Rotary International Board Meeting: 1-10 & Rotary Int'l Beginning

The third meeting of the 2009-10 RI Board of Directors was held on 25–29 January 2010 in Evanston, Illinois, USA. At this meeting the Board reviewed reports from 11 committees and recorded 65 decisions.

  • Club and District Matters

    The Board opened Palestine for the extension of Rotary clubs, subject to receipt of a letter of registration from the Palestinian National Authority, and agreed that clubs in Palestine shall be grouped in District 2450.

    The Board agreed it would no longer recommend topics for discussion at Rotary institutes, but confirmed that each institute should schedule a status report on PolioPlus until polio is eradicated.

    RI Administration

    RI General Secretary Ed Futa announced his plan to retire at end of his contract term on 30 June 2011. The Board thanked the general secretary for his friendship, leadership, and stewardship during the past ten years and looks forward to his continued leadership during the coming Rotary year. The Board designated its Executive Committee, plus one Foundation trustee, to begin the search for a new general secretary.

    The Board looked with favor on the president-elect's plan to restructure RI committees. This restructuring included a review of which committees could be discontinued or consolidated to better align with the RI Strategic Plan. It will also cut RI expenses by reducing the total number of committees and their in-person meetings. The Board agreed that Web conferencing (meetings held via Internet technologies) can effectively reduce the costs of international committee meetings, and requested the general secretary to develop criteria and guidelines for RI use of this medium.

    RI Programs, Communications, and Awards

    The Board received a report on Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge, indicating that as of 18 January 2010, RI received over US$107,280,000 million toward this fundraising goal to eradicate polio.

    The Board established a new "Club Builder Award" to recognize Rotarians who have made a significant impact in supporting and strengthening their Rotary clubs. District governors may annually nominate one candidate from their districts for this award.

    The Board recommended numerous actions that clubs and districts should take to provide greater Interact program support, including promoting the program through various media (publications, video, social networking), establishing strong relationships through club Interact committees, sharing information about Rotary with Interactors, and inviting Interactors to present at Rotary club and district meetings. The Board further encouraged governors-elect to include sufficient information at their PETS on RI's youth programs, including where to find resources for starting or strengthening those programs in their own communities. The age of Interact eligibility was lowered from 14 to 12.

    The Board requested the president to appoint a committee to study numerous issues concerning Vocational Service, including the adoption of a Rotarian Code of Ethics, the creation of training modules for use at PETS and GETS, and the re-emphasis of the classification system in RI, among other Vocational Service issues.

    International Meetings

    The Board finalized its budget for the New Orleans convention based on a projected 17,000 registrants, and set a US$300 fee for registrations received by 15 December 2010. The Board also considered its methodology for establishing budgeted attendance at RI conventions and agreed that the general secretary shall consider the suggestions of both the RI Finance Committee and the International Convention Committee (including the local Host Organizing Committee) when recommending to the Board for budgeting purpose the estimated attendance at an RI convention.

Room 711: Room 711 of the Unity Building at 127 North Dearborn Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois, was the site of Rotary's first meeting on February 23, 1905. At that time, it was the office of Gustavus Loehr, a mining engineer and one of the founding members of the organization. Around 1980, the Rotary Club of Chicago, the club that originated from that gathering, set about to preserve the site. It rented the room and undertook an extensive effort to recreate the office as it existed in 1905. For several years, the club maintained the room as a shrine for visiting Rotarians. That responsibility was eventually assumed by the Paul Harris 711 Club, a nonprofit organization comprising Rotarians from around the world.

In 1989, when the Unity Building was scheduled to be demolished, the 711 Club carefully dismantled the office, salvaging the original interior from doors to radiators. Everything was placed in storage until a permanent place to reconstruct the room could be found. In 1993, the Board of Directors of Rotary International set aside space for it on the 16th floor of the RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois. The office, Room 711, is a symbol, protected and maintained as the birthplace of Rotary.

Rotary is organized at club, district, and international levels to carry out its program of service. Rotarians are members of their clubs, and the clubs are members of the global association known as Rotary International. Each club elects its own officers and enjoys considerable autonomy within the framework of the standard constitution and the constitution and bylaws of Rotary International. Clubs are grouped into 529 Rotary districts, each led by a district governor who is an officer of Rotary International and represents the RI board of directors in the field.

A 19-member board of directors, which includes the international president and president-elect, administers Rotary International. These officers are elected at the convention; the selection process for choosing directors and the nominating committee for president are based on zones, each of which comprises approximately 15 districts. The board meets quarterly to establish policies.

While the Rotary International president is the highest officer of RI, the chief administrative officer of RI is the general secretary, who heads a staff of about 600 persons working at the international headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, USA, or in one of seven international offices around the world. Tours of One Rotary Center can begin any business day between 9:00 - 11:30 and 1:30 - 3:30. Their full-service cafeteria serves breakfast 7:00-9:30 and lunch from 11:30 -1:30. All visitors are welcome.

From 1905 until 1914, 100 Rotary clubs joined together to form this organization. They had common goals, lasting values, traditions, abilities to adapt, and great Rotarians. All of the original First 100 Clubs failed. They are in five countries, have weathered two world wars, and are still here. Read more about them on the History Newsletter website.

In 1955, Rotary celebrated its golden anniversary in Chicago. Fifty years after Paul P. Harris and his colleagues began Rotary's journey, there were 8,500 clubs in 89 countries. In 2003, there are approximately 1.2 million Rotary club members of more than 31,000 Rotary clubs in 166 countries. In 2005, when Rotary celebrates its centennial in Chicago, you'll have a chance to view Room 711 as RI offers tours of One Rotary Center.

Share your ideas on Rotary January 2010 Board Mtg & Room 711, in approximately 100 words, and Earn a Makeup

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