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In addition to the Presidential Citation, what are the other four Rotary International Awards for Clubs?
Awards for clubs
2012-13 Presidential Citation
Nominators: District governors
31 March 2013 -- Clubs to submit completed forms to their district governor for certification
15 April 2013 -- District governors to report the names of qualifying clubs in Member Access Portal
The 2012-13 Presidential Citation will recognize Rotary clubs that achieve an array of accomplishments that help them become stronger, deliever effective service, and enhance their public image. Rotaract and Interact clubs can also qualify for a citation.
Significant Achievement Award
Nominators: District governors
Deadline: 15 March
Presidential recognition of a club activity which addresses a significant problem or need in the community. A district selects one project and submits nomination to RI. A president-appointed selection committee evaluates nominations.
Recognition of Smaller Club Membership Growth
Nominators: District governors
Deadline: 16 May - 30 June
This district-level award offers an incentive to clubs that fall below the charter requirement of 20 members by recognizing the challenges and achievements of small clubs.
RI Membership Development and Extension Award -- MDEA
Nominators: District governors
Deadline: Beginning 15 May, district governors submit recognition forms to RI.
This district-level certificate program recognizes membership growth in existing clubs, retention of current club members, and the organization of new clubs. Districts that meet their membership goals are also recognized.
RI Recognition of Membership Development Initiatives -- MDI
Nominators: District governors
Deadline: District governors must receive submissions from clubs by 15 April. RI must receive submission forms from district governors by 15 May.
This district-level certificate recognizes clubs for the development and implementation of a creative plan or strategy to support one of the three primary foundations of membership growth and development: retention, recruitment of qualified new members, or the organization of new Rotary clubs.
What did Rotarian Ancil Brown do in 1918?
U.S. Rotarian Ancil Brown creates the Allied Rotary Club of France in Paris. The club's first meeting is on 23 August at the Hotel Continental. As the club's first president, Brown invites U.S. Rotarians who are in Paris for the war effort to attend.
Where should you be next June?
2013 Rotary International Convention
2013 Rotary International Convention
Lisbon, Portugal | 23-26 June"
RI President Sakuji Tanaka welcomes you to join him at the 2013 RI Convention in Lisbon: A Harbor for Peace. Read the president's welcome.
Invite a guest
You can register yourself and up to four guests online. Experiencing a convention may even move your invited guests to become Rotarians! Check out special pricing for guests.
What is Rotary's main objective?
The 2007-08 Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Robert S. Scott speaks to members of the media during a press conference on polio at the 2008 RI Convention. Photo by Rotary Images/Monika Lee
Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and around the globe. The 1.2 million Rotarians who make up more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in nearly every country in the world share a dedication to the ideal of Service Above Self.
Rotary clubs are open to people of all cultures and ethnicities and are not affiliated with any political or religious organizations.
Although any Rotary member can participate in an E-Club on-line meeting to make up for a missed meeting, the E-Club does have regular full-time members. Is full-time membership in a Rotary E-Club restricted to residents of the E-Club's community or district?
Membership and Development
Rotary e-clubs are clubs that meet online. For many members, this new way of experiencing Rotary offers the benefits of a Rotary club, with added flexibility.
Other than meeting online to conduct club business, Rotary e-clubs are essentially the same as any other Rotary club: club members carry out service projects, support The Rotary Foundation, and socialize and network with each other. The main difference? E-clubs are accessible 24/7.
Although each e-club is based in a specific district, its membership can be drawn from anywhere in the world. Other e-clubs may choose to focus their membership on a particular region or community. View a list of current Rotary e-clubs.
E-clubs became official in July 2010. Club members range from young professionals to retirees E-clubs attract members who live in different places throughout the year, have family or work commitments, travel frequently, or have limited mobility. Also, any Rotarian can make up a missed meeting by participating in an e-club online meeting. The addition of Rotary e-clubs reflects the growth of online communities and the sheer number of Rotarians -- and potential new members --who are already meeting and interacting online.
Rotary e-clubs offer a variety of meeting formats such as webinars, videoconferencing, message boards, instant messaging, or Skype to facilitate either simultaneous or asynchronous communication. Before an e-club meeting, a club representative posts content for that week’s meeting. Club members then attend the meeting online to discuss topics and plan projects. Some Rotary e-clubs even supplement their meetings with in-person meetings.
E-clubs facilitate international service by initiating projects or collaborating with other Rotary clubs around the world. At the same time, an e-club might focus on a particular geographic region with local community service projects where members participate in person.
If you’re interested in starting an e-club, contact your district governor (as outlined in Organizing New Clubs: A Guide for District Governors and Special Representatives). See “What You Need to Know about Rotary E-Clubs” for more about Rotary e-clubs and how they function.
If you have questions about e-clubs, ask your Club and District Support representative.
What is the Rotary Reconnections Newsletter?
Dr. Yasmin Amarsi, dean of Aga Khan University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery,
welcomes VTT leader Matthias Oladeinde Shoga to the university’s campus in Kampala, Uganda
Reconnections is a bimonthly e-newsletter for and about alumni of The Rotary Foundation's programs, providing timely updates on alumni activities and accomplishments as well as Rotary news.
In Reconnections, you can read stories about Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholars, Rotary Peace Fellows and other alumni working to make a difference in the world.
and you will automatically receive Reconnections.
How many brothers and sisters does District Governor Ed Philman have?
Ed was born and raised on a farm near Bell, Fl., 5th in a family of 12 children. He and Jeanne married in 1970 and have three daughters and three granddaughters, are former foster parents, children church leaders and attend Bell Baptist Church. Their daughter, Kendra was a RYE student to Australia and a charter member of the Williston Rotary Club. Ed is a member of several organizations, served as District Vice-President of the Conference of County Court Judges of Florida, Director of Hospice of North Central Florida n/k/a Haven Hospice and was named Gilchrist County’s Citizen of the Year. He was presented the Distinguished Service Award by the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency, Chapter XV.
Ed graduated from Mercer University’s Law School with Honors, University of Florida, Lake City Community College, Lake City Forest Ranger School and Bell High School. Since taking office in 1989 he has served as Gilchrist County Court Judge. Previously he was in private law practice and served as an Assistant State Attorney. Ed served in the U.S. Army as an infantryman in Vietnam and holds the Combat Infantryman Badge.
A Rotarian since 1981, he has served as president of the Trenton Rotary Club, has been active in youth and international programs for many years and served as an Assistant Governor. He led his club’s RYLA program for three years, was its International Director, Youth Exchange Committee chair and coordinated GSE participation for many years. Ed is a member of the District Youth Exchange Committee, Finance Committee and Foundation Committee and was instrumental in forming the Williston Rotary Club. Williston Rotary Club named Ed as its Rotarian of the Year for 2008-09. He and Jeanne have enjoyed hosting a Youth Exchange student, a member of Australia’s and India’s GSE teams and Kendra’s Australian host family. Trenton Rotary presented him with its International Service Award in 2000. Ed is a Multiple Paul Harris Fellow, Paul Harris Society Member and a Benefactor. His hobbies are family and boating.
Where was the first Interact Club chartered?
This year, the Interact program marks its 50th anniversary.
The first Interact club was chartered 5 November 1962 at Melbourne High School, Florida, USA, a few months after the program was approved by the Rotary International Board of Directors. The club and its 39 charter members were sponsored by the Rotary Club of Melbourne.
Interact’s name is a combination of “international” and “action.” Interact clubs are sponsored by Rotary clubs, which provide support and guidance, but they are self-governing and self-supporting. Interact is open to young men and women, ages 12-18.
Browse the image gallery to see Interactors in action during the past 50 years. The following are a few historic facts and firsts:
What is the connection between Aga Khan University and the Rotary Foundation?
Rotary International News -- 9 July 2012
Left: Dr. Yasmin Amarsi, dean of Aga Khan University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, welcomes VTT leader Matthias Oladeinde Shoga to the university’s campus in Kampala, Uganda. Photo by Jan Damery Right: The team meets staff from the Mpigi Health Center near Kampala. Photo courtesy of Matthias Oladeinde Shoga
Members of a vocational training team shared their expertise in nursing education with faculty at Aga Khan University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery recently.
The training team, the first funded by a Rotary Foundation packaged grant, visited the campus in Kampala, Uganda, 27 February-12 March. Led by physician and Past District Governor Matthias Oladeinde Shoga, the three nurse educators from Nigeria trained their counterparts in teaching practices that promote student learning and improve effectiveness in education.
The training covered research techniques, the use of anatomical models, simulated classroom situations, and how to assess students’ attitudes through body language.
“To demonstrate their acquired experience, the faculty conducted classes for students with the team in attendance as observers,” says Shoga. “The [VTT] experience was enriching for both the team and the university, as we had things to learn from each other.”
Maternal and child health
The Foundation entered a strategic partnership with Aga Khan University last year, creating new opportunities for Rotarians to serve in the maternal and child health area of focus. Packaged grants are available under the Foundation’s Future Vision grant model.
The team also met Dr. Yasmin Amarsi, dean of the school, who describes the launch of the partnership between the university and The Rotary Foundation through the VTT as a “history-making opportunity” to help improve maternal and child health in East Africa. She notes that it was particularly significant that the first VTT came to the university from another African country to forge stronger continental links and to learn from each other’s experiences.
Team members also participated in a community service project sponsored by the Rotary Club of Muyenga, assisting the treatment of patients at a health clinic in Kassamu Kyali. The clinic is part of a large, sustainable Foundation grant project active in three areas of focus. It has established a clean water system, a bakery, a goat-breeding program, a vocational center where women sew dresses and uniforms for orphans and free mosquito bed nets for the community, and a solar-powered cold-chain facility that stores vaccines. The effort is sponsored by the Muyenga club and the Rotary Club of Genk-Noord, Belgium.
“This was a revelation -- to see a single project touching so many areas of the lives of the inhabitants,” says Shoga.
In addition, team members conducted a prenatal and health education clinic at the Mpigi Health Center, which serves about 120,000 people in an area near Kampala.
As a result of the VTT, team members say they have gained a better understanding of Rotary and have since become involved in service projects with their sponsor clubs.
“One of the team members has shown interest in joining her sponsor club,” says Shoga. “All have been invited to join the Rotary Foundation alumni association [and] are enthusiastic about joining.”
As for future contacts between the VTT and Aga Khan University, Shoga says the university’s faculty are committed to continuing to improve their skills as educators and excited to be part of opportunities that offer outside assistance.
“Our findings of a survey made of students and faculty, as well as recommendations of the team, have been [provided] for future use by the faculty,” says Shoga. “The VTT plans to remain connected to the nursing education faculty at Aga Khan University.”
When and where was the first Roteract club certified?
In March 1968, the Rotaract Club of University of North Carolina-Charlotte, USA, planted a tree on its campus to commemorate receiving the first Rotaract charter. Rotary Images
In the late 1960s, noting the success of the recently formed Interact program, the RI Board realized the need for a program of service, activity, and fellowship for young adults no longer of Interact age (14-18). The name Rotaract (Rotary in Action) was selected to show the program's close affiliation with both Rotary and Interact clubs.
RI President Luther Hodges inaugurated Rotaract in 1968, with the Rotaract Club of University of North Carolina-Charlotte, USA, being the first club. The club received its charter on 13 March and had 21 members.
Within a day of the certification of the Rotaract Club of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the Rotaract Club of the University of La Salle was chartered in Tacubaya, Mexico. The Rotaract clubs of Florence, Italy; Gaston College and Sylva, both in North Carolina; and Secunderabad, India, were all certified in the following weeks. Since the 1950s, many Rotary clubs had been starting unofficial clubs for young adults, so this fueled Rotaract’s rapid growth in its first few years. Rotaract grew from 21 clubs in 1967-68 to 289 clubs a year later. There are now 7,000 Rotaract clubs in 163 countries and geographic areas.
Rotaract clubs were originally open to young men and women ages 17-24. Since 1991, young adults ages 18-30 have been welcomed.
Learn more about World Rotaract Week , observed this year 10-16 March. Contact Rotary history and archives for more historical information about Rotary.
Who is Joe Brownlee?
Joe Brownlee plans and coordinates strategic initiatives at Rotary International. He joined Rotary in 2004 as its general auditor and has since held the positions of strategic planning manager, in which he worked closely with top leadership to create the organization's strategic plan, and global launch manager for Future Vision, Rotary's new, streamlined grant model.
Joe has 20 years of professional experience in health care, transportation, government, membership organizations, and charities. His expertise includes strategic planning and performance management, operational auditing, customer service center management, project and contract management, and program implementation management.
Joe holds a bachelor of science in business administration and accounting from the University of South Carolina. In 1986, he received a college scholarship from the Rotary Club of Beaufort. Joe is a member of the Rotary Club of Evanston and volunteers with his club and with several charities for children.
What new threat is targeting Rotarians?
Rotary International News - 2 July 2012
Several Rotarians have recently reported receiving a fraudulent email sent out in the name of a senior Rotary leader, a trustee of The Rotary Foundation, seeking money. The email scam claims that the individual is stuck at an airport with lost luggage and needs the cash to get home. Please be aware this email is a scam.
Other recent scams include:
An email scam with the subject line "Award Winning Notification Final" has targeted Rotarians claiming that they are one of 21 winners of a promotional program held on 1 January 2012 by the Rotary Foundation. The fake promotion says winners will receive US$1 million cash payment. The email is signed by "Mr. Jerry Blake, The Promotion Manager, Rotary Foundation Int (UK), London, United Kingdom."
An email scam targeting Rotarians and Rotaractors claims the recipient has won hundreds of thousands of euros through an international promotional program conducted by the "Euro-Millones Lottery". Attached to the e-mail is a PDF letter signed by "Luis Alberto, Vice President" with a photo of Past RI President Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar.
An email scam with the subject line "Dear Award Beneficiary!!!" has targeted Rotarians claiming the recipient has won US$500,000 and two HP laptops from RI. The email asks for contact information and is signed by "Mrs. Sarah Olic, Programme Co-ordinator, Rotary International".
RI encourages Rotarians and Rotary clubs to avoid becoming victims of such scams by deleting any email that appears suspicious.
What is the Rotary Foundation's new grant model and how will it benefit clubs and districts?
What is the new grant model (also called Future Vision)?
The Rotary Foundation’s new grant model supports district and club humanitarian and educational projects through three types of grants: district grants, global grants, and packaged grants.
How will the new grant model benefit clubs and districts?
The new grant model offers several advantages:
While most people have heard of Rotary, only a small percentage know what Rotary does. How can you promote Rotary?
Pauline Leung, Rotary public image coordinator from Taiwan, says its important for Rotarians to promote a consistent message. A public image survey conducted by RI in 2010 indicates that many people know about Rotary, but not necessarily what the organization does. Photo courtesy of Pauline Leung
Rotary International News -- 27 September 2011
Do your friends and co-workers know that you're a Rotarian? Do you tell acquaintances about your club's good works in the community or internationally?
Did you know that talking about your involvement in Rotary could significantly enhance the organization's image and boost public awareness? It’s up to every Rotarian to tell the world what Rotary is and does.
According to a public image survey commissioned by Rotary International in 2010, people are much more likely to know about Rotary and perceive it positively as a charitable organization if they personally know a Rotarian. The finding is just one of many that could shape how clubs and districts promote Rotary in their communities.
RI commissioned the survey of 1,000 individuals in each of six countries -- Argentina, Australia, Germany, Japan, South Africa, and the United States -- to gauge the general public's awareness and perception of the organization. The results are consistent with those of a similar survey conducted in 2006: While respondents had heard of Rotary, they did not know much about what it does.
Building familiarity is not easy, says Pauline Leung, Rotary public image general coordinator. "Sometimes Rotarians are doing too many things and can get people confused about Rotary. We must have consistency when promoting the image of Rotary. Rotarians should receive training so they can clearly express our position, our vision, our values, and our areas of focus."
High awareness, low familiarity
The survey showed that awareness of Rotary varies from country to country, and culture to culture. Of the six countries surveyed, Australia had the highest proportion of respondents who said they were aware of Rotary (95 percent), while Germany had the lowest (34 percent).
But awareness of Rotary doesn't necessarily translate into familiarity with what it does. While almost everyone in Australia indicated an awareness of Rotary, only 35 percent of respondents said they had some familiarity with the organization. In South Africa, where 80 percent of respondents indicated they were aware of Rotary, only 23 percent said they had some familiarity with what it does.
The survey report concluded that public image efforts will need to be tailored to each country. It also noted that boosting awareness alone will not be enough to get the public to readily associate Rotary with good works, or to generate greater community involvement.
The survey further concluded that demographics play a significant role in whether people have heard of Rotary. The survey included a cross section of each country's population by age, gender, income level, and education level. In Japan, 67 percent of respondents age 40 or older said they had heard of Rotary, compared to only 38 percent of those younger than 40. In Argentina, 63 percent of the highest income bracket had heard of Rotary, while only 20 percent of the lowest income bracket had. The report concluded that clubs may need to gain a better understanding of what would increase interest among younger professionals.
Public perception and giving
The public’s view of Rotarians differs somewhat from how Rotarians see themselves. More than 65 percent of respondents viewed Rotarians as charitable, respected, and caring. But only 26 percent selected the attribute women to describe Rotary, while more than 50 percent associated the organization with men. In other questions, more respondents said they associated club membership with men than with women. The survey concluded that Rotary is still being seen as a male-dominated organization. Work needs to be directed toward communicating opportunities for women to join.
Interest in contributing time or money to a Rotary club varied by nation. Interest was highest in South Africa, at 49 percent, and lowest in Japan, at 10 percent. The survey report concluded that because interest in contributing money varies by nation, Rotarians need to tailor marketing efforts to reflect local club initiatives.
The public’s interest in joining a Rotary club is low. Among the countries surveyed, an average of only 16 percent of respondents said they would be likely to join a local Rotary club. More than 59 percent said they would be unlikely to join. In the United States, women were half as likely as men to report interest in joining.
Similar findings came from focus groups that RI conducted between 2008 and 2010. The 40 groups included non-Rotarians in cities where Rotary had been experiencing membership declines. Read more about the results in the October/November 2010 issue of The Membership Minute, or download the full report.
“Because each Rotary club is independent in deciding what services they want to be involved in, this can cause mixed impressions in the communities on what we do,” Leung says. “These surveys underscore the importance of having a consistent message.”
The 1.2 million Rotary club members worldwide are the organization's greatest strength. Here are a few resources that clubs and districts can use to promote Rotary:
What tasty treat awaits you in Lisbon?
by Susie Ma
The Rotarian -- August 2012
After sinking your teeth into the soft, custardy center of a flaky travesseiro, you might wonder why Portuguese pastries are not as celebrated as their French counterparts. Rotarians attending the 2013 RI Convention in Lisbon, 23-26 June, will be able to sample these delights and decide for themselves.
Lisbon’s Belém district offers much to see, including the Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery. It also has a signature sweet called pastel de Belém, a petite tart sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar that, with a cup of coffee, provides a perfect break from sightseeing. Using a well-guarded recipe, a bakery called Antiga Confeitaria de Belém has made pastéis de Belém since 1837. The recipe was first created by nuns at the Jerónimos Monastery. You can find similar treats, called pastéis de nata, all over Portugal.
At Pastelaria Piriquita in Sintra, about 20 miles from Lisbon, lines snake out the door and around the block for travesseiros and a tartlet called a queijada that’s filled with a mixture of egg yolk, sugar, and fresh cheese. Business is so good that a second Piriquita bakery was established nearby, a three-minute walk away. Stop by in the morning before the tourist buses arrive.
The bakeries will pack these treats to go, and some, such as queijadas, travel well, even overseas.
Register early and save for the 2013 RI Convention in Lisbon. Read more stories from The Rotarian or sign up for the digital edition.
What can you do for Rotary this month?
Rotary International News -- 27 July 2012
Share your passion for Rotary with your family, friends, and community during Membership and Extension Month in August. This year you’re invited to take part in two activities designed to help you remember why you joined Rotary, what keeps you coming back, and why others should join.
First, take the Rotary Membership Challenge. Commit to sponsor a new member, tell a friend or colleague about your club’s projects, or volunteer as a mentor to prospective or new members. After you complete the form we’ll email you links to resources to help you meet the challenge!
Second, participate in the first-ever Rotary Moment Tweet Day on 14 August. Tweet about your favorite Rotary memory or event, talk about your club’s activities, or share your community service project. Use hashtag #RotaryMoment.
Not on Twitter? Listen to Rotary’s popular webinar Using Social Media to Promote Your Club or District to learn how to create a Twitter account, post your first tweet, use hashtags, and lots more.
When was The Rotarian first published, and who was the first editor?
Rotary International News -- 12 January 2009
From its humble beginnings as a 12-page periodical, The Rotarian has grown into an award-winning publication with a circulation of over 500,000, inspiring the creation of a host of Rotary regional magazines.
The first issue of The National Rotarian appeared in January 1911. It included news items from existing clubs, announcements of new clubs, and an essay written by Paul P. Harris, in which he discussed the purpose of Rotary clubs.
As president of Rotary, Harris, along with secretary Chesley R. Perry, launched the publication as a way to share information with a growing number of Rotarians. Perry was the magazine’s first editor and held the position until 1928.
The formation of clubs in Canada and Great Britain and Ireland prompted the magazine to change its name to The Rotarian in 1912.
Early on, the magazine focused on business ethics, character development, and membership growth. Throughout the years, well-known critics and authors and popular artists and photographers contributed their work to its covers and pages.
In addition to The Rotarian , the Rotary World Magazine Press produces 31 Rotary regional magazines. These publications are produced independently by Rotarians, distributed in more than 130 countries, and published in over 20 languages.
The first regional magazine was published in Great Britain and Ireland in 1915. In the 1920s, a regional magazine in Australia became the predecessor of Rotary Down Under and the first regional publication to gain RI approval.
A Shining Light from Rotary International History: Who is Edgar F. Allen?
Allen in the December 1936 issue of The Rotarian. Rotary Images
Rotary International News -- 3 September 2008
In 1929, The Rotary Foundation made its first donation: a US$500 gift to the International Society for Crippled Children, known today as Easter Seals.
Rotarian Edgar F. Allen founded the society in 1921 with help from the Rotary Club of Elyria, Ohio, USA, to aid children afflicted with crippling diseases. Rotary founder Paul Harris served as chair of the society.
Allen joined the Elyria club in 1918. In 1919, at a special club meeting, he presented his idea to provide specialized care to children with disabilities in their own communities. Elyria Rotarians were moved by his presentation and took up his cause, founding what would become the International Society for Crippled Children.
Providing access to adequate medical care was an important cause to Allen. In 1907, one of Allen's sons died due to lack of medical care after a street car accident. Allen committed himself to building a hospital in Elyria and sold his successful business to devote his efforts to fundraising.
On 30 October 1908, the Elyria Memorial Hospital opened. Allen also helped to build the Gates Hospital, the first hospital in the United States devoted to the care of children with disabilities, which opened in 1915.
Daddy Allen, as he was called by the children who knew him, has been credited with coining the phrase “Keep on keeping on.”
Rotary clubs and Rotarians continue to work with local Easter Seals organizations as volunteers, event sponsors, and donors.
The People Who Make Rotary International Happen: Who is Kenneth M. Schuppert Jr.?
Kenneth M. Schuppert Jr.
Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA (2011-13)
Kenneth Schuppert is an attorney at the law firm Blackburn, Maloney, and Schuppert LLC. He is a trustee and vice chair of Parkway Medical Center and has been president of the Decatur Jaycees, vice president of the Tennessee Valley Council of the Greater Alabama Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and president of the Old Decatur Historic Association. Ken has served Rotary as a Communications Committee member, Council on Legislation representative, and president’s representative. He has received The Rotary Foundation Distinguished Service Award. Ken and his wife, Lynn, also a Rotarian, are Major Donors and Bequest Society members.
The People Who Make Rotary International Happen: Who is Stephen R. Brown?
Stephen R. Brown
Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, California, USA (2010-14)
The Rotary Foundation Board of Trustees is responsible for managing the business of the Foundation. Its members include the chair, chair-elect, vice chair, and the Rotary general secretary. Trustees are appointed to four-year terms by the RI president, with approval from the RI Board of Directors.
Stephen R. Brown has practiced with the law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps since 1972. He is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, the State Bar of California, and the San Diego Bankruptcy Forum, and is chair of the Triangle Trust. He has served as chair of the Golden Triangle Marketing Consortium, director of the Golden Triangle Arts Foundation, and member of the Stanford Law School Board of Visitors. He received the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award from the United Nations Association of San Diego.
A charter member of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, he has served RI as a committee and task force chair, Future Vision Committee member, and Permanent Fund national adviser. He has worked on projects to establish a school in Afghanistan, a water system in Kenya, and a sewing center for Somali refugees in San Diego.
He is a recipient of The Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service Award and the RI Service Above Self Award. Steve and his wife, Susan, are members of the Arch C. Klumph Society.
The People Who Make Rotary International Happen: Who is John Osterlund?
The Rotary Foundation is one of the largest charitable organizations in the United States for fundraising and international grant making. It's staffed by about 160 dedicated professionals. As general manager of The Rotary Foundation, John Osterlund oversees the operations of four divisions: PolioPlus, Fund Development, Future Vision Pilot Operations, and Foundation Programs. John has been a member of the Rotary staff for approximately 20 years.
He graduated with a degree in political science from the University of South Florida in Gainesville, Florida, USA, and was awarded a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship. John received his master's degree in history education from Florida State University in Tallahassee.
John is a member of the Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse, Evanston, Illinois. He is a Paul Harris Fellow and a Benefactor of The Rotary Foundation.
How many clubs did James W. Davidson charter during his 1928 trip to Asia and the Middle East?
Canadian Rotarian James W. Davidson embarks on a mission to organize clubs in Asia and the Middle East. During the three-year odyssey. Davidson charters 23 clubs in 12 countries, as far west as Turkey and as far east as Thailand.
View a photo gallery of Davidson's journey
How many components must a club achieve to be awarded the Presidential Citation?
Club recognition has TWO Rotary Foundation contribution components and FOUR membership components. Clubs that meet all requirements and are certified by the district governor will receive a certificate. Clubs must submit their results to the district governor no later than 6 April 2012.
Mandatory: The Rotary Foundation (two components)
Mandatory: Membership (four components)
And achievement of two of the following four components:
Full Presidential Citation description.
The People Who Make Rotary International Happen: Who is Theresa Nissen?
Theresa Nissen manages more than 200 employees, who staff the Rotary Coordinator program, Rotary International's seven international offices, and five divisions: Club and District Support, Membership Development and Research, Leadership Education and Training, RI Programs, and International Meetings.
Theresa began her career at Rotary more than 20 years ago as a scholarships coordinator for The Rotary Foundation. She has held a variety of positions, including managing the Foundation's Humanitarian Grants Program and the reorganization and administration of Rotary's international offices.
Theresa is a Paul Harris Fellow and a member of the Rotary Club of Wilmette Harbor, Wilmette, Illinois, USA.
Who is David Jensen?
Rotary International News -- 19 March 2012
Rotary International has named David Jensen, former vice president for corporate communications at GE Capital International Services (now Genpact), as its new chief communications officer, directing all internal and external communications operations at Rotary International, headquartered in Evanston, Illinois, USA.
As CCO, Jensen will oversee a staff of about 115 professionals representing public relations, editorial services, broadcast media, Rotary's website, the award-winning magazine The Rotarian, Language Services, and other functions.
Major projects include Rotary's brand revitalization initiative and the coordination of internal and external communications linked to the organization’s new strategic plan, which identifies enhancing Rotary’s image as a top priority.
Jensen's arrival comes at a key moment in the 107-year history of Rotary, as the organization closes in on its top goal: the global eradication of the crippling childhood disease polio. Rotary is a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, launched in 1988. Since then, Rotary and its partners have reduced the incidence of polio by more than 99 percent, from 350,000 cases a year to fewer than 700 cases in 2011.
"We are in the business of storytelling, and Rotary has great stories to tell -- polio eradication being the perfect example," Jensen said. "I feel very fortunate to come to Rotary at this time."
Jensen held several communications management positions at GE, which he joined in 2001. Before that, he worked for the global public relations firm Ketchum for more than five years, including a stint as general manager of the company's Hong Kong operations. He also held communications positions at Boeing, Raytheon, and Ampex.
Jensen earned a bachelor's degree in journalism at Arizona State University. He is accredited by the International Association of Business Communicators and is a certified green belt in Six Sigma, the process-improvement methodology.
When and where was the first National Convention of the Rotary Clubs of America held?
The first national convention of the Rotary Clubs of America was held in Rotary’s birthplace, Chicago, in 1910.
On 15 August 1910, Paul Harris convened the first National Convention of the Rotary Clubs of America.
“This is going to be a convention in which we will get down to business and endeavor to launch the National Association of Rotary Clubs. We need the best thought and cooperation of every single man who is here," Harris told the 60 registrants assembled at the Congress Hotel in Chicago.
At the time of the 1910 Convention, Rotary had 16 clubs and more than 1,000 members. In 2005, more than 39,000 people attended the RI Convention in Chicago to celebrate Rotary's centennial.
Rotary has held conventions throughout the world - including Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1921; Mexico City in 1953; Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1957; and Tokyo in 1978. These yearly meetings combine Rotary business with fellowship and feature guest speakers, workshops, meetings, and exhibits.
The International Fellowship of Rotarian Convention Goers, a group of Rotarians dedicated to promoting and attending the RI gatherings, encourages all Rotarians to attend at least one convention, where they will form new friendships and learn how Rotarians worldwide carry out humanitarian efforts and promote ethical service through their vocations.
For more information about Rotary history, visit Rotary History and Archives or the Rotary Global History Fellowship.
Is the Rotary International President a voting member of the Council on Legislation?
The Council on Legislation, created in 1934, becomes the official law-making body of Rotary in 1970. Clubs gain a voice in Rotary governance by submitting legislation to the Council. Each district sends a representative to the Council to review and vote on proposed legislation.
Council actions spur some of Rotary's most important work, such as the creation of PolioPlus in 1986 and the admission of women in 1989.
About the Council on Legislation
The Council on Legislation, Rotary's "parliament," meets every three years to deliberate and act upon all proposed enactments and resolutions submitted by clubs, district conferences, the General Council and Conference of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, and the RI Board. The Council itself also makes proposals.
The Council on Legislation is an important part of Rotary's governance process. While the Board of Directors sets policies for Rotary International, the Council is where Rotary clubs have their say in the governance of the association. Every three years, each district sends a representative to the Council, which reviews proposed legislation. Every club and district is entitled to submit legislation to the Council, and some of Rotary’s most important work has resulted from Council action. Women were admitted into Rotary because of the action of the 1989 Council on Legislation, and PolioPlus was born as the result of the 1986 Council.
The Council comprises more than 500 representatives from every part of the Rotary world. Voting members include one elected representative of the clubs of each Rotary district. Some nonvoting members include the chair and vice chair of the Council, the RI president, members of the RI Board, and past RI presidents.
The next Council on Legislation will be in April 2013 in Chicago. Council representatives will be selected during the 2010-11 Rotary year.
The deadline to submit legislation to the 2013 Council on Legislation is 31 December 2011.
What’s new for the 2013 Council?
The 2010 Council made a number of changes to the legislative process for the 2013 Council, including the requirement that all proposed legislation must be submitted with a statement of purpose and effect as well as a limit to the number of times a Rotarian can serve as a voting member of the Council. Further information on these changes can be found below and in What’s New for the 2013 Council .
c/o Council Services Section
1560 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201 USA
E-mail: Council Services
All documents are in PDF format, unless otherwise noted.
How does Stop Hunger Now provide aid?
Stop Hunger Now has always channeled in-kind aid since its formation in 1998. It continues to expand its ability to distribute donated goods to third world countries along with its volunteer packaging program. Stop Hunger Now is seeking Rotary’s assistance to bring greater awareness among corporations of the organization’s ability to channel donated in-kind goods.
Lee Warren, New Initiatives Developer for Stop Hunger Now reports, “Following the earthquake in Haiti, for example, we had a number of companies try to donate to large non-profits, but those organization only take money. We were able to channel pallets of water, meal replacement drinks, medicine, pre-cooked meat, etc. that amount to millions of dollars of aid.”
Another example, Warren said, is through Stop Hunger Now’s relationships with several pharmaceutical companies. “The companies are offering free medicine that is within 7-8 months of expiration, if groups small or large, can handle shipping and delivery. Next month when I am in Haiti we will be meeting with Dr. Guy Theodore to see how Haiti might be the recipient of select meds. This is an example of how we help corporations donate directly to global poverty.”
Stop Hunger Now wants corporations to know of its ability to channel aid, and it is seeking Rotary partners in Zones 33 and 34 to promote these opportunities for in-kind giving among potential corporate partners that are looking to make a difference in the world.
Warren observed, “The children that receive our meals have many needs. Stop Hunger Now is committed to sending all types of essential aid to the communities we serve. We are actively seeking donations from US manufacturers and distributors of new, bulk supplies of medicine, tools, blankets, shoes and many other types of aid.” If your company or organization is able to donate any of these products, or if you know of a company that can, please contact Paul Renaud at email@example.com.
What are Rotary Foundation 3-H Grants?
The Rotary Foundation funds the first Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Grant: a project to immunize six million Philippine children against polio. RI President James L. Bomar signs an agreement with the Philippine government to begin immunization and administers the first drops of vaccine to a Philippine child. The grant sets the stage for Rotary's decades-long commitment to the eradication of polio.
What, When and Where is the Caribbean Partnership Celebration 2012?
The Caribbean Partnership provides opportunities for Rotarians in the United States and throughout the countries of the Caribbean and North Atlantic to become better educated as to our respective cultural similarities and differences and to develop relationships, share knowledge, ideas, and interests that would result in partnered clubs.
Our Caribbean Partnership continues to fulfill the specific purpose for which our Corporation was organized:
When was the Four-Way Test first drafted and for whom?
Rotary International officially adopts The Four-Way Test, one of the world's most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics. Herbert J. Taylor, a member of the Rotary Club of Chicago who would later become the 1954-55 RI president, drafts the 24-word test in 1932 to help an aluminum company on the verge of bankruptcy after the Great Depression.
How often are the downloadable files on the Rotary International web site updated?
All of the publications and forms that RI makes available for download can be found here. Downloads are arranged according to the categories listed in the clickable tabs below. You can also find a list of Web-only and downloadable documents in the RI Catalog.
Most of the items listed in the download library are available as PDFs. Adobe Reader is required to view and print the files. The software can be downloaded free of charge from Adobe.
Note: Rotary logos and other graphics are at www.rotary.org/graphics.
The Rotary.org website and our library of downloadable files are updated every weekday. Updated files are posted as soon as possible after publication of a revised version, so the files found here can be considered the most up-to-date versions available.
Go to the Download Library.
Where and when was the 1,000th Rotary club chartered?
The 1,000th Rotary club is chartered in January in York, England. The Rotary clubs of Melbourne, Victoria, and Sydney, New South Wales, are the first Australian clubs admitted to Rotary. The Rotary Club of Johannesburg, South Africa, is the first Rotary club in Africa.
The Rotary Club of York was inaugurated in 1921, and 2011 marked our 90th year!
We currently have around 75 members, male and female, and are a friendly, welcoming Club, with a range of events for Fellowship as well as our weekly lunch meetings.
We are very active in the York community, and along with many other community and fundraising activities we are the organisers of the annual York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge on the River Ouse, which have raised more than £600,000 for charity since they were started in 2003.
To read more about the 90-year history of our Club, click here
In which countries does polio remain endemic?
From the Global Polio Eradication Initiative
Polio remains endemic in four countries – Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan – with a further four countries known to have (Angola, Chad and Democratic Republic of the Congo) or suspected of having (Sudan) re-established transmission of poliovirus. Several more countries had ongoing outbreaks in 2010 due to importations of poliovirus.
National Immunization Day calendar
Use this interactive calendar to see all planned supplementary immunization campaigns in countries.
National Immunization Day calendar
The calendar is updated on a weekly basis. Please note that dates are not always accurate, since they are often finalized just before the activity.
Polio-endemic countries have never stopped transmission of wild poliovirus.
Countries with re-established transmission
Countries with re-established transmission have active and persistent poliovirus transmission of more than 12 months following an importation.
Countries with imported poliovirus
Countries with imported poliovirus are experiencing ongoing outbreaks following an importation.
When did "Service Above Self" become the official motto of Rotary?
Rotary International News -- 7 July 2010
Arthur Frederick Sheldon, the Rotarian whose convention speech inspired Rotary's secondary motto, One Profits Most Who Serves Best.
Rotary’s official mottoes, Service Above Self and One Profits Most Who Serves Best, trace back to the early days of the organization.
In 1911, He Profits Most Who Serves Best was approved as the Rotary motto at the second convention of the National Association of Rotary Clubs of America, in Portland, Oregon. It was adapted from a speech made by Rotarian Arthur Frederick Sheldon to the first convention, held in Chicago the previous year. Sheldon declared that "only the science of right conduct toward others pays. Business is the science of human services. He profits most who serves his fellows best."
The Portland convention also inspired the motto Service Above Self. During a convention outing on the Columbia River, Ben Collins, president of the Rotary Club of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, talked with Seattle Rotarian J.E. Pinkham about the proper way to organize a Rotary club, offering the principle his club had adopted: Service, Not Self. Pinkham invited Paul P. Harris, who also was on the boat trip, to join their conversation. Harris asked Collins to address the convention, and the phrase Service, Not Self was met with great enthusiasm.
At the 1950 RI Convention in Detroit, slightly modified versions of the two slogans were formally approved as the official mottoes of Rotary: He Profits Most Who Serves Best and Service Above Self. The 1989 Council on Legislation established Service Above Self as the principal motto of Rotary, because it best conveys the philosophy of unselfish volunteer service. He Profits Most Who Serves Best was modified by the 2004 Council to They Profit Most Who Serve Best and by the 2010 Council to its current wording, One Profits Most Who Serves Best.
For more information:
When did Rotary's relationship with the UN begin?
Rotary International appoints representatives each year to UN bodies and nongovernmental organizations worldwide. These representatives increase awareness and recognition of Rotary's programs, policies, and activities within the global community. They meet regularly with officers and staff from international agencies to
Rotary and the United Nations have a long history of working together and sharing similar visions for a more peaceful world. In 1942, Rotary clubs from 21 nations organized a conference in London to develop a vision for advancing education, science, and culture after World War II. That event was a precursor to UNESCO. In 1945, 49 Rotarians went to San Francisco to help draft the UN Charter. Rotary and the UN have been close partners ever since, a relationship that’s apparent through PolioPlus and work with UN agencies.
Rotary currently holds the highest consultative status offered to a nongovernmental organization by the UN’s Economic and Social Council, which oversees many specialized UN agencies. Rotary maintains and furthers its relationship with a number of UN bodies, programs, commissions, and agencies through its representative network. Contact External Relations staff for more information.
In 1962, the RI Board of Directors adopted the World Community Service program. What other program did they also approve?
The World Community Service program is adopted by the RI Board of Directors. The Board also approves Interact, a youth program for service and international fellowship. The program's name combines inter, for "international," and act for "action." It targets young men of secondary-school age. The first Interact club is formed in Melbourne, Florida, USA.
Interact is Rotary International’s service club for young people ages 12 to 18. Interact clubs are sponsored by individual Rotary clubs, which provide support and guidance, but they are self-governing and self-supporting.
Club membership varies greatly. Clubs can be single gender or mixed, large or small. They can draw from the student body of a single school or from two or more schools in the same community.
Each year, Interact clubs complete at least two community service projects, one of which furthers international understanding and goodwill. Through these efforts, Interactors develop a network of friendships with local and overseas clubs and learn the importance of
As one of the most significant and fastest-growing programs of Rotary service, with more than 10,700 clubs in 109 countries and geographical areas, Interact has become a worldwide phenomenon. Almost 200,000 young people are involved in Interact.
For more information about Interact in your area, contact your local Rotary club , or ask RI staff . Read the Interact Handbook and the Interact Brochure.
Update your club’s contact information.
Subscribe to the e-newsletter
The New Generations monthly e-newsletter provides news and developments regarding the Interact, Rotaract, and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) programs.
Who was the first President of the Rotary Club of Shanghai, China, and when was he elected?
Historic moments--Rotary's history in China
Rotary International News - 1 July 2008
Board members of the Rotary Club of Shanghai in 1938. Rotary Images
In 1919, the past president of the Rotary Club of Seattle, Roger D. Pinneo, was traveling through the Far East on business. It turned out to be a historic trip, especially for Rotarians in China. Pinneo established the first Rotary club in Shanghai on 17 July 1919 with 35 charter members. Rotary admitted the club on 1 October 1919.
From the beginning, the Shanghai club was international in its membership and objectives. Records from 1924 show that the club's membership was 80 percent American, 10 percent British, and 10 percent Chinese. The club's first officers and directors, elected 24 July 1919, were as follows: president Julian Petit, vice president A.B. Rosenfeld, secretary E.O. Baker, treasurer R. Buchan, and directors Thomas Sammons, F.J. Raven, and W.L. Johnstone.
The Rotary Club of Shanghai was especially active in community work. It supported schools for Russian immigrant boys and physically challenged children. By the end of the 1937-38 Rotary year, the Rotary Mobile Clinic and Dispensary had completed eight months of charitable medical work among refugees in Shanghai.
By mid-1945, RI chartered 29 clubs in China. The clubs produced three RI directors: Fong F. Sec, Shanghai, 1933-34; Yen Te-Ching, Nanking, 1941-42; and Chengting T. Wang, Chungking, 1944-45 and 1945-46.
By mid-1946, due to World War II, Rotary International had terminated 20 of the original clubs.
Rotary experienced a resurgence in China after the war, with the admission or readmission of 19 clubs between 1946 and 1948, including Shanghai on 27 March 1946.
The club, however, was terminated five years later. The Shanghai club voted to suspend its activities in May 1951 citing the following reasons: members found it difficult to attend meetings regularly because of other duties, meeting facilities would no longer be available, and it was increasingly difficult to arrange suitable programs. The RI Board terminated the club in October 1951. By January 1952, all clubs in mainland China had come to an end, although the number of clubs in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan continued to grow.
More than half a century later, the Rotary Club of Shanghai returned. In 2006, Rotary welcomed the Shanghai club, along with the Rotary Club of Beijing, into membership. Only foreign passport holders may join these clubs until the government approves regulations governing international nongovernmental organizations.
For more historical information about Rotary, visit Rotary History and Archives or the Rotary Global History Fellowship.
Rotary International’s service partners have been approved by the RI Board of Directors to support clubs’ humanitarian service efforts. Who are these service partners?
Who we work with
Rotary's work with other organizations
Rotary International works with many leading organizations and educational institutions in carrying out its worldwide humanitarian efforts.
Polio eradication partnerships
Rotary International is a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative along with:
Other partners include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and donor governments. Learn more about Rotary’s work to eradicate polio.
Rotary International appoints representatives to work with the several United Nations agencies and international organizations. Learn more about the UN representative network.
Under the Future Vision Plan, The Rotary Foundation Trustees have formed strategic partnerships with the following organizations to offer service opportunities for Rotarians through packaged global grants.
Rotary International’s service partners have been approved by the RI Board of Directors to support clubs’ humanitarian service efforts.
The RI/USAID International H2O Collaboration is an alliance between Rotary International and the U.S. Agency for International Development to support and facilitate water and sanitation projects.
Rotary Peace Centers
The Rotary Foundation partners with the following universities to offer fellowships leading to degrees or certificates in areas of study related to conflict prevention and resolution:
Learn more about the Rotary Peace Centers.
How many women are members of the current Rotary International Board of Directors, and who are they?
Elizabeth S. Demaray
Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, USA (2011-13)
Elizabeth Demaray, is a commercial real estate broker who has owned several businesses. She is a past president of her community’s United Way and Board of Realtors and is a trustee of the Lake Superior State University Foundation and the War Memorial Hospital Board. In the 1980s, she was named one of the top five female entrepreneurs in Michigan. She has served Rotary as a committee and task force member, regional Rotary International membership coordinator, and training leader. Betsy and her husband, Ken, are Benefactors of The Rotary Foundation and Bequest Society members. They have hosted six exchange students and were part of a Carl P. Miller Discovery Grant mission to Jamaica.
Approximately how many people worldwide obtain water for drinking, cooking and washing from unprotected sources?
Contact: Wayne Hearn 847-866-3386 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Alida Pham +31-15-2151722 or email@example.com
Rotary International News -- 29 November 2011
EVANSTON , Ill. (Nov. 28, 2011) — Rotary and the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education are teaming up to tackle the world’s water and sanitation crisis by increasing the ranks of trained professionals critically needed to devise, plan, and implement solutions in developing countries that bear the brunt of the problem.
Through this new strategic partnership, The Rotary Foundation will provide grants to Rotary clubs and districts to select and sponsor eight students each year for scholarships to any of three 18-month Master of Science degree programs at UNESCO-IHE, a United Nations institute in Delft, The Netherlands, that is the world’s largest postgraduate water education facility. The school’s scholarship-eligible programs are Municipal Water and Infrastructure; Water Management; and Water Science and Engineering.
"This strategic partnership with UNESCO-IHE enables Rotary to work with a globally-recognized leader in the training of water professionals at a time when such experts are desperately needed in many parts of the world,” said Rotary Foundation Chair William B. Boyd. "By identifying high-quality, high-potential candidates for these scholarships, Rotary clubs will help the countries most impacted by the water and sanitation crisis increase their capacity to identify and implement solutions. It is a strategic, long-term investment with long-term benefits.”
"We are delighted to have this new cooperation with Rotary. The task ahead is no less than training the next generation of water leaders to be equipped to deal with the enormous water challenges ahead in the coming decades," said Prof. András Szöllösi-Nagy, UNESCO-IHE's Rector. "The water crisis, compounded with climate variability impacts, is looming. The cooperation with Rotary is an important milestone in the large scale, global capacity-building required to tackle this crisis.”
According to a joint report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, about 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to improved sanitation facilities. About 884 million obtain water for drinking, cooking, and washing from unprotected sources. Waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and dysentery, claim nearly 2 million lives a year, most of them children under age five. The continuous task of fetching water keeps millions of people, especially women and girls, from going to school and holding productive jobs. Improved water and sanitation is key to achieving all eight Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations.
The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, under its new Future Vision plan, seeks to forge strategic partnerships with established organizations with expertise in Rotary’s six areas of focus, one of which is water and sanitation. The other focus areas are peace and conflict prevention/resolution; disease prevention and treatment; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and economic and community development. The foundation grants support major international projects with sustainable, high impact outcomes. UNESCO-IHE scholarship grants are available only to clubs in the 100 Rotary districts piloting Future Vision until the plan is fully implemented July 1, 2013.
UNESCO-IHE is a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization “category I” institute and is owned by all the UNESCO member states. Its mandate is to strengthen and mobilize the global educational and knowledge base for integrated water resources management, and contribute to meeting the water-related capacity building needs of developing countries and countries in transition.
ABOUT ROTARY: Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. There are 1.2 million Rotary members in 34,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary clubs have been serving communities worldwide for more than a century. The first Rotary club was founded in Chicago in 1905. For more information, visit rotary.org.
ABOUT UNESCO-IHE: UNESCO-IHE is the largest postgraduate water education facility in the world and the only institution in the UN system authorized to confer accredited Master of Science degrees and promote PhDs. Since 1957 the Institute has provided postgraduate education to more than 14,500 water professionals from over 160 countries, the vast majority from the developing world. More than 95 PhD candidates have been promoted, and numerous research and capacity building projects have been carried out throughout the world. For more information, visit unesco-ihe.org.
What is Makoto Fujiwara's relationship with Rotary International, and what did he accomplish this past June?
by Susie Ma
Rotary Canada -- January 2012
Makoto Fujiwara Photo by Josh Fassbind
Long before Makoto Fujiwara began trapping antimatter, he was a timid Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar whose primary concern was passing his classes. The Rotary Club of Kofu South, Japan, had sponsored him to study physics at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver. Fujiwara, who had found out about the Ambassadorial Scholarships program as a Rotaractor, landed on Canadian soil in the summer of 1992.
In spite of his fears, he ended the year with the highest marks in his class. And he abandoned his plan to return to Tokyo to work as an engineer, instead finishing a two-year master’s program and going on to earn a doctorate in physics at UBC. Though he accepted a postdoctoral position through the University of Tokyo, at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva, he returned to Canada in 2004. As a research scientist at TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics in Vancouver, he has since helped lead an international team of researchers to a groundbreaking discovery in antimatter – a breakthrough that has propelled him to the forefront of particle physics research.
“Sometimes I wonder what kind of life I would have had if I had gone into industry,” says Fujiwara, who is also an adjunct professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Calgary. “So far I can’t complain.”
When he came to Vancouver as an Ambassadorial Scholar, one of the first Rotarians Fujiwara met was Jane LePorte, of the Rotary Club of Burnaby-Deer Lake, B.C. She gave him some household items, including a quilt for his bed, and connected him with other scholars and Rotarians. Nearly 20 years later, she has become his second mother. Affectionately characterizing him as an “absent-minded professor,” she notes that the shy young man she met now speaks confidently at conferences around the world. “Rotary deserves a lot of credit for helping him come to a new country and blossom,” she says.
Fujiwara describes himself as an inquisitive kid who was fascinated by science fiction and who occasionally watched Star Trek. He liked making radios in elementary school, an interest triggered by uncles who were amateur radio enthusiasts.
Now, his attention is focused on antimatter, a mystery of modern physics. According to the big bang theory, matter and antimatter were created in equal amounts when the universe was born. However, virtually no antimatter remains, a phenomenon that science has been unable to explain. “Our approach is to produce antimatter atoms artificially in a lab and then study their properties, to see if there is any difference between matter and antimatter that might explain why antimatter disappeared,” Fujiwara says.
“Makoto is an exceptionally smart scientist,” says Nigel Lockyer, director of TRIUMF. “All scientists are smart at some level, but he combines it with a great deal of energy and drive.”
This combination enabled Fujiwara to secure funding for his research and to recruit about 15 Canadian scientists to study the issue. He and his team spend six months of the year at CERN, using its particle accelerator to run experiments.
Their first breakthrough in antimatter occurred at CERN in 2002, when they created large quantities of antimatter atoms. Then, in November 2010 at TRIUMF, Fujiwara and his team trapped antimatter for the first time – a major feat, because as soon as matter and antimatter meet, they annihilate each other. This past June, the team built on its achievement by containing antimatter for more than 16 minutes, long enough to begin studying its properties.
“Now that we have trapped antimatter, there are so many things we can do with it,” Fujiwara says. “It’s impossible to stop now. It’s this whole new field of science opening up in front of me.”
Looking back, Fujiwara credits Rotary with opening the doors that led to his success. “I wouldn’t have studied physics if I hadn’t come to Canada as a scholar,” he says. “It was the start of everything for me.”
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