Rotary International Kalyan Banerjee's February 2012 Message
RI president's monthly message - February 2012
My dear brothers and sisters in Rotary,
AThis November, I had the opportunity to speak at the Rotary institute in Kolkata, India. The focus of this institute was on peace and the ways in which we in Rotary could work to build peace. When I received the invitation, I began to think about what I might say, knowing that with all that Rotarians do in this area, my main challenge would be keeping within the time limit!
But just before I arrived in Kolkata, I spoke at a water conference in Tel Aviv. It was a wonderful event at which Rotarians and non-Rotarians from all over the world came together to discuss the many challenges of keeping an ever-growing population supplied with an increasingly scarce resource. Before I could begin to talk about Rotary's contribution, however, I had to explain what Rotary is and what we do – because even in that very educated audience of scientists and entrepreneurs and executives, there were many people who had simply never heard of Rotary.
As I left that event, I began to think again about what to say in Kolkata, because so much of what we do in Rotary to build peace depends on public awareness of who we are. Why have we been so successful in our work to eradicate polio? Because Rotary is able to go where no government and few other nongovernmental organizations can – into homes, into schools, and into communities, with the trust and confidence of the people we serve.
When we in Rotary work for peace, we don't do it by negotiating treaties or demonstrating in the streets. Instead, we build peace by example – by working together, whatever our nationality or background, and putting others' needs above our own. We build peace by dealing with the problems that disrupt people's ability to live normal, peaceful lives – whether those problems are a lack of water, or sanitation, or safe, affordable housing; whether they stem from a shortage of education or health care, or a need to build productive and positive connections between communities. In everything we do, we rely on our good name.
This is why all of us have a responsibility to be sure that our good name is indeed known. We need to not just work through Rotary, but talk about Rotary – letting the world know about the work we are doing, the differences we are making, and the benchmarks we are setting. Our Rotary work speaks to our belief that a better, more peaceful world is possible, and we need to be sure that our voices are heard.
Our Foundation helps us help others
Trustee chair's monthly message - February 2012
A friend who is an Arch C. Klumph Society member recently sent me an email ending with words that remind us of why we support our Foundation. John began life in humble circumstances and became a successful businessman. Through our Foundation, he has shared that success with people who have no ability to help themselves. He said: "As someone who was born poor on a farm during the Depression, I can confirm that when you have nothing, a little bit goes a long way to help. I remember like it was yesterday those neighbours and relatives who helped our family of nine and gave us support and encouragement. In essence, this is our Foundation's mission."
Another quote that impressed me recently came from a Rotarian at a Rotary institute: "I joined Rotary for business and fellowship. I stayed to change the world."
For many of us, Rotary is our only way to change the world. As individuals, there is little we can do on our own, but when we join with our fellow Rotarians, we do make a difference. How we do that depends on where we are. If you are in a country with great needs, then you will be involved in identifying the needs of people and developing and implementing projects that will change their lives. If you are one of this generation who has been blessed with success, then you can help by making resources available. Our Rotary Foundation, in a sense, sits in the middle and makes the connection.
Our business model works, which is why we will in a few years celebrate 100 years of supporting Rotarians in making the world a better place. We have passed the test of time.
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Rotary eClub NY1 * Updated 2012