December 2022-January 2023 | Features

A weekend to remember in Dublin

A weekend to remember in Dublin

The Irish capital played host to Rotaractors from across Europe for four days of connecting and sharing ideas.

Early 450 Rotaractors from 38 countries gathered in Ireland this October for REM Dublin, the country’s first-ever Rotaract
Europe event.

Rotaract European Meetings (REMs) are twice-annual events where Rotaractors can connect, learn and share ideas over four days.

In January this year, there was still an opening for this autumn’s REM, and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to reinvigorate Rotaract after a long couple of years of the pandemic.

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We chose Dublin as it boasts a strong Rotaract presence and good accessibility from Europe whilst often being an overlooked gem.

This was never going to be an easy task, with a mere ten months to plan and execute the epic event with a tiny team spread over three countries, but it was something we believed to be worth the stress.

It was while working the first shift at the registration desk on October 20th that I first saw the fruit of our manic months of work. So many happy faces greeted us and shared their excitement to be in Ireland for the first time.

After years of low participation at Rotaract Europe events, I am proud to say we had the largest UK and Ireland delegations in recent memory.”

Kind volunteers from across the world even helped assemble name badges and prepare for arrivals during the more intense periods.

City tours and extra activities populated the day, followed by a fancy dress welcome event in the evening, giving everyone the opportunity to form new international friendships while dressed as a zombie.

On Friday, the main conference took place. Our theme was Live Green, with sustainable business owners and academics from the UK and Ireland to discuss actions we can take as individuals and as an organisation to tackle climate change.

They shared their knowledge on soft skills, leadership, conscious consumption and misinformation/disinformation related to climate change.

Afterwards, we held a social project called Postcards of Kindness, giving attendees the opportunity to write to people in care homes across the country doing our small part to help reduce loneliness.

We closed Friday’s festivities with the traditional country booth event, bringing each delegation together to passionately share their food, drink and culture with each other.

This is one of the best-loved parts of every REM, providing a sense of community and fostering international understanding. It’s also great fun.

Rotaract GB&I Chair, James Thomas (left) at the Rotaract European Meeting in Dublin.

The Rotaract Europe (ERIC) meeting took place on Saturday morning, and the country representatives convened to discuss and make decisions that would affect Rotaract across Europe.

The rest of the delegates had the day to absorb the city and culture whilst our organisational team prepared for the grand finale of the REM, a fancy gala dinner at Croke Park Stadium.

At 6pm, the well-dressed Rotaractors arrived at the impressive stadium and socialised before sitting down for their meal. We opened with a country call where all the country representatives proudly came onstage waving their flags.

The sheer number of countries on stage really highlighted the magnitude of the event and quite how many miles were travelled just to attend this conference.

Even our small team of Rotaractors was empowered with a new energy inspired by their triumphs at the conference.”

Finally, we handed over the “Key to ERIC”– a symbolic wooden key passed down from event to event – to the hosts of the next REM, which will take place in Ghent, Belgium, in January 2023.

To think that we merely started with the words ‘REM Dublin,’ and after months of intense planning, hundreds of Rotaractors now have happy memories of Ireland, with stories they will share forever.

REM Dublin finally gave us our chance to put Great Britain & Ireland on the map of Rotaract Europe and brought a new level of enthusiasm and collaboration to our country’s MDIO.

Rotaractors from all across Europe came together to discuss future projects and make connections

Even our small team of Rotaractors was empowered with a new energy inspired by their triumphs at the conference.

After years of low participation at Rotaract Europe events, I am proud to say we had the largest UK and Ireland delegations in recent memory.

I genuinely believe this is merely the beginning of the rebirth of Rotaract in our countries, rising up to, if not beyond, what our fellow Europeans are already achieving and growing the fantastic DOGOODERY our organisations will bring in the years to come.

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