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Jordan’s Rotary Country Conference convenes under slogan ‘Together we do better’

A group photo of the participants during the Jordan’s Rotary clubs meeting on January 15, 2022. (Photo: Handout from Jordan Rotary)
AMMAN — Presidents and members of Jordan’s Rotary clubs — each represented by three members, in observance of the physical distancing restrictions due to the pandemic — met on Saturday at the Amman Rotana Hotel for the 6th Country Conference, held under the slogan “Together we do better”, to present Jordan’s vision for the Rotary year 2021–2022 and to discuss challenges facing the various clubs, mainly membership and public image.اضافة اعلان

District governor Ashot Kanapetyan holding the microphone while answering a question during a panel discussion on January 15, 2022.(Photo: Handout from Jordan Rotary)

A panel on membership, moderated by Wessam Sawalha, discussed setbacks faced by Jordan’s clubs and, more broadly, many other rotary clubs worldwide, particularly in light of loss of memberships over the last two years due to the pandemic. Participants discussed ways to retain existing members and to attract new ones, while maintaining the quality and diversity of members who are motivated to serve their communities.

The panel stressed the need to focus on innovative leadership and elect presidents who can be “cheer leaders”, able to incentivize members toward action, creativity and service.

Governor Ashot Karapetyan of Armenia, who is in Jordan for the conference and who believes clubs either “grow or die”, agreed that new members are needed “but not at the expense of diversity and quality”.

A panel on public image, moderated by Country Public Image Chair Manal Nammari, reviewed misconceptions affecting the public perception of the Rotary, and suggested remedies to address some of these.

A survey conducted by one of the clubs asked random individuals how they view Rotary clubs, and the answers came in total contrast with the goals of the international organization: “A secret society, a club of company presidents, a bunch of guys who meet to have lunch and enjoy their time, and an international club with a vaccination program.”

For more than 110 years, Rotary global network, which most recently counted 1.4 million members, has brought together people who use their passion, energy, and intellect to take action on sustainable projects.

This year’s universal slogan is “Serve to change lives”, while Rotary’s universal logo is “Service above self”. In the words of Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta, of India, the club’s purpose is “serving others changes lives, including ours”.

Jordan follows Rotary International areas of focus, which include eradication of diseases; promoting peace; providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene; saving mothers and children; supporting education; protecting the environment; while paying attention to community-specific needs and working within available financial means. 

Key projects implemented in Jordan in the past years varied in geographic region and nature; most notable were a solar system project for a girls’ orphanage in Anjara, in Ajloun Governorate, clean water systems for UNRWA schools, renovation of the water system in Um Al-Jmal to feed existing reservoirs with rainwater for agricultural use, and blood donation campaigns, in addition to free-of-charge heart surgery for needy children, conducted by international heart surgeons in partnership with the Gift of Life.

The projects are funded by club membership fees, donations, as well as grants from Rotary Foundation, which offers financial assistance to clubs that implement projects within its prime focus areas.

The panel on Jordan’s vision, moderated by Bisher Zreikat, agreed that Amman has become saturated with clubs, and proposed setting up new clubs in other governorates and cities, namely in areas of the Kingdom that are in dire need of community service through voluntary actions.

In a bid to mainstream and upgrade club governance, and provide a legal umbrella for communication with the government, as well as managing joint funds and projects at Kingdom level, five clubs joined forces and established a federation of Jordanian Rotary clubs.   

Deputy Governor Farid Musharbash updated the participants on the status of the newly established federation, which has been approved by the Ministry of Interior and will function under the Ministry of Social Development; the administrative committee comprises one member from each club.

The first Rotary Club in Jordan was established in 1956: the Rotary Club of Amman. Since then, the Jordan Rotary community grew in number, today bringing together 240 members and 11 clubs, registered under Rotary International District 2452, which encompasses nine countries on three continents, including Lebanon, Cyprus, Sudan, Bahrain, the UAE, Georgia, Armenia, and Palestine, in addition to Jordan.

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