Important to Respect Traditions
Rotary International Leader &
Corporate CEO, Challenges All To Respect Traditions
• In Rotary, every religion is respected,
every tradition is welcomed, and every conviction is honored, for
in Rotary, we join in friendship and we are bonded by our dedication
As I visit with social entrepreneurs around the world, I often find that religion is a motivating factor for their desire to do something that matters. Although rarely discussed, taking religion out of social entrepreneurship would, for some at least, rob it of its heart and soul. [
It has been my honor to speak at a few Rotary
District Conferences at discounted fees, but I've not been paid
by Rotary International.]
Of course, many people approach social entrepreneurship
from a purely secular point of view, including some who are religious,
but that does not negate the influence of religion for others.
This week, I am attending the 2015 Parliament
of the World’s Religions here in Salt Lake City, a gathering
of 10,000 religious people looking to advance world peace, many
through some form of social entrepreneurship.
K.R. Ravindran, President of Rotary International,
a global organization with 34,000 clubs and 1.2 million members,
most of whom are business and community leaders, will speak at the
conference. He shared excerpts from his speech with me in advance.
Highlighting the importance of respect, he
said, “ In Rotary, every religion is respected, every tradition
is welcomed, and every conviction is honored, for in Rotary, we
join in friendship and we are bonded by our dedication to service.
Rotary’s motto is “Service above
self.” In a thought that is highly relevant for social entrepreneurs,
Ravindran connects that motto to religion in his remarks, noting,
“Service gives people a way to come together and a reason
to work together for the common good, regardless of their differences.
Charity and serving those with the greatest needs are ideas common
to every religion, which is what Rotary is all about.”
Thirty years ago, Rotary took on the challenge
of eradicating polio. At that time, there were about 350,000 cases
of polio each year. In 2014, there were just 356 cases, reflecting
a 99.9 percent reduction. The eradication of polio now appears certain
within this decade.
Of this effort, Ravindran says, “Rotary’s
decades-long fight to end polio is perhaps the greatest example
of a project that has united every Rotary member around the world
in pursuit of a single, shared goal”
On Friday, October 16, 2015 at noon Eastern,
Ravindran will join me here for a live discussion about the role
of religion in business and social entreprneurship. Tune in here
then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments
below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
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He and Vanathy have been married since 1975,
and they have two children and a recently born grandchild.
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