Our President's Message/ Rotary: Be the Inspiration

Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

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Rotary International President Barry Rassin's Presidential message, July 2018

"That simple sentence distills so much of what is essential about Rotary. We unite, because we know that we are far stronger together than we could ever be alone. We take action, because we are not dreamers, but doers. We work to create lasting change that will endure long after our involvement has ended – across the globe and in our communities. And perhaps most important of all, we work to create change in ourselves – not just building a better world around us, but becoming better people ourselves."

"A quotation attributed to French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry goes: “If you want to build a boat, don’t begin by collecting wood, cutting boards, or assigning tasks. Begin by awakening in the souls of your workers a longing for the vast and boundless sea.” Each of us came to Rotary because we had a longing – to have an impact, to make a difference, to be part of something larger than ourselves. That desire, that vision for a better world and our role in building it, is what drives us in Rotary. It’s what made us become members, it’s what motivates us to serve, and it’s what led me to choose our theme for this Rotary year: Be the Inspiration. "

"I want to see Rotary Be the Inspiration for our communities by doing work with a transformational impact. It’s time to start moving forward, by removing the barriers that are holding us back. Let’s make it easier to make adjustments in our clubs or start new clubs that suit different needs. Let’s work to strengthen Rotaract and smooth the transition from Rotaract clubs into Rotary. Let’s give all Rotarians the flexibility to serve in the ways that work best for them, so that every Rotarian finds enduring value in Rotary membership."

"Truly sustainable service, the kind of service we strive for in Rotary, means looking at everything we do as part of a larger global ecology. This year, I ask all of you to Be the Inspiration for sustainable service by addressing the impact of environmental issues on our work. The environment plays a key role in all six of our areas of focus, and that role is only becoming greater as the impact of climate change unfolds. It’s time to move past seeing the environment as somehow separate from those six areas. Clean air, water, and land are essential for healthy communities – and essential for the better, healthier future we strive for. "

"Be the Inspiration – and together we can, and we will, inspire the world."

The President of Rotary GB&I (Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland) is Debbie Hodge a Rotarian in the Rotary Club of Ware in Hertfordshire.

Since joining Rotary she has led a Group Study Exchange to Australia, taken part in a polio immunisation trip to India and coordinated a major fundraising programme in the London 2012 Olympic village.   She writes:

"To all those Rotary members reading this I want to say ‘thank you’. Thank you for making the choice to be a Rotarian – because Rotary is more than a lunch time meeting in the diary or the once a month quiz night. Rotary is a way of being that changes lives, including our own."

"A Rotary member when asked where he went every Tuesday lunch time said: “I go to meet with friends and we change the world.” That’s what Rotarians, ‘people of action’ do; we change the world, sometimes one person at a time, sometimes a whole community, and sometimes a whole country."

"Just how does this happen? It happens because we do good in the world – that’s our calling card."

"Rotary connects all the peoples of the world, just as the sea connects all countries. The ebb and flow of the tides remind us that while the sea is a constant presence, it is also a change agent – the shore line is never the same two days running.  Rotary is forever changing, yet it is an organisation which has been built on enduring principles which enable Rotarians around the globe to connect for the good of the whole world."

"The first principle is vocation – we bring our vocation, our business and professional skills, knowledge and personal talents into Rotary for the service of others.  The second is our Rotary values – honesty, fairness, truth, trust, integrity, fellowship and service. These we take out from Rotary into the communities where we work, live and make connections."

"These principles make us unique in the world of membership and service organisations as exemplified in our vision statement: ‘Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves."