When I found out I’d be going to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia to cover the 2023 Rotary International Convention, my mind raced. I thought of exhibition halls, Ayers Rock, packed auditoriums, and kangaroos. Even briefly an auditorium packed with kangaroos. I also thought of one word: laneways. For a street-art fan, Melbourne’s graffiti-filled alleyways are at the top of the bucket list. The city’s graffiti has been world-renowned since Keith Haring painted several murals there in 1984. Even the king of modern street art, Banksy, said Melbourne’s graffiti is “more diverse and original than any other city in the world.”
By Randy Bretz, Rotary Club of Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
I was seated in a breakout session at the 2022 Rotary International Convention in Houston, Texas, USA, with about 200 other attendees ready to learn about story telling. I had come to the convention along with about 11,000 other members from around the world to learn and be inspired. And merely looking around the room gave we inspiration to see the diversity of nations represented.
A few minutes in, we were informed that the speaker would be unable to present. But that did not hinder this room full of creative and innovative People of Action. After taking a few seconds to confer with their neighbors, three people near the front of the room volunteered to lead the session. A round of applause broke out as they stepped up to the presentation table.
by Kiran Singh Sirah, president of the International Storytelling Center and a Rotary Peace Fellow alum
In early June, I was a keynote speaker at the Rotary Presidential Conference Houston: Serve to Bring Peace. We were a group of about 1,500 people, many who are leaders in their communities, and all interested in peacebuilding. They were from all over the world. And every day, I was asked the question: what led me to become a peacebuilder?
By Jeris Gaston, Rotary Club of Birmingham, Alabama, USA
A Rotary convention is a time to reflect upon the past year, look forward to the year ahead, and connect with friends, old and new, from around the globe. But it’s also a celebration of all things Rotary. The people gathered together are what make this event special. Being together again, in person, after a two-year hiatus made the 2022 Rotary International Convention in Houston even more sweet. A big part of convention is meeting people. So in that spirit, I want to introduce you to five interesting Rotarians I met in Houston:
Editor’s note: The following is an adapted version of Dr. Olha Paliychuk’s remarks to the Rotary International Convention in Houston, 6 June 2022
By Olha Paliychuk, Rotary Club of Cherkasky, Ukraine
I live and work in central Ukraine, not far from Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv. It was a long journey getting to convention: first by bus to the border of Poland, and then across the border and taking a long flight. But all the efforts are worth it. As we say in Ukraine, “To see a friend, no road is too long.”
I’m very honored – and happy – to be in Houston with my Rotary family and friends. I stand here on behalf of more than 1,000 Rotary members in Ukraine to say Thank You.