Why I’m looking forward to Sydney!

Mark Mahoney gets around Sydney on a Segway.

Mark Maloney gets around Sydney on a Segway.

By Mark Maloney, chair of the 2014 Sydney Convention Committee, and a member of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA

I am looking forward to the 2014 Rotary International Convention in Sydney, Australia, for many different reasons. Conventions are a wonderful opportunity to make and renew friendships with Rotary members from around the world, a chance I’ve had many times. And it never really grows old. But also, Sydney is a stunningly beautiful city. The venue, Sydney Olympic Park, is clearly one of the world’s best facilities for a convention of 20,000 or more attendees. Developed for the 2000 Olympic Games, it is exciting and unique.  Continue reading

Why what goes on safari shouldn’t always stay on safari

Courtney (center with hat in lap) meets the Rotary Youth Exchange safari earlier this year. Photo courtesy of District 9800

Courtney (center with hat in lap) meets the Rotary Youth Exchange safari earlier this year. Photo courtesy of District 9800

By Emanuel Tumino, a member of the Rotary Club of Footscray, Victoria, Australia

A chance encounter on the side of a dusty road deep in the Queensland Outback will forever change the life of one teen-ager, thanks to the magic of Rotary Youth Exchange.

In March of 2012, I was one of three leaders for our annual safari tour for 16 inbound Youth Exchange students which takes students deep into the Outback for a unique look at Australia’s remote areas. The bus stopped for a coffee break along the highway at a town of about 350 consisting of a few shops, houses, and a post office with the only cappuccino machine in “town.” Continue reading

Dolly, Rotary put books into the hands of children

Above: Dolly Patron talks about the Imagination Library and the partnership with Rotary during the 2010 Convention in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

By David Dotson, president of the Dollywood Foundation

The wonderful partnership between Dolly Parton and Rotary International continues to flourish in communities both large and small all across the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, and most recently Australia.

Although every community approaches the program in its own way, one thing impresses me much more than dollars raised or even time invested –and this is the enormous influence Rotarians exert in their communities. Continue reading

What do you tell your children about Rotary?

Simone and Ariana Collins.

Simone and Ariana Collins.

By Simone Collins, past president of the Rotary Club of Freshwater Bay, Western Australia, Australia

I have never forgotten a conversation I had with a Rotarian who was one of our strongest supporters, back when I was still a Rotaractor. Her own children had never joined Rotary or Rotaract, because they didn’t want to belong to something “boring” like their parents did! I was gobsmacked.

What precisely are we as Rotarians telling our children about Rotary? What do they see? Do they just see you going to “boring” meetings? Or do they see what inspires you about Rotary? Continue reading

The day we became a real Rotary club

The start of the Caulfield Racecourse Run. Photo courtesy of Glen Eira Rotary Club

The start of the Caulfield Racecourse Run. Photo courtesy of Glen Eira Rotary Club

By Adrian Nelson, past president of the Rotary Club of Glen Eira, Australia

Last year, the wife of our district governor told me during their visit to our club that we had the best chips out of the whole district. She meant it as a compliment!

I’ve been a member of the Rotary Club of Glen Eira for ten years. In the past year, we have celebrated our 25th anniversary with video messages from past youth exchange students and scholars and a look back at how we sent medical equipment to a needy hospital in rural Peru and set up computers for poor students in Brazil. A contingent from our friendship club, the Rotary Club of Ogaki West, Japan, even came over to my home for an Aussie barbecue, meeting my sons, age 5 and 7. We keep busy!  Continue reading

Women creating peace across the world’s divides

By Christina DeAngelis, a 2006-2008 Rotary Peace Fellow, Bradford University

Christina DeAngelis works with women as part of Creators of Peace.

Christina DeAngelis works with women as part of Creators of Peace.

Since 2005, I have had the privilege of being involved in an international women’s peace-building program called Creators of Peace. Creators of Peace empowers women to be radical peace-builders, starting with themselves, their families, their communities and further afield. The idea is that if peace is to start anywhere then the best place for it to start is in “me.”  Continue reading

Australian Rotaractors raise awareness for polio eradication

Australian Rotaractors and Rotarians in front of Parliament House in Canberra 21 October to raise awareness for the End Polio Now campaign. Photo courtesy of Rotaract Club of Canberra

By Kate Campbell, president of the Rotaract Club of Canberra, Australia

Standing alongside my fellow Australian Rotaractors and Rotarians in front of Parliament House in Canberra 21 October to raise awareness for the End Polio Now campaign was a truly exhilarating moment.

The event aimed to show support for the amazing work done by RI and their partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and encourage the Australian government to continue supporting the fight against this deadly disease. Continue reading

What makes polio an emergency?

Bruce Aylward addressing Rotarians at the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand. Rotary Images

On the 25th of May, the World Health Assembly declared polio a programmatic emergency for global public health. The Global Poverty Project interviewed Bruce Aylward, assistant director-general at the World Health Organization (WHO)

Why now?

Three things were driving the ministers of health of the world in declaring polio an emergency: first – on a positive note – polio eradication has reached a tipping point. India, the country that was responsible for almost half the world’s cases just two years ago, has now passed an entire year without reporting a case, providing incontrovertible evidence that polio can be eradicated anywhere. Continue reading

Rotaractor makes a splash for deaf and blind children

Brown and O'Neill

Rotaractor Ben Brown and Australian Olympic gold medalist Susie O’Neill at last year’s Splash for Cash.

By Ben Brown, a member of the Rotaract Club of Central Coast, New South Wales, Australia

Four years ago, I took part in my first Splash for Cash, swimming 27 laps to raise money for the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, in support of children with vision or hearing loss in Australia.

I have a passion for youth and disability, and this Rotaract-lead project has helped me channel that passion. Every year since the first, I have aimed at stretching myself by bettering my mark, lining up sponsors in support of my participation in the swimathon, and extending the number of laps. Continue reading

We can eradicate polio by working together

Hugh Evans is CEO of the Global Poverty Project

Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project, will be a keynote speaker at the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, 6-9 May.

By Hugh Evans, founder and CEO of the Global Poverty Project.

One percent.

That’s all that’s left of the world’s polio. Thanks to a global partnership involving governments, the World Health Organization, Rotary International, UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the total number of polio cases worldwide has gone from 350,000 a year prior to 1988, to just 650 in 2011.

That is a truly amazing feat.

India’s recent success has proven that eradication is possible. Not so long ago, people thought that India would be the last place on earth to stop transmission of the disease. Yet despite the difficulties, the four partner agencies of the GPEI, the Indian Government and the Indian people worked together to see it done.

Continue reading