Rotary International Convention – Melbourne Australia
By attendees Megan Law, Lesli Massad and Jeanean Jones
Megan Law, Rotary Club of Okla. City Executive Director:
Each spring Rotary clubs, districts and zones around the world see a flurry of activity as they work to train their future leaders and celebrate as their program year draws to a close. While district assemblies, presidents-elect training seminars, and district conferences offer outstanding opportunities for fellowship and growth with Rotarians in your community, there is no better place to learn, celebrate, and see Rotary at-large than at a Rotary International Convention.
Rotating continents each year, Rotarians from around the world will gather annually in late spring/early summer for an opportunity to learn, hear from world-class speakers and Rotary leadership, and energize themselves for the year to come. It’s hard to not feel the energy when you’re surrounded by more than 12,000 Rotarians excited for the opportunity to discover new projects, meet potential grant partners, and have fun along the way!
This past May, I was honored to represent our club along with Club 29 President Lesli Massad and District 5750 Governor Jeanean Yanish Jones in Melbourne, Australia to prepare for our year ahead. Here’s what each had to say:
After enduring a sleepless 18-hour flight and finally figuring out what day and time it was, we dove headfirst into this year’s Rotary International Convention. From the Opening General Assembly to the Closing Assembly, tens of thousands of us from countries and diverse backgrounds across the globe collectively gathered with one purpose – a shared commitment to transforming our communities and communities worldwide.
I was inspired by the stories of Rotarians who had spearheaded life-changing and innovative projects, initiatives, and programs. Although we come from different countries, cultures, and club sizes, what struck me the most was the dedication and commitment each had to their communities and to Rotary. My participation in this year’s convention reminded me that the ability exists for each of us, in our personal lives and as Rotarians, to transcend borders and boundaries, creating environments where people feel connected and supported. These takeaways are the framework behind my desire to focus this year on engagement, impact, retention and “Creating Hope in the World.”
Being amidst 17,000 exemplary Rotarians in Melbourne, Australia, united and true desire to create lasting change across the globe, was an inspiring and profound experience. The Rotary Convention speakers gave numerous examples of humanitarian efforts transforming health care, rethinking cities, advancing the cause of peace, empowering women and working to protect our environment around the world where Rotarians envisioned a more peaceful world with presentations that ranged from 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee to Photojournalist María Björk Ingvadóttir. The Rotary leadership including our first female Rotary International President Jennifer Jones, first female president ever in 1988, Sylvia Whitlock, and now current RI President Gordon McInally, shared heartfelt messages of awe and appreciation for the work of the Rotary Clubs and the Rotary Foundation. The General Sessions, End Polio Now Walk, House of Friendship, and time visiting at meals and on the tram, with Rotarians who share our special bond really demonstrated to me the power of Rotary. The Rotary convention was an experience of a lifetime, and I am so grateful to have had this Rotary immersive experience and Create Hope in the World.
Mark your calendars now for May 25 – 29, 2024 to attend the Rotary International Convention in Singapore. With as many as 40,000 attendees expected, this will be one of the largest conferences in many years! For additional information on the 2024 Rotary International Convention: https://convention.rotary.org/en-us/