Why Rotary scholarships are sustainable investments

Sarah Ehlinger Affotey, a former Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, at a project site in Ghana.

By Sarah Ehlinger Affotey

After receiving an Ambassadorial Scholarship from Rotary in 2011, I put a lot of pressure on myself to “do it right,” or in other words, give Rotary a solid return on its investment. With each passing month in Ghana, what I had first deemed as peripheral – the friendships, conversations, and breakdown of stereotypes – were actually advancing world understanding, goodwill, and peace. How ingenious that this scholarship allowed me to advance Rotary’s mission subconsciously?

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Why you should enter the 2017 Interact Video Awards

By Andrei Precup, president of the Interact Club of Constanta, Romania

We were honored to be selected as best video in last year’s Interact Video Awards. Our goal was to open people’s eyes to the need to take care of our planet and ourselves.

We were driven to take part both because it was something different from our usual activities and because the theme was so interesting (If Interactors ruled the world). I remember being at our club’s meeting when our president announced the idea of making a video. Many people were very excited. Our club likes taking on new challenges and trying things for the first time. Continue reading

Unforgettable memories made in Atlanta

Hairyung Sung (front row, second from left) with alumni from the Rotary Peace Center at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.

By Hairyung Sung, Rotary Peace Fellow 2013-15 at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

This June, I attended the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, as a Peace Fellow alumnus, and was also able to take part in both the Peace Assembly and the Presidential Peace Conference. On 8 June, some 90 current and former Peace Fellows from around the world came together for an open discussion entitled “Stories Sustain Peace,” and reflected on the day’s experiences. All of us were in absolute agreement that resolving conflict and promoting peace were long-term endeavors, and we encouraged each other to take whatever action we could. Continue reading

Rotary Scholar in the path of the eclipse

Former Rotary Scholar Mikah Meyer, right, views the solar eclipse with friends.

By Mikah Meyer, former Rotary Scholar

Have you ever seen a 360-degree sunset? If you’re like me and spend a lot of time outdoors, you know that doesn’t make sense. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, creating a blinding view as you drive east in the morning and a radiant sunset full of colors in the west in the evening. But a 360-degree sunset? Sounds like science fiction. But it’s not. Continue reading

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