne Riechert (left) speaks during a panel at the peace forum in Berlin.

By Anne Riechert, a 2010-12 Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University

Saturday morning, Paul Knyff shared his favorite Rotary moment with the more than 1,800 Rotarians attending the first Rotary Global Peace Forum in Berlin. Having been involved with Rotary Youth Exchange, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) and the Rotary Peace Centers program for more than a decade, I asked myself what my favorite Rotary moment had been. It felt a little like picking a favorite child. I would like to share with you, however, my favorite moment from the forum. Continue reading