2003, Brisbane – my first convention. I was president of my club. 17,000 people from around the world streaming through the House of Friendship – a whole new experience. But I had no pins or cards to exchange.
The magic of Brisbane was taking my own Rotaractors and youth exchange students with and experiencing fabulous home hospitality in the Australian bush. As well as learning how to crack a whip.
January 2007 -I was off to San Diego to the International Assembly as incoming governor. RI President Wilf Wilkinson asked us to remember the importance of a listening ear, a gentle word, a helping hand, and an open heart.
That gave us the opportunity to visit the ancient Mayan ruins. When you travel and talk about Rotary, it can change lives. We met a young American and talked about peace scholarships.. He is now a peace scholar and he is changing lives!
In Salt Lake City, Bill Gates Snr, reminded Rotarians that if you truly believe in, and practise “Service above Self”, you quickly find out that “service and self become quite indistinguishable. In fact, service gives deeper meaning to self.”
Sometimes people think, - why go to the Convention, the city holds no interest for me. In Utah we discovered the vast beauty canyons. It even seemed bigger and redder than the Australian outback.
Birmingham – I attended the Peace Symposium. A 65 year old peace scholar showed us no matter what age, we can all make a difference in the world.The beautiful voices of the Welsh Male choir.
Before Birmingham, I visited my aunt who lives in The Isle of Man.The oldest continuing democracy in the world. It also the home of Thomas the Tank Engine!
Montreal - Dolly Parton ignited our imagination. Queen Nor of Jordan gave us a message of peace.And Circe du Soleil - Simply brilliant!
And Montreal – became the gateway to Rocky Mountains and Alaska. And those moose, in real life – they are really big and ugly
In 2011 I went on a NID to Indiawith people from 6 countries, aged from 11 to 82. Yet, we were all unitedin one aim – the eradication of polio.
The local Rotarians also showed us the beauty of their country and its rich and complex history. The TajMahal is as beautiful as what they say.
New Orleans – my first impression was the large signs welcoming Rotarians and thanking us for our assistance in the aftermath of Cyclone Katarina.
And the everywhere, every night, even in the streets - great jazz . The Court of Three Sisters combined best jazz with the best of southern food
At the Bangkok peace symposium, we heard that 660 peace scholars had graduated – 3 have died in pursuit of peace.One scholar from Rwanda reminded us that sometimes it is better to forgive, than to seek justice.
After Bangkok, we traveled to Pursat in Cambodia and joined a Rotary project which helps Cambodian villages build self-sustaining communities.The Kangaroo club is giving students a future
Lisbon - - warm weather, Portuguese food, and Fado. The message - do I need to say anything more, except peace comes through service
Before Convention - exploring Spain and Portugal - 5 weeks, 5,000kms, and more than 10,000 years of built history. The art and architecture – Dali, Gaudi & Picasso. And Bom Jesus, Portugal’s most spectacular religious sanctury.
Sydney - What will be the highlights for you?the Opera House? the Harbour Bridge? Nature? Just remember,allow more than a day to visit the Outback. And don’t forget New Zealand.
Blue Mountains – my back yard. If you only have an extra day or two, this is the place to see, So after this session, if you haven’t already done it – register for Sydney 2014