More than 20,000 Rotarians from across the world, many from Great Britain & Ireland, should have been in Hawaii this week.
However, the Rotary International Convention fell the way of all major events this summer because of the global pandemic.
Rotary International said at the time of the cancellation: “As a global organisation that values bringing people together to create meaningful connections and positive change in communities throughout the world, our decision to cancel our convention is a profound disappointment.
“We also recognize the significant impact this will have on local economies, as our convention would have been the largest event held in Hawaii this year.”
Now, plans are well under way to connect the Rotary world with a virtual convention.
This kicks-off on Saturday, June 10th at 2pm London time with a session titled: ‘Together, we connect’.
Hosted by the American news anchor, Mark Wright, from Rotary Seattle in Washington, it will feature speeches from Rotary International President, Mark Maloney; Convention Chair, Celia Giay; Foundation Trustee Chair-elect, K.R. Ravindran, and Foundation Trustee Chair, Gary C.K. Huang.
The focus of the session will be seeing how the Rotary family is connecting across the globe to support each other and the fight against COVID19. It will discuss how we can continue to support these efforts.
There will be a panel of experts on global disease prevention discussing the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic response and how this can help strengthen our communities against similar events in the future.
On Sunday, also running from 2pm to 3.15pm London time, the second general session is themed: ‘Together, we learn’. A club from Great Britain & Ireland will be featured with how they innovated to expand membership.
This session will feature Rotary International President, Mark Maloney; Convention Chair, Celia Giay; Rotary International President-elect, Holger Knaack; General Secretary, John Hewko, and Rotary International President-nominee, Shekhar Mehta.
The session will unravel how e-clubs work and how Rotary clubs are leveraging new platforms to meet virtually and stay connected.
There will be a film on Rotary Peace Fellows in action around the world, as well as an update on polio eradication efforts, with how existing infrastructure is being used in the battle against coronavirus.
Then from Monday, there will be a series of break-out sessions each day, beginning at 2pm each day.
On Monday, June 22nd, Rotary editor, Dave King, will be part of a panel discussing ‘Using virtual tools to engage members’. The focus will be on embracing best practices for engaging with participants in the virtual world. Dave will be talking about the recent launch of the togetherTalks and will be joined by Joanne Kam, from Rotary Suntec City in Singapore, and Lynne McNamee from Rotary Plano East in Texas.
Virtual Convention Q&As:
How can I sign up for the Virtual Convention?
Go to www.riconvention.org/signup. Submit your name and email and check the boxes to accept the Terms and Conditions.
How much does it cost?
There is no cost to participate and the event is open to everyone!
What is included in the Virtual Convention?
There are two general sessions, 15 featured breakouts, and access to the virtual House of Friendship, the Rotaract and Interact Post Conventions, the July breakouts, and a virtual walking challenge where you could win a free registration for the 2021 Rotary International Convention in Taipei, Taiwan.
When does the Virtual Convention start?
The Virtual Convention will take place 20-26 June. You can find the entire schedule here, including a link to a time conversion tool. On 19 June, visit www.riconvention.org, and click the General Session Button. That will take you to a site where you can test your connection and verify that you are set up to see and hear the content on 20 and 21 June.
Will the content be available in languages?
Yes, the general sessions and the featured breakouts will be offered in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin. Breakouts scheduled for July will not have interpretation available.
How will I be able to listen in the available languages?
To change the language, simply choose your language from the drop-down box on the right-hand side of the presentation screen. For English speakers, please note there are two breakouts presented in Spanish. You will need to select English from the available languages in order to listen to those sessions in English.
How do I watch the Virtual Convention?
On 20 and 21 June, go to www.riconvention.org, and click the General Session button. You will enter the general session and be able to see and hear the program, chat with other participants, and enjoy.
For featured breakouts on 22-26 June, go to the convention site, and click the Featured Breakouts Button. This will take you to the schedule, with links to each featured breakout. Click the link and you will enter the breakout you selected.
How do I log into the Virtual Convention on the day of the event?
You can visit the convention site, click on the button that corresponds to the activity you wish to join.
Will there be other activities? How do I participate?
You can access the other activities – the Virtual House of Friendship, the Rotaract and Interact Post Conventions, the July breakouts, and the virtual walking challenge – by going to the convention site. and clicking on the proper link.
What technology do I need to participate in the Virtual convention?
For the best experience, we suggest using a desktop or laptop computer and the Google Chrome browser. If you do not already have Chrome, you can download it for free.
Please ensure that while participating in the Virtual convention, there are no other heavy uses of your internet connection such as streaming movies or playing games. A download speed of at least 3 Mbps is recommended. You can test your connection speed for free.
When you begin your participation in the general session, a breakout session, or a booth interaction in the Virtual House of Friendship, you may be prompted to grant access to your microphone or camera. Please grant this access in order to ensure the full experience. To verify that your computer is fully capable of accessing the full experience, visit the convention site on 19 June, starting at 08:00 am CDT (Chicago time) and access our test session.
Will you be offering technical support during the event?
Links for technical support will be provided on the convention site.
Can I pick breakout sessions to attend?
Yes. Space is limited for some sessions, so if the session is full, check back later for the recording.
Are there recordings available after the events?
Recordings will be available after the event for On Demand viewing. You can access them by going to riconvention.org and clicking on Featured Breakouts, then click the link to access the recorded session.
What is the difference between the Featured and July breakouts?
Fifteen featured breakouts will take place 22-26 June. Simultaneous interpretation will be available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin.
July breakouts will take place throughout the month of July. These breakouts will be scheduled by the organizers using their preferred platform and you can register to attend them using the links provided on the July breakouts page. No interpretation will be provided by Rotary International for the July breakouts.
How long will the presentations be available on demand?
This is still being determined.
Will I be able to register for the 2021 Rotary International Convention? If so, how?
Yes! Registration will be available for the 2021 Rotary International Convention in the Virtual House of Friendship by visiting the 2021 Rotary International Convention – Taipei Registration booth, or by visiting riconvention.org and clicking the button “Register for the 2021 Rotary Convention”. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on registering.