By Arnold R. Grahl, Rotary Editorial staff
Riding on the subway to the Atlantico Pavilion in Lisbon, Portugal, earlier in the week for the 2013 Rotary convention, I ran into a Rotarian from Nigeria, who will be governor of his district in 2014-15. I asked him about his district, his ambition for his district governor year, and how he has been enjoying the convention so far. Before I knew it, six stops had gone by, and I had arrived at Oriente station on the red line, the nearest stop to the pavilion.
This was pretty typical throughout the week, as I shared metro rides and conversations with Rotarians from Canada, France, England, of course the United States, and Zimbabwe.
A club president from Ontario, Canada, shared with me the best sightseeing destinations in the city, should I manage to peel myself away from my work long enough to make use of the information. A delegation from Barbados offered me a tiny bottle of rum in the lobby of my hotel! One night, riding home tired and worn out from a particularly grueling day, I spotted a lone Nigerian Rotarian who looked similarly tired, and struck up a conversation. It made us both feel better.
I observed many more conversations than I took part in, pretty much everywhere I went in Lisbon. I believe such encounters are the life blood of the convention. I am convinced they benefit and inspire Rotarians more than all the great speakers and workshops, as good as those are.
During the fourth plenary, Celine Cousteau, granddaughter of famous oceanographer Jacque-Yves Cousteau, talked about how we all have stories, and our stories make us who we are. She noted that telling our stories creates connections, and builds a community. She said the reason we all came to the convention this week is because we share a community and a common goal.
As you leave Lisbon, it is my hope you can take a piece of that community with you to your club, to inspire them for another Rotary year.
- Read convention coverage on www.rotary.org
- Follow the convention on twitter at #ricon13
- Read other blog posts about the convention
- Download the General Secretary’s Report and other speeches and reports
Source: Rotary Voices