R. I. President & TRF Chair's Messages

Rotary International John Kenny's March 2010 Message

March 2010

My fellow Rotarians,

Preparations for our convention in Montréal, Québec, Canada, 20-23 June, are well underway, and we are fast approaching the 31 March deadline for lower registration fees. I can think of many reasons to attend a Rotary International Convention – interesting speakers, exciting entertainment, and a chance to visit a fascinating city, to name a few. Yet as compelling as these incentives may be, they are not why I have attended almost every convention since my first one in 1984. The main reason I look forward to this annual event is the opportunity it affords to reunite with my Rotary friends and meet so many new ones.

In many ways, our convention is Rotary at its best: Rotarians coming together to enjoy congenial fellowship while discussing the more serious business of service. We will, no doubt, be inspired by our speakers, including Greg Mortenson, author of the best-selling book Three Cups of Tea; Jo Luck, CEO of Heifer International; and country music singer Dolly Parton, who will be talking about her other great interests, children's literacy and the Imagination Library. And we will learn about many facets of Rotary and our Rotary Foundation in the various workshops planned. In between these events, we can build new Rotary friendships over coffee in the House of Friendship or dinner at one of Montréal's celebrated restaurants.

It has been said many times that you cannot truly appreciate the internationality of Rotary until you attend a convention. In Montréal this June, we expect to welcome Rotarians from more than 100 countries. We may be speaking dozens of different languages, but I know that all of us will be eager to communicate as best we can – with words, smiles, and laughter – effectively bridging any cultural or linguistic differences.

The convention is a time to celebrate the achievements of the past year, but it is also a time to plan for the future. In Rotary, we do not look at all that we have accomplished and say, "That's enough." No, we use our successes as a springboard to do more. I encourage you to join June and me in Montréal and to use this opportunity to identify new service partners, get innovative project ideas, and renew your enthusiasm for Rotary. Much work remains to be done – both in this Rotary year and the next. The Future of Rotary Is in Your Hands, and a Rotary convention is the ideal place to come together and formulate your plans.

The Future of Rotary Is in Your Hands.
John Kenny
President, Rotary International


TRF Chairman's March 2010 Message

Empowering people through literacy

In Rotary, we recognize March as Literacy Month. This is when we focus on the importance of literacy and education in our humanitarian service. In my decades as a Rotarian, both at home in Alabama, USA, and abroad, I have seen again and again what a critical role literacy plays in a healthy and productive life. Being literate does not just mean having the ability to read a book or a newspaper. Being literate means being able to comprehend the instructions on a medicine bottle, a set of directions, or a job posting. It means understanding the note written by a child's teacher. It means being able to use a computer, follow a recipe, or apply for a mortgage. Literacy means being part of the larger society. It means inclusion, and it means empowerment.
Those who cannot read or write, whether they are children or adults, are cut off from important information in ways too numerous to count. They are less likely to be healthy and more likely to be poor. And perhaps most critical of all, parents who cannot read are more likely to raise children who cannot read – perpetuating the cycle of illiteracy, and of poverty.

As a Rotarian and in my profession, I have seen so many simple and creative ways to break this cycle. Whether it is by volunteering in schools, by bringing education and training to adults, or simply by ensuring that all children have the books and supplies they need, we in Rotary can do so much. We can help others learn to read – and learn to help themselves.

Glenn E. Estess Sr.
Foundation Trustee Chair

Source: Rotary International

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