Rotaract Mediterranean 101 : Everything You Need to Know

Dearest readers from all around the world, please allow me to extend my sincerest welcomes into the new year of Rotary and Rotaract. I wonder, have you ever been curious about the inner workings of Rotaract Mediterranean? Granted, you have heard about presidents, board members, country representatives, journalists and collaborators over the course of many years, but maybe you have wondered about what exactly they are doing behind the scenes. If that is the case for you, you have come to the right place.

Rotaract Mediterranean (or, as the locals call it, the ‘Med’) is a Multi-District Information Organization; simply put, our work here is to bring together Rotaractors from countries that have a border to the Mediterranean Sea. With warm people from warm climates, we serve our communities with love, passion and class.

The Med Times

Before delving deeper into the inner workings of our precious organization, let me give you some information regarding the pearl of the Med, the Med Times. Our purpose here is to connect the world with the Mediterranean culture and introduce the work of Rotaract Mediterranean. Here, we share news, stories, memories and projects; and welcome you into our world through the screens of your computer or mobile devices.

You may wonder who is behind the keyboard, reaching out to you. My name is Melis Leyal Gürel (‘Leyal’), and I am this year’s MedTimes Editor in Chief and the Co-Chair of the Medicon 2023 HOC Team. I have recently graduated with a double degree in Psychology and Molecular Bio & Genetics and a minor in International Relations, and now I will be moving to Italy very soon for my master’s. I have been a part of the Rotary realm since 2013 with Interact and Rotaract, and I am currently the past president of Rotaract Tarabya in Turkey. In Rotaract Mediterranean, I have served as the Secretary Collaborator, General Secretary and Internal Communication Coordinator, and now I am looking forward to ‘spilling the tea’ about what we do for an entire year with the help of my massive team of skilled journalists. So, let’s get started with the board!



So what does an MDIO president do exactly? On your behalf, I have asked this question to this year’s President, Maryem Sehli, from Rotaract Club Radès, Tunisia. She is a PhD student at ENSI with a specialization in Computer Vision and Machine Learning. In the Mediterranean family, she is one of the proud founders of our precious MedTimes as a member of the Marketing team at the time. Still, after that, she also served as the IT Coordinator and Treasurer in the Med, and now she is the president.

When asked why she has joined the Med family, she reminisces about her time as a Marketing Head within the HOC in M2R Tunisia. She fell in love with Rotaract Mediterranean and all the different cultures during the event and instantly knew she wanted to be a part of it.

For Maryem, the President of Rotaract Mediterranean has the responsibility of ensuring the sustainability of the entire organization; thus, it is vital to upgrade and develop each and every side of our MDIO; as well as keep the strong bond between the Med and the CR’s/Districts/Clubs, other MDIO’s, Rotarians and partner organizations.



Every president needs a right-hand person, more specifically, a vice-president. For this year, the job belongs to the 9-year Rotaractor Ayşe Sırma Özberber (‘Sırma’) from Turkey. She is a lawyer at PwC and a lecturer of labor law at Yıldız Technical University. In her Rotaract life, she is the founder president of Rotaract Tarabya, and in Rotaract Mediterranean, she has served as a Treasurer and Secretary. Still, apart from being our VP this year, she is also the HOC Vice-Chair of Medicon Turkey 2023.

Sırma holds international projects and friendships in very high regard. She believes that the diverse team of Rotaract Mediterranean provides a vision to serve the world more effectively. She is in the Med team to serve and connect and discover new ways to change the world for the better!

The vice president coordinates the team with the president and oversees the work of all committees, which is incredibly essential to the implementation of projects and ideas. When necessary, the VP also responds to demands and questions from the inside and outside and ensures the accountability of the organization. For Sırma, it is crucial to maintain a cohesive plan of work and integrate each department within the organization because teamwork brings success.



Moving into the realm of record-keeping, notes and meetings, we come across the 5-year Medical Student and 5-year Rotaractor Ahmed Taha Allala (‘Taha’), our General Secretary from Rotaract Tunis Hope, Tunisia. He served as the president of his club in 2019-2020, and then he joined Rotaract Mediterranean as a Marketing Collaborator, then became a Country Representative and a MedTimes Journalist, and now he is the General Secretary.

His journey in the Med has been quite the trip. Luckily, he has chosen to join the Med to know what it really feels like to work with people from different cultural backgrounds and to make some friends abroad!

The secretary, in general, is responsible for all emails and meeting minutes, as well as the archival of the Med records. Or, as he would put it, all the boring-for-you exciting-for-him kind of tasks that concern the backstage of the organization. In addition to that, he is also looking forward to working with his two excellent collaborators and making paperwork more fun than ever!



Our next stop, which is incredibly essential for every organization, is the Treasury. So we say hello to our Treasurer Stefano Pizzòli, or ‘Steno’ as we all call him, from Rotaract Club Rieti, Italy. He works in the field of digital payments, more specifically, the development of international markets for a European bank, and he is doing an MBA at the same time. In the Rotaract realm, he’s a past Country Representative and a past International Service Coordinator in the Mediterranean family, and now he will serve the community as our Treasurer.

Since his first encounter with Med, he had the chance to discover this beautiful and pure atmosphere of cooperation between rotaractors without cultural borders, which made him realize that being part of MED was the right choice for him as a committed rotaractor. What made him stay throughout the years, though, was the possibility of being together and sharing our cultures, as well as serving our communities not only in our cities and countries but the whole world! After all, this is precisely the good old soul of Rotaract we are all aiming to keep. 

For Steno, the primary function of the treasury commission is to have the Med’s finances organized and to let our beloved MedShop grow in numbers to support the logistic functioning of our MDIO as well as our yearly events. With the help of his amazing collaborators, they aim to come up with new ideas and solutions to maximize the fundraising from the MedShop and our partners so that the Med can aim for bigger and more complex projects that can help our communities and the ones in need.


International Service

What is the point of Rotaract without service? Featuring Love, Peace, Twinning, Culture and Nature, we salute our International Service Coordinator Irmak Uzuner from Rotaract Tarabya, Turkey and her team of collaborators. Irmak is a lawyer and a writer; she is also a 4-year Rotaractor and one of the past presidents of her club. In Rotaract Mediterranean, she has served as a MedTimes Journalist and Med Action Collaborator, and now leads the service team and is also a HOC member of Medicon Turkey 2023.

Irmak is a part of the Med family because she sees it as a perfect opportunity to reach out to more people besides her own country; because she wants to serve and bring the services of Rotary to everyone. Her dream in Rotaract is to be as active in the field as possible.

For her, the function of the International Service Committee is to serve every country in the Mediterranean region through exemplary work. The committee, in general, creates projects to be implemented and organizes a peace forum to establish peace. This year, besides other ideas and projects, the committee plans to launch a Peace Academy, A Mental Health Panel and many awareness projects starting with Epilepsy. With the assistance of five Med Action Collaborators and two Med Peace Forum Collaborators from four countries and five districts overall, they already have an excellent roadmap to serve the community and promote peace.


Internal Communication

As I have said, with board members, country representatives, journalists and collaborators, we are a big team. To ensure connectivity and communication, we have the 3-year Interactor and 6-year Rotaractor Mohamed Shalaby from Egypt (everybody calls him ‘Shalaby’) behind Whatsapp and Slack. He has been in Rotaract Mediterranean for four years as Sergeant at Arms, International Service Coordinator, Vice President and Internal Communication Coordinator, respectively.

Shalaby has always loved to travel and meet new people. Hence he is looking forward to having more adventures and promoting cultural diversity. Rotaract and Interact have overall kindled his love for international projects and events, and his thrive to achieve more; that’s why he wanted to be a part of the Med Team.

Duties relating to Internal Communication for Shalaby encompass the communication within the Med with the Country Representatives and the Board/Committees, sending reminders for tasks and relevant information, as well as coordinating the Med meetings. Apart from the administrative tasks, lifting the spirits by organizing Speak & Drinks and other fun events is also a responsibility of Internal Communication.



Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. We live in a world of social media, and informing the world about what we do is always important. For that, we have Lilian Shmait from Lebanon and the Marketing Team. Lilian is a 5-year Rotaractor and a member of Rotaract Club Aley. Last year, she served as a Marketing Collaborator in the Med and now leads the team.

Her reason for joining the Med Team was to benefit from the means to connect with International Rotaractors coming from various backgrounds and share expertise. We always have a lot to learn from each other, and Rotaract Mediterranean is the perfect place to broaden our horizons!

As a marketing coordinator, she stresses the importance of social media and the impact each committee member has on making the organization shine brighter. She also puts emphasis on the dynamic nature of the committee and the role of members for the enhancement of our platforms. The scope of marketing in that regard includes content planning and creation, visual design and video editing, as well as community management across different platforms.


Information & Technology

As an MDIO that consists of more than 500 clubs, we require a great deal of technology, featuring the best websites for both the Med and our various events and the newest shiniest meeting tools. Behind all the gadgets and coding, we have our IT Coordinator Nawres Hamdi from Rotaract ISCAE Mannouba, Tunisia. Apart from being a board member in her club since 2019, she has served as an IT Collaborator since 2020 and is now leading the IT Team.

Nawres is passionate about being a Rotaractor and serving towards a better world, so for her, Rotaract Mediterranean was the key to opening up to the world of Rotaract regarding networking and self-development. Two years of experience has taught her a lot, and she is now hoping to learn more.

The IT Committee, from her perspective, enables the introduction of Rotaract Mediterranean and what the Med does all over the year through the Med websites and the YouTube channel; thus, it gives people the opportunity to take a look at the Med’s history and get to know the next steps.


Past Presidency

Despite completing the year as the Med President, his work is not done. Advising all of us and supporting us, we have our 9-year Rotaractor Past President, Jad Salame, from the Rotaract Club of Sahel Metn, Lebanon. Jad has been a part of the Med for three years serving as Treasurer, Vice President and President.

Jad is proud to say that Rotaract has had a massive impact on the person he is today. Having gotten to know Rotaract Mediterranean at a Medicon, he instantly knew that Med was the perfect opportunity to serve the international community within Rotaract and have new experiences and challenges in life, which was exactly what he had been looking for after having served in most positions in his local club.

For Jad, the past president’s function is to assist and advise the new president and her board of directors to ensure the organization’s continued success and growth, which he is looking forward to achieving.


As MedTimes, we promise to have many surprises, featuring events, projects, and important guests, including but not limited to MDIO presidents, Rotaractors, Rotarians and Ambassadors. You can find us on new platforms very soon. So stay tuned until next time!

By Melis Leyal Gürel

MedTimes Editor in Chief, 2022-2023

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