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.

Rotary International Convention breakout sessions can enhance service projects

If you’re joining us at the 2016 Rotary International Convention, 28 May-1 June, plan to participate in a variety of service-related breakout sessions. You’ll have a chance to learn from program experts, explore service opportunities, build new friendships, and connect with prospective project partners. Sessions will be held in the afternoons, 30 May-1 June.

Service-oriented breakout sessions:

  • Speed Project Fair— This is an opportunity to learn how you can help the Rotary family address local community needs through international partnerships, and for your club or district to find an international project to support. You’ll meet project coordinators, explore partnership, and perhaps be inspired to host or attend a project fair in your region.
  • Rotary Community Corps: Community Solutions for Community Challenges— A Rotary Community Corps (RCC) is a group of non-Rotarians who share our commitment to service and who carry out projects in their communities as well as support local Rotary club projects. There are nearly 8,700 RCCs in 90 countries. You will learn about their role in community development, how to establish an RCC, and how to partner with RCCs on projects.
  • Vocational Service in a Wi-Fi World— How can you bring vocational service to life in clubs with young members? We’ll discuss mentoring programs, networking, and business exchanges, and explore possible language changes in our vocational and classification areas. You’ll also learn how to use My Rotary to network on social media with Rotarians of similar interests around the world.
  • Partnerships: Rotary’s Opportunity to Enhance and Diversify Resources and Impact— Partnering with other organizations, from community groups to government agencies, strengthens projects and increases our ability to serve. Learn about Rotary’s four categories of partners — strategic, resource (corporate and foundation funding), service, and project — as well as important updates for each type.

Rotarian Action Groups and Rotary Fellowships at #Rotary16

Preconvention World Water Summit: Join the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group at the eighth annual World Water Summit. This year’s theme is Sustainable Strategies, Sustainable Solutions.

Breakout sessions:

  • Rotarian Action Groups: Enhancing the Professionalism of Your Service Project —  Learn how your club and district can enhance service projects through collaboration with Rotarian Action Groups — autonomous groups of Rotarians, family members, program participants, and alumni who are experts in a particular field.
  • Fellowships — the Hidden Gem of Rotary — Find out how you can connect with new friends from around the world through Rotary Fellowships — independent groups of Rotarians, family members, program participants, and alumni who share a common passion.

Make connections in the House of Friendship

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

Download 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.



Literacy partnership helps children chase their dreams

Rotarian Juliet Riseley and Dolly Parton at Dolly Parton's Imagination Library launch in Australia
Dolly Parton (left) and Rotarian Juliet Riseley (right) at Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library launch in Australia

By Dolly Parton, U.S. singer-songwriter and founder of The Dollywood Foundation and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program


These are the opening lyrics to a very special song of mine called “Try.” It’s always been the theme song for my Imagination Library because it really captures exactly why I started the program twenty years ago. I want children to have the opportunity to chase their dreams –no matter who they are or where they live.

It is hard for me to believe that the Imagination Library is now 20 years old. I think of the program the same way I think of my songs –they are all like my children –each one special and all of them a source of great pride. The Imagination Library has done pretty well as it has grown from my hometown to a bunch of countries and touching 875,000 kids each and every month. This year we will give out our 75,000,000th book. Simply amazing!

Like a good parent, I cannot take credit for my child’s success. All kinds of people and organizations have pitched in over the years to make it all so wonderfully successful. At the very top of that list of special partners sits Rotary International.  Several years ago, I stood on a stage in Montreal and sang “Try” for the thousands of Rotarians at the 2010 RI Convention. It was a very moving moment for me because I knew we were joining forces with an organization that cares as deeply for children as I do. It’s been a wonderful marriage and I look forward to our organizations continuing to help our children foster a love for reading. We have done so much but there is so much left to do.


Rotary’s service partnership with The Dollywood Foundation’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library provides opportunities to collaborate in support of basic education by fostering a lifelong love of reading and learning from an early age. Through this partnership, children receive access to age-appropriate reading materials to help establish a strong educational foundation early in life.


Register for the Lifecycle of a Service Project Webinar: Evaluation and Promotion

www.rotary,org/webinarsLifecycle of a Service Project (Part 5):  Evaluation and Promotion

We are pleased to present the final installment of the five-part Lifecycle of a Service Project webinar series to support the Rotary family in producing sustainable service projects.

The series has highlighted different strategies, best practices, and Rotary resources available to help clubs and districts undertake successful, sustainable service initiatives, using real-life examples from Rotarians.

In this webinar (part 5 in the series):

  • Learn about the importance of comparing project outcomes to original goals, and how to capitalize on lessons learned
  • Understand how to evaluate your project and maximize its sustainability
  • Learn about available Rotary resources to help you share your service project story with the world

Space is limited to 500 attendees, so register today!  Please note these times are in US Central (Chicago) time.  Use the time zone converter to see what time this will be in your city.

Click on the blue hyperlinks below to register:

English 1: Tuesday, 20 May 2014, 10:00 – 11:00
English 2: Tuesday, 20 May 2014, 18:00 – 19:00
Japanese: Monday, 23 June 2014, 19:00 – 20:00
French: Thursday, 26 June 2014, 09:00 – 10:00
Portuguese: Thursday, 10 July 2014, 14:00 – 15:00
Spanish: Wednesday, 25 June 2014, 10:00 – 11:00

Share this opportunity with fellow Rotarians and Rotaractors. All are welcome!

Physical space inspires and empowers learners

By Brenda Erickson, Rotary Club of Peachtree City, Georgia, USA, and Montessori school teacher

photo-199 copy 7It is quite interesting to consider the roots of empowerment in a school environment. I have seen empowerment happen in the smallest of ways. For instance, yesterday I heard a teacher tell a group of students, “You can go anywhere you want to go!” He wanted the learners to know they were free to express themselves within the limits of his assignment.  “Make this assignment yours!” That invitation encouraged and confirmed the uniqueness of each individual learner. The results were no less than amazing. The learners felt intellectually safe. They were given the space to be themselves. It only took six words to plant the seed of empowerment: “You may go anywhere you want!”

Souns4That same invitation can empower a learner when referring to physical space.  So many times I have entered classrooms filled with wood, metal, and/or plastic. There was no place left for the child. There was no floor space for body and mind to spread out. Learning happens when a child is both physically and intellectually engaged. Required desk seating is a form of control, one that can neutralize learning.  As one child said, “When I have to sit in a desk, I am not able to focus on anything other than how squirmy I am.”

_MG_5829In our visits to scores of preschool classrooms for our cub program for basic literacy that teaches letter-sound associations – Souns – we see dramatic contrasts in physical environments. Less furniture appears to translate into more engaged learning.  We encourage teachers to include movement in their lessons, as we know a moving child is a learning child.  In classrooms with wall-to-wall desks, that is not possible. There is such positive energy in a classroom with space to offer the simple option, “Where do you want to do your work?”  Addressing this topic, one child said, “Choosing the space you work in may seem insignificant, but it is not at all! A little freedom goes a long way!”

Empowering a learner is not in the words of an assignment or in the furniture, it is in the spaces in between. It is in the permissions granted to be a kid, to be trusted with choices. Offer tables, desks, or floor. Give rigorous assignments, and then allow the child to choose within those limits.

Another student summed up the topic with, “When I am able to sit where I want to, I feel like I have endless creativity and imagination!”