International's 2011-2012 Theme
'Reach Within to Embrace Humanity' is 2011-12 RI theme
RI President-elect Kalyan Banerjee will ask Rotarians to Reach Within to Embrace Humanity during the 2011-12 Rotary year. Banerjee unveiled the RI theme during the opening plenary session of the 2011 International Assembly, a training event for incoming district governors.
He urged participants to harness their inner resolve and strength to achieve success in Rotary. "In order to achieve anything in this world, a person has to use all the resources he can draw on. And the only place to start is with ourselves and within ourselves," Banerjee said.
Once Rotarians find their inner strength, he continued, they can accomplish great things in their communities and around the world. "Discover yourself, develop the strengths within you, and then unhesitatingly, unflinchingly, go forth and encircle the world, to embrace humanity," he said.
Banerjee emphasized the family as a starting point in serving others. "The communities we live in are not built of individual people but of families -- families living in homes together, sharing their lives and their resources and their common destinies. Good families lead to good neighborhoods, and good neighborhoods build good communities."
Rotarians can focus on projects that support families, such as those that provide safe housing or improve maternal and child health, he said.
Continuity in Rotary’s work, including polio eradication, is also important, Banerjee said. "There are so many things we are indeed good at: working for clean, safe water; spreading literacy; working in so many ways with the New Generations, our youth, in our newest Avenue of Service and assisting them to become the leaders of tomorrow."
Citing Mahatma Gandhi’s call to "be the change you wish to see in the world," Banerjee said Rotarians should also focus on change.
"If we wish for peace,
we start by living in peace ourselves, in our homes and in our communities,"
he explained. "If we wish environmental degradation to stop,
if we wish to reduce child mortality or to prevent hunger, we must
be the instrument of that change -- and recognize that it must start
within us, with each of us."
The next class of Rotary district governors emerged from the 2011 International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA, with new ideas, skills, and friendships that will help them lead during the 2011-12 year.
RI President-elect Kalyan Banerjee began the week by inspiring the 530 governors-elect to Reach Within to Embrace Humanity . "In order to achieve anything in this world, a person has to use all the resources he can draw on. And the only place to start is with ourselves and within ourselves," he said.
Later in the week, Banerjee announced
plans for the 2011-12 Changemaker Award, which will recognize Rotary
clubs that make an extraordinary impact through their work in the
Avenues of Service. The Changemaker Award, to accompany the Presidential
Citation during the 2011-12 Rotary year. Banerjee, who said he will
encourage Rotarians to focus on change, explained that the Changemaker
Award will recognizing Rotary clubs that make an extraordinary impact
through their work in the Avenues of Service..
To qualify for a Changemaker Award, clubs will choose from a menu of activities and complete a minimum number for each avenue. All activities must be undertaken and completed between 1 July 2011 and 1 March 2012. District governors will select three clubs in the district -- the top-performing small, medium, and large clubs -- to be entered into a zone and international competition, culminating in the opportunity to be recognized onstage at the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand.
Activities include demonstrating a net gain in membership over three straight years (2009-12) for Club Service and conducting a career counseling or vocational training program in the community for Vocational Service.
The 2011-12 Presidential Citation will recognize achievements related to membership development and contributing to The Rotary Foundation, and will feature club and district recognition categories. The top 15 districts and 15 clubs certified by governors and validated by RI will be recognized onstage at the 2012 convention.
Clubs will select from criteria such
as increasing the number of younger professionals in the club by 2
percent and inducting RI or Rotary Foundation program alumni. Districts
will choose from a variety of goals, including 100 percent participation
in the Annual Programs Fund.
“2011-12 will be the year of the individual Rotarian, the year when we recognize and applaud all that they do for Rotary and for the lives of others whom they do not know and have not met,” said Banerjee during the farewell dinner banquet at the 2011 International Assembly.
Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar shared early success stories of the Foundation's Future Vision Plan. A three-year pilot began on 1 July with 100 districts. All districts will start using the plan's new grant model on 1 July 2013.
In his address to the governors-elect, RI Director John C. Smarge spotlighted one of Rotary's greatest challenges: "Since 2003, we have added 2,552 Rotary clubs yet only increased our overall membership by 226 members."
Smarge encouraged Rotary leaders to strengthen clubs by branding Rotary as the organization of choice for business, professional, and community leaders throughout the world.
The incoming district governors also heard from past RI presidents, including Rajendra K. Saboo, who talked about having passion for leadership, and Bhichai Rattakul, who discussed Rotary's core values. RI President Ray Klinginsmith elaborated on those values during the final plenary session.
"Service, fellowship, integrity, diversity, and leadership are our core values, which I prefer to call our Rotary DNA," Klinginsmith said. "Those traits are what distinguish us from other organizations. There is no doubt that we can help our club leaders to Reach Within to Embrace Humanity , and to make the world a better place, because we have been doing it for more than 100 years, and we do it better than anyone else in the world."
At the farewell dinner gala, Rotary leaders met attorney John Hewko, who will take over as RI's general secretary on 1 July with the retirement of General Secretary Ed Futa. Hewko said his new role will "not be so much a job as a passion" because of his affinity for Rotary's core values.
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