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

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150319_isabelli_threeIsabeli Fontana, a Rotary polio ambassador, is currently in India participating in polio immunization activities, where she visited a special ward for children affected by polio at St. Stephen’s Hospital in New Dehli. Says Fontana, “No child should have to suffer from a preventable disease, and seeing the children in St. Stephen’s reminded me that the fight is not over.” In her blog post for Rotary Voices, Fontana shared her great pride in knowing the upcoming convention is being held in her home of São Paulo. Read more of her blog post.

Price cut for Rotaract members

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Join Rotaractors in São Paulo.

The registration fee for members of Rotaract to attend this year’s convention has been reduced to $70 through 15 April, after which the price goes up to $130. Register today to join your fellow Rotaractors in São Paulo, and connect for good!

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150311_torchSão Paulo will be the last stop for a Rotary torch, launched in December in Chennai, India, to commemorate India becoming polio-free and to promote the need to go the last mile in the battle to eradicate this horrible crippling disease. Find out more about the torch, and how it inspired members of a new club in Afghanistan, in Luke Beer’s post for Rotary Voices, and register today to join the torch in São Paulo.

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

Will water shortages threaten peace?

Dr. Isis Mejias Carpio with children in Kenya during a global grant project.

Dr. Isis Mejias Carpio with children in Kenya during a global grant project.

By Isis Mejias Carpio, a former Rotary Global Grant scholar. Sponsored by Rotary clubs in Houston, Carpio earned a dual PhD in water engineering from the University of Houston and the University of São Paulo. She will be a panelist at the Rotary Peace Symposium 4-5 June during a session on “The Impending Water Wars.”

Water is a key element in all aspects of life, from health to food security, education, and energy. That is what makes water security so important, and so hard to safeguard. As water scarcity becomes more real, collaboration will become critical. Continue reading

Dr. Geetha Jayaram to be honored at convention

Dr. Geetha Jayaram

Dr. Geetha Jayaram

Dr. Geetha Jayaram has dedicated her life to helping people in her native India and the United States overcome the torment of severe depression, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, and other mental illnesses. She is a psychiatrist and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality.

You’ll have a chance to hear Jayaram during the 2015 Rotary Convention in São Paulo, where she will be honored with the 2014-15 Rotary Foundation Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award on 8 June. Inspiring speakers are just one of the many reasons Rotary members attend a convention. Register now to take advantage of special pricing through 31 March.

Read more about Jayaram

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

Join Raya at the World Water Summit

If you have a passion for helping communities all over the world improve their access to clean water and sanitation, you won’t want to miss World Water Summit 7 on 4 June, immediately prior to the Rotary Convention in São Paulo.

The water summit is your chance to share experiences, learn, and receive program support from fellow Rotary members who are experts in the field and who belong to the Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group. You’ll also be inspired by leaders in the field.

This year’s theme is WASH in schools. Children learn better if they have access to safe drinking water and clean toilet facilities. And if they learn good hygiene at school, they take the knowledge home with them.

If you need more convincing, watch the short video above from Raya, one of the newest Sesame Workshop Muppets, inviting you to join her at the Summit. Download the flyer to learn more about the summit or register now. Attending a convention is one of the great benefits of joining Rotary. If you are not a member, learn how you can join.

Former Costa Rican president headlines Peace Symposium

Dr. Óscar Arias Sánchez

Dr. Óscar Arias

Register today to hear Dr. Óscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica (1986-90 and 2006-10) and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize during the Rotary Peace Symposium 4-5 June.

During his first term as president, Arias brokered a peace agreement that ended brutal civil wars in Central America. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of that work.

The symposium will also feature Steve Killelea, founder and executive chair of Integrated Research Ltd., The Charitable Foundation, and Institute for Economics and Peace. In 2007, Killelea founded the Institute for Economics and Peace, an international think tank dedicated to building a greater understanding of the interconnection between business, peace, and economics, with particular emphasis on the financial benefits of peace.

The symposium is your chance to join Peace Fellows, alumni, and Rotary members as they celebrate Rotary’s work in peace and conflict prevention and resolution. Attendees will have the chance to share information about their activities and hear about new tools and resources from representatives of leading organizations in the field of peace and conflict resolution. Learn more about the Peace Symposium and register today.

Be recharged in São Paulo

Register for the 2015 Rotary Convention by 31 March to save off the cost of on-site registration.

Connect with Rotarians over your favorite blend. It’s the Brazilian way! And when São Paulo locals invite you for coffee, simply answer, “Sim, por favor (Yes, please)” and enjoy. It could be the start of a beautiful friendship. Register today and be recharged.

Plan your convention stay in São Paulo

São Paulo will be the home of the 2015 Rotary International Convention, and local Rotary members are hard at work making sure your stay is as enjoyable as possible. This bustling metropolis is the perfect venue for our biggest event of the year because like the city itself, the São Paulo convention brings together people from around the world who are eager to celebrate and share their diverse backgrounds.

And we have just the tools to help you plan your visit. Our São Paulo convention microsite is packed with inside information on the city’s must-see attractions and distinctive neighborhoods, as well as information about the venue, tips on getting around, and much more. We’ll help you register, book a hotel room, learn about speakers and entertainment, sign up for RI-ticketed events and those offered by host Rotarians, and even apply for a booth to showcase your service project.

But don’t wait to register! The best pricing is available through 15 December, and you’ll want to apply for a visa early, if you will need one.

Also, please note the dates of the convention have been moved up one day from the original schedule — starting Saturday, 6 June, through Tuesday, 9 June. The original opening day coincided with one of the city’s most popular parades and the new schedule will dramatically reduce traffic congestion while making it easier for you to attend a Rotary Carnival organized by your Brazilian hosts.

So plan now to attend.

G’night Sydney

As the sun was setting (literally) on another successful convention, we caught up with a few attendees as they left Sydney Olympic Park for the last time to get their final thoughts on the 2014 Rotary Convention.

Here’s what they had to say:

This is my third convention and by far the most inspired. I enjoyed the New Generation plenary the best. There was so much respect in the crowd for their energy and what they were promoting. I also related to Tommy Spaulding. I suffered from dyslexia just like he did. So to hear how he overcame that through Rotary was wonderful. And I have to say, this convention was incredibly organized. Very well done. — Les Allen Dennis, Rotary Club of Regency Park, Australia

I couldn’t pick one speaker as my favorite because they all brought something different to the table. We learned a lot here. – Bello Ibrahim, Rotary Club of Apo, Nigeria

The part that I liked the most was 2014-15 RI President Gary C.K. Huang’s speech during the closing plenary session. I thought he put a lot of thought into it. It was very inspiring. I like the idea that he’s from a new culture, as the first Chinese Rotary president. I’m the president-elect for my club, so the breakout session for our class was particularly good. There were several speakers there with really good ideas to help us hit the ground running. – Lynn Sinnott, president-elect for the Rotary Club of Daytona Beach, Florida, USA

I liked the exhibitors’ booths [at the House of Friendship]. There was so much to enjoy. President Ron (Burton) really did a great job tonight at showing us how engaging Rotary changes lives. His speech left us, hopefully, wanting to do more for humanity. – Swapan Basu, Rotary Club of Calcutta Laban, India

The convention was very well run, very well organized. The Australian people were hospitable and welcoming. I think the leadership in Rotary is approaching the problems head on. They aren’t running away and doing a good job at getting people to become part of the solution. – Bill David, Rotary Club of Providence, Rhode Island, USA