R. I. President Message

RI President 2017-18 Ian H.S. Riseley, - Dec. 2017

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Dear Fellow Rotarians,

Seventy-two years ago, the United Nations was founded "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war ... [and] to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors." Despite those worthy aspirations, and generations of investment in achieving them, the "scourge of war" is still with us: Last year, more than 102,000 people died in 49 armed conflicts around the world. Some of those conflicts were in their fifth decade or beyond. Terrorism, intolerance, and extremism; the refugee crisis; and environmental degradation are now global challenges.

Collectively, we seem further than ever from achieving the goals that were set with such ambition and optimism in 1945. Yet hope endures, as long as there are people willing to work for a more peaceful future – not only through their governments, but also beside them and beside each other. Today, Rotary is better placed than ever to have a real and lasting impact for peace: through our peace-focused programs, such as Rotary Peace Fellows, and through every area of our service. Water, sanitation, health, education, and economic development are all interrelated and part of the complex interactions that can lead to conflict – or avert it. To best leverage our service in all these areas, and to maximize their impact for peace, it is essential to understand these interactions and plan our service accordingly.

For these reasons, we have scheduled a series of six presidential peacebuilding conferences between February and June in Canada, Lebanon, the UK, Australia, Italy, and the United States. These conferences will focus not on peace but on peacebuilding: We will share ways that we can work to build peace through the service of our Rotary clubs and districts. Five of the one-day conferences will illuminate the connections between peace and another area of focus. The first conference, in Vancouver, B.C., will explore the link between peace and another sphere of great concern to us in Rotary: environmental sustainability. You can view the full schedule and register at www.rotary.org/presidential- conferences.

The goals are simple: to help Rotarians find new ways to advance peace through their service, to learn from experts, and to strengthen our abilities to build peace. It is my hope and belief that these conferences will help us move closer to a more peaceful world, through Rotary: Making a Difference.

Ian H.S. Riseley
President 2017 - 18

Trustee Chair's Message - December 2017

This month my focus is on the purpose and power of partnerships.

We have a history of partnerships at all levels of Rotary. We partner member to member, club to club, district to district, all finding support from the wide variety of The Rotary Foundation's programs, projects, and grants. How powerful this continues to be!

But only in the last several decades have we paid much attention to the idea of partnering with organizations outside of Rotary. Most would agree this change led to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which has accomplished so much through each partner sharing its expertise and working together with a common purpose. This public-private partnership for global health is on the verge of eradicating an infectious disease affecting humans for only the second time in history.
Simply put, partners agree to cooperate in advancing mutual goals. In so doing, they accomplish much more than one entity can alone. We now understand that to maximize our impact, Rotary must establish innovative partnerships, not just at all levels within our organization, but outside of Rotary as well.

Our second major partnership initiative has been the Rotary Peace Centers program. In little over a decade, our peace centers have trained more than 1,100 individuals. Through this program, Rotary Peace Fellows develop the skills they need to serve as leaders and catalysts for peace and conflict resolution both in their communities and around the globe.
Thanks to the ongoing work of the Joint Committee on Partnerships, which includes RI directors and Foundation trustees, the number of Rotary partnerships continues to grow. The Partnerships page at Rotary.org (go to About Rotary, then choose Partners) has a tremendous amount of information. Please take a few minutes and explore the page. Make sure to scroll all the way down to learn more about the partners and – most important – how your club or district can get involved.

As we head toward 2018 and consider which New Year's resolutions we will make, dream big about the service opportunities waiting for us with our dedicated partners.

Make 2018 the year to take advantage of all that Rotary offers and see how much more productive and effective we can be using the power of partnerships.


Best wishes to you for a very happy new year.

Paul A. Netzel
Trustee Chair 2017-18

 


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