Living a Rotary dream

Desai and his brick

Binish Desai and the brick his company makes from industrial waste.

By Binish Desai, a member of the Rotary Club of Bulsar, India, and a former Rotary Youth Exchange student

India is my Nation
Valsad is my Station
Helping is my Aim
Binish is my Name

I’ll never forget the introduction I used as an exchange student.

This year, I have had the outstanding opportunity of not only meeting other youth exchange students from around the world, but of being recognized by my Rotary community as an outstanding alumnus. My youth exchange took place in 2009-10 almost six years ago, and yet my Rotary experience feels like it’s just beginning. Continue reading

Rotary Youth Exchange tour reunites 25 years later

Rotary Youth Exchange students from 1991 reunite 25 years later.

Rotary Youth Exchange students from 1991 reunite 25 years later.

By Emma Naas, a former Rotary Youth Exchange Student from Sweden

In the summer of 1991, 377 Rotary Youth Exchange students boarded eight buses and journeyed around the American continent for five weeks. Those weeks were for all of us unforgettable, and a fantastic end to our exchange year. The time we spent on those buses was so special, it created an unforgettable bond between us and a wonderful memory. We never thought we would ever meet again. But we were wrong. Continue reading

How a Rotary Scholarship to Ireland changed my life

Dave Revsine

Dave Revsine

By Dave Revsine, former Rotary Scholar and studio host for the Big Ten Network, adapted from a presentation to the Rotary Club of Deerfield, Illinois, USA

A year in Ireland as a Rotary Scholar changed my life. It is something I still think about every day. It altered my life trajectory, and allowed me to see the world in a different way.

I was entering my senior year at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and trying to figure out what to do with my life, when a good friend of my dad’s, a professor at Rice University, set up a lunch to talk about my career aspirations. As a history major, I had good grades, was starting an LSAT review course, and figured I’d probably end up going to law school. But I wasn’t excited about it. Continue reading

Peace Fellow’s project improves access to health care for refugees

Bartlett

Bartlett

By Rebeccah Bartlett, 2014-16 Rotary Peace Fellow, Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Many refugees rank finding a job and getting a good education for their children as their most pressing needs after finding asylum in a new country. Access to healthcare barely makes their list, even though health affects their ability to acquire and keep a job as well as their children’s ability to perform well in school.

What’s more, refugees are rarely able to focus on accessing prenatal/postnatal health care and family planning services, despite the fact that 80 percent of most refugee populations are made up of women and children. Many refugees in transit through Europe have little or no systematic support or knowledge of the public health resources and legal rights available to them. They are also particularly vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking. Continue reading

Uppsala equips 9 to pursue peace

2016 Rotary Peace Fellows at Uppsala

The 2016 Class of Rotary Peace Fellows at Uppsala from left Ahmad Mohibbi (USA), Kate Lonergan (USA), Sireh Jabang (Gambia), Nicole Ella (Australia), Clair Maizonnier (Australia/France), Meena Pillai (Australia), Krystal Renschler (Canada). Not pictured Takuya Koimaru (Japan), Ahmed Abdi Wais (Somalia).

By Magnus Elfwendahl, host area coordinator at the Rotary Peace Center in Uppsala and a member of the Rotary Club of Uppsala Carolina, Sweden

I was honored earlier this month to witness the beginning of nine careers in peace building and conflict resolution as the most recent class at the Rotary Peace Center at Uppsala University received their masters degrees.

The memorable event concludes two years of training, study, and practice for these dedicated and bright young professionals. The Rotary Peace Fellows joined 30 other students at a graduation ceremony in the town’s medieval cathedral attended by friends, relatives, host families, and members of the local Rotary clubs. Continue reading

Rotary Youth Exchange has touched my entire family

Linda Mulhern, daughter, and Chile Exchange Student

The author, far right, and her daughter with a former Rotary Youth Exchange student from Chile.

By Linda Mulhern, a member of the Rotary Club of St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

When you become a Rotary Youth Exchange student, you never imagine how it might affect you in the long term. In my case, my exchange has connected my family in more ways than one.

As a Youth Exchange student to Sweden in 1979-80, I learned a lot about what I was capable of doing on my own, my strengths and weaknesses, and what it took to overcome obstacles. I had an incredible year in Sweden, and still speak Swedish fluently. I have contacts with many friends and communicate regularly with my host parents and host sisters. Continue reading

Scholarship program is Rotary alum’s way of giving back

Keyla with diploma

Keyla receives her diploma through the program.

By Richard Hartwig, Rotary Club of Kingsville, Texas, USA

One day in 1964, during my junior year at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA, I was approached by Professor Frank Klingberg, who asked if I would like to be nominated for a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship (the predecessor of today’s global grant scholarships.) Two years later, I was off to Argentina, arriving just after a military coup, which was excellent training for a budding political scientist.

I owe much of my career as a political science professor to Rotary. The last few years, I have had a chance to give back as international services director for our Rotary Club.  One of our two international projects is a scholarship program for poor students in Mexico. Continue reading

Alumni of three Rotary programs unite to advance ‘Service Above Self’

The three Rotary alumni and DSLI Global participants at the Zero Baht Shop Community, a domestic migrant community that has developed a recycling program that funds community insurance and social support programs.

The three Rotary alumni and DSIL Global participants at the Zero Baht Shop, a domestic migrant community that has developed a recycling program that funds insurance and social support programs for the community.

By Courtney Lawrence, Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar 2009-10; Katherine Grennier, Rotary Peace Fellow 2016; and Hermes Huang, Rotary Scholar, 2014-15

From the coastline of Costa Rica, to the sidewalks of Bangkok, to the jungles of Indonesia, we have been supported as individuals by The Rotary Foundation to make this world a better place; one where service comes before self. As a team of Rotary alumni, we have been able to pull together in pursuit of empowering grassroots social innovators around the world. Continue reading

How Rotary creates lifelong friendships

Kate Kimmer and Hilary Caldis.

Kate Kimmer and Hilary Caldis.

By Hilary J. Caldis, Rotary Peace Fellow

I am constantly in awe of the power of connection. This is what Rotary is all about. We unite in friendship to realize truthful, fair, good-willed, and beneficial outcomes in our communities and the world. For Rotary members and people like me, our lives are forever transformed by this powerful network. Continue reading

Seaside sessions on leadership and peace in Sri Lanka

The team of Leadership Retreat Peace Fellows

The team of Leadership Retreat Peace Fellows

By Lucas Wolf (and the team of Leadership Retreat Peace Fellows)

On the southern coast of Sri Lanka, there is a special place just north of Galle where the waves crash over the rocks after their long journey across the Indian Ocean.

The rains arrive in the early evening to inundate the verdant, tropical lands. This was the setting for the second Rotary Peace Fellow Leadership Retreat from 7-9 March, attended by 10 former Rotary Peace Fellows and one gifted facilitator from Northern Ireland, Susan McEwen. We arrived from all corners of the globe, including Juba, Mindanao, Nicaragua, Somaliland, Kurdistan, London, Ottawa, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka itself. Continue reading