Rotary's first Female President Barbara J Wheeler 2022-07-01 04:00:00Z 0

Scholarship applications

ATTENTION: Graduating seniors of RO High School, Shrine and Bishop Foley.
The Rotary Club of Royal Oak is pleased to announce that applications for our Academic Scholarship and Scholarship Renewals are open for 2022.
The online applications are due by April 22, 2022. Use the following links to apply.
If you are a FIRST TIME applicant (senior in High School):
If you are RENEWING a scholarship from the Rotary Club of Royal Oak:
Scholarship applications Barbara J Wheeler 2022-03-07 05:00:00Z 0
38th Annual Y.E.S. Fundraiser Barbara Wheeler 2022-03-07 05:00:00Z 0

Seven centers of Peace

The Seven Centers of Peace

Situated in different parts of the world, the Rotary Peace Centers offer tailor-made curricula to train individuals devoted to peacebuilding and conflict resolution — no matter where they land.

by Jeff Ruby Illustrations by Jason Schneider

Rita Lopidia vividly recalls her experiences as a Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Bradford in England. “The classes in African politics and UN peacekeeping were my favorite,” she says. “The politics course challenged me to dig deeper into research to understand the history of the continent, and the peacekeeping class aided my understanding of global politics. As a practitioner, that was an eye-opener to have a global view of events happening around the world.”

Lopidia's time at the Rotary Peace Center profoundly affected her. "After graduation, I traveled back to Africa and settled in Uganda due to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan," she explains. "There I established the EVE Organization for Women Development and started engaging the South Sudanese refugees in Uganda and their host communities. Through my organization, we were able to mobilize South Sudanese women to participate in the South Sudan peace process promoted by eastern Africa's Intergovernmental Authority for Development — and that led to the signing of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan in 2018."

Lopidia is just one of the 1,500-plus peace fellows from more than 115 countries who have graduated from a Rotary Peace Center since the program was created in 1999; the first peace centers began classes three years later. Currently, Rotary has seven peace centers in various locations around the world; the newest, at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda — the first in Africa — welcomed its inaugural cohort of peace fellows in 2021. Next, Rotary plans to establish a peace center in the Middle East or North Africa, perhaps as soon as 2024, and has set its sights on opening one in Latin America by 2030.

Seven centers of Peace Barbara Wheeler 2022-02-26 05:00:00Z 0
As one of the last two remaining wild polio-endemic countries, Pakistan has gone a full year without a report of a single child being paralyzed by the wild poliovirus, showing us that a polio-free world is within our grasp. Barbara J Wheeler 2022-01-27 05:00:00Z 0

Polio Progress

by Ryan Hyland

Rotary’s goal of ridding the world of polio is within reach, global health experts said during the 2021 World Polio Day Online Global Update on 24 October. The 30-minute program, “Delivering on our Promise of a Polio-Free World,” provided encouraging information about the progress and remaining challenges in the fight to end polio.

So far in 2021, only two cases of wild polio have been reported — the lowest circulation of the disease ever — with one infection each in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two countries where polio remains endemic.

During a Q&A session, Dr. Hamid Jafari, director for the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean Region, attributed the low case count to several factors. He said these include mass polio vaccination campaigns resuming after the interruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the natural immunity induced by the wild polio outbreaks of previous years, and the restrictions on travel and population movement that also were due to the pandemic.

“This is truly unprecedented that we are seeing this decline simultaneously in the two countries,” Jafari said.

He added that the low case count provides a window of opportunity for health workers, but cautioned that a resurgence of the poliovirus is possible since summer is the high polio transmission season. “So this is the time to really press hard in making use of the opportunity that presents itself now,” he told Q&A host Jeffrey Kluger, editor at large for Time magazine.

Jafari also addressed the challenges of political change and security concerns in Afghanistan and explained that the polio program there is used to adapting operationally during uncertainty. “Currently we do see opportunities coming up as well, so that we may have access to all parts of Afghanistan for implementing mass vaccination campaigns,” he said.

According to the WHO and UNICEF, nationwide house-to-house polio vaccinations will resume in Afghanistan in early November, providing access to children in areas where campaigns had been banned for the last three years.

“You know with the evolving situation in Afghanistan, it is of course very, very important that we partners maintain our neutrality and impartiality of the polio eradication program,” Jafari added. “As always, we will continue to work with all parties.”

Mohammad Ishaq Niazmand, chair of Rotary’s Afghanistan PolioPlus Committee, echoed Jafari’s sentiments in a video address with his counterpart for Pakistan, Aziz Memon.

Niazmand said of Afghanistan, “Rotary and our partners are working with all stakeholders to ensure that polio eradication remains a top priority, even in the midst of change. Work is underway to ensure that children have access to lifesaving polio [vaccines] and other childhood vaccines.”

Memon, a Rotary Foundation trustee and chair of the Pakistan PolioPlus Committee, said Rotary continues to build trust with government, community, and religious leaders. “By bringing broader health services to children and families alongside polio vaccinations, we’re ensuring better health care and greater vaccine acceptance,” he said.

Strategies for the future

This year, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) announced a new five-year strategy for 2022-26 to end all polioviruses, including tackling the persistent transmission of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus. Rotary and our GPEI partners identified the remaining obstacles to polio eradication and developed approaches to reaching the goal. The plan aims to achieve and sustain a polio-free world through a focus on implementation and accountability while using innovative methods and tools.

This is truly unprecedented that we are seeing this decline simultaneously in the two countries.

Dr. Hamid Jafari
Director for WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region

The emphasis will be on decreasing the response time to any outbreak, increasing vaccine demand, increasing access to health care and vaccines, transitioning toward government ownership of vaccination programs, and improving decision-making and accountability.

“Some of the most polio-endemic communities are also the ones that suffer from [a] lack of basic health and civic services,” Jafari said. The goal, he said, is a “better alignment and integration with other basic health and civic services in a way that the polio program is seen as a more integrated approach to vaccination.”

He added that in some communities, children are still missed because of gaps in the way vaccination campaigns are conducted or because of vaccine hesitancy. “This new strategy speaks to engaging the communities with new approaches, new strategies, partnering with communities, [and] building new alliances with these communities,” Jafari said.

The World Polio Day program featured global health experts addressing the new strategy’s tactic of broadening distribution of a new vaccine to address outbreaks of cVDPV2, a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus. This novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2) protects children against polio while being more genetically stable and less likely to regain strength and cause the vaccine-derived polio. It has already been introduced in several African countries, including Benin, Chad, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone.

This novel oral polio vaccine “is a powerful example of the polio program’s innovation to overcome the toughest challenges,” said Simona Zipursky, senior adviser to the polio director of WHO. “Partners, scientists, and leaders from around the world made nOPV2 possible. This is the kind of collaboration that will help end polio for good.”

This year’s program included a powerful video of polio health workers in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as Rotary members sharing their World Polio Day projects and events to raise awareness for polio eradication.

Watch the program on YouTube or Facebook.

Watch RI President Shekhar Mehta’s World Polio Day message.


Polio Progress bjw 2021-10-29 04:00:00Z 0
World Polio Day Barbara J Wheeler 2021-10-08 04:00:00Z 0

RI President-elect Jennifer Jones announces Rotary’s $97 million pledge for sustainable projects during Global Citizen Live

The star-studded global event rallied people to take action on some of the world’s most urgent problems

by Ryan Hyland

RI President-elect Jennifer Jones, right, announces Rotary’s $97 million pledge for sustainable projects during the Global Citizen Live event on 25 September in Paris, France. She’s joined on stage with British actress Carmen Ejogo.

Credit: Getty Images for Global Citizen

Rotary International President-elect Jennifer Jones took the stage at the Global Citizen Live concert on 25 September in Paris, France, and pledged $97 million in grant funding from the organization next year for sustainable, Rotary club-led projects.

Global Citizen Live, a 24-hour broadcast with events and performances across six continents, aimed to unite people to take action to defend the planet, end the COVID-19 pandemic, defeat poverty, provide education for all children, and promote equity and justice for all. Some of the world’s top artists, celebrities, activists, and government leaders participated in this year’s event to raise awareness and support in cities including Paris; Lagos, Nigeria; London, UK; Los Angeles, USA; New York City, USA; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Seoul, Korea; and Sydney, Australia.

In Paris, where Jones pledged Rotary’s support, thousands of people gathered at the iconic Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower to see performances from Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Black Eyed Peas, Christine and the Queens, Doja Cat, Angélique Kidjo, and more. Other leaders pledging support included European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. 

“Every day millions of girls walk miles to fetch clean water, and millions of boys are on the streets instead of going to school. Every day moms and dads struggle to find ways to feed their children,” Jones said from the main stage in Paris. “And every day, members of Rotary and Global Citizen start our days knowing that we can make a difference.” 

“This year we’re putting a special focus on empowering girls worldwide, opening doors for young women to build brighter futures,” Jones said. “Today Rotary is committed to helping end poverty globally and protecting the planet by pledging $97 million in grant funding during 2022 for sustainable, member-led projects.”

She added: “We stand together with Global Citizen as people of purpose, people of action.”

Read more quotes and pledges from world leaders during the event.

Rotary has worked with Global Citizen for a more than decade, primarily regarding the effort to eradicate polio worldwide. At the 2012 Global Citizen event in New York City, Rotary General Secretary John Hewko and celebrity ambassador Archie Panjabi announced Rotary’s $75 million commitment to polio eradication. Rotary and Global Citizen have also connected at Rotary International Conventions, the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meetings, polio advocacy events, and polio funding announcements. 

In total, more than $1.1 billion in commitments, 157 million trees to be planted, and 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be donated to developing countries were announced in conjunction with the 25 September event. 


RI President-elect Jennifer Jones announces Rotary’s $97 million pledge for sustainable projects during Global Citizen Live Barbara J Wheeler 2021-10-01 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary International Day of Peace

Posted by By David Wick, President, Rotary E-Club of World Peace

International Day of Peace poster

As members of the Rotary E-Club of World Peace, we will be joining other members and people around the world in participating in the United Nations International Day of Peace on 21 September. It is fitting for us to do so and follow Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta in focusing on “Girls Empowerment and Peace” as a strategy to achieve our common goal. It’s also fitting because several of our members have been promoters of a Peace Day from the very beginning.

In the early 1960s, Avon Mattison (a member of our club) began conducting informal “peace councils” that would gather international students together from many nations in Washington D.C. These became so popular that students would bring along ambassadors from their countries, and eventually the U.S. State Department wanted to attend. One of the common purposes of these monthly peace councils was to work toward the establishment of a worldwide day of peace.

Rotary and Peace Day

Avon continued to push the idea through colleagues at the UN and diplomatic services. And as is fitting of such an important initiative, pressure for the idea also came from different people in many different parts of the world.

The realization of their dream came about in 1981, when the UN General Assembly passed a unanimous resolution establishing The International Day of Peace (Peace Day) to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples. Avon, Joanie Ciardelli, Marilyn King, and I (all Rotary E-Club of World Peace members) have been a part of Pathways to Peace, working with the UN since the 1980s to increase awareness of and participation in Peace Day.

We organized the first large scale civil society Peace Day celebration on 18 September 1984 in San Francisco, the birthplace of the UN. This groundbreaking event also engaged citizens in 70 nations around the world, who joined the citizens of San Francisco in observing Peace Day in their own unique ways.

As a co-creator with a front row seat from the beginning, I have seen firsthand how Peace Day touches hearts, stirs imaginations, and guides actions. The growing event now inspires people of all ages and occupations. Its importance is in advancing a continual message of peace and concern for one another, communicated in ever-changing and creative ways.

Building peace, one project at a time

I feel honored to be a Rotary member and support the evolution of Peace Day. It is meant to be a time to “take stock” in and assess how we are doing in our peacebuilding initiatives as well as make plans for more impactful actions during the following year. I believe this underscores the reality that all of Rotary’s actions and initiative can be highlighted and celebrated in light of the global effort to create a more peaceful world.

As People of Action there are many ways we can make Peace Day a meaningful experience in our personal lives and at every level of Rotary. This year’s International Day of Peace theme, “Recovering better for a sustainable and equitable world” asks us to support healing from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are asked to “think creatively and collectively about how to help everyone recover better, how to build resilience, and how to transform our world into one that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier.”

Rotary International Day of Peace By David Wick, President, Rotary E-Club of World Peace 2021-09-17 04:00:00Z 0
Royal Oak Rotary Barbara Wheeler 0