Find inspiration at the Atlanta Convention

If you’re joining us at the 2017 Rotary International Convention, 10-14 June, expect to hear inspirational keynote speakers, participate in a variety of service-related breakout sessions, and make new friends in the House of Friendship!

Preconvention events:

Service-oriented breakout sessions:

Plan to attend afternoon breakout sessions 12-14 June:

  • Rotary Friendship Exchanges: Enhancing the Rotary Experience Through International Exchanges: — participating in an exchange deepens global understanding, strengthens international ties, raises opportunities to explore vocations abroad, and even helps develop international service partnerships. Find inspiration from previous exchange participants, meet prospective exchange partners, and trade ideas on how you’ll join the program as a host or visitor.
  • Rotary Community Corps: Community Solutions for Community Challenges — a Rotary Community Corps consists of non-Rotarians who share our commitment to service and carry out community projects as well as support Rotary club projects. Nearly 8,500 RCCs in 90 countries are working to develop future leaders and conduct effective service. Learn about the role of RCCs in community development, along with how to form an RCC and how to team with RCCs on projects.
  • Vocational Service and Appreciation: Enhance Member Engagement — learn how recognizing the worth of members’ occupations, skills, and talents can improve member retention.
  • Rotary and Peace Corps: Partnering to Empower Communities — the service partnership formed in 2015 between Rotary and Peace Corps offers opportunities for clubs to work with active and returned Peace Corps volunteers. Learn how teaming with Peace Corps volunteers can address Rotary’s six areas of focus while enhancing goodwill, international understanding, and capacity building in more than 60 countries around the world.
  • Life as a ShelterBox Response Team Member — Rotary’s project partner for disaster relief, ShelterBox, will bring to life the mission of a response team and show what it takes to help on the ground immediately after a disaster.
  • These Rotarian Action Groups will host sessions about their service initiatives and opportunities to team with them on a related cause in your community: Clubfoot, Peace, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Malaria, Hepatitis, Slavery, Literacy, and Family Health and AIDS Prevention.

Make connections in the House of Friendship

Visit the House of Friendship to network with fellow Rotarians and Rotaractors and learn about Rotary Fellowships, Rotarian Action Groups, Rotary’s partners, service projects, and much more. Download the Convention Events and Booth Exhibit Guide for Rotary Fellowships and Rotarian Action Groups, then prepare to connect with groups that share your interests and expertise.

Review the preliminary schedule for breakout sessions, and watch a recording of the convention orientation webinar for convention highlights, cultural tips, and resources. Download the Rotary Events app for up-to-date information on convention events. Follow the convention on social media using #Rotary17.

Make new friends around the world

By Zuhal Sharp, Rotary Service and Engagement Staff

The International Fellowship of Draughts Playing Rotarians Rotary Fellowships provide a great way to make new friends around the world and enhance your Rotary experience. Currently there are more than 70 Rotary Fellowships. These are autonomous internationally organized groups of Rotarians, family members, program participants, and alumni who share a common passion.

As we wrap up the 2016 calendar year, we wanted to share some new fellowships that were recently recognized by the RI Board of Directors:

                        • Whisk(e)y Drinking Rotarians and Members (DRAM) offers opportunities to learn about Whisk(e)y, food pairings and other topics related to the appreciation of all whiskies produced worldwide. Visit their website or contact chair Terry Moore.
                        • The International Fellowship of Draughts Playing Rotarians fosters friendship among those who enjoy playing the game of draughts (checkers). The group plans to organize individual matches and team tournaments. They encourage Rotaractors and Interactors to join to develop skills that are useful in academic pursuits. Contact chair Bola Oyebade.
                        • Ethics Fellowship of Rotarians connects Rotarians interested in ethics; promotes ethics in all personal and professional interactions and in future generations. Join their group on Facebook or contact chair Sergio Levy.
                        • Table Tennis Fellowship of Rotarians attracts those interested in table tennis. Follow their Facebook page or contact chair Saadet Garan.
                        • The Russian Culture Worldwide Fellowship aims to connect those interested in Russian culture to promote cultural understanding, Russian literature, music, architecture, ballet, and support the study of Russian language. Contact chair Arthur Eckstein for more information.
                        • The International Fellowship of Rotarian Military Veterans will connect Veterans from all over the world and support Rotary’s Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution efforts.  Visit their website, or contact chair James C. Holloman.
                        • The Fellowship of Rotarian Genealogists (FORG) unites Rotarians with an interest in family history and genealogy. The group plans to exchange ideas on genealogical research, assist fellow Rotarians in their research, and promote understanding and peace through the demonstration of how people are part of a global family. Follow their  Facebook page or contact chair Lawrence Tristram. 

View a complete list of Rotary Fellowships or form a new one today!



Beer enthusiasts celebrate fellowship at the Korea Convention

Beers Rotarians Enjoy Worldwide (BREW) Fellowship is an international community of Rotarians who enjoy and appreciate the fine art of brewing, tasting and drinking of beer. Since water is a primary ingredient in beer, BREW also strives to support efforts and projects that bring clean water to those in need. Follow BREW on Facebook for more information and contact Fellowship Chair, Moses Aryee, or to join today!

Below are some pictures of their annual summit at the 2016 Rotary International Convention in Korea:

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Reflections from the 2016 Uniendo America y Project Fair in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

By David Griggs, member of the Rotary E-Club of Lake Atitlán-Panajachel, Guatemala

The Rotary clubs in Central America are divided into two groups: District 4240 with the countries of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, and District 4250 with Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras.

Each year, the two districts participate in a joint Project Fair, commonly known as the Uniendo America Project Fair, hosted in one of the seven countries. Clubs from the two co-hosting districts showcase booths displaying their service projects and opportunities for others to support their initiatives. Often times, other nongovernmental organizations with programs in these districts also exhibit partnership opportunities.

International clubs interested in international service activities are invited  to attend the fair, learn about local priorities, discuss project partnership opportunities, and build life-long friendships. While project fairs unite programs that need support with donors who are able to fund them, the friendship extend well after projects are implemented.

This year, the Uniendo America Project Fair was held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, at the end of January. About 100 individuals from Canada, the United States, and the seven host countries participated in the event. In addition to booth exhibits, training workshops and presentations were interwoven into the agenda. Janna Glucksman, Regional Grants Manager for The Rotary Foundation, gave a valuable talk on Rotary’s global grants, stressing that grants must be sustainable and measurable. Janna explained “sustainable” to mean long-term solutions which continue to mitigate local challenges long after TRF and Rotarian funds have been used. Janna reviewed the various steps in the global grant process emphasizing the importance of starting a project by working with the local community to identify assets and needs, and align approaches with local values and cultures to encourage local ownership of the project.

Round table discussions around each of Rotary’s areas of focus promoted engaging conversation.

There were other events of a more light-hearted nature. On Thursday night we all had a delicious dinner together at the Hotel Honduras Maya and were entertained by a delightful troupe of native dancers. Friday night was open and I took advantage of the opportunity to see the movie “Guerra de las Galaxias” (“Star Wars”) on the big screen in English with Spanish subtitles. On Saturday afternoon, a large group of us went on a bus tour to Valle de Angeles. We had lunch at Restaurante La Florida and then had some free time to wander through the interesting village and shop.

Mark your calendar: next year’s Fair will be hosted 26-28 January 2017 in San Salvador, El Salvador. Visit  or contact Hector Castro for more information.



Foster service partnerships and new friendships at the 10th annual European project fair

By Leonardo de Angelis, 2013-2016 District Rotary Foundation Chair, District 2072 (Italy)

Dear friends,

Registration is now open for the 10th annual Multi-Club Workshop, scheduled for 7-11 September 2016 in Palermo, Italy. Similar to project fairs, Rotarian friends are invited to come learn about European service projects in need of support at our September event. Join us for three days in striking Palermo where you’ll learn about opportunities to support fellow Rotarians’ work in their home countries including Greece, Macedonia, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Russia, Serbia, Zambia and others, build life-long friends, experience Sicilian culture, and explore historic sites. Attendees will also participate in workshops and informational sessions on global grants, planning and implementing sustainable service projects and Rotary resources and tools for enhancing projects.

View the preliminary agenda and take advantage of early-bird prices by registering before 31 May.

For those wishing to extend their stay, additional excursions around Sicily have been arranged for 11-14 September.

Over the past nine years, international friends from all over the world have worked together to support 30 large-scale projects at previous Multi-Club Workshops, amounting to US $1.6 million invested in Rotary projects. We look forward to seeing you in beautiful Palermo and making an even greater impact in communities needing our assistance!

Warmest regards,


Previous Multi-Club workshops have been hosted in Stockholm, Bari, Riga, Ravenna, Malmö, Manfredonia, Belgrade, Ischia, and St. Petersburg. Collectively, we’ve supported 30 international projects, many of which have received funding from The Rotary Foundation. The 2015 Multi-Club Workshop in St. Petersburg resulted in five supported projects totaling US $353,000. Because of the partnerships built at last year’s event, six global grant applications are currently under review or already being implemented.


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Fostering peace through Rotary Friendship Exchange

By Daniel Dumitras, Rotary Club of Timisoara Ripensis, Romania, and participant in a Rotary Friendship Exchange visit to District 5110, USA

I love watching movies. Through movies, you can meet new people, places, and learn new facts. One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie Casablanca: “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”.  I felt like I was living in a real-life movie when our district hosted the Rotary Friendship Exchange team from District 5110 (Oregon, USA) in 2015. You can talk about real, beautiful and profound friendship when you talk about people like Camille, Susie, Amanda, Laurie, Marylyn, Emily, Jim, Don, Ted, Davis, Tyson and Rick.

I’ve learned that Rotary’s founding pillar Service Above Self is impossible without friendship because “We are not alone… “(Did I mention I also like music?) We are an organization of more than 1.2 million members. Our goal of service unites us, but our friendships make it possible to achieve our goals.

Being someone’s friend means first understanding and accepting him and second sharing similar values. When we were planning our reciprocal visit to Oregon, I mentioned we will first visit New York City before arriving in Oregon. Somebody replied that I will be a little disappointed because Oregon isn’t as big and grand as New York, but I was steadfast: I said our friendships with the Rotarians from Oregon are big, my friends are big with big hearts and big characters. I place my experiences above my expectations. And after all what really matter are people and I’m sure our visit in Oregon will be the final lesson for us about being a truly Rotarian.

In May 2015, District 2241 (Romanio/Moldova) spent two fantastic weeks hosting a Rotary Friendship Exchange team from District 5110 (Oregon, USA). We traveled together, we showed our country, we showed our lifestyle, we showed our history, but more importantly, we show some of our service activities and worked together on a project. We combined fun and friendship to help the community.

As Rotarians, we hold the ingredients to that magical recipe. The exchange was a mixture of fun, common activities and getting to know new people and a new culture. We fostered greater awareness of ourselves and our new friends, exchanged values and beliefs, and opened ourselves to new opinions, perspectives, and ideas.

We were joined by Rotaractors, Interactors and Rotakids. Rotakids is a Rotarian-sponsored program for children between seven and 12 years of age. I’m very proud that even though we have five Rotary clubs, four Rotaract clubs, and three Interact clubs in Timisoara, we jointly sponsor one Rotakids club. We take pride in jointly fostering a love for Rotary’s values from a young age.

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During our August 2015 visit, our hosts in Eugene treated us to many local staples. We visited a local winery and tasted some of Oregon’s wonderful wines.  We experienced an American baseball game. We were interviewed on a local radio station, participated in karaoke at a 1950’s style diner, and enjoyed hikes and Oregon’s beautiful beaches. One of our team members brought paintings she had painted to raise money for basic education and literacy projects for youth in Eugene and in Moldova.  We also worked on a Habitat for Humanity project where we helped local Rotarians build a home in Eugene.

Even though I have many scenes to add to my memories of this trip, the lasting most important memories will always be the people I met and the lasting friendships I have made!

We have agreed to do another exchange between our two districts in 2017 to give more people an opportunity to be a part of this great program.


Happy Rotary Fellowships Month!

By Zuhal Sharp, RI Programs staff

06_01_Rotary Fellowships MonthFriendship is one of the primary reasons our members join and stay in Rotary. To help foster these life-long relationships, Rotary Fellowships offer Rotarians, their spouses, and Rotaractors opportunities to connect with one another while enjoying favorite recreational or professional activities. There are currently 64 Rotary Fellowships covering 64 unique topics of interests from tennis to wine appreciation, marathon running to cooking, scuba diving to recreational vehicles, jazz to computers, and more. Rotary Fellowships organize regional and international events, contests, and meetings where their members bond and build lasting friendships outside their clubs, districts, and even countries. Every year, nearly half of these groups attend the RI convention, exhibit in the House of Friendship, and organize events to practice their favorite activities and strengthen relationships with fellow members.

Whether providing a refrigerated food truck to a food bank in Faro, Portugal, or partnering with Rotary clubs on a humanitarian service project to help a marginalized community with albinism in Ukerewe, Tanzania, many Rotary Fellowships also use their hobby or vocation for service activities. Several Fellowships have been leveraging their major events such as annual sporting championships or dinners as a platform to raise funds for Rotary’s PolioPlus program.

Check back here throughout the month of June to help us celebrate Rotary Fellowships Month through inspirational services stories from various Rotary Fellowships. We hope these stories inspire you to join or start a Rotary Fellowship.

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Rotary Friendship Exchanges build life-long friendships between Israel and Sweden

By Rotarian Ephraim Pri-Har, District 2490, Israel

We were approached by District 2400, Sweden, almost a year ago and, after some correspondence, agreed for their team to visit our district on a Rotary Friendship Exchange in October 2014. Given the instability in Israel earlier this year, we were uncertain whether the exchange would come through, but happily, it worked out and 11 Rotarians arrived on 21 October for a short visit.

We tried our best to show our guests as much of our country as possible during a busy five days. My club, the Rotary Club of Givatayim, hosted a welcome party in our visitors’ honor. Governor Mali Levi, District Treasurer Haim Kennet, the Mayor of Givatayim Mr. Ran Kunik, and many Rotarians from ten clubs participated in this festive evening.

The following day we visited the Dead Sea where our visitors enjoyed bathing and seeing the unique natural beauty of this area. Here they also had an opportunity to visit one of our local Rotary projects. Our guests met children from the Czech Republic who came for skin treatment, a great project made possible by Rotary clubs in Israel and our international partners in the Czech Republic.

The visiting team was hosted by the Rotary Club of Ramla, five clubs from the Haifa area, and the Nazareth Rotary Club and met many local Rotarians during their visit. As the exchange organizer, I took care that local Rotarians accompanied our guests and shared information about the interesting places they visited throughout their entire trip.

Our new friends from District 2400 sent a heartfelt note upon returning back home to Sweden:

Thank you very much for all the wonderful days in Israel! With your extensive program, we received an introduction to Christianity and the history of the Jews in a fantastic way with knowledgeable guides. I especially remember the Swedish-speaking Rabbi, the Dutch guide in Jerusalem, and the city’s unique feeling of history converging with modernism. . The bath in the Dead Sea and meeting the children and youngsters with skin diseases from the Czech Republic was also special. Your environment has proven healing power.

It was exciting to be guided in old Akko’s upper and lower town, see Caesarea, and walk around Nazareth with its churches. Capernaum, we also know from the Bible. It was wonderful to experience so much history that unites so many people and makes Israel a hub for us all.

Israel is a small country but we realised that it takes a long time to travel between the different cities. Please pass along our greeting to our driver Yair, with thanks for taking us safely on the busiest roads and guiding us through Caesarea.

We appreciated that so many Rotarians from different clubs came to meet us and that the club in Nazareth moved their meeting to Saturday for us. Last but not least, we remember with great warmth our fantastic hosts in Ramla. They did everything for us and provided us with everything we needed for each day’s activities. They hosted such a nice evening in the beautiful old city of Jaffa. What a memories!

Unfortunately, we met the hosts in Haifa and Nazareth in haste, but they showed us anyway great generosity and invited us to their homes in the best way. It would have been nice to get to know them a little more.

Thank you again for seeing us off at the airport. Now we hope that our new friends from District 2490 will come and visit us next summer. We are excited to show you our Rotary District 2400, invite you to our homes in Kristianstad and Karlskrona, and return the generosity you showed us.

On behalf of our RFE team,

Inger Hagelin

Despite being a small district, we are very glad to host a group of Rotary Friendship Exchange visitors every year and build friendships and partnerships with our Rotary peers from around the world.

Last year, we had the pleasure of hosting Rotarians from Texas, USA, and next year we plan to visit our new friends in District 2400. We look forward to continuing to share our culture, history, and projects by welcoming many more Rotarian friends to District 2490 in years to come.

Learn more about Rotary Friendship Exchanges online and contact your District Rotary Friendship Exchange Chair for information about how you can get involved.

20-year maternal health partnership started with a conversation over coffee

By Jesse Allerton, Rotary Programs staff

Nigeria has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world: women there have a 1 in 23 lifetime risk of dying in childbirth. In 2010, a five-year Rotary pilot project concluded in the rural northern states of Kaduna and Kano Nigeria. Led by the Rotarian Action Group for Population Growth & Sustainable Development (RFPD) and supported by Rotary members and public and private partners in Germany, Austria, and Nigeria, this US$3 million initiative reached nearly one million at-risk women of childbearing age. Through an array of awareness and advocacy campaigns and hospital-based interventions, the rate of maternal mortality in ten participating hospitals was reduced by 60% and newborn mortality by 15%. To ensure sustainability, the state governments of Kano and Kaduna were given control of the program, which continues to this day.

This amazing program all resulted from a meeting of two Rotarians 20 years ago. Emmanuel Adedolapo (Dolapo) Lufadeju from Nigeria and Robert Zinser from Germany met at the 1994 International Assembly as incoming district governors. The two men had a conversation at the first coffee break and they’ve been close friends and collaborators ever since. We asked Dolapo and Robert to reflect back on their first meeting and how it led to one of Rotary’s most impactful maternal and child health projects.

PDGs Lufadeju and Zinser
PDG Emmanuel Adedolapo (Dolapo) Lufadeju (left) and PDG Robert Zinser (right)

What did you talk about in your first conversation, and what made you each decide you wanted to work with the other?

Dolapo: As incoming governors we talked about population concerns and thought about possible ways of tackling this issue through Rotary projects. I could not only hear Robert’s interest in the conversation but also saw his commitment to help in his eyes and learned from him about his experience as a manager in a third world setting.

Robert: Hearing from Dolapo that he is an agriculturalist I was very interested in his analysis of the reasons and obstacles for the plight of the poor and asked him for a needs assessment. Feeling that the population concern he raised is a global concern I asked him for a project proposal which I could discuss with the incoming club presidents in my district.

You come from very different cultural backgrounds. Were there any special challenges you had to overcome as you began working together?

Dolapo: I had to learn to cope with Robert’s fast pace and respond quickly to communications. While I was very busy as a governor in my large district, Robert invited me to attend his district conference in Germany and later insisted that I should come to meet him at the first Population Conference of Rotary International in Dakar, Senegal, which was a long and adventurous trip by bus and ship for me.

Robert: Having taken to heart the RI theme “BE A FRIEND” at the 1994 International Assembly we did not experience problems in working together. Of course, I had to get used to African habits, but we quickly sorted out the difference between Nigerian time (“fixed time plus x”) and German time (“punctual”) [laughing].

What advice would you give to a Rotarian who wants to take the first step in establishing a partnership like yours?

Dolapo: To meet the person and explore common interests, develop and cultivate friendship and trust. Be dedicated to the common issue. Be open-minded, devote time and be willing to work hard.

Robert: The most important thing is sharing a passion for the same goals. Ideally these goals should be linked to one (or more) of Rotary’s areas of focus, since these are global aims that can be best contributed to through Rotary’s network. Project work—from planning to implementation—is the best way of truly getting to know another person and building up trust and a strong friendship. Our absolutely reliable contact is the basis of our 20 year long friendship and partnership in ongoing successful project work.

Learn more about Robert and Dolapo’s work by visiting RFPD’s maternal health program website,