Rotary convention speakers envision a more peaceful, equitable world
The keynote speakers at the 2023 Rotary International Convention are transforming health care, rethinking cities, advancing the cause of peace, and working to protect our environment. They share a vision of a more sustainable, equitable world. When they take the stage in Melbourne, Australia, 27-31 May, they’ll tell how that vision can be realized – not just in the years to come, but right now.
Some of the convention speakers include:
She's a 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate and champion of women’s rights. Gbowee led a nonviolent movement that helped end a 14-year-long civil war in Liberia. She has lived in a refugee camp, worked as a counselor for child soldiers and currently sits on the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Advisory Board on Mediation. She’s the founder and current president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa and serves as the executive director of the Gender, Law and Transformative Peace Initiative of the City of New York (CUNY) School of Law, USA. She was a founding member and Liberia coordinator of the Women in Peacebuilding Network, a program of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Kari Aina Eik
She makes cities smarter. She’s headed such initiatives as the United Smart Cities Program and the United Cities Organization and Funds. During more than 15 years at the United Nations and 10 years as Secretary General of the Organization for International Economic Relations, she led numerous programs to meet global environmental targets and shape the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Currently, she is working to reimagine effective philanthropy at the SDG Impact Fund.
María Björk Ingvadóttir
She is a journalist, TV personality and voice of compassion. She’s served as the managing director and CEO of the Icelandic media company N4 for the past eight years and worked for RUV, the Icelandic national television station, prior to that. She also spent years as a social worker, helping disabled children in Norway and Iceland.
Esther Ruth Mbabazi
She documents changing social, physical and emotional conditions on the African continent. A self-taught documentary photographer based in Kampala, Uganda, she’s a National Geographic Explorer, a Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice Fellow, and a contributor to Everyday Africa. She’s received grants from the Pulitzer Center, National Geographic, the Magnum Foundation and the International Women’s Media Foundation.
As a singer-songwriter-producer, she has released seven albums, scoring a Grammy nomination for 2016’s “Illusion” as well as a Latin Grammy for Best New Artist in 2013. Her most recent Latin Grammy nomination was in 2021, for the song “Bolero A La Vida.” Moreno’s 2019 album “¡Spangled!” celebrates the migration of music across the Americas.
He's revolutionizing health care in Africa through mPharma, the company he co-founded at age 22. mPharma uses data analytics and innovative inventory services to reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals while preserving quality. As CEO, Rockson has overseen the Ghana-based company’s expansion to eight other African countries. mPharma now owns leading pharmacy chains in Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda, and has become the largest operator of community pharmacies in Sub-Saharan Africa. In partnership with over 1,000 hospitals and pharmacies, the company has helped more than 2 million people save on medications.
Nakeeyat Dramani Sam
She's a 10-year-old climate change activist and poet. She’s the youth ambassador for the Climate Vulnerable Forum and spoke for Ghana at COP27 in Egypt. “Have a heart and do the math,” she told delegates there. “It’s an emergency.” Sam won the “Ghana Talented Kid” competition at the age of 7 and has been honored as a Young Peace Ambassador in her country. She’s the author of the book “Nakeeyat Trees for Life” and is currently working on her next project, “One Tree, One Child.”
She's the first woman in basketball history to be named as both head coach and general manager of a men’s professional team – the Hamilton, Ontario Honey Badgers. Previously, as head coach of the Lancers women’s basketball team at the University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, she received over 20 “Coach of the Year” awards. She developed seven professional players and one Olympian, and maintained a winning percentage of over 80%.
The convention will also showcase The Tenors, the international vocal group made up of Victor Micallef, Clifton Murray, Alberto Urso, and Mark Masri. Their operatic pop style encompasses a mix of new songs and such classics as “Forever Young,” “Nessun Dorma” and “Hallelujah.” Also appearing will be The Greatest Show, a group of vocalists, dancers, circus artists, and musical theater performers brought together by choreographer Chantelle Fava.
Rotary members around the world will come together in Melbourne to forge new relationships and get inspired. Thanks to a world-class lineup of speakers, they’ll also find plenty of new ideas to take home.