Over 140 participants attended the historic joint weekly club meeting of the Rotary Club of Oshawa from District 7070 and the Rotary Club of Moscow East - Russia in District 2223 on Monday, April 19, 2021 . Congratulations to the Club President Trish Best and Program Chair Gordon Dowsley of the Rotary Club of Oshawa, for putting together this historic joint meeting of the 2 Rotary Clubs from Canada and Russia. Well done and very smooth. New friends in Rotary.  Rotary Club of Oshawa President Trish Best said, "Over 7000 km and several time zones separate us, but Rotary International connects us." A recording is now available here on the District 7070 YouTube Channel. Please Read more....

Special thank you to Rotary International President Holger Knaack for being the keynote speaker.
A recording is now available here on the District 7070 YouTube Channel. Special thanks to Michael Adams (Rotary Club of Oshawa and publisher of snapd Oshawa) and the Rotary Club of Belleville ( my guess from Bill and Cory MacKay), for their outstanding photos.

OSHAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA – April 26, 2021 - Over 140 registered Rotarians from Canada, Russia, Germany and India came together, virtually on April 19, 2021 as the Rotary Club of Oshawa, (in District 7070 in south central Ontario Canada , just east of Toronto) and the Rotary Club of Moscow East East (in District 2223 in Russia), held their historic first joint Rotary club meeting, under the theme of Rotary Friendship and Joint Humanitarian Efforts. The smooth flow of the meeting was guided by an agenda that ensured that members from each of the two participating clubs had a chance to communicate directly with each other.

Rotary Club of Oshawa President Trish Best said, "Over 7000 km and several time zones separate us, but Rotary International connects us."

Each club wished the other a happy Anniversary. The Rotary Club of Oshawa enthusiastically enters its 101st year and the Rotary Club of Moscow East celebrates its 15th Anniversary.

The Rotary Club of Moscow East is composed of people who have returned from the east, Siberia, the gulags of the Soviet Union where they or their families had been exiled.

The Guest of Honour at this historic joint regular weekly club meeting of both clubs was Rotary International President Holger Knaack, live via Zoom from Germany. He applauded the meeting as an example of how the pandemic has opened up opportunities for members to adapt and evolve with new events, planning techniques and guest speakers from around the world.

Holger is the self-proclaimed Virtual President and expressed how the pandemic has given him the opportunity to meet more Rotarians from every corner of the planet that he would otherwise not been physically possible. He emphasized that opportunities through Rotary include those made possible through national and international committees, which enhance the overall membership experience.

Holger spoke about Rotary's ideals of service and he expressed his wish to widen that perspective to become a better speaker, event planner, writer and all the talents Rotarians utilize. He said that Russia needs Rotary and encouraged the Rotary Club of Moscow East members to encourage the development of clubs across the country.

The meeting’s Guest Speaker was Rotary Foundation trustee Dean Rohrs, now living in Vancouver, Canada, and originally from South Africa. Dean is one of the first women to reach the Vice-Presidential level in Rotary International. She has helped to develop the ideas and programs of service clubs in countries around the world and was a student nurse on the team that performed the world's first successful heart transplant.

In the traditional Rotary Club meeting manner, there were select members of each club who spoke briefly about themselves and gave a perspective of membership in each club. Erin from Oshawa is a police officer and spoke about her Polar Bear 2021 fundraising initiative. Elena, an educator in Moscow, spoke about her passion for peace and quoted US President Eisenhower “when people lead, leaders will follow”.

Elena ended the meeting with an official toast, after Rotarians were asked to fill their glasses.

Fellowship is one of the central enjoyments of being a member of any Rotary club and this international joint club meeting had all the ingredients to celebrate and highlight a variety of people with everlasting service to Rotary.

Notable guests on the intercontinental meeting of the two Rotary clubs included: Wilf Wilkinson, Past Rotary International President and Past Chair of the Rotary Foundation; incoming Rotary International Vice President and current Rotary International Director Valarie Wafer; and Dr. Bob Scott from Cobourg, the Immediate Past Chair of the Rotary International Polio Plus Committee, Past Chair of the Rotary Foundation and Past Vice President of Rotary International.

The current District Governors from Russia and Canada proudly attended - Ildus Yanysev from District 2223 in Russia and Mark Chipman from District 7070 in Ontario, Canada.

The meeting was the brainchild of Gordon Dowsley of the Rotary Club of Oshawa. With advanced planning, Gordon was able to step back during the event itself and let those he surrounded himself with, in Moscow and Oshawa, perform their magic. As a result, the meeting a huge success. “The story of any Rotary club is of interest to us, but the establishment of Rotary in Russia and the membership coming back from the east is especially interesting", he said.

"It was great fun to get to know each other and to learn about our respective clubs and cities. I loved Moscow when I was there. It is one of the world's largest cities and it has so much history and culture and so many wonderful places,” he added.

As Rotary International President Holger Knaack said during the event “Rotary is about opportunity” and Gordon Dowsley followed that theme by creating this very special and memorable event.

The interpreters from both Rotary clubs did an excellent job to make the time together so meaningful for both clubs and their members.

Thinking of planning and international or cross-border meeting between 2 Rotary Clubs many kilometers and time zones apart?

There are a number of key takeaways that Gordon Dowsley has suggested. 

The intercontinental meeting was a successful show and pre-planning was key.

Here is a list of the key takeaways for a club making similar intercountry or intercontinental club meetings:

- Format your meeting just like your regular weekly meeting with the microphone passing back and forth. Keep it interactive, not passive.

- Have an "Open MIC" program at least 1/2 hour before the meeting so people can all join in with open microphones just to say hello and get to know each other.

- Keep to the tightly scripted agenda, rigidly adhered to, so no pauses, with people wondering what is next. Keep everything on schedule.

- Drop your club specific items ( the other club really doesn't care when your membership committee is meeting, whose birthday it is this month)

- Use those 2-minute craft talks for a small number of members from each club in order that people, when they leave the meeting, have met at least a few people in the other club.

- Equally share the duties between clubs such as introducing and thanking.

- Keep the meeting totally non political with no introductions of politicians associated with the other club ( very essential in some countries).

- Plan to record the meeting so those who missed it can see it later.

- Webmaster duties should be done by only one club to make it simple and avoid technical problems.

- Do not show videos that do not run smoothly or images that are not sharp.

- Speaking roles spread among the members so that other than the presidents, members only appear once.

- Limit the number of people who speak, including special guests, in order to avoid an endless stream of expressions of how happy they are to be at the meeting.

- Stick to one theme such as: meeting and friendship of the two clubs; the shared project; interaction in the other clubs programs such as and international musical competition; hosting of international students; artists are business people.

- Decide before the meeting what each club will say in general (for example - will there be a toast to head of state or not, national anthems. Customs are different in each country and each club so for instance the national anthem played by one and not the other should be avoided.



Here is the recording , now available on our Rotary District 7070 YouTube Channel. 


Special thanks to Michael Adams (Rotary Club of Oshawa and publisher of snapd Oshawa) and the Rotary Club of Belleville ( my guess from Bill and Cory MacKay), for their outstanding photos



Just some of the members on the Zoom Call:
Just some of the members on the Zoom Call:
Rotary International President Holger Knaack:
Members from Moscow East
Irina Roudenko - The Rotary Club of Oshawa's Russian Interpreter (and spouse of incoming Oshawa Rotary Club President Peter Hernandez) 
Elena Matveeva - The Rotary Club of Moscow East's English Speaker 
Trish Best - President, Rotary Club of Oshawa  
Oleg Abramov - President, Rotary Club of Moscow East