by Kiran Singh Sirah, president of the International Storytelling Center and a Rotary Peace Fellow alum
In early June, I was a keynote speaker at the Rotary Presidential Conference Houston: Serve to Bring Peace. We were a group of about 1,500 people, many who are leaders in their communities, and all interested in peacebuilding. They were from all over the world. And every day, I was asked the question: what led me to become a peacebuilder?
By Jeris Gaston, Rotary Club of Birmingham, Alabama, USA
A Rotary convention is a time to reflect upon the past year, look forward to the year ahead, and connect with friends, old and new, from around the globe. But it’s also a celebration of all things Rotary. The people gathered together are what make this event special. Being together again, in person, after a two-year hiatus made the 2022 Rotary International Convention in Houston even more sweet. A big part of convention is meeting people. So in that spirit, I want to introduce you to five interesting Rotarians I met in Houston:
Editor’s note: The following is an adapted version of Dr. Olha Paliychuk’s remarks to the Rotary International Convention in Houston, 6 June 2022
By Olha Paliychuk, Rotary Club of Cherkasky, Ukraine
I live and work in central Ukraine, not far from Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv. It was a long journey getting to convention: first by bus to the border of Poland, and then across the border and taking a long flight. But all the efforts are worth it. As we say in Ukraine, “To see a friend, no road is too long.”
I’m very honored – and happy – to be in Houston with my Rotary family and friends. I stand here on behalf of more than 1,000 Rotary members in Ukraine to say Thank You.
By Tom Gump, past governor of District 5950 and a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Edina / Morningside, Minnesota, USA
Serving as a Zone Promotion Coordinator for both the Toronto and Hawaii Conventions and as an Assistant Zone Promotion Coordinator for the Hamburg Convention, I have come to realize that there is nothing better than an in-person Rotary International Convention. It is the best experience in all of Rotary!
By Celia Giay, chair of the 2020 Rotary International Convention and a past RI vice president
When RI President Mark Maloney invited me to be the chair of the 2020 Rotary International Convention two and a half years ago, I accepted the honor, aware of the responsibility of being the first woman Rotarian to serve in that position, but motivated by the opportunity to organize such an important meeting. Continue reading →
Viviana Bennett (middle) and friends at the Rotaract Preconvention in Hamburg, Germany.
By Viviana Bennett, president, Plano Community Rotaract Club, Texas, USA
I get very excited when it comes to Rotary events, and the 2019 Rotaract Preconvention was no exception. It was one of the most breathtaking experiences of my Rotary journey so far. I attended my first Preconvention and Convention in Hamburg, Germany, in 2019, and had an amazing experience meeting fellow Rotaractors and Rotarians from all around the world. Continue reading →
Kiran Singh Sirah (middle with sunglasses) and other Rotary Peace Fellows at the Rotary Peace Symposium in Hamburg, Germany. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International.
By Kiran Singh Sirah, Rotary Peace Fellow and president of the International Storytelling Center
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of visiting Hamburg, Germany, to present a series of talks at the Rotary International Convention and Peace Symposium. I always look forward to the symposiums and the chance to reconnect with other Rotary Peace Fellows. The event underscored for me how much better it is to hear people’s stories in real life, in person, as opposed to on the news. Continue reading →
Rüdiger Niemz, Rotary Club of Mondseeland, Austria, as told to Diana Schoberg. Photos by Monika Lozinska
“When I was invited to join Rotary, instead of giving a presentation about my job, as everyone is expected to do, I did a whiskey tasting.
“I became interested in whiskey when I was traveling a lot as a journalist. I was working on travel shows about foreign countries. You would come back very late from the filming and editing, and then you’d meet somebody at the bar. You’d start talking, and start sharing whiskey. You don’t drink whiskey to get drunk. It’s part of an exciting lifestyle. Continue reading →
Ella Phillips Lacey, a member of the Rotary Club of Carbondale, Illinois, USA, as told to Jenny Llakmani. Photos by Monika Lozinska
“I was a professor at Southern Illinois University’s school of medicine for 22 years. My Ph.D. is in health education. At the end of 1994, I retired and joined the Peace Corps. It was a transitional step for me. I think it’s a great opportunity for people who are retired. When you’re working in cultures as different from yours as Malawi was from mine, it’s great to have some life experiences already. Sometimes when we first leave college, we think we’ve learned all we ever need to know. Continue reading →
Alexandria Ritchie, 2 June 2019, Hamburg, Germany.
Alexandria Ritchie, a member of the Rotaract Club of Virginia Commonwealth University and the Rotary Club of James River (Richmond), Virginia, USA, as told to Diana Schoberg. Photos by Monika Lozinska
“I decided when I was 14 that I wanted to be a physician. It was when my parents told me about Oliver.
“Oliver is my older brother. He was born with Trisomy 13 (also called Patau syndrome), a chromosome dysfunction. He was alive for a day. I never had the opportunity to meet him. I remember when my parents were talking with me about it. I felt this pull – I wanted to be someone that could alleviate for other families what my family had felt. Continue reading →