New partnership brings together two global organizations dedicated to creating a better world

In what seems like a natural marriage of global organizations, Thunderbird School of Global Management and members of Rotary International are forging a new partnership that promises to amplify each organization’s impact by collaborating through their large and active global networks. And in doing so, each group will supercharge their efforts to improve communities around the world. 

“Thunderbird has always embraced collaboration in bringing together leaders from around the world to train them to shape the global business environment,” said Sanjeev Khagram, director general and dean of Thunderbird. “We’ree ducating global leaders and managers who will maximize the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to advance inclusive and sustainable prosperity worldwide. Rotary International is a venerated organization with a similar mission and shared values, so working together makes sense. Through our new partnership, both organizations will be able to enlarge our networks and programs, multiplying our positive impacts on people’s lives around the world.”

“Thunderbird and Rotary International - both organizations dedicated to creating a better world - join forces.” Click to tweet

The Rotary Club of Downtown Phoenix Thunderbird was the first Rotary Club (rather than Rotaract Club) to be established on a university campus. Since 2016, the club has introduced Thunderbird students and other Thunderbird community members to Rotary’s local and global service opportunities. Thunderbird SHARE scholars have joined this Rotary Club, which welcomes students, faculty, staff and community members who want to put their global mindset into action.

The Thunderbird Rotary Club is part of Rotary’s District in northern and central Arizona where Thunderbird alumni and other experienced Rotarians have long imagined the power of partnership between these organizations. 

 “We are thrilled to explore collaborations and expand our work with the Thunderbird School of Global Management,” said Rotary District Governor David Simmer. “While Rotary might be recognized most for work to make our communities stronger, we are a global organization with clubs in over 200 countries. We see an incredible opportunity to partner with Thunderbird to realize our overlapping interest in removing systemic issues that hold people back from reaching their full potential.  There is no telling how huge this partnership could be.”

Rotary International: “People of Action” 

Rotary International is a global network of 1.2 million leaders who foster understanding across cultures, see a world where people unite, and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in their communities and in themselves. Members train adults and young leaders to support a wide variety of causes, both locally and on an international scale. They also foster growth for individual members. Rotary bridges cultures and connects continents to champion peace, support education, grow local economies, fight disease, save mothers and children, and provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene. 

Members donate 16 million hours of volunteer work worldwide each year. With more than 35,000 clubs around the world, Rotarians follow the motto: “They profit most who serve best.” Established in 1905, Rotary is proud of its long legacy of members who take action to create lasting change. 

Thunderbird: “A world with inclusive and sustainable prosperity”

Thunderbird, which was established in 1946, has a vast and engaged alumni network of more than 45,000 graduates in 70nations around the globe who meet regularly in 170 alumni chapters. The school has Centers for Excellence in Geneva, Moscow, Dubai, Nairobi, Tokyo, Seoul, Jakarta, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. Thunderbird is in the process of expanding this global network of satellite offices to 20 hubs by the year 2025 to support recruiting, executive education, alumni and community engagement, applied learning programs and professional English training, among other worldwide initiatives.

With its founding, Thunderbird became the world’s first higher education institution focused on international management by concentrating its curriculum on cross-cultural communication, regional business studies and hands-on, real-world training in global business nuances. More than 70 years later, Thunderbird continues to garner international accolades. Among them was a prestigious honor in 2019: Thunderbird’s flagship degree program, the Master of Global Management was named the world’s No. 1 Master’s in International Management in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education Business Schools Report.  

The new Thunderbird and Rotary International partnership aims to increase world understanding, peace and sustainable prosperity.” Click to tweet

Thunderbird and Rotary: Shared visions 

The Thunderbird and Rotary International partnership aims to increase world understanding, peace and sustainable prosperity. The two organizations combine large global networks and a packed calendar of international events to advance the missions, values and programs of both organizations on a worldwide scale.

Thunderbird’s mission: We educate global leaders and managers who maximize the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to create inclusive and sustainable prosperity worldwide.

Rotary International’s mission: We provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.

The two organizations find a natural synergy between their programs. Here are some early plans:

  • Encouraging collaborative projects between Rotary Clubs and Thunderbird Alumni Chapters worldwide.
  • Thunderbird training within Rotary youth programs: Rotary Youth Exchange students, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, youth Interact and Rotaract Club leaders.
  • Rotary expanding Thunderbird scholarships, including fundraising and applying matching funds from Rotary Districts and The Rotary Foundation. Rotarians want to increase Thunderbird’s SHARE Scholars. Rotary Scholarships might also be made available to Thunderbird students studying in one of Rotary’s six areas of focus.Thunderbird is also interested in learning how to qualify as a Rotary Peace Center where Rotary-funded Peace Fellows study peace-building.
  • Increasing brand awareness through global communications, coordinating messages through Rotary publications and Thunderbird’s marketing, and Rotary conferences featuring Thunderbird speakers, sponsorship and exhibits.
  • Expanding Thunderbird’s graduate programs and projects by inviting Rotary volunteers to join Thunderbird projects, and working with Rotary Clubs on Rotary global grants for shared projects.
  • Improving Thunderbird career placement through sharing resume books, student Rotary membership, and networking for internships and graduate employment. 

Thunderbird and Rotary: Shared generosity 

Rotarian and Thunderbird alumna, Gwyn Nichols, was asked by the Thunderbird Rotary Club to chair the Thunderbird-Rotary partnership committee. Gwyn said, “I feel like a matchmaker helping each organization fall in love with the other. Our aligned missions and mottos, shared values and global project expertise make this a match made in heaven.”

She said, “I am touched by each organization’s generosity. Thunderbird will strengthen training for Rotary youth leadersand Rotary will increase Thunderbird scholarships. Thunderbird’s participation in Rotary conferences will share expertise and expand recruitment, while Thunderbird consulting teams and Rotary Clubs collaborating on local and global projects will expand our impact. I chose Thunderbird because of our mission — to create sustainable prosperity worldwide — and Rotary provides the structure, global network of passionate volunteers and matching fundraising processes to get even more done together.” 

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