Rotary International: Learning Cultures to Build Ties with Mountain Nations










Task List Rotary Round Table




Rotary International:  Learning Cultures to Build Ties with Mountain Nations


Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University hosted three distinguished speakers representing Rotary International in the State of Utah at UVU on November 16, 2016. It was an event which celebrated the United Nations International Mountain Day and managed entirely by a group of UVU students – members of the Foreign Affairs Club. I was also surprised to now that our students hosted International Mountain Days every year starting from 2010. The main theme for this year’s International Mountain Day is “Mountain Cultures: Celebrating Diversity and Strengthening Identity.”

I was very excited to attend this event after looking into the program and learning about the different guests that were attending. The host students gave introductions to the different guests. Dr. Scott Leckman is a private practice doctor in Salt Lake City and apparently has done a lot of work lately in India. Mrs. Ruth Riley has worked in the financial advisory field for more than 40 years and recently she was elected as the President of Provo Rotary Club. It was very evident as she was introduced how many people she has been able to help. All of us in the audience and me, in particular, were excited to know that Ruth is going to be the first female president of the Provo City Rotary Club. Dean L. Jackson is a member of the Provo Rotary Club and remains active as a member of the school district community. He is active in helping people in Asia, including Japan. In addition, he is a chaplain in the Provo City Police Department. Thanks to the assistance from Dean L. Jackson and his daughter Angie UVU students were able to gather this event and to build relationships with members of Rotary Clubs in the State of Utah and better understanding how involvement in Rotary Clubs activities could help them to grow professionally.


Dr. Scott Leckman Presents at UVU

Dr. Leckman started his remarks by talking about how service to communities is one of the greatest ways to spend your time and fulfill your life. He then spoke of the eradication of polio in India and among the mountain communities there as well. He talked about the culture of local people there and that the word “Namaste” means “I bow to that divinity inside of you.” I thought that was so exciting little piece of the culture that he’s learned. His remark was “It’s better than saying Howdy.” It’s always important to learn little pieces of culture in different countries that are unique from ours. He then highlighted the severity of Polio. It’s a disease that has been around the world for a long time. The first epidemic in the United States was in 1916 that killed more than 9,000 people the first summer. There was an epidemic every summer after that. Then Dr. Jonas Salk developed the first vaccine for the virus. The first Rotarians that had the idea to really make a difference in public health (especially with Polio) received a grant from the World Rotary Club that allowed them to go to India and vaccinate 6 million kids. The progress since 1985 has been incredible. Polio exists in 3 countries worldwide only now.

Dr. Leckman then highlighted the activities that Rotary Clubs focus on a few of which are peace, and disease prevention. The Rotary Club of Salt Lake City, Utah has done a lot to help mountain communities in Nepal. Specifically, they sent $32,000 to Nepal after a devastating earthquake struck the country a year ago.


(L to R): Mr. Dean Jackson, Raul Rendon, UVU Student, Dr. Scott Leckman, Mrs. Ruth Riley, Munhbat Batmunkh, VP, Foreign Affairs Club and Christian Jensen, President, Foreign Affairs Club before the Round Table

Something that I got from the round table and the International Mountain Day celebration that I thought was very exciting when all presenters talked about the three things that you have of value to offer others: your word, your time, and your money. Your word is so important. Being able to come through with what you say you’re going to do is enormous. As far as your time concerned, Dr. Leckman emphasized that if you want to know what someone’s values are, look at what they spend their time and their money on. I thought that was so exciting and very real. Rotary Clubs are institutions that allow young people to build relationships and identify their values. Interaction with three distinguished presenters motivated me to be a better person and think about ways I can contribute to more peace on this earth.

“I have friends all over the earth, I just haven’t met them yet.”

Max Taylor, UVU Student





Roundtable With Utah Rotary Clubs Celebrates International Mountain Day at UVU

I found the conference roundtable “Rotary International: Learning Cultures to Build Ties with Mountain Nations” on November 16, 2016, very interesting. First, it was organized by Utah Valley University students through their alliance of clubs named the Utah International Mountain Forum, Second, to be completely honest I had no idea what the Rotary Club was before this discussion with involvement of three guest speakers representing Utah Rotary Clubs: Dr. Scott Leckman, from Salt Lake City Rotary Club, Ruth Riley, and Dean Jackson, from Provo Rotary Club. I liked the insight of all of the different participants, and one of the things that stood out to me the most was the quotes and photos used by Dr. Scott Leckman. I thought the progress they talked about was great, and it was exciting to have Ruth Riley there, who will soon be the 1st woman president of the Rotary Club here in Provo. Most of what I want to talk about is based on the remarks of Dr. Scott, which makes sense since he talked much longer than the other two guests.


(L to R): Christian Jensen, President, Foreign Affairs Club, Dr. Scott Leckman, Governor Nominee, Salt Lake City Rotary Club, Mrs. Ruth Riley, President-elect, Provo Rotary Club and Dean Jackson, member, Provo Rotary Club during roundtable at UVU

Dr. Scott talked a lot about his trip with the Rotary Club to India that he has been taking every year to give immunizations for polio. I thought it was funny how he made the joke about how they understand the diseases there and they see the necessity for the immunizations, while the people here complain about getting shots. I think my favorite thing from his statements was the quote from Albert Schweitzer that he started. Albert Schweitzer once said, “I don’t

know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” The same man also said, “Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him.” I was intrigued by both of these quotes, and I believe both of them to be true. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how each and every person that you see is fighting a battle and going through hardships that you can’t necessarily identify from the surface. That’s beside the point a little bit, though, what Dr. Leckman and the other people there do with the Rotary Club is helping those around the world who are going through trials that are identifiable on the surface. The work that he was doing in India is amazing, and the number of people that he has helped is absolutely amazing. I didn’t know much about polio before this presentation, so I found some of what he said about the disease itself to be fascinating. He showed how we have evidence of polio going all the way back to ancient Egyptian times and then discussed the first polio outbreak in the United States. The first United States polio epidemic was in 1916 and started in New York City. Dr. Leckman said that there is an outbreak in the US every summer and that we are just well vaccinated so we don’t actually realize it, which I didn’t know and I found interesting. The first polio vaccine wasn’t developed until 1954. He said that 99.9% of polio cases have now been taken care of and that this year there has only been 72 reported cases.


Mrs. Ruth Riley, President-elect of the Provo Rotary Club Speaks before UVU Students

Mrs. Ruth Riley and Dean Jackson also talked about the aims of the Rotary Club. The greatest aims are for peace, disease prevention and treatment, and also aid for sanitation and clean water projects. The Rotary Club activities are entirely voluntary. Most of the members are just assisting as much as possible on the side while still trying to maintain their busy lives. Dr. Scott Leckman, the first person that spoke, is a surgeon and still finds the time to work and serve others. The Rotary International is now working in over 200 different countries. Their impact can indeed be felt all the way around the world, and they are having a major impact on improving the lives of those who stand in need.


Christian Jensen, President, Foreign Affairs Club present Certificate of Appreciation to Dr. Scott Leckman, Governor Nominee, Salt Lake City Rotary Club

This was a fascinating and important event for students in the audience to learn how they could make their professional life more successful by building relationships with similar minded individuals around them and worldwide through the Rotary International and to serve to other communities and the mountain ones in particular. It was also one more successful experiment of our students, members of UIMF to develop professional skills by hosting important dignitaries and to contribute to the commemoration of the United Nations International Mountain Day. 

Jaron Jones, UVU student


Round Table With Rotary Club Representatives

On November 16, 2016, UVU students hosted a very interesting event – round table highlighting three representatives of the Rotary Clubs from the State of Utah: Dr. Scott Leckman from Salt Lake City Rotary Club, Mrs. Ruth Riley and Dean Jackson, the President and the member of the Provo City Rotary Club respectively. It was a forum contributing to the commemoration of the International Mountain Day, declared by the United Nations.


Dr. Scott Leckman during Round Table at UVU

One quote that Dr. Scott Leckman started with that really captures the mission of the rotary club is from Albert Schweitzer which states “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” This was really reflected throughout the whole discussion. I also really liked that the emphasis that the three distinguished guests made was not only on providing service to others, but also connecting with them. Dean Jackson even mentioned how when we break down what we all are – even to our smallest particles, we are all energy. It is that energy that connects us and drives us and makes us one. We all come from varying backgrounds and circumstances. Instead of dividing us, these differences should bind us together and should allow us to share strengths and work together. That idea is very present in the Rotary Club. Not only are their members concerned about helping and changing their own community, but they are also interested in helping others internationally, on a global scale.


One such example was with the overall goal of the Rotary International to eradicate polio. Polio has been a problem since ancient times, but had become a huge problem in the 20th century especially in the United States. Once a vaccine was created that was efficient and successful, the goal was made to eradicate polio completely. The Rotary Club was the first group to start trying to eradicate polio worldwide, which is a challenge since the disease is not as easy to recognize (because it can be asymptomatic) and eliminate as other diseases such as small pox. However, they have been able to travel to different countries around the world providing free vaccinations for children. One example that Dr. Leckman gave was with work of their group in India. They were able to provide the vaccine to many who would normally never have received it. Because of their determination, they along with others have almost completely eradicated polio globally. Now polio is limited to 3 countries and they have only had 32 cases this year as opposed to several hundred cases in previous years.


Christian Jensen Present Certificate of Appreciation to Dean L. Jackson for Contribution to the International Mountain Day Celebration

Not only do members of Rotary Clubs strive to help with diseases and vaccinations, but they also help with challenges and problems in other areas as well. Some of these focuses are peace, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, education, natural disasters, etc. One example with this was in helping with instruments in Japan after a tsunami.

One reason why members of Rotary International are able to help so much and in so many areas worldwide is because they are not religious or politically based. They’re only based on service and so it is something connectable and relatable wherever you go, and this has opened many doors for them that might otherwise have been shut if they had other affiliations.

Distinguished presenters also brought out what we all have that is valuable to others. These three things are our word, our time, and our money. They brought out that even though we are college students, the first two of those things are free and we can easily give. Also, as we are in school and learning, it is important to learn how to serve and help others in whatever vocation we may be pursuing.


Johana Linford, UVU Student, Political Science Major


Learning Mountain Cultures through Rotary International

I was very interested to hear about round table with three Rotarians which took place at Utah Valley University on November 16, 2016, because I think Rotary Club is a very amazing thing. I have always been interested in humanitarian efforts and I believe that we all have something to give. I believe that the smartest people are those that give of their time, energy, and talents.


(R to L): Dr. Scott Leckman, Governor Designate, the Salt Lake City Rotary Club; Ruth Riley, President of the Provo Rotary Club and Mr. Dean Jackson, member of the Provo Rotary Club

Dr. Scott Leckman, representative of the Salt Lake City Rotary Club, Ruth Riley, President of the Provo Rotary Club and Mr. Dean Jackson, member of the Provo Rotary Club shared with us, UVU students their experiences and initiatives as Rotarians and how involvement with Rotary Clubs could benefits students in their professional lives and careers.

I love what Dr. Leckman was saying about India. Going to India has always been a dream of mine and I loved hearing what he had to say about the Indian culture and the humanitarian efforts he put forth there in eradicating of polio. I loved how he talked about while he was giving service the feelings he felt of accomplishment and of feeling like a “rock star.”

He then referenced to polio and when it was first discovered in America. He stated that every summer there was an epidemic of polio. He pointed out to us how fortunate we are to have the polio vaccine and how we could never understand the fear of polio. He told us how Rotary has made a difference in thousands of children’s lives by giving them the polio vaccine. He talked about the effects the vaccination has had on these third world countries and he talked about how much the world has improved since 1985 regarding the vaccine.

The Rotary foundation has six areas of focus that are important to them including peace building, education among them. Over the past two years the Rotary Club of Salt Lake City has impacted the lives of over 24,000 people. They have done many projects all throughout the world including India and Nepal. Recently the Rotary club raised over $32,000 for Nepal after an earthquake.

Not only the Rotary clubs do so much for countries around the world, they also serve the community. They give out dictionaries to students who have no books. They also have recently taught a class of 3rd graders about their work and the importance of others.


Christian Jensen, President, Foreign Affairs Club at UVU Presents Certificate of Appreciation to Mrs. Ruth Riley, President of the Provo Rotary Club

“Look at where people spend their time and their money and that’s how you can tell what kind of person they are,” said Dr. Leckman. I love this. I love how the Rotary club is serving others. Dr. Leckman also said, “It’s all about relationships.” Loving people and reaching out and serving are the most important things in life. I agree with this wholeheartedly. When we reach out and serve others it doesn’t only benefit others, but it benefits us.

This event was so interesting. I really didn’t have any idea what the Rotary club was before this event, but Dr. Leckman spread light upon the subject and he did a really good job on teaching us what the Rotary club is all about. It has inspired me to reach out to others. I think we sometimes think that we can only do good if we go to foreign, third-world countries, and the mountain communities in particular, but Dr. Leckman also taught us that there is so much good to do in our communities as well.

Similarly, Ruth Riley shared with us many initiatives and projects available for students at Provo Rotary Club which help local people. While she is very kind and sweet person, it is very important that she is the first women President of the Provo Rotary Club. As a follow up for the round table she invited us to visit Provo Rotary Club and contribute our discussion during the lunch there at the beginning of December.

It was very productive event, which taught us many important lessons. I hope we can all reach out to others, regardless of our economic, academic, or social standards.

Megan Adams, UVU Student