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Asia Pacific Rotaractors unite virtually through 17th APRRC

Louie Boy De Real

Rotaractors in Asia Pacific were supposed to gather face-to-face last September 2020 for their annual regional Rotaract conference at Penang, Malaysia hosted by Rotary International (RI) District 3300. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the regional conference was postponed and eventually converted into a virtual event last March 6 and 13, 2021.

“After nearly 3 years of preparation, the team has poured our heart and soul into ensuring that APRRC would be the Rotaractors’ experience of their lives. Despite faith bringing us to another path, our team worked hard to revamp the whole program to blend in this new normal. Our journey was never short nor easy but luckily, we received tremendous help, direction and motivation from everyone,”

says JieFei Lan and Thomas Lim,

Co-Chairs of 17th APRRC.

Asia Pacific Rotaract Leaders Meeting

The APRRC kicked off with the annual meeting of the Asia Pacific Rotaract MDIO Leaders and District Rotaract Representatives (DRRs) within the region. As leaders are quite new about MDIOs, the meeting also featured an MDIO sharing session with European Rotaract Information Center MDIO President Mafalda Luis and Rotaract Mediterranean MDIO President Astrid Durand-Viel as speakers.

During the meeting Past District Rotaract Representative (PDRR) Louie De Real from the Philippines was elected as Chair of the Asia Pacific Rotaract MDIO for Rotary Year (RY) 2021-2022 while Rotary International District 3650 Seoul, South Korea won the bid to host the 19th APRRC targeted to be a face-to-face conference.

Opening Ceremony

The main conference that coincided with the celebration of the World Rotaract Week began with the opening speeches from the Organizing Committee Co-Chairs JieFei and Thomas, Asia Pacific Rotaract MDIO Chair for RY 2020-2021 Alex Tan, Host District Rotaract Representative Li Qun Low, 17th APRRC Steering Committee Chair Past District Governor (PDG) Paul Lee, Host District Governor Teoh Kwan Swee and Malaysia Royal Patron Tunku Zain.

“The pandemic still gave the APRRC the great opportunity to use digital and social media platforms to reach wider audience, particularly both Rotarians and Rotaractors, not only in the region but across the world,” highlights Asia Pacific Rotaract MDIO Chair for RY 2020-2021 Alex Tan.

“APRRC has always played an important part in my Rotaract journey. I believe that the time will come soon when we can finally meet each other physically. We may be apart by distance but let us keep the Rotaract spirit close at heart,” says Li Qun Low, Host District Rotaract Representative for RY 2020-2021.

“We need to continue to build on this APRRC as it gives young people an opportunity to get together, do the work, and be at par with Rotarians”, highlights 17th APRRC Steering Committee Chair PDG Paul Lee.

“While we celebrate Rotaract’s ongoing evaluation, it is pertinent for Rotaractors and Rotarians to gather and brainstorm on ideas as well as strategies to bring the mindset of Rotaractors to the level they deserve,” emphasizes Host District Governor Teoh Kwan Swee, RY 2020-2021.

Updates from Rotary International

Rotary International was represented by Erika Emerick, Programs and Promotions Specialist for Rotary’s Programs for Young Leaders, who gave updates about the recent Rotaract policy changes, new courses for Rotaractors in the Rotary Learning Center, and the virtual Rotaract Preconvention 2021.

Elevate Rotaract Forum

Nine Rotaract leaders representing various countries in the Asia Pacific region shared how their district/country has cascaded and implemented the Elevate Rotaract policy changes. They have also highlighted both areas of difficulties and best practices.

Plenary Session on Personal Branding

Jan Wong, an entrepreneur, online strategist, youth advocate, TEDx speaker, and honoree of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, talked about the importance of maintaining a strong personal brand to find success. He highlighted that in this digital age when anyone can search you any time, one must ensure to always have his/her best foot forward.

Plenary session speaker Jan Wong talked about branding yourself up for success in the “New Normal”

Rotaract Workshops 1

Asia Pacific Rotaractors also had the chance to deepen conversations on Rotary/Rotaract topics and emerging social issues through the two sets of simultaneous workshops. The first set of workshops featured a session on debunking dangerous rumours and building trust within a society facilitated by Gunaprasath Bupalan, an award-winning journalist, radio host, speaker and trainer and another session on wealth distribution and how we play an important role by PDG Ada Cheng of Rotary International District 3450 Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia and Guangdong Province, China.

In contemporary times where we have seen a wide spread of fake news in social media and online platforms, Gunaprasath Bupalan discussed how individuals should behave to be responsible citizens and what can be done to tackle the issue.

RI District 3450 PDG Ada Cheng talked about the challenges and opportunities for micro and small businesses.

Rotaract Workshops 2

The second set of workshops focused on Rotaract topics with the first session about the difference between a Rotaractor and a Rotarian featuring RI District 3300 Rotaract Chair Calvin Khoo, PDRR Elyse Lin from Taiwan, PDRR Oliver Alvarez from the Philippines, and PDRR Rytha Lew from Singapore. The second session talked about the Rotaractor Attitude featuring national MDIO chairs PDRR Louie De Real from the Philippines, PDRR Samantha Fewster from Australia, PDRR Sean Lin from Taiwan, and RI District 3300 Rotaract Representative for RY 2021-2022 Joshua Tang.

Asia Pacific Rotaract leaders weigh on the attitudes and mindsets of what could be a model Rotaractor.

Asia Pacific Rotaract leaders discussed what it means to become a Rotaractor vs. a Rotarian

Plenary Session on Transforming the World

RI District 3300 Governor Nominee Designate Dato DR Siva Ananthan shared his thoughts on how we can touch the lives of others and ourselves through service, and how we can transform the world.

“In life, the question of whether you want to make the world a better place or not is just a snap of a finger,” says DGND Dato Dr Siva Ananthan.


The evening segment of the APRRC began with the Virofest, an abbreviation for Virtual Rotaract Online Festival. Instead of just doing a concert for fun, Rotaractors in the region advanced various causes by contributing video-recorded performances then asking viewers to donate for projects that help communities in Japan, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the Rotaract Clubs of Las Piñas West-Happy and Paseo de Roxas from the Philippines perform an impersonation music video of How You Like That by Korean group Blackpink.

House of Friendship

The APRRC ended with a virtual fellowship night consisting of performances from the Rotaractors of host district 3300 Malaysia, including a virtual disk jockey.

Watch the videos of the 17th APRRC.

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