RI President's Message - February 2017
On 23 February, we will mark 112 years since the founding of Rotary.
It is incredible to think about how much has changed, in our world
and in our organization, since the first Rotary club met in Chicago
with Paul Harris as a founding member.
Some things are easy to compare between now and 1905. There have
been changes in technology, medicine, and society. When we look
at a map of the world in 1905 and a map of the world today, we can
see what’s different. What we can’t do is compare what
is with what might have been. There is no way to compare our world
as it exists now with the world as it would have been without Rotary.
Rotary has risen to so many challenges in its 112 years. We’ve
answered conflict with peace, and poverty with education. We’ve
responded to a lack of basic health care with projects large and
small, from equipping clinics in tiny villages to eradicating polio
across the globe.
We will never know how different the world would have been if Rotary
had never been founded; if any one Rotary club had never been chartered;
or if any single Rotarian had declined the invitation to join a
But I will say, with absolute faith and complete confidence, that
the world is a far, far better place now than it would have been
without Rotary and that Rotary itself is stronger because of every
one of you.
The world needs Rotary more than ever. It needs our courage, our
optimism, and our idealism. It needs the voice of tolerance, cooperation,
and hope that we can offer. It needs the example of an organization
that has proven that the citizens of all countries can work together
successfully, gladly, and in friendship.
None of us ever knows the full impact of our actions. None of us
knows the effects that will ripple out from the things we do and
say, the decisions we make, the opportunities we seize, and those
we let pass. But I think we all know that when we choose to do good,
good will follow; and that when we choose Service Above Self as
our life’s path, the direction it will take us will be a good
No one can see the future. No one knows what changes lie ahead.
But I have faith in Rotary, and in Rotarians, that with every passing
year, you will make our world a better place through Rotary
John F. Germ
Source: Rotary International
Trustee chair's message
- February 2017
Our Foundation’s long commitment to peace
This February, let’s celebrate the success of our Rotary
Peace Centers and the important work that graduates of the program
are doing throughout the world to honor Peace and Conflict Prevention/
Resolution Month. I think it’s also important to note that
the launch of the peace centers in 2002 built on many decades
of peacebuilding efforts supported by our Foundation.
In the 1930s, clubs in France and Germany formed the first petit
comité, now known as an intercountry committee. Both countries
were still recovering from a devastating war, but the former adversaries
knew that peace, however fragile, was worth keeping. Although
a second world war dashed their hopes, these peace-minded Rotarians
reconvened in 1950. Since then, Rotarians have formed 250 intercountry
committees to promote international friendship and service.
Rotarians have long believed that international understanding
develops most quickly through personal relationships. Before study
abroad programs and international business travel became commonplace,
our Foundation sent scholars and young professionals to other
countries to experience different ways of living and doing business.
For many participants, these life-changing adventures helped them
view the world through the eyes of their hosts, who often became
Every year, our Foundation allocates millions of dollars for projects
that attack the root causes of conflict – lack of access
to education, health care, economic opportunity, clean water,
and adequate sanitation. Our global grants have a unique requirement
that moves the needle on peace even further: To qualify, project
sponsors must include clubs from at least two countries. In addition
to combining local knowledge with international and Foundation
resources, these projects build friendships that often lead to
long-lasting service relationships between the sponsoring clubs.
Of course, one of the best places to form international friendships
is at our annual convention, where Rotarians from dozens of countries
come together. This year in Atlanta, we will celebrate The Rotary
Foundation’s 100 years of Doing Good in the World. I hope
you will join me and thousands of your fellow Rotarians for the
biggest birthday party of the year!
2017 Trustee Chair's Message
Kalyan Banerjee - Trustee
Celebrate the new year
January marks the start of a new year on many
calendars, but in Rotary, we begin our year in July. That puts us
at the halfway point — a good time to take stock of our progress
and set goals for the remainder of the year.
An annual to-do list for The Rotary Foundation
might include the following items:
Contribute to the End Polio Now campaign to take advantage
of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2-to-1 match.
Start a simple or large-scale project in your
community supported by a grant and keep the community informed.
Recommend a promising candidate for the Rotary Peace Centres programme.
Host a Rotary Scholar or vocational training team.
Enroll in Rotary Direct for easy recurring giving.
Include a bequest to the Foundation in your estate plan.
Apply for a Rotary International credit card, which allocates a
portion of each purchase you make to The Rotary Foundation.
As you can see, there are many ways to support
our Foundation and carry out its humanitarian mission. This year,
we have another item to add to our checklist: Celebrate The Rotary
Here are some of the ways you can observe
Work with your club to plan a birthday party, fundraiser, or event
in your community to let others know more about Rotary and its Foundation.
Download a promotion kit from rotary.org/foundation100 for ideas.
Promote your club’s Foundation grant projects to local media.
Dedicate club meetings to the discussion of Rotary Foundation
Read the history of The Rotary Foundation in Doing Good in
the World: The Inspiring Story of The Rotary Foundation’s
First 100 Years. Copies are available in hardback or e-book
format at shop.rotary.org.
Share your centennial plans and events on social media using #TRF100.
Of course, the biggest birthday party of all
will take place in Atlanta from 10 to 14 June, when thousands of
Rotarians will come together for the Rotary International Convention.
I hope you will join me and the Foundation Trustees to make this
the best party of the year.
Trustee Chair's Message, January 2017
- Kalyan Banerjee, Trustee Chair 2016 - 17