Rotary leaders are ready to build 'Peace Through Service' after International Assembly
RI President-elect Sakuji Tanaka leads the flag procession during the opening plenary session of the 2012 International Assembly on 16 January in San Diego, California, USA. Rotary Images/Alyce Henson
Incoming district governors left the 2012 International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA, equipped with new skills and ideas to develop stronger districts and clubs in 2012-13.
RI President-elect Sakuji Tanaka began the weeklong training event by asking the 530 governors-elect to build Peace Through Service.
"Peace, in all of the ways that we can understand it, is a real goal and a realistic goal for Rotary," Tanaka said. "Peace is not something that can only be achieved through agreements, by governments, or through heroic struggles. It is something that we can find and that we can achieve, every day and in many simple ways." Read more
Brian Beesley, governor-elect of District 9650 (Australia), said the theme is relevant to Rotarians of all ages and ethnicities, and that he’ll apply it to help attract younger members.
Later in the week, Rotary Foundation Trustee John F. Germ told attendees that Rotary’s Challenge had reached the US$200 million milestone. Jeff Raikes, chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced an additional $50 million grant from the Gates Foundation, which is not a challenge grant, to extend the partnership.
“My biggest worry is that we aren’t moving urgently enough to close that final 1 percent gap. We simply have to finish the job,” Raikes said. “Rotary is a critical part of making that happen.” Read more
Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair William B. Boyd discussed Rotary’s progress on the Future Vision pilot, explaining that the new grant model will re-energize clubs by helping them focus on symptoms, not causes, and seek out projects with long-term benefits.
"We are here to serve, and each one of us is a Rotarian because we know that our lives are measured by what we do for others and not by what we do for ourselves," he said. Read more
Rotary Public Image Coordinator Jennifer E. Jones also addressed the district governors-elect, emphasizing the importance of telling Rotary’s story in a compelling way.
“Your job this year is to motivate and inspire your fellow Rotarians, and it is through the power of your words that you can inspire someone to greatness,” she explained.
Speaking at clubs is key, said Jones, who noted that effective presentations focus on the human story and make an emotional connection with the audience.
RI General Secretary John Hewko also spelled out five priorities for strengthening Rotary and putting it on the best footing for its second century.
“Rotary is an organization with an incredible history and there is no question that its best years are yet to come,” Hewko said. “These five priorities, as well as many others, will strengthen our great organization and have a significant, positive impact down to the level of the club and individual Rotarian.” Read more
Throughout the week, incoming district governors also participated in training sessions designed to give them the tools they need to create a stronger Rotary.
RI President Kalyan Banerjee provided attendees with his own tips for building stronger clubs, including serving as role models and leading as equals. He explained that leadership in Rotary means giving support -- not giving orders.
“To really succeed, you have to look past yourself, past your year, and into the long term, at the health of your community and our organization,” Banerjee concluded. Read more
At the closing banquet, he encouraged district governors-elect to approach their year with peace in mind.
“All of you are leaving here as every district-governor elect should: determined to make your year in Rotary office the best year yet,” Banerjee said. “You are leaving here as well with a great and noble goal: making 2012-13 a year of Peace Through Service.”
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