Posted by Matthew Gibney on Jun 15, 2024

From late May to early June, I was lucky enough to attend two Rotary/ Rotaract conferences in Singapore. One of these was the Rotary International Convention (RICON), running from the 26th - 29th of May, and the latter the Asia Pacific Regional Rotaract Convention (APRRC), running from the 1st to the 4th of June.

Having attended my first RICON in Melbourne last year, I was eagerly awaiting to experience the excitement and friendship of another convention. I can safely say my expectations were beyond exceeded. As a Rotaractor, RICON is a place to meet with hundreds of other keen Rotaractors from all over the world. As we make up such a small percentage of the overall Rotary membership, it’s invigorating and insightful to meet so many other people going through the same motions as myself.

My second night in Singapore.

The Rotaractors I met, and quickly became friends with were located all over the globe, from Mexico to Taiwan, and from Germany to Japan. As you might expect, we had many late nights exploring the wonderful Singapore, enjoying its Hawker Centres, vibrant night life, and perhaps most impressively, it’s relentlessly on-time public transport.

Koji is a Rotaractor from Tokyo, Japan.

Bruno and Lana are Rotaractors from Mexico and Dresden, Germany, respectively.

However, I also cannot overstate that importance that the more Rotary-oriented aspects of convention played in my experiences at RICON. The House of Friendship always amazes me, and acts as such a strong platform to understand the internationality of Rotary and Rotaract. The General and breakout sessions further expand on this, which I love to attend.

Rotarians from Ghana, at the House of Friendship

The second half of my time in Singapore was then spent primarily with Rotaractors from South-east Asia. Over 400 Rotaractors attended the APRRC, and only 6 of those were from Australia, and only 1 from NZ. Taking part in such a large convention aimed solely towards Rotaractors displayed the immense Rotaract strength our fellow Asia-Pacific neighbours hold. Over the four days I met 100s of Rotaractors, and was lucky enough to witness the APRRC’s talent show, featuring a great deal of traditional dances and the APRRC’s country reports (which Australia also delivered), in which a representative from each country spoke about the state of Rotaract in their nation, just to name a few aspects of the convention. The APRRC opening session was also joined by the wonderful Stephanie Urchick!


Across these four days I developed strong friendships with Rotaractors from all over South-east Asia, including Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Amazingly, the Philippines boast over 11,000 Rotaract members, and over 750 Rotaract clubs. Taiwan was also in full force, with over 160 Rotaractors attending the APRRC.

We also had the opportunity to host country booths, where we were able to exchange culture, and perhaps more importantly, food.

Lastly, I also had a few days to myself in Singapore, where I could travel and sight see as I pleased. Some highlights include the fascinating history of WWII, which I discovered at the beautiful Fort Canning, Fort Silosa and the National Museum, the Botanic Gardens, and of course the Super Trees and Cloud Forest.



This trip also wouldn’t have been possible without the financial support from the Rotary Clubs of Mont Albert and Surrey Hills, Box Hill Central, and Bentleigh Moorabbin Central. I can’t thank them enough for supporting me on this absolutely fantastic two week journey.

A 10 minute video showcasing the entire APRRC can be found here:

Always feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to know more about Rotaract or my time overseas!

Matthew Gibney
Co-President, Whitehorse Rotaract