A Rotary International Convention brings together members from all over the world in an amazing and vibrant display of Rotary’s global diversity!
A Rotary International Convention is always an exciting event that brings together members from all over the world in an amazing and vibrant display of Rotary’s global diversity — the core of our strength and impact. This was my third convention…the first to Indianapolis, Indiana with Joanne Schoenfeld, our first woman club president, in 1998, and the second to Singapore, my first term as President in 1999. Each was special in its own way! What a great honor it was to represent the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise as your incoming President, and how special it was to share the convention with our current President Hannah Rael! 
This year, the anticipation and sense of celebration among the attendees was intense after the last two conventions were virtual because of COVID-19; we had all been isolated for so long! The Houston Convention was the only convention to combine virtual and in-person elements increasing the opportunity for members to attend virtually from around the world.
Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta 2021-2022 urged members to attend the general sessions to find new horizons in themselves, in their communities, and around the world.
“You will hear a fascinating lineup of speakers discuss the various ways that Rotary and our allies Serve to Change Lives,” he said. He also encouraged people to visit the House of Friendship, the ultimate destination for Rotary members to find the resources they need to make an impact, make new friends, enjoy food and entertainment, and purchase all sorts of Rotary themed merchandise.
The George R. Brown Convention Center was located in vibrant downtown Houston. It was the perfect location for Rotary members to discuss how they serve their communities, learn from experts, gain inspiration from notable speakers, and make new friends! When you meet another Rotary member, you have an instant connection. It doesn’t matter what country you’re from or what language you speak.  There’s nothing like it!
Some of the world-class speakers included:
  • The Prime Minister of India
  • Gen. Charles Duke (USAF Ret.) NASA astronaut, Lunar Module Pilot and 10th Man to walk on the Moon, Apollo 16
  • Orion Jean, 2021 TIME Boy of the Year; Founder, Race to Kindness
  • Dr. Hamid Jafari, director of polio eradication for the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean region
  • Gingger Shankar, a filmmaker, musician, and activist
  • Anbita Nadine Siregar, a founder of Generation Girl
  • Jennifer Jones
On the last day of the convention, Jennifer Jones, the RI President for 22-23, took the reins from Shekhar Mehta and set forth the vision for our next year together and her theme Imagine Rotary.  Jennifer is the first female president in Rotary’s 117th year history!  What a dynamo!  She was mobbed wherever she went, and her sessions were filled to capacity.  Look forward an exciting year with Jennifer at the helm!
You are able to enjoy some of these presentations by visiting the Rotary International website at rotary.org
In the evenings, attendees could sign up for events organized by local clubs, participate in convention organized events or explore the city on their own.  Paul and I enjoyed an Astros Game, enjoyed Rotary Night at the Houston Space Center, celebrated our former exchange student Blessed Emurese’ graduation from the University of Texas and enjoyed Texas BBQ with an old friend.  It was a memorable time, and I learned so much.  Paul and I thank you for this wonderful opportunity!