Leadership Assembly will prepare leaders to “Be the Inspiration” for their clubs


In planning the District 5370 Leadership Assembly, Donna Barrett (RC of Edmonton Sunrise) and her learning and development team have woven the 2019-2019 Rotary International theme and priorities into all aspects of the event.

“The 2018-2019 theme will be central to the keynotes and to how the breakout sessions are organized,” Donna says.

“[District Governor-elect Ingrid Neitsch] will be sharing the theme and the keynote speakers will help convey this message.”

Rotary International President-elect Barry Rassin (RC of East Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas) revealed the theme, “Be the Inspiration,” to incoming district governors during RI’s Assembly in San Diego, in January.

“I want you to inspire in your clubs, your Rotarians, that desire for something greater. The drive to do more, to be more, to create something that will live beyond each of us,” he told the district governors-elect.

“Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.”

He asked the incoming district governors to “inspire the club presidents and the Rotarians in your districts to want to change, to want to do more, to want to reach their own potential.”

Click here to watch the RI President-elect’s presentations at the Assembly in January.

T1819EN_RGBDonna says the assembly will provide “incoming leaders with the tools they need to ‘Be the Inspiration’ for their clubs.”

The assembly will be held April 6 and 7 at the Chateau Louis Hotel and Conference Centre, 11727 Kingsway in Edmonton, and will offer something for every Rotarian.

“There is something in the assembly for current leaders, incoming leaders and other Rotarians who want to learn more about Rotary,” Donna says.

“The leadership assemblies are planned to provide motivation, current information, support, opportunities to learn, and to share ideas and strategies to prepare presidents-elect, other club officers and members to have a successful year,” DGE Ingrid says.

“The leadership assembly is also an opportunity to form friendships and networks that support and enhance our relationships. There exists a splendid synergy when like-minded leaders collaborate on making a difference in our communities.”

To encourage participation, the District is offering several attractive registration packages, which provide reduced fees when several Rotarians from a club register as a group. When five Rotarians from one club, including the president-elect, register together their cost will only be $450. If five Rotarians, not including the president-elect, register as a group, the fee is $600.

Individual registrations are $150.

There is a separate fee of $35 per person for Friday evening’s Mix and Mingle.

Click here for additional information and to register.

This spring’s program builds on the Leadership Assembly held in the fall, which received praise from participants.

“The feedback from participants at the fall learning assembly is that it was one of the best learning and development assemblies they had ever attended,” Donna says.

Rotary Peace Fellow will speak about the “Magic of our Foundation” Friday evening

The assembly will kick off at 6 p.m., Friday evening, with what Donna promises will be a mix of fun and information. Following a mix-and-mingle networking reception, which offers a light buffet supper, a no-host bar and entertainment, Rotarians will have the opportunity to hear from the first of two Rotary Peace Fellowship alumni scheduled to speak during the assembly.

Summer Lewis, who also spoke at the RI assembly in January, is currently the Rotary Institute for Peace Partnership Co-ordinator. The topic of her presentation is the Magic of our Foundation.

The Rotary Foundation supports Peace Fellows, paying all the participants’ expenses, including tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation and internship/field study expenses.

Saturday morning, DGE Ingrid will share the RI theme and three priorities for 2018-2019:

  • Support and strengthen clubs
  • Focus and increase humanitarian service
  • Enhance public image and awareness

Ingrid will be followed by keynote presentations from two co-ordinators for RI Zone 24.

Zone Co-ordiantors will focus on Membership and Public Image during Saturday morning keynotes

Assistant Co-ordinator (Membership) Denis Boyd will build on what happened at the fall assembly. He will share strategies to strengthen membership and look at the club culture. Public Image Co-ordinator Sean Hogan will focus on ways to enhance Rotary’s public image. He will suggest techniques that can be used to share what Rotary is doing.

Following the keynote sessions, there will be more breakout sessions than have ever been offered at a District 5370 assembly. Some will be specifically for presidents-elect, treasurers and secretaries.

In their session, Ingrid will ask presidents-elect to set one goal for each of RI’s three 2018-2019 priorities.

All the other sessions are open to all Rotarians. Topics include membership, the Rotary Foundation, youth, club culture/public image, liability, the Rotary Employment Partnership, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission and the Emmanuel Foundation, which partners with Rotary to arrange humanitarian shipments to other countries.

The day will conclude with a second Rotary Peace Fellowship presenter. John Lamming, who was working with the RCMP in Grande Prairie when he was selected as Peace Fellow, has entitled his presentation, Adventures in Peace.

Rotary Peace Fellowships prepare young leaders to assume peace-building roles

sunrise of earth, blue shining  in the space

John Lamming feels that what best prepared him for the year he spent training local police officers in Ukraine was the three months he spent in Thailand in 2013 on a Rotary Peace Fellowship.

Reflecting on that experience, John says that, “The biggest impact was how I was able to apply the skills I learned while I was in the Ukraine.”

The 11-year member of the RCMP was stationed in Grande Prairie when a friend who was a Rotarian encouraged him to apply for the Rotary Peace Fellowship.

District Governor-elect Ingrid Neitsch (RC of Edmonton West) hopes others will follow that Rotarian’s example and approach non-Rotarians who are committed to peace and to conflict prevention and resolution, to apply. She feels it’s important that District 5370 endorse at least one application for the Rotary Peace Fellowship before this year’s deadline.

“I believe that in the midst of the unrest and turmoil apparent in the world, Rotarians are needed as change-makers/peace-makers, through positive examples in projects in local communities and around the world,” Ingrid says.

“Supporting the Peace Fellowship program is an important part, because we are preparing young leaders who will work in peace-building roles throughout the world.”

On its website, Rotary International states that, “the Rotary Peace Centers program develops leaders, who become catalysts for peace and conflict prevention and resolution in their communities and around the world.”

It adds that, “Peace fellowship alumni serve as leaders in government, nongovernmental organizations, the military, law enforcement, education, humanitarian action, restorative justice, and international organizations.”

5_peace alumniEN

The deadline for completing the online application form is May 31. To move the process to the next stage, applicants must request endorsement from a Rotary district before July 1.

John was part of a group of 19 participants from several countries in the three-month professional development certificate program at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.

Chulalongkorn University is one of the Rotary Peace Centre university partners and the only one that offers a three-month professional development certificate.

The other universities, which are in Australia, England, Japan, Sweden and the United States, offer 15-to-24-month master’s programs. These include a two-to-three-month self-designed, applied field experience and require a final thesis.

Working with people from different cultures

John says “the value-added was that it brought together people from different cultures and we were forced to work together for three months. We could share our experiences from our different cultural perspectives.”

His classmates included people from Nigeria, Argentina, Spain, the Netherlands, Palestine, Australia, Laos and India.

He credits the experience for changing how he views international projects. “Canadians go to help, but that does not necessarily mean we know what is best. Sometimes what we think is best is not the best approach,” he says. “We need to analyze the need from the perspective of the people we work with.”

Each year, up to 50 fellowships for master’s degrees and 50 for professional development certificates are awarded to non-Rotarians worldwide.

The Rotary Peace Fellowship includes tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation and internship/field study expenses.

Unlike the Global Grant Scholarship, which requires some club and district support, the Peace Fellowship is fully funded by the Rotary Foundation.

To be eligible to receive a fellowship for the master’s program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and have three years of full-time related work experience. For the certificate program, they need to demonstrate a strong academic background, plus have five years of full-time related work experience.

The RI website provides this explanation of the work-experience requirement:

“Relevant experience varies depending on your area of expertise and focus. It could be directly related to peace-building or conflict resolution. It can also be work in other areas such as resource and environmental issues, education and literacy, women’s rights, journalism, public health, and disease prevention, among others. International experience, working with a nonprofit or multilateral institution, working in a developing country, working with youth, or volunteer work are also considered relevant experience.”

Applicants also must have excellent leadership skills and be proficient in English. A second language is strongly recommended for those wishing to enter the master’s program.

John will share his experience as a Rotary Peace Fellow as the final speaker at the Spring Leadership Assembly in Edmonton on Saturday, April 7. Another Peace Fellowship alumni, Summer Lewis, will speak on Friday evening, April 6.

Further information can be obtained from District Governor-Elect Ingrid Neitsch, ingrid.neitsch@gmail.com or Dean Wood, the chair of the Rotary Foundation Scholarship Committee, dean.wood@shaw.ca.

Rotarians Bernie Kreiner and Nicole Konkin serve as ShelterBox ambassadors in District 5370


ShelterBox tents were deployed following a typhoon which devastated parts of the Philippines in 2012

When disaster strikes anywhere in the world, Bernie Kreiner (RC of Hinton) is confident that help will soon be on its way from ShelterBox, a project partner in disaster relief with Rotary International.

Bernie and Nicole Konkin (RC of Edmonton) are ShelterBox Canada ambassadors in District 5370. In this role, they are responsible for “raising awareness and promoting ShelterBox Canada within the District,” Bernie says.

“We make presentations to Rotary clubs, at schools and to community groups,” Nicole says. “We take a kit with us and set it up so that people can see what’s in a ShelterBox.”

On its website, ShelterBox Canada states that ShelterBoxes “are filled with practical tools and utensils that help to create the framework for everyday life.” These include a family-sized tent to shelter people from the elements and provide “a safe space in which people can start to recover from the physical and emotional trauma.”

A typical ShelterBox includes what a family needs to survive the aftermath of a disaster, such as tarps, blankets, solar lights, a cooking stove, pots, dishes, a shovel, a water purification system, and mosquito netting.

Double-Walled tents for colder climates

There is some variation in the contents of ShelterBoxes, based on local circumstances. For example, double-walled tents are deployed in regions where colder temperatures are common.

When a disaster occurs, boxes are on their way to where they are needed within two or


Winterized ShelterBox tents sheltered Syrian families in a refugee camp in norther Iraq

three days, from seven warehouses located around the world. Distribution is co-ordinated from the headquarters in England, where ShelterBox was established in 2000 by a Rotary club as a Millennium project. Its purpose is to provide temporary shelter and supplies to families who have been displaced by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, drought and famine.

ShelterBox Canada, which is a registered Canadian charity, has been part of the ShelterBox network since 2010.

Supporting ShelterBox Canada is a way for Youth to Make a Difference

Nicole says she was “first drawn to ShelterBox because I do lots of work with youth. They always want to do something and this is a way in which they can become involved.”

She believes that ShelterBox is an ideal vehicle for this type of involvement, “because if we can get resources to families when they are most in need, we can get them back to normalcy more quickly. If they are dry and safe, they are ready to rebuild.”

Bernie explains his involvement by saying that he “was impressed by how the organization works in partnership with Rotary. I appreciate how they deal with people who are experiencing crisis in their lives, in the aftermath of war and natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods.”

Based on his own experience, he can relate to what it’s like to encounter a natural disaster. “I myself was displaced by a flood,” he says, recalling what happened in 1988 when he was living in Slave Lake.

In addition to its iconic boxes, the organization provides ShelterKits, which contain what people need to begin recovering and repairing their homes, including such items as tools, ropes, tarpaulins and “whatever it takes to help people recover from disaster.”

“We test and evaluate all the aid we provide by talking to, and learning from, the families who use it. This fuels us to be innovative and to continue evolving,” says ShelterBox Canada’s website.

In the past 12 months, ShelterBox has responded to 24 events in 21 countries, including the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh, the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the Caribbean, drought in Somaliland and conflict in Iraq.

To learn more about ShelterBox, visit the organization’s website or contact Bernie (780-865-9355 or Bernie.kreiner@shaw.ca) or Nicole (780-756-0719 or nicole@sugarplumconsulting.com). They are available to speak to your club or arrange for a ShelterBox to be shipped to you to be displayed in your community.

You can make a donation in support of ShelterBox Canada online, or mail a cheque to: ShelterBox Canada, 159 Jane Street, Office 2, Toronto, ON M6S 3Y8. You can also make donations by phoning 1-855-875-4661.

Tax receipts will be issue for donations of $20 or more.