International Assembly inspires future leaders
Incoming district governors link hands during the closing plenary of the International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA. Rotary Images/Alyce Henson
Incoming district governors left the 2010 International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA, inspired to begin building communities and bridging continents.
The 2010-11 RI theme announced by President-elect Ray Klinginsmith struck a chord with many of the district governors-elect who attended the six-day annual training event.
“I really felt inspired. The question becomes how can you possibly bring back to your district the knowledge you got and the feelings and emotions you got?” said Woody Northup, of District 6710 (Kentucky, USA).
“I enjoyed seeing the internationality of Rotary in action,” said Maxine Neighbour, of District 9910 (New Caledonia; parts of New Zealand; Norfolk Island; Vanuatu). “It helps to hear that some of us are having the same problems and we’re not alone.”
The future leaders had several opportunities to network and discuss service projects, which was particularly important to incoming governors from Future Vision pilot districts. Leaders from the 100 pilot districts convened for two days before the assembly to receive special training on the three-year pilot of The Rotary Foundation’s new grant structure. Read more
“Future Vision was a clear session, and I feel I know the way forward,” commented Richard Alborough, of District 9270 (South Africa). “I find it refreshing that we are able to start questioning and trying to find better ways of doing things.”
Remembrance of the devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti was omnipresent. During the presentation of the flags of the Rotary world, the Haitian flag received a standing ovation. The country’s humanitarian needs were widely discussed as an example of the urgent work the governors-elect would execute during their year of leadership.
Outreach to youth, one of Klinginsmith’s emphases, also received special attention during plenary sessions on the Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution and Rotary youth programs . Several incoming district governors pledged to reinvigorate their district’s commitment to youth.
“I’ll probably put one of my younger past presidents as a chair of a New Generations community,” pledged Donald Thomas, of District 6960 (Florida, USA).
District governors-elect extolled the event’s multiple networking opportunities. Allan Maclaughlan, of District 1020 (Scotland), and Paul Scott, of District 7150 (New York, USA), said they were pleased to track down and talk face-to-face with other district leaders about current and potential service projects.
During the closing plenary session and group discussions, governors-elect reflected on the knowledge and inspiration they had gained.
“I had the knowledge. The difference is that now I know how to use it and I have the motivation to use it,” said Syed Shahab Balkhi, of District 3271 (Pakistan).