By Kiran Singh Sirah, a 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow and president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA
The news coming out of Afghanistan has been painful to watch. So many of these images of suffering — the cargo plane filled with refugees, and especially the image of the baby being passed over barbed wire to a soldier — reminded me of my own family’s experience as refugees. Forty-nine years ago, they were forced to flee their home in Uganda along with 50,000 others, when a murderous dictator threatened them with genocide.
Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of blog posts for Membership Month where experts share how they reach out to prospective members, keep existing members engaged, and create an environment that allows new clubs to form and thrive.
By Tom Gump
I am often asked “How do I grow my club?” or “How do I find members for my new club?” I have a great answer – Rotary alumni. These past participants of Rotary programs are an often-overlooked source of potential members with a built-in understanding of who we are and a past experience with how we take action to serve to change lives.
Alumni represent an incredible network of leaders engaged in service around the world. Clubs sometimes think about inviting them as speakers or using them as extra hands for service projects. But if we take the time, effort, and willingness to remove a few of the barriers that keep them from joining, we can experience the benefits of their insight and talent to grow Rotary.
Let me give you three powerful real-life examples.
Favour Madu, middle orange vest, and other volunteers clear debris from the shoreline near Lagos, Nigeria.
By Favour Madu, president of the District 9110 alumni association
Reconnect Week 5-11 October reminds us to keep the many participants and beneficiaries of Rotary programs close to us so we can all enjoy the benefits of this extended Rotary family! Our alumni association, like others, strives to build these bridges all year long. Continue reading →
Nataliya Chemayeva at her desk at the Scientific-Information Center, Interstate Sustainable Development Commission, International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.
Through The Rotary Foundation, we invest in emerging leaders who are using their skills to make the world a better place. We have the amazing opportunity in Rotary to participate in this work by offering scholarships that enable these young leaders to expand their skills and make connections with other professionals in their fields.
During Reconnect Week 5-11 October, we celebrate these alumni and hold activities designed to keep them connected. These alumni serve as ambassadors for Rotary, joining a growing network of peacebuilders and service-minded professionals who are partnering with us to do good in the world. Continue reading →
Rotary Feeding Heroes purchases meals from Black-owned restaurants that are in turn donated to health care workers treating COVID-19 patients at local hospitals.
By Jon Blauvelt, president, Rotary District 6970 Alumni Association
In the spirit of Reconnect Week, I am proud to share how our alumni association is engaging with Rotary alumni and area Rotary clubs through service projects and social outings.
Chartered in 2016, our alumni association has approximately 100 members. Their connection to Rotary ranges from participation in a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event, a Rotary Youth Exchange, to just about any Rotary program. We also have ambassadorial scholars and Rotary Peace Fellows. Since our members’ ages range from in their teens to over, we make an effort to create events and projects that appeal to people, no matter where they might be on their Rotary journey. Continue reading →
A delegation of 30 Papua New Guinea participants funded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church take part in the Global Cyber Peace Conference.
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 →
The group study exchange team during a field visit with their hosts in Maryland, USA, in 1990.
ByRakesh K. Gaur, former Group Study Exchange team member
As a citizen of India, I have been troubled by my country’s population growth, economic crisis, poverty, crimes against women, and child abuse. I had the privilege of taking part in a Group Study Exchange, supported by The Rotary Foundation, 30 years ago, and it totally changed my perspective on life, and kindled my urge to do something to help our society. Continue reading →
Alumni of the Rotary Yoneyama Memorial Foundation work with Rotary members on a clean up project.
By Masa Kato
As a regional communications specialist for Rotary International, I get excited when I hear stories about students who have had their lives changed by Rotary scholarships. Lasitha Eriyawa, a Sri Lankan, came to Japan in 2001 to pursue his college education. During his senior year, he received a scholarship from the Rotary Yoneyama Memorial Foundation, a program administered by an independent foundation named after Umekichi Yoneyama, the Father of Rotary in Japan. Continue reading →
Rotary Peace Fellows with Lady Valerie Solti (third from left) and Orchestra Director Charles Kaye (right) at a special performance of The World Orchestra for Peace.
By Carol Hall, Rotary Foundation Chair for the Rotary Club of Abingdon Vesper, Oxfordshire, England
I recently had the privilege of hosting two Rotary Peace Fellows from Bradford University – David from The Gambia and Ghenwa from Syria. Ghenwa comes from southern Syria which has not had the destruction, bombing, and killing that has taken place in northern Syria. However, she cannot live in Syria for fear of reprisal or arrest because of her association with Rotary. Continue reading →
By Karla Patricia Ravida, President, Rotaract Club of Manila
Did you know that when you serve others, you stand to gain as well? This observation was noted by American religious leader and author Gordon Hinckley when he wrote “One of the great ironies of life is this – he or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” For the past five years, I have been part of a Rotaract club and I can say I have had a lot of opportunities to live out that statement and grow as a young professional through serving others. Continue reading →