Diving Deep: a look at water conflict and policy

Jahan Taganova
Jahan Taganova

No matter who you are or where in the world you come from, there is one thing that unites us all and makes us uniquely human: our need for clean water. Jahan Taganova is the recipient of a global grant scholarship from District 5340 to pursue a master’s degree in the Water Cooperation and Diplomacy program. Organized by the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands, the UN Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica, and Oregon State University in the United States, it trains future water managers and other professionals to address competition over water. Writer, journalist, and natural resource advocate Ella Rachel Kerr spoke with Taganova about the dangers of conflict and how we can advocate for our number one resource, clean water.

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My Rotary youth exchange: Venezuela to the United States

Anniela Carracedo
Anniela Carracedo took part in a 2019-20 Rotary Youth Exchange from Venezuela to Mississippi, USA.

By Anniela Carracedo, member of the Rotary Club of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, USA, and a Rotary Youth Exchange Alumna

When I decided to become a Rotary Youth Exchange student, I had no idea how much it would change my life and the lives of everyone around me.

In 2017, I was invited to the Interact Club of Valencia, Venezuela, following my parents, who joined the Rotary Club of Valencia. I joined the club because I wanted to make a difference in my local community. I had seen Venezuela go from being one of the healthiest countries in Latin America to experiencing one of the worst humanitarian and economic crises in the modern world.

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Rotary Youth Exchange alumni form new club

Fernando Nercelles films a program for District 4340's virtual conference.
Fernando Nercelles films a program for District 4340’s virtual conference.

By Fernando Pinto Nercelles, member of the Rotary Club of Pehuén de Las Condes, Chile; District Alumni Committee Chair; and District Peace Fellowships Subcommittee Chair.

The last couple of years have been especially challenging for Rotary members, particularly for those of us in leadership positions in our clubs or districts.

My district’s Alumni Committee that I have led for some years has approached involving our alumni from a traditional perspective: through one-on-one and case-by-case contact. Interesting but insufficient.

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Rotary Peace Fellow reflects on Afghanistan, helping others in crisis

Kiran Sirah Singh at the International Storyelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA.

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.

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Want to grow your club? Ask Rotary alumni

Alumni represent an incredible network of leaders engaged in service around the world.

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. 

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Rotary alumni join members to clean up river

River cleanup

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

Rotary Scholars stay connected through water diplomacy

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

Engage alumni through service, fun

Rotary Feeding Heroes project

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

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

Group Study Exchange changed my life

Group study exchange team from India visiting the US

The group study exchange team during a field visit with their hosts in Maryland, USA, in 1990.

By Rakesh 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