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Rotary International Convention in Singapore concludes with optimism

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Messages of peace and progress, anticipation for 2025 convention in Calgary inspire attendees


After five days of friendship, excitement, and cultural connections, the 2024 Rotary International Convention in Singapore ended with a focus on the future. Speakers emphasized Rotary’s continuing mission to promote peace and goodwill and previewed next year’s gathering in Calgary, Canada.

Fostering understanding was a central theme of the day, as Rotary Peace Fellows María Antonia Pérez and Clara-Valentine Tigenoah celebrated the 25th year since the Rotary Peace Centers program was announced.

“To believe in peace is to have hope, and to do so, one must be both stubborn and optimistic, and be eager to persist and make a difference,” Pérez said. Rotary International President R. Gordon R. McInally emphasized Rotary’s long-standing commitment to building peace and noted that the topic has been a key interest almost since Rotary began.

“Our dedication to building a more peaceful world has its ups and downs, but it has been a critical part of how we define ourselves, going back even before the First World War,” McInally said. “From our earliest days, we have always had a vision of our organization as something more than just the people we see right in front of us and the direct results of our service projects.”

The day’s breakout sessions included even more discussion of peacebuilding, with topics such as Innovating Peace Education in Times of Crisis and Understanding the Global Peace Index.

Two breakout sessions focused on starting new clubs. During the session Rotary Your Way: Form the Club You Always Wanted, people learned key steps in the process, from finding a champion to help organize the club to choosing the club’s leaders.

  1. RI President R. Gordon R. McInally addresses the closing general session of the 2024 Rotary International Convention in Singapore.

  2. Attendees get acquainted at the 2024 Rotary International Convention in Singapore.

  3. The musical group Red Hot Chilli Pipers perform at the 2024 Rotary International Convention in Singapore.

  4. Visitors to the 2024 Rotary International Convention in Singapore explore the House of Friendship exhibit hall.

  5. Attendees discuss projects in the House of Friendship during the 2024 Rotary International Convention in Singapore.

Speakers emphasized that cause-based and interest-based clubs are a popular way to attract new members, noting that clubs can be formed among alumni of the same school, professionals in similar fields, or people who want to address a particular problem.

“Look in your own community for where Rotary is needed,” advised Virginia McKenzie of the Rotary Club of The Pacific Northwest Ending Sex Trafficking, which is in Washington, USA. Yvonne Kumoji-Darko of the Rotary Club of Accra-South, Ghana, helped charter more than a dozen Rotary clubs as a district governor in 2020-21. She suggested inviting friends, relatives, community leaders, and local media outlets to a club’s charter celebration to help it launch successfully.

Krishnan Chittur of the Rotary Club of Hudson Valley, New York, USA, offered another approach during the session We Formed a New Club in One Week, And So Can You!

Chittur described how he generated enthusiasm for a project to increase access to new technology that detects breast cancer. After he explained Rotary to community members who were interested in the project, they decided to form a club to help implement the initiative.

As the 2024 convention ended, people began thinking about when the global Rotary community would gather again to share experiences, get ideas, and connect with friends. “There are few moments more magical in Rotary than attending a convention,” said Bryn Styles, chair of the 2025 Calgary Convention Committee and a member of the Rotary Club of Barrie-Huronia, Ontario, Canada.

Calgary is home to people of more than 240 ethnicities who speak 165 languages, Styles said. He also touted the world-famous Calgary Stampede, which will begin several days after the convention ends.

“While in Calgary, you will be mere moments away from the stunning Rocky Mountains, soaking in the majesty of the natural beauty all around you,” Styles said. “Within driving distance of Calgary, you can find not one, but six UNESCO sites, including Waterton-Glacier [International] Peace Park,” which Rotarians helped establish.

In the House of Friendship, visitors shared their anticipation for the next convention.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what Calgary is about,” said Ken Montville, a member of the Rotary Club of Salisbury, Maryland, USA. “I’ve got my hotel reservations and registration. All I need is the airline ticket.”

Aniello Giugliano, a member of the Rotary Club of Canelli-Nizza Monferrato, Italy, called attending the convention “addictive.” “I’m going to Calgary because I’m a Rotarian, and the Rotary convention is all about meeting other Rotarians,” he said.

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Speeches and reports

RI President R. Gordon R. McInally (PDF, watch, download)

RI General Secretary and CEO John Hewko (PDF, watch, download)

Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Barry Rassin (PDF, watch, download)

RI President-elect Stephanie A. Urchick (PDF, watch, download)

RI President-nominee Mário César Martins de Camargo (PDF, watch, download)

Find more convention videos (EN only)

RI Treasurer’s Report (EN only)

RI General Secretary’s Report

– May 2024