Atomic bomb trees serve as silent witness for peace

Akio Nishikiori

By Akio Nishikiori, member of the Rotary Club of Hiroshima Southeast, Japan, and an atomic bomb survivor

My Rotary club, Hiroshima Southeast, has actively promoted peace for its entire 60-year existence. We built a house for orphans who lost their families during the atomic bombings in 1945 and in 1982, became a sister club with Rotary Club of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA. Our two clubs continue to exchange friendship and organize joint service projects. Continue reading

Why Toastmasters benefits Rotary clubs

Toastmasters meeting

Portland Rotary members at a Toastmasters meeting.

Terry Beard

Terry Beard

By Terry Beard, Rotary Club of Portland, Oregon, USA

You may have heard that most people would rather die than give a speech. Public speaking is the number one fear for many people.

For 49 years, I too had a fear of public speaking. It was so bad, I would break out in a sweat. I’d leave the room. I’d find excuses, or ask other people to stand up and speak for me. Anything to avoid having to speak in public. A couple of bad experiences early in my life built up this fear, but I made it my goal to overcome it. Fifteen years ago at the age of 50, I was introduced to Toastmasters by a good friend, and I’ve been a member since. Continue reading

Our promises to the world

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of reflections on Rotary’s Vision Statement: Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

Paddy Rooney

Paddy Rooney

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

Just recently we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the first time any human had stood on another world. But as remarkable as that event was what I remember most from that whole period was the earlier flights from the Kennedy Space Center and, above all, that remarkable photograph of Earth taken from the module which was the first time any of us had seen our planet as a whole from a distance. There it was, splendid in its suspension in the midst of the black space which surrounded it, a remarkable view of our world which took your breath away for its beauty and its wonder. Continue reading

Artists unite to help The Bahamas rebuild

Julien Believe

Julien Believe, singer, songwriter and Rotarian, performs at the Rotary International Convention in Hamburg. Julien is collaborating with other artists and Past RI President Barry Rassin on recovery efforts in The Bahamas.

By Julien Believe, singer, songwriter, entertainer, and member of the Rotary Club of East Nassau

Three years ago, I penned “I Believe in You,” along with my amazing team, with one purpose in mind – to inspire and motivate. It is a timeless song for anyone that needs a moral boost or just a little nudge to say, “you matter.” After the devastation of Hurricane Dorian in both Abaco and Grand Bahama, it was only fitting that I release ”I Believe in You” with a few tweaks. My fellow country mates needed help but most importantly they needed HOPE. This song is designed to create a sense of hope, strength and assurance in knowing that we, as a nation, will live up to being strong. Continue reading

Rotary members don’t turn a blind eye to need

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of reflections on Rotary’s Vision Statement: Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

Paddy Rooney

Paddy Rooney

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

It is said that the greatest problem with adolescents is that they are selective listeners … although I personally believe that the problem is not limited to adolescents! We all hear what we want to hear and choose to ignore those things that we don’t want to hear. We pick and choose from the information offered to us, accepting that which pleases us to hear at the moment and ignoring that which we find uncomfortable. Continue reading

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