Enjoying the benefits of dual membership in Rotary, Rotaract

Petar Pešić addresses a recent meeting.

By Petar Pešić, a member of the Rotary Club of Nis, Serbia

Driven by a desire to help my local community, I discovered Rotaract when I was attending the Faculty of Law at the University of Niš, Serbia. In the Rotaract Club of Nis, I met a number of young people who, like me, shared an interest in improving our community. It made our actions easier that we all shared the same goal, and we took part in many projects that made us visible in the community. Continue reading

Why education changes the world

Isma Seetal, middle left of banner, as a team assistant during District 5320’s Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event.

By Isma Seetal, Rotary Global Grant Scholar

“Education is the best way to change one’s standard of living.”

My mother would repeat this phrase over and over. I was lucky to have been brought up by a hard-working, single, mother, who empowered my brother and me to climb the socio-economic ladder by giving us the best education she possibly could. Other children from broken families like mine did not have the same fortune. My unwavering drive to give back and improve my community led me to join the Rotaract club of Port-Louis, Mauritius in July 2012.  Continue reading

We are all same, same…but different

Rotary Peace Fellows at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

By Dessa Bergen-Cico, a Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

One thing I have learned through my experiences traveling and working around the world is that people are more alike than they are different. Moreover we embody our expressions of joy in similar ways.

Anyone who has ever visited Thailand has likely heard the phrase same, same when trying to make a purchase from a vendor or negotiate the menu in a restaurant. Same, same is an English phrase used by Thai people, it means that two or more items are similar, or cost the same amount.  Continue reading

Unique field experience cements Peace Fellow’s desire to pursue human rights

Laurie Smolenski, right, with her Rotary Peace Fellow class at the University of Queensland.

By Laurie Smolenski, 2015-17 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

I’ve just completed 18 months as a Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. A highlight was spending three months in Mexico City for my applied field experience. This is a cornerstone of the University’s Peace Fellow program, through which Fellows take on a project or internship outside of Australia. I interned with the Mexico City office of the MacArthur Foundation, which supports peace and justice initiatives globally. Continue reading

The benefits of a friendship exchange

The Rotary Friendship Exchange team from North Carolina, USA, visits India. Blog author Chandan is in the middle in shorts.

By Kamlesh (Kam) Chandan, assistant governor for District 7680 and a member of the Rotary Club of Lake Norman/Huntersville, North Carolina, USA 

In February, I had the opportunity to lead our first outbound friendship exchange to my home away from home – India. Rotary Friendship Exchange is an international exchange program for Rotary members and friends that allows participants to take turns hosting one another in their homes and clubs. Exchanges offer unique chances for cultural immersion and interchange.  Continue reading

The most important thing in the world

Jessica Compton enjoys the view on Mount Sunday, located in the middle of the South Island in Kakatere Conservation Park.

By Jessica Compton, Rotary Global Grant Scholar to New Zealand

As a child, I dreamed of teaching. But it took until my junior year of college to return to that dream. My undergraduate coursework had prepared me for the content, if not the pedagogical strategies, to effectively engage and teach adolescents English – reading, listening and viewing; writing, speaking, and presenting. Continue reading

The benefits of dual membership in Rotaract, Rotary

Delivering school supplies in Kashmir, Pakistan.

By Muhammad Talha Mushtaq, a member of the Rotaract Club of Jhang Saddar and the Rotary Club of Jhang Metropolitan

When I joined Interact back in 2009, I had no idea the path it would set me on or that it would change my life forever.

I enjoyed many successful service projects with my fellow members of Interact, as we assisted victims of the great flood of 2010. One-fifth of Pakistan’s total land area and 20 million people were directly affected by floods. We were able to collect a sizable sum of money and donations in kind during three days of scorching July heat. It was then that I understand the meaning of this quote by Oprah Winfrey: Continue reading

Learn to lead through Interact

Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of blog posts from Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month. 

By Riley Benton, a member of the Interact Club of Coffee County Central High School, Manchester, Tennessee, USA

I had already participated in different service projects when I joined Interact in my freshman year of high school. I have been a member all four years of high school, and it has shaped me into a servant leader. Continue reading

Trip to World War I sites provokes thoughts of war, peace

Rotary Peace Fellows from the University of Bradford visit World War I sites in France and Belgium.

By Holly White, Class XV, Rotary Peace Center at the University of Bradford, England

Earlier this month, I took part in a tight, four-day trip to World War I battlefields and commemorative sites in France and Belgium with other Rotary Peace Fellows at the University of Bradford (including one Fellow’s sweet, energetic daughter!), host coordinators, and a few others connected to Rotary.

From the perspective of a Peace Fellow, it was interesting and, at times uncomfortable learning about the “Great War,” and how war is interpreted, commemorated, and, at times, glorified. Continue reading

Make someone smile, and see how it changes you

Members of the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen donate toys during a community breakfast attended by 100 children.

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of blog posts from Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month. 

By Nicolas Silva, member of the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen, Argentina

Four years ago, our club undertook a project called “Todo Sirve,” which literally means “’everything serves.” We collected donations in our city, including food, drinking water, clothes, children’s toys, bikes, and beds for an aboriginal low-income community, the Qom village, located in Formosa, a northern province of Argentina.

I will never forget hearing the word “gnashek” (Qom for ‘thanks’) from a woman who I was giving a box of donations to.
Continue reading