What the ‘together’ in Rotary’s vision statement means

Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

Rotary International Vision Statement

Paddy Rooney

Paddy Rooney

By Paddy Rooney, governor of District 7390 (Pennsylvania, USA)

The word which defines much of our world today is division. We are divided in so many ways by race or creed, ethnicity or belief, by gender or age or sexuality. But the divisions have gone beyond mere realities and instead have become a source of dissention among us with the result that we have sliced and diced ourselves into smaller and smaller groups or tribes which only further exacerbate our  sense of alienation one from the other.

So what does it mean when our Rotary International Mission Statement begins with the word “Together.” Does together mean that we ignore the differences between us, pretend that they don’t exist, make believe that there never was any division among us? I don’t think so. Continue reading

Reaching the unreached in India

Kumar and prosthetic hand recipient

K V Mohan Kumar with a recipient of a prosthetic hand.

By Koorapati Venkata Mohan Kumar, member of the Rotary Club of Bangalore Prime, India   

A boy who had lost both his hands in an electrical accident spoke to a service committee meeting of our club. His parents left him after the electrocution and a local nongovernmental organization was taking care of him. This boy was our first recipient of a prosthetic hand. And seeing his joy after he started using a pen to write for the first time, we have never looked back.

We were first approached by The Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation at one of our district events while I was secretary of my former Rotary club. They were looking to partner with Rotary clubs in Bangalore, India, to work on prosthetic hand projects. It was quite an interesting prospect and we immediately agreed to a partnership. Continue reading

Why our club promotes equal rights, responsibilities

Knut Ebel congratulates president Stefanie Kämpf in 2016. Ebel went on to serve as president the following year.

By Christoph Ahlmann-Eltze, president of the Rotary Club of Bordesholm, Germany

Our club chartered 10 years ago, and from the very start, equality between the genders has been a priority. We alternate between a male member and a female member serving as club president every year, and we make sure that men and women have equal rights and responsibilities. This has not always been the case in clubs in my part of the world. But if we are to move forward as an organization, this will need to become more of the norm. Here is more of our club’s story. Continue reading

What brings Rotarians, returned Peace Corps volunteers together?

Ross Feezer, Mark Walker and Hal Rifken at the outset of the video project.

By Mark D. Walker, Membership Chair, Partnering for Peace

The recently formed Partnering for Peace (P4P), an affiliate of the National Peace Corps Association, brings together a group of professionals with a shared vision to promote peace by creating sustainable projects locally and around the world. The stories of how and why they joined are as diverse as the 50 members themselves. Continue reading

Rotary and heavy metal

The Rotarian Metalhead Fellowship booth in the House of Friendship, 2019 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, Germany.

By Felix Heintz, founder and chair of the Rotarian Metalhead Fellowship, with Manouchehr Shamsrizi, co-founder and the fellowship’s director of partnerships

What do Rotary and heavy metal music have in common? The similarities may surprise you.

Every year, a special event takes place in Northern Germany where 100,000 heavy metal enthusiasts from all over the world gather. Jörg Scheller of the Zurich University of the Arts, who not only holds a doctorate in cultural studies but is also part of a heavy metal band, has summarized this community as “a hybrid, multi-ethnic and globalized fairground for all shades of color, mentality and gender,” and “a playing field of complex identities.” Continue reading

Stories, not stats, attract people to Rotary

Joe Otin

By Joe Otin, governor-elect of Rotary District 9212 (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan)

I gravitate naturally to statistics despite the negative feelings some people have about them. I think that information is the fuel that our world runs on and without it our systems will sputter, stall, and shut down. That is because statistics are significant in decision making.

When I joined the Rotary Club of Nairobi East, Kenya, 19 years ago, I was told that good Rotarians were defined by the regularity of their attendance, the frequency of their gifts to The Rotary Foundation, and most importantly by their ability to introduce new members to the club. Continue reading

How will you respond to the flamingo challenge?

Alison Frye at the District 6600 conference in May

By Alison Frye, president of the Rotary Club of Perrysburg, Ohio, USA
Back in July, the cover of The Rotarian featured a picture of RI President Barry Rassin and his wife, Esther, with a flock of flamingos. The cover received a lot of love on social media, and people began to attend Rotary events wearing flamingo swag and tagging Barry in the pictures. A few weeks ago, a couple of Rotarians were in a party store and filled their arms with tacky flamingo items and tagged Barry in the picture.

Continue reading

Secrets to growing a new Rotary club

By Corey Lopardi, membership development chair for District 5020 (parts of British Columbia, Canada, and Washington, USA)

Recently, I had the pleasure of  interviewing the newest club president in our district who moved to a small town of 1,770 and started a brand new Rotary club with 42 members. They grew to almost 50 members in just over 30 days. Continue reading

Rotary EcoClub offers diversity, variety

By Steve Solbrack –District 5950 New Club Development Chair and a member of the Twin Cities Rotary EcoClub, Minnesota, USA

We chartered our new Rotary club in February 2019 with 25 members and a focus on the environment. The EcoClub is a non-traditional format designed to attract a segment of the population not currently served by traditional clubs. We began with 48 percent of our members as women, 44 percent under the age of 40, and an average age of 42. In North America, those demographics are unheard of in a service organization of any kind. Continue reading

Take a virtual tour of Room 711

Room 711 on the 1st floor of Rotary headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA.

By Rotary Heritage Communications staff

Each year, thousands of visitors to Rotary headquarters experience Room 711, a recreation of the office where, on 23 February 1905, Paul Harris met with three acquaintances to start a club based on “mutual cooperation and informal friendship.” Continue reading