6 reasons I love Rotary’s annual convention

Evan Burrell and Rotary staff at the 2014 Rotary Convention in Sydney, Australia.

By Evan Burrell, Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia

In just a few weeks, the whole family of Rotary will be converging on Atlanta for the annual extravaganza we call the Rotary International Convention.

Those of you who know me know that spending six intense days with a large group of people is something that I really do look forward to. So I can’t imagine a place I’d rather be than in Atlanta with my many friends. But anticipating the event got me thinking about what specifically I look forward to in a Rotary Convention. There are so many things I had a hard time narrowing it down. But here are six, in no particular order. Continue reading

Trip to World War I sites provokes thoughts of war, peace

Rotary Peace Fellows from the University of Bradford visit World War I sites in France and Belgium.

By Holly White, Class XV, Rotary Peace Center at the University of Bradford, England

Earlier this month, I took part in a tight, four-day trip to World War I battlefields and commemorative sites in France and Belgium with other Rotary Peace Fellows at the University of Bradford (including one Fellow’s sweet, energetic daughter!), host coordinators, and a few others connected to Rotary.

From the perspective of a Peace Fellow, it was interesting and, at times uncomfortable learning about the “Great War,” and how war is interpreted, commemorated, and, at times, glorified. Continue reading

Make someone smile, and see how it changes you

Members of the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen donate toys during a community breakfast attended by 100 children.

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of blog posts from Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month. 

By Nicolas Silva, member of the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen, Argentina

Four years ago, our club undertook a project called “Todo Sirve,” which literally means “’everything serves.” We collected donations in our city, including food, drinking water, clothes, children’s toys, bikes, and beds for an aboriginal low-income community, the Qom village, located in Formosa, a northern province of Argentina.

I will never forget hearing the word “gnashek” (Qom for ‘thanks’) from a woman who I was giving a box of donations to.
Continue reading

Deeply wounded world needs Rotary Peace Centers

Maire-Paule Attema, right, and her husband, left, with host Rotarians in Brisbane, Australia.

By Marie-Paule Attema, a Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

After months of anticipation, I finally arrived in Brisbane, Australia, where I will be for the next 18 months while I pursue the Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland Rotary Peace Center.

I quickly felt at home after being picked up by our “Australian parents,” who have been extremely helpful in our transition.  I have enjoyed the pros and cons of Australian living as I have quickly adapted to 30 Continue reading

Why the good you do will do good to you

Ambanpola, second from left, packing 10,500 food packets for Haiti with members of Rotaract.

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of blog posts from Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month. 

By Nipuna Ambanpola, a member of the Rotaract Club of Armstrong State University and former member of Interact

Volunteering has been a very satisfying component of my life. When I volunteer, it’s always about contributing my time and skills to enhance the quality of life of others in my community.

I joined the Interact Club of Royal College, the second oldest club and the oldest continuously functioning club in Sri Lanka in 2009. Continue reading

Giving young Rotarians a space to call their own

The Rotary Club of Lake Norman Huntersville initiative has given young professionals a club they can call their own.

By Elizabeth Davis, a member of the Rotary Club of Lake Norman-Huntersville, North Carolina, USA

What would happen if we gave the younger crowd a space to call their own?

This was the question that our club president, Kamlesh-Chandan (Kam for short) posed to us recently as we discussed how to recruit young professionals. Continue reading

Rotary brought joy back into my life

Jack Bechaud with children in Cusco, Peru.

By Jack Bechaud, Rotary Club of Lake in the Hills, Illinois, USA

If you would have told me a few years ago that I’d be lugging 15 bags of cement in the high mountains of Cusco, Peru, to help local villagers, I would not have believed you.

It sounds a little cliché, but Rotary has helped me come so far, in so many ways. It’s helped me grow as a person in ways I never thought possible. It’s brought joy back to my life. Continue reading

How I gained friends through Rotary’s programs for young leaders

The Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchids distributes school supplies.

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of blog posts from Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.

By Md. Saddam Hossain Roni, Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchids, Bangladesh

Before joining an Interact club in 2010, I had a difficult time dealing with people I didn’t know. That’s probably why I didn’t have a lot of friends in school. But as a member of Interact, I learned a lot about fellowship. Continue reading

Evening clubs fill void in Nashville area

One of Nashville’s newly chartered evening clubs.

By Chuck Barnett, governor of District 6760 (Tennessee, USA)

When I started my journey to be district governor in January of 2014, I knew that during my year I wanted to start several new clubs. Being a younger Rotarian, I am fully aware of the time commitments that careers and family put on each of us. If I was not self-employed, I probably could have never been governor.

Realizing this, when I would ask people to come to Rotary I would get the general answer of “I don’t have time for that.”  But how could we change this? Continue reading

Rotary training team helps the girls of Malawi

The Rotary club’s project trained teachers for an after school program designed to empower girls, like those above, to stay in school.

By Elizabeth Usovicz

Last April, I led a Vocational Training Team (VTT) to Malawi. The global grant project of the Rotary clubs of Limbe (Malawi) and Kansas City-Plaza (Missouri, USA) installed solar lighting in schools and trained primary school teachers in an after-school program designed to empower children, especially girls, to stay in school. Continue reading