Ian H.S. Riseley
For 60 years, choosing a theme has been the privilege, and sometimes the challenge, of each incoming president. Looking back on those past themes opens a small window into the thinking and the vision of each leader – how they saw Rotary, the place they saw for Rotary in the world, and what they hoped Rotary would achieve.
When my turn came to choose a theme, I did not hesitate. I knew immediately that our theme in 2017-18 would be Rotary: Making a Difference. For me, that small phrase describes not only what we do now, but what we aspire …. Read More
Rotary is a massive, and massively complex, organization. As this issue of The Rotarian goes to press, we have 1.2 million members in 35,633 clubs in nearly every country of the world. Hundreds of thousands of participants are involved in Rotary programs such as Rotaract, Interact, Youth Exchange, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Rotary Community Corps, Rotary Peace Centers, and a host of local and Foundation-supported projects and programs at the national, district, and local levels. The name of Rotary is attached to countless projects every year, from blood banks to food banks, school sanitation to polio eradication. One hundred thirteen years after the first Rotary club was founded, Rotary service reaches literally around the globe.
What that service looks like on a daily and weekly basis can vary …. Read More
At the 1990 Rotary International Convention in Portland, Oregon, then President-elect Paulo Costa told the gathered Rotarians, “The hour has come for Rotary to raise its voice, to claim its leadership, and to rouse all Rotarians to an honorable crusade to protect our natural resources.” He declared a Rotary initiative to “Preserve Planet Earth,” asking Rotarians to make environmental issues part of their service agenda: to plant trees, to work to keep our air and water clean, and to protect the planet for future generations.
President Costa asked that one tree be planted for each of the 1.1 million members that Rotary had at the time. We Rotarians, as is our wont, did better, planting nearly 35 million trees …. Read More
This month marks 50 years since the first Rotaract club was chartered, in 1968. In this special Rotaract issue, you’ll meet some impressive Rotaractors from around the world and see some of the incredible ways they are Making a Difference.
In the half-century since Rotaract began, the world has seen profound changes, and young people have felt the greatest impact of those changes: the rise of technology and the information economy, the spread of education, and the tremendous influence of the internet. When Rotaract was founded, it would have been almost unthinkable for a teen or 20-something to have been an entrepreneur or a CEO. Today, young people have an unprecedented capacity to achieve – and Rotary needs their ideas and enthusiasm as never before.
For many years, Rotary has done Rotaract a disservice by looking at our youth and young …. Read More
One hundred thirteen years ago this month, the four members of Rotary’s first club held their first meeting. Although no minutes were kept, it’s unlikely anyone talked about service; the club did not begin focusing on the needs of the community for another few years.
The meeting was held not in a hotel or a restaurant, but in a member’s office; there were, so far as we know, no agendas or announcements, no committee reports, speakers, or nametags. The meeting would have failed today’s usual standards for a productive Rotary meeting most resoundingly. It was, of course, the most productive Rotary meeting ever held.
Today, as in 1905, many of us come to Rotary seeking what Paul Harris sought: friendship, connections, a place to feel at home. But today, Rotary gives us so much more than it could ever have given its earliest members in those earliest days. …. Read More