Historic Moments -- RI themes
Lapel pins featuring theme logos. From left: Lend a Hand (Jonathan B. Majiyagbe, 2003-04) and Show Rotary Cares (Glen W. Kinross, 1997-98).
E ach January, as Rotary district governors-elect convene at the International Assembly for training and fellowship, they can be certain of two things: a lot of take-home reading and the announcement of a new RI theme.
The tradition of crafting a theme is credited to 1949-50 RI President Percy C. Hodgson, who outlined a list of four objectives for his term in office. Among them were the better application of the principles of vocational service and dedication to world understanding and peace through international service programs.
Though Hodgson's 83-word proclamation ran substantially longer than today's shorter, punchier themes, Rotarians' desire to celebrate and support their president's annual program of service has remained the same. Other early themes include Rotary Is Hope in Action (Joaquin Serratosa Cibils, 1953-54), Kindle the Spark Within (Nitish C. Laharry, 1962-63), and Good Will Begins with You (Ernst G. Breitholtz, 1971-72).
In the decades that followed, RI presidents introduced theme logos, lapel pins, ties, and scarves. Theme ties were introduced in the 1990s, and are now given out yearly. Many have incorporated the theme for the year. The first scarves showing the RI theme were designed by 1998-99 RI President James L. Lacy and his wife, Claudine, Follow Your Rotary Dream .
A list of past presidents and RI themes can be found in the Official Directory .
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