Boa noite, São Paulo!

Rotary members make connections in the House of Friendship.

Rotary members make connections in the House of Friendship.

By Ryan Hyland

With the 2015 Rotary convention in São Paulo coming to a close, we asked attendees in the House of Friendship what they enjoyed most.

Heather Dieckmann, Rotary Club of Bethel-St. Clair, Pennsylvania, USA:
The Major Donor dinner was really fun. Just the conversation at my table was amazing. I was privileged to sit next to Geetha Jayaram [recipient of the 2014-15 Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award]. She was so lovely. Getting to know her on a one-on-one level was the highlight of my trip. Continue reading

Rotary Convention has it all

Harriett Schloer and her grandson, Will Beaudry, in Sydney Harbor.

Harriett Schloer and her grandson, Will Beaudry, in Sydney Harbor.

By Harriett Schloer, executive secretary of the Convention Goers Fellowship

Since 1998, my husband and I have only missed three Rotary conventions. We have both come to look upon the convention as our annual vacation with the opportunity to visit many foreign countries and revisit some of our favorite places in the United States.

We always plan our trip to stay an additional week after the convention closes so we can get in all of the sight-seeing we can. In terms of the convention itself, it is our annual opportunity to again spend quality time with very close friends and make new ones. Continue reading

Why I never miss a Rotary convention

The House of Friendship during the 2013 Rotary Convention in Lisbon, Portugal, one of

The House of Friendship during the 2013 Rotary Convention in Lisbon, Portugal, one of many Nusz has attended since 1997.

By Phyllis Jane Nusz, past governor of District 5220 (California, USA)

In 1997, as an incoming club president, I was sent to Glasgow, Scotland, for my first International Convention. I have never stopped going since.

Why? It was amazing to see people for the first time from all over the world, the different languages, dress, and food. But we all had the same dedication to Rotary. I ran into so many people I never knew before but today are still my friends, and I share Christmas cards with them, take part in club projects with them, join together for family activities, and so much more. Continue reading

Why I enjoy Rotary conventions

Rotary members make connections in the House of Friendship during the 2014 Convention in Sydney.

Rotary members make connections in the House of Friendship during the 2014 Convention in Sydney.

By Margaret Lesjak, Rotary Club of Broken Hill South, New South Wales, Australia

I grew up in Sydney. So attending my first Rotary convention last year in Sydney was less about the location and more about meeting people from all over the world.

My days started off on the trains dedicated for Rotary use. As I remembered from the 2000 Sydney Olympics, people happily chatted away and strangers became at the very least ‘mates’ for the rest of the convention. Continue reading

My time with ‘Future Rotarians’ in Sydney

Participants in the 2014 International RYLA.

Participants in the 2014 International RYLA.

By Dr. Mona Khanna, a former Rotary Group Study Exchange fellow

If you were at the 2014 RI Convention in Sydney, Australia, this week, you may have seen the sticker “Future Rotarian” on some badges. Chances are the badges belonged to members of Rotaract and/or delegates to the 2014 International Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) development program. Continue reading

Convention goers weigh in on plenary

The opening plenary session on Sunday was highlighted by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s announcement of his government’s $100 million contribution toward polio eradication. RI President Ron Burton gave his keynote address and Human Nature, one of Australia’s most popular music groups, performed music from Motown.

Here are some thoughts from attendees as they walked out of Allphones Arena:

I got goose bumps when the prime minister told us about the $100 million their government will give toward polio eradication. Rotary loves this. It was really amazing and an honor for us.

I thought Ron Burton’s speech gave us power to increase membership.
-Bernd Egger, Rotary Club of Halberstatd, Germany

This is my first convention so I had no idea what to expect. I was blown away. I felt like crying half the time. I was amazed to learn about what Rotary has done around the world. It was moving. Obviously, the $100 million contribution fantastic.

When Burton talked about loving Rotary and our work is all about who we are. I know there are times when you feel stressed and overworked but you should remember what is at the core of what you’re doing for Rotary. It was an inspirational thing for me to think about.

Plus Human Nature was one of my personal favorites growing up, so hearing them brought back some great memories.”
-Tara Pullen, Rotaract Club of Gunargarang, Australia

The best part was definitely when the prime minister spoke. What an honor for Australia to donate $100 million towards our primary cause.

It was also very informative. I learned a lot about fellowship, friendship, and service. The videos and images gave a great visual of what we do and who we are.
-Major R. Chandra Sekharan, Rotary Club of Bandar Sungai Petani, Malaysia

I think we are all aware of some of the membership issues facing Rotary. I was glad to hear President Ron speak so bluntly about where we stand and what we need to do to ensure our future.

I thought Human Nature was too loud and went on a little long, but all in all, a great event.
Donald Young, Rotary Club of Cromwell, New Zealand

It was awesome. The presentations were very good. I wish I could listen to the prime minister’s speech again. I thought it was quite rich and thoughtful.  The dance troupe [North South Wales Public Schools Aboriginal Dance Company] was terrific as well.
Thelma Bello, Rotary Club of Calaba, Nigeria