Banerjee outlines emphases for the year
RI President-elect Kalyan Banerjee greets the fourth plenary session before outlining his emphases for the year. Rotary Images/Alyce Henson
RI President-elect Kalyan Banerjee asked Rotarians at the 2011 RI Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, on 25 May to go back to their communities and think of “new and different ways” to take on the challenges of today. Download his speech and see video highlights from the plenary.
“We are the doers of our communities, the leaders, the ones who are most involved, who see the problems and have the means to find the solutions,” Banerjee said. “I am asking you to reach within and unleash your inner power and then use it to embrace everything and everyone around you.”
Banerjee, who will take office 1 July, said Rotarians should be guided by three emphases -- the family, continuity, and change -- as they work to support the 2011-12 RI theme, Reach Within to Embrace Humanity .
Family is the first emphasis, he said, because the family is the starting point for everything Rotary is trying to accomplish.
“The family is the building block of the community,” Banerjee said. “If we wish to see a world that is more joyous, we first have to make sure that the families of the world are more joyous, that they have the things they need to be happy, to thrive, and move forward. So we have to look at housing, at clean water and sanitation, at health care, at all the issues affecting mothers and children.”
Continuity involves continuing and strengthening those things Rotarians do well, said Banerjee.
“There are so many areas in which we have been successful -- working for clean, safe water; spreading literacy; working in so many ways with Generation Next, our youth. And of course, our greatest project, polio eradication,” he said. “If we want to really achieve the impossible, we have to have not only persistence, but vision -- we have to be looking past what we are doing now, at what we can and should be doing in the days and years to come.”
Also during the fourth plenary session, attendees were treated to a preview of the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand. The Host Organization Committee shared a taste of Thai culture, including a performance by dancers representing four regions of the country. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Past RI President Bhichai Rattakul, of Thailand, greeted attendees through a prerecorded video. A Bangkok-themed luncheon followed the plenary session.