Foundation alumni to gather in Cape Town
Watch the video above for RI President Ray Klinginsmith's invitation to Rotarians, alumni, and guests to three reunions in Cape Town, South Africa, 3-5 February 2011.
P ast South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner F.W. de Klerk will be a featured speaker on 4 February during Ray’s Rotary Reunions in Cape Town, South Africa.
Former Ambassadorial Scholars who studied at the University of Cape Town and graduates of the university who spent their Rotary scholarship year abroad will be able to meet one another and reconnect with The Rotary Foundation on 3 February at the first of the three reunions. That reunion will feature addresses by RI President Ray Klinginsmith and the university’s vice chancellor, as well as social events and campus tours.
“We have had over 41,000 former Ambassadorial Scholars worldwide, and we have lost track of many of them,” says Klinginsmith, who proposed the reunions. “This is an experiment, and if it works well, it will become a model for other universities in other countries.”
Rotarians in District 9350 (Angola; Namibia; South Africa) will host the events. The more than 3,500 former Ambassadorial Scholars, Group Study Exchange team members, and other Foundation alumni who studied in or are from the five districts in Southern Africa — 9210, 9270, 9320, 9350, and 9400 — are invited to participate in a larger reunion on 4 February.
On the last day, 5 February, District 9350 will host an event for all Rotarians who have been involved or are interested in international service projects in Southern Africa. Klinginsmith encourages visiting Rotarians to seek out potential projects under the guidance of local clubs to further Reach Out to Africa, an initiative that began in 2007 to match the resources of the Foundation and clubs in developed economies with needs in Africa. The event is also open to alumni.
During the reunions, alumni will also have the opportunity to view ongoing and potential Rotary club projects in the area.
Klinginsmith, a 1960-61 Ambassadorial Scholar at the University of Cape Town, suggested an alumni reunion several years ago while visiting the city. As the first person from his native Unionville, Missouri, USA, to study abroad, he logged over 15,000 miles speaking to 35 Rotary clubs in Southern Africa, including present-day Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
“It provided an exposure to the world,” Klinginsmith says. “I had traveled in the United States, but I had never been out of the country, and there was a good possibility that I would not have left the United States other than in the military.”
Spirit of service
Two weeks after Klinginsmith returned to Missouri, he joined the Rotary Club of Unionville. Since then, he has applied the ideals that he first learned as a scholar.
“They all were aware of that at the time of their study or visit abroad, but some of our alumni may have lost that spirit,” says Klinginsmith, now a member of the Rotary Club of Kirksville. “We want to regenerate that spirit of service.”
“You don’t have to be a Rotarian to work on a service project. You don’t have to be a Rotarian to make a contribution to the Foundation,” Klinginsmith says. “We need to keep our alumni involved.”
Attendees will be encouraged to travel in South Africa, and local Rotarians will help make arrangements, including providing contact information for Rotarians outside of Cape Town, says reunion committee chair Rodney Mazinter.
Alumni and Rotarians interested in attending one or more of the reunions should contact Mazinter at email@example.com or 27-21-438-9377 to add themselves to the mailing list (for reunion and Foundation purposes only).
Written for Reconnections