Images of the Council on Legislation

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Photos by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

Representatives from Rotary clubs worldwide met in Chicago last week for the 2016 Council on Legislation to discuss changes to the policies that guide Rotary and its clubs. The meeting takes place every three years and serves as an opportunity for members to share their voice. This year’s council proved to be one of the most progressive ever, granting clubs greater flexibility over their meetings and membership. Read about the council and download vote totals.

Using social media to expand your event’s reach

A notice about the Live Event on the World Bank website.

A notice about the Live Event on the World Bank website.

By Quentin Wodon

On 8 March, I helped organize an event at the World Bank in celebration of International Women’s Day designed to illustrate the power of women to change the world. The main speakers for the event, sponsored by the World Bank Group Staff Association, were Marion Bunch and Deepa Willingham, both dynamic Rotary members.

We learned a few valuable lessons from our efforts to promote the event online through social media. First, with about 250 people attending at the World Bank, the event was a success. But more importantly, 3,341 unique visitors viewed the event through the World Bank Live platform. That means 13 times more people watched the event online as did in person. We expect even more people to watch the recording of the event when it is made available on the event’s webpage. Continue reading

Seaside sessions on leadership and peace in Sri Lanka

The team of Leadership Retreat Peace Fellows

The team of Leadership Retreat Peace Fellows

By Lucas Wolf (and the team of Leadership Retreat Peace Fellows)

On the southern coast of Sri Lanka, there is a special place just north of Galle where the waves crash over the rocks after their long journey across the Indian Ocean.

The rains arrive in the early evening to inundate the verdant, tropical lands. This was the setting for the second Rotary Peace Fellow Leadership Retreat from 7-9 March, attended by 10 former Rotary Peace Fellows and one gifted facilitator from Northern Ireland, Susan McEwen. We arrived from all corners of the globe, including Juba, Mindanao, Nicaragua, Somaliland, Kurdistan, London, Ottawa, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka itself. Continue reading

A bridge over peaceful waters

160412_WelchBy Christina Welch, Rotary Scholar to UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education

As I pedaled my newly acquired bicycle through the streets of Delft, in the Netherlands, I realized I was smiling to myself. Navigating through the cobblestone streets and over the canals felt nothing like home, yet I was so grateful to be here.

This bicycle is on loan from Paul Gompen, a fellow Rotary member. I didn’t realize being a beneficiary of the global grant meant so much more than simply a scholarship. It became immediately clear upon my arrival that I am Continue reading

How I learned to stop worrying and love social media

160408_lovesocialBy Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia

Did you know Baby Boomers are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook?

This doesn’t surprise me at all! I think there’s this myth that anyone over 50 is technically inept, but I’m not buying it. Perhaps some “seniors” might not be as technically savvy as the younger generation. But I don’t think all of them are clueless when it comes to new technology or social media.

Facebook and other social networks have enabled Boomers to get in touch with long-lost friends and relatives, as well as see pictures of their grandchildren. If they can use social media for a few family happy snaps, it’s not that far a stretch to get your older members over their initial fear or discomfort with social media, and to start thinking about using the tools in an even more beneficial way for your club. Continue reading

Building my kizuna with Rotary and Japan

Flanigan and ICU students

Mark Flanigan (back row third from right) with Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa during a program for ICU students in New York City in July.

By Mark Flanigan, Program Director, Japan ICU Foundation, and a 2010-12 Rotary Peace Fellow at ICU, Tokyo

When I arrived at International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo as a new Rotary Peace Fellow in the summer of 2010, I had no idea it would be the beginning of an ongoing relationship with both the University and Rotary.

I had lived in Japan before through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and as a U.S. Army veteran, and was happy to return almost a decade later, thanks to Rotary. Continue reading

Bringing digital X-ray technology to those in need

X-ray clinic

A mother and her child in one of the remote clinics in Guatemala.

By Carlos Frum, past governor of District 6440 and a member of the Rotary Club of Northbrook, Illinois, USA

The line went around the block and people were still coming! It was 2003 and my first trip to Guatemala as a translator for a medical team. Upon my return, I realized that we have no idea in the United States how difficult it is for people in poor countries to get basic health care. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that two thirds of the world’s population doesn’t even have access to simple X-rays.

After several more trips, I resolved, with two other past governors from Rotary District 6440, to do something about this. Bruce Baumberger, Pam Kerr, and I started a project to install 29 digital X-ray systems in remote clinics in Guatemala. We called it HealthRays™. Continue reading

The key to a successful multi-generational Rotary club

Emmanuel Rey

Emmanuel Rey addresses his multi-generational club.

By Emmanuel Rey, a member of the Rotary Club of Villa Devoto, Argentina

In 20 years as a member of the Rotary family, I have learned much. I began my Rotary journey as a member of Interact when I was 12, and six years later moved on to Rotaract. After passing the maximum age of 30 for that program, I proudly became a member of my Rotary club two years ago.

At first, I dreamed of building a big and youthful Rotary club, especially as I observed how hard it was for my fellow Interactors and Rotaractors to bridge the generation gap and become members of Rotary. Continue reading

How to get a free website for your Rotary club

Mitty Change at the International Assembly

Mitty Chang unveils the free website offer to Rotary Leaders at Rotary’s annual training event in San Diego in January.

By Jermaine Ee, Rotary Club of Los Angeles

Mitty Chang and I, founders of Candeavor, met in the lobby of a budget hotel in Sydney, Australia, while attending the International Rotary Youth Leadership Awards at the 2014 Rotary Convention.

 Although we were both from California, we came from very different backgrounds. Mitty is from the technology center of the world, Silicon Valley, while I am from the media & entertainment center of the world, Los Angeles. And while Mitty has over a decade of experience in the Rotary family (he is a member of the Rotary E-Club of Silicon Valley), I was just a newbie. Continue reading

My UNESCO-IHE scholarship has defined my career

UNESCO-IHE scholarship recipients

Rotary and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education scholarship recipients at the April graduation ceremony. From left: Gonzalo Duro (Argentina), Godfrey Baguma (Uganda), Bernice Asamoah (Ghana), Kaycee Okoli (Nigeria), and Temesgen Adamu (Ethiopia).

By Bernice Asamoah

When I first arrived in the Netherlands, I marveled at how clean everything was and how neatly water was channeled through town. It was very different from my homeland of Ghana, and I was struck by the diversity of Delft’s population.

I had arrived in the Netherlands on a scholarship from The Rotary Foundation to study sanitary engineering at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. The opportunity came unexpectedly, but has turned out to be a career defining moment. I am so grateful to the Rotary Clubs of Kumasi East and Accra who supported my efforts to meet all the requirements for the scholarship. Continue reading