RI President Personal Representative is: Past RI Director & Past Foundation Trustee Bryn Styles from Canada
Master of Ceremonies Jonathon Usher
Jonathon originally started out wanting to be a comedian but was scared people would laugh at him. He has been a comedy magician since 2003 and he is currently performing more than 200 shows per year at parties, functions, conferences and events all over New Zealand and Australia. In real life, he owns 6 service stations situated in Dunedin, Palmerston and Oamaru, all in the lower half of the South Island of New Zealand. A Rotarian since 1997, Ihe is a Past District Governor (2014/2015) of District 9980, a Paul Harris Fellow, past GSE Team Leader, District GSE Chair, past Assistant Governor, and a director of ShelterBox New Zealand.
Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO(Mil), CVO, MC (Retd)
Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO(Mil), CVO, MC was born in Wiluna, Western Australia in 1937 and educated at Kent Street High School and the Royal Military College, Duntroon.
He graduated into Infantry and served operationally in Malaya, Borneo, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam, where he was awarded the Military Cross and the South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. After command of all combat elements of the Army from platoon to division – including the Special Air Service Regiment – he retired in 1993 to assume the appointment of Governor of Western Australia, which he held for almost seven years.
On his retirement as Governor in 2000 he established in Perth, a not for profit strategic research institute – Future Directions International (FDI) – whose objective is to examine longer term issues facing Australia.
On 11 August 2003 he was sworn in as the twenty-fourth Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, serving in that capacity until 5 September 2008, where his key interests were in youth, education, the family and food security.
He is currently the Chairman of Soils For Life, Future Directions International, the Australian Trachoma Alliance and the Constitution Education Fund Australia. He is patron of 16 other not-for-profit organisations. In 2013 he was appointed the National Advocate for Soil Health by Prime Minister Gillard and this role has been continued by Prime Ministers’ Abbott and Turnbull.
Major General Jeffery is a Companion of the Order of Logohu (PNG), a Knight of St John, a Citizen of Western Australia, a Paul Harris Fellow and an honorary life member of the Returned and Services League.
He and his wife Marlena have four children and ten grandchildren. General Jeffery enjoys golf, cricket, fishing, reading and music.
Michael Sawyer, OAM, MBBS, PhD, Dip Child Psych., FRANZCP, FRCPC
Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at the University of Adelaide and Head, Research and Evaluation Unit at the Women's and Children's Hospital in South Australia. He is currently the Honorary Medical Advisor for Australian Rotary Health. Prior to this appointment he was Chair of the Australian Rotary Health Research Committee and a Director on the Australian Rotary Health Board. He has also previously been Head, Department of Paediatrics and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Adelaide. In 2008, Professor Sawyer was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the field of child and adolescent mental health as a researcher and educator
For the past thirteen years Libby has been volunteering for three months a year, in a semi rural community in Kwa Zulu, Natal, South Africa. Her work started when she volunteered for fifteen months in an AIDS orphanage. From there she moved out into the wider community. Her aim is to encourage sustainable development, foster education, and particularly to promote empowerment of women. Over the past thirteen years, through fund raising in Australia and the US, we have been able to establish a library in a school, build a house for a very needy family, start a chicken business, supply food parcels, school shoes and school uniforms, establish vegetable gardens in the community complete with water tanks, and equip soccer teams and cricket for district sports. The bulk of the work now involves welding, and sewing training for unemployed youth, and computer training for school children. She is also actively assisting the setting up of a Trade School in a very deprived rural area, which will teach children trades which will hopefully assist them to gain future employment
In 1956 Steve joined the army at the age of 19 and served as part of the Australian deployment in the Malayan Emergency, again in Sabah Borneo and in New Guinea. In 1976 he retired from the Army after 2 tours of Vietnam where he was injured by incoming artillery fire from which he still suffers significant hearing loss. After retiring from the Army Steve eventually entered the field of Motel Management as owner / lessee or manager specialising in the rebuilding of underperforming businesses. He has owned or operated motels from Exmouth and Geraldton through to Belmont just out of Newcastle before retiring to Medowie in NSW in 2006. In 1990 while on holiday in Malaysia Steve and his wife Dorene lost their daughter to Malaria. As a retiree, in 2008 he returned to the war torn areas of Laos with a couple of ex-Army mates. Over several visits we started a program of local area Landmine clearing that grew into a Water and Sanitation project. The project involved the construction of 8 kilometres of water supply pipeline bringing water and sanitation to 7 villages. Along the way we also built and equipped 3 separate schools. In 2014 the project was handed over to a group of Sydney and WA based Rotary clubs who have expanded the clean water project into a further 8 villages. In 2015 Steve decided to do something about the killer of his daughter and through his local Rotary club organised and led a Motorbike ride around Australia speaking at 50 separate venues in 54 days to over 60 separate service clubs. In 2017 he was introduced to the Malaria Vaccine Project of Griffith University of which his wife Dorene and he have become avid supporters. Steve is a Past President of the Exmouth and Geraldton RSL clubs, became the District 9670 RAM chair in 2015 and this year the District Chair of RAWCS.
Sister Dain Inglis
After graduating from Queensland University in Arts and Education, and travelling the world as young people do, Sr Dain subsequently went to Papua New Guinea as an Australian Volunteer Abroad and was assigned to a Teachers’ Training College that had been severely damaged by an earthquake in a rural area of the island of New Britain. After her 2-year assignment with AVA, she returned to Australia in 1969 and did 3 years of training to become a religious sister. On completion of her training she returned immediately to PNG in 1972 and worked in PNG for 16 years and was posted to various parts of the country. In 1988 after being elected to the General Council of her international religious congregation consequently moved from PNG to Rome for the next 12 years. This particular assignment involved visiting all the countries where the sisters are working – 29 in all and most of these are developing countries. When she was not travelling, she worked with a refugee service in Rome where the need is very great. After completing her mandate in Rome, she went to South Africa in 2000 to the rural province of Limpopo where she worked with orphaned children with AIDS. After 11 years in South Africa, she moved to Dakar in Senegal where she was the leader for all the African sisters in the 7 countries where they work. This involved constant travel to Congo DRC, South Sudan, Cameroon, South Africa, Burkina Faso and Senegal. In 2012 she was once again appointed to our General Administration in Rome and again worked with refugees. After leaving Rome to return definitively to Australia in September this year. She has lived and worked outside Australia for the past 44 years and only returned to Australia for holidays with her family. She is looking forward to being permanently “home” in Australia and hope to be involved in volunteer work with those in need, preferably with asylum seekers as this has been an important part of her life in every country where she lived. She now lives in the Southern Highlands at Hartzer Park, a spirituality and conference centre near Bowral and volunteers with the social welfare team of “Vinnies” in Moss Vale where there is quite a lot of need.
Joyce Edwards OAM
Jovce was born on 8th October 1936 in Wollongong, the eldest of three children. She spent her high school Years at Richmond District Rural High School but only went as far as Intermediate (Year 10). Her first job was as a shop assistant at a pharmacy for 12 months for a grand sum of 2 pounds a week (S4), before achieving her dream of entering general nursing training at Wollongong. When she sat her exams in 1957, she was in the state's top 10.Once qualified she transferred to the Royal Hospital for Women at Paddington where she studied midwifery. When she finished her training, she began work at her mother's hospital delivering the babies of many of her school friends and cousins.
In 1960, Joyce began her Surgical and Operating Theatre degree at St Luke's Hospital in New York City. After graduation she worked in St Georges Hospital, as Nurse of Operating Theatre, Emergency Nurse and Blood Nurse.
Moving on to Ontario, she worked in hospitals in their intensive Care Unit before moving to London in 1965 where she worked in the burns and plastics unit for two years.
She returned to Australia, working again for her mother. Word got around she was back in the country and she was commissioned to establish an ICU at Royal South Sydney Hospital as well as teaching. Never wanting to be bored, she then acquired a diploma in Nursing Education. This led to her becoming Nurse Educator at the Education Centre at Prince of Wales for six years. Whilst there she also did a BA at the University of NSW majoring in history, Philosophy of Science and Sociology.
In 1976, she was Head of Nursing at Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, moving on four years later to Royal Prince Alfred. Again, her love of learning led her to complete a Diploma of Education Administration at Kuring-Gai CAE. She and 37 other nurses were awarded a WK Kellogg Fellowship to undertake a Master's of Science Education and Administration at the University of California in San Francisco. In 1984, she became Principal Lecturer at Sydney College of Advanced Education before being promoted to Associate Professor of Nursing at Sydney University.
Joyce went on to become Nurse Educator at a nursing home in Ashfield. One of the accomplishments she is most proud of is working towards and achieving an Australian Service Nurses National Memorial in Canberra in 1999.
Sebastian recently arrived back in Australia after 2 years working as the Rotary Coordinator the iconic School of St Jude’s in Tanzania. Sebastian’s relationship with St Jude’s and Rotary is long standing with a visit in 2009 igniting his interest in working with both organisations.
Encouraged by his experiences at St Jude’s, Sebastian joined The Rotaract Club of the University of Canberra in 2014, where he is currently studying Bachelor of Education majoring in early childhood and primary.
At St Jude’s Sebastian was an active and innovative leader for Rotary. He started the first EarlyAct club in East Africa plus the school’s first Interact and Rotaract clubs. Within his tenure he was also able to establish many more Rotary youth clubs around Tanzania.
During the 2016/2017 Rotary year he served as Country Chair for Interact in Tanzania, chairing their first Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.
Sebastian is a passionate teacher and an enthusiastic advocate for Rotary
In January 1999 Aminata Conteh-Biger was as kidnapped in the hands of her father by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) at her homeland Freetown Sierra Leone.
Aminata Conteh-Biger survived several months as a sex slave and Human shield in a civil war in Sierra Leone and, with the help of UNHCR, escaped to Australia as a refugee. She can’t change the past but now she’s ready to share her story and to help the future of her homeland, which has become the world’s most dangerous place to give birth.
And what an inspirational story it is – of despair, survival, hope and resilience. But above all, it’s a story about how life can change in the blink of an eye - both positively and negatively – and the capacity of human beings to let go of the past, to look to the future and to choose to be positive. Listening to Aminata’s personal journey can make even ‘grown men cry’, yet inspires all to create a positive future for themselves and importantly for others too.
With the help of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Aminata became the first group refugee from Sierra Leone to be resettled in Australia.
She now lives in Sydney with her husband and two children and works in the fashion industry. She is a Board member of The Social Outfit, an ethical fashion brand celebrating creativity and diversity, employing and training people from refugee and new migrant communities.
In 2014, Aminata, together with three other inspirational refugee women, shared her story in the highly acclaimed Theatre work, The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe. This production by Ros Horin, is a celebration of women, human rights and resilience. It was a triumph, played four packed out seasons in Sydney, toured in London and returned for another season at the Sydney Opera House.
In 2016, inspired to make a positive difference to the future of women in her homeland, she established the Aminata Maternal Foundationhttp://aminatamaternalfoundation.org/ which aims to reduce the rates of maternal and newborn deaths in Sierra Leone. It currently supports several programs in the country for pregnant girls, many who live in slums.
In a thought provoking SBS Dateline special aired in 2017, SBS followed Aminata back to her home town, where she confronted what her life may have been like had she not migrated to Australia. Sierra Leone has some of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world and Aminata believes had she remained in Freetown, both herself and her daughter, Sarafina may not be alive today.
Aminata’s ambition is to see women in her country of birth experience the joy of birth and life to the fullest. She is committed to making a positive difference and aims to inspire others to do the same. Every little counts.
"Every baby in the world deserves to be born healthy and in a stable environment, irrespective of their country of birth. Health should be available and affordable to every human being and not just for the privileged few. Infant mortality is preventable, so let's do something about it together".