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 Sánchez

Register today to hear Dr. Óscar Arias Sánchez, 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

Doing good in Australia — Men’s Shed

Rotary was a key force in the men’s shed movement.There are now more than 1,000 men’s sheds across Australia. This video premiered at the Rotary International Convention in Sydney, Australia.

Join the fun on the final day of the Sydney convention

There’s plenty on the agenda for the final day of the 2014 Rotary Convention in Sydney.

Here are a few highlights:

  • The fourth plenary session at 10 a.m. will preview next year’s convention in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and will include speeches from 2015-16 RI President K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran, Renee Saunders, senior public health advisor for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Ronald S. Kawadda, who will talk about New Generations.
  • The convention will come to a close during the final plenary session at 4 p.m. 2014-15 RI President Gary C.K. Huang will outline his upcoming year as Rotary president, while President Ron Burton gives his closing remarks on his term in office. The TEN Tenors will entertain with their repertoire of rock opera.
  • As the sun sets, make your way to the Sydney Showground for an Australian Bush Dance at 6 p.m.

Convention attendees talk about day 3 speakers

Day 3 of the convention featured inspiring speeches by Paralympian and polio survivor Ade Adepitan, Foundation Alumni Award winner Maya Ajmera, and former Rotary Peace Fellow Mwila Chigaga. We got an update on where we stand with eradicating polio by Assistant Director-General of WHO Bruce Aylward. Plus a surprise announcement from Sir Emeka Offor who committed $1 million to PolioPlus.

Here are a few reactions outside the Allphones Arena after the third plenary:

I liked hearing from Ade. His speech was very good. I felt it was very off the cuff and genuine. I thought that was the most inspirational piece of the program. I learned a lot about where we are at with polio eradication. — Matthew Rich, Rotary Club of Northfield, Minnesota

It [third plenary] was extremely good with speakers who inspired us to keep our commitment to eradicating polio strong. It showed us that our great commitment to eradicating polio. We should be able to achieve this. All of the speakers were very, very good. I couldn’t identify any one speaker that was my favorite. They were all incredible. – Godfrey Egwau, Rotary Club of Soroti, Uganda

My favorite was Ade. His determination to do something and change his life was inspirational. He was really great. I learned a lot about the progress we’re making with polio eradication. I am a foundation alumni, so I really enjoyed hearing from the scholar recipient speakers. [Maya Ajmera; Mwila Chigaga]. And what they were able to accomplish with the little investment we [Rotary] were able to give them. – Alicia Cerruti, former Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar and member of the Rotary Club of Petaluma, California

Today, all the speakers were very good. But particularly Ade [Adepitan], he was just brilliant. His message was that polio eradication is possible. Bruce Aylward gave us a clear picture of what we have to do in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. I was happy to hear about the progress made in Nigeria. – Dr. R. Bharat, governor-nominee of District 3250 in India.

If you were there, share your thoughts about today’s speakers in the comments section.

Labyrinth for Literacy


Local primary school children listened this morning as RI Past President Bill Boyd, his wife, Lorna, and Australian author Nicole S. Kelly read children’s story books in Rotary’s Labyrinth for Literacy. The children, from Jarjum College and Mount Carmel in Sydney, were delighted when they learned they would also receive a book of their own to take home. The Literacy Rotarian Action Group organized the event as part of Rotary’s convention.