Rotary Ireland to hold annual conference in Derry

After three years of covid, Rotary Ireland members are looking forward to getting back to an action packed national conference in Derry next weekend.

The conference which is entitled ‘Imagine Rotary’ promises a fun-filled and educational weekend to the 200 Rotary members and guests who are expected to attend. The event will feature a range of speakers involved in supporting communities, caring for the environment, and nurturing peace and reconciliation.

Former ship’s captain, Sean Fitzgerald, the new District Governor of Rotary Ireland, said the conference presents members from all over the island with a wonderful opportunity to once again embrace the fellowship of Rotary while also exploring the delights of Derry. He said: “It’s all about energising and galvanising members and the public in support of a cause and encouraging them to involve others who want to give back. We have a great reservoir of expertise and experience in Rotary Ireland, and we need to tap into that and share it with our young people. And, of course, it’s about meeting people and having fun too and we’re certainly looking forward to that during the conference.”

One of the speakers is Dr Ajax Ahmed Khan who helped establish the award-winning crowdfunding platform www.lendwithcare.org The organisation enables budding entrepreneurs in developing countries to access loans generated by people lending modest amounts of cash. This is a project that a number of Rotary Clubs have become involved in.

New Rotary Ireland District Governor Sean Fitzgerald.

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Another is Dr. Michael E McBrien who will talk about the work of Mercy Ships and the life-transforming surgery the organisation offers to thousands of people in developing countries free of charge. Back in September 2020, Rotary members from Great Britain and Ireland were involved in a Rotary Foundation Global Grant of $1.25 million with Mercy Ships to fund equipment for the latest addition to their fleet, the Global Mercy, and training for African medical professionals.

Lynne Glasscoe, who lives in the Blackwater Valley in Co. Cork, is passionate about looking after the environment and she will be exploring, with attendees, how we can kick our consumption habit in a world of finite resources.

Indeed, the conference features a strong line up of successful women from diverse backgrounds with Cathy McCaul who held senior roles in Mastercard, Mayor Sandra Duffy from Derry and Strabane District Council, former Miss Northern Ireland Anna Leitch and Nicki Scott Vice President for Rotary International and Rotary International Director, among those who will be sharing their stories and experiences with attendees.

Understanding history, a sense of place, and supporting peace and reconciliation in the community are other themes which will feature prominently with presentations from historian Richard Doherty, broadcaster Joe Mahon and Tim Attwood from the John and Pat Hume Foundation to name but a few.

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The conference is being co-hosted by the Rotary Club of Omagh and the Rotary Club of Derry and runs from Friday, September 23 to Sunday September 25 at the City Hotel in Derry.

As well as co-hosting the event, the Rotary Club of Derry is celebrating its centenary having been chartered on the 17th of July 1922. It’s the third time the club has hosted Rotary’s annual conference and President Werner Scheel said it was a great honour to be doing it once again. He urged attendees to discover the lively historic City of Derry.

To learn more about the conference or to register to attend go to Rotary in Ireland, rotary-ribi.org.