A new approach to Rotary Club meetings

By Helen Reisler and Andreas Runggatscher, members of the Rotary Club of New York

Our club, the Rotary Club of New York has always been notable for its international flavor and association with the United Nations. The club played an essential role in building support during the UN’s formidable years, and in soliciting New York City for its permanent headquarters.

Thousands of Rotarians from around the world have visited the Rotary Club of New York’s luncheon meetings over the past 107 years. In fact, one of the very first flag exchanges between clubs from different countries took place at the club’s meeting. The club also boasts a substantial list of UN Ambassadors that are honorary members of Rotary. Paul Harris even dubbed our club the “Host Club of America!”

Because of this history, the Rotary Club of New York and its foundation hosts a monthly international breakfast meeting at the United Nations, in collaboration with the Rotarian Action Group for Peace and the Rotaract Club of New York at the UN. All Rotarians and guests are invited to attend these meetings.

The meetings are informative and business casual, beginning with a delicious breakfast buffet mixed with fellowship and networking. The horseshoe arrangement of the tables gives the 40 to 60 attendees full view of each other, as well as of the speakers, and encourages more participation in the questions and answers segment. This past August, we started live broadcasting these monthly gatherings. You can view recordings of previous meetings online. Our goal is to connect more Rotarians from around the world and create a stronger Rotary family.

These meetings provide an opportunity for Rotarians to stay informed about the United Nation’s programs, and to discuss related topics with UN officials and representatives of its member states. The topics are most often related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the ultimate goal of fostering international peace and understanding.

The monthly meetings are currently moderated by Past District Governor and Rotary International Representative to the United Nations, Helen Reisler, along with the Ambassador of South Korea, Hahn Choong-Hee.

Some recent panel speakers include:

  • Reza Hossaini, Director of Polio Eradication at UNICEF
  • Madame Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary of the UN and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women
  • Prabha Sankaranarayan, CEO of Mediators Beyond Borders International
  • E. Mr. Gholam Ali Khoshroo, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN
  • Juan José Gómez Camacho, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the UN

As a result of these meetings, the Rotary Club of New York has attracted new members, developed partnerships with other NGOs, involved more Rotaractors into our activities, created an international awareness of Rotary’s relationship with the UN and the SDGs, and seen renewed enthusiasm for Rotary and service amongst our members.

Visit our website for information on our next meeting, and join in on the live broadcast!

9 Replies to “A new approach to Rotary Club meetings”

  1. As a Rotarian in Toronto, I appreciate the opportunity to see and hear what is happening at the Rotary Club of New York’s International Breakfast at the United Nations meetings via you online live streaming. Your meetings are even more international now!

  2. I would like to see more examples of how “everyday” clubs are doing things differently, succeeding, and making a difference.

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