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The 2015 Rotary International Convention in São Paulo has just ended, but it’s not too early to register for next year’s convention in Seoul, Korea. Find out more about this amazing city, and register now.

Boa noite, São Paulo!

Featured

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 members fight human trafficking

By Megan Ferringer, Rotary staff

It is estimated that human trafficking generates $40 billion annually. That’s more than McDonald’s, Google’s, and Wal-mart’s profits combined.

Human trafficking, especially the commercial sexual exploitation of children, is a major problem. Continue reading

Your backstage pass to the convention

We’re taking you inside #ricon15 this year with a series of special one-on-one interviews. Here, Documentary Filmmaker and Founder of Principle Pictures Beth Murphy discusses her latest film, “What Tomorrow Brings,” with Stuart Cleland. See the whole series and other convention videos.

Rotary flame arrives in São Paulo

On 27 March 2014, India, a country of more than one billion people, was declared polio-free. To mark this milestone, the Rotary Club of Madras, India, launched the Rotary flame, which has traveled through several continents on its way to the 2015 Rotary Convention in São Paulo. The video above documents its arrival in São Paulo.

Rio Branco School for the Deaf

The video above aired during the convention Sunday, showing how São Paulo Rotary clubs are improving their communities. , founded in 1977 by Fundação de Rotarianos de São Paulo, offers a free education for deaf children from low-income households. The school is dedicated to develop and socialize deaf children into a predominantly hearing society with a carefully planned out curriculum.

Students learn through advanced educational and technical resources, including Libras – the Brazilian Language of Signs until the fifth grade of elementary school. After the sixth year, through the School Continuity Program, a partnership with the Colégio Rio Branco and associate school, deaf students are fully integrated into classes with hearing students.

São Paulo’s outdoor graffiti museum

Near the Anhembi Parque Convention Center is a set of 66 spray-painted panels on the pillars of the Metrô rail.

Near the Anhembi Parque Convention Center is a set of 66 spray-painted panels on the pillars of the Metrô rail.

By Megan Ferringer, Rotary staff

São Paulo feels like a museum of modernism. A single iconic image of the city might be a cityscape of endless towers fading into the horizon, or a photo of luxurious high-rise apartment blocks with pools and exotic flora on their terraces, all set against the favelas and their red roofs.

Despite its size, its density, and its growing wealth, São Paulo can fail to feel like a city at all. At street level, it instead feels like an endless collection of compounds. There are malls and offices, guarded apartment blocks behind heavy electric gates, and villa complexes behind high walls. Continue reading

Kids can change the world too

Ten-year-old Lucía Gómez García speaks at the second plenary session at the Rotary Convention in São Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Alyce Henson.

Ten-year-old Lucía Gómez García speaks at the second plenary session at the Rotary Convention in São Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Alyce Henson.

Ryan Hyland, Rotary staff

Stagehands adjusted the microphones as low as they could go and slid a box into place. And then 10-year-old volunteer leader Lucía Gómez García of Argentina stepped up to the podium to tell Rotary members that kids her age can make positive change in the world.

“As kids we are relentless and happy,” said Lucía, addressing the Rotary Convention on 7 June. “We are always ready to explore and learn, but principally we’re spontaneous and clear. We don’t have problems to say if we don’t like anything. To tell the truth is natural and when we don’t do so, everyone knows, because we blush.” Continue reading

Rethinking the way we manage water

150606_wasragBy Megan Ferringer, Rotary staff

One of the world’s largest cities, São Paulo is located in a region that averages 145 centimeters (57.3 inches) of precipitation each year. That’s 64 more centimeters (25 more inches) than Seattle gets. The country is also home to roughly 12 percent of the world’s fresh water. But since 2014, the city has been gripped by its worst drought in 80 years, leaving millions of residents in the country’s most populated metropolis without reliable running water. Continue reading

Interactors aim to score a goal with soccer ball project

Interactors from California show off a  high-tech indestructible rubber soccer ball in the House of Friendship.

Interactors from California show off a high-tech indestructible rubber soccer ball in the House of Friendship.

By Ryan Hyland, Rotary staff

Soccer is not just a passion for Brazilians, it’s a way of life. It’s tradition. Entire industries are dedicated to the sport.

So it came as no surprise to me to walk by a booth in the House of Friendship and see people kicking a ball around. But these were no ordinary soccer balls. They’re made from high-tech indestructible rubber. You can puncture a hole in one of these balls or cut it down the middle, and it will still be playable. Continue reading

Try Brazil’s national dish, feijoada

Feijoada, Brazil's national dish.

Feijoada, Brazil’s national dish.

By Megan Ferringer, Rotary staff

Ask any Paulistano and they’ll tell you their favorite place to eat Brazil’s national dish, feijoada — a heavy stew of smoked and sun-dried meats (and offal, if you’re feeling adventurous) that’s brewed up in cauldrons and served with rice, black beans, kale, orange slices, and farofa (toasted manioc flour). Not for vegetarians or the diet-conscious, this dish was described by traveling TV chef Anthony Bourdain as a “magnificent, beautiful, murky black substance,” “perfection in a dish,” and “truly, transcendently wonderful.” Continue reading

Peace fellows reconnect at symposium

150605_peacegroupshot

Rotary Peace Fellows, alumni, Rotary members, and guests pause for a group photo during the Rotary Peace Symposium, held 4 June in São Paulo. Read more about the symposium and the Rotary convention. Watch a video from the symposium.

Speed dating for peace

Attendees discuss partnering for peace durign the World Café. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

Attendees discuss partnering for peace during the World Cafe. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

By Ryan Hyland, Rotary staff

Even before the World Cafe session started today, the room was filled with excitement, with people hugging and laughing. It took a few minutes for former Rotary Peace Fellow Cherine Badawi to quiet the 240 people in the room at the Rotary World Peace Symposium in São Paulo, Brazil.

World Cafe, a structured conversation style that aims to spark open and intimate discussion, is modeled to resemble the atmosphere of a cafe. Instead of having white tablecloths, the small round tables were covered with plain white paper and colored markers that attendees could use to express themselves. Continue reading

We’ve got you covered

We’re just days away! Thousands of Rotary members are on their way to São Paulo, or already in town, for our biggest event of the year, the 2015 Rotary Convention. So whether you’re looking for things to do, or peering in on the excitement from afar, follow our blog and return frequently to get the latest news, tips, insights and reactions from attendees. And don’t forget to be a part of the conversation on Twitter and Facebook using hashtag #ricon15.

Helping Afghan girls get an education

Beth Murphy

Beth Murphy

Beth Murphy, a founder of the film production company Principle Pictures and a director, producer, and author, will speak at the second plenary session of the 2015 Rotary Convention in São Paulo. Murphy is the director/producer of “What Tomorrow Brings,” a documentary about Rotary member Razia Jan’s work founding a school for girls in Afghanistan, and “Beyond Belief,” which follows two women who lost their husbands on September 11, 2001. Learn more about Murphy and find information on our other convention speakers.