Celebrate Rotaract by giving

Members of the 2018-19 Rotary International Rotaract Committee at the One Rotary Center, USA.

By Clement Chinaza Owuamalam, Rotaract Club of Apo, Nigeria

World Rotaract Week is an annual celebration of the success and significance of Rotaract in communities around the world. This year, from 8-14 March, Rotaractors, worldwide are celebrating the wonderful experiences that inspire them to put service above self.

I vividly remember that sunny Saturday afternoon in 2014 when our president at the Rotaract Club of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria, led us to a Rotary Foundation seminar organized by leaders in our zone. I was overwhelmed to discover how donations to The Rotary Foundation, no matter how small, are transformed into life-changing projects in areas where they are greatly needed. Continue reading

Myanmar refugees charter new club in Indiana

Members of the Southport International Rotary Club in Indianapolis load boxes of food for a food drop.

By Jeff Lake, Rotary Club of Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

I began to work with the nonprofit organization Chin Community of Indiana in 2016 after our club’s foundation granted them $250,000 over five years, with a three-year extension through 2023. Many Burmese Chin, fleeing persecution in their home country, have chosen Southport as their new home. Almost 20,000 Chin live on the south side of Indianapolis, making it one of the largest concentrations of Chin people outside of Myanmar. Continue reading

Building connections between Rotarians, Rotaractors

Jamil Mouawad

By RC Jamil Mouawad, Rotary Coordinator from Lebanon and a member of the Rotary Club of Zgharta-Zawié

The spark started when I joined Rotary at 24 years-old, and it ignited at 27 when I became president of the Rotary Club of San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic. Joining Rotary at a young age gave me a passionate drive. After serving as an early example of a young Rotary leader, I feel a responsibility to ensure today’s young people can have a similar experience. Their creativity, problem solving, and capabilities are outstanding — all they need is an opportunity to thrive within Rotary. Continue reading

Planting seeds of motivation to support the environment

Members of the Rotaract Club of Nürtingen, Germany, plant trees in a cleared area last spring.

Dominik Huhndorf

By Dominik Huhndorf, vice president of the Rotaract Club of Nürtingen, Germany

My Rotaract club established a project, Treety of Generations, to motivate clubs around the world to plant trees in cleared areas. In doing so, we show the power of working with Rotary.

We began by finding two partner clubs on different continents who were as passionate about the environment as we were: The Rotaract Club Cumbayá, Ecuador, and Club MOP Vaishnav, India. With this strong alliance, we launched a pilot project. Continue reading

Join me at the 2020-21 Presidential Conferences

By Rotary International President Holger Knaack

For many years in Rotary, we have talked about the importance of Rotaract and how young people have the potential to reshape our organization. Thankfully, in the last few years we have gone beyond talk and have moved into a time of action. Continue reading

Virtual Rotary Choir keeps the music going

Members of the IFRM Virtual Rotary World Choir during a recent online concert.

By Bonnie F. Sirower, past district governor of District 7490 (New Jersey, USA) 

A lot of Rotary members are not aware of the opportunities they have to dramatically increase their friendships and connections through a Rotary Fellowship.

I first joined the International Fellowship of Rotarian Musicians (IFRM) at the 2005 Rotary International Convention in Chicago. I was drawn to their booth in the House of Friendship by the number of people having fun singing to the accompaniment of a pianist. I joined the fellowship right then and there and for several years, participated in the Rotary World Choir at conventions during the Interfaith Service on Sunday mornings. What a beautiful way to be together – making gorgeous music with people who had previously been strangers. Continue reading

What I’ve learned as a member of Toastmasters and Rotary

Mark Burchill

By Mark Burchill, DTM, past president of the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa, California, USA, and founder and chair of the Rotary Means Business Fellowship

Leadership challenges are invigorating. I have launched or led four businesses, a Toastmasters club, a Rotary club, a Rotary International Fellowship, and more. As a Rotarian and a Toastmaster, I can tell you that both organizations transform lives, although in different ways. And both have had an impact on my life, starting many years ago. Continue reading

Discovering a new partnership

Editors note: The following blog post was written before COVID-19. It has been edited with permission to reflect the impact of social distancing and meeting virtually. Please visit the Rotary and Toastmasters websites for further info about how these organizations are keeping members safe and connected during the pandemic.

Al Brothers

Al Brothers

By Alfred Brothers, governor of District 6540 and a member of the Rotary Club of Anthony Wayne (Fort Wayne), Indiana, USA

I had heard of Toastmasters, but never got involved with the organization until last year, when Rotary members from our area and I attended the 2019 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, Germany. There we heard about Rotary’s collaboration with Toastmasters. Continue reading

Peacebuilding during a time of upheaval

Global Cyber Peace Conference

A delegation of 30 Papua New Guinea participants funded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church take part in the Global Cyber Peace Conference.

Elaine Pratley

Elaine Pratley

By Elaine Pratley, Rotary Peace Fellow

This has not been an easy year. I attended my first virtual funeral because of local lockdowns due to COVID-19. Friends have lost jobs and loved ones, and the news about the global recession remains bleak. And to think that it was only three months ago when I thought the Australian bushfires were the biggest disaster to hit us this year! I feel the word “upheaval” would be an understatement, but I cannot think of a better word.

As a peacebuilder, conflict is at the core of my business. Peacebuilders do not consider conflict as inherently bad but recognize its potential for growth and positive change. Continue reading

We were built for this

Paddy Rooney

Paddy Rooney

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

“We were built for this.” They were just a few words, cast upon a sea of words spoken that evening. But it encapsulated everything that I believe Rotary to be about and what our challenge is for the future. The words were spoken by Rotary International Director Jeffry Cadorette and General Secretary John Hewko at a zoom gathering of district governors and governors-elect. Spoken above the blare of the evening’s business, these words offer a profound vision for Rotary in the months and years to come as we move through this pandemic into the future which awaits us. Continue reading