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Find your convention moment

Some members say their most memorable moments of the Rotary International Convention come from the excitement they feel surrounded by the global grandeur of it all. The country flags are paraded in (by ice skaters at the 1996 convention in Calgary!), thousands of fellow people of action fill an arena around you, and you might hear a dozen languages while walking the House of Friendship.

Image credit: Monika Lozinska

Three-time attendee Jerry Coughter, a member of the Rotary Club of Charlotte in North Carolina, says he keeps going for the uplifting feeling from being with thousands of others striving to live up to Service Above Self. “It just makes you feel good to be a part of it,” he says.

Other people experience a “convention moment” — an instant when you sense Rotary’s breadth and your spot in a worldwide movement — when they hear a speaker who is so inspiring that the stories and ideas stick with them and spread through their years of Rotary service. That spirit underpins the theme for the convention 25-29 May in Singapore: Sharing Hope With the World.

Perhaps your convention moment in Singapore will happen when you reconnect with friends made at past conventions or, if it’s your first convention, when you realize that thousands of people are potential friends with the same conviction for service. At the 2023 convention in Melbourne, Amal El-Sisi, of the Rotary Club of El Tahrir in Egypt, says she greeted people she had only emailed like they were siblings. “That’s the feeling: a family of Rotarians,” she says.

This story originally appeared in the November 2023 issue of Rotary magazine.

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