Will water shortages threaten peace?

Dr. Isis Mejias Carpio with children in Kenya during a global grant project.

Dr. Isis Mejias Carpio with children in Kenya during a global grant project.

By Isis Mejias Carpio, a former Rotary Global Grant scholar. Sponsored by Rotary clubs in Houston, Carpio earned a dual PhD in water engineering from the University of Houston and the University of São Paulo. She will be a panelist at the Rotary Peace Symposium 4-5 June during a session on “The Impending Water Wars.”

Water is a key element in all aspects of life, from health to food security, education, and energy. That is what makes water security so important, and so hard to safeguard. As water scarcity becomes more real, collaboration will become critical. Continue reading

Dr. Geetha Jayaram to be honored at convention

Dr. Geetha Jayaram

Dr. Geetha Jayaram

Dr. Geetha Jayaram has dedicated her life to helping people in her native India and the United States overcome the torment of severe depression, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, and other mental illnesses. She is a psychiatrist and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality.

You’ll have a chance to hear Jayaram during the 2015 Rotary Convention in São Paulo, where she will be honored with the 2014-15 Rotary Foundation Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award on 8 June. Inspiring speakers are just one of the many reasons Rotary members attend a convention. Register now to take advantage of special pricing through 31 March.

Read more about Jayaram

Why I enjoy Rotary conventions

Rotary members make connections in the House of Friendship during the 2014 Convention in Sydney.

Rotary members make connections in the House of Friendship during the 2014 Convention in Sydney.

By Margaret Lesjak, Rotary Club of Broken Hill South, New South Wales, Australia

I grew up in Sydney. So attending my first Rotary convention last year in Sydney was less about the location and more about meeting people from all over the world.

My days started off on the trains dedicated for Rotary use. As I remembered from the 2000 Sydney Olympics, people happily chatted away and strangers became at the very least ‘mates’ for the rest of the convention. Continue reading

Former Costa Rican president headlines Peace Symposium

Dr. Óscar Arias Sánchez

Dr. Óscar Arias

Register today to hear Dr. Óscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica (1986-90 and 2006-10) and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize during the Rotary Peace Symposium 4-5 June.

During his first term as president, Arias brokered a peace agreement that ended brutal civil wars in Central America. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of that work.

The symposium will also feature Steve Killelea, founder and executive chair of Integrated Research Ltd., The Charitable Foundation, and Institute for Economics and Peace. In 2007, Killelea founded the Institute for Economics and Peace, an international think tank dedicated to building a greater understanding of the interconnection between business, peace, and economics, with particular emphasis on the financial benefits of peace.

The symposium is your chance to join Peace Fellows, alumni, and Rotary members as they celebrate Rotary’s work in peace and conflict prevention and resolution. Attendees will have the chance to share information about their activities and hear about new tools and resources from representatives of leading organizations in the field of peace and conflict resolution. Learn more about the Peace Symposium and register today.

My time with ‘Future Rotarians’ in Sydney

Participants in the 2014 International RYLA.

Participants in the 2014 International RYLA.

By Dr. Mona Khanna, a former Rotary Group Study Exchange fellow

If you were at the 2014 RI Convention in Sydney, Australia, this week, you may have seen the sticker “Future Rotarian” on some badges. Chances are the badges belonged to members of Rotaract and/or delegates to the 2014 International Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) development program. Continue reading

Join the fun on the final day of the Sydney convention

There’s plenty on the agenda for the final day of the 2014 Rotary Convention in Sydney.

Here are a few highlights:

  • The fourth plenary session at 10 a.m. will preview next year’s convention in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and will include speeches from 2015-16 RI President K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran, Renee Saunders, senior public health advisor for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Ronald S. Kawadda, who will talk about New Generations.
  • The convention will come to a close during the final plenary session at 4 p.m. 2014-15 RI President Gary C.K. Huang will outline his upcoming year as Rotary president, while President Ron Burton gives his closing remarks on his term in office. The TEN Tenors will entertain with their repertoire of rock opera.
  • As the sun sets, make your way to the Sydney Showground for an Australian Bush Dance at 6 p.m.

Convention attendees talk about day 3 speakers

Day 3 of the convention featured inspiring speeches by Paralympian and polio survivor Ade Adepitan, Foundation Alumni Award winner Maya Ajmera, and former Rotary Peace Fellow Mwila Chigaga. We got an update on where we stand with eradicating polio by Assistant Director-General of WHO Bruce Aylward. Plus a surprise announcement from Sir Emeka Offor who committed $1 million to PolioPlus.

Here are a few reactions outside the Allphones Arena after the third plenary:

I liked hearing from Ade. His speech was very good. I felt it was very off the cuff and genuine. I thought that was the most inspirational piece of the program. I learned a lot about where we are at with polio eradication. — Matthew Rich, Rotary Club of Northfield, Minnesota

It [third plenary] was extremely good with speakers who inspired us to keep our commitment to eradicating polio strong. It showed us that our great commitment to eradicating polio. We should be able to achieve this. All of the speakers were very, very good. I couldn’t identify any one speaker that was my favorite. They were all incredible. – Godfrey Egwau, Rotary Club of Soroti, Uganda

My favorite was Ade. His determination to do something and change his life was inspirational. He was really great. I learned a lot about the progress we’re making with polio eradication. I am a foundation alumni, so I really enjoyed hearing from the scholar recipient speakers. [Maya Ajmera; Mwila Chigaga]. And what they were able to accomplish with the little investment we [Rotary] were able to give them. – Alicia Cerruti, former Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar and member of the Rotary Club of Petaluma, California

Today, all the speakers were very good. But particularly Ade [Adepitan], he was just brilliant. His message was that polio eradication is possible. Bruce Aylward gave us a clear picture of what we have to do in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. I was happy to hear about the progress made in Nigeria. — Dr. R. Bharat, governor-nominee of District 3250 in India.

If you were there, share your thoughts about today’s speakers in the comments section.

Labyrinth for Literacy


Local primary school children listened this morning as RI Past President Bill Boyd, his wife, Lorna, and Australian author Nicole S. Kelly read children’s story books in Rotary’s Labyrinth for Literacy. The children, from Jarjum College and Mount Carmel in Sydney, were delighted when they learned they would also receive a book of their own to take home. The Literacy Rotarian Action Group organized the event as part of Rotary’s convention.

Many reasons to attend a Rotary convention

Paul Wilson hangs with polio survivor Ramesh Ferris during the Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal.

Paul Wilson hangs out with polio survivor Ramesh Ferris during the Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal.

By Irvin Metcalf, president of the Rotary Club of Grantham, Lincolnshire, England

Other Rotary members often ask me why I and my Rotary Club of Grantham colleague Paul Wilson attended the 2013 Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal. There were so many good reasons!

First and foremost we both wanted to see and meet other Rotary members from all around the world to find out more about Rotary and the inspirational work going on around the globe. Continue reading