Finding common ground during the pandemic

Kiran Sirah Singh at the International Storytelling 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

I’ve been having lots of inspiring conversations with my fellow Rotarians recently. As a Rotary Peace Fellow, I’ve found it so helpful to connect and brainstorm with my colleagues from the program. I think many of us individually and institutionally have had our thoughts crowded out by our focus on survival early in this crisis.

The question marks we all face remain overwhelming. But as we have talked with one another, it has shifted our attention on collaboration and supporting one another. We’ve been focusing on how we can help not just ourselves and each other in our own personal and professional circles, but also make a difference in the wider world. Continue reading

Embracing a new Rotary

Editor’s note: The pandemic has challenged the way our clubs operate, but it has also presented some opportunities. A Rotaract club shares lessons they have learned from virtual meetings.

Kennedy Gayah

By Kennedy Gayah, Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central, Kenya

Members of Rotary and Rotaract enjoy the comfort, love, and unity they experience during a club meeting, whether it be sharing a meal, enjoying a drink, or chatting with friends who have become like family. Our in-person meetings have been a principle means of connection. But COVID-19 has changed all that. We have been forced to be innovative, creative, and flexible to recreate the camaraderie of our clubs. This is a blessing in disguise. Continue reading

Holding a changeover ceremony virtually

Stephen Sennett

By Stephen Sennett, secretary-elect, Rotary E-Club of Melbourne, Australia

The end of the Rotary year is fast approaching. And with that, clubs are beginning to think about their traditional changeover ceremonies. Like many things in the world after the COVID-19 pandemic, having these in person isn’t an option. Clubs are asking, should we postpone or cancel? I want to pose another question, why not adapt and hold one virtually? Continue reading

Finding opportunity in adversity

The Knox Art Show went ahead as planned, only entirely online.

By Rajeev Wadhwa, President, Rotary Club of Rowville-Lysterfield, Melbourne, Australia

When social distancing rules took effect in our area, we shifted to virtual meetings without missing a single meeting. We knew we needed to keep club members engaged and happy in these uncertain times. So even though some of our planned events could not proceed, we knew one event was just too important to let go. Continue reading

Using science of resilience to strengthen Rotary clubs during COVID-19

Jenny Stotts

By Jenny Stotts, District 6690 membership chair

Resilience is the process of adapting in the face of adversity. When we experience a traumatic or stressful event, our brains activate a number of pathways to protect us. These biological processes help keep us safe. It’s in the recovery from these events that we grow and change and become stronger.

Many of us are living this reality right now in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is, there are ways to grow our capacity for resiliency. And we can use this time to strengthen Rotary, by working together to grow and foster resilience in our fellow members and our clubs. Here are a few tips: Continue reading

Rotaractor’s app separates pandemic fact from fiction

Members of the Rotaract Club of Dehli Rajdhani test features of the app, designed to provide users with reliable information through a computer-simulated chat.

By Uday Nanda, past president Rotaract Club of Dehli Rajdhani, New Dehli, India

As a social entrepreneur in New Dehli, India, I have been watching the overload of information coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be hard to sort out good information from bad. People have been misled by false news and inaccurate claims. As a member of Rotaract who has received recognition as a product designer in the fields of education and technology, I wanted to do something to help people sort fact from fiction.

With the support of my Rotaract club, I set out to design a Chatbot that could answer people’s questions about the pandemic. A Chabot is a software application that simulates an online text conversation with a live person. You can ask questions and receive information as if you are chatting with a real person, only via artificial intelligence. Continue reading

Prevent gender based violence

Elsa Marie D’Silva, 2016 Rotary Peace Fellow.

By Elsa Marie D’Silva, Rotary Peace Fellow alumna, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

During the lockdown enforced due to COVID-19, I have been reaching out to all my friends to see how they are doing. The other day I happened to call one of my girl friends who I know has been in an abusive relationship to find out if she was fine. She answered my call and we exchanged pleasantries. In the midst of the conversation she suddenly went quiet and then started to talk in riddles. I immediately sensed that all was not right and asked her if her partner was around. She could not even answer with a “yes” or “no” and so I quickly reassured her that I understood her situation and we could communicate further on WhatsApp. Continue reading

Positive Peace and a pandemic

By Rebecca Crall

It is easy to see the health crisis created by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. What’s not as easy to see are the long-term impacts of the crisis on peace, particularly in states with government and public health infrastructures weakened by violence or unrest.

Fortunately, Rotarians have an amazing capacity to use their ingenuity to address the world’s most pressing challenges. And the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. As the Area of Focus Manager for Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention, I have been spending some time thinking about the pandemic in terms of peacebuilding and human resiliency. Continue reading

7 reasons young people should join Rotary

Ryan Bell explains what Rotary has to offer young people, including exciting service opportunities that will connect you to others in your community.

By Ryan Bell, Iowa City District 6000 Public Image Co-Chair

I have a message for all you young people out there who may never have heard about Rotary. Or if you have, it was from a parent or grandparent who spent more time talking about the lunch menu or how great the salad bar is. If that’s all you’ve heard about Rotary, then you’re missing a lot. And let me tell you why, in the middle of this pandemic, Rotary is more relevant than ever. It’s definitely something you want to know about. Continue reading

3 principles we use to beat the pandemic

Joe Otin

By Joe Otin, governor of Rotary District 9212

If ever in our lifetime there was a defining moment of earth-shattering proportions – this is it. The generation before us lived through World War II which universally altered the course of our destiny. From time immemorial our predecessors have faced seismic economic collapses, devastating armed conflict, climatic catastrophes, and other traumatic incidences that have led to desperation, death and destruction. Continue reading