Rotary Foundation Seminar

Sat, Oct 28th 2023 at 9:15 am - 5:15 pm

Building on the success of our first Rotary Foundation conference


Showcasing Rotary activities across our district





Our second Rotary Foundation event for Rotarians, friends and partners of Rotary across the Thames Valley will be held at Mansfield College in Oxford.

Details of timings, speakers, registration and the venue can be found below.



Please use this link to register. Rotary Foundation Seminar Registration.

The cost is £24.00 for each delegate. This includes coffees, lunch and a drinks reception at the end of the day. Payment details will be sent to you when you complete the registration form.

Outline Programme 

start & end times are fixed, but session and break times may be subject to change:

9.15 - 10.00 coffees and registration

10.00 - 11.20  welcome and session one, with a focus on peace and supporting refugees and asylum seekers

11.20 - 12.00  coffee break

12.00 - 13.25  session two, with a focus on polio and Rotary Scholars

13.25 - 14.45  lunch

14.45 -  16.30  session three, with a focus on education, equality & diversity and youth programmes

16.30 - 17.15 drinks and chat

Mansfield College and Eleanor Roosevelt

A short promotional video about the venue and to explain why you will see a fabulous statue of Eleanor Roosevelt outside the Human Rights Institute. And a little reminder of Rotary's connection to Mrs Roosevelt.


What's It All About?

Not sure what to expect from a district Rotary Foundation seminar? Have a look at the video on the page about the March 2023 Rotary Foundation conference.


Our Speakers (with more to follow)


Bandana Adhikary on life since her Rotary Scholarship and on setting up a charity in Nepal

Bandana was a Rotary Scholar in 2020/21, studying at Brunel University and funded by our Rotary district. She is from Nepal but continues to spend some time in England since completing her Masters degree. Bandana is an aspiring educational leader who aims to dedicate her life contributing to international development in the field of children and education. She is Co-Founder of a charity organisation named Transforming Education in Nepal. The organization aims to create impactful educational projects to enhance the confidence and skills in children and strengthen educational system of Nepal. Currently TEN is providing scholarship to 10 students and conducting monthly workshops for those children in partnership with local Rotaract Club.

Keith Crawford on Witney Rotary's work to support asylum seekers


Keith is the current president of Witney Rotary. Witney Rotary worked with other community groups in the town to assist Ukrainian refugees when they arrived in early 2022. In late 2022, the Home Office took over a hotel in town and have housed around 200 asylum-seekers there. They are mostly families of many different nationalities, with around 40 school-age children. The churches, Rotary, schools, local health centre and District Council have all worked together to support this group. 


 Nick Harborne on the situation in the UK for refugees and asylum seekers 
Nick Harborne is a member of Reading Rotary and also the Chief Executive Officer of the Refugee Support Group based in Reading.
Nick's career started in London, working with the homeless for 4 years.  He spent six years working overseas with Children’s Aid Direct in Bosnia, Azerbaijan, North Korea, Tajikistan and Albania during the Kosovo crisis, managing emergency humanitarian aid and development programmes.  Nick spent a further six years as CEO at Reading Single Homeless Project (now Launchpad Reading) before setting up a canal boat hire business, Canal Experience Ltd.  In 2013, Nick joined Refugee Support Group as CEO. He was a founding trustee of Connect Reading, and still a keen footballer player. 

Gary Hibbins on the work of The Abingdon Bridge

Gary is CEO of The Abingdon Bridge. The Abingdon Bridge is championing the wellbeing & mental health of young people aged 13-25 across the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire. Gary has 20 years of experience working in the charity sector, alongside his charity work,  Gary is a registered psychotherapist. 
Gary will share some of the fantastic work The Abingdon Bridge have delivered, alongside Illuminating the very real issues that impact young people across the county.




Reg Ling on Polio Eradication

Reg is a member of Alresford Rotary in Hampshire. He has been a Rotarian since 1983 and has had many leadership roles in the End Polio Now teams in Great Britain and Ireland and further afield. We heard from him at the March 2023 conference and he returns to give us updates on the work of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Hugely knowledgable and able to share the complicated details of polio in a clear and inspiring manner.

Fred McCrindle & Colin Maclean, Reading Abbey Rotary, on Launch Reading

LaunchReading helps establish and develop new businesses in Reading by supporting and developing entrepreneurs in under-resourced communities in the Reading area. The organisation helps by providing free training, business development services, and networking opportunities.

More to follow...

V. Sreetharan on Rotary Peace Initiatives

V. Sreetharan is a member of Westminster West Rotary. A Rotarian since 1995, he is on the organising committee for the Rotary International Presidential Peace Conference to be held in London on 9th & 10th February 2024. Sree will speak about his journey from Drumming for Peace at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London in April 2018, to the Lighting of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons in all Commonwealth Capital Cities in June 2022, and the daunting task of organising a Presidential Peace Conference in London in February 2024. How and why is this so important to him?”


Iyiola Solanke on her Rotary Scholarship and her career since then

Iyiola Solanke was a Rotary Scholar in the mid 1990s. She studied Swahili in Tanzania supported by Rotary in London. Since then she has a hugely successful and varied career. She joined the Oxford Law Faculty in August 2022 and while chatting in the office kitchen during a break in a meeting, she and Karen Eveleigh had a great conversation about Rotary, prompted by Karen wearing her Rotary badge in the office that day. 

Iyiola Solanke is Jacques Delors Professor of European Union Law at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Somerville College. She was previously Professor of European Union Law and Social Justice at the University of Leeds Law School and the Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for the University. She has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii School of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law and Harvard University School of Public Health.  Professor Solanke is a former Jean Monnet Fellow at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and was a Fernand Braudel Fellow at the European University Institute. She is an Academic Bencher of the Inner Temple.  

Her research focuses on institutional change, in relation to both law and organisations. Her work adopts socio-legal, historical and comparative methodologies. She is the author of ‘EU Law’ (CUP 2022), ‘Making Anti-Racial Discrimination Law’ (Routledge 2011) and ‘Discrimination as Stigma - A Theory of Anti- Discrimination Law’ (Hart 2017), as well as many articles in peer reviewed journals.  

She founded the Black Female Professors Forum to promote visibility of women professors of colour, and the Temple Women’s Forum North to promote engagement between legal professionals and students in and around Yorkshire. In 2018 she chaired the Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL and she is currently leading two research projects: Co-POWeR, a project looking into the impact of COVID on practices for wellbeing and resilience in Black, Asian and minority ethnic families and communities; and Generation Delta, a project promoting access to and success in post graduate research (PGR) study for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women. 

Other current projects focus on legal protection from weight discrimination as well as de-colonising European Union law.


Robin Weathersbee and Tom Conlin, Slough Rotary, on Dictionaries for Life 

Slough Rotary has distributed Dictionaries to schools in and around Slough for over ten years. They have often used Rotary Foundation grants to part fund the annual programme. 

Robin has been in Rotary for 49 years, a past president and current secretary of Slough. He was a member of the district Foundation team for several years and organised the Paul Harris Fellows’ lunch in Oxford for three year.  He has attended over 40 district conferences!

Tom is well known across the district as an organiser of charity trips to Serbia, Kosovo and other countries with lorry loads of aid, something he has been doing for 10 years. He was club president last year and will be again in 2024-25.


Stories from our clubs. We will have a series of 'three-minute stories', from seven or more clubs.

So far the confirmed speakers are 

Greg Wilkinson from Reading Abbey Rotary on a garden project at a local charity that supports adults with learning difficulties, supported by a district grant; Derek Smith from Cookham Bridge Rotary with an update on the Thames Hospice global grant funded project; John Hudson from Maidenhead Rotary on planning for a new project to provided toilets for schools in Zimbabwe, for which the club hopes to secure a global grant; Janet Eustace from Witney Rotary on an eye hospital in India part funded by a global grant; Maya Smeulders from Abingdon Rotary on the support over the years for rural communities in Uganda, using district grants; Mark Barrett from Reading Matins Rotary on planning for a new project to create a hub for young people in Reading with the charity No 5, hoping for a global grant; John Osborne from Reading Rotary on the club’s support over the years for the End Polio Now campaign.









Related pages...

welcome slide for the conference

Rotary Foundation Conference

more held on 25th March 2023 at St Anne's College in Oxford

back to page above this...

Foundation Events

back Organised by the District Foundation Committee to inform the members about The Rotary Foundation and how it can support Rotary club activities in the Thames Valley.