Rotary International President's 2001-2010
Dong Kurn Lee
Wilfrid J. Wilkinson
William B. Boyd
Glenn E. Estess Sr.
View Rotary Themes
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Feb. 2005, Anaheim, CA - Rotary International President-elect Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar made a grand bow to continuity and the successes of the past century when he unveiled the 2005-06 theme, Service Above Self, at the International Assembly in Anaheim, California, USA, on 19 February.
“I would like to be modern. I would like to recycle and I also want to promote continuity,” he declared in the theme address at the opening plenary session. “Therefore, I have chosen the best motto ever created for Rotary International, yet one that you will not find on the walls of this room: Service Above Self.”
The RI president-elect explained that his theme selection was also guided by Rotarians’ need for landmarks while entering into a second century of service.
“In our efforts to work for a better world, we need a leading star to follow, a theme that we can all fix upon,” he said. “Over the years we have had many different themes, and you can see several of them displayed on the walls of this room: Enjoy Rotary! Be a Friend, Lend a Hand, Celebrate Rotary, just to mention a few of them. Each and every one of these themes was, or is, perfect for its time.”
For the 2005-06 logo, Stenhammar again reached out for something both simple and familiar in the Rotary world: “I am recycling again, and I have chosen the best logo ever created for Rotary International: our trademark, the Rotary wheel.”
Calling continuity a new wind blowing in Rotary, Stenhammar announced that in the new year Rotary clubs and districts will carry on with the presidential emphases already in place: literacy and water management. Those emphases will include an additional focus of “alleviating hunger and improving the health and well-being of all who are deprived of these essential resources,” he said.
Stenhammar explained that there was no need to change course from the areas of concern that both Past President Jonathan Majiyagbe and President Glenn Estess Sr. wisely identified and successfully encouraged Rotary clubs and districts to address locally and internationally.
“Gone are the days when our organization went north one year, to the west the next, followed by east and, then, maybe north again,” he said. “Our main direction must be the same for many years to come.”
The president-elect said that Rotary International will continue to seek and embrace opportunities to cooperate with other organizations in areas of mutual interest.
Rotary can reap a lot of goodwill from the public exposure received during the yearlong activities marking its centennial. “Therefore, I am planning for a Public Image Resource Group to capture this opportunity and help clubs use it as a platform in our continued efforts to enhance our public image,” said Stenhammar.
The 2005-06 president said it was time to expand the role of women in Rotary. He pointed to the appointments of three past district governors — Carolyn E. Jones, of District 5010, as a trustee of The Rotary Foundation, the first woman appointed to the Trustees; Mary Margaret Fleming, of District 5230, as the new Public Image Resource Group chair; and Eileen M. Gentilcore, of District 7250, as Literacy Resource Group chair — as a good start.
“Please remember very well that it is through their talent, not their gender, that these women have earned their appointments,” he said. “I agree that there might be a disproportionate number of assignments to women during my year, compared to the mix of Rotarians, but by doing this I am sending a message to the women in Rotary as well as those who are not yet Rotarians: There is a leading role for you in our organization.”
The Rotary Youth Exchange program will be another key area for the incoming district governors to promote in their clubs, Stenhammar announced.
To address the issue of membership, the president-elect said that he will ask every Rotary club to recruit just one new member in 2005-06 to reach a modest goal of a total membership increase of 31,000.
RIP Glen Estess Sr. speech at 2004 International Assembly
RI President-elect Glenn Estess Sr. unveiled the 2004-05 theme "Celebrate Rotary" at the International Assembly in Anaheim, California, USA, on 16 February. He explained to 529 incoming district governors gathered at this important training meeting that the new theme was inspired by the desire to celebrate in the Centennial year the ideals that Rotary's founders stood for and that over the years have influenced generations of Rotarians to do good throughout the world.
"We are now approaching the 100th anniversary of their action — a simple meeting between four businessmen," the RI president-elect remarked in the 20-minute address announcing the centennial year theme and program. "And when we celebrate all of the wonderful things that have happened as a result of that action, I will be asking all Rotarians to join me as we embrace our theme in 2004-05 and Celebrate Rotary."
In the address, President-elect Estess outlined the 2004-05 presidential emphases: water management, health concerns, literacy, and the family of Rotary. The emphases address major social or development issues facing billions of people on earth.
He also announced three major goals for
the coming year: moving forward on PolioPlus; significantly increasing
membership; and reaching US$100 or more per Rotarian in giving —
Every Rotarian, Every Year — to the Annual Programs Fund of the
All the three goals will be enhanced by the publicity and excitement generated by the centennial activities, especially twin clubs and centennial projects carried out by Rotary clubs, he said.
Later in the day, RI President Jonathan Majiyagbe elaborated on the 2004-05 presidential emphases by enumerating some of the related initiatives that Rotarians can adopt to celebrate 100 years of outstanding service.
"Our first hundred years will stand as an inspiring record of men and women of all races, religions, nationalities and political creeds who have made significant contributions to creating a more peaceful world," he said. "It will be your privilege to lead Rotarians into our next century — a century in which we will Lend a Hand and Celebrate Rotary with even greater fellowship and countless acts of service."
During their ongoing training at the Assembly, the 2004-05 class of district governors will listen to more addresses and participate in plenary and breakout sessions designed to prepare them for the historic mission of leading Rotary into a second century of service.
Jonathan Majiyagbe, 2003-2004 R.I. President Convention '03 Speech
June 2003, Brisbane, Australia — RI President, 2003-04 President Bhichai and all of the Family of Rotary, It is indeed an honor to address you today. With the start of my term just a few weeks away - I have realized that the moment of truth is fast upon me. I am sure it comes as no surprise that this realization brings a variety of emotions. But I find that the predominant feeling that I have is one of gratitude for the many people who have helped me reach this moment. First, I would to thank God who has made all things possible. I am most grateful for my wife, Ade, who has been by my side for over 37 years. For most of these years, we have served Rotary together. Wherever Rotary takes us, Ade shares her radiant smile, her generous spirit, and her warm personality. She has actively participated in the planning for our year of service. I so often turn to Ade for her wise counsel.
Both Ade and I are also grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from our Rotary family. I am grateful for my dear friend - our friend - President Bhichai Rattakul and his wife Charoye - President Bhichai is the most generous predecessor an incoming president could hope for. By his example, he has showed all of us how to Sow the Seeds of Love. I am grateful for the enthusiasm and support of our president-nominee, Glenn Estess, and his wife, Mary. And I am grateful for Mark and Gay Maloney, who are serving as aides to Ade and me. And I am grateful for the support of the dedicated Rotary International staff. I am grateful for so many Rotary leaders through the years who encouraged me, and to all of the Rotary presidents who have come before me - their wisdom has been and will continue to be a source of inspiration. I would also like to acknowledge my gratitude first to the President and people of Nigeria for the congratulatory message and for the faithful delegation of Nigerian Rotarians who are here today. In recent months, many of us have found that international travel is often not as simple as it used to be - and it was not easy for our Nigerian friends to get to Brisbane. But here they are. Like me, they feel a special sense of pride that Rotary has selected its first African president. We are excited by Rotary's potential for growth in Africa - and we are looking forward to playing our part to strengthen the bonds between all of Rotary's 1.2 million members on every continent.
I think it is important to take the time to acknowledge the people who support us in our work, because none of us reaches our goals alone - we must help and rely upon each other. This is true in all aspects of life - and Rotary is no exception. In that way, Rotary is very much like a family. This extended family includes not only Rotarians, but also their spouses and other family members who provide critical support to Rotary's service efforts. Our partners-in-service organizations-Rotaract, Interact, and Rotary Community Corps, are also part of this broad Rotary family dedicated to improving life in their communities and throughout the world. Like most families, the Rotary family provides a haven where we can gather the strength and encouragement to face the challenges of the world. It offers comforting traditions, asking that we honor those who came before us and celebrate our newest arrivals. Our clubs are where we find the core of our Rotary family, and that is why, in the coming year, I will be asking every club to form a Family of Rotary Committee to find more ways to create and nurture that atmosphere of warmth and caring. One way we can do this is to extend our caring reach beyond each Rotarian to include that Rotarian's spouse and children.
Throughout the Rotary world, our younger members tell us that they don't like to feel that Rotary time competes with family time. If we support opportunities to include families in fellowship and service events, then there is no conflict. In such an atmosphere of family and caring, the death of a Rotarian should not be the end of Rotary's relationship with his or her family - certainly there are ample opportunities to include a deceased Rotarian's family in Rotary-sponsored events. A greater sense of a family atmosphere within our clubs will support the work we do outside of our clubs - all of the work we do to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, comfort the sick, care for the aged - in short, to reach out to our fellow human beings to help and to comfort. This impulse to reach out to others abides in the hearts of all people, and as Rotarians, we simply do what is most natural: We act upon what we feel. We see this in our reaction to terrible disasters that sweep through communities quickly, forcefully, often without warning. At 5:46 a.m. on January 17, 1995, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Kobe, Japan. It was a great disaster that struck without warning and without mercy taking 6,279 lives and destroying 192,706 houses. And Rotarians were there to help. With our worldwide network of community-based clubs - we were in a prime position to reach out and help. In October, 1998, Hurricane Mitch hit Central America, with sustained winds of 180 miles per hour. It devastated coastal regions and caused massive flooding throughout Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. The final toll: 11,000 dead, thousands missing and hundreds of thousands homeless. Once again, Rotarians were there to help. In the immediate aftermath, Rotarians provided the means for survival: food, clothing, blankets, emergency shelter. Many months later, Rotarians were still there, helping to rebuild the buildings and lives swept away in the hurricane's winds and flooding rains.
11th September, 2001 - the world watched in horror and disbelief as four hijacked passenger jets crashed into the World Trade Center Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and in rural Pennsylvania. And Rotary was there - providing relief to the survivors and families of the victims. Rotarians also reached out to each other. Messages in all of the languages of the Rotary world poured into World Headquarters - messages of sympathy, our shared heartache and our determination to create a peaceful world united in fellowship and service. The next year, tens of thousands of refugees fled the conflicts and instability in Afghanistan to seek safety in neighboring Pakistan, managing to carry only a few possessions over the harsh terrain. Food, water, warm clothing - none of these were available as the brutal desert winter descended. And Rotary was there. Rotarians of different nationalities, cultures, languages and religions stood side-by-side to distribute the desperately needed supplies - contributed by Rotarians from all parts of the world. These kinds of disasters, whether they are man-made or the result of nature's fury, provide a rush of adrenaline. The survivors feel it, and so do those who hurry to assist. This rush of adrenaline provides energy to get the job done - even when it means working all day and all night, even when it means going into areas where there is tremendous personal risk. It is interesting that we often lose this sense of urgency in the face of other disasters, the disasters that do their work slowly and stealthily, but are no less devastating.
Poverty is a disaster - a disaster that former South African leader Nelson Mandela called "one of the greatest assaults on human dignity." Mr. Mandela does not use a word like "assault" lightly. In the poorest areas of the world, you cannot escape the images of poverty - men and women in rags, children who can only stare listlessly because they are too hungry to play. But poverty exists in affluent countries as well - it is only less visible. In every community in the world there are people who go to bed hungry, who shiver in the cold, who feel the despair of want. We must reach out our hands to pull these millions to safety, too. We can do simple things - such as giving away the clothing we no longer wear. We can support microcredit projects - nurturing the efforts of hardworking entrepreneurs who want nothing more than to provide for their families through their own labors. And one of the most effective ways we can help the poor is through education. The disaster that is illiteracy strands millions in a desolate wasteland - because no one can escape the relentless cycle of poverty without basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics. On this issue, women and girls need our special attention. Throughout the developing world, females have lower literacy rates than males for only one reason - they are denied access to education. For all of the men, women and children without access to education, life is a moment-to-moment struggle to survive and there is no way to plan for the future. We must reach out our hands to pull these millions to safety, too. In addition to teaching people to read through comprehensive programs such as Lighthouse for Literacy, we can nurture developing literacy by tutoring children, providing books to those who have none, assisting teachers or sending mobile libraries into needy communities. There is no greater weapon against poverty than education. And education is also essential to combat one of the most heartbreaking consequences of poverty - the suffering of those afflicted by diseases and conditions of poor health. When we think of health concerns, we first think of diseases. Throughout the world, Rotarians are fighting disease. Our most ambitious effort, of course, is PolioPlus. But clubs and districts respond to nail-biting situations of need all over the world to fight malaria, river blindness, rabies, AIDS and other diseases.
We also know that good health is far more than the mere absence of disease. Health is good nutrition. Health is access to immunizations against preventable diseases. Health is access to dental hygiene and treatment. Health is access to modern surgical techniques to correct cleft palates, crooked limbs, defective hearts. Health is good prenatal care. Health is access to clean water. Too many people in this world suffer from preventable conditions of poor health only because they have been left to fend for themselves and hope for the best. We must reach out and pull these millions to safety, too. There is so much we can do - first and foremost we must not lose our focus on PolioPlus . It is no coincidence that the polio virus is making its last stand in the poorest regions of the world. Twenty years ago, we made a solemn promise - today and in the coming months, we must honor our word. And there are more ways we can help - by supplying local hospitals with lifesaving, modern equipment, by bringing children into cities for heart surgery through Gift of Life programs and by sending doctors and dentists into remote areas. Hunger, poverty, illiteracy, disease, poor health - these are the disasters that have befallen millions. We must reach out to those who suffer and pull them to safety with the same sense of urgency that we would pull someone out of raging floodwaters. There is yet another reason for immediate and vigorous action. This reason was most eloquently expressed by John F. Kennedy, who said that: "We must seek above all a world of peace in which peoples dwell together in mutual respect and work together in mutual regard."
And that, my friends, is our core objective - and it is supported by all of our work in poverty alleviation, literacy and health concerns. In everything we do, we are working for peace. In the coming year, we will be united worldwide to address the many disasters that afflict our world and thwart efforts for peace. Our theme for the year will be simple and straightforward, expressing the natural impulse that all Rotarians feel when they come face to face with human need. Lend a Hand Whether we are reaching out to those in our own clubs, or reaching halfway across the world - when we Lend a Hand, we work together and celebrate our shared humanity. In this way, one hand can become many and there is no limit to what the helping hands of Rotary can accomplish. We will Lend a Hand to alleviate abject poverty We will Lend a Hand to educate the illiterate We will Lend a Hand to relieve the scourge of disease And we will Lend a Hand of fellowship to all of the family of Rotary, uniting Rotarians around the globe, as together we bring the Rotary ideals of peace and tolerance to a troubled world. Thank you. * June 6, 2003 Rotary world mourns Ade. View President Jonathan's website.
RIPE Jonathan Majiyagbe announces 2003-04 Rotary Theme
New RI president spells out Rotary's mission in 2003-04
Monday, January 27, 2003: RI President-elect Jonathan Majiyagbe today unveiled the 2003-04 theme, Lend a Hand, at the International Assembly in Anaheim, California, USA, where 529 incoming district governors are participating in training sessions to prepare them for their upcoming year in office. After warmly welcoming participants to "Rotary's university," Majiyagbe declared his theme, calling it "simple and straightforward, expressing the natural impulse that all Rotarians feel when they come face to face with human need."
Outlining his four areas of focus for the
year - poverty, health, literacy, and the family of Rotary - the president-elect
said, "We will Lend a Hand to alleviate poverty, educate the illiterate,
and relieve the scourge of disease, and Lend a Hand of fellowship to
all of the family of Rotary."
The president-elect asked the audience to
remember why they first joined a Rotary club. "We have all asked
ourselves, 'What can one person do?' In Rotary, we never have to be
one person. We are 1.2 million who believe that suffering does not have
to be part of the human condition," he said.
The International Assembly, held at the Anaheim Hilton and Towers 26 January-2 February, has united some 1,329 people from 78 countries for informative plenary sessions, group discussions, service meetings, and fellowship events. Joining the district-governors elect are hundreds of senior Rotary leaders who serve as mentors for the incoming "class," who have come to train and inspire the future district governors.
Every Rotary Club and our District will be
asked to form a new committee called "The Rotary Family Committee."
The new theme ties in to this year's theme. "Sew the Seeds of Love"
by "Lending a Hand." The new presidential citation system
for the clubs will be very doable and very motivational. The Governors
are called the "Dream Team." DREAM stands for "Dedicated
Rotarians Enthusiastic And Motivated."
Jonathan Majiyagbe of Kano, Nigeria, is the official nominee for RI president in 2003-04
On 10 September, the RI Nominating Committee selected Jonathan B. Majiyagbe of the Rotary Club of Kano, Nigeria, as its candidate for the 2003-04 presidency of Rotary International. Majiyagbe is the first African to be selected as RI's top leader.
A Rotarian since 1967, Majiyagbe has served RI as district governor, International Assembly instructor, committee member and chairman, director, and trustee of The Rotary Foundation. He currently chairs the African Regional PolioPlus Committee and the African Affairs Committee. He and his wife, Ade, are Major Donors to The Rotary Foundation.
Majiyagbe, a senior advocate of Nigeria, is the principal counsel of the law firm, J.B. Majiyagbe & Company, in Kano. A member of the Nigerian and English bar, he is also a member of the Honourable Body of Benchers, a group charged with evaluating the qualifications of those seeking to practice law in Nigeria and formally calling them to the bar. Majiyagbe is a graduate of London University and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London.
Majiyagbe has long been a leader in civic and charitable organizations in Nigeria. He currently serves as chairman of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, as a member of the Kano Chamber of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture, and as trustee of various international cultural organizations.
If no Rotary club suggests a challenging candidate prior to 1 December, Majiyagbe will be declared to be the President-nominee and will be elected at the 2002 RI Convention to succeed Bhichai Rattakul of Thailand on 1 July 2003.
The members of the Nominating Committee and their Rotary clubs are: Sudarshan Agarwal, Delhi, India; Lennart Arfwidsson, Vastervik, Sweden; Guido Arzua, Curitiba-Oeste, Pr., Brazil; Jacques Berthet, Versailles, France; John Blount, Sebastopol, California, USA; Irving J. Brown, El Paso, Texas, USA; William B.P. Cadwallader, Jr., Cortland, New York, USA; Hee Byung Chae, Seoul West, Korea; Gustavo Gross C., El Rimac, Lima, Peru; Edgar C. Hatcher, Jr., Bristol, Virginia, USA; Tario Kanno, Shiogama, Miyagi, Japan; John Kenny, Grangemouth, Scotland; Ryuichi Kotani, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan; Carl S. Rosenbaum, North Little Rock, Arkansas, USA; Paul L. Santens, Oudenaarde, Belgium; Sabino S. Santos, Malolos, Bulacan, Philippines; and Howard D. Vann, Omaha-Suburban, Nebraska, USA.
Bhichai Rattakul, 2002-2003 R.I. President Convention '03 Speech
June 2003, Brisbane, Australia, Rotary International Convention:
My Fellow Rotarians and our dear Guests: It is an honor and a privilege to address you once again. From every part of the globe we have traveled "down under" to Brisbane - representing different cultures, races, languages, religions and politics. We have come to spend these days strengthening the bonds of our shared humanity and our commitment to serving those in need. We have come knowing that we are indeed fortunate to be Rotarians - especially during these times of uncertainty and concern for our world. We have come knowing that the love you give is the happiness you get. We have come knowing that in this world, there is even more hunger for love than there is for bread. We have come dreaming of a better world.
Like you, I have dreamed many dreams - dreams of how a strong, vital Rotary can Sow the Seeds of Love for a better world! I dreamed of committed Rotarians at the grassroots and the love in their hearts that inspires them to work - not merely wish - for a better world. I dreamed of going back to basics - to our basic, timeless principles that have served us so well throughout the decades. I dreamed of Rotary's more than 30,000 clubs empowered to set their own pace, chart their own course and create their own goals - not following orders from the top down - but working from the bottom up through the Four Avenues of Service. I dreamed of Rotarians helping others through their vocations, personally involved in serving others - not just writing checks. And I dreamed of Rotarians throughout the world setting a shining example of the highest ethical standards in all businesses and professions. Like all of you, I dream of a Polio-free world - and making good on the promise that we have made to the children of this world. I dream of children whose eyes shine with hope - because their bellies are full, their bodies are healthy and their minds are enriched through education. I dream of their parents - who know the dignity of providing for their families through productive work, and who are free from worrying about surviving day-to-day so that they can instead dream their own beautiful dreams about a bright future for the next generation. And always, I dream of peace and world understanding, nurtured by the many excellent and practical programs of our Rotary Foundation - programs like Ambassadorial Scholars, Group Study Exchange, Matching Grants and the new Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution.
As I traveled around the world in this past year, visiting Rotarians where they work and where they live - I saw them working to make those dreams come true. Rotarians everywhere were committed to personal involvement at the grassroots. And I saw the multitude of ways that Rotarians Sow the Seeds of Love. Initially, many clubs sowed their seeds modestly - but with integrity. And as time passed - and they felt the joy of accomplishment - clubs throughout the Rotary world not only fulfilled their goals, but surpassed them. It was inspiring to see the joy on the faces and the tears in the eyes of so many Rotarians. They were experiencing the great satisfaction that comes from having a direct impact on someone else's life. And it proves beyond any doubt that Rotarians everywhere know exactly how to Sow the Seeds of Love - without any instruction from the top. In Guatemala - drought, natural disasters and a troubled economy have made starvation the third leading cause of death, and severe malnutrition compromises the future of entire communities. Local Rotarians began a grassroots effort to deliver meals to a few dozen children. That effort has now expanded to serve 14,000 children and their families in more than 20 communities. Every Guatemalan Rotary club in District 4250 contributes goods, money or hands-on volunteer work to support the effort. In South Africa, Rotarians have partnered with Australian Rotarians on a 3-H project that will increase literacy for nearly one quarter of a million students. The project will provide teacher training in the Concentrated Language Encounter method - a teaching method that has been tremendously successful in Thailand and elsewhere. This ambitious effort grew from seeds of love that were sown through a smaller Matching Grant literacy project between the same South African and Australian Rotarians. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Rotarians of Petaling Jaya built a preschool school in 1988 - in the middle of one of the poorest sections of the city. Their commitment to the children continues to this day. Every year, the Rotarians raise money to pay for uniforms, shoes, books, supplies and a daily breakfast for the school's 35 children. The Rotarians also visit the school regularly - to deliver food and school supplies and to read to the children.
Over the years, the Rotarians have developed relationships with the students and families - and they are proud to see that the first seeds of love planted in 1988 have grown into a crop of confident young men and women enrolled in universities. All around the world, each Rotary club finds its own way to Sow the Seeds of Love: Like the Rotary Clubs in France and Venezuela that are providing sewing machines for a group of Venezuelan women who were already working hard to support their families in a sewing cooperative. The new machines will help them increase their production, which will increase their income and help their families. Then there is the Rotary Club of Nairobi. To Sow the Seeds of Love they needed to go no further than a small village not far from the Nairobi metropolitan area - the Cura village. Working closely with the 6,000 inhabitants, they are bringing water and electricity into the village, improving educational and economic opportunities and caring for children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In Panama, the Rotary Club of David joined with clubs throughout several districts in the United States and Canada to help expand the efforts of three Panamanian vocational centers. The centers offer young people and adults the training they need to enter the job market-training in sewing, baking, woodcarving, auto mechanics, word processing, metalworking, and other useful skills. This coordinated international effort will provide nearly three hundred people with the means to support themselves in just one year.
All of these examples illustrate the importance of Rotary's wonderful structure - more than 30,000 independent, clubs based in communities throughout the entire world. These projects were carried out by strong clubs - strong clubs that are essential to Rotary's overall health. And yet, despite all of the good work that I have seen, I must be very honest with you and report that there are some troubled places in the world of Rotary. I have visited clubs that have lost their way and I have met with Rotarians who told me that they are discouraged. In their clubs, membership has dwindled, they haven't attracted new, younger members and service is nothing more than writing a check. These discouraged Rotarians still have a deep and abiding love for this organization. They are worried - and they ask: "Is it possible that the world has moved on and left Rotary behind?" I joined Rotary more than four decades ago and I can certainly attest to the fact that the world has changed quite a bit in those decades. There are fewer small businesses and more multinational corporations. Fewer family grocers and more supermarkets. Fewer people who live in the same communities where they work and more workers who have to relocate if they want to get ahead.
Yes - the world has changed. In his preaching, the Lord Buddha said: "Nothing is static, everything changes for better or for worse." Since it is a simple fact that change must come - the real question is "How should we cope with those changes?" Let me assure you that I would never, never suggest that Rotary change its philosophy, regardless of how times have changed. Rather, let us consider this: Rotary's timeless principles are more relevant today than ever before. Weekly fellowship is more precious than ever in a fast-paced world. Young business professionals on the move need the help of an organization like Rotary to make important connections to their communities. Middle managers in large multinational corporations would benefit enormously from membership in an organization that promotes vocational ethics. While I was in Brussels, Belgium, I visited a most delightful new Rotary Club of young professionals. This is a brand new club - it has only about twenty-five members - all of them leading the most hectic lives. They meet right after work once a week. They keep their costs down by keeping things simple - gathering around a table and helping themselves to a platter of sandwiches and plenty of hot coffee. In their lively conversation, you can hear the true values of Rotary being expressed - love for each other, a desire to represent their vocations both inside and outside the club, concern for their community and a keen interest in their world. I think of that club often, and I am reminded of what United States Senator Edward Kennedy said at his brother Bobby Kennedy's funeral: "My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life. To be remembered simply as a good decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it; saw suffering and tried to heal it; saw war and tried to stop it."
Rotary, my dear friends, need not be idealized or enlarged beyond what it has been for nearly a century. In fact, we will only grow stronger if we uphold our commitments to our basic principles - fellowship and the Four Avenues of Service. Too many of us have forgotten that we were first invited into Rotary on the basis of our vocations, and that invitation carried with it a responsibility to represent our vocation to the club and to the community. And because membership in Rotary is based on vocations, it is of the utmost importance that every single day we practice high ethical standards in our business and professional lives. We must serve as role models. We must practice what we preach to improve the general standards in members' respective vocations. All of the things we have emphasized in this last year: empowering our clubs, attracting dynamic, qualified new members, recommitting to Rotarian ideals of high ethical standards and community leadership, will strengthen Rotary. And as we have seen, over and over again, a strong Rotary has the power to change our world. We need that strength, because although our dreams inspire us to action, we also know that it is simply not enough to dream of a better, wiser world. Indeed, if a dream could do it, we would have that world, because who among us does not have that dream? No, a better world has to be built. And it will only grow from the grassroots - never from the top down. It will have to be a pyramid starting from a wide base and it will be built stone by stone, brick by brick and timber by timber.
All it takes is one simple action - a beginning - a seed. J.P. Vaswani, a philosopher and teacher said, "What the world needs today, more than anything else, is love-in-action. Love-in-action is sympathy, service, sacrifice." By sharing our love through fellowship and service, by performing our service with love, sincerity and dignity - we Sow the Seeds of Love. The seeds of love will not grow unless they are scattered throughout the land. It is only when you share your love that will you be blessed with joy and even more love to give. My fellow Rotarians, we Sow the Seeds of Love so that: - Where there is hunger, instead there will be food. - Where there is hatred, instead there will be love. - Where there is sorrow, instead there will be comfort and - Where there is war, instead there will be peace.
Bhichai Rattakul, 2002-2003 Rotary International President
New RI president spells out Rotary's mission in 2002-03
RI President Bhichai Rattakul took office on 1 July with a call to Rotarians to grow the organization through a renewed commitment to the four Avenues of Service especially vocational service and a return to the grassroots values that will empower clubs "to chart their own course, set their own goals, and fulfill their own dreams."
"By going back to the basics, we respect the initiative and autonomy of Rotary clubs," he said. "While drawing strength from our vision of a world in which international understanding and peace replace the wilderness of wars and tensions, we will all listen intently to the heartbeat of Rotary, which is club service. I am convinced that active club service leads to vital clubs with active members, and it is this vitality and the practice of our ideals that will inspire the new generation to join and invest in Rotary."
In keeping with the 2002-03 Rotary theme, "Sow the Seeds of Love," this year, Rotarians will devote their professional and business skills to rediscovering the timeless principles that enabled Paul Harris and co-founders to build a dynamic new movement based on the human desire to share and serve.
Three RI presidential conferences are planned for the 2002-03 Rotary year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 9-11 August 2002; Nairobi, Kenya, on 21-23 February 2003; and Panama City, Panama, on 20-22 March 2003. The meetings are based respectively on the main themes of peace and conflict resolution and the Rotary Centers for International Studies; health and development issues, including AIDS and polio; and vocational education and micro-enterprise projects.
Rattakul is the Thailand Goodwill Representative for International Cooperation. He was a member of the Thai parliament from 1969 until he retired in November 2000. During those years, he served as leader of the Democratic Party, foreign minister, deputy prime minister, speaker of the House of Representatives, and president of the Parliament. He also served as chairman of several commissions and honorary vice-president of the Thai Scout Council. An accomplished diplomat, he has been awarded the highest decorations by King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, the emperor of Japan, and the presidents of the Philippines, Korea, Austria, and Nicaragua.
A charter member of the Rotary Club of Dhonburi, Bangkok, Thailand, since 1958, Rattakul has served RI as district governor, international assembly group discussion leader, member and chairman of numerous committees, trustee of the Rotary Foundation, director, and chairman of the Executive Committee of Rotary International. He is the recipient of The Rotary Foundation's Distinguished Service Award and Citation for Meritorious Service for his support of its international humanitarian and educational programs.
Also assuming office on 1 July were the 2002-03 chairman of The Rotary Foundation Trustees, Past RI President Glen W. Kinross of the Rotary Club of Hamilton, Brisbane, Australia; RI vice president James R. Shamblin of the Rotary Club of South Shreveport, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA; and treasurer Dong-Kurn Lee of the Rotary Club of Seoul Hangang, Seoul, Korea.
September 11, 2000: Bhichai Rattakul was nominated for president of RI, 2002-03. At the 2001 Convention, he was elected.
Bhichai Rattakul, Rotary Club of Dhonburi, Bangkok, Thailand President-nominee, Rotary International for 2002-03 Director, Rotary International, 1990-92 Trustee, The Rotary Foundation, 1985-86 Bhichai Rattakul served as a member of Parliament of Thailand for nine terms. During his long career in government, he also served his country as leader of the Democratic Party, as foreign minister in 1975-76, as deputy prime minister for 10 years, and as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
As a cabinet member of the Royal Thai Government, Mr. Rattakul was vice chairman of the National Security Council and chairman of the Counter Corruption Commission and the Narcotics Control Board. Before entering government, he was president of the Thai Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Association and Director of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Thai Industries. Mr. Rattakul has received many awards and decorations from the Their Majesties, The King of Thailand and the Emperor of Japan and the presidents of the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Austria, and Nicaragua. He has led many Thai delegations to the United Nations General Assembly.
Since becoming a charter member of the Rotary Club of Dhonburi in 1958, Mr. Rattakul has served RI as district governor, International Assembly discussion leader, committee member and chairman, Foundation trustee, and director and chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board. Currently, he is a member of the 2000-01 Diplomatic Relations Task Force. Mr. Rattakul has received The Rotary Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award and Citation for Meritorious Service for his support of its international humanitarian and educational programs.
Rotary Int'l President 2004-05 Glen Estess at Convention 2003
June, 2003, Brisbane, Australia: Fellow Rotarians and Guests: This is a day of extraordinary honor for my family and me. Rotary has been a part of the Estess family for many years. I am one of seven brothers, and five of us have served our communities through Rotary. Four of us served as President of our respective clubs in three different states, within the United States. Thus it is with a great deal of pride and thanksgiving that I stand here today to accept your election as President of this extraordinary organization, to serve during 2004-2005, the 100th Anniversary year. I want to express my gratitude to President Bhichai Rattakul and President-elect Jonathan Majiyagbe for their warm and gracious "welcome" and for their advice as I have prepared for the months ahead. President Bhichai has established a very high bar for all who follow him in this office. President-elect Jonathan will serve Rotary and Rotarians worldwide with the same dedication and commitment. I want to reaffirm my commitment to support President-elect Jonathan and his Board of Directors during the coming year.
I owe a debt of gratitude to many folks. Most of all I appreciate the support of my wife, Mary, for all the time she was home caring for the household as I "played Rotary." I am grateful for her willingness to be away from the eight grandchildren who are the centerpiece of our home. It was not a small sacrifice for her. Our three children and their families have been supportive of us and of our commitment to Rotary, with all the many obligations of time and travel involved. I would be remiss, if I did not thank two past presidents, now deceased. Past RI President Frank Spain and Past RI President Roy Hickman both came from my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. I had the privilege of knowing both of them. Past President Roy lived close by and gave me an understanding of Rotary that whetted my desire to know more. I was first inducted into Rotary in Jacksonville, Florida where Past RI President Ken Guernsey led the orientation before induction into that club. I learned much about Rotary through these experiences. Whatever involvement I have experienced in Rotary in recent years results from the support I have had from the members of my home club, the Rotary Club of Shades Valley and the members of my home district, District 6860 in Alabama, USA. I particularly want to thank the Nominating Committee for the confidence they expressed in selecting me for nomination. I will strive to fulfill the expectations of the many folk who have sent their good wishes. I will work to build on the strong foundation prepared by the leadership of Rotary International that has preceded me in this position. I thank the Rotary Leadership at the club, district, and international levels who give so much of their time and efforts to make this great organization what it is today.
In the months ahead we must continue to focus on Membership Development and Retention. In my opinion, it is especially important for us to work on the retention of our membership. RI has been successful in recruiting new members, but too often we lose as many members each year as we induct. Each person here for this convention has a commitment to Rotary and its ideals. For the most part, that commitment was developed after having been a member for a period of time. We need to share Rotary membership with others and of even greater need, we must offer the new member the opportunity for involvement that will encourage commitment to Rotary's premise of "Service above Self". During the years past, I have represented Rotary in many settings. Time and again, non-Rotarians have told me of the significant impact Rotary has had in their lives — all as a result of the action of Rotarians with whom they have come in contact. Your actions and my actions as we serve through Rotary have a much greater impact that we might imagine. As I accept this great honor you have bestowed upon me to serve as your President in 2004-2005, I am reminded of a statement made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ... Just as a bit of trivia … Dr. King's wife comes from Uniontown, Alabama the same small Alabama town as my wife, Mary.
Dr. King, in his 1964 Acceptance Speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, said and I quote, "I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits." I share that belief, and I also believe that Rotarians can achieve this goal through our service and through our support of The Rotary Foundation. As I stand before you today, I too have the audacity to say that Rotary and its Foundation can help to make it possible for people everywhere to have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. We can ensure that will happen by contributing to our Rotary Foundation, your Foundation - "Every Rotarian, Every Year." The Rotary Foundation supports only those projects identified by Rotarians, funded by or through Rotarians, and implemented by Rotarians at the project site to help address the world's needs. It is our Foundation, our primary vehicle for eradicating polio, putting food in the stomachs of starving children, providing the gift of literacy, and doing so much to ensure dignity, equality, and freedom. With contributions from "Every Rotarian, Every Year" the Foundation can keep pace with the ever-increasing need for support of vital Rotary service projects.
I ask each of you today to be an instrument for peace and take the "Every Rotarian - Every Year" message to heart and to your Rotary clubs. Soon our Centennial will be upon us and we must be prepared to "Celebrate" both our remarkable past and our plans for the future. President-elect Jonathan has described our Rotary's Century of Service as "peaks of the past and the foothills of the future". The future of this organization - and the new peaks that we will reach -- is in our hands. These are perilous times and will require the best of each of us during the future as we work to bring peace and safety to this world. Rotary International needs the help and support of every Rotarian. As I prepare to lead Rotary in its Centennial year, I will seek your help and support to ensure that Rotary will be fully prepared to embark on a new century of service in 2005. I look forward to meeting many of you in the days and months ahead as we continue to Sow the Seeds of Love and Lend a Hand to those around us. Thank you.
Rotary Int'l Nominating Committee Selects Estess as 04-05 Prez
On 9 September, the RI Nominating Committee selected Glenn E. Estess Sr., of the Rotary Club of Shades Valley, Alabama, USA, as president of Rotary International in 2004-05. Estess will lead the RI Convention in 2005, when Rotary celebrates its centennial. He will become the official nominee on 1 December. Estess is the chairman of the Membership Development and Retention Committee. He served as RI vice president in 1991-92, RI director, Rotary Foundation trustee, governor of District 6860, and chairman of the Audit and Operations Review Committee. He has been a Rotarian since 1960. He has retired from Glenn Estess Associates, where he was chief executive officer. Estess was born in Pike County, Mississippi, USA, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Tulane University in New Orleans.
View Conference 2002 Website
Rick King, 2001-02 President of Rotary International
Richard D. King was the 2001-2002 President of Rotary International. He is a Past International Director and Past Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board. Prior to becoming the President-elect, he served as a Trustee of The Rotary Foundation, and served as Chairman of the Fund Development Committee and as Liaison to RI's Leadership Development Committee and the 2005 Centennial Planning Committee.
Rick has served Rotary as District Governor, as a member of the USA PolioPlus Committee, member and vice chairman of the Rotary Village Corps Committee, Chairman of the World Community Service Committee, member and Chairman of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, Preserve Planet Earth, Rotary True Image and Vocational Service Committees, member of the Joint Committee of the Board and Trustees of The Rotary Foundation, two term member of the Tenth Decade Committee and World Chairman of the R.I. Membership Task Force. He has served as Chairman, and on two occasions as a member, of the Nominating Committee for RI President.
Appointed by two RI Presidents as an International Assembly Instructor, Rick has addressed RI Assemblies, Conventions, Institutes, Foundation Seminars, and District Conferences in more than 64 Nations. A trial lawyer by profession, Rick is a graduate of U. C. Berkeley with three different degrees. He is admitted to practice in both California and Utah and before the United States Supreme Court. Rick holds the Legion of Honor from the Order of DeMolay, the Spirit of Life Award from the City of Hope, the Distinguished Citizen Award from the United Portuguese of California, the PolioPlus Pioneer Award, the Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service and The Rotary Foundation Distinguished Service Award.
He has served as a member of the board of the Eden Hospital Foundation, as a Trustee of the City of Hope, and as the fund raising Chairman for the Boys Scouts of America. He is an elder in the Mormon Church, a member of the Commonwealth Club, Order of Chevalier and a member of Actor's Equity. He was a Distinguished Military Graduate from U.C. and served on active duty for two year in Military Intelligence with the rank of Captain. Rick, and his wife, Cherie, are recipients of the Two Diamond-Major Donor Paul Harris Fellow. They reside in the Mission San Jose area of Fremont, California. They have two sons, Rob and Ty. View RIP Rick's website.
RI's service emphases and theme for the 2001-2002 year are being unveiled to Rotarians from 66 countries at the International Assembly, 17-24 February, in Anaheim, California, USA. This meeting is designed to prepare RI's 530 district governors-elect to take office on 1 July.
A highlight of the meeting occurred last Saturday
when RI President-elect
The following day, RI President Frank J. Devlyn spoke on the topic of "Take Action Membership." President Devlyn warned the new Rotarian leaders about the dangers of "missed opportunities" in membership development and encouraged them to bring high-profile honorary Rotarians into their clubs, citing his own invitations to Bill Gates, Sr., and the prime minister of Trinidad. Stressing the need for clubs and districts to use technology in promoting membership development, the president also unveiled the newly redesigned Rotary Web site.
Held at the Anaheim Hilton and Towers Hotel,
the International Assembly is the principal training event for incoming
district governors. At this
The new leaders are attending plenary sessions
and participating in
Governors-elect are also participating in
regional discussion sessions on
Along with intensive training in preparation
for their upcoming year of
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