Updated: Apr 23, 2021
By Sophie Ruehlmann, Germany & John Knox, USA
People everywhere are familiar with Rotary International which, since its founding in 1905, has been a service organization one of whose major goals is working to help further world peace and understanding among nations. Yet it is likely that far fewer know of the parallel organization known as Rotoract, an international program for young people between the ages of 18 and 30 that was established in 1968 and currently has over 290,000 members. Rotoract members share the same goals as their parent organization, and typically join Rotary once they have established careers for themselves.
With public meetings difficult or impossible in these times of Coronavirus, a new idea has been suggested for the young people’s group in particular: Rotaract e-Clubs. To cite but one example, it is hoped that such a group will be in place in time for a “Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung” Rotary Peace Letters Conference to be held in Northfield, Minnesota in October, 18-23, of 2021 ('Indian Summer'). The subject of this conference will be “Vergangenheitsbewältigung – Dealing with the Past” and might have as its special guest Holger Knaack from Ratzeburg, Germany who is currently the President of Rotary International.
The young people’s group, “International Keokuk Peace Letters Rotaract e-Club” will present its own parallel conference via Zoom. Travel grants will be made available to help some members make the trip to Northfield. The joint conference will present an exceptional opportunity for the sharing of ideas between Rotary and Rotaract.