A Rotary Peace Fellow’s journey to Antarctica

Women scientists on Antarctica

Emilse Anabella Palacios joined other women scientists as part of the Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica.

By Emilse Anabella Palacios, Rotary Peace Fellow 2009-11

My relationship with Rotary began as a Rotary Youth Exchange student and member of a Group Study Exchange. Later as a Rotary Peace Fellow at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009-11, I began a process of learning about leadership that will continue throughout my life.

On the last day of 2018, I set sail for Antarctica with 89 other women scientists from 26 countries as part of Homeward Bound, an initiative that aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet. On board the former research vessel MV Ushuaia, we represented the largest female expedition ever to that continent. Continue reading

Rotaractors raise awareness of thalassemia

Students

Rotaract members talk to students about thalassemia.

By Ali Raza, president of the Rotaract Club of Bahauddin Zakariya University, Punjab, Pakistan

We live in a society where people call themselves humans before they know the need of being human; where they wish for a long life before they wish for healthy life; and where they work for wealth before they work for health. But I believe being human means being responsible. And that includes not just shutting our eyes when segments of our society are suffering and need our help. Continue reading

Rotary makes it a small world after all

Jordan Koletic and Robert Smayda

Jordan Koletic, left, and Robert Smayda Jr. at Rotary Day at the United Nations in 2014.

By Kamlesh Chandan, Rotary Club of Lake Norman/Huntersville, North Carolina, USA

In 2015, I was working at one of the largest Fortune 500 banks in the United States when I read an article on our internal website about a team member traveling to eastern Africa. I found the story intriguing, and reached out to her for more details about the trip and to see if it had a connection with Rotary. But at the time I did not hear back. Continue reading

Seeing Rotary face to face

Steven Sundstrom and Dr. Koki Inai

Rotary Regional Grants Officer Steven Sundstrom (right) with Dr. Koki Inai of the Rotary Club of Hiroshima South.

By Steven Sundstrom, RI regional grants officer

As a regional grants officer for Rotary, I spend most of my work time at Rotary headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, working with members around the world, including in Japan. Given the time difference, communication is naturally often by email. The first time I traveled to Japan for work was for the Rotary Institute in Nagoya, Japan. I met many Rotarians in person who I had been emailing for years. We were meeting face to face for the first time, but somehow we were already old friends. “お会いが出来て嬉しいですね!Nice to finally meet you!” Continue reading

3 tools for building peace in your community

Participants take part in a mapping exercise to understand how the eight Pillars of Positive Peace are interconnected during a workshop in Mexico in 2017.

By Summer Lewis, Rotary-IEP Partnership Coordinator

When you think about peace, do you think about how peace is lived and practiced? Are you seeing images of violence and thinking peace is the “opposite” of that?

There is no one right way to define peace, but there are many ways to work towards it. Continue reading

How to prepare to be a Rotary Peace Fellow

Orientation for Rotary Peace Fellows at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

By Bonnie Emerson, Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, Class 26, from Canada

As an Indigenous (Metis) Canadian woman from Winnipeg Manitoba, I was surprised and very honoured when I was encouraged to apply for the Rotary International Peace Fellowship Program. I wasn’t too optimistic, though. How could a police officer from a mid-sized Canadian city be selected when applicants come from all over the world? Continue reading

Rotary-supported story contest gives Tacoma youth a voice

The first-ever Tacoma Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest invited youth to write about the ocean and what it means to them.

By Rosemary Ponnekanti

At first, Hope was reluctant. She was on the verge of flunking school through poor attendance. But when Kathleen Figetakis, literacy chair at Tacoma Sunrise Rotary, Washington, USA, asked the Tacoma senior for one little favor – to put up posters in her school for the Tacoma Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest – Hope agreed. Six months later, she had not only won second prize in the contest, but she also graduated from high school – and helped the inaugural contest to be a wave of success. Continue reading

Empowering women in Colombian prisons

Exercise class.

Charlie Ruth Castro leads an exercise class for inmates.

Charlie Ruth Castro

By Charlie Ruth Castro, Rotary E-Club of Sogamoso Global, Colombia

I had to go to prison to understand how education for innovation is the path for empowering millions of Latin American and Caribbean women economically. I’ve never committed a crime; I belong to that group of people who believe education is the most sophisticated tool we have to opening any door.

In 2016, I founded MujeresConDerechos.org with the idea of reminding society that all girls and all women are powerful. For this reason, I have dedicated myself to gathering the most influential leaders through summits, marches, and a television program. The attention and support I have received has been converted into generating innovative programs for girls and women most in need. Continue reading

What Fairwold is saying about Interact

Fairwold Interact members and advisors.

By Steve Bass, Fairwold Interact Club advisor

Fairwold Academy serves children that need emotional support from throughout the area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The opportunities we are able to provide these students are amazing. Our members have designed and sold tree certificates to raise money to purchase and plant thousands of trees in our local nature preserves. Our original recycling project, Plastic Planet Savers, won a sustainability award at Temple University’s EarthFest celebration a few years ago. And  the club has earned the Presidential Citation from Rotary International each of the past three years. 

But better than all of that is what they say about how Interact is shaping their lives. Here is just a sampling: Continue reading

What a Rotary club can do with even a little bit of money

Burton at well

Joi Burton takes a drink from a new well during a trip to Kenya. A grant project between District 5790 and Homa Bay, Kenya, provided the well.

By Joi Burton, International Service Chair for District 6170 and member of the Rotary Club of North Garland County, Arkansas, USA

I have always had a dream of going to Africa. Soon after I joined Rotary in 1991, I noticed an article in The Rotarian that a Rotary club from Eugene, Oregon, was going to Kenya to work on some projects. They were inviting people to go with them, and when I contacted them they accepted my offer. We visited several Rotary projects and a Rotary Club in Nairobi. That was the beginning of a long and productive relationship between my club at the time, Arlington South, Texas, and the people of Kenya that demonstrated the impact even a small club can have through the magic that is Rotary. Continue reading