Posted by Tania Lowery
The big trip to International Assembly in January was just that, BIG!  It was an incredible experience, with the people being the best (and worst) part of the entire week.  Rotarians are certainly a varied lot covering a huge spectrum of all sorts of jobs, businesses, interests and characters. It was great to meet Facebook friends in the flesh, especially those who have been following me on a regular basis.  
I think the theme for 2019-2020 is very fitting - “Rotary Connects the World”.  It certainly is a theme that the world needs right now with so much nationalism in so many places.  Rotary International definitely has a place in pulling people together around the globe. 
 
I was thrilled that the Presidential Citation presented by Mark Maloney is actually quite straight forward, it should be pretty manageable for a lot of our clubs, and the goals are not airy fairy stuff like “attend International Convention”.  It is focused around membership, connecting with our alumni and Rotaract and Interact, setting up new clubs, and sponsoring a youth exchange student or Rotary Young Leadership Award participant.  There is also a focus on Foundation, Polio, establishing partnerships with corporates (and other groups), using correct branding, and using the media to tell our stories.   
 
The message from the top brass was very much about engaging with young professionals, ensuring family is involved with Rotary (that it complements family and doesn’t compete with family time) and being able to do the District Governor role while being in full-time employment (still figuring that one out!). 
 

Having Rotaract members there was great, they brought a whole new dimension to the group discussions at the breakout sessions.   

The most embarrassing moment was having to perform at the Festival night, can’t say it was a highlight.  My Rotary friend from San Diego called me “a good sport” for doing it! 
 
I got to shake Mark Maloney’s hand at my rostered time and get the official photo taken.   

San Diego is a lovely city and we enjoyed the time we spent there.  Rotary International certainly know how to run an event involving hundreds of people and dozens of different languages and cultures.  The whole Assembly ran smoothly, there was always plenty of time to network around the meal tables, and that was probably some of the most valuable time we had. 

I look forward to helping you all get inspired about the coming year when “Rotary Connects the World”!