Youth Exchange alumni give back through Rotex

By Rotary International

Members of the District 1800 Rotex at the 2017 Rotary Convention in Atlanta.

By Sophie Richter, 2012-13 Rotary Youth Exchange Student

As a Rotary Youth Exchange Student, I spent a year in Thailand. This experience changed my life and my view of the world. When I returned to Germany, I wanted to give something back to Rotary because of how incredibly thankful I was for the opportunity I had been given. Joining our district’s Rotex club was my way of doing that.

A Rotex club is an organized group of Youth Exchange alumni that stay involved in Rotary by working closely with Rotarians in their district. Our Rotex in District 1800 was founded in 1989 and has around 80 active members. We organize about six weekends each year for inbound and outbound exchange students.

Nine countries in three weeks
One special weekend is our Outbound Orientation, where we prepare students for their experience abroad in different workshops that deal with intercultural communication, stereotypes, life with host families, attending a new school, and other challenges. We also hold a three-week long Europe Tour with inbound students, which is completely organized and run by about a dozen Rotex members each year. Our …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

La doble membresía beneficia el apoyo mutuo entre Rotaract y Rotary

By Rotary International

Por Paula Rodríguez

Mi nombre es Paula Rodríguez, tengo 30 años y soy socia del Club Rotario de Tacuarembó, Distrito 4970 (Uruguay).

Desde el 10 de octubre de 2010, hasta el 30 de junio de 2017 fui Rotaractiana, con la particularidad de que el 15 de julio de 2016 obtuve mi doble membresía, terminando mi vida Rotaractiana ya habiendo dado el “siguiente paso”.

Realmente a partir de ese momento comencé a vivir esta institución de una manera mucho más intensa.

Por supuesto que tener dos reuniones semanales y las actividades duplicadas conlleva mucha dedicación y esfuerzo, pero poder realmente ser el nexo y la unión entre mi club Rotaract y mi club Rotario fue sumamente gratificante. Al asistir a ambas reuniones logré funcionar como fuente de información, y el apoyo mutuo mejoró (si bien, en nuestro caso ya era muy bueno).

Tener esta posibilidad hizo que pasar a ser solo Rotaria sea mucho más fácil. Es como acelerar el proceso de adaptación, y seguir aportando a Rotaract pero desde otro lugar.
Siento que pasar a Rotary, en parte, es una forma de seguirle demostrando nuestro amor a Rotaract, y eso fue uno de mis grandes motivos al aceptar este nuevo desafío.
Y no quisiera dejar pasar esta …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

Who is your special Rotary mentor?

By Rotary International

Past presidents and members of the Rotary Club of East Nassau. T. Murray Forde standing second from left.

By T. Murray Forde, Past Assistant Governor of District 7020 and Past President of Rotary Club of East Nassau

Part of what makes Rotary so special are the connections you make with fellow members and the impact that has on your life.

I first met Sir Durward Knowles in 1963. He was well known and highly respected in sailing circles having won the first Olympic gold medal for the Bahamas. This and his unwavering commitment to serving the needy made him an icon in our community.

The Knowles family after his Olympic Gold Medal.

Durward brought me into the Rotary Club of East Nassau in July 1975 when he was incoming club president. I knew a little bit about Rotary, but through Durward I was able to learn even more and get involved. Looking back, I realize the positive influence he’s had on my life and how his mentoring helped shape who I am. Durward was an outstanding example of what it meant to encompass vocational service by leading with integrity and contributing his expertise to the problems and needs of …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

Why Rotaract will change your life

By Rotary International

Members of Nairuba’s club meet with the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative in Uganda.

By Joan Nairuba

The day I was inducted into Rotaract, 19 June 2015, is an unforgettable one for me. Euphoria and celebration rolled around inside me like a tidal wave. I knew I had made a decision that would affect the rest of my life; to dedicate the most energetic years of my youth to Rotary.

Knowing life is finite, I had a heightened resolve to be a part of everything Rotaract has to offer. My career as a lawyer is just getting started, and at first, all I had in mind was what I could offer my club as a lawyer. Little did I know that Rotaract would have an immense effect on my career.

To separate life in Rotaract from your personal life is an absolute impracticality because one feeds the other. The weekly interactions shape your perspective and expand your knowledge, and it’s from these meetings that you either grow or remain stagnant.

Members of Nairuba’s club conduct a needs assessment at a refugee settlement for the club’s next project on peace and conflict resolution.

Rotaract gives you an opportunity to practice and master qualities that make us better …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

The power of volun-telling

By Rotary International

Sarah Tuberty, right, and her mother during a visit to Boston last year.

By Sarah Tuberty, president of the Rotaract Club of Sargent College Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

I awoke early on a Saturday morning to the sound of my mother’s voice. “Good morning Sarah, I signed us up for a Rotary service project. You should put on old clothes. We are painting a map on the Alamo Elementary School playground. Quick, we need to leave in 15 minutes”

A form of this conversation occurred more times than I can remember when I was growing up. My mother, Katheryn Tuberty, has been a member of the Vacaville Rotary Club in California, USA, since 1998. Someone recommended to her that as the new administrator of the local assisted living center, it would be a great way to get to know the community. She was hooked from the first meeting. She loved the club, the people, and the community. She is an engaged person of action, a prominent figure in town, and a “mover and shaker.” She is also the queen of “volun-telling.”

“Volun-telling” is when you are volunteered for a role before you even ask. I learned all about taking part in service projects …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

Working together for peace through Rotary

By Rotary International

Rotary Peace Fellows Magdalena Zurita and Phil Gittins.

By Magdalena Zurita with Phill Gittins, Rotary Peace Fellows

My interest in promoting peace brought me to Bolivia, where I am doing my applied field study while earning a master’s degree at the Rotary Peace Center at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. I am passionate about the reduction of poverty and inequality, and efforts to address these challenges in ways that promote working together and embracing difference. In May, a Skype call and email exchange connected me to Phill Gittins, a fellow Rotary Peace Fellow, who has been working in Bolivia for many years. Through Rotary two strangers, working on peace separately, are now working on peace together.

Phill’s expertise is in peace education and youth work. Most recently, he has been using what he learned in his doctorate work in International Conflct Analysis to help develop and inform the next generation of peace builders. NewGen Peacebuilders is a global youth peace education programme, designed by Rotary Peace Fellows, endorsed by the Rotary Action Group for Peace, and supported by Rotary clubs and districts, internationally.

Phill put me in contact with Bolivian Rotarians, international organisations and friends working in peace and development here. Some of …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

What excites me about Miles to End Polio

By Rotary International

Kea Gorden before a training ride in Evanston.

By Kea Gorden, planned giving officer

On World Polio Day, I watched Rotary’s livestream event and realized that I really am in the middle of history in the making. As part of the Rotary staff Miles to End Polio team, I will be riding 106 miles on 18 November in the El Tour de Tucson. Riding that far is not something I’ve ever done before. But it gives me a great sense of accomplishment to feel like I can be a part of an effort that is having such a significant impact. As I watched Bill Gates announce his belief that this year will be the one where polio is finally stopped, I realized how close we really all.

The support I have received from family, friends, fellow staff, and fellow Rotarians has been amazing. Beyond contributions, they have asked me about my training and preparation, offered tips on the right gear and proper nutrition to keep me going, and otherwise helped me get ready for what will be a long 8-hour day of cycling through the hills of Tucson.

Peace Corps experience

Kea Gorden as a Peace Corps volunteer in …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

Building peace in Colombia

By Rotary International

Ana Laura Zavala Guillen leads a discussion at the University of Sheffield.

By Ana Laura Zavala Guillen, 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Bradford

Over the last three years, as a doctoral researcher, I have been studying the loss of territory by San Basilio del Palenque, a town located in the Colombian Caribbean, due to the armed conflict, business developments, state demarcations and the war on drugs. San Basilio is considered the last Colombian Palenque, communities built by runaway slaves during the 17th century as shelters.

Land grabs
As a human rights lawyer, my main aim for my research is to serve as evidence that the community can use in their claims against land grabs. On 15 June this year, I arrived in the town of San Basilio del Palenque, just in time for the celebrations that commemorate the Patron Saint of the community: St Basilio. I feared the high temperature and celebration preparations would prevent people from joining the seminar on The Role of the Archives in times of Peacebuilding.

But participation actually beat my expectation, with 40 attendees, including students, academics, activists, campesinos, community leaders and local representatives. They exchanged ideas about the importance of the archives to the current community …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

First outbound Rotary Youth Exchange from Nepal

By Rotary International

Seema Tamang, third from left, with other Rotary Youth Exchange students

By Seema Tamang, Rotary Youth Exchange student from Kathmandu, Nepal

During the 2016-17 school year, I was thrilled to be the first outbound exchange student from Nepal. Being blind, I have to admit I was a bit scared at first, as home life in the US was much different than in Nepal. I was used to sleeping in the same room with my sisters and with other girls in the dormitory at school. With my host family, I had my own room. But it did not take long to adapt, and enjoy an amazing experience during which I grew in many ways.

I stayed with my first host family, the Roses, during the school year. My second host family, the Camruds, included mom and dad and two younger host brothers. Being in a large home was very different and exciting as I got to explore every room and orient myself so that I could move about safely and quickly. It didn’t take me too long to be able to find everything by myself. It seems funny now that when I first arrived I asked my host-mom where the water bucket and pitcher …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog